Pinterest Pantry Challenge

IMG_0681As we enter week two of quarantine, I find myself digging in the pantry and freezer to see what we have. I then consult my Pinterest page to see if saved any recipes with those ingredients. Today’s dish took like two minutes to prepare and eight hours of refrigeration before throwing it in the oven. This four ingredient dinner was so easy and pretty tasty. As many of you are balancing work, teaching your children/keeping them busy, and trying to get in some outside time, I hope you enjoy this one dish recipe.

Make-Ahead Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole by Pillsbury
IMG_0688Dry spaghetti or macaroni noodles (7 oz.)
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 c. water
12 frozen meatballs
Parmesan cheese

Spray a 2 Qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with noodles. Top with water and marinara sauce. Stir to mix. Top with meatballs and roll in sauce. Cover and place refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake an addition 5-10 minutes.

Notes:

  • IMG_0689I used a half box of macaroni noodles because I wanted to use them up. They work pretty good. I’d just not suggest a bigger noodle like a penne.
  • We used a half bag of frozen meatballs. You could make your own meatballs if you’d prefer. We used chicken but beef or turkey meatballs would be just fine.
  • We really like Jasper’s marinara sauce but use whatever sauce you prefer. Again, you could make your own marinara sauce.
  • We love Gino’s Basil and Oregano Parmesan Cheese (you know, from the famous Chicago pizzeria. We buy ours at HyVee). If you prefer, you can use shredded Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. 
  • We did not have any fresh parsley or basil. I use dried parsley and the cheese had my other Italian seasoning.
  • Dinner was served with frozen garlic bread and LaDoga Ridge Winery Toad-a-lope.

Brunch at Casa Slater

Brunch is our favorite meal. We love it so much, that’s what we did for our wedding. Jeremiah and I love to go out and try new brunch restaurants. The place we are currently dying to try is Seven Swans Creperie at the recommendation of a co-worker. We were going to go a few weeks ago and they were closed for the week. The following week, I was snowing and I didn’t want to venture out. Kicking myself for that decision now that I’m stuck (staying safe) at home.

Although we are constantly trying new places, we usually end up though back at our favorite – The Big Biscuit. I get the Eggs Benedict and Jeremiah gets the Jimmy Platter – which is eggs, breakfast potatoes, and biscuits and gravy. (Lynn – I promise, he does not love it as much as your biscuits and gravy.)

IMG_0666The dish I made for brunch at home today though was so good, Jeremiah took two serving of it. I asked Jeremiah if it felt like something he could have had on our trip to Maine. He said, “Yes.” I also felt some inspiration from our trip to Vermont.

We are currently out of maple syrup (in this dish) so we ordered some last night from this great place we bought maple syrup at during our Maple and Wine tour. The Vermont Maple Outlet is a family IMG_0665defaultowned business that has been around for over 100 years old. Their last name is Fletcher so maybe we are related. I’d suggest ordering online from them. We like their Grade A Amber Rich – and not just for it’s name. The Amber is a medium richness. We also like the Boyden Valley Winery’s Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup. They were another stop on our tour.

May you enjoy this dish that got my husband and dog to crawl out of bed from its smell.

Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole by Wishes and Dishes
IMG_06676 slices of bread
1 brick cream cheese
1 c. blueberries
6 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/6 c. maple syrup

Blueberry Syrup
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. blueberries
1 T. butter

Spray a 9×9 glass square baking dish. Cut three slices of bread into cubes and pour into dish. Cube up cream cheese and top bread. Sprinkle with blueberries. Cut remaining bread and top dish. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and maple syrup together. Pour over dish. Cover dish and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, pull out of fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 30 minutes.

To make syrup, cook water, sugar, and cornstarch to a boil. Cook and stir constantly for 4 minutes. Add blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Pour syrup over slices of French toast.

Notes:

  • We used Shatto Home Delivery to get our blueberries and Farm to Market Bread Co. wheat bread. 
  • I used expired milk. Technically, dairy is supposed to be good 10 days past the date on the product. I suggest using the smell test and cooking it though.
  • We were out of maple syrup. We has maple butter and used it. I think it worked just fine.
  • We had about 3/4 of a brick of 1/3 less fat cream cheese. It worked just fine.
  • I used five eggs and 1 liquid egg white.
  • One of my friends is allergic to corn in any form. She suggest unflavored gelatin or arrowroot as a suggestion for cornstarch. 

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

Today is Day 5 of the official shelter in place ordered by the County in response to COVID 19. Like many of you, we have been home longer than that. My husband Jeremiah normally works from home one day a week. His company decided two weeks ago to give all employees access to work remotely daily. I went into work for another day before we closed to the public. Just a few days later, I was also working from home full time. We feel luckily to work for companies that had the forethought to hook us up with laptops and remote access.

I’m a total homebody but this is hard for me. I think it’s because I can’t leave. I miss eating out too much. Once again, feeling very blessed that Jeremiah and I bought a house two and half years ago. We have a fenced in backyard and a neighborhood with sidewalks. Daily walks after work with our dog Cooper have become a must.

IMG_0639I also feel lucky that my husband and I are planners. We love to cook and always have a pantry/freezer full of food. (Thank you Grandma Fletcher for that standing freezer.) Earlier this month, I was off from my hotel job on a Saturday. Jeremiah and I went to grab breakfast burritos at Red Kitchen Tamales at Lenexa Public Market.  I’m obsessed with their breakfast burritos and had been raving about them for awhile. Plus, the owner and her staff are so sweet and generous to charity. After grabbing what my husband agreed to be the most flavorful burritos, we stopped in the McKeevers Market and Eatery. I have lived in that neighborhood for seven years and was excited to check out what the new store had to offer. Jeremiah and I made the mistake of not grabbing a cart when we walked in. This grocery store is awesome. We grabbed a basket midway through and learned we needed a cart. OMG – I am so glad we did. We got a bunch of fresh food. Little did I know, that would be our last grocery shopping experience.

Jeremiah and I also love to purchase meals from our friends at Social Suppers in Prairie Village. They have ready to go meals. I’ve been going there almost monthly since before Jeremiah and I were together. So lucky to have some of there dishes in the freezer.

IMG_0656By now, I am sure you have seen the pictures of empty grocery shelves. We are thankful to not have to go deplete that limited stocked. During a walk last week, we saw a sign in a neighbor’s yard for Shatto Home Delivery. We’ve seen other neighbors with signs since we moved here and decided to check it out. We needed fresh items and were so thankful to be able to get them delivered to our home – old school style. (When I was a kid, we had a milk box on our porch…from the days of when they used to do home milk deliveries.) Through Shatto, we are able to order milk, cheese, eggs, bread, bacon, and fresh produce. That was exactly what we needed to keep us in quarantine. We were so thankful to see Milkman Kyle delivering these local products yesterday. (Did I mention how much we love the USPS mailman, Amazon, UPS, and FedEx delivery drivers?) I’m hoping we can make it two more weeks before we need to place a HyVee order to replace pantry staples. (Jeremiah has a running list on his phone.)

In an attempt to work our way through goods on hand, I’ve been searching my pins on Pinterest. I asked Jeremiah if he wanted to give this recipe a try. He said, “sure.” We loved it! We added a little to Cooper’s bowl last night too. He scarfed it down, licked his lips, and came over talking to us to tell us he wanted more. (Yes, our dog is that smart.) We gave him a little more and was still licking his bowl. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Brown Sugar Meatloaf by Allrecipes
IMG_06581/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 small onion
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. saltine crackers
3/4 c. milk

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom and top with ketchup. Mix all remain ingredients together and fill loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Notes:

  • We used ketchup from a local non-profit called Boys Grow. We LOVE it! They sell it at HyVee. 
  • Jeremiah put a little too much onion in ours. I’d suggest maybe half an onion. Not bad but it does make me belch. 

Ice Day

I know it’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post but today’s icy weather gives me no more excuses. My FT employer was so kind to close. My husband is working remotely so our dog Cooper and I are just chillin’ catching up the DVR. A little Coldplay on Ellen, Robin Roberts on Rachael Ray, and Andrew Chang on Colbert. Yes, that’s my jam. Not to worry, I happy plenty of books to read which is sort of work related on this now four-day weekend. And between my two jobs, I’m off three of days so I’m taking it for the win.

Today’s breakfast recipe comes from…what do we have in the house? You know, Jeremiah and I love a good brunch. I also feel like most recipes are pretty much the same – eggs, breakfast meat, cheese, and some sort of crust (hash browns, biscuits, crescent rolls, pie crust, King Hawaiian rolls, etc.) No real surprises here. But Jeremiah and I like to add seasoning to make it more flavorful. We also used deer sausage because we have plenty in the freezer thanks to my father-in-law. (So Midwestern of us.) We liked this easy-peasy recipe and will add it to the rotation.

Biscuit Egg Casserole by Lil Luna
IMG_03271 package Grand biscuits
1 package ground sausage, cooked
8 eggs
1 c. milk
2 c. shredded cheese
salt & pepper

Flatten out biscuits on the bottom of a sprayed 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with sausage and cheese. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and seasoning together. Pour over mixture in pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting.

Notes:

  • The recipe called for 1 c. mozzarella and 1 c. cheddar cheese. I used 2 c. of an Italian Cheese blend.
  • I also added sage, rosemary, and thyme. I sprinkled fresh basil on top of the dish.

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe for cinnamon rolls is super easy and tasty. Perfect recipe for those who love this fall flavor all year long.

Easy Mini Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls by Two Peas & Their Pod Blog
IMG_14071 can crescent rolls (seamless)
1/4 c. pumpkin butter
3 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Icing
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powder sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. milk (more if you need to thin icing)

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Unroll dough and spread with pumpkin butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll into a log and cut with a serrated knife into 9 slices. Place slices cut side down into a greased 9 x 9 baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend. After cooling cinnamon rolls for 5 minutes, cover them with icing.

Notes:

  • I used canned pumpkin and it worked just fine.
  • You can use a regular can of crescent rolls but you just have to get rid of the seams to make it into one giant rectangle. 
  • This is a little too much icing so you might want to cut recipe in half. 

 

Cherry Garcia Cookies

As you may recall, Jeremiah and I visited the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory this summer. During our excursion, we were able to sample Cherry Garcia ice cream. Although we had never had it before, we were quickly in love.

A few weeks ago, a recipe suggestion came up in my Pinterest feed for a Cherry Garcia cookie. I decided I had to make this cookie. The only thing I didn’t like about the recipe was the maraschino cherries. I really don’t like them. I thought about one of my favorite ice cream flavors at Sylas and Maddy’s – Queen of Hearts. This recipe has these little pieces of chocolate that when you bite into them you get a splash of raspberry. In the day and age where of you can find anything in the internet, I figured I’d be able to buy these with a cherry flavor. To my surprise, cherry isn’t as popular as raspberry or about any other fruit flavor. One of my friends said, “Oh, what about those Brookside chocolate covered fruit pieces?” They make ones with blueberries and pomegranates. After at least 15 minutes of searching the baking, health foods, and candy isles at HyVee, I am happy to report that Jeremiah found some Cella’s chocolate covered REAL cherries.

I made the cookies yesterday and shared a few with friends. The verdict – they taste like a Cherry Garcia version of cookies. I hope you’ll give them a try. We are sharing them along with Chex Mix, Chocolate Crinkles, and Orange Chocolate Chippers. I’m hoping to have a few left to share with my mom who loves Cherry Cordials.

Cherry GarciaCherry Garcia Cookies by Vera
1 c. sugar
3 sticks of butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. almond extract
3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Maraschino cherries jar (drained and chopped into pieces)

In a large bowl, cream together sugar, butter, egg, and almond extract. Add flour and salt and blend. Stir in chocolate chips and cherries. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. Roll into 2 in balls and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12-14 minutes.

Notes:

  • I substituted Cella’s chocolate covered cherries (chopped) for the Maraschino cherries. 

Real Maple Syrup

IMG_1190This year, I really wanted to go to Vermont on vacation. I wanted to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and to tap a Maple tree to get syrup. I learned though that you can’t really just tap a tree to get syrup. During our trip, we visited a visited a Sugar House. img_1186.jpgWe learned that getting sap from a tree requires a very extensive string of plastic tubing to be drilled to the trees. When the temperatures in the spring first reach above freezing, the sap drips from the tree as the temperature drops below freezing at night. This usually happens in late March or early April. The sap runs through the tubes to a giant collection container. Those containers are then transported to process IMG_1187the sap through a boiling process to produce maple syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap and about 45 minutes of boiling sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. Wow, now you know why really Vermont Maple Syrup cost so much. We also learned that Maple Creemes (soft serve ice cream with maple syrup swirled in) is very popular…and delicious. It’s actually pretty cool to meet the families who run these Sugar Houses.

IMG_1157The syrup excursion was part of our Maple and Wine Tour with Greg. Following our visit to the Sugar House, we went to Boyden Valley Winery. This family farm has people producing maple, grass feed beef, and wine. In addition to ice and maple wines, Vermont’s oldest winery produces maple syrup aged in oak barrels. I learned I like oak ages syrup better than I like oak aged wine.

The state of Vermont only has a population of around 620,000 in the whole state. Despite a drought, this 14th state to the union lives up to its name which mean green mountains. The IMG_1154state is very proud of local business. In fact, this is the only state in the country to not currently have a Target store. One lady at the airport was telling us that she traveled via fairy boat to New York with her daughter to return an item to Target. (Now that’s dedication to Target shopping.) Vermont is also home to the Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig maker), the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, and Cabot Cheese.

For this morning breakfast, I wanted to use a little of our new real maple syrup.

Sausage Breakfast Casserole from Pinterest
FullSizeRender (16)1 package of Grands biscuits
1 package of frozen hash brown
1 lb. of ground sausage
8 eggs
¼ c. milk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
maple syrup

Bake biscuits on a baking sheet for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook hash browns until golden brown on the stove top. At the same time, brown sausage on the stove top. You’ll also need to cook the scrambled eggs and milk in that skillet. Place hash browns in the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with ½ c. of cheese. Sprinkle with sausage. Top with scrambled eggs and remaining cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Plate and drizzle with maple syrup.

Note:

  • I did not overly cook the hash browns. I’d suggest maybe cooking them in the 13 x 9 plan for make 10 minutes before added other ingredients or removing them from the recipe. I don’t really think the hash browns are necessary ingredient in this recipe.
  • If you can get it, Cabot cheese would have been a great addition. Perhaps, even a Vermont White Cheddar.
  • I think the biscuits might have also been delicious with some Maple sugar sprinkled on top. We are still waiting for ours to be delivered.

Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

When I first met Jeremiah, I learned very quickly that he loves biscuits and gravy. He’s very particular though – no one does it like his mother. I soon learned the whole family feels this way.

When Jeremiah and I were planning the menu for our wedding day brunch, our Sales Manager suggest biscuits and gravy. I said, “No, his family will just compare it to his mother’s recipe and be disappointed.” Sorry Chef – no offense.

Every year, the whole family gathers at his parent’s house for Christmas. It is practically a requirement that my mother-in-law Lynn make biscuits and gravy when EVERYONE is there. On Christmas Eve morning  though, Lynn made a Biscuits and Gravy Casserole recipe a friend had shared with her. Lynn let me in on a little secret. Occasionally, she uses the Pioneer brand packet gravy. This I can do. Although this isn’t the exact recipe my mother-in-law made that morning, my husband does like this dish. He also likes it when I use sausage from our local butcher shop – The Peculiar Meat Company.

Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Casserole from Pinterest
img_0223.jpg2 cans (16 oz.) Grands biscuits
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
1 package of Pioneer Country Sausage Flavor Gravy Mix

Cut one can of biscuits into quarters. Sprinkle in a sprayed 13 x 9 baking dish and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, cut the second package of biscuits the same way. Meanwhile, cook and drain sausage. Also prepare gravy according to packet. Mix sausage and gravy together and pour over biscuits. Top with remaining biscuits and cook for 15-20 minutes. (Optional – top biscuits with melted butter to make them shine.)

Notes:

  • I’d suggest maybe making it in a 9 x 9 pan and using only one can of Grands biscuits (half on bottom/half on top) if you want more gravy to biscuit ratio. You could also use regular sized biscuits and still make it in a 9 x 13 pan. 
  • Another option to to make a second envelope of gravy to pour on top of finished dish. That’s what Lynn did for her family. 

 

 

Peach Crisp

It’s that time of year when fresh peaches are available for picking. Here is a peach recipe Jeremiah and I recently made which was delicious.

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce by Pioneer Woman
img_0931.jpg5-6 fresh peaches
1 c. flour
½ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. butter
½ whole lemon
7 T. maple syrup
1 ½ c. whipping cream
3 T. light corn syrup

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Cut butter into small pieces and fork into dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, peel and cut peaches. Add zest from half a lemon and then squeeze in juice. Add 2 T. maple syrup and stir. Pour peaches into a 9 x 9 baking dish and cover with crumble mixture. Cover with foil and back for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.

Pour whipping cream into a saucepan. Add remaining maple syrup and corn syrup. Cook over a moderate heat until thickened and reduced by one-third (approximately 15 minutes). Refrigerate mixture until it is cold and thick.

Note:

  • This makes a lot of sauce. I’d suggest cutting the recipe in half. I used the extra though to make some delicious French Toast.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

IMG_0876Last year, Jeremiah and I went strawberry picking for the first time. I had always wanted to do it but hadn’t been able to fit it into my schedule. We loved it so much, we decided to do it again this spring. The weather was a little hotter this year as we went from winter straight to summer. When you pick a flat of berries, you need to come up with a few recipes to use them in. I ran across the recipe and cooked it up on a day when Jeremiah was working from home. We both agreed, this recipe was a winner. Great flavor and bonus it’s a skinny recipe.

Skinny Strawberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast by Savory Nothings

  • img_0866.jpg4 T. One-third less fat cream cheese
  • 1 T. honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c. skim milk
  • 4 T. whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 8 strawberries sliced
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 2 T. oil

Mix honey and cream cheese. In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and milk. On a large plate, combine bread crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover four slices of bread with cream cheese mixture and top with strawberry slices. Top each slice of bread with a second slice of bread. Dip in egg mixture to coat each side, dripping off excess. Then, repeat in bread crumb mixture. Cook in a pan coated with oil and flip half-way through cooking.