Cloudy with a Side of BABY Meatballs!

A few nights ago I had an EPIC Pinterest dinner fail.  I was really excited for Lentil Stew in the crockpot and was really, really disappointed with how it turned out.  It was more like a soup, had ZERO flavor and the lentils were not cooked.  Needless to say Darrin and I made a quick call to a local pizza place.

Unfortunately pizza wouldn’t do for Lucas.  I’ve been giving him what we have at dinner but I’m not comfortable with pizza just yet.  In that moment I was so glad I had made a batch of meatballs and frozen them two weeks ago!  A quick cook in the microwave (typically I’d have thrown them in a skillet but I was in a major time crunch) and L had a delicious dinner that he couldn’t get enough of.  Since L loves these meatballs so much he practically BEGGED me to share them with you. Alright, alright – begged may be a bit strong, but he wanted all of his baby friends to taste some of the yummy goodness he’s been eating recently.

Baby Turkey Meatballs with Veggies



Ingredients:

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  • 1lb ground turkey (or chicken)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Handful of spinach, shredded
  • 1 egg (if you haven’t given your child egg yet you can substitute with a bit of milk or just leave the egg out totally)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs ( I just kinda of eyeballed it)
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire (I use reduced sodium)
  • Spices to taste (I added garlic powder, onion powder and thyme – I also add a fair amount since I know L likes spices.  If you’re unsure try starting with 1/2 tsp of each)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grate your carrots and shred your spinach.

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Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Roll the mixture into about 36 mini meatballs and place on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil.

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Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 170 degree.

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If freezing, allow to cool completely and then place back on a cookie sheet and freeze for several hours.  Store the meatballs in a freezer bag for up to two months.  When it’s time to sever just heat in a skillet over low heat until warm throughout.

Obviously we are big fans of this meal in our house.  I’m pretty sure L will be hoping for a few more Pinterest fails so he can nom-nom on some yummy mini meatballs again soon!

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Sausage and Pepper Pasta – It’s Yummy

So in case you’ve forgotten…we bought a new house and have been moving over the past week.  Moving with an 8 month old is certainly NOT something I’d recommend and I will be sharing those stories in the next week or so.

But for now, it’s on to some delicious food!

One of the first things I did was set up our kitchen.  We ate takeout for over a week and I was ready to get cooking again (our waistlines and wallets agreed!).

For those of your who don’t know, I am a huge Rachael Ray fan!  I credit her with “teaching” me how to cook and create recipes on my own.  This is one of those recipes I’ve created based on what I’ve learned watching her shows, studying her cookbooks and reading her magazine!

Sausage and Pepper Pasta (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 lbs of sausage (I typically use chicken sausage and I typically buy the links and remove the casing)

3 peppers (I use one green, one red and one yellow), diced

1 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1tbsp tomato paste (the kind in the tube)

1/2 cup dry white wine (or vermouth – I usually use vermouth)

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 lbs penne

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat

Brown the sausage in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and then drain and set aside

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Add the peppers, onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 7-9 minutes

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Add the tomato paste and stir for about a minute (you need to “wake” it up)

De-glaze the pan with the dry white wine or vermouth

Return the sausage to the pan and add in the cherry tomatoes

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Cover with a tight fitting lid; you’ll want the heat to burst the tomatoes to make a sauce

Cook for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to stir everything up

While the sausage, pepper and tomato mixture is cooking add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to the package instructions

If the tomatoes haven’t burst fully after about 15 minutes, use a potato masher to help them along

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Before you drain the pasta reserve about a cup of the water to add to the sauce

Drain the pasta and toss with the sausage, pepper and tomato sauce, adding the reserved pasta water as need to help everything stick and serve with grated Parmesan cheese

IMG_0447Honestly, Darrin loves this dinner and so do I! It’s really filling and super delicious. It’s also pretty healthy if you use chicken sausage.  I think it’s even “entertaining” worthy – although I’d definitely use real sausage if I was making it for someone else – it browns up a little nicer.

Give it a try and let me know what you think or share another favorite recipe of yours in the comments.

Two Years and Some Enchiladas

Yesterday Darrin and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.

It’s hard to believe that we went from this:

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to this:

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in less than two years!

This was certainly a much more low-key celebration than our 1st anniversary/babymoon, which was a 3 day trip to Charleston, SC.

Darrin surprised me with a new Bible for Women.  I had been mentioning wanting a new Bible for a few months now and was really impressed that he picked up on that.

I got Darrin tickets to a Duke football game for later this month.  I’m super excited to bring Lucas to his first college football game, even if it isn’t a Notre Dame game!

We also went out to dinner without the baby. That rarely happens, and while it’s a treat to spend some time with just my husband, I always miss the little guy.

Our actual anniversary was on the 3rd but because I’m always exhausted on the days that I work we actually spent our anniversary doing a whole lot of nothing – I didn’t even cook dinner.  We ended up having leftovers from the night before.  I didn’t feel too bad though, because Darrin kept saying how amazing dinner was, even left over.  So I figured I’d share our “Anniversary Enchilada Bake” with all of you.

Ingredients:

1 to 1.5 lbs of cooked shredded chicken (I cook mine in the crock-pot with a little bit of chicken stock and spices to taste)

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, grated

2 cups shredded cheese

6 soft taco shells (the larger ones)

3 tbsp butter (the real stuff!)

3 tbsp flour

2 cups chicken stock

1 can died green chillies

1 8oz container of sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Cook up the onions and garlic until soft and let them cool slightly

In a large bowl combine the chicken, onion and garlic mix and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  I also added some jalapeno hot sauce for a little heat.  **You can honestly put anything into the filling – we’ve done mushrooms and beans before as well!

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Place 3 tortilla shells into a greased 9×13 dish (I cut one in half to make everything fit better)

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Top with the chicken mixture and then the remaining taco shells

To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan

Add the flour and whisk to combine and cook about 1 minute

Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and allow to thicken and bubble, usually about 5 minutes

Add the can of diced green chillies and then remove from heat

Stir in the sour cream until smooth

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Pour over the top of the tortillas and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for about 23-25 minutes and then place under the broiler to crisp up the cheese for a few minutes (thanks Rachael Ray for making sure I always brown my cheesey toppings!)

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What is your favorite way to celebrate a special occasion?  Do you have a special meal you like to cook or do you like going out to celebrate?

Toys and Burgers – All the Makings of a Perfect Weekend

I love weekends!  I know that may seem a little crazy since I only work two days a week and my “weekends” are actually four days long.  But honestly, there is nothing better than Saturday and Sunday in my eyes.

First, Daddy’s home the whole day!  Seeing my two favorite guys getting spend the afternoon together just melts my heart!

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Baths are more fun with Daddy too!

Second, weekend naps just seem more relaxing!

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If only this lasted more than 45 minutes!

And third, I tend to spoil the little guy just a bit! Okay, so that’s not really just a weekend thing but I bought this super cute toy this weekend and Lucas really seems to love it!

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Plus it was on clearance so that’s a double win!

I also got my Honest shipment this weekend.

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I started using diapers about a month or so ago and like them a lot (although I’m still a big fan of Swaddlers for little babies!).  What I really love though are the cleaning products and other items they sell.  Those that have a fragrance smell incredible and everything works so well.  Plus, they are all plant based and therefore totally safe for Lucas!  An added bonus – their customer service is amazing!  If you haven’t tried their free samples yet, you really should!

We ended our Saturday night with some Burgers on the grill!  I stopped cooking with ground beef about three years ago and started using ground chicken.  In that time, I have “invented” some pretty awesome burgers!  This weekend I did Bacon and Pepper Jack Burgers with Avocado Spread!  You really should try them – Darrin doesn’t miss “real” burgers at all!

Burger Ingredients:

1lb ground chicken

1/2 palm full each of granulated garlic and onion powder

2 or 3 teaspoons dried thyme

5 “shakes” of the bottle of worstehsire

5 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup cheese (I used pepper jack for an added kick!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine everything really well and shape into 4 patties (I suggest making them large and on the thin side – leaving them even thinner in the center.  They tend to cook better that way.).

Darrin is the grill master in our house so while he grilled up the burgers I made the Avocado Spread by mashing up an avocado and mixing it with the juice of a lemon,  one clove of grated garlic and a pinch of salt.

We also added some tomato and crispy onions to the burgers.

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Served with baked fries and Darrin’s family’s “famous” green beans it was an amazing dinner.

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And I couldn’t end a post about this weekend without a quick mention of Justin Timberlake, *NSYNC and the VMA’s last night!  My husband was having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that MTV was on in our house but it was so worth it!  I felt like I was back in high school and was loving it!  Oh, and that boy is insanely talented!

How was your weekend?  Anything you try to do every weekend? Did you do anything special this weekend?