Sausage and Fish One Pot – Recipe Challenge

Well I’m just absurd. My time away was incredibly long, not to mention I couldn’t even recall the last time that I cooked, much less cooked a meal from my Rachael Ray – Look and Cook Book! Since the wedding is behind us, we are gradually getting back in the swing of things, and couldn’t be happier to dip back into normalcy! Don’t get me wrong, planning a wedding for 300+ guests is a fab experience, but I haven’t had a “night off” in SO long. Needless to say, normalcy was greatly missed.

Well last week was our first week back at work since our vacation for the nuptials and what better way to throw myself into domestic life than to kick off a Monday night with a Rachael Ray recipe! Yep, I thought so myself. Well the next recipe page that was dog-eared was the Sausage and Fish One Pot recipe. I know, if your palate is anything like mine, this didn’t sound too appealing, and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous. I was only nervous because I have never cooked fish without it being incredibly fried (this southern girl knows how to have a damn good fish fry)! The Mr. isn’t a big fish fan in general so I knew this recipe was either going to tank, or introduce us to a whole new fav!

I’m proud to say that this was the most flavorful and simple one pot wonder EVER! The prep time wasn’t long, and it seriously only dirtied ONE POT! I loved it! The cod wasn’t fishy, the flavors of the parsley, lemon, and garlic were perfectly blended and paired well with the spicy sausage and potatoes! It was a success and a new favorite of mine, as well as the Mr’s! Mission Accomplished! See kids, doesn’t matter the age, you will always try new foods in life!

Below are pictures of this delicious meal! Will you try it?

Sausage and Fish One Pot

Stay tuned for my next recipe challenge, Sausage and Onion Kebabs on Roasted Pepper Salad! Mmmm!

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Embarrassed.

I am completely ashamed of myself. I have NOT posted in well over 2 months!!!! Eeeek! With the wedding plans rolling at full speed, I have very little time to post, let alone cook! I feel so ashamed…I do not think we’ve eaten a meal worth remembering in the past two months! That is completely out of character for me, but give me a break! At least I have a great excuse right now!! Lol.

So as you could imagine, if I’m not cooking…I’m not grocery shopping! Our fridge and pantry look so incredibly sad! We finally hit a brick wall last week and were so sick of eating out, but we were too tired to grocery shop. I said “Let me get creative and see what I can come up with out of the little items that were left in our pantry.” The Mr. being the trooper that he is said “knock yourself out!”…So I go to my pantry, sit there a while and see the following: 1 box of Kraft Mac-N-Cheese, and a few cans of tuna. Aha! I’ll make my favorite comfort food known to me…Tuna Casserole!!! Oh but wait, I didn’t have cream of mushroom nor sweet peas. Grrr. I continue scanning the pantry and I come across 1 can of Rotel and 1 can of corn. Ding! Ding! Ding! I’ll make Tuna Casserole – Mexican Edition!! Can I toot my own horn here?! This was the most delicious, spontaneous meal I think I’ve ever went out on a limb and prepared! I’ll be honest, while I was cooking mid-meal, it didn’t look very promising. But after finishing it, and literally inhaling it, it was a hit and will definitely get put on rotation in our household! I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of it, but be certain that I will post a picture of it the next time I make it! If you have a rut in recipes but are looking for a quick, delicious fix…try it!

Tuna Casserole – Mexican Edition

1 box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
2 Cans of Tuna in water
1 Can of Rotel (Diced Tomatoes) 
1 Can of Whole Kernel Corn
2 Handfuls of tortilla chips (For topping – Crushed and Broken)
 

Directions: Preheat Oven to 350. Cook Mac-N-Cheese according to package. When Macaroni is finished, add in tuna, Rotel, corn and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish, top with favorite crunchy topping (my choice – tortilla chips) and bake for 10-15 mins, until crunchy topping is lightly golden. Serve immediately and enjoy!!

Want to try the classic? See below for my favorite classic Tuna Casserole!

Tuna Casserole – The Classic

1 box of Kraft Mac-N-Cheese
2 cans of Tuna in water
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can of Sweet Peas 
2 Handfuls of Potato Chips (For topping – Crushed and Broken)
 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Cook Mac-N-Cheese according to package. When Macaroni is finished, add in tuna, cream of mushroom, sweet peas and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish, top with favorite crunchy topping (my choice – potato chips) and bake for 10-15 mins, until crunchy topping is lightly golden. Serve immediately and enjoy!!

The Inspirer Needs Some Inspiring

Hello my lovely followers! I know, it has been quite too long since I’ve last posted! I have been quite the busy little bee with fun out-of-town family gatherings, being a part of my best friend’s gorgeous wedding, and not to mention that I’m coming around the bend on planning my very own BIG day! Things couldn’t be any busier, and I’m jonesing for a recipe fix! I promise to post soon on some delicious meals, I have not given up on my recipe challenge! I am determined to finish the cookbook by the end of this year!! I need some inspiration!! What are some of your favorite go-to meals that give you the extra pep in your step? I need something quick, easy, that will impress my taste buds…and my handsome fiance’s tastebuds. After all, I’ve gotta keep cooking to give him one more thing to adore about me!

Sometimes finding inspiration comes within, lately I have been dabbling in some old family recipes and I am getting nostalgic thinking about these delicious treats my grandmother would make for me as a child. One of my favorites was a Mexican Wedding Cookie called Pan de Polvo. This amazing shortbread cookie is divine and literally crumbles in your mouth with buttery goodness! This shortbread cookie is tossed in a sugar and a cinnamon mixture immediately after it’s hot from the oven! Mmm is your mouth-watering yet? This delicious cookie can then served with a cup of hot coffee or a cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate for your enjoyment! As you can tell, my brain and taste buds are wedding inspired at the moment…but what else am I supposed to be thinking about?! This delicious treat not only brings me back to my spanish roots, but makes me feel a little closer to my grandmother!

 

Pan de Polvo
Adapted from the recipe given by Eva Longoria to InStyle magazine as published in the May 2009 Issue

2 sticks Mexican cinnamon, whole (about 4 inches long)
1 tsp anise seed
1 ½ cup water

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
½ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

2 Tb ground cinnamon
4 Tb sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place cinnamon sticks, anise seed and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer gently for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain, and set liquid aside to cool.

In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer,) cream butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Once creamed thoroughly, add almond extract.  Meanwhile combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add ¼ cup cinnamon water to creamed mixture, adding slowly until all liquid is absorbed.  Add flour mixture and blend until dough is uniform.  Chill dough for 15 minutes or until it can be handled easily.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie begin to brown slightly.

While cookies are baking, mix cinnamon and sugar and set aside. When done, remove cookies from the oven and gently toss in cinnamon sugar mixture. Allow to cool and serve alone or with Mexican hot chocolate.  Yield: 3 dozen

Whistle While You Cirque!

The Mr. and I had the pleasure of getting invited to the VIP Dress Rehearsal for the show OVO, it’s in town with Cirque De Soleil . We had been to a few different Cirque shows in the past but have not been impressed like the show we saw last Wednesday night!

Let me give you a little background on what the show, OVO, is all about. According to their website, OVO is a headlong rush into a colourful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion. Strange, right?!

With that being said, we weren’t sure how we would like the show, but the tickets were free, so we jumped on it. We arrived at Sam Houston Race Park about 30 minutes prior to showtime. We mingled for a bit under the blue whimsical tent and indulged in some complimentary H’ors deurves, popcorn and sipped on a few drinks. Closer to showtime we took our seats and couldn’t help but notice some of the OVO characters were already interacting with the crowds to set the mood for the show! Strange (almost creepy) looking insects were walking around and frolicking through the seats and aisles. From the start, the music was amazing, the sound of the live band was incredible, not to mention the soothing voice of the singer! OVO was an adorable, interesting, dramatic yet humourous look into the life of insects. There was so much audience interaction it was hard to not get in on the fun! There were many times when the scene would change, gigantic flowers would bloom and you would smell a subtle scent of floral fragrance! This was probably the most exciting part to me, they seem to engage every sense of your being while you watched them perform…even down to the scent!

OVO will be in Houston from March 10 – April 10, 2011. If you have never experienced a Cirque De Soleil show, I would highly suggest this be your first stop!

The Mr. and Myself at Cirque

**Teaser Alert** Stay tuned for my next recipe challenge post, it’s just peachy!

A Moment In Fashion History: 1959

Today in 1959, Barbie was born. The first doll wears a black-and-white zebra-striped swimsuit and is available as either blonde or brunette. Mattel markets her as a “Teen-age Fashion Model,” and sells about 350,000 dolls in the first year of production.

Original Barbie (March 1959)

Kiss Those Blues Away – Overdue Inspiration

A close friend once told me that while I’m on my way to where I’m going, I need to enjoy where I’m at, and don’t wait until everything is perfect before I decide to enjoy my life. Obviously this close friend of mine knows me well and how I tend to be a perfectionist. Too many times have I gotten wrapped up in the details of my journey that I lose focus on the bigger picture. I’m blessed enough to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people, family and friends, and I constantly see inspiration in every one of them. Other’s aren’t so lucky as I am, and I’m spoiled to these things and have recently realized this. [Insert this post].

Sometime’s in life we are faced with difficult times whether they’re down ward slopes in a relationship, break-ups, divorces, challenges in your marriage, etc. No one ever said life would be easy, and yet we are devastated and inconsolable when **** hits the fan. We hit rock bottom and don’t know how to pick ourselves back up. We look to friends and family to help us through these times, and thank God we have them, because personally speaking, I couldn’t have gotten through many times without their support. But there comes a time when we might wallow too much or for too long. When is enough, enough? What is the appropriate amount of time to mourn a break-up or divorce? I don’t think there is a same amount of time for everyone, but I can tell you that if this “time” begins to interfere with you living your life, well then it’s about damn time you move on. I know this is easier said than done, but I think this is a great rule of thumb. Some things that I have practiced during troubling times are this:

– Do something that will make you feel better (volunteer, buy yourself something nice, visit with friends/family)

– Ask yourself (if there is another person involved) is the other person spending the same amount of time mourning over you? If the answer is no. Well then you have your answer. Why invest wasted emotional time, when it doesn’t benefit you?

– Write a list of what you want out of life; emotionally, physically, and most of all, what you would like to achieve. After you write this list, get going on crossing things off!

– Surround yourself with positive people. You are who you hang out with. Be sure not to compare yourself to these people, everyone is different and I don’t want you to get discouraged if you aren’t where they are in their lives. Everyone is on a different path, and that’s OKAY. You don’t need to be so impressionable that you mold your life to the way other’s think it should be. You’re on your own timetable, and that my friend is a beautiful thing!

– Most importantly, revisit what you’ve been through so you can see how far you’ve come from it. This can be tricky because you don’t want to start a vicious cycle of re-mourning it, just do a quick inventory of what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come, how much stronger you feel today than the first day you started this challenge. This in itself will boost your esteem and you will see how strong you really are. Go on with your bad self!

I know these things are all preliminary and time really is the best healer. I honestly get sick of people telling me that, but if you occupy yourself with positive and self-rewarding things, the time will go by faster and you’ll realize it was all just a blink ago. Start creating a solid foundation for yourself so when things head south, you will be just fine. The way I look at it, you can either suffer through the pain of change, or suffer by staying idle. Either way you’re suffering, but one way you’re moving on. The glass is always half full.

Meal Take Over!

I’ve taken a few weeks off from my Rachael Ray recipe challenge and I’m jonesing for a delicious come back! I’ve been so swamped with after-work activities, meet ups, happy hours, and my most recent vacation to Sin City that I’ve neglected my challenge. I know, I should be ashamed. However, before I left out-of-town to Vegas, my bestie/hairstylist, Angela from Everyone Loves Lipstick came to my rescue with a hair appointment! So one night after work, the Mr. and I rushed over for some overdue visiting and an overdue root-touch up! While Angela worked her magic on my locks, the boys whipped up an AMAZING recipe from my challenge in Rachael Ray’s cookbook! This was just the kind of teaser I needed!! It seriously was SO damn good! They prepared Chicken Ragu and us ladies were very impressed!

Here are some pictures from their delicious meal take-over!

Men Behind the Stove

Chicken Ragu

Mmmm

 

To keep with the “Men Behind the Stove” theme, I thought I’d post about a last-minute meal that the Mr. creatively whipped up! This was made on a work night a few weeks ago and we had pork ribs that we failed to grill for the Super Bowl…so instead of grilling them, the Mr. decided to make a Simmered Italian Style Pork Rib! Oh. My. Goodness. This was such a fantastic meal and it was quick, easy, and virtually no mess to clean up!

Here is what he did to achieve this amazing dish:

– In a pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil untill tender. Season the ribs and sear each side of the boneless pork ribs until they’re browned.

– Add a jar of your favorite italian sauce, his choice was Basil Marinara.

– Cover pan with the lid and let simmer for 1 hour.

– Boil any type of short cut pasta and serve alongside with the Italian Style Ribs. Once the ribs have cooked for an hour you will notice how they fall apart, almost the consistency of a roast!

Serve Rib pieces over pasta and spoon over italian sauce! Top with your favorite cheese, and viola! Enjoy!!

Here are some pictures from the Italian Style Pork Ribs!

Italian Style Pork Ribs