Tag Archives: cooking

First Attempt At Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Standard
First Attempt At Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Hello!! I love to cook and try out new recipes and during my last curbside order, Johnny requested fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. I have never made it before but I figured that it couldn’t be that hard! As per ushe, I consulted Pinterest for a recipe and settled on one by Self Proclaimed Foodie. Although I wasn’t blown away with the end result, it was still pretty good. Check it out:

image_50394113image_50420225(4)

^^^ Obsessed with my tomato butter! YUM!

The Alfredo sauce recipe by Self Proclaimed Foodie only had four ingredients to it – butter, garlic, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. I went with this recipe for its simplicity but I think it was a little too simple for my liking. Even after adding parsley, salt, pepper, and way more garlic than necessary, it tasted really bland overall. I definitely plan on making Alfredo sauce again but I think that I will find another recipe for it.

During my next attempt at Alfredo sauce, I will also be steering clear of the Kraft Parmesan cheese! I didn’t even think about buying the thinly shredded kind, which probably would have made a big difference. The Kraft cheese didn’t fully melt down and that gave the sauce a slightly gritty texture. It didn’t make as much of a difference once it was poured over pasta but taste testing from the pot left a lot to be desired!

On the bright side, Johnny ended up really enjoying his requested dinner so that made me happy. I just hate when something I make doesn’t turn out exactly how I want it so here’s to a more flavorful and creamy sauce next time around!

What recipe do you recommend for homemade Alfredo sauce? Have you tried cooking anything new recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Too Many Tomatoes? Try These Recipes!

Standard
Too Many Tomatoes? Try These Recipes!

Hello! My dad’s garden was so bountiful this past summer and it is still currently producing a TON of tomatoes. The red fruit has basically taken over my parents’ kitchen so I was called in for cooking reinforcement. We were all sick of spaghetti sauces and salsas so I turned to Pinterest for new recipes to lighten the tomato burden. I made a tomato pie found on Biscuits & Burlap as well as a tomato butter compliments of Kitchn. Both of them turned out really good! Check it out:

image_50400769(3)image_50443521(3)image_50426113(3)

I had two full bowls of tomatoes to work with and these two recipes used them all up, which was awesome. They were also SO incredibly easy to make. The tomato pie by Biscuits & Burlap took me about twenty minutes to make and my dad and I liked it a lot. We both agreed, however, that it definitely needed more to it.

When I cook a new recipe, I tend to follow the directions exactly. Then, if I like it enough, I add my own twists the next time around. When I make the tomato pie again, I plan on using a Pillsbury crust and will be adding an extra tomato and cheese layer. I also will be using a lot more fresh basil, garlic, and onions. The tomato pie would taste even better with spinach so I’ll add that into the mix too.

The tomato butter by Kitchn was a recipe that I was somewhat ambivalent about making but I am glad I did. It is so unique and will be a perfect addition to grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, and French bread. I was worried after I used the food processor to blend the broiled tomatoes, herbs, and butter because the consistency was like tomato soup! After a day in the refrigerator, it formed into a whipped spread and that was more like it lol.

Like the tomato pie, the butter was good but it needed something extra. The butter was a bit on the bland side so if I make it again, I will be adding a lot of garlic (Which the recipe didn’t call for) and fresh basil. Despite not being as flavorful as I would have liked, I love the idea of this recipe and it is such a fresh and different way to use up a tomato harvest.

If you have Too Many Tomatoes, then do be sure to give these recipes a try and let me know what you think! 😀

What have you been making with your garden veggies? What do you like to make with tomatoes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

The Best Grilled Cheese EVER

Standard
The Best Grilled Cheese EVER

Hello! I pride myself on my cooking and I LOVE making dinner for my husband and family whenever I can. It feels so good to make something that everyone enjoys and it is a true labor of love. This past week, however, the tables turned and my sweet Johnny ended up making dinner for me. I was craving a grilled cheese something fierce all day and he definitely delivered:

image_67216897(1)

^^^ He was so pleased with himself for “plating it up” for me!

Last week was a whirlwind between work and helping out at my mom and dad’s house. Every day when I got home, I pretty much just sank into the couch and prepared to do it all again the next day. By Friday, I had averaged a solid 11,000 or so steps per day and walking up the stairs to my apartment was a monumental feat on my aching legs. I was also freaking STARVING.

Rather than become one with my couch, I had to make my way to my office to finish some billing and online work. I am one of those people that can’t do anything else until all of my work is completely done but the rumbling in my belly was proving troublesome. So, I decided to ask Johnny to make me a grilled cheese to which he replied “of course” even though he was worried it wouldn’t turn out as good as mine!

By the time I finished my final tasks for the day, my dinner was ready and I couldn’t wait to chow down. It looked AMAZING and it tasted even better. Food always tastes better when someone else makes it for you and this sandwich was a true testament to that! I was so thankful to Johnny for lending me a hand but he was even happier that he could cook for me for a change. He was so proud of himself and, damnit, I was proud of him too. ❤

With so much going on in my life, Johnny told me that he will cook anything that he is capable of for me. AKA eggs and, now, grilled cheese. It was the sweetest thing and I really do have the best husband/grilled cheese chef ever!

What is your favorite simple thing to cook? What is your go to comfort food? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Breakfast For Dinner

Standard
Breakfast For Dinner

Hello! I am a huge fan of breakfast food and used to love cooking big breakfasts for myself and Johnny over the weekend. This hasn’t happened in a while because now we usually just skip to lunch lol. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have breakfast for dinner, instead! This past week, I whipped up our favorite spread when I got home from work and it hit just right:

image_50407169(2)

My go to breakfast foods for me and Johnny are dippy eggs, MorningStar sausage patties, biscuits and gravy, and hashbrowns for Johnny. Biscuits and gravy was something that I always wanted to try but never got the opportunity to because it’s always made as sausage gravy in restaurants. However, inspiration struck several months ago and I finally thought to look up a vegetarian recipe for it.

During my search, I found this recipe by ammiface and it is, easily, one of my favorite dishes morning or night. The white gravy recipe is SO quick and simple to make with only six ingredients. It turns out amazing every time and tastes just as good leftover as it does freshly made. Not only is it a must make for me but I now have to make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners because the other vegetarians and meat eaters alike in my family love it too.

I suppose I could incorporate MorningStar sausages into this gravy recipe but I like it so much as is that I never have the heart to. Regardless of any tweaks you might make, the vegetarian white gravy is perfect for breakfast, dinner, or in this case – breakfast for dinner. Enjoy!

What is your favorite breakfast food? What is your favorite vegetarian dish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Yummy Asian Cabbage Salad

Standard
Yummy Asian Cabbage Salad

Hello! Johnny and I have several favorite go to meals that I make pretty much every time I do grocery shopping. This is all well and good but it can get kind of boring cooking the same things with no variation. So, I have made it a point to try making new side dishes to enhance the meal even more. It’s amazing how much the dinner transforms with just one different thing, like when I made a pot of cilantro lime rice with a taco dinner.

To keep going with this, I decided to try a new salad recipe when I cooked a veggie lo mein meal for my entire family. I found the recipe for Asian Cabbage Salad with a peanut ginger dressing on Well Plated By Erin. I had scoped out many Asian salads on Pinterest but I went with Well Plated’s because it used the fewest ingredients and looked so easy to make. Check it out:

image_50737665(1)image_50747905(1)

I love going on Pinterest but it can sometimes be disheartening because there are a plethora of recipes that I would like to try but use SO. Many. Ingredients. I just can’t justify buying twenty plus things for a dish that I might not even like. I already had about three fourths of the ingredients that I needed for this salad so it was the obvious choice to go with and I am glad I did!

This Asian Cabbage Salad was to die for and, much to my surprise, Johnny even liked it. That is really saying something because I truly thought that he was going to tell me that there were too many vegetables in it lol. The salad had so much crunch, flavor, and texture and it was delicious as a side or mixed into the veggie lo mein. It also kept for several days leftover and that was another huge plus because of how much the simple recipe made.

I definitely plan on making Well Plated By Erin’s recipe again but there is one thing that I will be tweaking. While I liked the peanut ginger dressing well enough, it didn’t pack much of a punch against all of the colorful veggies. I would have liked for the dressing to have a bit more bite and I’m not sure if that can be solved by making more of it or adding something new. I’m thinking of substituting a tablespoon of the honey for brown sugar and adding one more tablespoon of soy sauce to see if that will make a difference.

Overall, I am really pleased with this new recipe and it was a hit at dinner… It was also a hit every time I had it leftover too and you can’t beat that!

Where do you like to find new recipes? Have you cooked anything new recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

Standard
Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

Hello! This past Saturday was a very busy one. We visited my mom at the Cleveland Clinic, I cooked up a feast, and watched my niece while her baby sister was born. For dinner, I treated my dad, brother, and Johnny to homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunches. This is the second time that I have made them and the meal turned out excellent. And in the words of Emeril Lagasse, I definitely kicked things up a notch.

The last time I made Taco Bell style Cheesy Gordita Crunches for dinner, I used the beef crumbles by MorningStar. While I didn’t care for it, Johnny liked it well enough so I just decided to use real beef for the guys and vegetarian refried beans for me. I have never cooked ground beef in my life and apparently it turned out good lol. Not that I was surprised because, I hate to toot my own horn, but Johnny says I cook bacon better than someone who eats meat. GREAT SUCCESS! 😀

Not only did I make all of the fixings for our taco dinner but I also prepared some extra additions to enhance the meal. I made a new Pinterest recipe for cilantro lime rice, which can be found here at Downshiftology. I also whipped up a batch of my own personal recipe for guacamole that I think is simply the best. Check it out:

image_50398721(4)image_50453505(1)

^^^ Obviously I should have taken a picture of my guac before we chowed down!

Of course, Taco Bell was the source of inspiration for this meal and my life in general. However, I was also trying to serve major Chipotle vibes. The recipe that I used for the cilantro lime rice claims to be a Chipotle taste alike and I completely agree. It. Was. Delicious. The zingy lime and cilantro balanced out the garlic and salt perfectly and I honestly think that I could have ate the entire bowl. I highly recommend making it during your next taco dinner!

I also hate to toot my own horn again but I truly believe that my guacamole is a Chipotle taste alike too. It is SO easy to make with minimal ingredients and tastes divine. This is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 mashed avocados
  • A small portion of red onion, finely chopped
  • Juice, pulp, and zest from one lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Course sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

While you can add anything you please to your guacamole like chopped olive or tomato, I always say that simple is best. All of the different flavors and textures in my recipe blend together so well and that extra dose of lime in the zest and pulp sends it over the top. I also just mash up my avocado with a spoon, which makes it very similar in texture to Chipotle’s, which is definitely more chunky. Now, if only I could make a taste alike for their tortilla chips. YUM!

As you all know, I love cooking for Johnny but it was SO nice to be able to make a meal for my dad and brother too. Cooking soothes my soul and watching people enjoy what I make makes it even better. ❤

What are some of your favorite taste alike recipes? How do you prepare the perfect taco? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Homemade Salsa Recipe

Standard
Homemade Salsa Recipe

Hello! My dad’s magnificent garden has been providing an endless supply of tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and herbs. I tried to ease the burden of putting a dent in his harvest by making some spaghetti sauce. It turned out a bit lackluster but at least I used eight tomatoes with it lol! This past week, my dad and I made salsa together and came up with our own recipe. It turned out great! Check it out:

image_50739969image_50413057(3)

Our Recipe:

  • 22 small to medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 of a green pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves pressed garlic
  • 2 cubanelle peppers, finely chopped
  • Very small pieces of serrano pepper – *Warning* they are very hot
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

I had an absolute blast making this salsa with my dad! I couldn’t tell you the last time we collaborated in the kitchen and it was so much fun to make salsa magic together. The day before we made our concoction, my dad scoured different recipes but we decided to just wing it and see what happens. We delegated different tasks to each other, taste tested along the way, and ended up being really happy with what we came up with.

Salsa is a cool thing to make because you can adjust it as you go to your liking. Whether you want more heat, extra onions, or super garlicky is your prerogative. My dad and I agreed on something more mild after tasting the extreme heat of the serrano peppers from his garden. This was an excellent call because not only was my mouth on fire but my hands burned until the evening just from chopping them. Not to mention the suffering I experienced when I had to take my contacts out. Ouch!!

Minus the serrano incident, I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon with my dad. We definitely plan on making our salsa again and I hope that all of you enjoy the recipe too!

Do you like to follow recipes or wing it? What do you have growing in your garden? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

Standard
Easy & Delicious Dinner – Fake Fish Wrap

Hello! I am a very strict vegetarian and have been for close to two decades. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get cravings every now and then and will forever miss the spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s and the fillet o’ fish from McDonald’s. Thankfully, both MorningStar and Gardein make awesome substitutes – it’s definitely not the same as your favorite fast food order but, hey, it’s good enough!

One of my favorite Gardein products is the fake fish fillets, which I love using for both sandwiches and wraps. Johnny likes it too and that’s another huge win! This past week, I made fake fish wraps for dinner and, as always, it was SO delicious and super easy. Check it out:

image_67226625image_67234049(1)image_50429185(2)

I Used:

  • Birds Eye Southwestern style rice
  • 2 Gardein fish fillets
  • Butter lettuce blend
  • Mexican cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • Tortilla

The ingredients that I listed are the staples that I use but you could doctor your wrap up any way you like. Strips of red pepper, red onion, chipotle sauce, or real meat would also do just fine! I sometimes like to make my wraps with the buffalo chicken by MorningStar, which is also really good. These wraps can be made so quickly and are really filling, making them an ideal meal after a long work day when you come home famished.

If you are a vegetarian, I cannot recommend the Gardein brand enough – especially if you are feeling “been there, done that” with MorningStar. Believe you me, I get that. My other favorite Gardein fake meat is the mandarin chicken, which I make when veggie lo mein is on the menu for dinner. Gardein also has “meatballs” that Johnny loves for spaghetti and subs. Yum!

During the work week, quick and easy meals are the name of the game and my world famous wraps will be sure to please! 😀

What is your favorite meal to make during the work week? What do you use in your wraps? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ways To Help Out A Loved One In Need

Standard
Ways To Help Out A Loved One In Need

Hello!! This past week has been an awful, stressful time for yours truly. And, let’s be honest, these past couple of years have been an awful, stressful time for everyone. COVID, losing your job, and inflation are enough to make anyone go crazy! In times like these, we all could use a helping hand and these are some of the things that I have been implementing in my own family over the past week and change:

Cook A Meal:

When a crisis arises, one of the last things that people think about is having a home cooked meal. There’s nothing wrong with takeout or fast food but nothing hits quite as much as a meal made with love! Someone struggling could really use a good meal so why not bring one over? You could provide all of the fixings for a spaghetti dinner, tacos, or any of their favorite dishes. A meal that has plenty of leftovers is also one that will be much appreciated.

Clean Up:

Another thing that falls by the wayside during difficult times is housework. We all know that a cluttered and unclean environment can make things even more stressful and it is so easy for all of the household chores to start piling up. You don’t have to give a Merry Maids level clean but doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or the dreaded cleaning of the bathrooms will give the person you’re helping one less thing to think about.

Pet Care:

Pets definitely know when something is up because it effects them too. Something as simple as taking the dog for a long walk, playing with the cats, or cleaning cages can be a huge help. You can also keep an eye on their supply of food and replenish it as needed so they will never go without.

Spend Some Time:

Someone going through a lot will surely benefit from just having you as company. You could lend your ear, be a shoulder to cry on, or simply be around and not talk at all. Things like watching a funny show, doing a puzzle, or playing a game can provide some much needed relief when their focus is shifted to something else for a bit.

From big gestures to small, all of it will be so very appreciated. Please keep my family in your thoughts. ❤

How do you provide a helping hand? What helps you to feel better? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Not So Successful Spaghetti Sauce

Standard
Not So Successful Spaghetti Sauce

Hello! My dad has the most bountiful, wonderful garden that is jam packed with flowers and veggies. His tomato harvest is coming in hot and I promised him that I would help to make spaghetti sauce. Unfortunately, it turned out SO salty and I genuinely have no idea why because I followed the recipe to the T minus adding some tomato paste. Check it out:

image_50388225image_50378241(2)image_67156737

^^^ This recipe was found in The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook by Julie Jordan.

It has been a long while since I made homemade spaghetti sauce and I was in the zone while doing prep work. While my sister is a formidable baker, I love to cook and there is nothing better to me than whipping up tasty meals for people to enjoy. I also had the luxury of cooking in my mom and dad’s beautiful kitchen, which was a nice change of pace from my apartment!

For this recipe, I used fresh tomatoes, of course, and altered nothing but the tomato paste and way more garlic than needed. However, I’m thinking that the tomato paste on top of the 1/2 teaspoon of salt that I added might have been too much. This is the only thing that would make sense as to why the saltiness was through the roof.

Maybe I’m making this up but isn’t it a thing that a good cook tastes their sauces while they’re making it? Lol, it’s definitely a thing, right? I probably should have been more proactive about this too but I just didn’t feel like it after making a huge dinner of baked ziti the night before! On the bright side, I did use up a decent amount of the tomatoes on the kitchen windowsill so I guess that was a somewhat victory haha.

Even though my spaghetti sauce didn’t turn out great, now you all know what not to do if you choose to make the recipe. Also, be careful if you use squeeze tomato paste because I ended up getting it all over my shirt SMH!!!!

What have you been cooking recently? What do you like to make with fresh veggies? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah