Tag Archives: dinner

Brand New Pizza Experience

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Brand New Pizza Experience

Hello!! After a whirlwind experience this past week of both good and bad oven pizza, Johnny and I wrapped things up with a brand new to me pie: Little Caesars. All of last week, we had been planning on watching the wrestling Royal Rumble on Saturday purely for shits and gigs. It was actually a hoot and we might just become wrestling people because it was so funny! Anyways, we decided to order some pizza because a friend was coming by for the big show and Johnny suggested Little Caesars. I had never tried it before and was, honestly, very ambivalent – so, you can imagine my surprise when it was the friggen bomb!

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When Johnny and I order out, pizza is usually our way to go because then he can take the leftovers for his lunch at work. While we are partial to Domino’s and Papa John’s, I was totally fine with switching things up for our Royal Rumble meal purely from a cost perspective. A large cheese pizza, a large pepperoni, a meat deep dish, and crazy bread was only THIRTY DOLLARS from Little Ceasars and you just can’t beat that. For price alone, Little Caesars was already winning but I still held my reservations because how can something so cheap be good? However, one bite in made me eat my words.

Johnny recommended the cheese Extra Most Bestest (and yes, I felt just as dumb typing it as I did saying it!) and it did not disappoint. The crust was fairly thin and crisp, there was a perfect amount of sauce, and it was smothered in cheesy delight. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t that! I told Johnny that this was like a fifty percent improvement from oven pizza and he agreed. This wasn’t a putdown, though, but a compliment. Your girl loves oven pizza so if anything tastes better than that, I consider it a victory. ๐Ÿ˜€

Watching the Royal Rumble paired with Little Ceasars was the night in that I didn’t know I needed. If you haven’t tried LC and are feeling wishy washy about it, then I highly recommend going for it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and that’s going to make it even better!

What is your go to take out order? What is your favorite pizza franchise? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Build Your Skills: Learn How To Cook

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Build Your Skills: Learn How To Cook

If there is one thing you should get to adulthood knowing how to do, it’s learning to cook. There are many things that people have in common and we all need food. It’s not just food, though, we need nutritious and nourishing food to make sure that our bodies are healthy and have enough energy to get moving.

Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious dinner? And who doesn’t enjoy the pride that comes with being able to prepare it yourself? You can learn to make pizza if you want to, or you could learn to make a truffle risotto, the point is you’ll be learning to cook for yourself. If what you are eating right now is not satisfying you and is draining your pockets because it’s mostly convenience food, then you need to go back to basics and learn how to cook properly. Why? Let’s discuss:

Build Connections:

Cooking and going out to eat helps you to connect with the people that you love. If you think about special occasions, it’s likely that your mind first turns to food before anything else. It has that extraordinary power to link people together and there’s nothing better than either having someone cook for you or cooking somebody something all by yourself. What did you feel the last time somebody cooked something delicious for you? If it made you feel special, then you know that learning how to cook is going to make other people feel that way too.

There’s So Much to Learn:

If you learn how to cook, you could make any cuisine from any country in the world. If you know how to read, you can learn how to cook; and if recipe books aren’t your thing, there are countless video resources to help you too. Whether you are cooking Mexican food or French, or you go with something very simple from scratch, you’re going to feel accomplished as a result.

Save Money:

Eating out can be extremely expensive, and if you learn to cook you’re not going to have to worry about constant takeout for dinner. Cooking your own meals will save you some money so when times are tight, you can recreate your favorite dishes in your own kitchen.

Be a Well Rounded Adult:

Knowing how to cook is an important life skill. Just being able to cook the simplest dishes is a good start. Being a well rounded adult means knowing how to wash your clothes, clean your home, and the basics of hygiene, but it also means knowing how to cook for yourself too.

Unleash your inner Top Chef and begin learning how to cook today. PS – A cooking class would make for a fun and unique Valentine’s Day date!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Oven Pizza Success!!!!

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Oven Pizza Success!!!!

Hello!! At chez moi, my refrigerator and cupboards were almost completely bare and a curbside order was most definitely in order. When picking up groceries, I always schedule it for when Johnny is getting home from work. Then, he brings the groceries in and I put them away. Our process runs like a fine tuned machine! This past time, however, my day finished earlier than expected so I got my order ahead of time and carried the entire haul up to our second floor apartment and put it away all by my lonesome. After all of that hard work, the last thing I felt like was cooking! But, hey – that’s what oven pizzas are for amiright? And, after the massive failure of the last Red Baron pizza we tried, things really turned around with this pie:

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Lol, I know that I said yesterday that lifewithlilred is not going to become a pizza review blog and I still stand by that… After this post! I just had to share this GREAT SUCCESS with all of you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you ever noticed how even the simplest meals can taste amazing if you are hungry or tired enough? Because that was definitely where I was at when digging into the Red Baron Brick Oven cheese pizza and it was so satisfying both on an emotional level and in the taste department.

The crust of this pizza was way thinner than the previous Red Baron catastrophe and it was a welcome change of pace. The sauce was sweet, the cheese was poured with a heavy hand, and it was the friggen bomb. Johnny and I have had this pizza several times before but I never appreciated its majesty so fully and completely until now. Was I dog tired and hadn’t ate since breakfast? Yes. Did this affect the way the pizza tasted? Probably. Am I going to buy it again to experience it through fresh eyes? Abso-freaking-lutely!

In my youth, my dad was the king of oven pizzas and fostered my love of mine and Johnny’s go to lazy day meal as an adult. With friends like the Red Baron and Digiorno, who needs enemies? Or however that saying goes!

How often do you grocery shop? What do you make when you don’t feel like cooking? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Worst Oven Pizza Ever!

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Worst Oven Pizza Ever!

Hello! Johnny and I consider ourselves to be oven pizza connoisseurs. It is my go to when I don’t feel like cooking and it is Johnny’s favorite thing to make so that he feels like he’s cooking lol! I recently saw a commercial for a Digiorno pizza that had the entire crust (not just the edges) stuffed with cheese and it really blew my mind. I told Johnny about it and he decided to investigate when he ran some errands. Unfortunately, the pizza was only available in pepperoni and that wouldn’t do for my vegetarian self. So, Johnny purchased the Digiorno for him and this for me:

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I don’t know if you guys are familiar with the show Community but there was a character named Leonard who was a senior citizen and attending the community college. He had a vlog in which he reviewed different oven pizzas and would declare it to be “a buy” if he liked it. Lol, while lifewithlilred is not turning into a pizza blog any time soon, I just had to get my Leonard on one time for the one time because the Red Baron pizza Johnny got for me sucked on ice!

When my sweet husband returned from his shopping, he was so proud of himself for the substitution of the Red Baron Fully Loaded Five Cheese Pizza. And, I have to admit, it looked awesome and I couldn’t wait to pop it into the oven. After it was cooked, it was still looking good with all of that glorious cheese. Then, I had to cut it and it ended up being a very difficult feat. I kid you not, this pizza was literally all crust. *Face palm*

Once I freed some slices and plated it up, I lost most of my original zest for testing this pizza out. And, I don’t blame myself one bit because it was the worst. The crust was so thick that it tasted like eating a brick with a thin layer of sauce and cheese on top. I had to douse it in Ranch dressing to soften it up – it was that bad. The Red Baron truly missed the mark with this one and I couldn’t even bring myself to eat the leftovers, which is something I pride myself on. If only the crust were stuffed with cheese like Johnny’s pizza because he was living his best life with his!

lifewithlilred is all about giving honest reviews on products and I guess that goes for pizza too! Haha, I just felt obligated to warn all of my oven pizza fans out there about this epic failure before buying it. You’ll thank me later when you are enjoying an oven pie with a normal sized crust!

What is your favorite brand of oven pizza? What do you make (Or order!) when you don’t feel like cooking? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Make Mealtimes More Exciting

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How To Make Mealtimes More Exciting

Eating delicious food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Mealtimes are about so much more than simply providing your body with the fuel it needs to function. Preparing and eating food should provide a feast for your senses and social activity to enjoy with friends and family. However, every once in a while, you may fall out of love with food. When mealtimes become tiresome, it can be hard to feel enthusiastic about what is on your plate. If mealtimes were once the highlight of your day but now leave you feeling blah, you should make some changes. Take a look at these ideas to help make mealtimes more exciting;

Try Food From Around the World:

When food becomes boring and you no longer look forward to whatโ€™s on your plate, it’a time to shake things up. Trying different cuisine from around the world is an excellent way to regain your enthusiasm for food. Sampling flavors that are entirely new to you is guaranteed to reawaken your taste buds. If you donโ€™t feel like cooking from scratch, you could try the best frozen Chinese food for some new flavors without needing to get creative in the kitchen yourself. Once you find a new cuisine you like, why not continue to sample dishes from that region to continue your food journey.

Put Your Cooking Skills to the Test:

Sometimes, getting back into the kitchen and cooking up a storm is the best way to rekindle your love of food. Experimenting with different flavors and ingredients will liven up your meals and make everyday food far more interesting. Adding an exciting twist to recipes you make all of the time is another way to add interest. You can do this by upping the amount of seasoning that you add to the dish or trying it with a different combination of herbs and spices. Changing the accompaniment you usually serve with the recipe is helpful too. A meal that you usually serve with rice could be even better if you try it with pasta, instead.

Get Inspired:

When you feel unenthusiastic about food, it is often helpful to seek extra inspiration. There are lots of ways that you can be inspired by your food choices to make every meal more exciting. Planning a dinner with friends where you each bring a course of the meal to share will help you to enjoy both an evening of great company and delicious food. This will give you the opportunity to sample each otherโ€™s cooking and swap recipes.

Take your taste buds on an adventure by shaking up your meals. Your full belly and invigorated palette will thank you!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

3 Ways To Make Cooking More Exciting

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3 Ways To Make Cooking More Exciting

Everyone loves indulging in delicious meals that have been prepared with passion. But not everybody loves cooking these meals. According to a study, nearly 90% of people hate cooking. While eating out might be a solution for most people, itโ€™s not the healthiest option and can increase your expenses. Spending time in the kitchen is a great way to use that space in your home, explore your culinary skills and creativity, and eat healthier meals. Sometimes, you cannot avoid cooking, but if you want to turn it around from a boring and time-consuming chore to a fun activity, here are some ways to do so:

Play some music while cooking:

Playing some of your favorite songs and playlists is a great way to liven up your ambience and make your kitchen more exciting. Cooking can be stressful sometimes, especially after spending a long day at work or school. However, creating a fun cooking environment can make the experience a breeze and boost your mood. You can create a fun cooking playlist with all of your favorite songs. Itโ€™s even more enjoyable if you have a portable speaker that you can place in a safe area of your kitchen. You can easily turn your time in the kitchen into a party.

Try new recipes:

Even if you enjoy cooking, it can get very boring, especially when your menu consists of the same recipes. Although you might master making those meals, you will likely lose interest in preparing and eating them. So, why not make your cooking more adventurous by including new recipes? Trying out new recipes is a great way to break your routine and challenge yourself. But donโ€™t be so hard on yourself when you make mistakes. It could take some time before you master any new recipe. You can also switch things up in your regular menu by switching out some ingredients and giving it a new taste. You can check out new recipes by checking out blogs, watching cooking shows, buying a new recipe book, or following a recipe page on social media.

Use quality kitchenware:

Another way to elevate your cooking experience is by using quality kitchen products. When you cook with the right utensils, it saves you a lot of time in the kitchen, which can be especially useful if you have a busy schedule. Using quality kitchen products can also improve the taste of your meals. Plus, you could measure your ingredients better to improve your foodโ€™s consistency and texture. It can help you create some of the most beautiful food presentations if you are concerned with appearance. You must also ensure that any leftovers are properly stored, using the correct storage containers to maintain their freshness. Brands like OXO have amazing containers and other utensils that make cooking and storing food a snap.

Cooking might not be your favorite household task, but it is vital, especially if you want to better manage your finances and health. These tips should help you enjoy the entire process of cooking and make the experience a fun one!

Featured Image By: Pexels

First Attempt At Homemade Alfredo Sauce

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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:

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^^^ 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

Breakfast For Dinner

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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:

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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

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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:

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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

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Delicious Guacamole Recipe & Cilantro Lime Rice

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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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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:

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^^^ 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. โค

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