Tag Archives: kitchen

Dinner Time!

Standard
Dinner Time!

Hello! Something that brings me great joy is cooking and I love making delicious meals for Johnny and our friends and family. This past week, my sister and niece joined us for dinner and it was an absolute delight. I texted her a list of options that I could make and she chose lemon pasta. I was excited because I have had that saved on my Pinterest for forever and really wanted to make it!

I prepared the pasta dish with garlic bread and salad and it was a raging success. I also made air fried Oreos for dessert. These pictures are actually of leftovers because I was so hungry I forgot to snap some pics when it was fresh lol:

image_50381313image_50382337

You can view the entire recipe for lemon pasta at Contentedness Cooking!

The lemon pasta was an ultra easy and super tasty dish that I most definitely plan on making again. It is nice and light and will make for a perfect meal on a warm spring or summer day. It also tasted great leftover too and was even more lemony after it had time to sit.

When cooking a new recipe, I tend to follow it pretty closely. Then, I add my own variations if I like it enough to make again. The only thing I did differently when making the lemon pasta was use way more garlic than what was called for because we all know that three cloves is simply not enough! The taste of this dish was so yummy but we all agreed that it could use something extra. The next time I make it, I plan on adding the following:

  • Feta cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Fresh parsley
  • Pine nuts

Any type of pasta is my favorite food and this recipe is one that will be enjoyed by anyone who shares my sentiments. It is really good as is but if the recipe looks a little too bland for you, adding extra veggies or herbs will help to kick things up a notch (In the eternal words of Emeril Lagasse)!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? How did they turn out? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Dinner Time!

Standard
Dinner Time!

Hello! When I go grocery shopping, I try to get enough fresh ingredients so that I can cook dinner several times per week. Once the fresh food is gone, Johnny and I will turn to our frozen options until it is time for another curbside pickup. One of our favorite meals that I cook has got to be jalapeno popper quesadillas (Peep the recipe here!).

My mom used to make these back in the day and I always have to buy the fixings to whip them up for dinner:

image_50431233

*Note: I substitute the regular tortilla chips in the quesadillas for Nacho Cheese Doritos, instead.

The popper quesadillas are a bit of a tedious meal to make between cutting and broiling the jalapenos, assembling the tortillas, and frying them. Especially because I make several extra ones because Johnny loves to take them for lunch at work. However, it is so worth it once the finished product is complete. They are cheesy with the perfect amount of crunch thanks to the chips. Broiling the jalapenos and the cream cheese also takes away a lot of the spiciness, which allows for a fairly mild level of heat.

As a side dish for the quesadillas, I made some nacho bites out of scooped shell tortilla chips. These consisted of a dollop of queso, salsa, and shredded cheese and then I broiled them for about two minutes. The nacho bites were a little something that I came up with and were just as tasty as I imagined them to be. They are the perfect appetizer for a Mexican meal or could be great for snacking on during your favorite show. I will definitely be making them again!

Although I have been branching out with new dishes, you can’t go wrong with tried and true favorites. The jalapeno popper quesadillas are a wonderful dish to spice up your dinner time!

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

Dinner Time!

Standard
Dinner Time!

Hello! Ever since discovering the joys of Pinterest super late in the game, I have spent many an enjoyable evening cooking up new recipes for myself and Johnny. It has been great fun because I love to cook and I was so bored with all of the dinners that I have been making time and time again. This past Friday, I cooked a feast for dinner and while it was a lot of food, it also meant leftovers for days and that’s always good! Check it out:

image_50427137(2)image_67513345image_50439681(1)image_50423553(2)image_50405889(2)

The Menu:

My sweet Johnny spent most of the week being bummed out that he had to go to work on Saturday. I planned on cooking a big dinner on Friday anyways but when I got a surprise day off, I decided to go even bigger to help cheer him up. Johnny’s love language is definitely sharing his favorite music for me and since I have not one ounce of musical talent, cooking our favorite meals is my love language for him.

I started with homemade mac n’ cheese with the tried and true recipe that my mom has been making since I was little. It was and is still one of my favorite dishes and my niece is especially partial to it too. However, I still think it turns out better when my mom makes it! Although it’s not quite up to JANE level standards when I make it, it is still really yummy and I like to make mac n’ cheese grilled cheeses with the leftovers.

Then, it was on to the jalapeño popper rolls, which were delicious! This recipe was another one that required pizza dough to make but I figured Pillsbury croissants would work too. At least, I hoped so because the last time I substituted croissants for pizza dough for a recipe, it didn’t turn out the best. This time around, Pillsbury did me right and the rolls were a highlight of the meal and something I would happily make again.

I didn’t have pickled jalapenos as the recipe called for so I cut mine up and broiled them in the oven for about five minutes. The end result tasted exactly like the jalapeño popper quesadillas that are mine and Johnny’s favorite. In fact, it was almost an identical recipe minus the crushed up tortilla chips to give the quesadillas some extra crunch. 

Originally, I just planned on cooking the mac n’ cheese and the rolls but I figured I might as well try and clear some food from my pantry, fridge, and freezer since I had extra time on my hands. For example, I love the idea of baby carrots. However, whenever I buy a bag, they always just end up sitting in my crisper drawer.

I figured it was now or never to use the carrots so I just threw them in a pot of water and cooked them up. It took about thirty minutes for the baby carrots to be completely tender. Then, I drained the water and put them back in the pot with butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper and let that simmer for five minutes. This is something that I made when I first moved into my apartment and it was just as tasty as I remembered it being. They are also still really good leftover!

Similarly to baby carrots, I always find myself buying onions and garlic during grocery shopping even though I rarely use them! I guess it’s just a habit because those were ingredients that were never not available at my parent’s home. I had a box of perogies that have been sitting in my freezer for a while so I knew just what to do: Saute the veggies and the perogies along with honey mustard. 😀

This was not a complex meal to make at all and, even though I might have went a bit overboard, we ate like royalty on Friday night… and also every night that we had the leftovers lol! I enjoyed my cooking session so much and it was the best to see how surprised Johnny was when he got home from work. ❤

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

 

Dinner Time!

Standard
Dinner Time!

Hello! Ever since discovering the joys of Pinterest, I have become a woman obsessed and have spent a considerable amount of time checking out vegetarian recipes. During my last shopping trip, I bought the ingredients to make baked ziti and spinach and ricotta Stromboli and was daydreaming about it until I finally made it this past week. 

Once I arrived home from work, I spent about an hour cooking with the recipes I found from DeLallo for the ziti and Kitchen Cat for the Stromboli. Johnny and I agreed that they both turned out excellent and I will definitely be making this meal again in the future:

image_50389761(1)image_50422017(5)image_50444289(3)image_50442753(1)

^^^ And, yes, I am so aware that I need a bigger casserole dish but you work with what you’ve got lol!

Both of these recipes were incredibly easy to make but next time I make the Stromboli, I will be following the recipe to the T and making calzones, instead. My lazy ass decided that the Pillsbury croissants would be a simple fix as opposed to pizza dough and I was dead wrong. While in the oven, the croissants pulled away from each other leaving the middle bare of breading. It still tasted great but it looked less than presentable and was a pain in the butt to cut into pieces.

I also will be the first to admit that I should have left the ziti in the oven for longer than a half hour because it wasn’t piping hot. But, Johnny and I were starving and it was nothing that a little blast in the microwave couldn’t fix. We were both already hungry before the food went into the oven but when the aromas started wafting around the apartment we were ravenous!

Although there were little blips in this dinner in terms of heat and presentation, they are both still recipes worth trying out. Peep DeLallo and Kitchen Cat for the full posts! 😀

What is your favorite thing to cook? What do you like to look at on Pinterest? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Tips For Making The Best Coffee At Home

Standard
Tips For Making The Best Coffee At Home

A lot of people hit the coffee shop for a freshly brewed cup during the day. But what about those times when you’re at home and need a caffeine burst? Brewing your own cup of joe can save you money and time, but with so many methods and flavors out there, how do you know which way is best? We have outlined ten tips that will help you make better tasting coffee from the comfort of your very own kitchen:

Grind Your Beans Just Before You Brew Them:

Freshly ground coffee is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the freshest flavor possible. Coffee starts to lose its flavorful oils as soon as it is ground, so using ground up coffee will give you a subpar taste. If you can’t grind your own beans, try searching for a grocery store or cafe that has grinding options in the store.

Use Filtered Water:

If your water tastes bad, so will your coffee! Make sure to use clean cold water without any hidden odors of chlorine for the best results. If you don’t like the taste of tap water (or don’t have access to safe drinking water), bring filtered or bottled spring water to a slight boil and cool it for a couple of minutes before pouring it over your coffee grounds.

Avoid Grounding Beans In A Machine With Metal D Blades:

Ground up metal is not going to taste very good! Invest in a blade free or a burr grinder, which will ground all of your beans easily and consistently.

Clean Your Machine Often:

Coffee oils build up in household coffee makers quickly, creating an intense flavor that can be nearly impossible to clean out completely after every use. Make sure to keep the machine clean by running through several cycles without any coffee in it at all. A good rule of thumb is to clean it once a week or after ten uses, whichever comes first.

Avoid Over Filling the Basket:

Coffee machines are measured by how many cups they hold but, if you’re filling the basket with too many beans, you’re going to end up with watered down coffee that lacks flavor. Generally, one rounded tablespoon for every four ounces of water in your machine will produce an optimal cup of coffee.

Grind Your Beans To The Right Consistency:

It may be tempting to grind your beans to an incredibly fine powder so that more oils get trapped. However, this can create a gummed up mess in your grinder and lead to an over extracted cup of coffee. A slightly course grind will lead to a smoother cup of coffee with less grit.

Temperature Matters:

Water temperature is crucial in coffee brewing because it takes away any unpleasant, bitter flavors before the flavor has a chance to develop. In order for your water to be at an optimal temperature, bring it to a boil and let it cool for 30 seconds before pouring over the ground beans.

Get a Coffee Server:

Making coffee can be time consuming, but if you invest in a coffee server to keep your pot warm all day long, you’ll never have to waste the whole pot again. Instead, just pour yourself a cup whenever you want one! Buy the Hario Pour-Over Coffee Server Set to get started.

Skip the Sweeteners:

Coffee is a great way to clear up your skin, detoxify your body, and provide your brain with an energy boost so don’t ruin all of those benefits by adding in creamers or sugars that will increase your calorie intake and reduce the health benefits. Instead, try using natural substitutes like honey or maple syrup to add flavor without all of the empty calories.

If you’re looking to take your morning cup of joe up a notch, try these tricks for making the perfect pot every time. Cheers!

How To Create A More Social Home

Standard
How To Create A More Social Home

Your home is primarily a space for you and your family to relax and unwind. But it can also be more than that. It can be a space that your friends and extended family enjoy, too. Is there anything better than inviting your loved ones around for a few hours of fun? Not in our book. Of course, while you might want this to be the case, it’s not as if it will always just happen. You normally have to work to make your home social ready.

Fortunately, this isn’t overly difficult! In this post, we’ll run through some useful tips that will make your house the place to be for all of your guests:

Guest Rooms:

One of the issues surrounding inviting people over is that sometimes they come from a long way away. And once they’re over, they’ll be thinking about how they’re going to get home. You can get around this issue by creating a guest room in your house. This will allow your friends and family to spend the night whenever they want. Everyone relaxes and enjoys themselves much more if they’re not worrying about how they’re going to get back.

Conversation Spaces:

If you’re going to invite friends and family around, then you’ll want to create a space where conversation can flow. After all, that’s why you’ll be together! The issue is that many people’s homes aren’t all that conducive to conversation. For example, if your living room furniture is all pointing towards a television, then you’ll have inadvertently created a space that doesn’t lend itself to communication, rather entertainment. Instead, look at arranging your furniture so that they face each other. You’ll find that the conversation flows much more naturally.

Social Kitchens:

There will be times when you and your guests are in your living room. But if you’ve invited more than a couple of people over, then you’ll want to look elsewhere. In this day and age, the kitchen is the most popular social space in the house, and especially so if it’s an open plan kitchen. If you want to change your kitchen so that it’s more social ready, then take a look at the top rated remodelers near you. Open plan kitchens are perfect for those small casual gatherings, where people can stand and mingle.

In the Yard:

You’ll likely use your open plan kitchen for gatherings during the winter months. But in the summertime, it’s best to look at your yard. If you have some outdoor furniture, a BBQ, and a speaker, then you’ll have everything you need to spend many hours under the shining sun. You can go the extra mile by adding a fire pit (perfect for those slightly chilly evenings) and putting some outdoor children’s games, so that the whole family can get together to have a good time at your property!

Turn your home into a social hub with the tips above so that you are always in good company!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Happy Haulidays: Parents Edition

Standard
Happy Haulidays: Parents Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to the last edition of my holiday haul compliments of my parents! The one thing that I asked for for Christmas was a new set of pots and pans and they definitely delivered. I can’t wait to use the beautiful set that they got me and it will be nice to not have to do dishes immediately after cooking dinner as I originally only had a handful of pots and pans before! Check it out:

image_50396673image_50444289

Thanks to my husband’s family graciously giving us a new air fryer for Christmas and the new cookware from mine, we have everything that we need in our kitchen now. I am so happy! I try to cook an “actual” dinner instead of air fried foods several times per week so these pots and pans will certainly come in handy. My old cookware is also, admittedly, not the best so using quality cookware for the first time is something that I’m really looking forward to.

While some might consider cooking to be a chore, it is one of my favorite things to do. Serving food for someone is an act of love, and I always enjoy whipping up mine and Johnny’s favorite meals. Our middle class fancy conversation after dinner usually is something along these lines…

Me: I love cooking you dinner.

Johnny: And I love eating it!

Lol, there is nothing more satisfying than that to me!

After a much needed curbside grocery order, I have a feeling that I will be cooking up a storm. Thanks to my parents, I have all of the tools I need to make my time spent cooking an even more joyful experience. ❤

What are some of your favorite vegetarian recipes? How do you show love to someone? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Updating Your Kitchen For A Fresh Look

Standard
Updating Your Kitchen For A Fresh Look

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a freshly renovated kitchen, is there? So if you’re looking to give your kitchen an updated feel without the hassle of a full renovation, then this blog post is for you. We’ll be talking about how to make those changes that will have the biggest impact on your home and help you get started with a budget-friendly remodel:

New kitchen countertop:

The first thing you should consider when renovating your kitchen is a new countertop. While it may seem like a small detail, there’s no denying that this subtle change can go a long way in enhancing both the aesthetics and functionality of your home. New granite or quartz counters will give off an elegant appearance while creating a smooth surface for cooking tasks such as chopping vegetables or preparing snacks.

Lighter colors make rooms appear more spacious so try experimenting with different shades to see what works best with your existing decor scheme. If choosing darker tones, then keep accessories on top limited to stainless steel appliances and white dinnerware sets for clean contrast against the dark finish.

Throw away old cookware and cutlery:

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make during a kitchen update is adding in new appliances and furnishings while forgetting about their old cookware. If your pots, pans, and other utensils are on their last legs, then now’s the time to upgrade them for something more functional.

Throw away any broken or scratched items and get rid of those you never use anymore (do they really belong in a box at the back of your cupboard?). Don’t let yourself be tempted by cheap promotional deals; instead, invest in some long lasting, high quality cooking essentials such as stainless steel frying pans, cast iron skillets, copper saucepans, and ceramic knives. These will not only help with food preparation but will look great on your new kitchen countertop.

New kitchen wall tiles:

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to give your kitchen an updated feel is by installing new wall tiles. Whether you choose a traditional or contemporary design, adding some new tiles will completely transform the look of your cooking area. If you’re looking for something that’s both stylish and practical, then consider using tile panels instead of standard square tiles. These panels are easy to install and come in a variety of colors and textures, so you can find the perfect style to match your existing decor. Plus, they’re less likely to crack or chip over time, making them a more durable option than traditional ceramic tiles.

Replace old appliances:

If you’re serious about giving your kitchen an updated feel, then it’s time to say goodbye to those old, dated appliances. While they may have served you well in the past, they’re no match for today’s high-tech models. Replacing your oven, fridge, and other appliances can be a costly task, but it’s one that will pay off in the long run.

Not only do new appliances look great, but they also come with a range of features that make cooking and food storage easier than ever before. Alternatively, you could consider utilizing the help of vierascheibner appliance repair to make your old appliances work like new again! So, if you’re thinking of doing some major renovations in the near future, then don’t forget to factor in replacement appliances as part of your budget.

With these simple tips under your belt, you’ll be able to give your kitchen an updated feel in no time at all!

Featured Image By: Pexels

3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

Standard
3 Delicious Baking Recipes For The Holiday Season

Tis the season of going home for the holidays, staying close to those you hold dearest, and decorating everything with a sprinkle of joy. Most importantly, tis the season to experiment in the kitchen. Yes, most people have enough extra hours at work, renovating with a Renewal by Andersen Windows, or being a full time parent. But, you’ve seen the films of families getting together and baking a splendid dessert. There’s no reason for you to miss out!

This article will teach you baking is for everyone and give you the chance to impress your loved ones. It’s time to get creative, throw on an apron, and decide what type of dessert calls out to you:

Gingerbread Cookies:

Gingerbread cookies are a holiday tradition and for a good reason. They are a taste of holiday possibility best accompanied by hot cocoa with marshmallows. Baking gingerbread cookies is a fantastic activity for young children to participate in and feel included in the festivity preparations.

Ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Egg
  • Molasses
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Butter

Prepare: For this recipe, you will have to whisk the following ingredients together in a bowl: baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt, ginger, and flour. Next, you will beat the dough and add the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Finally, add the previous flour mixture to the dough and beat until combined.

Then, you must chill the dough, first dividing it into two parts and rolling them into a ball. Next, flatten the ball and wrap it in plastic wrap inside the fridge for close to an hour. Once chilled, unwrap the dough, place it on a floured surface, and use a cookie cutter of your preference.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to ten minutes. Finally, take your cookies out of the oven and let them sit for five minutes. Eat them with a glass of milk, coffee, hot chocolate, or start decorating to enjoy at a later time.

^^^ Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

Linzer Cookies:

Nothing like some good Linzer cookies to dip into milk

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Almond flour
  • White sugar
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar
  • Raspberry Jam

Prepare: Like most baking recipes in this article, you’ll prepare the dough. Have the butter, white sugar, and cinnamon ready to beat in a bowl. Carefully add the yolk and vanilla to combine them. Whisk the salt, flour, and almond butter together in another bowl. Combine both of the mixtures.

Just like the gingerbread cookie recipe, repeat the process of dividing and refrigerating the dough. Take out the dough from the fridge and allow it to soften for five minutes. Roll one disk on a floured surface and use the desired cutter to give shape to the cookies.

Bake the cookies for fifteen minutes and then let them cool for a few minutes. Powder your cookies with powdered sugar and add jam to their center. Cut a hole on top of other cookies and place those on the first ones.

Picture By: Devanath on Pixabay

Cinnamon Rolls:

The smell of cinnamon rolls is truly enchanting. Ask anyone within reach of a bakery and they’ll tell you how cinnamon rolls bewitch the heart. 

Ingredients:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Instant yeast
  • Two percent or Whole milk
  • Salted butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla

Prepare: You’ll have the perfect cinnamon rolls to dig into in six easy steps. First, you will add salted butter, yeast, milk, egg, salt, brown sugar, and water in a bowl. When you’re done with the mixture, heat water, butter, and milk together to add it to the butter mixture.

Time to knead the dough! Don’t be afraid to make a mess. With your hands, knead the dough. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and prepare the ingredients for your filling: sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Get your dough, roll it out, spread some butter, add cinnamon, and sprinkle some sugar. Roll the dough and cut it into even pieces. Grease a round pan and place your rolls inside. Allow the rolls to rise for sixty minutes.

Finally, bake the cinnamon rolls until they look golden brown. The only problem left is resisting the temptation to eat them all in one sitting!

Picture By: Monika on Pixabay

Call a friend, bake with family members, or spend this time with whoever makes your day. You will have amazing memories and treats to show for it!

Featured Image By: Jill Wellington on Pixabay

5 Common Kitchen Tools You’re Probably Using Wrong

Standard
5 Common Kitchen Tools You’re Probably Using Wrong

Kitchen gadgets and appliances are designed to make your life easier and there seems to be a new one coming out every five minutes. A lot of them are completely useless and probably not worth your money but there are plenty that are actually useful. The problem is, many people don’t know how to use their kitchen appliances and gadgets properly, so they’re not getting the most out of them. These are some of the kitchen tools you are probably using wrong:

Garlic Press:

The worst thing about using garlic in the kitchen is taking the skin off. It’s so fiddly and annoying to do, so you’d think that it would be more useful to have a tool for that instead of a garlic press. The thing is, you don’t actually need to remove the skin at all when you use a garlic press! Most people make this mistake and they waste a lot of time. But if you put the whole clove in there and use the press, it should do all of the hard work for you.

Nutribullet:

Nutribullets are one of the most popular kitchen gadgets on the market right now. They’re great for making smoothies, but that’s not all they’re for. People often make the mistake of using their Nutribullet for making smoothies and nothing else. But if you’re going to do that, you may as well buy a much cheaper smoothie maker. Nutribullets can actually be used for all sorts of things like blending soups, making sauces, and mixing batter. You can even use them for crushing ice and nuts too, so you get the most out of the one gadget.

If you have a Nutribullet of your own, check out these 19 nutribullet recipes at mykidslickthebowl.com to get some more ideas. Once you start experimenting with a few different recipes, you’ll see that your Nutribullet is capable of much more than just making smoothies (although it is great for that too).

Dishwasher:

There are a lot of ways that people use their dishwasher wrong. Sometimes, people just pile all of the dirty dishes in there without giving it a second thought. But if you don’t load it efficiently, things won’t clean properly and you won’t be able to get as much in there. Loading your dishwasher properly makes everything easier for the machine, which means that it will run more efficiently and even save you money on electricity bills if you do it right.

People also overlook the fact that they need to clean their dishwashers. If you don’t clean your dishwasher regularly, then the machine will get clogged up with food particles and it will start breaking down. It’s important to keep on top of this if you want your dishwasher to continue working properly. There are filters inside that you need to take out and clean yourself. You should also rinse plates properly before you put them in to prevent food buildup.

Knives:

Most people don’t know how to sharpen their knives properly. If you want your knives to stay sharp, it’s crucial that you hand wash them and dry them thoroughly after each use. Don’t put them in the dishwasher because this will ruin the blade and make it duller very quickly. After cleaning, you should store them either hung up or on a magnetic bar (not loose).

Using the right knife for the right job is important too, and it’s something that people get wrong a lot. A standard chef knife is good for most tasks, but some jobs require a bread knife, fillet knife, carving knife, and so on. By using the right knife for each job, you’ll get much better results and you will be able to cut things more easily. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that sharper means more dangerous. In fact, a blunt knife means that you have to apply more pressure to cut, and that increases the likelihood of slipping and cutting yourself. So, it’s actually better to use a sharper knife.

Spaghetti Spoons:

Most people assume that the hole in the middle of a spaghetti spoon is for draining water. It does help with that, but that isn’t what it’s there for! Most people don’t realize that the hole in the middle of the spoon is actually for measuring the amount of spaghetti you should cook. The hole will take one average portion of pasta for a person, so you can avoid cooking way too much.

If you want to make life easier for yourself in the kitchen, make sure that you are using these tools properly!

Featured Image By: Pixabay