Thursday, April 30, 2015

One Pan Teriyaki Meatloaf and Green Beans

A teriyaki twist on classic meatloaf and green beans! The two bake together on one sheet pan resulting in serious flavor and less mess!

I LOVE a meatloaf - we both do, really! Growing up on mom's meatloaf only introduced me to the classic, All American version. Over the years, I've tried several different kinds and they have all been fantastic. If you love teriyaki sauce, you'll love this version!

This recipe is so simple it's ridiculous, really. Just a few pantry staples formed together into a loaf and baked. But don't miss the green beans, because they are really the star! As the meatloaf bakes, the juices flavor the green beans into a truly addictive side dish. We couldn't get enough of them!

One pan means less dishes to clean before bed; make life even easier on yourself and try these crockpot mashed potatoes to go alongside the meatloaf and green beans. Meatloaf + mashed potatoes are the perfect pair!

Teriyaki Meatloaf & Green Beans
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, shape into loaf. Drizzle with half of the teriyaki sauce and bake for 20 minutes. 

In a bowl, toss the green beans with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Pull the baking sheet from the oven and pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over top. Add the beans to the baking sheet, surrounding the meatloaf in a single layer, and place it back in the oven. Bake until the meatloaf edges are browned and the beans are tender, around 20 minutes.

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine

Monday, April 27, 2015

Herb Roasted Fish

A deliciously easy way to enjoy fish! Light, healthy, and finished in minutes. Simple enough for a weeknight but delicious enough for guests.

I was introduced to foil packs by my husband when we first started dating. We went camping with friends a few times and it was always on the menu. And while foil packs are perfect for camping, they are also perfect for weeknight meals! No fuss, very few dishes are used, and it cooks food perfectly - especially fish.

This dish really lets the herbs permeate the fish resulting in a delicious and healthy meal. Be sure you use fresh thyme, fresh lemon juice, and a good quality olive oil - it makes a big difference in a dish with so few ingredients.

Herb Roasted Fish
4 6-8 ounce fish fillets, such as cod, tilapia, or snapper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 large green olives with pits

Preheat oven to 400. 

Lay each fillet in the center of it's own piece of foil that extends a couple of inches beyond the fillet. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Place 2 olives alongside the fish.

Carefully seal all edges of the foil to form enclosed packets. 

Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully open before serving.

Source: adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cold Brew Iced Coffee + DIY Coffee Station

How to set up an easy coffee station at home, plus an easy recipe for cold brew iced coffee! Cold brew coffee is smooth, flavorful, and inexpensive to make. Perfect for warm spring days!

I'm quite addicted to iced coffee, and though I'll be the first to admit Starbucks is not the best coffee on the market, they are the only ones I've found to make my iced coffee "right". So between that, and their gold star rewards, I find myself there multiple times a week.

Since there is no Starbucks close to my house, I often make up a batch of cold brew coffee to keep on hand for those occasions when leaving the house seems like way too much work. It's super easy, stores well, and I can make it "right" myself - and save money in the process!

Cold brew coffee is better than simply refrigerating brewed coffee until chilled. It's much stronger, to to handle the ice melting, and smoother in taste. 

While I typically drink hot coffee black, I love adding flavored creamers and syrups to the iced version. Try this homemade maple vanilla coffee creamer or homemade rosemary simple syrup for a delicious twist! 

Scroll down below recipe to see details on the DIY coffee station!

Cold Brew Iced Coffee
1/2 lb bag coffee beans, coarsely ground
6 cups water

Place the coffee in a gallon sized container/pitcher. Slowly pour the water over top and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours).

Line a mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and place over a medium bowl. Slowly pour the coffee over the strainer until most of the liquid is gone from the pitcher. If using paper towels, you'll need to change out the towel frequently.

Store covered in the fridge for about a week.


While iced coffee is typically my first choice, I'm an equal opportunity coffee fan. Having all the "makings" for a hot beverage in one spot makes getting my hands on a cup of coffee early in the morning that much easier, and it comes in handy when we have house guests! This easy coffee station has become the perfect addition to our kitchen.

In the galvanized tray, you'll find:
  • cinnamon sticks
  • sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • tea bags
  • hot chocolate mix
  • stir sticks
  • mugs
  • selection of K-Cups
I hit up the Dollar Tree and bought small glass dessert shot glasses that were perfect for storing cinnamon sticks and stir sticks {I put the 3rd in the guest bath and stocked it with q-tips!}. I also picked up a pack of salt and pepper shakers, which were perfect for sugar and cinnamon. The white metal pail that the tea bags are in is from Target dollar spot. They seem to have a steady stream of great containers there. 

Of course, I just point house guests to the iced coffee and coffee creamers/milk in the fridge before heading to bed so they can help themselves. We put the coffee station right next to the fridge so it's all easy to access. 

Now who's ready for a big cup of coffee?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti

The deliciousness of traditional chicken enchiladas without the multi-step cooking method! This pasta is easy, quick, and tasty - dinner is just 20 minutes!

A lot of good Mexican food isn't made quickly; tamales, enchiladas, carnitas - they all take time. Good things come to those who wait! But sometimes, I've had a long day and just need something delicious and quick that'll satisfy my enchilada craving. This recipe is perfect!

It's absolutely one of our favorite weeknight meals and we're usually trying to beat the other to the leftovers. I've shared it before but it needed another look :)

You're just 20 minutes from a big bowl of cheesy pasta!

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti
8 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
1 (10 oz) can of red enchilada sauce
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
fresh cilantro, for garnish

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne, and cook for only a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add the chicken and enchilada sauce and stir to incorporate. 

Reduce the heat to low and add the pasta to the skillet. Use tongs to toss until the pasta is coated with the sauce. 

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese, continuing to toss until melted and combined. 

Garnish with cilantro before serving. 

Source: adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

No need to babysit a boiling pot of water - just use your crockpot the next time mashed potatoes are on the menu! Especially perfect for holiday gatherings when you need all the stove space you can get.

I adore mashed potatoes but find that I can never make a company size amount in any of the pots I own. That, combined with the inevitable water boil-over, makes mashed potatoes a pain in the rear. But tossing them in the (huge and completely dishwasher safe) crockpot? Genius.

Now when mashed potatoes are on the menu, I just toss them in the crockpot before work and at least one part of dinner is practically done by the time I get home. And I don't have to babysit a pot of water!

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes, washed and quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3-1/2 cup cream, half and half, or milk

Place the potatoes, broth, butter, salt, and pepper in the crockpot. Put the garlic on top of the potatoes. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 

When the potatoes are tender, mash them in the crockpot using a potato masher or electric mixer. Add the sour cream, blend, and then add the cream, half and half, or milk as needed until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce

A creamy tomato based pasta dish, dotted with tuna and cheese. This Italian classic is weeknight friendly AND budget friendly, thanks to the use of canned tuna.

Long time no see! I just returned from a lovely holiday (they rub off on you!) in London and Dublin and neglected to get posts scheduled before I left. We had a great time, and now that I'm back I'm anxious to share the loads of recipes I have on hand!

This pasta dish was enjoyed for the first time a few years ago and it was so delicious, I just had to share it again. It's easy, quick, and SO tasty. Now, you must like tuna to make it. Though the can is small, the tuna flavor does come out (not strong, but present). You can easily whip this up on a weeknight, especially when half the time is completely hand's off while the sauce and pasta cooks.

Don't pick up tuna packed in water by accident!

Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 pound pasta shells
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat and add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Once the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil in an oven-safe pot and cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Preheat the broiler to high.

Pour off the excess oil from the can of tuna and stir the tuna into the tomato sauce. Stir in the ricotta cheese and add salt to taste.  

Add the tomato sauce and basil to the drained pasta; stirring well. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over top and broil until melted and browned, about 5 minutes. 

Serve hot. 

See Aimee Cook

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