January 25, 2011

Change of Plans

Last night, I was all prepped and ready to have a Monday night alone. My gym bag was freezing in my car, ready for me to get my fitness on after the bus.

But on the bus, helloboyfriend texted saying he didn't feel well and was going to leave work early.

Eek! I hadn't thought to make dinner tonight. And I was really looking forward to my workout :)

Soo I quickly ran 1.5 miles and then headed to get groceries. Since he wasn't feeling well, I decided home-style chicken noodle would have do (but I had to take a few shortcuts :wink:). Alas: Shortcut Chicken Noodle.

Still delicious, quick and easy. It was bubbling in 30 minutes and ready to eat.


  • 1 c chopped celery

  • 1 c chopped carrots

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 cans chicken broth

  • rotisserie chicken

  • egg noodles

  • salt & pepper


1. Saute celery, carrots and onions in butter, salt and pepper in a large soup pot until transparent.

2.  Once cooked, add the cans of chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer.

3. With the rotisserie chicken, peel off the skin and the meat. Drop the bones in the soup, let it simmer in the broth. Add water if it tastes too salty.

4. With the remainder chicken, cut into cubes or shred (whatever you prefer).

5. Let soup simmer for 10 minutes, and pull out bones. Drop in chicken and dry egg noodles. Let cook until noodles are finished.

Yum, a nice piping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup in about a half hour!

Lesson Learned: Like Sandra Lee's show, I can definitely use more meals that are "semi-homemade" and get a little help from the grocers. Hbf thought that this soup was from a can and looked at me really strangely when he saw an empty rotisserie chicken package in the garbage :shock:  Though, now thinking about it... I don't know if he though canned soup was good or bad :razz:

Tonight, I'll be making Baked Chicken Parmesan a la IowaGirlEats. I'm really excited to try it-- especially since it was on last week's menu!



January 24, 2011

Wiiings & menu for the week

Friday night I decided to try a new recipe. Even though we went and got BWW on Thursday, wings still sounded delicious (duh because wings always sound delicious!). and when I found a recipe for honey-srircha wings - I decided to go for it! Usually when hbf gets home from work he's hungry so this was an even better idea.

But of course, in my hurry and excitement to make dinner... I didn't document it! But I did sneak a photo of leftovers I brought in for lunch :D

The recipe was awesome and something we will be making again. Hbf's gotten in a habit of adding srircha to just about anything, so these wings were sweet and spicy. Next time, I'll probably use less butter -- I followed the sauce recipe directly.

Question, I had leftover sauce that didn't touch the chicken. Can I freeze buffalo wing sauce and use it later?

Since it's Monday- here's the menu for the week!

Monday: ADN - probably a sammie!

Tuesday: baked chicken Parmesan (since I didn't make it last week)

Wednesday: Southwest Pork Tenderloin Chili

Thursday: Pork Chops & Smashed Potatoes

Friday: no dinner - I have to work in the evening

Happy Monday! It's a late Monday post!



January 21, 2011

I made a deal!

I posted yesterday that dinner plans were all switched around. Hbf's dad took us out to dinner and we always seem to get the same booth at this place:

Every once in a while you get a sweet sweet craving for wings! And who can go wrong with Mango Habenero -- sweet and SPICY! Plus, I just found a recipe for Sriracha Honey Buffalo Wings that i MUST try! Weekend plans maybe?

Downside about going to dinner... it made me miss my workout for the day. I thought about it and thought about it but after much debate (in my head), I decided to be lazy and work my butt off today :D

In other news, this weekend is kinda exciting. I have the weekend off so I've already made a couple girl dates and a hair appointment! Also, hbf and I are celebrating two years together (oh jeez). I could probably gush on and on about the boy, but I'll spare you :razz:

I've been charged with coming up with our anniversary date. Yikes! I love planning (love may be a mild term in this sense), but when it comes to planning dates- I'm not a fan. I think it's because I want his input and a date I would enjoy (ie: rom coms, ice skating, taking breezy walks in the summer) he may not enjoy :p

But I made a deal.

I plan our anniversary and he's stuck with planning Valentine's Day. Lucky for him, Valentine's Day is
probably one of
my favorite holidays. Ever since high school, single or attached, I've loved Valentine's Day. Flowers, teddy bears, cute saying on sweet hearts, chocolates... what's not to love. It's a day OF love!

Ah call me a hopeless romantic :) i don't mind!

tgif & stay warm!



January 20, 2011

Crockpot Gumbo

Hello all,

I'm getting back to this! I promise! It's been an adjustment finding time to sit down and blog, but once I get going.. it's hard to stop.

Plus, the super FREEZING temps out there make curling up with a laptop just so much warmer. They say it's suppose to be -25 tomorrow. NEGATIVE. 8O

i just want to say in bed all day.

Yesterday, it was a warm 10 degrees. With windchill, it felt like -9 :| so crockpot gumbo was the perfect, warming thing to come home to.

What's the difference between gumbo and jambalaya? I keep using it interchangeably-- someone tell me! Hbf keeps making fun of me because I am mispronouncing jambalaya. I'm saying "jum-ba-lay-ya" and he'll laugh and say its "jum-ba-lie-ya." Most of the time he's tricking me :razz:

But to be honest, without his help.. this meal couldn't have been done. Usually, I leave for work at around 5:30 am and won't be home till around 7 pm so I need him to turn on the crockpot. So far, every crock pot meal we've made, he's been able to remember to turn it on. yay!

Crock Pot Gumbo/Jambalya


  • 1 c chopped celery

  • 1 c chopped bell pepper

  • 1 c chopped onion

  • 3 smashed garlic cloves

  • 12 oz sliced andouille sausage

  • 2 tbsp cajun seasoning

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • 1 tsp oregeno

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 28 oz diced tomatoes

  • 2 c chicken broth

  • 2 c frozen raw shrimp, shelled

  • frozen okra (though my store didn't have any so I didnt use it, darn!)


1. Spray a crockpot with non-stick spray and place celery, onion and bell pepper on the bottom.

2. Slice up andouille sausage & place in crockpot on top

I've never used andouille sausauge before but look at the spices:

3. Add okra, all the spices and the smashed garlic cloves.

* I didn't get any okra since my store didn't carry it, but i think it would make a delicious addition!

4. When ready to cook, add whole can of diced tomatoes with juices and chicken broth.

5. Cook on low 7-8 hours, high 3-4 hours.

6. Last half hour of cooking, add raw shrimp.

7. Pull out the bay leaves and garlic cloves. Serve gumbo over rice.

While the shrimp was cooking, I cooked up some rice with chicken broth and a pat of butter.

Num, the dish was great! It was warm, spicy and had a great kick to it. Since I didn't have okra, it was a little more soupy than it should have been -- the okra would have helped thicken up the broth. But next time I will make sure to find a place with okra.

This will definitely stay on the menu.

But the menu is changing this week! We ran into hbf's dad last night at the gym and he wanted to go out to dinner tonight so instead of making baked chicken parmesan, i'll be dining out. Boo! But at least I have all the ingredients so I can just make it next week.

Have a great Thursday. Almost Friday :mrgreen:



January 19, 2011

Flashback Wiz Wednesday

She was so tiny back then.

January 18, 2011

Slacking & Menu for the Week

UGHHHH! I have been slacking! I continue to not upload images so I don't have pretty pictures to post. But I do have my menu ready!

Monday: ADN - cracker plate (I've been craving a cracker plate)

Tuesday: pork chops & coleslaw

Wednesday: slow cooker gumbo

Thursday: baked chicken Parmesan and steamed veggies

Friday: ADN - lo mein

I'm kicking my butt into gear, not buying clothing for a month and staying true to this blog! I apologize but I will be in full force soon - just gotta find a routine!



January 13, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Lemon Dill Salmon

I have found a new love in fish.

Before, I thought fish was stinky. Maybe it's the way it was prepared, but the only fish I ate ever growing up would be walleye and salmon. Everything else-- pass! I really liked seafood (shrimp, crab, scallops!) but fish - ick!

But now, I'm making it on my own and really enjoying it! It's easy to prepare and quick to cook... and it tastes delicious!

Lemon-Dill Salmon


  • 4-5 Salmon Fillets

  • 1/3 cup melted butter

  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed

  • 4-5 thin slices of lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

  • ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking dish.

2. Place salmon in the baking dish (if it has skin, skin side down)

3. Mix butter, dill, garlic salt and lemon juice in a bowl. Drizzle over salmon. Season with pepper.

4.  Place a lemon slice on each piece of salmon.

5. Bake 20 minutes

6. Remove lemon slice before serving

While it was in the oven baking, I heated up some green beans and cous cous

These Green Giant steam fresh bags have made eating veggies a breeze! I usually keep a couple in the fridge for those nights where I think we're a little too meaty!

So tender yet still a little crisp. I seasoned it with garlic salt and oregano to add some flavor.

Helloboyfriend really wanted to try cous cous. "I want to know why it's so nice they had to name it twice" oh silly.

This brand was really easy to make -- just boil some water and throw the cous cous in and let it sit. By the time the cous cous and beans were done... the salmon was ready to be taken out of the oven.

Everything together made for a great meal (& healthy to boot!). I used olive oil in the cous cous and next time, I think I'm going to try butter - I just kept getting the olive oil flavor. On the other hand, the lemony flavor of the salmon was deeelish.

Ok, well I'm off to figure out what I'm doing tonight. Hbf and I were suppose to be making lasanaga soup, but now he wants to go get Ghost Chili wings. Scccarry! We did it once before and while they were nummy, they were SO HOT! Even the guy who served us said "good luck" and walked away with a smirk! Yikes.

Have you ever had super spicy food? ever tried ghost chili wings?



January 12, 2011

Innocent Wiz

Doesn't she look so innocent?

pretty adorable and being so sweet eh?

hmm... maybe not.


What did the bag to do you, huh?!

Oh Wiz Wednesdays. Enjoy.



January 11, 2011

Lesson Learned - Parm Crusted Tilapia

Look! A new title! I decided on "Lesson Learned" rather than "Meal Fail" because fail is such a negative word. This way, I can post things that came out surprisingly delicious-- like this meal!

Last week I made fish for the first time!!

Parmasan Crusted Tilapia (adapted from this)


  • 4-5 fillets tilapia, patted and dried

  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon paprika

  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Mix parm cheese, paprika, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow pan

  3. Spread oil on tilapia and then dredge in parm mixture, both sides

  4. Place on baking sheet, repeat for all

  5. Sprinkle rest of the mixture over the fish

  6. Bake 12 mins

The meal was a hit! It was salty and crunchy and so yummy! I don't think I've ever cooked fish at all so this was a great experiment that turned out great.  We paired it with some creamy coleslaw.

Lesson Learned: Next time, I'd use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I thought I had some fresh parm left but when I got home to start cooking, found out I didn't. Thankfully, I had some pre-grated cheese that did the trick.

I will definitely repeat this meal again. It was a quick less-than 30 minute meal that was tasty.

In other news, I need to find some workout motivation! I've been sitting in gym clothes for 2 hours wishing myself to go! It's getting late (excuse) so I'll just go tomorrow-Saturday. Wow, I'm such an excuse-maker.



January 10, 2011

Menu for the Week 1.10.11

Sooo... my camera has been out of commission (read: I'm too lazy/forgetful  to put the charged battery back in it) so no photos today. But I thought I'd quick post our menu for the week and hope you all had a pretty good weekend :)

My fridge is gettting empppty and I am in desperate need to go shopping (tonight!). But still, Monday and Friday's are alone-dinner nights (ADN) so it's just me. I hate to say "lonely dinner nights" since Wiz is there to keep me company :D

Monday:  ADN - again, I have no food so we'll see what I find

Tuesday: Flank steak with potatoes & corn (hbf picked some steaks out so he got to pick a meal!)

Wednesday: Salmon with cous cous and  green beans

Thursday: Lasagna Soup, salad and breadsticks

Friday: ADN

I've noticed a trend of not having meals for Friday listed. Possibly due to me being alone and lazy, or the fact that sometimes I drive up to my parent's to eat a home cooked meal with my family :D



January 6, 2011

Last Night's Dinner: Beer Cheese Soup

I'm really liking this new resolution I added: try one new recipe a week. It's really allowing me to find great flavors and healthy meals to make. It's so easy to fall back on our familiar staples but that gets so boring! Trying new recipies means making new meals our staples :) win win!

But to be realistic, I do always have a frozen pizza in the freezer just in case my meal doesn't pan out right ;)

Last night's dinner  was something helloboyfriend requested. I've never had beer cheese soup before, but we went to lunch at Granite City for my birthday a while back and had their beer cheese dip, which reminded hbf of beer cheese soup!

and Ta-Da, I added it to the menu for the week!

Beer Cheese Soup (adapted from this)


  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots

  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion

  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 3 cups beer

  • 1/3 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup flour (with extra to thicken)

  • 4 cups half and half

  • 6 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard


1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sweat carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in butter. About 10 mins.

2. Stir in hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

3. With a whisk, start adding flour to the mixture to create a flour-vegtable roux. Stir until flour is light brown, about 3-4 mins.

4. Gradually stir in half and half, continually whisking. Once all added, remove from heat.

5. Stir in cheese slowly and always whisking.

6. Put pot back on heat, add chicken broth and beer. Don’t add the beer to quickly since it will foam.

Yum, Grain Belt Beer is a Minnesota brewed beer and Nordeast is a delicious amber American Lager that is a MN fav. If you ever get your hands on some, try it.

See the foaming bubbles!?

7. Add Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard.

8. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

I paired the soup with soft pretzels.

I really wanted to make my own pretzels, but these are so easy and cheap that I decided to settle and buy from frozen. Plus they only take 4 mins in the oven and are a kinda-healthy snack (at 160 calories) if you're looking for something salty.

Verdict: The soup was deeelish! I made a big pot of it and one big perk is that it is definitely freezable. After dinner, I portioned it out into lunch-size servings and froze a bunch individually so I could bring it to lunch on those cold winter days.

In other news, I'm debating whether or not I want to add some style files/fashion section to this blog. One thing I worry about is my 9-5 job outfits are pretty boring. and with early morning wake-ups (5 am!) and my long commute to work (1 1/2 hours), I don't really get to play dress up. Personally, I don't think I have a total sense of my personal style but I think seeing it evolve over time would help me decide. Plus, I love reading fashion blogs to help me find my sense of style -- why not partake?

I'm going to be adding some blog roll listings on the side so stay tuned!



January 5, 2011

Wizzy Wednesday

Little Wiz's second favorite place to nap has to be in this blanket. Her first would be underneath the bed.

In other news, I think I'm going to title "Meal Fail" to "Lesson Learned." I like that it is a process of learning and I think it fits :)

Can you believe it's already Wednesday! Horray!



January 4, 2011

Tuna Noodle Casserole

I shouldn't title this Meal Fail... this is all a learning experience! Maybe "Meal Reflection" or "Meal Learnings" would be a better term? Thoughts?

Last Thursday, I made a Tuna Noodle Casserole. I adapted it from this recipe and tried to scale down to feed two. Portioning food just for two has become rather difficult, and since helloboyfriend is not the leftover-type, I am stuck eating all the leftovers. Luckily, they make easy meals to bring to lunch.  Bringing my lunch = money in my pocket!

This is pre-bake and pre-topping but mmm, I just love peas and mushrooms!


  • Egg noodles

  • Shredded Cheese

  • Frozen Green Peas

  • Canned Tuna, drained

  • Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Sliced Mushrooms, sauteed

  • Potato Chips


  1. Cook pasta in boiling water for until al dente. drain.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  3. In a large bowl, mix noodles, 1/2 of the cheese, peas, tuna, soup and mushrooms. Transfer to a baking dish, and top with potato chip crumbs and remaining cheese.

  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is bubbly.


Pre-bake with topping:

The meal is something I would definitely make again. Next time, I think I could use more soup or creaminess -- it was a bit dry so it didn't feel like a casserole.

Lesson Learned: I learned two lessons from this meal. #1: scaling down the recipe for 4 servings is still pretty big. We  definitly had leftovers that I threw out because I already brought some for leftover lunch. Next time, let's try just 2 servings. #2: don't top with baked potato chips. I think the oil that's left in real potato chips keeps the dish crispy and (dare I say) fatty. I tried to go the healtherier route and used baked chips instead. Bad idea. They burned and it made for a gross topping. I almost would have rathered had no topping than burned baked chips.

I added a new year's resolution: to be more creative in the kitchen! I told helloboyfriend last night and he seemed alright with it. It'll be interesting to see what dishes I can put out. I started a tumblr to keep all the recipes I've been finding (instead of just emailing them to myself).

Well, I'm off to take Wiz to the vet to get a test. Hope she is alright!