Meatballs

I’ve never been a big meatball person. And I definitely hate frozen meatballs.

One day Bryan came home with frozen meatballs thinking it was a skillet dinner (the picture on the bag was misleading) and I had to scramble to thin of something to do with them. Even though I came across an awesome pesto alfredo pasta recipe, I still hated the dish.

Bryan likes meatballs, but I don’t like how he makes them either. The man seriously over seasons everything.

Every once in a blue moon, I get a small hankering for them. Only problem is, if you don’t like frozen, what do you do?

Make your own recipe.

I took the same approach to these as I do when I make homemade meatloaf or hamburgers. Bread crumbs are your friend.

I do not use egg as a binding agent. You can use dehydrated onions instead of dicing up an onion. Saves time, effort, and tears. That and the dehydrated onions plump up in the cooking process.

You can make the meatballs in advance and freeze them. Or make a day in advance and refrigerate them.

And you can put them in any recipe. Use them as appetizers. They really are quite versatile.

meatballs

Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons bread crumbs

Directions

Put a pound of ground beef in a bowl.

Add seasonings and combine using hands.

Separate beef mixture into 20 segments. Roll segments into balls.

Use in whatever recipe you choose. Or bake in oven at 350 for 25 minutes.

Makes 20 meatballs. Per meatball. Calories: 72, Carbohydrates:  2 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Protein: 6 grams.

I love these meatballs. Maybe it’s because I made it off the top of my head.

Actually it’s the use of Worcestershire sauce. It just hits a flavor beyond anything that’s processed and frozen.

However, I have plans for these meatballs on Superbowl Sunday. Can’t watch the superbowl without guacamole or meatballs in some form, it’s an American tradition.

Salsa

The superbowl is coming. Might as well devote a few posts to those awesome dips everyone loves to eat at parties.

Salsa. It’s a dip, a condiment, and a dance.

I really hate those blended versions of salsa. I hate the in a jar version. If it’s not fresh, I will not eat it. I never eat it at Mexican restaurants. I usually eat the green sauce with my tortilla chips.

I wasn’t always this way. It’s Mumika’s fault. She introduced me to her version of Salsa. She claims it’s the Puerto Rican version, but what ever. After you make this, you will swear off those blended made in new York city jar, huge plastic bottle versions.

salsa

Salsa

3 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Put everything in a bowl and mix it until well combined.

Makes 3 cups. Calories: 136, Carbohydrates: 31 grams, Sugar: 16 grams, Fiber: 8 grams, Protein: 5 grams.

I’ve come to the conclusion that although it may be a little sugary, tomatoes are also full of fiber.

I love putting this salsa on everything. And I love the juices at the bottom. They are so flavorful, you could dip tortilla chips in them. Hell, pour it over some chicken or beef to add some amazing flavor as a thin gravy. You know those yummies I talked about in the tomato, corn, avocado salsa…same thing. What you could do is save the tomato juice and create a vinaigrette with it or infuse plain feta with it.

And trust me, you will eat the 3 cups this makes all by yourself and you won’t feel guilty over it. Ever ate a whole jar of salsa, me neither, but I will go through this salsa like it’s the end of the world.

Whatever you do, do not use roma tomatoes, it doesn’t come out right. Use those big normal tomatoes. And do not throw out the yummies. Do not waste those yummies. Stick the juice in a container until you think of something totally awesome to do with it.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Guacamole.

You’re thinking about dips, fajitas, tacos, tortilla chips, basically Mexican food.

I hate Pico de Gallo. It’s the jalapenos. I hate that crazy sear your tongue into numbness pepper.

Everyone makes their pico different. Go to a dozen Mexican restaurants, it’s all different. It’s like Puerto Ricans and all their recipes. There’s a base recipe and people add whatever they want to it.

In reality, Pico de Gallo is really a condiment. It’s used to bring out flavors. Although, I swear people use it to mask blandness. I mean seriously, how much pico do you need on your fajitas? People put a 1/2 cup on their food instead of 1 spoonful. That and sour cream. But don’t get me on how disgusting sour cream is on Mexican food.

This is my version. It’s one of those, in case I need it sort of things. Other than that, I rarely make it.

pico

Pico De Gallo

1/2 onion, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Directions

Get a bowl, dump ingredients into it and mix until well combined.

Makes 1 cup. Calories: 81, Carbohydrates: 14 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Fiber: 4 grams, Protein: 3 grams.

If anything, this proves there’s natural sugar in everything. Nothing but veggies and there’s sugar. But think how low that amount will by when you put a spoonful on your tacos or fajitas.

Despite creating refried beans, this little condiment proves the Mexicans were in their right mind when creating their cuisine.

Need a little heat to your dish, add some pico. It’s worth it.

Sausage, Spinach, and Bean soup

Every so often I make it into the HEB two towns over on my way home in time to try a random recipe they are featuring that day.

Half the time I can’t use the recipe because I don’t like it, has something in it like cream of _____ soup, too many frozen components or its lackluster. Basically these little samples are to showcase the HEB product.

But a week ago, I tried this soup and it was really good. Add extremely cold weather into the equation and you have an amazing meal that will warm you up on an icy winter day.

I decided to make my own version of pico that way I wouldn’t have to pay $3.59 for it. I also used navy beans instead of white kidney beans.

I took a gamble with this recipe because Bryan hates pale beans but luckily it was flavorful enough for him to disregard the use of white colored beans.

I decided to use the crockpot instead of the stove because well, we still don’t have one and I was not in the mood to stay at the in laws waiting for the soup to be ready.

While I was cooking the components of the soup, my father in law decided to talk to one of his daughters via speakerphone. I listened to their conversation for about 45 minutes and was slightly annoyed. I get it, its his house, but still. The lack of manners this family has astounds me sometimes. Then I remind myself I was raised on English etiquette which has extremely high standards. In reality, I’m probably the one with the problem, not my in laws.

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Sausage, Spinach and Beans Soup

1 pound ground pork sausage
12 oz of pico de gallo (homemade)
6 garlic cloves, diced
2 cans of Navy beans
32 oz of chicken broth
1 bag (9 oz) spinach
parmesan cheese as garnish

Directions

Brown sausage, drain, and put in a soup pot or a slow cooker.

Add pico de gallo to a skillet over medium heat and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add 1 can of beans and 1 cup of the chicken broth to the pico de gallo. Heat mixture for a bit and then mash the mixture until it has a chunky paste look to it. Add mashed mixture to the soup pot or slow cooker.

Pour remaining broth and can of drained beans to the soup pot or slow cooker.

Soup pot: Bring pot to boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Stir in spinach and remove from heat. Garnish bowls with parmesan cheese.

Slow cooker: Set slow cooker to high for 1 hour. Stir in spinach and reduce to low. Serve when spinach is full incorporated into the soup. Garnish bowls with parmesan cheese.

Makes 8. Calories: 338, Carbohydrates: 20 grams, Sugar: 2 grams, Fiber: 7 grams, Protein: 22 grams.

Holy fuck, did you see the fiber?!?!?!?

This soup is phefuckingnomenal. We had French bread with it and I love how amazing the bread tastes when it soaked the broth up.

You can use ground beef instead of sausage. Might taste better, especially if you don’t like sausage.

The parmesan cheese as garnish elevates the flavor and cools the heat from the jalapeno in the pico. It’s not hot but there is definitely a pleasant kick to it.

This soup is definitely one of those when did it get so cold I need something to heat me up soups. And the best part is you can slow cook it or stove top it. I love options.

Dark Chocolate Brownie

I love brownies.

Love them.

My sister inlaw made these amazing butterscotch brownies about a month ago that were OMG these are better than fucking sex brownies. But Oh.My.God. did they make me sick later. I should know better, but honestly, sometime I think I don’t.

When I asked her how she made them, she told me it was a box mix and that she added butterscotch chips.

So I figured I would find a brownie from scratch recipe and put butterscotch chips in the batter. I was wrong.

The chips never melted.

The second time I attempted this I thought, maybe if I melt the butterscotch and swirl it in the batter it would come out. But I somehow scorched the chips melting them in the microwave.

The look of burned butterscotch is horrible but not as horrible as the smell. Needless to say, I’m not ready for a third attempt.

However, I did notice all brownies come from the same basic recipe. I decided to use dark chocolate instead and half the sugar requirement. Maybe one day I’ll get creative with what I put in them.

Until then…..dark chocolate brownies it is.

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Dark Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved

Add sugar and mix well.

Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.

Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour.

Spray an 8 inch baking tin with cooking spray and pour the batter in.

Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. DO NOT OVER BAKE.

Makes 12. Calories: 111, Carbohydrates: 14 grams, Sugar: 8 grams, Protein: 2 grams.

I live for dark chocolate.

If you decide to add marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, cherries, caramel syrup, or something to the effect, please keep in mind the nutritional value goes up.

And these aren’t tiny squares when I said 12. They are those huge squares you dream about in you’re sleep when you were a child. You could cut them into 16 squares, but I found them to be a little too small. I ate like 3 the first time I made it without blinking an eye. But if you choose to cut 12 squares, the eye tricks the mind into thinking Oh my god, this is so huge, there is no way I could eat two. And then you out trick your mind by cutting on of the squares into half after you eat the first one but that’s besides the point.

Food portions are all psychological. But that’s for a later post.

 

Mashed Potatoes

Mash potatoes….

The ultimate comfort food. The creamy butter potato goodness that seems to cause all stress to dissipate.

Also, a diabetics worse nightmare. Carbs, starch, butter, fat, etc.

That is all.

mashedpotatoes

Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes, peeled
1 cup milk
3 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter

Directions

Chop potatoes into cubes and put in a pot of boiling water.

Once potatoes are fork tender, drain water and take masher to the potatoes.

Mash the potatoes. Mash as much or as little as you want. Picture your ex, or someone you thoroughly dislike as you mash if you want no lumps. Grease that elbow and mash. There’s a reason way its comfort food, its from mashing your anger away leaving you cool calm and collected.

Add milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and butter to your perfectly mashed potatoes.

Stir your mashed potatoes until everything is melted and combined nicely.

Makes 8. Calories: 177, Carbohydrates: 20 grams, Sugar: 3 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 3 grams.

No flakes or powdered potatoes here obviously. Sure, its cheaper and faster to make. But seriously, its bland.

This recipe is what I consider a base recipe. You can add cheese, bacon, chives, garlic, parmesan, chicken, beef, ham, spinach, and what have you. It would just as great with brown gravy as it would white.

And the best part! No Mayo!!!!!

Beef Stroganoff

I haven’t had beef stroganoff in years. It wasn’t one of those family favorites in my household growing up.

I think it was the use of cream of mushroom soup that had us look the other way. Actually, looking back we hardly made meals that called for condensed or cream soup.

Which I probably why I scoured the inter webs looking for a non cream of mushroom soup recipe. I could go as far to say that my upbringing (food wise) is why I like to make everything from scratch.

Mumika used to make homemade bread without a bread maker back when she was a housewife. Best bread I have ever had.

After 30 recipes, I finally found one that did not use cream of mushroom soup but uses sour cream. I’m not a fan of sour cream but whatever.

I made the stroganoff using two different sides – the traditional egg yolk noodles and also mashed potatoes. If I’m going to test out a recipe, I’m going to do it right. I would have cooked rice also but I didn’t know how long it would last. I keep forgetting my father inlaw won’t touch my cooking even if a ten foot pole was an option.

In the end, even though I slow cooked at the in laws, Bryan had me take everything home and it lasted 3 days.

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Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

2.25 pounds of lean stew meat
1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 oz cream cheese, cubed

Directions

Brown stew meat and spoon the meat in the slow cooker.

Leaving the liquid from the meat (the fat) in the pan, sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic until tender.

Add beef broth to deglaze pan and make sure you scrape up the yummies attached to the pan.

Pour the sauteed veggies that are deglazed into the slow cooker. Add salt and pepper and give it a stir.

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.

15 minutes before being fully cooked, mix the cream cheese, sour cream, paprika, Dijon mustard, and flour in a small bowl.

Pour sour cream mixture into the slow cooker and stir until cream cheese melts.

Cook on low for 15 minutes.

You can make mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles while you wait.

Makes 10. Calories: 259,Carbohydrate: 8 grams ,Sugar: 4 grams, Protein: 33 grams.

WITH Noodles. Calories: 347, Carbohydrates: 24 grams, Sugar: 4 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 36 grams.

WITH Mashed Potatoes. Calories: 400, Carbohydrates: 23 grams, Sugar: 6 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 35 grams.

I haven’t had beef stroganoff in years. In my first bite I realized why – I really really hate beef stroganoff.

For most people, it’s the egg yolk noodles, but it’s the beef and how’s it made that leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. I immediately thought, oh lord, what a waste in premium beef. Luckily, my husband love it. It tastes better with the mashed potatoes.

Hence, why there is three nutritional values. Unfortunately the mashed potatoes equal more calories. And to think it’s all homemade.

You could use rice or some grain instead of the potatoes or the noodles. It’s all about which way you want to eat it or which is your favorite. Either way, I’m not going to eat this for another 10 years.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you know how horrible cream cheese frosting is for you?

But its on everything. Cakes. Cupcakes. Cinnamon rolls. Brownies.

Its not only the amount of powdered sugar that causes it, its the butter.

Most of the recipes I came across had 3 – 4 cups of powdered sugar with 1/2 cup of butter and 8 oz of cream cheese in it. There’s enough sugar to rot a tooth, give you prediabetes, put you in a coma. This is a perfect example of sugar overkill and why there really isn’t a need to use that much sugar.

America is definitely a sugarholic nation.

Luckily I found an easy cream cheese frosting recipe without the butter or an exorbant amount of sugar. And its only 3 ingredients!

creamcheese

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A little under 1 cup of powdered sugar

Directions

In a medium size bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the vanilla with the cream cheese.

Slowly add the powdered sugar.

Within minutes it will get glossy and look like frosting.

Makes enough to top a 9×13 cake tin.

Serves 20. Calories: ,Carbohydrates: , Sugar: , Protein: .

Its sweet but not overly are you sure you used cream cheese sweet. You can actually taste a hint of the cream cheese.

I think it would compliment cinnamon rolls nicely or be perfect for a small cake.

What I love is how I used a cup of sugar. This recipe is originally for an 8×8 square cake and here I am using it for a 9×13.

After all, there is such a thing as too much icing. Too much icing makes you sick. Makes you bend over with your hands on your stomach stating that you need to lie down.

I cut over 1/3 of the sugar out, used hardly any cream cheese and saved you that horrible omg the frosting is going to be the end of me feeling. I hate that feeling.

Then you start to wonder why people put so much frosting on cupcakes. Seriously! Do you need more frosting than the amount of cake? This is why people avoid corner pieces of birthday cakes.

But now you don’t have to if you choose to use this frosting. No globs of frosting left to harden on plates here.

A dia-versary and Preacher Cake

5 years ago today I was diagnosed with diabetes. I remember looking at my endo and saying, ” If I dilute my blood sugar with lots a water, it will go away right?” “It doesn’t quite work that way” he replied.

Everyone remembers the day they were diagnosed and the drama that went with it.

One major thing I learned was how amazing Bryan is and how much he truly loves me. He was in the waiting room hands on his forehead when they finally released me. When I walked into his arms crying, I told him it was okay if he didn’t want me because I was damaged goods. He laughed, told me I wasn’t damaged and he wasn’t going to leave me. If I was with any other guy, I’m pretty sure they would would have taken the out I gave him.

How am I going to celebrate this major milestone? With cake of course! I decided to make a preacher cake.

Supposedly back in the day, this is the cake you would make if your preacher surprised you with a dinner visit. Women would whip it up in a flash and be all why thank you for visiting us for dinner, would you like some cake before you leave.

My question is since when was it societally acceptable for preachers to call unexpectedly? Seriously! Were they at one of flock’s houses and thought well Judy is a street down I’ll mosey on over there for dinner. And the only warning you get is from Mary when the preacher leaves her house calling to warn you.

This cake is interesting. Allergic to dairy? No problem. There isn’t any milk or butter. And everything is in twos. My big problem is the 2 cups of sugar. Screw that, I’ll put maybe a cup. Why? Pineapple is sweet and the juice is sweet so why so much sugar. I bet they were trying to give their preacher diabetes for coming unexpectedly. You know sugar caused diabetes back then.

Also I hated the cream cheese frosting recipe that went with it. 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of butter, a cup of cream cheese. Oh no no no, that won’t do at all. I’ll have to find a completely different recipe for the frosting. And I did. Its all about tweaking. Especially on dia-versary day.

image Preacher Cake
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup ground walnuts
20 oz can of crushed pineapple (do not drain)

Directions

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together.

Add rest of ingredients one by one.

Mix by hand until fully combined. Pour batter into a greased (with cooking spray) 9×13 cake tin. Bake at 350° for 30 – 40 minutes.

Makes 20. Without the cream cheese frosting. Calories: 125, Carbohydrates: 21grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Protein: 3 grams.

With the cream cheese frosting. Calories: 188, Carbohydrates: 28 grams, Sugar: 16 grams, Protein: 4 grams.

This cake is amazing with or without the frosting. It has pockets of sunshine tropical goodness and nuttiness baked in.

It’s easy to make, I whipped it up in 5 minutes and made the frosting while the cake baked. I couldn’t wait for the cake to cool to eat or to frost. My mother inlaw couldn’t wait either. This is what happens when you get two diabetics together waiting for a cake.

I can’t imagine this cake with 2 cups of sugar. It would be so sweet you’re teeth would hurt.

Based on what I read about the frosting, I’m happy I found a different one. This cake has the potential to be deadly if made the original way.

It says a lot about the cake if the recipe has lasted decades. It was definitely a product of a simpler times, a time of innocence. Then again, have you seen the shit people used to eat back then? Pineapples made of liver pate. Fish locked inside gelatin. It was more than champagne dreams and caviar wishes. But you couldn’t feed that to your preacher could you? A simple dessert for a simple man who lands on your doorstep unexpectedly.

Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole

You should have seen this post coming.
Usually when I’m in a money bind, I look up casseroles. Casseroles are easy to make, hearty, and don’t put a dent in your grocery budget.

With Bryan having a more physically gruelling job, his hunger has increased a wee bit too much for me. He ate 3/4 of the tortellini bake in one sitting. His new thing is saying “I, hungry” which for some odd reason makes me think of Frankenstein. Well that or the people eating plant thing in Little Shop of Horrors. Feed me.

What used to last three days is now lasting one. It frustrates me because I try to cook every three days that way I’m not stuck at the inlaws using their stove and oven after work.

Sometimes what I consider hearty and filling doesn’t work the same way on Bryan. He’s a man, I’m a woman blah blah blah. Its not that, its more of Bryan only eats one meal a day. This whole one meal a day will change once we have the kitchen done because I’ll be cooking breakfast while he’s in the shower. Ugh. 6am.

Until then, a casserole once a week should suffice. Hopefully.

This recipe should feed 10, but the day I made it I was extra hungry and Bryan was on his I hungry warpath. It lasted two days between the two of us. Sometimes I think we eat like we’ve been starving for days and have no clue where the next meal is.

The casserole called for pinto beans but I used black. Must be a Puerto Rican thing. It called for eight 6 inch corn tortillas, but I used 10. I also added an extra 1/2 pound of meat and 1/2 cup of onion. When I bought the ingredients, I got a white onion instead of a yellow one. And I was in such a rush that I baked it wrong but omg was it good.

Moral of the story – I fucked it up.

If you have a big appetite and can’t cook, or in a rush, or decided directions aren’t for you, or flat out didn’t read the directions, it will still come out yummy and fill you up. Foolproof, stubborn proof, rush proof, huge stomach proof. This is the Mexican casserole of all casseroles. And under $15 to make (depending on whether you buy the enchilada sauce or homemake it) feeding 10 mouths – that $1.50 a serving.

Casseroles – perfect for budgets.

beefbean

Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 cup onion
4 oz can green chilies
15 oz can black beans, drained
10 corn tortillas
2 cups enchilada sauce (homemade)
8 oz sour cream
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend

Directions

In a large skillet, brown meat with onions.

When onions are tender add cumin, chili powder and salt.

Keep skillet on medium heat and add the beans and green chilies. Stir until completely combined. Cook for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl mix flour, garlic salt, sour cream until combined.

Lay down 5 corn tortillas in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour 1/2 the meat and bean mixture on top of the tortillas, spoon half of the sour cream mixture on top of the meat, pour half of the enchilada sauce on top of the sour cream. Do the layers once more, cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Take the casserole 5 minutes before being done, remove the tin foil, sprinkle with cheese and pop it back into the oven.

Makes 10. Calories: 371, Carbohydrates: 26 grams, Sugar: 6 grams, Fiber: 4 grams, Protein: 23 grams.

I know what you’re thinking – How on earth did you make it wrong? I forgot the tin foil.

If you forget the tin foil, bake for 20 minutes, sprinkle with cheese, cover with tin and let the cheese melt. Problem solved.

I ended up tasting the beef and bean mixture and holy cow balls batman, add some rice and we are good to go.

And yes, it was quite yummy.