The Yummy Side of Life…

Trying something new and I need some feedback!
September 16, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey everyone! I want to try something new with the blog that would allow you to print a recipe or menu (and maybe even grocery lists on down the road) with ease. I’ve uploaded my Parmesan Risotto recipe to Scribd and linked to it into this post. I would love to embed it; however, it clutters up the blog, so until Apture is compatible with, I will have to just link for now. I would love your feedback so I can see if this is something that people would use.

Printable Version of Parmesan Risotto for Two


Menu Plan Monday
September 14, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: Weekly Menu

Not too much fun stuff being cooked this week. We are prepping for a trip to San Antonio to see Phil’s family this weekend, so I decided to keep it simple and easy (with the exception of Wednesday night–Risotto = yum!).


Monday: Grilled Cheese, Chips, Grapes

Tuesday: French Bread Pizza (on sale this week!), Salad

Wednesday: Parmesan Risotto for Two, Salad

Thursday – Saturday: Who knows! All I know is we’ll be eating some goooooood Mexican food (and hopefully some BBQ too)!


See more menus over at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

A Triumph in the Kitchen: Risotto!
September 9, 2009, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Dinner, Sides

I *love* watching Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday nights. I love the intensity in the kitchen, and then tension I feel when one of the chefs has to bring something (especially a risotto) up for service. Will it be well seasoned? Will Chef Ramsay throw the whole pan in the trash? It’s always a close call, and you can almost never tell which he is going to lean.

Because of this, many people I know (ahem, Krista!) have been discouraged from trying risotto, including myself. I decided to bite the bullet, however, and I’m so glad I did! I certainly didn’t expect it to come out well the first time, but lo and behold, I had a wonderful creamy, parmesan-y risotto in my bowl when I was finished.

I didn’t follow a certain recipe, just gathered tons of information from various readings about risotto. So, another recipe all my own! In fact, this is the first time (ever!) that I have cooked off the top of my head, just going by what I know. A major triumph in the kitchen today.

Okay, okay, on with it!!!


Parmesan Risotto for Two


  • 1 32-ounce box chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parsley (fresh or dried)


  1. Warm the chicken broth in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat. In a medium sized sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Sauté onion and garlic until onion is nearly translucent, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes until you can hear the grains clicking against each other. The rice should not be browned. Pour in the water while stirring, and let the rice absorb all liquid.
  3. Turn the heat under the rice mixture to medium-high. Ladle the broth into the rice until the rice is covered. Stir frequently (but not constantly) until the rice has absorbed the moisture.
  4. When the rice does not immediately come back together as you stir, add more broth to cover. Again, stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. The rice should start to look creamy around this time.
  5. Add more broth as needed, tasting as you go to determine whether the rice is cooked through. The rice should be al dente–firm but not crunchy. This process should take 15-20 minutes from the time you add the water.
  6. Take the sauté pan off the heat, and add the two tablespoons of butter, stirring to incorporate. Add the parmesan, once again stirring until thoroughly mixed. Add salt & pepper, if needed.
  7. Garnish with parsley.

Hot Cocoa Cake in a Mug
September 6, 2009, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Dessert

Cake in a mug! This is one of my favorite desserts for which I usually have everything on hand. But somehow I don’t have any cocoa in the house right now (did I throw it out in the move? I can’t remember!). I headed to Google to see if I could find any other recipe than my usual, and I found this particular recipe. It makes a VERY dense bread-like cake. I used a Creme Brulee hot cocoa mix. Two packets of this mix came out nearly to 9 tablespoons, so that is something I can remember for future hot cocoa cakes!


Hot Cocoa Chocolate Cake (in a Mug) – adapted from


  • 9 tablespoons (2 packets) Land O’ Lakes Creme Brulee Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Mix dry ingredients together in large mug.
  2. Add wet ingredients and stir with spoon. Fold ingredients from bottom, making sure to incorporate ALL dry ingredients.
  3. Microwave for 3 minutes (more or less depending on wattage).
  4. Enjoy straight from mug, or turn out into bowl and garnish with a topping of your choice!
Cooking in the Microwave

Cooking in the Microwave

Crazy Noodles Casserole
September 6, 2009, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Beef, Dinner, Pasta | Tags: , , ,

I’m pretty new at this whole “making up recipes” thing, so this casserole wasn’t perfect, but it was extremely comforting! But then again, when isn’t a recipe with pasta, tomatoes, beef, and cheese comforting? I did find that if you let it sit for a few minutes after bringing it out of the oven, the taste of the Italian seasoning “quiets down”  a little, and everything tastes a little more blended.



  • 1 box Rotini pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick’s Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided into 1 cup portions


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brown beef in large sauté pan on medium heat. Drain and add back to pan.
  2. Boil pasta according to directions on box. While pasta is boiling, add tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, and s&p to beef and warm through on medium heat.
  3. Drain pasta and place in large mixing bowl. If any juice is left in meat mixture, drain, and add to pasta. Add 1 cup mozzarella, and fold all ingredients together.
  4. Place mixture into 9×13 glass pan and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of cheese on top. Warm in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday
September 6, 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Weekly Menu

Well folks, it’s that time again! After being extremely tired in the evenings last week, I have one meal that is being crossed over to this week (I really can’t believe how much we ended up eating out last week!). Also, we registered for baby yesterday. Both of us were so tuckered out that we ended up just making grilled cheese.

Hopefully this week, I can save some energy for cooking. P will be out of town on Friday and Saturday, so I’m on my own those nights, which means leftovers and (my fave) egg and cheese sandwiches!

Ooohh. I just realized that we are eating a lot of beef this week…  Better variety cometh next week!


Sunday: Crazy Noodles, Sautéed Zucchini

Monday: Garden Salad (Baby Lettuces, Cucumber, Tomato, Carrot, Croutons), Wheat Rolls

Tuesday: Burgers, Side Salad

Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken & Rice Casserole, Corn

Thursday: Soft Tacos, Chips & Salsa

Friday: Chicken and Rice Leftovers, Green Beans

Saturday: Egg & Cheese Sandwich (if I don’t go out with a friend)


Find more menus for this week at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
September 2, 2009, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Appetizers, Dinner, Pork, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , ,

I love love love Asian food! A while back, I saw this lettuce wrap recipe from Apples and Oranges and starred it in my GoogleReader, but I never got around to making it. I was looking for something that I could make with ground pork this week, and when I saw this sitting there–all but forgotten–I decided it was time to give it a try. The only changes I made were that I used ground pork and ground ginger, only because I forgot to get fresh ginger at the store. I also added some shredded carrot to the top for color and crunch.

I actually had some chicken fried rice in the freezer, but this made SO much, that we just ate the lettuce wraps by themselves and still had some meat mixture leftover. I ended up sticking the leftovers in the freezer for a quick and easy meal one night in the future.