Easy Beer Ritas!!

Standard

beer ritas

Sometimes it’s nice to unwind with something refreshing, especially since the summer time is SO HOT right now!  For me, a margarita sure hits the spot.  Now, I’m not talking about one of those funky tasting mixes they sell at the store on the liquor isle.  I guess slowly over the years I have upgraded to something a little better tasting.  Beer Ritas!!  So classy, right?  Hey, don’t judge!  Just try it!!!  
 
What I love about these ritas is that they are super quick, delicious, and can be made without a blender….unless of course, you want them frozen instead of on the rocks.  For me, no blender = less dishes = more relaxation time.  It’s a win-win!!  
 
These are also quite customize-able.  (Is that even a word?)  I like to add a little bit of olive juice to mine and make it more like a Mexican Martini, but you could also add Cointreau or Grand Marnier.  Go ahead….make it your own!!!
 
Ingredients:
 
12 oz. frozen limeade
12 oz. water (use the limeade can and fill to the top)
12 oz. tequila of your choice
1 12-oz beer, preferably a light beer
few Tbsp. olive juice (optional)
 
What to do:
 
Pour all ingredients into a pitcher.  Stir (so difficult, right?) Rim some glasses with salt. Serve over ice.  
 
P.S.  
 
I love mine served with jalapeno stuffed olives!!!
 
 

Orange-Mint Tea

Standard

85ECC298-4F36-4B04-BF97-2B0573081F71-6319-0000063F290D98B9-1

Maybe I’ve been watching too much Pride and Prejudice lately.  All the fancy dresses….The English accents…..The snootiness of Mr. Darcy.  It all gets me in the mood for a nice cup of tea.  The only difference is that I’m in Texas in 2013 where it’s 80 degrees and not in England back in the 18th century, so my tea is gonna be iced!!!!

This could definitely be a fancy tea that they might’ve been served back in the Pride and Prejudice times.  Elizabeth Bennett would approve!!!!  And don’t think I’m not gonna drink it with my pinkie finger sticking up!  I definitely will be!  That goes without saying!!

Ingredients:

¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨

3 family-sized tea bags

30 mint leaves, divided

1 large orange, divided

3/4 – 1 c. sugar, depending on preference (optional)

water

*makes one large pitcher of tea

Directions:

¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨

  1. Bring approximately 10 cups of water to a rolling boil.

  2. While the water is coming to a boil, slice the orange into about 8 pieces.

  3. Turn off the boiling water, and place 15 mint leaves, half of the orange slices, and the tea bags into the pot.  Let steep for at least 30 minutes.  (The longer it steeps, the more flavor is released from the orange and mint leaves. )

  4. Remove the wilted orange slices, tea bags and mint leaves from the tea.

  5. Place sugar into your pitcher.

  6. Pour in the steeped tea and stir.

  7. Add 8 cups or so of cold water – enough to basically fill your pitcher to nearly the top.  Stir again.

  8. In the cooled pitcher of tea, add the rest of the mint and orange slices.

  9. Serve over ice – with or without the mint and oranges in your glass.  :)

**NOTES:

This tea is better the second day.  You can leave the mint and orange slices overnight because it greatly enhances the flavor, but then remove them the next day or your tea will become bitter.

Jalapeno Popper Meatloaf

Standard


57337777-db00-4d43-ab42-3a47a798a85f_zps77bacdb4I am in love with jalapeno poppers….You know, the fresh jalapeno kind stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon.  YUM!!!!  These things….

54489B38-C87E-46F9-A906-4C49CD550350-3643-000004F2ABDB0218_zpsb24b8bf5

Maybe it’s because I don’t make them very often since they’re pretty time consuming – but DEFINITELY worth the time.  Just never eat a huge amount of the poppers on an empty stomach!  I’m not going to cross over into the TMI zone.  I promise!  Well, I promise THIS time anyways.  Just heed my advise!

d3897f1a-eea3-44ac-89ed-c937255f3456_zps17bd76c8

Meatloaf!  Back to meatloaf!  How does this relate to meatloaf?  Well, sometimes I have some ingredients leftover since it’s kinda hard to determine just how much cream cheese you’ll need to fill 50 poppers.  AND cream chesse is just so darn good, you can’t let that go to waste!

So, in the midst of my obsession with jalapeno poppers comes the next best thing – I present you Jalapeno Popper Meatloaf!

4E4E9A00-018A-43D6-8F8C-217D399342E7-3643-000004F3D11C8DEB_zps81f2bfbc

Prepare the meatloaf and fill with the jalapenos and cream cheese.  Cover up the holes with some hamburger meat.  Top with leftover jalapenos that do not fit inside.

DACD30E9-D27D-4EA6-ABE4-909CF6222B83-5028-0000064521370693_zps9e1a61c8

**Note – You could just cut up the jalapenos and cream cheese into small pieces and drop into a meatloaf hole if you are in a hurry.  I think I just coined a new term!  Meatloaf hole!!  Yes, I know I am totally weird!

51411B65-25AE-423F-BD37-602B05DE04D7-3643-000004F335FC03EA_zpsb8d74fae

Lay strips of bacon across the meatloaf and tuck the ends under the edge of the meatloaf.  Bake for 65 minutes at 380 degrees.

P.S. I even use some of the drippings to make gravy if I’m serving it with mashed potatoes.  It gives you a salty smokiness from the bacon and a little bit of jalapeno flavor.  Works for me!!!

¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨¨

Ingredients:

2 lbs. hamburger meat

1/2 of a medium sized onion, grated or finely chopped

2 finely grated carrots

1 dry onion soup packet (or some onion and garlic powder)

2 eggs

1/2 c. breadcrumbs

8-10 slices of bacon

10 fresh jalapenos

1 box of Philadelphia cream cheese

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 380 degrees.
  2. Spray your dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Prepare the jalapenos by cutting longways and removing seeds from the inside.  If you want a spicier meatloaf, leave the white membrane that runs along the wall of the jalapeno.
  4. Fill the inside of the jalapeno with cream cheese.  Do this with all jalapenos.  Then cut into 1/2 inch chunks.  Set aside.
  5. Mix meat, onion, carrots, seasonings, eggs, and breadcrumbs and place them into a pan on top of a few bread slices (if you want to absorb some of the extra grease as it cooks.)   Shape into a loaf.
  6. Make holes like you are about to plant a seed.  Place a piece of the jalapeno/cream cheese inside the hole, and cover up the hole with some hamburger meat.  Do this sporatically all over the meatloaf.
  7.  Any pieces that do not fit inside the meatloaf, pile on the top.
  8. Lay strips of bacon across the meatloaf and tuck the ends under the edge of the meatloaf.
  9.  Bake for 65 minutes at 380 degrees.

Avocado-Lime Cheesecake

Standard
 00f26e21-4c0d-4473-afe7-13018b3c87c9_zps710c540c(1)
Right now, I almost feel stuck in two different worlds.  I wake up with the weather near 40 degrees, and my kids want the heater on in the car on the way to school.  When I get in the car to pick them up, I have to switch over to the AC because the temperature is around 80 or so.  It’s so confusing because when I’m planning meals in the morning, I think about soups, and by the afternoon, I’m thinking I should’ve chosen a cooler pasta dish or something.
D57A6830-B2DC-4242-B15F-B668EE6B2AAA-6412-00000670F82BE56D
Well, so as far as desserts go, the limey-ness of this pie is just perfect for one of those in between afternoons.  It’s like your taste buds are calling out for summer to start!!!  I should’ve let this pie sit in the ice box a little longer before cutting it, but I just couldn’t help myself!  I was just so excited about trying this.  Avocados in desserts are the latest craze, isn’t it?

graham cracker crust

 

You could definitely use a store-bought graham cracker crust, however, I highly recommend making your own if possible.  To crush the graham crackers, you can either put them in a zipper bag and use something to crush them….OR you can put 5 or 6 graham crackers at a time in a blender and pulse.  Shake the blender a little if needed and continue pulsing til they are finely ground.  A food processor also gets the job done.

2f9683cb-db76-49ef-9546-945ece9927e2wallpaper_zps8e7c6471

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Cool.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 (8 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)

Directions:

  1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles appear around edges. Remove from heat and stir sugar into the cream until it dissolves. Allow to cool.
  2. In a medium size bowl, blend the avocado and cream cheese until smooth. Add the lime juice and blend.
  3. Add the cooled cream mixture to the avocado mixture and blend until it is incorporated.
  4. Spoon into the prepared pie crust.  Lightly tap the pie plate against the countertop to release trapped air bubbles. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.

This recipe is adapted from Allrecipes.

Carrot Green-Roasted Garlic Pesto

Standard

8f4046ee-e6f5-4879-9bd5-07315fbcab9f_zps80ea72b0

Just recently, I was visiting my mom, going through her garden with my mind racing at all the recipe possibilities.  When she sent me home with some carrots, she said, “Just cut off the greens when you get home.”  Well, I got to thinking….I hate to just throw these away!!!  There has to be something I can do with these.  After looking around on the internet, I found all kinds of things to do with carrot greens….even add-ins for smoothies! 

9ce7adc2-07b7-4daf-907c-b6d8593e2c79_zpsef6761b2

Now, I know you’ve seen these at the store!!!  It’s like a two-fer-one deal!  You get the carrots for some sort of side dish, and then you can use the greens for pesto.  Sounds like a winning combo to me!
 
4fcac94c-a95b-4989-8c35-be4120017f54_zpse7562f47
 
I made this in my blender because I only just recently got a food processor, so just in case you don’t have a processor, you can give the ol’ blender a whirl.  Just a note about that – Put the olive oil in the bottom of the blender…it just works better that way! 
 
480739d4-657f-4289-90ce-19af4c3c7044_zpsbd33504f
You don’t have to toast your nuts, but it will be so much better if you do! 
 
d5765cff-2f53-4bf6-b420-26476a40577c_zps3b7a38e7
 Don’t forget to stir a few times and scrape down the sides to make sure it is blended evenly. 
 
Ingredients:
 
  • Approx. 1 cup of roughly chopped (rinsed and patted dry) carrotgreens
  • 1/2 c. or so of roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 whole head of roasted garlic (garlic pods removed of course) ****See tip below
  • 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c.  grated parmesan cheese (quality works best in this recipe!)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor.  If using the blender, place the olive oil in the bottom first.  Blend.  If it seems like it’s not blending all the way, stir and then add a little olive oil while the motor is running.  Use or place in the freezer til you need it.

**Tip of roasted garlic – Next time your baking something, just wrap up a whole garlic head and slather with a little olive oil and cook while you’ve already got your oven on.  You can throw it in the freezer til you need it.  Click the link above for roasting directions.

Easy, Non-Rotisserie Rosemary Chicken

Standard

rosemarychicken_zpsaef056fd

I have a confession to make!  This was not supposed be the main picture for this posting.  I had planned on placing the roasted chicken on a cute platter and snapping a few photos.  Well, this bird had other plans for me.  But, I can’t complain because the end product was definitely worth it.  After cooking the chicken in my crockpot all day, it was so moist and tender that it just fell right off the bones while I was trying to take it out.  Now, I know my photos are not the greatest, most professional looking pictures.  I use an iphone and not some fancy, expensive camera with fancy, expensive software…. but that’s okay with me.  I hope I show that cooking is not rocket science, and anybody can re-create most of what I post in their own homes.  It doesn’t always have to take hours on end to produce something really delicious – like this rosemary chicken.

7A37B8A6-41FE-4DF8-92B6-D42170743C51-3318-00000346E4B60D80_zps3d83f28e

My brother has given me the nickname of “Crockpot Queen” and so I guess I’m living up to it by posting two crockpot posts back to back.  Just wait until I get to desserts and oatmeal!  Oatmeal in the crockpot is one of my favs….but that is another posting for another time.  SO….on the the bird.

0FB15B64-84E0-498B-8C56-07A717086134-3318-000003471AD2D48A_zpsccad0df6

A weekend or two ago, I went to see my mother who has a quaint garden in her backyard, and she sent me home with these cute little carrots.  I simply placed them on the bottom of the crockpot, salted the inside of the chicken, seasoned the outside of the chicken and threw in a few sprigs of rosemary on top.  Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours and THAT’S IT!!!   You don’t have to put in the carrots or any other type of veggie, but it helps keep the chicken from sitting in its own juices for too long.  If you work, this could even be done the night before and placed in the refrigerator.  In the morning, all you would have to do is turn it on.  I do want to mention that you could easily skip the rosemary and just do a plain chicken that could easily be shredded for chicken tacos, nachos etc.  Stop buying those grocery store rotisserie chickens and give your crockpot 5 minutes of your time.  (Don’t forget to save the chicken juices for cornbread dressing or chicken and dumplings!)

What you need:

One whole chicken

salt

rosemary

spices of your choice

Carrots or potatoes – cut into large chunks

Directions:

  • Place your chunks of veggies on the bottom of the crockpot
  • Salt the inside of your bird.  Place approximately 1 teaspoon of salt in your hand and rub the inside of your bird all around, then place it on top of your veggies.
  • Season the outside of the chicken.  I chose garlic salt and a little Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning.  Something with paprika will give it a good color.
  • Throw a couple of rosemary sprigs on top of the chicken.
  • Cook in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours, depending on how large your chicken is.  **Tip**  I always look at the legs of the chicken.  If the meat has started to shrink up from the bone on the legs, it is ready!

Crockpot Apple Cider

Standard
B387D9D3-BB50-423F-BF04-DCF1A3085211-1900-0000024B2E1D3752

This is just a quick post for an apple cider that can be thrown in your crockpot and left to simmer all day. This cider will not only taste great but fill your house with the scent of the cinnamony-fall/winter season.  It’s perfect for setting  it to simmer while you do some baking or curl up under a blanket to read a good book.

6BC5141E-2A63-4F4A-AF25-9FF55B078753-1900-0000024B377B0191

My mom used to make this for me years ago when I lived at home.  It was one of my favorite drinks for this time of year. I wonder if she made it because it’s delicious or because of all the vitamin C in it….. Or both!!!

FB82F6E6-2738-4A2F-BF2E-7F8954E39306-1900-0000024B417D77DA

Keeping colds away is a big priority this time of year. My baby boy was at home sick just recently, so I brewed some of this up.  He was running fever really bad!!  I figured lots of vitamin C couldn’t hurt!   (Yes, I know he  technically isn’t a baby anymore since he is six… But they will always be my babies!!!!)  I might just have to whip up another batch of this to make sure no one else gets sick!