Category Archives: My Cooking

Leftover Remake (1)

When I first left corporate America to be a full-time stay at home mom, I wasn’t the best cook.  Who am I kidding, I didn’t even like to cook.  I could throw a few things together and try to keep us from eating out all the time, but it wasn’t pretty.  The first couple months I started scouring the internet to find meals that my family would enjoy and even took to cable to find a cooking show that could help.  I mean it’s not like my mom didn’t try to teach me how to cook…I just wasn’t interested at the time.  Ask her she’ll tell you!

The first couple shows I started watching were repeats of “$10 Dollar Dinners” hosted by Melissa D’Arabian and “Semi-Homemade” hosted by Sandra Lee on Food Network.  Granted this was before I started moving us away from so much processed food stuff, but it helped me get started and showed me useful ways to make an almost completely different meal out of left overs.  It was a great help to a newly single-family income trying to eat on a much smaller budget.

So let me tell you about this dinner we had.  My husbands department had a Christmas lunch at work last week and he signed up to bring dressing and gravy because no one else had.  Normally I would have made at least the dressing from scratch, but I just ran out of time.  I found a really great organic stuffing mix at Sprouts so I thought I would try that.  I added sauteed celery and green onions and homemade cream of mushroom soup and baked the stuffing in the oven.  I also used a jar of turkey gravy and added extra stuff to that as well.

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Why I’m I telling you this…well even though people hadn’t signed up, there was more dressing at the luncheon than could be eaten so we had more than half a pan of stuffing left that I didn’t want to go to waste.  I’m not even sure what to call this, but my husband described it as the ultimate comfort food that he could graze on all day.  Now I take that as a super big compliment!! 🙂

So here’s what I did.  I took left over gravy and crumbled the stuffing into a large mixing bowl, added a bag of slightly thawed frozen mixed vegetables and a can of chicken and enough chicken broth to make it moist.  Mix this together with your cheese of choice; my husband requested Monterey Jack cheese this time.  Pop in the oven on 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden brown.  It was delish!!

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Over the past couple months of having my blog, one of the hardest things I’ve discovered is trying to take decent pictures of casseroles.  They look like mush on the plate and all together unappetizing in a picture.  It’s a good thing they are so yummy when you take a bite!

I’d love to hear from other bloggers how you take something that looks like mush and make it look so wonderful.

As we come closer to the end of 2014, I want to say a special thank you to friends and family and strangers that have reached out to me to inquire about of adoption journey.  I love sharing our story with people in hopes to encourage others to consider adopting a child.  Although it can be a stressful journey, it is one of the most beautiful journeys.  Without it, I wouldn’t have my beautiful son.

If you have thought about supporting us during our adoption journey, please take a moment to visit our fundraising page.  No amount is too small or to large, $5 to $5000 to help a family bring home our baby girl.  All donations are tax-deductible through the Adopt Together website.  www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

If you are enjoying the blog, please consider clicking on the ‘follow’ button and you will receive an email each time a post is made.  I also welcome any comments and will respond as quickly as possible.  And always feel free to share recipes with your friends and family on social media!

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Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Most often when I read a food blog, I tend to get mostly main dish recipes.  I wanted to change things up a little and share with you a simple and easy side dish.  Garlic Parmesan Green Beans!  I purchased a ton of green beans from the farmers market at the end of the summer so I would have some during the winter.

I love green beans and so does my family, but we don’t like the “squeaky” texture of green beans that often comes with frozen green beans from the store.  I took my fresh green beans, snapped them and washed them and let them dry before I packaged them for the freezer.  When I’m ready to use them, I pull them out and let them thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

For this side dish I added my green beans to a Ziploc bag with a squirt of olive oil and a couple pinches (depending on amount of green beans used and taste preference) of garlic salt and fresh grated Parmesan.  Close the bag and massage the bag to coat the beans in the mixture.  This step could also be done in a bowl and mixed by hand.

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Pour beans into a baking dish and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  The cheese should be melted and the beans slightly golden.

One of the things I enjoy most about being a first time mom is watching my sons imagination grow.  It changes on a daily basis and over the last couple weeks he’s really started to embrace the super hero “phase”.  We watched the Pixar movie The Incrediables a few weeks ago and it reminded me that a friend had gotten my son and my husband matching super hero capes as a gift.  Well we finally brought them out.  And now when he gets dressed in the morning that’s the first thing he asks for and wants to wear out is his cape.  He is truly my little super hero.  And incidentally, he loooves to borrow his Grammi’s glasses and sport those around.  I truly love this kid and love being his mom!!

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Sandwich Sliders

Sorry for being absent for several days.  Like I said the holiday hustle and bustle is in full swing.  I hope you are enjoying your holiday season so far.  We’re decorated and festive and almost partied out, but looking forward to Christmas day and the weekend with our families.  I’d love to hear about traditions you and your family have that you do every year.

For this post I’m bringing out one of my husbands favorites.  I’m not sure where I found the original recipe, but I’ve adapted it to fit with what my family likes.  Even my 2.5 year old likes these sandwiches!

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I typically make these sandwich sliders after we’ve had a meal of pulled pork or chicken because I always have left over Hawaiian Rolls.  I love these rolls, I just wish I could perfect the process to make them from scratch instead of having to buy them at the store.  I’ll share my steps below and then the full recipe at the end.

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Start off by cutting the Hawaiian rolls in half and place in a bakine dish (I used glass, but sometime use those aluminum foil pans if transporting).  Spread mayo (I used organic) on the bottom half. Normally I like to cook at least six of these, but we only had five left in the package so we settled for one less…

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I added one slice each of deli ham and turkey and topped it off with a slice of colby jack cheese.

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Add the tops of the rolls to the baking dish.  Now comes the yummy part.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, then add the mustard, onion powder, Worcestershire  sauce and brown sugar and mix until well combined.  (Sorry I did not get a picture of this step :/)

Now pour the yummy sauce over the sandwiches and spread evenly if necessary.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown with melted cheese.

I wasn’t even able to get a plated picture taken before my family was attacking the kitchen to devour the yummy goodness.

The fun thing about this recipe is you can make so many combinations; really any combination of cheese and deli meat you like would probably work.  The measurements for the sauce are also very much up to you and what taste you like best.  You could use different types of mustard, such as dijon or honey mustard.  If you like more of a garlic taste you could add / substitute garlic powder for the onion powder.  The best part is you can really make this recipe your own!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Hawaiian Rolls, cut in half
  •  Mayonnaise, to taste
  • 6 slices Deli Ham
  • 6 slices Deli Turkey
  • 6 slices Colby Jack Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

In a baking dish place bottom half of Hawaiian rolls and top with mayo.  Add lunch meat of your choice and 1 slice of cheese and replace the top half of the roll.

In a small microwave safe bowl melt the butter and then add the mustard, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Mix sauce until well combined and pour over the sandwiches.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until golden brown with melted cheese.

Hope you enjoy these yummy sandwiches as much as my family does.  Until next time 🙂

Don’t forget if you would be interested in helping to support our family during our upcoming adoption, here are ways you can 🙂  We are so thankful to those that have contacted us to let us know they are praying and for those that have donated to help us.  We’ve raised a little over $1,600 so far thanks to friends, family and even complete strangers.

  • Prayer.  If you are someone who prays, will you pray for us, for our family, for our future birthmom and for the child she is carrying and considering placing for adoption. Pray that our process will go quickly and smoothly.
  • Encouragement. Check-in with us. Help us to remember what the work and wait are for.
  • Financial. We are working to raise $25,000 to cover the costs (agency fees, legal fees, social workers, etc) involved with bringing our daughter into our family.  If you have the financial means to support our adoption, no amount is too small or too big; $5 to $5,000 – any and all funds will help!  100% of your financial support will go toward our adoption costs, thanks to Adopt Together. You can contribute by going to: www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger.  We have partnered with this great organization, Adopt Together, which is a non-profit specifically created to help families like ours raise the funds needed for adoption. They are an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) organization and donations are tax deductible.

 

I love breakfast!!

Breakfast is my most favorite meal of the day. So much so that we try to have breakfast for dinner several times a month. I usually always make some extra to be able to freeze and send to work with my husband so he can enjoy a yummy homemade breakfast.

What I make varies based on what I have in the freezer or just picked up from the store. We have breakfast muffins or casseroles, but this time I wanted to change it up.

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Breakfast burritos are fun and easy and can be made with a wide variety of ingredients. Here’s what I did for this batch.

Ingredients:
10 eggs (I used organic)
3/4 lb Chicken Breakfast Sausage (just discovered this at Trader Joes and it’s wonderful)
1/4 cup or less milk
1/2-1 cup shredded cheese
10 tortillas (normally make homemade, but found some decent ones at Central Marker)
Salt, pepper, dried cilantro; to taste.

Directions:
Cook sausage until just done. Don’t over cook as it will continue to cook with the eggs. Remove from pan and pat away excess grease.
Whisk eggs, milk and seasonings in a bowl.
Add eggs to the pan and begin to cook while adding the sausage. Once done add cheese and stir to mix. I put the lid on and turn the heat down and let the cheese melt while preparing the tortillas.
Slightly warm the tortilla in the microwave. This makes them easier to wrap up. Fill tortilla, wrap in cling wrap and allow to cool before storing in the freezer.

To eat, remove from freezer and thaw over night in the fridge and microwave at 50% for 2-3 minutes. If eating from frozen lessen the temp and increase the cooking time in the microwave.

Hope you enjoy.

Fresh vs Canned

Over the past year I’ve been working to eliminate the amount of items we buy in a can. We’ve all heard about the nasties that can be in aluminum cans that can then get into your food.

My favorite thing I’ve changed is refried beans. Buying beans in bulk is cheaper than reaching for the can and you can control what’s in your food. I’ll share with you how I make my refried beans and then my favorite thing to do with them after.

Here’s what you need:
1 medium onion,peeled and quartered
3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
3 garlic cloves,minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
7 cups Water

Directions:
Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook for 8 hours on low. Remove the beans and mash, adding water from the crock pot a little at a time until the beans are as smooth as you like them.

Now for the fun part. I like to take homemade refried beans and make baked bean and cheese taquitos with them.

Take 1 cup of beans and add the following:

1/2 tsp each cumin, chili powder, salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro

You can use corn or flour tortillas for your taquitos. I had some bigger wheat flour tortillas I needed to use up so I cut mine in half to use. Spread a thin layer of beans and top with shredded cheese. Roll and put in a baking dish. Spray the top with a little olive oil. Bake in the oven on 425 for 15-20 minutes until the tops are crispy. You can serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, whatever you like!

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I didn’t get to take a picture of the finished yummy since my family dove right into them 🙂

These can be made in batches and frozen for a quick lunch another day.

I’d love it if you would leave a comment on things that you no longer eat from a can but make homemade!

I’m off to celebrate this week with my family. I’ll be back with you next week!!

http://www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger

Happy birthday mom!

It’s been a couple days since I posted because I’ve been working on a special birthday surprise for my mom.

One of moms guilty pleasures use to be a Hostess Snoball. Since Hostess was bought by another company, the recipe is just not the same. So when I asked mom what she wanted for her birthday,she said a good tasting Snoball was all she needed. So that’s been my goal the last few days to find a comparable homemade recipe.

Although I was able to find several recipes, this is the one I choose. Thanks to From Away for the recipe.

It’s definitely not the marshmallow texture on the outside as the original but the taste is spot on.

Here’s a couple of pictures from my baking process. I had fun making these and can’t wait to share them with my mom. Happy birthday mama!!!

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Adoption News:

We found out this past week that we have officially been accepted into the infant adoption program. We submitted our fee and are now eligible to be matched with a birth mom. What an exciting time for our family.

We have been greatly blessed by the prayers, encouragement and financial support from friends, family and complete strangers. If you would like to read more about our story please see my earlier blog posts or check out our fundraising page.

Adopt Together fundraising

For those celebrating next week from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 3rd Cooking

I’m so excited about this week.  A group of moms that I am friends with has decided to participate in a freezer meal swap.  I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with to share.  For my contribution, I’m prepping a Chicken Tortilla Soup for the crockpot.  I’ve made this recipe in the past, but not from a freezer bag.  I just dumped all the ingredients in the crockpot fresh.  I’ve included the recipe below.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup (adapted from http://therealisticorganizer.blogspot.com/2014/01/organized-slow-cooker-freezer-meals.html)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 cans pinto beans, drained
  • 1/2 onion chopped – OPTIONAL
  • taco seasoning to taste (I use homemade from this recipe)

If making from a freezer bag, allow to thaw overnight or 24 hours in the fridge.

To Cook:
add 1 cup water or chicken broth
add Taco Seasoning
cook low for 4-6 hours

This past weekend and very good friend took me to a local Italian grocer in Dallas called Jimmy’s Food Store.  They have great fresh pasta that I just had to try.  Tonight we had their Pumpkin Tortellini with Victoria’s Vodka sauce for dinner.   The only word my husband and I had after dinner was YUM!!!  Even my 2.5 year old had several pieces of tortellini and asked for three helpings of organic spring salad mix.  I was one satisfied happy mama tonight 🙂

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www.adopttogether.org/babygeiger