Busy Day Dinners

Hubby and I tried out some new recipes recently, and we LOVED them!  I don’t know about you, but as the weather gets warmer, I don’t want to spend time in the kitchen so I’m thinking some easy recipes (a couple freezer meals and one super easy 3-ingredient recipe) are the way to go!  Check them out below.

20140326_174912

Mac & Cheese
Original recipe found at http://www.shemakesandbakes.com/1/post/2012/05/shells-and-white-cheddar.html (recipe below was altered)

2 c. milk
2 c. pasta (I used spiral pasta)
1 c. cheddar cheese (I used block cheddar)

Add milk and pasta to a medium saucepan on medium-low heat; let it simmer but do NOT let it boil!  Cook for about 20 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.  Remove from heat (or turn it down really low) and stir in the cheese until melted.  Add more milk if you’d like the sauce creamier.

Optional:  After cheese is completely melted, place it in a baking dish.  Add shredded cheese and breadcrumbs on top, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted slightly brown.  Add bacon or cooked chicken pieces to the mac & cheese for taste!

 

Crock Pot Sweet Garlic Chicken
Original recipe found at http://passtherecipe.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/crock-pot-sweet-garlic-chicken/

Chicken breasts
1 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice or lemon-lime soda
2-3 T. minced garlic
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. ground pepper

Mix all the ingredients together.  If freezing, place all into a freezer bag with chicken and freeze – or place all in the crock pot right away for same day use.

Once in the crock pot, cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

I served chicken over noodles as is.

Another option is to add all crock pot contents into a sauce pan on high heat. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into sauce pan and mix well.  Let the sauce boil for a few minutes or until it thickens into a glaze.  Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute or two.

 

Chicken Enchiladas
Original recipe found at http://elisebakes.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/freezer-chicken-enchiladas/

3 T. cooking oil
2 medium onions – chopped
1 green pepper – chopped
4 c. cooked chicken, shredded
2 packages taco seasoning
2 c. water
2 c. sour cream
1 jar salsa
20 8-in tortillas
3 c. shredded cheese, reserve 1 c. for topping
2 cans red enchilada sauce

Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions and green peppers until cooked.  Add chicken, taco seasoning, and water and simmer until most liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix sour cream and salsa.  Wrap tortillas in paper towel and microwave until soft.

Spoon 1/4 c. of chicken onto each tortilla.  Top with sour cream mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 1 T, reserving 1 c. for topping).  Roll each tortilla and place in a baking dish – I used two metal 9×13 pans.  Once the baking dish is full, pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  To freeze before baking, wait until the day of baking to top with enchilada sauce & cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

A Treat for Your Furry Friends!

Here at the Rouse house, we spoil our puppy Minnie – a lot! I mean, there are 4 or 5 toys on my living room rug alone right now.  She is one spoiled pup!

So in honor of our little four-legged buddies, here’s a snack that they will love – and it’s good for them too!

pbp dog biscuits

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
2 large eggs
3 T. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. oats
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 c. fresh pumpkin – or pumpkin with no additives

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt.  In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, and peanut butter.  Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and blend.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into 1/2 in. thick sheet.  Cut out with your cookie cutter of choice.  Bake 35-40 minutes.  Cool thoroughly – important for hardening – and enjoy!!

I know Minnie does🙂

20130527_164506

Breakfast in Bed: Homemade Apple Turnovers

There is just something about fall – picking apples & pumpkins, corn mazes, football games…I love it!  I especially love all the great baking that I can do…apple pies, pumpkin pies, and my latest find – apple turnovers!  I originally found the recipe on Pinterest, via Frugal Homekeeping’s blog.

20131020_155428

Look at those pretty apples!  My hubby and I went apple picking in early October, and we picked A LOT, so I was searching for creative recipes with apples.  We already have a great apple crisp & apple pie recipe, but didn’t have anything for breakfast…until now!

Easy Apple Turnovers

2 C peeled, finely chopped apples
1/3 C sugar
2 T flour
1/2 t cinnamon (more or less as you like)
dash of nutmeg
2 cans of refrigerated cresent rolls

GLAZE:
1/2 C powdered sugar
2-3 t water

Heat oven to 350.  Mix together first 5 ingredients; make sure the apples are well-coated in the mixture.  Separate dough into triangles (should be 16 total).  Spoon a rounded T of apple mixture into the middle of each triangle, and fold all sides up over the filling.  Place them roughly one inch apart on baking sheets.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Combine glaze ingredients & drizzle over warm rolls.  Serve & enjoy!!

20131020_104228

Don’t they look delicious?!  Definitely going to be a repeat-recipe here at the Rouse House!

 

 

Freezer Cooking: Round 2!

OK – how is it November already?!   Football season has come and gone, and I’m already into my basketball season – which means I don’t get home until 6:30 on a “good” night.  That, of course, makes dinner a real problem at the Rouse house, but never fear…freezer cooking is here!!🙂

This time, I went BIG….9 meals (made doubles of a couple recipes), a couple hours, and a LOT of dishes for dear hubby to wash (isn’t he great?!), and my freezer is packed.  I’m serious…it is PACKED.

IMG_335197773602386

So without further ado, here is my list of easy freezer meals:

Cream Cheese Chicken (4 servings)

4 chicken breasts
8 oz cream cheese
10.75 oz cream of chicken soup
1 packet Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients and freeze.  Cook in slow cooker on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 8-9 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over rice or noodles.

Barbecue Cranberry Chicken (4 servings)

2 lbs chicken breast
16 oz whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 c minced onion
1 c BBQ sauce

Combine all ingredients and freeze; cook in your slow cooker on HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-7 hours.

French Onion Soup (2 servings)

2-3 small onions, chopped
14 oz beef broth(1 can)
10 oz beef consomme (1 can)
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
French bread
Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese

Combine onions, broth, and consomme, and freeze.  On the morning of, add bag contents to the slow cooker along with dry onion soup mix.  Cook HIGH 4 hours or LOW 8 hours.  Serve in bowl with sliced French bread and top with cheese!

Root Beer Pulled Pork (4-6 servings)

2 lb pork tenderloin
12 oz root beer
18 oz BBQ sauce

Pour root beer over tenderloin in slow cooker.  Cover and cook LOW for 6 hours.  After pork is cooked, drain and discard root beer. Shred pork and place it in slow cooker with BBQ sauce.

Creamy Salsa Chicken (4 servings)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
10.75 oz cream of chicken soup
16 oz chunky salsa

Mix salsa and soup together.  Add chicken and freeze.  Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-7 hours.  Serve with rice, tortilla chips, or soft tortillas.

Mongolian Beef (4 servings)

1 lb stew meat
1 onion, thickly sliced
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c hoisin sauce
2 t olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1/2 c water
1/2 t ginger

Combine all ingredients and freeze.  Dump into slow cooker and cook LOW 6-8 hours.  Add water if cooking longer than 8 hours, and serve with rice.

Orange Teriyaki Chicken (4 servings)

4 chicken breasts
1/2 c soy sauce
3 T onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T olive oil
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t ground ginger
6 oz OJ concentrate

Combine all ingredients  and freeze.  On the day of: thaw completely and grill 4-6 inches from heat source for 35-40 minutes.  Serve with rice.

Chicken Enchiladas (4-5 servings)

1 1/2 T cooking oil
1 small green pepper, choppped
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 c sour cream
10 8-in soft tortillas
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 c shredded chicken
1 c water
1/2 jar of salsa
1 1/2 c shredded cheese

Heat oil in pan and saute onion & green pepper until cooked.  Add chicken, taco seasoning, and water; stir and simmer until most liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Mix sour cream and salsa.  Wrap tortillas in paper towel and microwave until soft.  Spoon 1/4 c of chicken onto each tortilla; top with 3 T sour cream mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 1 T, reserving 1 c for topping).  Roll each tortilla and place in baking dish.  IF FREEZING, stop here and freeze.  When ready for baking, pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

So, that was my adventure in freezer cooking!  I am definitely hooked on this and can’t wait to find more recipes.  How about you – what’s your favorite freezer cooking recipe??

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting: a coffee fanatic’s delight!

Dear hubby’s birthday happened recently, and I went a little “sweets” crazy – one dessert for him, one dessert for his work on his birthday, and one dessert for the family celebration.  My favorite of all three was definitely these cupcakes (originally found at Brown Eyed Baker’s blog)!  YUM!!!  This will definitely be a repeat recipe here at the Rouse House!

20130721_145425 (1)

 

FOR THE CUPCAKES:
1 1/2 t espresso powder
1 1/3 C flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 C strong brewed coffee
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter (room temperature)
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 C milk

Mix espresso powder with brewed coffee until dissolved; set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.  Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Beat butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add egg, beat until combined.  In a measuring cup, combine milk, vanilla, and brewed coffee mixture.  Slowly add flour mixture to bowl, alternating with coffee mixture, ending with flour mixture.  Beat well between each addition.  Pour into liners, bake 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

FOR THE FROSTING:
1 C butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 t espresso powder (or more, for taste)

Mix espresso powder with vanilla until dissolved.  Using the whisk attachment, whisk butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar a little at a time until incorporated.  Scrape bowl, beat at medium-high until fluffy.  Add espresso mix until blended! Frost cooled cupcakes – and enjoy!

I used my pretty new cake decorating tips to frost them- check out my handiwork above (forgot to snap more than one picture before they were all gone – OOPS!)….but I’m sure they would taste just as great with frosting lathered on with a butter knife🙂

 

Freezer Cooking

“You’ve seen it on Pinterest, You’ve seen it on Facebook, now you’re seeing it in the Rouse house!”
Ok, so it’s really not THAT exciting…but to me, it definitely was.  It was a “baby” attempt at freezer cooking for sure (only made four meals)…but freezer cooking nonetheless!  And I have to say – I’m hooked!

Finding new recipes that my dear hubby and I would both like was the hard part, but I found three good ones to start out with.  All in all, I made four freezer meals and did so in less than a half hour.  I’m on the search for new recipes already (so if you know of any – send them my way!!).

20130804_162832

The recipes that I did were Chicken Cacciatore, Mongolian Beef, and Orange Teriyaki Chicken.   We’ve already had the Orange Teriyaki Chicken & Mongolian Beef – and both were a huge hit!!

All in all, the prep work and bagging time took a half hour…and most of that was for chopping onions!  I also discovered that we must have a thing for garlic, as all three recipes called for garlic!  Thankfully we buy it by the jar (already minced) so that prep work was done for me.  I didn’t thaw my meat at all before adding it in.  I would recommend laying them flat on a cookie sheet or similar tray in the freezer so that they freeze flat.  On the morning of cooking, I just threw all contents of the bag into the slow cooker…I did not thaw the night before like some blogs recommend, and it worked fine.  Thawing the night before would make it all go easier into the slow cooker though – but we are not “on top of our game” enough to figure out the night before what we want for dinner.  I mean, we barely know what we want for dinner at 6:00pm on the day of – but hopefully this will solve that problem!😀

As my life gets busier in the next few weeks (coaching season is here again!), I know I’ll be thankful I have these.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying a peaceful evening at the Rouse house, listening to my new favorite song🙂  Good night world!

Screen-shot-2013-04-24-at-9.04.23-AM

Master Bedroom Revamped!

We did some work to our bedroom recently (new bed – KING SIZE) and painted the room, and wow – we LOVE the difference!   Can’t believe how much lighter the room looks.  We were a little nervous about painting the door a different color and weren’t sure how the colors would go…but we think it turned out awesome!  See for yourself…

IMG_20130803_223542

Bedding is from Target, and the new bed set is from Steinhafel’s.

Picture below:  Left – new bedroom, Right – old bedroom.  What a change!PhotoGrid_1375586815076

Delicious cake – sans oven!

Technically, it’s not cake…it’s even better than cake – it’s cake batter!!  And I swear – this is my new absolute hands-down favorite dessert.  These little cake batter truffles are easy to make  – and the best part is, no need to heat up the oven on a hot day.

Back story:  Malik’s birthday is this weekend and unfortunately our oven has been out of commission for about a month now.  I THOUGHT our oven would be fixed by now, but it’s not.  So I needed a back-up plan for his birthday treats and fast!  When I found this recipe by Six Sisters’ Stuff on Pinterest, I knew I had found the perfect fix!

PS – I doubled this recipe, as Malik informed me that his coworkers would definitely need more than the 24-30 balls that 1 recipe makes!  Plan accordingly🙂

TRUFFLE (aka the yummy goodness)

1 1/2 c flour
1 c yellow cake mix
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
3-4 T milk
2 T sprinkles
 

TRUFFLE COATING

16 oz almond bark (white candy melts – We used vanilla CandiQuik)
4 T yellow cake mix
sprinkles
 

Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on wax paper or aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet. Chill balls in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up.

While dough balls are chilling, melt almond bark in the microwave on 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a fork, dip truffles into almond bark and shake of excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished.
Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving. Makes around 24-30 truffles.

looks delicious!

Cake batter truffles – all finished…and WOW – they are amazing!

BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches

Ok, so it’s a little bit longer than a “snap” – but I swear they’re super easy!

Our oven is out of commission, and long story short – we can’t get it fixed for a while.  So, we’ve been coming up with creative ways to cook on the stovetop or on the grill.  Tonight’s venture – BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches.  A great friend of mine recently informed me that my beautiful yellow Kitchen-Aid can be used for more than just desserts – you can shred chicken!

Start off by boiling chicken; I used 3 medium-sized boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Put them in a pot and fill it with water so that the chicken is just covered.  Put it on medium-high heat until it boil, then turn it down & let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the insides are no longer pink (internal temperature of 170).  Then, transfer the boiled chicken to your Kitchen-Aid mixer.

use the Kitchen-Aid paddle to shred chicken

Using the paddle, turn the Kitchen-Aid on “stir” and let it work its magic!  Once chicken is shredded, add seasoning as desired.  I use mesquite seasoning, BBQ sauce, steak sauce & honey. The result is DELICIOUS!

BBQ sandwiches – YUM!

Bon appetit!

Meet Minnie Rouse!

It may be sooner than we expected, but Malik & I decided to become parents….

to this little furball!

our “baby girl” – Minnie

She’s about 2lbs (maybe a little less) and 12 weeks old.  She’s a blue & white chihuahua, and she’s adorable!!  She loves to play and be held and cuddle with her “mom & dad.”  She sleeps pretty good through the night but is pitiful & cries whenever we leave her.  But enough about her…I’m sure you’d all rather see cute pictures of her🙂

grrrr – I’m so tough!

Coming home for the first time

What a tired little pup!

She’s so playful – and cute!

She can’t sleep until her blankie is made into a ‘nest’