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Easy Beef Stew

23 Jan

-2 large potatoes, peeled & diced
-1 small bag baby carrots
-1 cup chopped onion
-2 lb stew meat
-Dried parsley
-Italian seasoning
-Garlic powder
-Beef stew mix
-3 cups water

01. Heat large pot over medium-high heat.

02. Add diced potatoes & cook three minutes:

03. Add baby carrots & cook three minutes:

04. While potatoes & carrots are cooking, chop onion.

05. Add onion:

06. Cook vegetables two minutes longer, add stew meat & seasonings (parsley, Italian blend, & garlic powder):

07. Cook ingredients until stew meat is browned.

08. Add beef stew mix & water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, simmer 45 minutes or until meat is tender:

09. Serve over rice, salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!

This recipe is so super easy & quick to make. Literally I prep my ingredients as other things cook & cleanup is simple & done in less than half the cook time. Thumbs up to my mother-in-law for this one.


Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes

23 Dec

So, tomorrow is my office Christmas party. We see patients until 11:45, then as soon as the docs are done we all file out in the waiting room & eat, play games, & do our final Kris Kringle exchange. The docs buy the main dish (which this year is Zea’s grilled chicken & BBQ ribs.. YUM) & we pot luck the rest. I decided to bring brownies, but since I knew I was going to be baking them after work I didn’t really want to do them from scratch. So I decided on a box of Pillsbury Cheesecake Brownies. Two of my favorites mixed together, totally has to be awesome.

Then I got home tonight, & realized “OH NO!” because I had brownies still in my brownie pan. There’s no way I was shoving them down my throat all at once, & I didn’t feel like dirtying another plate anyway. My decision? Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes, & I could just cut them in half to make more servings. I doubt most of the office would eat them anyway, we seem to have some very picky eaters & very few cheesecake lovers. Here was my process.

I started with all of the usual ingredients. I figured I would do a smidge of decorating with Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting & some chocolate sprinkles.
CB Ingredients.

First step was to preheat my oven. The box says 350 degrees, but my oven is wacky & electric so I always do 25 degrees lower. I also had to use some baking spray on my cupcake pan. Since I was cutting in half, the brownie mix had to go directly into the individual cups with no liners.

Next step was to mix my brownie mix & cheesecake mix (for some reason I had a brain fart & only took a photo of the brownie mix – not that you’re missing much. haha.):
CB mix

Then I had to pour my brownie mix into the pan, & spoon cheesecake batter on top of the brownie mix:
CB mix in cupcake pan

The box then tells you to run a knife through to create swirls. I was unsure of how this would work, since I was doing individual brownies as opposed to a full pan. So, I started in the middle and moved my knife in a swirl pattern such as the following:
Swirly pattern

This was the outcome (you will notice I ran out of batter before I could fill the final cup):
CB swirl brownies

Pop them into the oven:
CB in oven

Cooking time was somewhere between 15-20 minutes, I’m not sure of the specifics. I just kind of checked them every now & then. After I took them out, I used a knife around the edges of the pan for easy removal & used the same knife to cut the brownies in half. I put them on my pretty glass platter, and use my Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting & chocolate sprinkles to decorate some of them. Here’s my finished products:
Finished CB

I am having a really, really hard time not eating a whole brownie right now. I love brownies. I love cheesecake. They are my two major weaknesses. I could literally eat a whole pan or cake all by myself, in one sitting. Luckily, my husband helps with that little problem. My brownies up there are far from professional, but I bet they taste AWESOME.

Just sayin’

19 Dec

The best Sunday breakfast EVER is buttered toast with strawberry jelly & cold stone hot cocoa in my snowman mug.

Strawberry Toast & CS Hot Cocoa

Fried Ravioli a la Stacey

18 Dec

So back when a group of us SG’s did the 1st Change Your Life Challenge, Stacey over at Every Little Thing posted her recipe for Toasted St Louis Raviolis.

I am ALWAYS looking for new recipes, because my husband is hard to please. He really doesn’t like to try new things & can be pretty picky. So, today, we ventured into the word of Ravioli. I tweeked the recipe, so that I could use thing we had in the kitchen already (if you look at Stacey’s recipe vs mine she uses different bread crumbs, & used garlic powder, whereas I used paprika).

The results? SO GOOD. Hubby said it was “pretty good”, which is saying a lot coming from him. If he doesn’t like something, he’ll take two bites & put it down. But he actually ate it ALL this time. SCORE! Below is my recipe, and I’ll include a link to the original recipe at Stacey’s blog at the very end of my post. (:

Fried Ravioli

1 package of 4 Cheese Ravioli
1 cup mixed shredded Italian cheese. I used Parm & Romano.
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups Progresso Italian-style Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp Paprika
Olive Oil, for frying
EVOO, for drizzling
1 Jar Classico Spicy Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

Measurements are fluid, depending on the flavor you are going for & also for how many raviolis you’ll be making. Also, you can use any type of ravioli (such as meat filled, or spinach & cheese), cheese (think Asiago, Mozz, etc), bread crumbs, & seasoning. I just used what I already had on hand. Also, in the picture below you’ll see a cup with angel hair pasta noodles in it. This is because I wasn’t sure if JUST the ravioli would be ok with my husband, so I wanted it on hand just in case.


First step was to boil my raviolis. The packaging said to boil for 7-9 minutes, but I didn’t want them to be overcooked once fried so instead I boiled them for 4 minutes. While the raviolis were boiling, I did three things. 1. I set up my frying station by mixing my eggs & my milk in one bowl, & my shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, & paprika in another. 2. I fixed my salad we would be eating before the raviolis. 3. Preheated the olive oil so it would be ready for frying.

Boiling Raviolis

Frying Station

After the raviolis were done, I drained them & drizzled with EVOO to prevent sticking. (As suggested by Stacey). I then went to my frying station & dipped them in my milk/egg mixture & then coated them with the bread crumb mixture.

Coated raviolis

Now it was time to fry. So, into the olive oil the raviolis went. While they were taking their time cooking, I poured my tomato sauce into a small sauce pan to heat it. The only thing I wish I had was a deep fryer. It would have taken much less time to fry more at one time, as opposed to the 6-10 I was able to in our skillet.

Frying Raviolis

I let the raviolis cooks for two minutes on each side, or until golden brown on each side. Then I used a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the oil & into a bowl lined with paper towels (to soak up the extra oil).

Cooked Raviolis

By this time, my sauce was heated so it was time to eat! Unfortunately, it was at that exact moment that I got a random craving for Coca-Cola (which I rarely get, I try to stay away from soft drinks). Good thing we live 2.5 seconds away from a gas station. We left the sauce on simmer, and put the raviolis in the microwave while we ran down there to pick up my Coke. When we got back, the raviolis had cooled just enough to eat & the sauce temp was perfect! This trip took a grand total of 5-7 minutes, just for reference. Below is the finished product + my salad, which was comprised of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, & bacon bits. In my bowl I added shredded carrots, shredded Romano cheese, & spicy Ranch dressing. Hubs had his with Italian dressing.

Finished Raviolis with Sauce!


The whole process time took about 30-45 minutes, mostly because I could only fry a small amount of ravioli at a time. I assume it would have taken roughly 20 minutes if I had the deep fryer instead.

Also, I have a solution to Stacey’s “getting your hands dirty”. If you look at my photos, my frying station with the bread crumbs was in a tupperware bowl. If you put your bread crumb mixture in a tupperware bowl with a top, you could use a slotted spoon to move raviolis from the milk/egg mixture to the bread crumbs, put the lid on, & shake. Use another slotted spoon to move from bread crumb mixture to your frying oil. (:

Here is the link to Stacey’s original recipe. Enjoy!