Cupcakes and Charm Bracelets

Easy recipes for a busy life

Pork Chops with Apples.

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My husband and I moved 6 hours away from our parents nine months ago and though that is so close for some people it is much longer than the 2 hours we were before. So on days I’m feeling a little homesick I like to grab one of my mom’s recipes and make it for dinner. The smells, taste, and experience brings me back to my childhood and a much simpler time.  For this blog post I am posting one of my favorite quick recipes pork chops with apples! Plus it’s the perfect time to make this who doesn’t love apples at this time of year!

Here is what you will need! Plus flour that is not in the picture because I forgot about it whoops! Also i apologize for the blurry picture it was taken on my phone before i got the camera out.

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Now preheat your oven to 400 degree. Now cut up your apples. I personally used 3 pink lady apples (any apple works really though I have never used a green apple before) and I used my corer/skinner/cutter thing. So it sliced then apples and removed the skin. Now take those apple and mix them with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice. I wont lie I didn’t measure the cinnamon I just gave the bottle two good shakes. Now place those apples at the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan.

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You could probably make your own bread crumb mixture but shake and bake makes life SO easy! I used the pork kind. I rinsed the pork chops and put them one at a time in the bag with the crumbs and shook it. I placed them on top of the apples. I took some of the extra breading and added it to the top of the pork chops. Now they are ready to be put in the oven uncovered for 50 minutes. This time has always worked for me but you may want to start checking them at 40 minutes just to make sure the apples don’t burn.

This is what it looks like before it goes in the oven. (Please ignore my tiny pork chop on the end it was the last of the meat haha)

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I served this recipe with corn. Also it makes the house smell AMAZING!!!!

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So here is my mom’s recipe!

Pork Chops with apples:

4 cups chopped apples (I used 3 apples)

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

¾ teaspoons cinnamon

A dash of lemon juice (I use bottled)

4 pork chops

A package of shake and bake

  1. Mix the apples, brown sugar, flour, and lemon juice in a bowl. Once combined place at the bottom of a 9X13 greased pan.
  2. Coat the pork chops with shake and bake and place on top of apple mixture.
  3. Place uncovered pan in 400 degree oven for 50 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!
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Spicy beef and Veggie stew (it doesnt have to be spicy)

Its stating to feel like fall here in the pacific northwest and that’s makes me the happiest girl alive! I love fall!!!! I look forward to all things pumpkin flavored, changing color of leaves, and most of all cold weather! The other day I decided it was getting cold enough for soup (one of my favorite dinners) and so we planned to have it later in the week. I have TONS of soup and stew recipes so it can be hard to choose but I really wanted to use my crockpot because it had been awhile since I broke it out. So after some debate I decided on one of the easiest soups in my recipe box spicy beef vegetable soup. You can make this none spicy that’s what I do.

So get out your crockpot because this recipe is a keeper (my husband even said so!). First you want to brown your ground beef. I used the lowest fat that I could find but for those of you who enjoy ground turkey it would be great in this. As the meat browns it is time to just throw everything else in the crockpot! That’s my favorite part of using a slow cooker it takes very little time to just get everything in and cooking.

There are a few ingredients that I used that were different from what the recipe calls for. First I used an entire chopped medium onion because I find when I do not use a whole one I forget about it and it rots in the fridge also I love onion. For the spaghetti sauce I used my favorite brand Prego and used the garlic and herb variety. Im usually not a huge fan of jarred sauce but for this it totally works. There are also a ton of different mixed frozen vegetable combinations I probably spent five minutes looking at all of them and finally chose the country mix that had corn, green beans, and carrots but you can use any kinds you choose. I just used plain diced tomatoes because my hubby doesn’t love spicy things. I also leave out the celery and my reason for this is first I do not love celery but also this is A LOT of soup for a small crockpot and I think the celery would just put it over the edge. I didn’t change anything else but if you don’t like spice you may want to cut down the pepper a little bit.

I cooked it for the full eight hours and served it with a grilled cheese made with Colby jack (honestly it makes the best grilled cheese ever). You can serve it with whatever you want but honestly it could be a meal by itself its so filling! My husband and I had tons of leftovers so you really could make this a two day meal.

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I found the original recipe here http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-beef-vegetable-stew/detail.aspx

Spicy beef and vegetable stew

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef

1 cup chopped onion

1 (30 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti

sauce

3 1/2 cups water

1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed

vegetables

1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and

green chilies

1 cup sliced celery

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

1 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the vegetables are tender.

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Update and flatbread tacos!

 A lot has happened since my last blog post! After March of last year things became really busy. My husband and I were married on May 25th, 2013 and we went on our honeymoon to Hawaii! When we returned we both were in our final semester of our college career. I was getting a degree in child development and family relations while my husband was finishing his master degree in nuclear engineering. In December we both graduated and on Christmas Eve my husband accepted a job near Seattle, Wa! In January we moved to our new home. We have been here nine months now and are just starting to settle in. I decided it was time for me to start my blog up again. So my first post is super easy and amazing!

Flatbread Tacos! 

I found this recipe months ago on pinterest and thought it sounded amazing! I love tacos but the usual soft and hard shell was getting boring. I thought it was the perfect night for these easy tacos because i had spent all day waiting for the internet guy to come fix our connection. Also i needed to run to the store and my husband had his first hockey drop in about 30 minutes away from our house. So once i got back from the store and my husband came back from hockey (and of course showered!) it was around 8 and we just wanted to eat! 

The first thing I did was prepare my taco meat. I used 1lb for the two of us and we had leftovers. I also took this time to put out all kinds of taco toppings. I put out cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, salsa, and tomatoes. I would have put out lettuce if I would have remembered to pick some up at the store. I also think refried beans would be awesome on these. Really any toppings would be great!

All of the ingredients are taco staples but the one that makes the flatbread is refrigerated pizza dough. I noticed at the store that there were tons of choices for this but I chose Pillsbury regular pizza dough. After I opened the dough I cut it across horizontally and then split those pieces into three equal parts. The recipes then calls for you to roll it out thin and it does not take a lot of rolling at all I probably rolled each piece about twice with a rolling pin. If someone finds a better way please let me know. Doing it with my hands didn’t really help either. I warmed the oil over medium heat for a minute and a half before adding my first piece of dough. The first one took about a minute and a half on each side and all the ones following took a minute. The recipe instructs you to put the meat and cheese on the bread at this time. I did not do this instead I put them on paper towels for a moment to soak up all the oil and then into a 230 degree oven to keep them warm. This was my taco after it was all put together. 10403032_10154617623965397_927232258341526113_n

Overall this is a great recipe for a quick weeknight meal. I also think children would enjoy it though we have none to test that theory on. I found this recipe on Pinterest and this is the website you can find the original recipe: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/stovetop-cheesy-flatbread-tacos/

Stovetop Flatbread Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1-13 oz. package refrigerated pizza crust
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • KRAFT Shredded Taco Cheese
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Brown and drain ground beef mixed with garlic and taco seasoning.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Divide the refrigerated pizza dough into six equal squares and roll each square until it’s nice and thin. Place in the heated oil; cooking for one minute on each side or until nice and golden brown.
  3. Top flatbread with taco meat, and a generous handful of cheese. Allow the cheese a minute to melt before adding additional toppings.
  4. Fold in half, and enjoy!

 

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baked ravioli

This is one of the simplest recipes i have ever made and its really good! With just three ingredients dinner can be on the table within an hour! You can find this recipe here 

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/fire-roasted-tomato-ravioli-bake/9e8d859c-cc0b-49f3-bdd0-b6595abb8240?nicam4=SocialMedia&nichn4=Facebook&niseg4=BettyCrocker&nicreatID4=Post

Baked Ravioli 

INGREDIENTS

1 bag (25 oz) frozen cheese-filled ravioli

1 can (18 oz) Progresso™ Recipe Starters™ fire roasted tomato cooking sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Steps:

1.Heat oven to 350°F.

2.In 3-quart saucepan or 4-quart Dutch oven, cook ravioli as directed on package; drain. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange ravioli in baking dish. In same saucepan, heat cooking sauce to boiling. Pour sauce over ravioli in baking dish. Sprinkle cheese over top.

3. Bake uncovered 10 to 15 minutes or until hot in center and cheese is melted.

 

I followed the recipe almost exactly. I used frozen cheese ravioli and boiled it for three minutes. Mine was still cold in the middle. I then put it in my pan and topped it with 1 and a half jars of pasta sauce (i used whatever was on sale :)). I put the cheese on and left it in the oven for about 35 minutes. It was perfect! i served it with garlic bread and a fruit salad :) 

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Slow cooker meatballs.

I love meatballs but it is midterm week and all i want is a quick meal. This week i am trying a ton of slow cooker recipes i am very excited about! You can find the recipe here: http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2010/11/11/slow-cooked-meatballs/ 

Slow Cooked Meatballs

(serves 4)

For the meatballs:

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
½ cup fresh bread crumbs (1 slice of your favorite bread ground in a food processor)
1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons fresh minced basil
¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ cup milk

Remaining Ingredients:

½ large onion, chopped

16 oz (2 cups) of your favorite homemade or store-bought marinara sauce

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Instructions:

Combine all meatball ingredients in a large bowl using your hands. Do not overmix. Roll the mixture into balls roughly 1 1/2″ in diameter.

Scatter the onion over the base of your slow cooker, followed by the meatballs. Pour the sauce evenly over the top, making sure to coat everything.

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Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

I doubled this recipe because i am cooking for hungry boys! I used ground turkey and followed the recipe exactly from there. I cooked it on low for 7 hours and next time i will either add more sauce or cook it for less time because they kind of burnt. But wow these were awesome! I served them with spinach tortellini and garlic bread! 

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Baby Lasagnas!

I have wanted to make this recipe for months but was nervous to use wonton wrappers. I am not sure why but i thought this recipe would be really difficult turns out it was easy! You can find the recipe here: http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2010/11/04/petite-lasagnas/

Petite Lasagnas

recipe slightly adapted from Hungry Girl

(makes 12)

12 oz raw ground turkey

¼ tsp salt, divided

¼ tsp pepper

1 cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped mushrooms

14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tsp dried oregano, divided

½ tsp dried basil

1 ½ cups part skim ricotta cheese

24 small square wonton wrappers (the kind near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the produce dept)

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

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Preheat oven to 375ºF. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Crumble the meat and saute the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until the turkey is cooked through. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.

Add the crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp of oregano. Bring the pan to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, a pinch of salt and pepper, the remaining teaspoon of oregano, and the basil. Stir to mix well. Set aside.

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 wonton wrapper into each of the 12 cups, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides.

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Using half of the ricotta mixture, divide it among the 12 muffin cups. Next, using half of the turkey tomato sauce, spoon it evenly over each of the ricotta filled cups. Sprinkle with 2 tsp of mozzarella.

Gently press another wonton wrapper on top of the mozzarella layer.

Repeat the process by distributing the remaining ricotta, then the remaining tomato sauce, and finally the rest of the shredded mozzarella.

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Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Let the cups cool, remove them from the pan, and serve!

 

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* I tweaked this recipe ALOT. First of all i used the skim ricotta but i mixed in basil and garlic salt because it is what i had on hand. I also made my mom’s sauce recipe. I used a pound of ground sweet Italian sausage and mixed it with a jar of pasta sauce. Let that cook for a few minutes and add a little basil, garlic, and sugar. I am not sure on measurements because i never use them. Stir it up until it tastes good to you! I then assembled them like directed. I left them in the oven for 15- 20 minutes when they were brown i took them out. These were amazing last night but even better today as leftovers! 

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Warm Brussel Sprout Salad

My Fiance loves brussel sprouts and until i met him,i had never eaten one. Turns out they are amazing! I wish i cooked with them more often! Here is an amazing salad that has brussel sprouts, bacon, and gorgonzola. You can find the recipe here: http://www.thefitcook.net/1/post/2012/12/warm-brussels-sprouts-salad.html

Ps she has lots of great recipes!!!!

Warm Brussel sprout salad!

You’ll Need:
1 lb Brussel sprouts
3 ounces center cut bacon
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Here’s How:

1. Cut the stems off the Brussels sprouts, then cut the sprouts in half, lengthwise. Use your hands to pick apart the leaves, setting the compact cores to the side. Cut the bottom more to get more leafs!
2. Place the bacon in a large non-stick pan, then heat the pan to medium-high heat. Allow the bacon to cook until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a dish that’s been lined with a paper towel. When the bacon is cool enough to handle, break it apart with your hands.
3. Meanwhile, use a spoon to carefully remove some of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the leaves of the sprouts to pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until brown and wilted, about 2 minutes. Make sure you do this right away its not as easy if you let the pan cool down.
4. Add the orange zest and orange juice to the bottom of a large salad bowl along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the cooked sprouts to the bowl and toss. Top the salad with the gorgonzola cheese and bacon bits. Toss together when ready to serve. 
I didnt change this recipe very much. I used more orange juice than suggested and more bacon because who doesnt love bacon?!?!?! It was a good amount for the two of us last night and we loved it! below are pictures!
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Tomato basil soup with lots of veggies!

I could not find my camera so i do not have any pictures for this post. I found this recipe on Pinterest and had to try it! The best part is that it is cooked in a crock pot! You can find the recipe here: http://hugsandpunches.net/crockpot-tomato-basil-parmesan-soup-with-loads-of-veggies-snuck-in/

{into blender}

. 2 stalks celery

. 1 cup carrots {I used baby carrots since I had them on hand}

. 1 onion

. ½ good sized zucchini

. 1 ½ cup greek yogurt

{into crockpot}

. 2 {14 oz} cans diced tomatoes, with juice

. 1 ½  teaspoons Italian seasoning

. 2 Tablespoons dried basil

. 1 bay leaf

. 3 cups chicken broth

. 2 cups Parmesan cheese

. ¾ cup dry white wine {optional, but it added great flavor}

{roux}

. ½ cup flour

. ½ cup butter

. 1 ½ teaspoon salt

. ½ teaspoon black pepper

. directions .

{step 1} add celery, carrots, zucchini, onion, greek yogurt {& if needed, a little of chicken stock to blend easily} into blender

{step 2} pour chicken broth, dry white wine, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.

{step 3} pour blended veggies into crockpot, then add parmesan cheese. Stir.

{step 4} cover and cook on LOW for 4-8 hours, until flavors are blended.

{step 5} about 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Add additional basil and oregano if needed.

{step 6} cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve & enjoy!

I did not make a lot of changes from the original recipe. I did add a can of tomato sauce to the crock pot because i did not feel like it was tomato enough without it. I also used a lot more carrots and celery than it called for. I used my wonderful food processor for the veggies and decided not to use the zucchini but i did add a head of broccoli.. I cooked it for nine hours before making the thickener. I would highly recommend this recipe I loved how hearty and easy it was.

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BBQ Beef Cups!

I was looking for an easy recipe tonight since school is so busy and a few months ago i found this one that I just love! I would describe this recipe as like sloppy joes. You can find the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/barbecue-beef-cups/detail.aspx

BBQ Beef Cups:

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 cup bbq sauce

half of a white onion chopped 

2 packages refrigerated biscuit dough ( i used original Pillsbury) 

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease the cups of a muffin pan.

2.In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, cook beef until evenly brown. Drain excess fat. Stir in barbecue sauce and dried onion. I also add a little bit of cheese into the mix.  Simmer for a few minutes over low heat.

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3 Flatten each biscuit, and press into cups of the prepared muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes to the top of the pan. Spoon a portion of the meat mixture into each dough cup. I personally cook the biscuits alone in the tins for 3 minutes so they can set up. 

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4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 3 more minutes. 

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This is a really easy recipe and you can experiment with it and make it just the way you like it. I always add a little bit of garlic and cook a little longer than directed. I serve it with a simple green salad. 

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Taco Casserole

I love tacos but just having your basic taco gets old after awhile. Lee is not a huge fan of mexican food so i struggle to find mexican dishes he will eat. He and the company we had over tonight loved this! My mom got this recipe from a good family friend and i use to love having it for dinner! It also makes amazing leftovers that is if you have any!

Taco Casserole

1Ib ground beef

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

1 can kidney beans

1 1/2 t chili powder

5 cups crushed tortilla chips ( a little less than one bag)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef in pan and drain fat. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, and chili powder. Cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Put broken tortilla chips in greased 9X13 pan. Cover chips with chili mixture. Spread sour cream over mixture. Then sprinkle tomatoes and green onions over the sour cream. Top with cheese!

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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I followed this recipe almost exactly how it is written but we did use a little more sour cream and cheese. It turned out amazing!

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