Black Friday Shopping


I finally came up with two things I can do tomorrow. One I already mentioned, wrapping presents, and the other is finally adding photos to our digital photo frame. I don't even know how long ago it was that my mom bought it for us or the number of times that Tom has asked that I add pictures to it, but I'm finally going to do it tomorrow.

However, I still don't have much to do tonight so I decided that I would recap all of my Black Friday shopping. For many years I was one of those people who scoured the ads weeks in advance, created a game plan for the items I needed, was out at the stores by 6 AM and stood in ridiculously long lines. This year, I still scoured the ads, but there was a bit of a problem.

We didn't need anything and either did anyone else. There wasn't anything so amazing cheap in any of the ads that I felt the need to wake up early and drive 35 minutes to get to the malls. Maybe its because we just got married and received practically everything from our registry. Maybe its because I'm lazy and since we live in the middle of no where I didn't feel like driving. Or maybe its just because we're older and don't need/want as much stuff as before.

So for once, I bought mostly stuff that I wanted. And I used gift cards to do most of it, so I didn't spend a ton of money which was really nice. Almost all of my shopping was done online, starting on Thursday afternoon since so many stores had online sales. Since Walmart was open on Thanksgiving I decided to venture out around 8 PM to pick up new cookie sheets and ramekins. When I saw just how empty our Walmart was, I decided I'd browse through the midnight deals ad and see what all there was. Of course, the inner shopper in me got to the best of me and I headed back out to Walmart at 11:30 PM for more items. Luckily for me, Walmart is less than a mile down the road.

Here's what I got from JC Penney:

I ordered the jewelry after finding the dress, although I have no idea where I'll wear it. The main reason I went to the JC Penney website was shoes and I ended up buying these:

Because I can never pass up a really good deal, I also purchased these things from JCP.

The blanket is for Gidget specifically. I'm tired of her stealing every blanket that I own and making it her own. The current one that shes taken from us is a dark blue chenille one. But she's had it for about two years now and even after repeated washings (and brushings of the cat) I still can't get all of the cat fur off it, so I'm going to replace it with the one pictured above in the linen color.

For my first trip to Walmart, I bought 3 of the cookie sheets and the ramekins.
I came home and then checked out Macy's website. We had gift cards from the wedding that I wanted to use.
 I bought two sets of the towels in a blue and green color similar to these.
 The skinny jeans were a random purchase. I needed $9 to get free shipping (saving $20) and the jeans were $14.
I'm really excited about this measuring cup/spoon set. It includes all of the really unusual measurements like 1/16. Neat!

It was getting close to midnight at this point so I ventured back out to Walmart and picked up:
 Every year Walmart has these 40 piece Rubbermaid set for $9 on Black Friday. This will be the second time I bought it to replace our current set. I don't know how I keep managing to lose the smaller containers but I'm determined to keep them for longer than a year this time.
 This is a fleece blanket and pillow set. I'm not sure if I want to give this blanket or the other one to Gidget, but for $6 I figured we'd get use out of it.
Most of these DVDs were $5. We don't need anymore DVDs and our current 5 shelf bookshelf holding them is completely overflowing, but I just couldn't pass them up for some reason. I bought the TrueBlood DVD for one of my friends. I even remembered to get a gift receipt in case she didn't want it or already had it, but I already managed to lose it. Oops!

After coming home from Walmart I was still wide awake so I checked out Kohl's to see what type of deals they had and ended up buying these shoes.
I had tried them on in the store about a week ago and had planned on buying them but Tom rushed me out as we still needed to eat before we went to see Harry Potter. You can't beat a pair of Nike shoes for $35. What's even better is I managed to find a 20% off coupon and free shipping so I only ended up paying $29.56 for them.

Then Tom decided to tell me what he wanted for Christmas and we went on looking for deals. I ended up getting him these:

Its a keyboard and mouse that are specific for gaming. I can't quite say that I get the logic in having a special keyboard and mouse for a game, but with as much as he plays the game, I figured why not. They both had great reviews and were both on sale.

Now I'm just patiently waiting for everything to arrive. I've already received shipment notifications from JC Penney, Amazon and Macy's.

Did you go out Black Friday shopping? What was your best deal?

Weekly Menu 11/28


I can't believe it, but I'm starting to get bored of being at home. I will have been at home for 5 days by the time I go back to work on Monday. Here's what I've done so far:
Wednesday - worked from home and got a TON of stuff done. I should have a really easy week next week.
Thursday- cooked for Thankgiving dinner, did some online shopping and went to Walmart at midnight for their deals.
Friday - some more online shopping, bought the Christmas tree, decorated the apartment for Christmas and cut up all of the vegetables for Monday's dinner.
Saturday - cleaned, washed clothes, and got a pedicure.

I still plan on making Tuesday's dinner tonight and pizza for dinner tonight. Since I've practically run out of stuff to do, I think I'm going to be super exciting and organize my closet. I might even wrap the Christmas presents I bought since I'm really that bored.

Here's whats for dinner this week:

Sunday - honey paprika chicken breasts with sweet potato fries and corn

Monday - crockpot potato soup

Tuesday - Emeril's sloppy joes

Wednesday - spicy linguine with shrimp

Thursday - pork loin with cranberry sauce with roasted red potatoes and green beans

Friday - beef and broccoli

Thanksgiving Sugar Cookies


Last Friday night I got it into my head that pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes and apple turnovers were not enough for dessert for my Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday and that I should really have Thanksgiving decorated sugar cookies.

Early Saturday morning I headed out to Walmart to pick up some pre-made sugar cookie dough. I was rather disappointed when I found that they were completely out of the refrigerated dough for sugar cookies. They had chocolate chip, butterscotch (?), peanut butter, snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin but not sugar! I bought a package of the snickerdoodle ones and figured it was worth a shot. I also ended up buying one of pre-made sugar cookie packages where you just add water.

This ended up being a bit more difficult of a task than I had planned because when I got home and looked through my 100 different cookie cutters collection from Bed, Bath and Beyond, I realized that I didn't have a turkey. A cowboy boot, the state of Texas and something that looked like a blob, but no turkey! Finally, I came across a cookie cutter of a hand and decided I'd just have to go with that. 

Thanksgiving Decorated Sugar Cookies
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2 packages sugar cookie (or snickerdoodle) refrigerated dough
cookie cutters in shape of your choice
1 batch royal icing
colored gel icing of your choice
Wilton #2 tip
pastry bag
Rolling pin

1. Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on the package.
2. If your cookie dough isn't at room temperature, microwave each package for 15 seconds.
3. Roll out the cookie dough and cut into shapes with the cookie cutters.
4. Place cut out cookies on a baking sheet. (I used my silpat on mine.)
5. Bake cookies according to package directions.
6. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cookies cool to room temperature (at least 1 hour.)
7. Make a batch of royal icing and separate into small bowls.
8. Add the colored gel icing of your choice to each small bowl and stir with a toothpick.
9. Transfer the royal icing to the pasty bag fitted with the tip. Trace the outline of the cookie or make your own designs.
10. Let the royal icing set on the cookies for at least 4 hours.

Herb Butter


I have a bit of a habit of overdoing myself. I figured since I was making two different types of rolls for our Thanksgiving dinner that I should also make my own herbed butter. Why? Honestly, I don't know. I guess because I'm kinda crazy and wanted some things that I could prep pretty far in advance that wouldn't take a lot of time.

Herb Butter
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Original
Yield: 1 stick
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    • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasonings
    • 1 tsp. dried basil
    • 1 tsp. parsley
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • a pinch of pepper

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until everything is incorporated together.
2. Place the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape to form a log.
3. Wrap tightly and stick in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. To make it easier to spread, let the butter come to room temperature first.

I completely forgot to ask anyone what they thought of this butter. I really liked it and thought it added a nice and unexpected touch to the rolls. On Monday I was rushing to find something to eat before my class and I decided to make a grilled cheese using this butter on the bread. It definitely kicked up a plain white bread and American cheese grilled cheese.

Sweet Potato Fries


You know how they say that every so many years your taste buds change? It must be that year for me. I could never stand the smell of pumpkin, much less eat it, and now I really like it. I had never tried butternut squash because I assumed it would be like pumpkin. I tried that this year and really liked it. So I figured that sweet potatoes had to be next.

I think part of the reason why I never found sweet potatoes appealing is that they're usually in a casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows. While I like brown sugar and marshmallows on their own, combining them with a potato, regardless of the fact that its a 'sweet' potato just did not compute in my brain and sounded horrendously disgusting. I may have tried sweet potato casserole once when I was a kid, but honestly, I don't remember.

Sweet Potato Fries
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Original
Servings: 6-8
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    • 4 sweet potatoes
    • 3 tbsp. olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Cut the sweet potatoes into "fries" trying to keep them about the same size.
3. Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the fries are soft.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum! I really wish I would have tried sweet potatoes before the end of November. These were absolutely delicious and I could have ate the entire plate myself! I definitely plan on making these as a side for dinner next week.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce


For years I would never get anywhere near canned cranberry sauce. The stuff is just scary looking. Its shaped like the can it was packaged in and it has the same consistency as Jello although it is not Jello. Plus its not very sweet. I know its not supposed to be, but when you combine the can shape, the wiggliness and the tartness, its just unappealing.

Last year when I hosted my first Thanksgiving I decided I was going to make fresh cranberry sauce. I wanted to see just what the difference is between canned and fresh. I followed a recipe that I found on All Recipes. It was okay, but I wasn't overly impressed with it. The recipe called for adding orange juice concentrate, which I did, but the measurements were way off and the cranberry sauce ended up tasted like red orange juice with cranberries in it.

When I found this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website, I knew that I needed to make it. I love pomegranates and I love pomegranate juice even more. I rarely buy it because of the price, but I had to make an exception for this recipe.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce
Source: The Pioneer Woman
Servings: 6
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    • 1/2 bag fresh cranberries
    • 8 oz. cherry pomegranate juice
    • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the cranberries from sticking.
2. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a bowl and stick in the fridge or on the counter until ready to serve.

DE-LISH-US! Everyone (well everyone who eats cranberry sauce) raved about how good this was. The cranberries and pomegranate juice go so well together. There wasn't enough leftover turkey from our meal on Sunday so I'm really excited for this Friday so I can try out a cranberry and turkey sandwich!

Honey Yeast Rolls


Once again, another bread that I made that just isn't pretty. I really don't know what I'm doing wrong but I'll just chalk it up to experience.

Honey Yeast Rolls
Source: Annie's Eats 
Servings: 12 rolls
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    • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast
    • 1 cup warm water
    • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 3 tbs. vegetable oil
    • 4 cups bread flour 
    • Glaze:
    • 2 tbs. butter, melted
    • 2 tbs. honey

1. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water. Add the salt, honey, egg and oil. Mix well.
2. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix until the dough becomes a sticky mass. Switch to the dough hook and with the mixer on low speed, add the remaining cup of flour.
3. Continue kneading the dough at a low speed for about 8 minutes. I need to scrape the dough off the hook about half way through. The dough will be smooth and elastic.
4. Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turn it once to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours. The dough will have doubled in size.
5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
6. Punch the dough down and divide into 10-12 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet evenly spaced. (Annie used a round baking dish. I think it made them look a lot prettier, but I don't have one.) 
7. Cover the dough and let rise for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 400.
9. Mix together the melted butter and honey. Brush the tops of the rolls.
10. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm.

I just had to try one of these before I served them to everyone. They are SOOOOO good!

Thanksgiving Menu


Tomorrow I am hosting a small Thanksgiving dinner for about 10 people. My aunt is doing the turkey and the stuffing, my mom is bringing me ingredients and I am doing the appetizers, side dishes and desserts.

Here is the menu:

Sugar Coated Pecans
Veggies and Dip
Tastefully Simple Cheese Dip
Ina Garten's Parmesan Crackers


Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Sour Cream
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Fries

Garlic Knots
Honey Yeast Rolls
Thyme Crescents

Butters and Sauces:
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce
Herb Butter

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes
Apple Turnovers
Decorated Sugar Cookies

In the next few days I'm going to blog as many recipes as possible and I'll come back and link them from this post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Weekly Menu 11/14


So would you believe after making that really long (and still not complete) list of meals I wanted to try, I only picked two of them for dinners next week? Part of the reason is because Tom requested spaghetti and meatballs in the crock pot again and I'm curious to try browning them first. Another reason is because I'm making chili tomorrow and my freezer is pretty full so we need to go through leftovers quickly.

Sunday - crock pot spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread

Monday - chili 

Tuesday - cheddar and cracker chicken with noodles and parmesan roasted broccoli

Wednesday - beef teriyaki

Thursday - spicy linguine with shrimp

Friday - SUSHI!

Let me just explain the complete and necessary need for the capitalization for Friday's dinner. Almost a year ago, we left the comforts of Baltimore and moved to the middle-of-nowhere Maryland. Being that we're still in the state that's pretty popular with seafood, I assumed that of course there would be decent seafood and sushi places here. Ha! The closest place is over 30 minutes away from us in Wilmington, DE. The two places that were comfortable getting sushi...well, one is over an hour away in Timonium and the other is 2 hours away in Rehoboth, DE.

My next thought was that I'd just learn to make sushi. Well, just another issue with living in the middle of no where is that the grocery stores don't carry unusual ingredients. Hell, I can hardly find arborio rice to make risotto and attempting to find things like bamboo mats, Nori and Wasabi are damn near impossible.

When we were on our honeymoon, we wandered into the local Hatteras Island grocery stores and believe me, I was more than shocked to find that they carried Nori, pre-made sushi rice and wasabi. I bought them immediately. But, I still needed a bamboo mat. I thought about just ordering one online and even had the link to one from amazon up on my computer for over a week before I realized my next issue. There isn't anywhere I could buy fresh fish.

Finally, today I was able to solve both problems. On a recommendation from a Knottie, we checked out a new grocery store. Not only did I feel I could completely trust their fish for sushi, but they carried bamboo mats. I decided against buying the fish since it would be over a week old and decided I'd make California and Philly rolls instead.

Next time though, I'm buying fish and making some 'real' sushi! I can't wait!

Menu Planning/Recipes to Make


I really enjoy planning the menu each week but I have this horrible problem of having tons and tons of ideas on Tuesday or Wednesday and then completely forgetting them by the time that Friday rolls around and I actually plan the menu. I've even tried writing them down or emailing them to myself but for whatever reason, they still never make it onto the list.

In the past two weeks I've probably printed out a good 40 recipes that I want to make. 40! That's 8 weeks worth of dinners!! And for whatever reason, I know I won't end up making half of them. So I've decided that I'm just going to list them all here as Recipes I'd Like to Make. Then when Friday rolls around and I'm flipping through my recipe binder grumbling to myself that I have no idea what to make, I can just come back to this post and cross some items off the list. It's not like I can lose an entire blog (knock on glass now that I said that!) so I should be good!

From Emeril's 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast
1. Pan Roasted Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms and Cherry Tomatoes
2. Gaaahlicky Sizzling Shrimp
3. Steak Au Poivre
4. Spicy Pork Stir-Fry with Green Beans
5. Mushroom-Smothered Steaks
6. Oven Crispy French Fries with Paprika-Parmesan Salt
7. Three-Cheese Baked Macaroni
8. Shrimp and Linguine Fra Diavolo
9. Green Onion Rice Pilaf
10. Crispy Pan-Roasted Chicken with Garlic-Thyme Butter
11. Sloppy Joes
12. Shrimp and Corn Chowder
13. Shrimp Etoufee

As you can see already, this is going to take me quite a bit to go through. Confession: As soon as I get a cookbook, I go through it and mark all of the recipes I'd like to make. Then I promptly file it on the shelf and completely forget about it. :( Also, this will probably become an on-going list as I make a serious effort to go back through those cookbooks and list the recipes on here. Besides, if I don't start making anything from the list, ya'll will yell at me right? (say YES!)

1. Garlic Ranch Chicken (Joelen's Culinary Adventures - JCA)
2. Chicken and Mushrooms with Balsamic Cream Sauce (JCA)
3. Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken (All Recipes - AR)
4. Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos (JCA)
5. Cheddar & Cracker Chicken (JCA)
6. Jerk Chicken and Mango Cilantro Relish (JCA)
7. Smokey Southwest Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (AR)
8. Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
9. Arroz con Pollo
10. Cajun Chicken Pasta (Pioneer Woman - PW)
11. Ranch Style Chicken (PW)

1. Italian Pork Roast (JCA)
2. Maple and Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin (JCA)
3. Sesame Pork Roast (AR)
4. Pork Loin with Cranberry Sauce (With a Cherry on Top - WCT)
5. Glazed Pork Tenderloin (AR)

1. Brazilian Shrimp Soup (JCA)
2. Spicy Linguine with Shrimp (from a Giada recipe)
3. Crab Rangoons
5. Seared Sea Scallops (AR)
6. Gumbo
7. Ahi Tuna
1. Boeuf Bourguignon (Julia Child)
2. Braciole (Alton Brown - AB)
3. Easy Slow Cooker French Dip (AR)
4. Cuban Ropa Vieja (AR)
5. Beef & Mushroom Stir Fry (JCA)

1. Crockpot Potato Soup
2. Portobello, Broccoli and Red Pepper Melts (Annie's Eats - AE)

From Barefoot Contessa - Back to Basics
1. Parmesan and Thyme Crackers
2. Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
3. Lobster Corn Chowder
4. Parmesan Toasts
5. Truffled Filet of Beef Sandwiches
6. Roasted Turkey Roulade
7. Coq Au Vin
8. Company Pot Roast
9. Parker's Beef Stew
10. Herb-Marinated Loin of Pork
11. Bay Scallops Gratins
12. Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter
13. Confetti Corn
14. Orange Pecan Wild Rice
15. Garlic Ciabatta Bread

I still have 4 cookbooks and all of my Google Reader starred items to go through. Yeeaaaahhh, this is going to be one long list!

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites


Some time last winter I attempted to make my own soft pretzels. I found a recipe on and followed it exactly. I don't know what happened but somewhere during the baking soda bath, my pretzels lost their pretzel shapes and turned into what Tom affectionally called "piles of dog poo". Regardless of what they looked like, I decided I would still stick them in the oven to see what happened.

Unfortunately, they just ended up looking like golden brown piles of dog poo. Needless to say I was a bit hesitant to make this recipe. Yeast still scares me a bit because I feel like I never know if it will go along like the recipe calls for or just do its own thing leaving me with strange inventions like piles of dog poo.

But, since this recipe came from Annie's Eats and I've never had a problem with any of her recipes before, I figured it was worth a shot.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Pennies on a Platter
Servings: approximately 40 bites
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Dough Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 tsp. instant rise yeast
    • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 cup warm milk
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 6 tsp. - 1/2 cup all purpose flour
Filling Ingredients:
    • 8 slices of thick cut deli ham, chopped
    • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
    • To turn into pretzels:
    • 6 cups water
    • 4 tsp. baking soda
    • 3 tbs. melted butter
    • salt

Dough Directions:
1. Combine the yeast, brown sugar, water, milk and 2 1/2 cups flour in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until dough forms. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add in flour in teaspoons until the dough is no longer sticky. I ended up using 6 tsp. but it will vary.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
3. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough. Separate into 4 evenly sized pieces. Using more flour if necessary, roll out each piece of dough to a 12x4 rectangle. I can never get dough to the correct measurements so two of my pieces were closer to 5x10. Turn the dough until the long end faces you.
Filling Directions:
1. Make a line of ham and cheese along the edge of the dough closest to you. Roll the dough up tightly into a log.
2. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
3. Slice into 10-12 pieces and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Pretzel Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 4 tsp. of baking powder and lower the heat until gently boiling.
3. Add in the pretzel pieces, about 10 at a time. Leave them in the water for approximately 20 seconds, flipping them over once. Transfer back to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzel bites.
4. When complete, bake the pretzel bites for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Brush with melted butter and season with salt.

These were really, really good. Based off the color in the picture, I could have left them in the oven longer, but we were starving and all of the other appetizers were done. This is a pretty time consuming process, especially with making other appetizers, so next time I might try using crescent rolls instead to speed up the process a bit.

Onion Rings


Including the onion rings in dinner tonight was accidental. Last week we had pulled pork sandwiches and we were supposed to have onion rings with them, but Tom didn't wake up from his nap until I walked in the door and I had my class that night. So the nicely sliced onion rings hung out in the fridge until today.

I looked through all of the recipes on before I finally decided on this one. It still seemed like something was missing, but not having made onion rings before, I wasn't sure. I think they turned out pretty well, but I don't know how to get the coating to stick to them evenly.

Onion Rings
Servings: 15-20 rings
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    • 1 large vidalia onion, cut into rings
    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. pepper
    • 3 egg whites
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 tsp. vinegar
    • oil for frying

1. In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine the egg whites, milk and vinegar.
2. Dip each onion ring in the wet mixture then the dry mixture. Repeat so each onion ring is coated twice.
3. In a large skillet, add just enough oil to cover the bottom. Add the onion rings in batches, cooking about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
4. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to let dry. Serve immediately.

Twiced Baked Potato Skins


I had originally planned on just making potato skins, but I felt bad throwing away all of the extra potato that is scooped out, so I decided to make it a combination recipe.

Twice Baked Potato Skins
Source: A Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings: 8
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    • 4 baking potatoes
    • 1/4 cup cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 tsp. butter
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, olive oil
    • Toppings: sour cream, bacon bits, and chives

1. Bake the potatoes in the oven or microwave. I use the microwave since it takes less time. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and let cool.
2. Scoop out as much of the potato as you can without breaking the skins. Put in a small bowl.
3. Preheat the oven to 450. Place the potatoes skin side up on a baking sheet covered with foil. Drizzle olive oil over the skins and brush to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Bake the skins for 10 minutes.
4. In the bowl with the potato, add the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, butter and milk. Mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and flip over. Fill the insides of the potatoes with the potato and cheese mixture. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
6. Top each potato with sour cream, bacon bits and chives.

By using the potato, these are insanely filling. I could have just had a few of these for a meal!

Stuffed Jalapenos


Last week I flipped through my recipe binder over and over again trying to come up with ideas for dinner. After looking at chicken and beef recipes way too many times, the genius idea to make a dinner of nothing but appetizers came to me. I figured it would be a nice way to see which ones I wanted to make for dinner without having to use up every available weekend to make them all.

I decided on Stuffed Jalapenos, Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites, Twice Baked Potato Skins and Onion Rings. Each item will have an individual post for easier searching access.

Stuffed Jalapenos
Source: All Recipes
Servings: 12
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    • 6 jalapenos
    • 1/4 brick of cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
    • salt and pepper
    • bacon bits

1. Cut the tops off of the jalapenos and then slice lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and membranes.
2. In a small pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the jalapenos and boil for 8-10 minutes. This will reduce the heat from the jalapenos.
3. Drain the water and let the jalapenos cool on a plate. Once cooled enough to touch, dab with a paper towel to remove excess water.
4. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a small cookie sheet with foil. Arrange the jalapenos side by side and bake, open side up, for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and Worchestershire sauce until combined.
6. Remove jalapenos from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Scoop approximately 1 tsp. of cheese mixture into the jalapeno. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Garnish with bacon bits.

These taste like jalapeno poppers without the breading. The first time I made them I wanted something like a jalapeno popper, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of frying them.

Cost: 6 jalapenos $1.03, 1/4 brick cream cheese $0.29, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar $0.25 Total Cost: $1.57
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