Category Archives: Lunch/Dinner

Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Cupcake is 2+ months old & growing like a weed! It’s very satisfying to look at her double chin & chunky legs & know that I did that.

Thankfully breastfeeding is going very well with little intervention from me, but every now & then I’ll drink some Mother’s Milk tea or malta to ‘help’ my supply. I haven’t actually had any supply issues, but eating yummy galactagogues can’t hurt.

What’s a galactagogue, you ask?

Milk

Do galactagogues really work? It’s debatable. I am not a doctor or a lactation expert, so please consult a professional if you are having any issues breastfeeding. The list of foods classified as galactagogues is long & includes lots of healthy & delicious foods. A lot of very common foods are on it, so there’s a good chance any breastfeeding mom is already consuming at least some.

wp-1489159609744.jpg

I’ve also been drinking this shake from time to time. It’s a nice treat between meals. This shake has ground flax seed & puffed wheat, two of the aforementioned galactagogues. Ground flax is not just good for lactation – it’s full of omega 3 & fiber. I’ve been putting it into all sorts of things from drinks to baked goods & even pizza. The shake also has peanut butter for protein & a packet of chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials. I’ve made similar shake recipes with cocoa powder instead, but the Carnation stuff is much tastier & full of vitamins. Now, this isn’t exactly a health food. I called it a shake instead of a smoothie for a reason! I used sweetened puffed wheat & regular Carnation stuff, but you can use unsweetened puffed wheat & no-sugar-added Carnation to cut down on the sugar.

wp-1489159402899.jpg

One packet of the breakfast powder makes 2 servings of this shake, so I either share with my husband or blend everything but the ice together & save half in the fridge to blend later.

Is this shake going to help with breastfeeding? I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you it is tasty & fun!

Nursing Mommy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Makes 2 servings
  • 2 Tb Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tb Flax Seed
  • 1 cup Puffed Wheat
  • 1 packet Chocolate Carnation Breakfast Essentials
  • 1 cup milk
  • ice
  1. Blend all ingredients except ice together for a few minutes.
  2. Add ice, blend until desired consistency.

 


Even though I’m posting more intermittently than ever, I was touched to see this:

100 followers

Thank you for all the follows ❤

Boxed Mac & Cheese Hack

A while ago my mom shared a genius easy weeknight dinner with me.

It’s so ridiculously easy that I’m almost embarrassed by how short this post will be.

wp-1474049543202.jpg

Yup, that’s right. It’s a boxed mac & cheese hack.

You might be thinking, “OK, so you add some vegetables to cooked mac & cheese. That’s hardly a hack.” The truth is it’s even simpler than that, & all you have to dirty is one pot plus the colander.

As the macaroni noodles are boiling, you add FROZEN vegetables right to the pot. Strain like usual, & add the ingredients for cheese sauce as you normally would.

THAT’S IT!

wp-1474049549529.jpg

It’s super versatile. Use any kind of frozen vegetable mix you like!

Delicious, fast, EASY weeknight dinner.

Frozen Veggie Boxed Mac

  • 1 box mac & cheese + ingredients needed for cheese sauce
  • 1 bag frozen vegetable mix
  1. Boil macaroni noodles according to package instructions. Add frozen vegetables. Strain.
  2. Put noodles & vegetables back in the pot & make cheese sauce according to package directions. Serve & enjoy!
 

 

Anthony’s Famous 1,000 Island Salad

I’m 15 weeks along with my little baby & finally feeling more energetic! Blogging will probably be more sporadic going forward – I don’t foresee myself blogging a ton with a newborn next year! But writing & sharing recipes is really important to me.


 My husband introduced me to a wonderful salad combination. So wonderful that whenever one of us says, “Do you want salad for dinner?”, this is the one we are talking about.

wp-1469889710562.jpg

As far as salads go, this one isn’t very fancy. But all the flavors work together beautifully. Tangy olives, crispy bacon, sharp red onion, & buttery croutons! Throw in some shredded cheese & top it off with 1,000 island dressing – that’ it. That’s the recipe. Well, with lettuce, of course.

wp-1469889722041.jpg

We used pre-bagged salad mixes, usually ones with carrots for extra vegetables. We always make our own croutons – toast some sliced bread with butter, Italian seasoning, & garlic pepper. Much better than store bought. They come out toasty but still a little soft.

wp-1469889727755.jpg

I didn’t say it was the healthiest salad around, but bacon has protein, cheese has calcium, & the olives & onion have vitamins. It’s a full meal.

The best part about this salad is how easy it is to construct. From assembly to eating in minutes. This one is definitely staying in the rotation for busy nights with the baby coming soon!

Anthony’s Famouse 1,000 Island Salad

  • 1 pre-bagged salad mix
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives
  • 3 slices of bread for homemade croutons, or a handful of pre-made croutons
  • butter & seasoning for homemade croutons
  • 1,000 island dressing
  1. Cook bacon. Crumble & set aside.
  2. If making your own croutons, toast bread with butter, garlic pepper, & Italian seasoning. Cut into cubes.
  3. Chop the red onion & cut the olives in half. Pour into a large bowl with salad mix.
  4. Add bacon, cheese, croutons, & dressing. Toss & enjoy!

Burnt Chicken (honey Italian chicken tenders)

In college my friend, Frank, & I used to make dinner together all the time. He made these delicious chicken tenders one night & I have been hooked ever since. The recipe is incredibly simple – just a few ingredients that marinate into the chicken & then caramelize beautifully. Frank got the recipe from this website, but according to that poster the recipe is older than that. It’s supposed to be a copycat of a Cracker Barrel recipe, which I’ve never tried, but if they’re anything like this recipe I totally recommend them.

The first time I made these for my husband he loved it. It’s his favorite thing I make us for dinner. He’s the one who dubbed this recipe ‘burnt chicken’.

wp-1466683350213.jpg

I promise you it’s not actually burnt! The marinade caramelizes in the pan into these delicious little bits.

The recipe is sooo easy – you just mix together the Italian dressing (zesty is the best for the most flavor), lime juice, & honey, let the chicken marinate for at least an hour, & put all of it in a pan. That’s it! Seriously.

wp-1466683313211.jpg

When you first put it in the pan it will look like this ^. Then you just leave it alone. Leave it, don’t touch it until the liquid has reduced significantly & is darkening (20+ minutes).

wp-1466683318769.jpg

When the chicken looks like this ^, flip over & cook for 5-10 more minutes so the other side of the chicken gets some of the good stuff on it. Don’t worry about your pan, the oil in the Italian dressing will pretty much guarantee that nothing sticks to the pan.

wp-1466683324276.jpg

Voila! The end result is delicious, sticky, slightly tangy, slightly sweet chicken tenders. Depending on your oven, pan, & temperature the caramelizing might take a little while – up to 40 minutes. Just be patient, the end result is well worth it.

wp-1466683330432.jpg

Burnt Chicken

AKA honey Italian chicken tenders
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips/chunks
  • 1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • juice from 1 lime
  1. Place all 4 ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag. Marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Pour out the bag into a large skillet & cook over medium heat until liquid reduced & becomes thick & sticky, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Turn each piece of chicken once & cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

I love that a lot of my recipe posts come from cooking for company! It means I have good friends & food to go around. I am a very blessed lady!

Last night some church friends came over for dinner & to help me with some stuff for a fundraiser I’m in charge of for our sister church in Cuba.

I was looking for something easy but tasty to make for us when I remembered a recipe I’ve made a couple of times. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, & it is pure GENIUS!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This 8 Can Taco Soup from High Heels and Grills is as amazing as it is simple. You literally put together 8 cans of stuff plus a packet of taco seasoning & a brilliant soup comes out.

Literally.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Ok, fine, my chicken broth came from a box & not a can – because I already had it in the pantry! Otherwise I would have bought a can.

Yes, that is a can of tomatoes. The only thing I do differently than the original recipe is I buy regular diced tomatoes (as opposed to petite) & only use the liquid. I don’t omit it entirely because I’m afraid the flavor won’t be the same if I do – & I really don’t want to mess with this soup, THAT’S how good it is. I just use the juice from the can. I put the tomato chunks back into my husband’s & my guests’ bowls, though. No need to deprive them just because I am a weirdo.

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I seriously threw this soup together in like 10 minutes. It took me longer to make the quesadillas I served with it. Also, it’s really inexpensive! The pot makes a lot; 4 of us ate generous portions & I still had plenty to take to work with me!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

So yummy, & so, so easy!

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup - Mrs. Dessert Monster

8 Can Chicken Taco Soup

Copied from High Heels and Grills

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15.25 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1 (12.5 oz.) can white chicken breast, drained
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot.
  2. Heat until warm, stirring occasionally.
In The New House Designs

Blackened Shrimp Pasta With Corn & Mixed Veggies

Necessity is the mother of invention. Occasionally it is the mother of deliciousness as well. Like when you decide last minute to invite your father-in-law over for dinner & haven’t gone grocery shopping in a long time.

My father-in-law is definitely more of a seafood person than a meat person, so with that in mind I opened the freezer & took a look. Shrimp; check. I almost always have shrimp, thanks to Winn Dixie’s BOGOs. Shrimp is great for pasta, which is a pantry staple, but what else can I put in it? Mixed veggies with corn; perfect!

Suddenly I was inspired to create a Cajun-ish, spicy style shrimp & corn pasta dish.

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I figured the spicy blackened shrimp would go nicely with the sweet corn – & I was right! The mixed veggies blend I used worked pretty well for the recipe, but next time I will add more corn!

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The dish came out pretty spicy. I added a little bit too much blackening to mine, so I cut it back in the recipe below. That should bring out the other flavors a little more.

This recipe can feed up to 4 people. The 3 of us ate generous portions & there was just enough left over for me to take to work tomorrow!

Blackened Shrimp Pasta with Corn & Mixed Veggies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Blackened Shrimp Pasta With Corn & Mixed Veggies

  • 1/2 box spaghetti
  • 12 oz frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1 tbs blackening seasoning
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bag frozen mixed vegetables with corn
  1. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine shrimp & blackening seasoning, & cook in a pan with olive oil until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp from pan & set aside.
  3. In the same pan, sautee garlic & onion in olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add frozen veggies & white wine to the pan. Cook until liquid has reduced by half.
  4. Add shrimp back to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the spaghetti & toss.

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde

I’ve mention before how I had never used a crock pot until I moved in with my husband. Now, it’s one of my favorite appliances.

I love how it allows me to make a delicious meal while I’m at work. I’m very grateful that I can have people over on busy work nights & serve them something tasty. That’s exactly how this recipe was born. A friend of mine was coming over for dinner one Friday night & I wanted to serve something yummy without having to worry about cooking when I got home after a hectic week. The crockpot is the perfect tool for the scenario. Just a little prep the night before is all it takes.

I decided I wanted to do ‘Mexican’ food. I’ve seen several crockpot fajita recipes on Pinterest & they are all basically similar – chicken, peppers, onions, and a jar of salsa.

Blech. No gracias.

I don’t do tomatoes; never have. There is just something about tomatoes that makes my taste buds go NOPE. The closest I come to eating anything tomato related is pizza – & even then I have rules. No deep dish, no chunks of tomatoes, & any sauce not covered by cheese is getting scrapped off.

Every now & then I will try something with tomatoes in it to see if I have gotten over my aversion. Nope. I still absolutely abhor tomatoes.

I know some of you might be thinking, “but what about your lycopene intake?  The ketchup bottle says lycopene is very important.” Well, don’t worry. Red peppers are also a good lycopene source, & they are featured in this recipe.

I have a love/hate relationship with red peppers in food. Since I made this recipe myself, I know that all of the red pieces are peppers. But when I go out to eat, it’s a different story. Luckily, my husband is the designated “is this a tomato or a pepper?” taste-tester.

So what did I do to replace the offensive tomato salsa? I did what I usually do; I used the green option.

When I go out for Mexican food, or make it at home, I always go with the green sauce option. Enchiladas? Salsa Verde. Chipotle Burrito? Green Chile Salsa. Taco Bell? Verde Salsa.

The fact that green is my favorite color is a total coincidence to green things being delicious.

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This recipe is pretty simple: seasoned chicken (Sazón is my go-to seasoning for Hispanic food), red & green bell peppers, onion, pickled jalapeños, & a can of green chile sauce.

I always end up using my crockpot on low for 10+ hours because of my work schedule. According to some research I was doing, cooking it low & long results in shredded chicken, while high for 4-6 hours gives you firmer chicken you can chop up.

It was pretty liquidy, so I used a slotted spoon to put everything into a serving dish.

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Add some nice soft tortillas, cheese, & any other toppings you’d like!

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Like any other fajita/ taco type dish, you can totally customize it with toppings. You can also make it as spicy or as mild as you like!

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde - Mrs. Dessert Monster

If you have any chicken left over, save it to make flavorful chicken quesadillas another day like my husband & I did!

Crockpot Fajitas with Salsa Verde

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, seasoned to your liking
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeños
  • 1 can of green chile sauce
  • tortillas
  • toppings such as cheese, guacamole, sour cream, etc.
  1. Chop peppers into strips & onion into slices.
  2. Place seasoned chicken, peppers, onion, & jalapeños into crockpot.
  3. Pour over can of green chile sauce.
  4. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours. Cooking on high results in firmer chicken you can chop. Cooking on low will result in shredded chicken.
  5. Shred/chop chicken & serve with tortillas & toppings. Enjoy!

In The New House Designs

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak 2-Ways, Part 2

Last week I shared part 1 of this steak extravaganza. Today I bring you part 2: skirt steak sandwiches!

Skirt Steak Sandwiches - Mrs. Dessert Monster

These sandwiches were amazing!

My photography skills didn’t quite capture that, but trust me! How are you even supposed to take pictures of sandwiches that capture all of the goodness?

With just a little bit of prep, I turned leftovers into haute cuisine. You know, the paper plate kind.

The secret ingredient in this recipe is Arby’s Horsey Sauce – which is a horseradish mayo. It was such a great contrast to the sweet balsamic steak.

Add some cheese & sauteed onions to buttery Italian bread & you’ve got a gourmet sandwich!

Skirt Steak Sandwiches - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Skirt Steak Sandwiches

For 2 sandwiches:

  • leftover Grilled balsamic skirt steak; about 1/2 lb
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 4 slices Italian bread
  • 2 packets Arby’s Horsey Sauce, or 2 tbsp horseradish mayo
  • 2 slices swiss cheese
  • butter
  • olive oil
  1. Thinly slice the onion & sautee with a little olive oil.
  2. Thinly slice the skirt steak. When onions are almost done, add skirt steak to pan to thoroughly reheat.
  3. Toast the sliced Italian bread & add butter.
  4. Spread Arby’s Horsey Sauce on one of the slices of bread. Use 1 packet per sandwich.
  5. Assemble the sandwich: steak, onions, swiss cheese.
  6. Enjoy!
In The New House Designs

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak 2-Ways, Part 1

My husband loves to grill.

We hadn’t even moved into our house yet when he was already planning all these barbecues & football parties he wanted to throw.

I’m totally on board.

My dad was sweet enough to surprise us with a grill as a house warming present. We came home from church one day & there was a grill in our backyard! Since then, we have used it for many family dinners.

Sometimes we use the grill for just the two of us. It’s usually to make steak. I’m so glad I married a man who loves steak beef as much as I do. I literally majored in it!

We bought some skirt steak on special a little while ago. It took me back to me my internship days, when the butchers in the meat department taught me how to clean skirt steak. Ahh, to be a college student again. Not really…

Even though I am familiar with skirt steak that way, I had never actually prepared it myself. I was looking through recipes & came across a good one on MyRecipes.com.

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

The balsamic vinegar & Worcestershire sauce combo caught my eye immediately. I tweaked the recipe a little bit – like I usually do!

While the steak was marinating, I cut up a fresh pineapple to be grilled alongside it. I had some cinnamon sugar left from the monkey bread muffins I made, so I sprinkled it on the pineapple. Mmm, steak & grilled pineapple – it was like going out to a fancy steak house!

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Actually, it was better than going to a fancy steak house!

I love teamwork dinners like this. My husband & I get to hang out in the kitchen & enjoy something delicious together in the end. He’s the best partner.

Since this was just for the 2 of us & the skirt steak was cut into 4 pieces, this was just ONE of the awesome dinners we had with it. The next day I made delicious skirt steak sandwiches!

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed & cut into 4 pieces
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Add steak & marinate at room temperature for at least  25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
  2. Fire up the grill & cook steak 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Let steak rest for 5 minutes before cutting diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
In The New House Designs

Busy Nights & Shepherd’s Pie

Life is busy. Like, really busy. Time is flying by.

One of the reasons that time seems even more fleeting for me lately is the fact that I don’t like to consider my job as part of my life. When you factor everything in, I am away from home because of work for 50+ hours a week. What do I mean, then? Well, those 50+ hours a week are so that I can have a paycheck to provide for ‘my life’. I don’t love what I do. It’s not totally my job’s fault, though. I realized in college that I am never going to be a career oriented person.

I am a family oriented person. I am a people oriented person. I love being close to my family. I love seeing my friends often. I love being around babies & kids. I love hosting dinners & parties & making food for people. I love going to church & being involved in several different ministries.

Not everyone enjoys all those things. Some people are more introverted & require plenty of chill time to recharge. Some people are extroverted, but not too fond of hosting or cooking. Or, they aren’t fond of children. Some people don’t get along with their families as well as I do. Some people haven’t found a church they call home, or choose not to go to church at all.

Some people love their jobs/careers & get their blood pumping by working really hard to achieve success in their field. I cannot relate. Don’t get me wrong, I am a hard worker. It’s just not something I love.

If I’m being really honest, of course work is a part of my life. I would just rather be doing other things. I know that even people who love their jobs feel like this at times, I just find myself counting the minutes more than most. I look forward to one day being a stay at home mom. That job will be a lot harder than the one I am doing now, but I think it will be a lot more fulfilling to my personality. I’m several years away from that, so for now I suppose I will keep showing up to work Monday-Friday.

Because work takes up so much of my time, I cherish the nights I get to host a meal & hang out with people during the week. Life (including work) gets really busy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t carve out some time for people. The weekend is too short to do everything I want to do & see everyone I want to see.

To feed extra people, I’ve started stocking up on quick/easy ingredients. For example, when pork roast is on sale, I’ll buy one & freeze it until the day my husband & I can share with someone else. I buy meat on BOGO & just freeze them until we use them. I also try to buy certain things in bulk. Ground beef is one of those things.

Y’all might already know that my husband & I are totally beef people. I bought a 2lb pack of ground beef a few weeks ago & just split it to several smaller portions in Tupperware before freezing. So far we’ve made burgers & taco salad with it. Last night, it was shepherd’s pie.

Shepherd’s pie always has plenty of servings, depending on how much you make. Sometimes I make it just for me & hubby; we take the left overs as lunch the next day. This is a recipe that I almost always have ingredients for. It’s perfect for busy nights. There are some recipes that call for lots of prep & fresh ingredients – this is not one of them.

Box mash potatoes + canned (or frozen) veggies = quick & easy dinner. Throw in some ground beef & some cheese & you’re all set.

This one-dish meal is perfect for busy nights, which occur more often than not. It makes weeknight activities all the easier. My brother & my niece came over just in time for dinner. It was great seeing them!

Gotta run – busy, busy! I leave you with this photo collage. I was going to include the recipe, but I realized that I kind of just wing it every time I make this. Don’t get too hung up on recipes. Put whatever kind of corn (I used southwest style) & whatever other veggies (I used canned peas & carrots) you’d like! Season the beef whatever way you want; I always use Worcestershire sauce. Get mashed potatoes whatever way you can – homemade, store bought, instant, leftover, etc! Throw some cheese on top (I used cheddar, but you catch my drift) & broil it until it looks good to you.

Life is too short to get hung up on weeknight dinners. 🙂

Shepherd's Pie - Mrs. Dessert Monster

In The New House Designs