Toffee Crackers – ★★★★★

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These bad boys were the perfect thing to satisfy my sweet tooth last weekend. They are not that healthy as a warning so if you are looking for a healthy snack this is not it. As long as you don’t overindulge you’ll be alright but I warn you they are addicting. It only took me 15 minutes to make these which is just about the time my almost-three-year-old allows me have to myself per day haha!  The only way to improve on these would be to drizzle some dark chocolate over them, but that would be downright dangerous! Perry gave these 5 stars and this is why:

I was Scuba Diving the morning Kelsey made these so she teased me with a picture text right in the middle of my morning. I couldn’t wait to get home and have some after working up an appetite. They were SO good and I had to stop myself from eating the whole box. They have enough sweet and salt ratio to be perfect. I’ll take these over our occasional ice cream treat from now on. 

Makes: about 1.5 sleeves of saltines      Total time: >15 minutes      

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray
  3. Arrange crackers as evenly as you can on your baking sheet and set aside 
  4. Melt butter in a small/med pot.
  5. Once butter is melted add 1 cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil stirring constantly. 
  6. Boil for about 3 minutes. 
  7. Pour toffee mixture over crackers and spread over with a knife or spatula.
  8. Bake in oven for 7-8 minutes and no longer as it will easily burn and stink up your house/apartment. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cool before touching/eating. The toffee will be extremely hot and will stick to your fingers making a bad burn very likely. (Lesson learned 😉 ) 
  10. When cooled break pieces apart and enjoy! 
  11. Storage: Store in an airtight container or ziplock to keep crisp.

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.iheartnaptime.net where you will find many other wonderful recipes and tutorials 

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce – ★★★★★

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I remember, as a child, my mom making pasta sauce from scratch. It would take hours to simmer, tasted delicious and the house would smell amazing. Unfortunately I don’t have that kind of time so if I wanted to make my own sauce I had to find something to whip up in 45 mins max… The Food Network gods have blessed me with this recipe and doubt I’ll ever go back to the Jar. The fresh basil is a must so please don’t skimp there and use dried basil. I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it will make. Perry loved this recipe because not only was it tasty but it made enough for leftovers and according to him it tasted better day after day. He gave 5 stars and here is why:

This sauce is amazing. It tastes very fresh and has a nice little kick at the end. I really like the addition of zucchini because it gives a little crunch and of course adds flavor. It didn’t seem like it took to much effort to make and it wasn’t very expensive either. We only spent $60.00 for the three meals we made +extra things we needed so I’ll estimate this only cost about 10.00 max to make. These are the kind of dinners I like, cheap and delicious.

Serves: 4-6      Total Time: 35 minutes     Calories: 354  

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil. (Olive oil is the best but we had canola on hand.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I used about 3 because I love garlic)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (plus a little extra to sprinkle ontop if you really like the heat)
  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small chunks 
  • 1 pkg whole wheat pasta of your choice (we used spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (THE BEST!)
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for topping (Optional but very recommended)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is just golden, about 1 minute.
  2. Squash the whole tomatoes with your hands over the skillet, add with juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt or less and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed. Drain and add to the sauce along with the basil; toss to coat.
  4. Top with parmesan and enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.foodnetwork.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Slow Cooked Ribs – ★★★★✩

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Slow cooker recipes are usually hassle free. This dish while tasty was almost a miss. The original recipe used a smaller crockpot than I own and used. Next time, to avoid the burning and sticky black mess caked on the sides of my crockpot, I will double the recipe to fill my bigger crockpot. There are additional steps after the 7 hours slow cooking and I strongly advise following them. I really believe this would not have won any stars had I not completed the final steps. I do think  I will make this again as the meat was very tender and juicy (literally falling off the bone!) but will not let the sauce burn as it took away from the dish all around. Perry gave it 4 stars and here is why:

These ribs were really tender. They fell right off the bone and almost melted in your mouth. The only problem was that the sauce began to burn before Kelsey had to put them in the oven. For that I knocked off a star because I think these have the potential to be amazing. Kels said she has a plan to make them better next time and I can’t wait!

Serves: 2      

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste. Don’t get too crazy though
  • 2 lbs pork baby back ribs 
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • Vegetable oil spray.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Rub this mixture all over both sides of your ribs.  
  2. Arrange ribs in the slow cooker by standing them up against the wall of the pot. Set them thicker side down and meaty side against the pot.
  3. Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  4. After slow cooking, remove the ribs to a baking pan which you have lined with foil and put a rack on, bone side up.
  5. Skim any fat that has risen to the top and strain all of the remaining juices from the slow cooker through a mesh strainer into a small saucepan.  Bring to boil and allow to simmer and reduce by about a third, approximately 15 minutes.  
  6. Put your oven’s broiler on to heat up and make sure that there is an oven rack about 10 inches below the broiler element.  When the broiler is preheated, brush the ribs with sauce and broil for 3 or 4 minutes.  Take them out and very carefully flip them over, brush with sauce and broil again, meat side up, for approximately 9 minutes, taking them out once or twice to baste with more sauce.
  7.  Serve any remaining sauce on the side with the ribs.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe and many more delicious recipes can be found at http://mmmisformommy.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me

Pizza Casserole – ★★★★★

ImageThis recipe is everything I look for in a weeknight dinner. The recipe is simple so it is hard to screw up. It only requires a handful of ingredients which is nice on the wallet. It only takes  40 minutes tops to prepare including prep time which is perfect for those hectic nights that you have a million things going on. Lastly, we gave it 5 tars which means everyone’s tummies were full of a delicious dinner so we went to bed happy. Here is why Perry thinks this dish is deserving of 5 stars:

“Kelsey has been under the weather so I asked her what she wanted me to order for dinner. She refused to let me order in and I think it is because she wanted an excuse to get out of bed. She whipped up this casserole in under an hour and it was delicious. The bisquick is fluffy and sopped up the pizza sauce perfectly making each bite very flavorful.  I was expecting to have to wash a lot of dishes after dinner (Kels is a messy cook) but there was hardly any mess. All around I think this dinner should have full stars for how fast, easy, tasty, and hassle free it is.”

Serves: 8          Calories: 470          Time: 35 minutes      Carbs: approx. 8 grams

Ingredients:

  • 2 pouches (7.5 oz each) Bisquick® Complete buttermilk biscuit mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
  • 1package (8 oz) sliced pepperoni
  • 2cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and water until soft dough forms.
  4. Drop half of dough by spoonfuls evenly in bottom of baking dish (dough will not completely cover bottom of dish. Just drop dumplings of biscuit batter. Do not spread to cover bottom of dish completely. The dough will rise and spread as it cooks).
  5. Drizzle about 1 cup pizza sauce over dough. Arrange 1/2 of the pepperoni slices evenly over sauce. Top with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat layers with remaining dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese.
  6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cut into squares to serve.
  8. Enjoy!

*Original recipe belongs to http://www.BettyCrocker.com

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa – ★★★★★

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Growing up Pierogies were sort of a staple in our diet. We had then for dinner at least one a month so I have always loved these pasta/potato pockets. I guess the pierogie movement never made it out west because Perry claims that in his 52 years of life he’s never had one. I was appalled upon hearing this and insisted we make pierogies straight away. I will never eat perogies any other way again. This recipe is absolutely perfect and I challenge you to try and top it 🙂 I did have a little grilling trouble (as per usual) so my recipe differs from the original which tells you to grill the pierogies. My grill was literally on fire… Like I turned off the gas and the whole grill was still in flames. Needless to say I did not grill everything that was to be grilled. I only “grilled” (and by grilled I mean “smoked”) the kielbasa. Perry handed out 5 stars for his first pierogie experience. Here is why:

“It is no secret Kelsey is terrible on the grill. To set the record straight, I will have you know she caught the grill on fire while making this recipe. I had to come to her rescue. Luckily the kielbasa tastes even better “smoked” so we were able to salvage the recipe. In the future I will be manning the grill.  I feel robbed that I’ve never had pierogies before now, but on the other hand this recipe was well worth waiting for. I loved the grain mustard sauce and want Kels to make some for my turkey sandwiches. And to anyone who has not had pierogies before the only way to explain it is taking a ravioli and stuffing it with mashed potatoes. It is pure goodness. The leftovers are even better if you can believe it.”

Cook time: 30 min     Serves: 4     Calories: 580    Carbs: Approximately 11.3 per serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Kielbasa, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 lb frozen potato-and-cheddar pierogies (or any flavor that takes your fancy) , do not thaw
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the kielbasa, turning, until marked, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter (If you see smoke like I did turn off the gas immediately and have a water bottle handy…Hopefully you guys aren’t as bad at grilling as I am.)
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the mustard and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth
  3. Toss the onion and pierogies with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slide into pan and cook on medium high, covered, until the pierogies thaw and the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Turn the pierogies and onion and continue to cook, covered, until the pierogies are cooked through and the onion is tender, 4 to 6 more minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet or platter.
  4. Slice the kielbasa into pieces and add to the bowl with the mustard dressing. Roughly chop the onion and add to the bowl along with the pierogies and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss.
  5. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe belongs to http://www.foodnetwork.com