I quit cold turkey. It’s been 4 days. Four. Cuatro. Quatre. It’s been four days without a single chocolate chip. It may not seem like a lot to you, but to me? Oh, stop with your eye roll, you judgmental bastard! I realize there are bigger real world problems out there. But, seriously, I’m ready to punch someone in the throat. Like the ol’ man perhaps? He had the nerve to buy Chips Ahoy! cookies, without the decency to hide them from me. Asshole. Testing my will power is not love. It’s torture. I have plenty of internal struggles with “eat or not to eat”. Don’t make it worse by teasing me with the goods! When it comes to chocolate chips or chocolate chip cookies, I have ZERO control. Cake? Pie? Ice cream? Chips? I can say no to it all. Having chocolate chips or any of their accomplices is like stocking up the liquor cabinet with alcoholic in the house. I. Will. Not. Break. Down.
Enough of my whining. Rumor has it that tomorrow is National Spinach Day. I’m not entirely sure why we need a National Day for Spinach, but we do. Luckily for spinach, it’s delicious. And Popeye seems to like it, so I guess it’s worthy. Since I’m Striving for 5 and all that fun stuff, (Go Team Go!) Campbell’s has a fantastical spinach and mushroom frittata that I made a while ago. Easy, and the kids like it. Well, 2 of them did. I will give you a penny and a half if you can guess which one didn’t. Heaven forbid they saw the microscopic mushrooms in it. This would make a great Easter brunch recipe! Just don’t tell the kids there are mushrooms. Or Spinach. Nevermind. Serve it at the adult table. Or call it just a Frittata. It’s all in how you spin it!
Spinach and Mushroom Frittata
- 10 Eggs
- 1 Can cream of mushroom soup (used the 10¾ oz size of 98% fat free)
- 1-10 oz pkg Frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 1.5 C Shredded Swiss (honestly I probably used closer to 2 C, since ya know, I used almost fat free soup, lol my logic kills me)
- 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a 12x8x2 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs. Stir in the soup, spinach and 1 cup (or so) of the cheese and black pepper.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Let stand for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts.
- If you make this the day before, refrigerate until you are ready to use. Let it sit out for 30 minutes to get to room temperature. Then reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes.
I have exactly 20 minutes to get my post up! I’m on a time schedule. I’m trying to stay on a planned schedule, but it’s not going so well this week. Everything was planned, the gym, blog posts, the menu. Then the ol’ man’s mom had to have unexpected open heart surgery yesterday. Poor thing ended up with a quadruple bypass. She’s off the ventilator and awake; which is fantastical for just 24 hours after surgery. Ironically, 16 years ago today, my dad died, essentially after the same surgery. It kinda sucked being in the same hospital, the same unit, the same everything. The good thing, if there is a good thing, is that I was able to give the ol’ man some insight as to what will happen. Like when we saw her right after surgery, she had a little bit of color. I thought she looked good! You know, good for someone who just had their chest cracked open. My dad looked gray and dead. The smart ass he is, said “We are Italian, of course she has color!” Point made lol.
Needless to say, I needed easy this week. Nothing easier than the slow cooker, and since I neglected slow cooker Sunday for you, I’m giving it to you now. Easter is coming, and you undoubtedly will have leftover ham. This Pillsbury recipe is perfect! As always, I changed it a little. On the kid scale, 2 out of 3 liked it. I will give you a penny if you can figure out which one didn’t like it!
Cheesy Ham Au Gratin
- 3C Milk
- 1 Can condensed Cheddar cheese soup (10 3/4oz can)
- 2- 5 oz pkgs cheesy scalloped potatoes, with skin on potatoes (I didn’t used the skin on)
- 2 C Cooked diced ham
- 2 Cans Whole kernel corn, with Red and green peppers, drained (I used a frozen bag of corn and peppers)
- 2 C boiling water
- Cheddar cheese (optional)
- Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine milk, soup, and contents of seasoning packets from potatoes; blend well. Add potatoes, ham and corn; mix well. Pour mixture into sprayed slow cooker. Pour boiling water over potato mixture; stir to mix.
- Cover; cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours.
- Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Who am I kidding? WHO’S READY FOR SPRING?! I’ve had it with white knuckle driving. Ok. Good night friends!
Alright, alright. It’s not really good night. Although I’m very tired. Monday’s always suck for me at work. And on top of that, guess who was up late last night doing her book report? Yeah. My parenting skills at their best. I talk the best parenting game. But the bottom line? I suck. I didn’t do any of it for her, like she wanted. But I did let her stay up to finish it, even though I had many many threats of “bed at 9”. She didn’t like the feeling of being unprepared. I think the next time, there won’t be so much procrastination. A parent can hope.
Football!!! Every year Autumn and I have a Superbowl party. It’s usually just us. And it’s fun 🙂 We’ve been trying various recipes over the past few weeks, just to change up our party menu. We seriously make enough food to eat leftovers for a week. I’m not entirely convinced that there will even be a Super Bowl this year, but we are going to party like there will be. And our decorative balls will be inflated!
If you have read any of my previous posts, you know how I feel about meatballs, Oreo balls, cookie balls etc. When I saw these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs from Rachel Ray, it was game on. I knew this would be on the menu. Next time I make them, I may try baking them. The kids LOVED these. Let’s focus on what’s important.. I loved them!! Feeding a real crowd? Like more than just 2 people? Double the recipe!
Chicken Parm Meatballs
- 1lb Ground Chicken
- 1/2 C Grated Parmesan
- 1/2 C Panko
- 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 Egg
- 16 cubes Mozzarella
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 C jarred arrabiatta sauce, warmed (I used regular spaghetti sauce)
- In a bowl, mix chicken, Parmesan, panko, Italian seasoning and egg.
- Gently form meat around cheese into 1.5-inch balls.
- In a nonstick skillet, cook in olive oil over medium-high heat, turning. About 8 minutes.
- Serve with sauce.
It’s Sunday again! Where did the week go? What happened to “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” Thursday? It was lost in Autumn’s Social Studies project. She had to pick a Native American artifact to recreate and give a presentation about it. She made a dream catcher. Autumn has always had one over her bed to help with her bad dreams, so we used that as a guide. Easy enough right? Right? Um. No. Until this little project, I’ve never really looked at them before. I’m totally impressed with the intricacies of the middle. It was harder than we thought it was going to be!
This weekend, she waited to the last minute to do her book report that’s due tomorrow. Somehow this became my fault. WTF? Um…no. You made choices, and some of those choices were not to read. If the report is not complete by 9:00pm, that’s too bad. Sorry kid, you’re going to have to wing it tomorrow. Meanest. Mother. Ever. Yes indeed. Procrastination will just cause you an ulcer. Better she learn that now than in college. Although, sometimes I work better under pressure. I would NEVER tell her that.
How about a little comfort food? I’m going to post a few appetizer recipes throughout the week in preparation for the big game. But tonight, I’m giving in to a billion calories and a recipe will likely clog your arteries. Sometimes, you just need that, ya know? You could actually use this Mac and Cheese for the big game! It serves a lot and who the hell would turn down mac and cheese? You know what would be really good? OOOOOOO…making little sliders and putting a spoonful of this Mac and Cheese on it. Dip in ketchup! Cheeseburger sliders!! Perfect for a party!! Carbohydrate suicide, but great for those who don’t care about carbs! Damn, I wish I had thought of that before I started this post!
Ok…focus. This recipe has been floating around the internet in various forms. I like it because it’s for the slow cooker. SLOW COOKER SUNDAY!!!!! It’s easy and if your kids don’t like this, then there may be something wrong with them. I’m kidding of course! (But seriously, consider taking them to the doctor.)
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz Macaroni, cooked and drained
- 16 oz Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
- 16 oz Colby Jack cheese, cubed
- 16 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 1 Stick butter, cut into sliced
- 16 oz Milk
- Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Layer 1/3 of the macaroni in bottom.
- Layer 1/2 of the cheese, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder
- Repeat #3 with the last 1/3 of the macaroni on top. Pour milk over macaroni and cheese.
- Cook on low for about 4 hours and stir around 2 hours.
Not going to lie here, I put all of the macaroni down first. Then all the cubed cheese, and then the milk. At the halfway point, I stirred as directed. And then added the salt, pepper and garlic powder. I also cooked it on high for 2 hours. I did not read the directions. Luckily for me, it turned out great. OH! And I halved the recipe. It still made a lot!
What? A Friday afternoon and A Little of This and That has a blog post up? What’s going on? The world is coming to an end!! Simmer down. The world is just fine. Ish. I’m on an unexpected sick day, and decided to get a post in since I can’t really do anything else. So before I start a Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix, I’m gracing you with my presence. Again. I really have to blog more often.
Speaking of blogging, today is A Little of This and That’s one year anniversary! I’m still as clueless today about this whole blogging thing as I was then. I’m not entirely sure I would have known about the anniversary if I didn’t get a notification from WordPress. Just like I don’t know anyone’s birthday without the help of Facebook. I hope you still like the blog, even with all of its inconsistencies, and mishaps. I’m pretty fond of it. I have great intentions for it! Tell all your friends.
The little one made it though her 10th birthday, fairly unscathed. Her father didn’t call her, but other than that I think she had a pretty good day. She’s so funny. Even though she’s 10, with the mouth and attitude of a 20 year old, she’s still so innocent. We were playing the Family Feud board game, (yes, for those of you under 25..they still make games that aren’t on your computer, tablet or cell phone) and it’s the fast money round. I’m Steve Harvey, or Louie Anderson, whatev, and the question comes up “Name something a couch potato needs”. She screams out “Salt” like it is the number 1 answer. She was so confident. I nearly peed myself laughing so hard. She just stared at me in confusion. I. Love. Her.
So in honor of potatoes, and A Little of This and That’s anniversary; today I bring to you Meatloaf Cupcakes. I made these a while ago, just never blogged about them. It’s just fitting for today. I was going to post about creamy mushroom pasta, but you get meatloaf. Both fantastically great recipes! The Meatloaf Cupcakes take a little bit of work, so they are definitely a weekend meal. I’m giving you my recipes for meatloaf, and mashed potatoes. Feel free to use your own recipe, and just assemble accordingly!
- 1lb Lean ground beef (I like 90/10)
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 C Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1/4 C Grated Parmesan cheese (add more if needed)
- Salt and pepper
- Seasoning to your liking (garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning etc)
- Mix all the ingredients together. Fill a muffin pan with the meat mixture. I spray each little thing with some cooking spray.
- Bake at 375°F for about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes. Just until done.
- Meanwhile, make those taters.
- 6-7 White Potatoes (maybe more depending on little they are)
- Garlic Powder
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain.
- Mash them up, I like to use the hand held blender.
- Add in garlic powder to taste.
- Add enough milk a little at a time to give the consistency you want. If you are piping them through a piping bag, you want them smooooooth. But not runny.
- Take the little meatloaf cakes out of muffin pan.
- Either dollop or pipe the mashed potatoes on the meatloaf cakes.
- Sprinkle with chives (if you like chives)
- Dab with a little ketchup
Off to rest with the Gilmore Girls! Happy Weekend everyone!!
Just kidding..you only get a side of this! Tomorrow maybe a side of that! Maybe. Maybe a Thanksgiving cocktail? A dessert? A dessert cocktail? I have no plans yet! Things have been little stressful here in our super wonderful, blended, seriously complicated, sort of family. The 16 yo is completely out of control, so I’m taking things day by day. I’m trying to figure how much therapy we can get for a family rate. Because I’m thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to losing it!
On to fun things to talk about! Thanksgiving!! At least here in these parts of the world, this Thursday is Thanksgiving. There is much to be thankful for in my life, wonderful family, great friends. Of course, the reason I live, Ms. Autumn, sooo thankful for her. And ya know, thankful for what everyone else is thankful for. The things that we tend to take for granted every day; our job, health, home, my patience. You never realize how much you have until you don’t have it anymore (for example: my patience). And my mama! This time of year, I so miss my mom more than any other.
Lets be honest here, we are all thankful. But we look forward to the great food! Every year I go to my sister Karen’s. She makes the best damn feast! I love love love her stuffing and broccoli casserole. So divine! I don’t even need the turkey and ham. I could just eat the side dishes and desserts and call it a day. This year, my brother is bringing his new, old girlfriend. She’s making homemade cranberry sauce. I’m looking forward to that! I don’t normally like cranberry sauce, because it comes from a can, and to me, it tastes like the can. Blah! I only have so much space and calories to play with, and I’m not wasting it on food that taste like shit.
My contribution to the family table of deliciousness? Baked Corn Pudding. I’m going to be honest, I have no idea where this recipe came from. Judging by the paper, a book of some sort? I’ve been making it for years. It’s probably one of the only recipes that I follow exactly without altering it. Ok, sometimes I don’t add the parsley. This is not in any way a low fat side dish. Although it does have 10g of protein! Does that make it healthy? Mmmmmm probably not. It does make 16 servings, but easily could be cut in half.
Baked Corn Pudding
- 1/2 C Butter or margarine
- 1 small Onion chopped (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 C All-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 4 C Milk
- 6 Eggs (slightly beaten)
- 2 C Shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 bags Frozen corn (12 oz bags, thawed and drained)
- 2 Tbsp Parsley flakes or 1/2 C fresh parsley
- 3/4 C Italian style bread crumbs
- 3 Tbsp Butter, melted
- Heat oven to 350*F. Spray 13″x 9″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt 1/2 C butter over medium heat. Add onion, cook until tender, stirring frequently.
- Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Stir in milk. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Gradually stir in eggs and cheese. Stir in corn and parsley.
- Pour into baking dish.
- In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle over corn mixture.
- Bake uncovered 55-60 minutes or until mixture is set and knife inserted comes out clean. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
In Buffalo. Let it keep snowing in Buffalo. Like a lot of the rest of country, west of me is getting slammed with snow. They can keep it! I woke up to 17*F, but that’s A-OK with me; I don’t have 4ft of snow in my doorway this morning.
Although it is the first of many, enough of the weather update. I’ve have other very important things to report. After a lot of feet dragging, and story after story, the soccer coach finally put Ms. Autumn on the soccer team. Offically. I think. It’s very confusing. She tried to play it off like it was nothing, but out of the corner of my eye when she thought I wasn’t looking, I saw her give a big smile. Secretly she’s pretty excited.
In honor of my Buffalo friends, and everyone else home bound due to snow, I leave you with an “OMG this is so delicious” recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Soup to keep you warm! I saw the recipe on The Kitchen. I was like how easy is that?? It turned out to be not as easy as it sounded, but worth it. Every. Single. Minute. I did alter this a little, like I didn’t add fresh basil. I’m sure your kids aren’t nearly averse to things green. Admittedly, I did actually fry the eggplant. Next time, I’m going to try baking it. Surprisingly, really liked by the little people and the Ol’ Man. Although, I don’t think Allison ate any of the eggplant. Show me your shock face!!
Eggplant Parm Soup
- 8C Prepared Tomato soup (bisque style)
- 1 1/3 C Flour
- 2 Large Eggs (beaten)
- 2 C Italian-style bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Medium Eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 8 Slices Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)
- 1/4 C Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Vegetable Oil for frying
- Set up a breading station with the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in shallow bowels. Add a little salt and pepper to each.
- Using a slotted spoon, dredge the little eggplant squares through each station, shaking off the excess. Set aside on a wire rack.
- To the Soup! Pour the soup in a medium pot, add the Parmesan cheese, and bring to a slight simmer.
- Back to the eggplant croutons!! Heat 1/2 inch of oil in 2 large straight sided saute pans over medium heat. Working in small batches, fry the eggplant pieces, turning once, until golden brown. I let them drain on paper towel.
- Preheat oven to broil. Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof crocks or ramekins on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover each crock with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese. Broil until golden brown and bubbly. Top each ramekin with several fried eggplant cubes.
Off to Photo 101!!
Rain. Cold. Dark. Although it is only October 21, I’m ready for hibernation. Now! That’s right, me and the bears. I will see you in 5-8 months! I’m kidding, of course. Or am I?
I love the fall months, but the transition to winter, and naturally winter itself, um…sucks. I don’t like driving in the dark, on the good chance I will hit Dasher’s cousin with my front end. My electric bill goes up because I’ve been forced by Mother Nature, that bitch, to turn on my heat. The 16yo tonight was complaining that “It’s too cold in here!”. Put an effing sweatshirt on, the heat is set to 60*F. She wants it to be 80*F in the house! Her words, not mine. When she starts paying her own electric, she can turn it up to however warm she likes it. Rant over.
On the bright side, it’s almost Halloween! I want Autumn to be something cute and cuddly! That notion was lost last year she was a Zombie Prom Queen. This year she wants to be a devil. Whatev. If the horns fit…Ok..now I’m totally kidding! Maybe.
The one good thing about this time of year is…using the oven! I don’t care to use the oven often in the summer because it heats up the house, and we don’t have central air, yadda, yadda, blah blah. So, this time of year is perfect for casseroles, and baked chicken, and pork roasts, and the list goes on. Since everyone has their grandmother’s Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe, I throwing mine out here early in the “cooking in the oven is okay” season. Everyone makes this a little different. The 2 older kids don’t like peas, so this recipe sucked for them, because I forgot that small detail. Regardless of your feelings for peas, this is how I’ve always made it. This is how my mom made it. Peas are good for you by the way! Packed with Vitamins A & C, protein, and fiber. I fully understand they are starchy, but given this recipe already has pasta in it…you know where I’m going with this. It’s comfort food. Just eat the damn peas.
Jude’s Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 1 lb box Pasta of your choice, I always use (in a French accent) ze bow tie pasta
- 1-12 oz can Tuna, light and packed in water, drained
- 3-10 oz cans Cream of mushroom soup, I like the Healthy Request
- 1/2 – 16 oz bag Peas, frozen
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Bread crumbs, not plain. Use garlic, or Italian seasoned
- Preheat oven to 375*F
- Mix drained tuna, soups and peas in a large bowl.
- Cook and drain pasta according to how stiff you like your pasta.
- Mix the pasta in with the soupy stuff. Coat well.
- Pour into a casserole dish.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, and then cover with bread crumbs.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until a little bubbly.
It’s official. The 2014 Halloween season has arrived. I’m fully aware that the candy displays have been up since July, but It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on this evening, and that makes everything official. Officially, “one holiday into another until I can’t fit into my winter pants anymore” official. Must. Join. The. Gym. On that note, I have a few little Halloween treats to share over the upcoming weeks! I can’t wait 🙂
Disturbing/heart stopping moment of the week? Over hearing my 9 yo singing, “my anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun”. WTF? I’M NOT READY FOR THAT YET. I could only muster a “Autumn Victoria, that song is NOT appropriate for you.” Where did she hear this you ask? The bus. The bus. Are you kidding me? I’m going to start homeschooling. Wait! I can’t home school, for two reasons. One, I’m not ever at home. Two, I can’t play the French horn.
I’m getting straight to the Chicken Alfredo recipe. I’m tired. And I don’t have much to say really. HAHAHAHA!! Ok, I’m just tired. So, I had leftover rotisserie chicken. And I was tight for time. This was perfect. Not the homemade recipe that I like to make, but is a fantastic substitute on busy nights. And again, I can’t express enough, like most of the recipes posted; these can be altered to your taste. If you don’t like white pepper, by all means, don’t add it! Like more cheese? Throw it on in there! It’s not going to hurt! I like peas in there too, but didn’t do it this time. Just a lil something to think about!
Throw Together Chicken Alfredo
- 1lb Pasta, cooked and drained
- 2 jars Alfredo Sauce (I like the garlic and the 4 cheese, but whatever Alfredo floats your boat!)
- 1/4 tsp White pepper
- 1/4 tsp Garlic powder
- Dash Regular black pepper
- Chicken As much or as little as you like
- Sprinkle Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- In a large sauce pan, throw the first 6 ingredients together, and heat through. Make sure to taste along the way to see if you want to add any more pepper, or garlic powder etc. You will know when it’s good when you’re like “damn that’s good”.
- Serve and sprinkle with a “little” Parmesan cheese. Your version of little and mine are probably a little different. We love love love cheese in this house.
My third half marathon is COMPLETE! It was humid, and it poured. Hard. I do not like being soggy!! My time was horrible, but I crossed the finish line. Ibuprofen has been my best friend since Sunday. I hope a majority of you have stock in Pfizer! I’m finally walking without making incredibly embarrassing grunting noises and my feet have stopped burning. I didn’t die and I crossed the finish line. Oh and I raised money for a fantastical Gilda’s Club. Win win for everyone!
French Horn. Three notes. Repeatedly. That’s all of an update I’m leaving for the little one.
Allison. Driver’s permit acquired. OH DEAR.
I leave you with a recipe for lasagna. A recipe even Garfield would love! I saw this floating around Pinterest and Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, A Little of This and That reached 100 likes!! WOO HOO!!! Thank you for liking me. A little. HAHAHAHAHA!! Get it? A little of this..never mind. I see other blogs that have like 35,000 likes, and I’m like YES!!! I’m at 100!!!! Back to the lasagna. I thought why not? I have to carb load for the marathon, I love lasagna, but can’t eat it because I’m allergic to ricotta cheese. This particular recipe uses cottage cheese. O.M.G. So delicious!! The recipe below was how I found it. I took a few liberties, just because of preference. I added more mozzarella cheese than what is called for and used slightly more beef. But if you have your Grammy’s super secret sauce recipe and love sauce..use more! More is More! Wait!! Less is more..so forget that. Use more anyway!! It’s all about you like baby! This recipe is perfect for the weekend when you have tons to do, and want a great meal without a lot of prep. Enjoy enjoy!!
- 1 lb Ground beef
- 1 jar Spaghetti Sauce
- 1.5 C Cottage Cheese
- 1.5 C Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
- Lasagna Noodles
- Brown ground beef and drain.
- Spoon 1 Cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 4-quart crock*pot. Mix remaining sauce with beef.
- Place 2 uncooked lasagna noodles on sauce in crock*pot.
- Spread 1/3 meat mixture on top of noodles.
- Spread 3/4 C cottage cheese over meat.
- Sprinkle 1/2 C mozzarella cheese over cottage cheese.
- Layer noodles, 1/3 meat mixture, remaining cottage cheese and 1/2 C mozzarella cheese.
- Layer noodles, rest of meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top
- Cook on low for 4 hours.