Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Tomato Glazed Meatloaves with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!
My sister got me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for my birthday.  Smitten Kitchen is the first blog I remember reading and I've made several of her recipes.  I can't wait to cook my way through her cookbook - everything sounds amazing.
I was craving comfort food this cold and snowy weekend, so I picked her meatloaf recipe.  I like her idea to make meatballs out of a meatloaf base.
{ Note:  I cut the recipe in half but am posting the full recipe.  Also, I do not have a food processor, so I chopped the vegetables and bread by hand and everything worked just fine.  My Italian grandmothers didn't use food processors for their meatballs - I figure I don't need to either. }
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1.  In a saucepan, combine the oil, tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire, mustard, and salt. Blend well.
2.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Set aside.

- 2 slices sandwich bread
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 medium carrot, cut into chunks
- 2 medium celery stalk, cut into chunks
- Olive oil, for cooking
- salt
- Black pepper
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. In a food processor, pulse the bread into breadcrumbs. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot to the processor and pulse until finely chopped.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the vegetable mixture, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until it begins to brown.
5. Transfer the vegetables to the breadcrumbs. Add the beef, tomato paste, paprika, mustard, and Worcestershire. Stir with a fork until thoroughly blended. With wet hands, form the mixture into 12 meatballs (each 3 inches).
6. In the baking dish, space meatballs so that they are not touching. Brush each one with a teaspoon or so of the tomato glaze. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball will register 160 to 165 degrees).
Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes:
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes pealed
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter or 1 stick melted and browned
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until tender. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan.

Brown the butter in a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and then it will start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Don't wait too long - the time in takes to brown vs burning is the difference of about a minute.

Add browned butter, buttermilk, salt and pepper to taste and smash them with a potato smasher until smooth.  Serve and enjoy!

I definitely recommend these - they were delicious.  And the potatoes?  Don't even get me started.  I've always been a sucker for mashed potatoes, but these this recipe took the potatoes to a whole new level.  Loved them.
What did you cook this week?
Party Rules:
1.  Add a link to the post you are linking up back to this post
2.  Add the Tasty Tuesday button tot he post you are linking up.  You will find the button and code on my sidebar.  Thanks!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Scentsy Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $25 Scentsy Giveaway is Dina of 4 Lettre Words who said she would use the Scentsy in her Master Bath.  Congrats Dina!  Enjoy your new scentsy.
{ If you like photography, check out Dina's blog.  It's full of beautiful and unique photographs! }

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Spinach & Broccoli Lasagna

Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!

{ I have a $25 Scentsy giveaway going on!  CLICK HERE to enter }

I have another pasta dish to share with you today.  Are you surprised?  I can't stop making pasta!  This is another easy to make dish {although there is some prep required}, and perfect for cold winter nights.

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion; finally chopped
- 2 cloves garlic; finely chopped
- 1 10 oz package frozen leaf spinach
- 1 10 oz package frozen broccoli
- 1 15 oz container ricotta
- 1-1/2 cup mozzarella; grated
- 1/2 cup Parmesan; grated
- 4 oz smoked Gouda; sliced thin
- 1 cup skim milk
- 4 oz cream cheese; cut into pieces
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 8-10 no-boil lasagna pasta
- salt & pepper

{ Recipe adapted from this one found in the January 2013 issue of Woman's Day Magazine }

1.  Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2.  While the onion is cooking, thaw the spinach and broccoli according to package directions. Squeeze the spinach of excess moisture and pat the broccoli dry. Roughly chop both and place in a large bowl. Mix in the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmasaan.

3.  Add the milk to the onions and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer, then whisk in the cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmasan. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

4.  Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 2 1/2 noodles (breaking as necessary to fit). Spread a third (about 1/3 cup) of the remaining sauce over the top. Dollop with a third (about 1 1/3 cups) of the ricotta mixture, gouda slices, and basil. Repeat two more times.

5.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella, cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the pasta is tender (a sharp knife should go through with no resistance) and the top is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes more. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I appologize for the horrible photos - it was pitch black out when I took these, hence the horrible incadescent lighting.  I need a little low-light photogaphy help.

What did you cook this week?

Party Rules:
1.  Add a link to the post you are linking up back to this post
2.  Add the Tasty Tuesday button to the post you are linking up.  You will find the button and code on my sidebar.  Thanks!

{ Don't forget to enter the Scentsy Giveaway! }

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Cheesy Spinach & Sausage Pasta

Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!

I made this pasta a few weeks ago after pinning in on Pinterest from Michelle of The 236.  The pasta was really easy to make and I think would be a nice weeknight meal.  I also think it would be a kid pleaser because of the the cheese.

{ Original recipe from Budget Bytes }

- 6 oz sausage links {original recipe calls for smoked sausage, but I used fresh Italian sausage which I cooked before starting the rest of the recipe}
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- (1) 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with chile's
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz pasta {I used penne}
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
- 2 green onions, sliced thin

1.  Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions and cook for a few minutes until onions are tender. Slice the sausage and add to onions.  Add the tomatoes and chicken broth.  Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.  Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and make sure it is all submerged under the liquid. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the mixture to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking.

3.  Stir in the spinach, and stir until it is wilted.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them over top.  if you'd like, you can place the skillet under the broiler for a minute to brown up the cheese. Serve and enjoy!

What did you cook this week?

Please stop back later this week for a giveaway!

Party Rules:
1.  Add a link to the post you are linking up back to this post
2.  Add the Tasty Tuesday button to the post you are linking up.  You will find the button and code on my sidebar.  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesdays: Caprese Skillet Eggs

Welcome to Tasty Tuesdays!

Guys, this dish is amazing - I loved it!  The recipe is very simple and it would be great for any meal.

{ Original recipe from the September 2012 issue of Sunset Magazine.  I changed a few things }

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 28 oz jar / can of tomatoes; roughly chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese; cut into very small pieces
- handful of fresh basil; chopped
- handful of fresh chives; chopped
- salt & pepper to taste

My Mom & I canned tomatoes this Summer so that's what I used here.  The original recipe calls for fresh tomatoes, which I would definitely use if making this recipe when tomatoes are in season. Right now, I don't see any use in buying the tomatoes at the grocery store - they are awful!

I opened this jar and it smelled like Summer!

1.  Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  I used my made in the USA Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.  Add onion and saute until translucent   about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until tomatoes are heated through. 

2.  Use a spoon to make four wells in the tomato mixture.  Carefully crack and egg into each well.  Cover pan and cook until whites are firm and yolks start to set up; about 3 minutes.

3.  Turn off heat; sprinkle mozzarella over eggs and cover pan until cheese starts to melt; about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle with herbs and serve.  Serve with fresh toasted bread, like sour dough.

I love fresh, simple food like this.  Nothing fake or processed - just real, wholesome food.

What did you cook this week?

Party Rules:
1.  Include a link in the post you are linking up back to this post
2.  Add the Tasty Tuesday button to the post you are linking up.  You will find the button & code on my sidebar.  Thanks!

Monday, February 4, 2013


The last few months have been busy - I moved twice.  Needless to say, it's been a little crazy!

My sister, after spending five years in Chicago, decided she wanted to move back to Michigan.   My Dad had a large home in Michigan but only is spending 3-4 months out of the year here.  So, we decided to do something sort of crazy.

We put all three properties up for sale.  My sister's condo in Chicago sold in 3 weeks; I sold my condo to my golf partner & her family (I didn't even have to list it!); and my Dad's house sold in 6 weeks!  We were shocked that everything sold so quickly - we thought my Dad's house would be for sale for 6 months or more.

My Dad's house had been our family home for almost 20 years.  My parents built it when I was in high school.  I'm definitely going to miss it.  Lots of good memories there.

My condo - the one you have seen on the blog and shown in my sidebar, was in the same neighborhood as my Dad's house.  We lived in a golf course neighborhood.  He was on the 7th hole and I was on the 10th.  World's Cutest Brother and I spent a lot of time on the golf cart going between the two houses!  I'm going to miss my ladies league night and playing every Sunday with my Dad & Uncle.  Lots of good memories.

This Summer we started looking at lots and houses on Lake Michigan.  We found a lot we liked and after figuring out a few things, closed on our lot on New Year's Eve.  A very nice way to end 2012 and start 2013.

My sister and I took out a bottle of Prosecco to christen the lot.  Even thought it was freezing and crazy windy, it was fun.

baby sister }

{ me }

Lake Michigan is a beauty.

My Mom captured this gorgeous sunset:

We are currently working with an architect on our plans and hope to break ground in the Spring.

My sister will have her own living quarters and my Dad and I will share the main house when he is in Michigan for the Summer.  Of course, World's Cutest Brother will have a room for when he is in Michigan during the Summer.  I'm still holding out hope that I might meet the perfect guy and have my own family, but whatever happens, we will have the lake house in our family.  We are really excited!

In the meantime, we are renting a house not too far from our lot on a lake that connects to Lake Michigan. 

Our cozy living room at Christmas.  A little hodge podge becasue our furniture at the rental is a combination of all three of our things!

One of the best parts of the rental is this sun room - I think we will be using it quite often this Summer.

We are really close to the state park and will definitely be spending a lot of time at the beach this Summer.

I moved in to the rental December 1st and am finally feeling settled.  I'm looking forward to sharing the progress of our new house along with the design and finishes on the blog in the coming months!

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