Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm back :) With Beefy Thai Asian Wraps :)

In case your wondering why I haven't posted anything in the last year, its been a bit busy for the Hamiltons.  Just to bring you up to speed:

1) We completely remodeled and moved into our first home (yay!).  No more wasps stinging Rhitt in the the night (true story) or pipes freezing in the middle of January.  So happy the renter days are behind us. 

2)  Became owners of some farmland we had been leasing for the last five years.

3)  And perhaps the most important and best change: We had a baby girl whom we love and adore to pieces.

Lately the Hamiltons have been trying to loose the baby weight.  Rhitt decided to skip breakfast for two weeks....and lost ten pounds.  Since skipping breakfast for me would only result in gaining ten pounds I've been trying to cook a little greener lately.  One of my coworkers brought this recipe to work and it was a hit.  I've adapted it to my liking (she used turkey, and since the use of turkey on a beef ranch is sacreligious, I substituted it for beef.)  Use whatever you prefer!

Beefy Thai Asian Wraps

(Originally taken from Taste of Home's Peanutty Asain Lettuce Wraps)

  • 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (8 ounces) whole water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh snow peas
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 12 Bibb lettuce leaves

  • Start off by browning your meat

    Grate your carrots and ginger, add them to the meat (make sure your meat is strained first).

    Next add your garlic, cook until fragrant.

    Meanwhile chop your drained chestnuts to bits and pieces...

    ...as well as your onions and snow peas.

    Get ready to add your teriyaki sauce, hoisen sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, and oil.  

    Heat the entire mixture through.  Divide and serve in wrapped leaves.  Enjoy!

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Pepperoni Lasagna and a sharp dressed man :)

    This is my nephew, Russ.  Russ is a very unique kid (much emphasis on unique).  Russ celebrated his fifth birthday last week.  When I called him up to wish him happy birthday, this was how our conversation went:

    "Hello Russ, Happy Birthday!"

    "Who is this?  Grandma Pat?"

    "No, guess again, its your favorite Aunt"

    "hmmm....Aunt Jessie?.....is Rhitt there?"

    "Yes, but no, Uncle Rhitt isn't here right now."

    "Oh...ok" (sensing slight disappointment)

    "Happy Birthday, what did you get?"

    "A truck....oh and a Suitco!"

    "A Suitco?  Whats a suitco?"

    "A semi, a semi, a semi, a semi, I mean a semi!!!"

    I don't remember what else was said, but the picture above somehow wound up on the internet shortly after our conversation.  I thought it was funny how he's the only one wearing a suit while the rest of my sisters kids look a little, well...like kids :).
    Come to find out later, Russ asked for a "suit coat" for Christmas....and my sister bought him one to wear to church.  The only problem is that Russ wants to not only wear it to church, but to preschool, and also to feed the cows in, and to his cousins house, and just about everywhere else.
    What a funny kid, he can't part with his suit coat....and nobody knows why.  Perhaps he could give Uncle Rhitt a lesson or two in how a sharp dressed man gets attention everywhere he goes. :)  Love my Russy-roo.

    Anyways sorry for the delay on the recipe side of things....but here's one of my favorites that's been a staple in the Hamilton household.  Its an easy and fun twist on lasagna....It makes a great freezer meal as well!

    Pepperoni Lasagna

    What you'll need:
    6 Large Lasagna noodles, cooked aldente and set aside
    1 large package of pepperoni (don't go with the cheap greasy stuff here)
    1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
    1 can of pizza sauce or Ragu (even tomato sauce + sugar + oregano + italian seasonings works here too)
    Carton of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
    Tablespoon of italian seasonings
    Tablespoon of dried oregano

    First you'll want to cook your noodles.

    Second, you'll want to take your container of cottage cheese or (ricotta cheese) and mix in your oregano and italian seasonings.

    Next you'll carefully want to remove each of your cooked lasagna noodles and dry them off with a paper towel (I would do these one at a time, because the drier the noodles are the more difficult they are to work with)

    Lay out your noodle and with a spoon, coat the noodle with the cottage cheese mixture.

    Next you'll want to lay your pepperonis on top, having them overlap slightly.  On one end leave about a 1 1/2 inch uncovered.  Finally, sprinkle some of your shredded mozzarella on top of the pepperoni.

    When you've completed that, take the end that your left 1 1/2 inch uncovered and beginning rolling.

     Next, simply put the rolled up lasagna in a small, lightly greased, baking dish with the crease down.
    Repeat this process until all 6 noodles are rolled.

    Finally, you'll want to take your pizza or Ragu sauce and cover all six of the rolls.  With the remaining mozzarella, layer on top.

    Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 min. at 365.  Then uncover and bake for 10-15 more.  Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    My {favorite} Oatmeal Choc. Chip Raisen Cookies and the Great Feather Debate...

    When I started dating Rhitt I remember I had bought a faux-leather motorcycle jacket (that I still wear today).  I loved it and couldn't wait to show it off.  I think it was our third or fourth date that I wore it.  I remember his roomate and him jockingly made comments like, "butch" & "tough girl" (and my personal favorite) "where's your harley?" etc.  Needless to say, I didn't wear the jacket anymore...that was until we got married....now I wear it everywhere. :)  Its funny how liberating the two words, "I do" really are..haha.  But lately, for instance I have been lovin' this feather trend.  Can't get enought of it!  I love it so much I want to get some feather extentsions like the girl pictured below:

    Artistic right?  But there's a little voice inside of me thats just a tincy wincy bit afraid of the teasing I might have to put up with... as a consequence.  I'm afraid he might start calling me names like:


    ...or even worse....

    ...and I'm pretty sure nobody wants to get confused with Steven Tyler....

    But...if marriage has taught me one thing, its this...that I'm not afraid to own it and I can dish it right back:)...I can't wait to see the look on the spouses face :) 

    Until then, here's a cookie recipe that I have been excited to share.  These are are all time favorite cookies...and by far the best oatmeal raisen recipe I've tried.  Enjoy!  They are tasty-tasty!

    Oatmeal Choco-chip Raisen Cookies

    3/4 C butter @ Room Temp
    3/4 C white sugar
    3/4 C light brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 C flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    3/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 3/4 C quick oats
    3/4 C raisens*
    1/4 C choc chips

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
    Cream together butter and sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy.  Stir together flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt.
    Stir in oats and raisens*  Disclaimer about raisens:  I learned a trick that when cooking with raisens its best to soak them in water for about 20 minutes before you bake with them.  Then dry them on a paper towel.  This makes the raisens plump and more moist later.  Also.  If you don't want chocolate chips in this recipe, omit the 1/4 cup and just use 1 C of raisens Or if you like chocolate chips, adjust accordingly. 

    The dough should be a sticky consistancy.  Take by rounded tablespoon and drop on ungreased cookie sheet.  Cook for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Allow cookie to harden on cookie sheet when you take them out...Enjoy!

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

    Ooo I do love this recipe.  If I could sum it up in one word it would simply be: Winner.  This dish is a winner my friends.  Make it once and I can gurantee you will be craving it again.  As much as I would LOVE to take credit for this recipe, I can't.  The gals at ourbestbites get credit for this one...but hey you don't have to tell your husband that you got this recipe off the internet when you try it. Just pretend that this one is your own...Thats what I do anyways and someohow I've convinced my husband that I have knack for cooking.  :). eh heh...if he only knew....

    First of all your going to need to start off with some Tortellini.  There are two types I usually buy just depending on whats on sale.  This time I used a generic frozen three cheese tortellini.  You'll find it in the frozen section.  Its usually cheapest.

    Or Barilla makes a dry cheese and spinach tortellini that you will find in the dry pasta section.

    Cook your totellini according to package directions.  I would cook anywhere from 12 to 19 ounces of it.  Set aside.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    The next step you have two options:

    For uncooked Bacon you will need to:
    Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat.  Cook until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain.  Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. 

    Or if you want to save time, you can buy and chop up about 4 to 6 ounces of the bacon that is already pre-cooked and just use about two tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil for the next step.

    Here you will make the yummy white sauce.  Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute.  Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth.  Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

    While sauce is heating, use a microplane grater or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon.  Then cut lemon in half and remove juice.  Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce.  (Note!.  If you don’t want as strong of a lemon flavor, its suggested to cut it down to 1 teaspoon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice, either way season according to taste) .  Continue to stir until thickened, which is about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

    Next drain your cooked tortellini that you set aside earlier.  Place the tortellini back in the pot.

    Finally, you should reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture.  Add chopped spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Add sauce and gently stir to combine.  Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and also crumbled bacon.

    Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce
    Recipe by Our Best Bites
    12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortelini or 19 oz frozen tortellini
    4 oz bacon
    3 cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press or finely minced
    2 Tbs flour
    2 C milk
    ¾ tsp kosher salt
    ⅛ tsp black pepper
    1 1/2 tsp dry basil
    ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
    1 medium lemon (or lemon juice works great as a substitute)
    2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
    ¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
    ¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    My Favorite Enchiladas with Creamy Corn Cilantro Sauce...and why I love October...

    If I could pick one month out of the year that is the busiest for me it would easily be October...and I love it. 

    Whats funny though, is that I used to dread October. 
    October meant that my husband would either be gone for many days looking for cows or hunting (I suspect it's mostly the later, but hey, I just believe whatever the guy tells me :)
    Which meant many nights alone at home after work.  I hated it.

    But now, not only do I embrace it, I look forward to it.

    For one, I don't have to cook; I can eat cereal to my heart's content :)

    I can watch Glee and Project Runway as much as I want; instead of football:)

    I can spread my crafts/beads/paint all over the house and not worry about him stepping on a sewing needle....cause its ugly when he does!!!

    And laundry???  The laundry pile shrinks by a measly 75% when he's gone, I swear!

    But October usually does make me appreciate having the guy around.  As funny as the Kurt Hummel is on Glee, nobody can make me laugh like the spouse does.  So when he is home I try to impress him with recipes like the one below.  It was a contest winner for Taste of Home.  It was originally made with Turkey, but being a cattle rancher's wife, well, turkey is forbidden around here :).  But I'm sure it tastes good either way.  So enjoy...it is delish my friends!!!

    Terrific Turkey Enchiladas Recipe


    1-1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed 
    1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies 
    1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 
    1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper 

    3/4 pound ground hamburger (or turkey)
    1/3 cup chopped onion
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    3/4 cup salsa
    1 tablespoon cornmeal
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    6 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
    1-1/4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
    1/4 cup sliced ripe olives


    Place the first six ingredients in a food processor; cover and pulse until blended. Set the sauce aside

    In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Remove from the heat; stir in the salsa, cornmeal and seasonings.

    Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Spoon corn mixture over the top; sprinkle with olives and remaining cheese.

    Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. This makes about 3-4 servings.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Saint Karen's Creamy Chicken Veggie Bake

    The other day my best friend from growing up, texted me to let me know that her mom, Karen, wanted to share a recipe on my blog.  Karen is an AMAZING cook, not to mention, an incredible person!  I'm pretty sure in the next life she (along with my mother) will be promoted to sainthood for all the things they endured while raising Linz and I....FOR INSTANCE:

    One of my earliest memories was of being babysat by Karen.  I remember begging my Mom to let me wear my brand new church shoes to Linz's house. So I did.  When I got there, Linzie wanted to go exploring out in the corrals.  So we did.  I remember crawling over panels and through fences.  Then we made the mistake of trying to cross the "crap-pen".  For whatever reason that corral was 2-feet deep in pure, soft,  cow shiz...and before we knew it we were waist deep in it.  I remember thinking that was how my short little four-year-old life was going to end.  Right there in the quicksand of cow-poo. 

    Miraculously, our chubby little bodies rolled out of there.  We were covered head to toe.  Poop drenching my new church shoes.  And like poop-covered weasels, we stumbled back to Linz's house.

    Karen was so mad when she saw us.  I'm sure.  I remember her hosing us down on the lawn.  Linz and I were bawling...but like a troop she cleaned us up and took care of us...just like she gladly would for the next 15 years. 
    This is a great recipe my friends!  I love this dish.  Its easy and very filling.  Perfect for sundays.  You will love it!  Thanks again Karen...and not just for the recipe (wink)!

    Karen's Creamy Chicken Veggie Bake

    1-2 lbs of chicken breasts cut into 3 or 4 inch pieces (like pictured below).

    Several carrots cut into slices, along with diced yellow onion, and thinly sliced potatoes...all raw!

    In a seperate bowl mix up 1 can of chicken cream soup, and 1 cup sour cream.  Add a little lemon juice and milk.

    In a greased 9 x 13 baking dish add chicken and raw veggies and potatoes.  Salt and Pepper according to desire.  Cover this with the cream soup mixture.

    Bake this UNCOVERED at 375 for close to an hour (or until veggies are soft). 

    I know this recipe sounds simple but don't let its simplicity fool you...it tastes amazing!


    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Cilantro Lime Chicken Quesidillas and Lake Alice

    Lake Alice has always been my favorite family tradition.  It used to be just my dad, brother, and I who would take our horses and pack up to the lake each August.   Our family has since grown and all my brother-in-laws and nephews come.  Now, instead of trying to outfish my brother, I mostly worry about my nephews catching their limit...and instead of packing in on my trusty childhood horse Jake, my rug-rat nephews do :)

    Last year, Ian and Isaac (9 and 6 at the time and pictured below) rode double into Lake Alice on Jake.  Jake is a great horse.  He was the horse I mostly grew up on.  Although Jake is now old....he isn't exactly a kid's horse...in fact he really doesn't like kids at all....just like most old people :)

    But back to my story....Jake packed the two in like a champ with my Dad leading the way.  However, on the way home he had lost his patience...as soon as the two weren't paying attention, Jake headed straight for the neaest pine tree with the lowest boughs...and just like that my two nephews were dumped on the ground.  Scared, but unhurt, Isaac the youngest started crying.  My Dad taught him an important lesson that day when he told him and his brother to quit crying and to climb back on.  They did. 

    In fact this year Isaac told me he had forgiven Jake since and was ready to pack out on him. :)  I love the entertainment these two provide every year.

    As you can see, it was another great year.
    And my other nephew Ty and his proud catch :)
    Can't wait for next year!

    Cilantro Lime Chicken Quesidillas

    I got the original recipe for this on http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/
    But I've "doctered" to my liking so here it goes:

    Two tablespoons of olive oil
    Lime juice from 3 or 4 freshly squeezed limes
    1/2 C chopped cilantro
    dash of salt
    dash of pepper

    1-2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces.

    Place chicken pieces into marinade for atleast 20 minutes.

    Use a well greased pan on medium heat and cook chicken pieces and about half of a red onion diced into pieces.  Cook onions until translucent.

    Here's the part thats up to you depending on how sweet you like your chicken.  This is what I used to coat my marinated chicken while cooking and I loved it.  Adjust accordingly:

    1 Tbs of honey
    1/2 Tbs garlic powder
    1/4 tbs chili powder

    In a seperate well greased pan fry 8 tortillas. 
    I like to use pepperjack cheese with this recipe, but I've found that cheddar and mozzarella are good as well.  Serve with sour cream, guacomole, or salsa!  Enjoy!