Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favorites of 2012


Ahhhh, New Years Eve. I'd like to say that we've got some amazing plans for this evening, and are headed out to some awesome party, but alas...we are not. I'm sick, and Heath's old...so we'll most likely be in bed by 11pm.

We are one wild and crazy couple.

It's cool. I've never cared for New Years, even in my younger years. Every year I look at all those people in Times Square and wonder what in the hell possess them to want to be there...smashed together in a giant mass of bodies.

Actually, what I'm really thinking is...where do they all go pee? Especially the women.

Yeeeeeah...no thanks.

Anyway, I was going to post the most pinned or popular recipes of 2012, but you can see those on the right sidebar if you scroll down a little. Instead, I'm posting my own personal favorites of this past year.

This has been a great year for Kitchen Life. I was away for a long time when I was doing the food photography thing, but around April I was able to focus solely on this site. Things have really picked up in the last 8 months (thank you Pinterest), and I still love making and sharing all the new recipes I come across.

Thank you all so much for your support of this little blog of mine, and for the many 'Thank You's' I am sent for Heath's military service. We are a very proud Navy Family, and I look forward to whatever it is that 2013 has in store for us.

Hope you all have a great New Years, and most importantly...stay safe :)

See you next year!

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PBJ Banana Dog (this was Jesse's favorite)

















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Friday, December 28, 2012

Cowboy Corn Dip



Got a New Years party coming up? Here's a great dip to try! Just be warned...it makes enough to feed a small village.

Seriously.

We had dinner at the Captains house the other night. A very informal, relaxed evening where our kids could meet and play, Heath and the Capt. could chat about what they want to do for this boat over the next couple years, and I could get to know his wife a little better. We had a really good time.

Anyway, after searching my Pinterest Appetizer Folder for something to make, I decided on this. It mixes up super quick, but I really must recommend cutting this recipe in half if you're making it for less than 25 people.

I only took half to the Caps house, and the picture above is half of the half I had left. I took Frito Scoops over with it, but when I took the pictures the next day here at home, I only had tortilla chips. I much preferred the Fritos.

In the end, I would absolutely make this again, I would just cut it down. It's super easy, you can either make it the night before and stick it in the fridge, or make it the day you need it and chill it for a couple hours. Plus, it's really, really tasty :)

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'Cowboy Corn Dip'
Source: Adapted from Inspired By Charm

Ingredients

3 cans sweet corn with diced peppers, drained (also called Fiesta corn...11 oz each)
1 can chopped green chilies (7 oz)
1 can chopped jalapeno peppers, drained (6 oz)
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 package shredded sharp cheddar cheese (16 oz)
2-3 bags of Frito Scoops

Directions

1. In a LARGE bowl, mix all ingredients except for the chips.

2. Cover and chill two hours to overnight. Serve with your favorite chips Frito scoops or your favorite tortilla chips.




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Bites



Good morning! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a great day. Jesse loved everything Santa, Mama and Daddy-O and the rest of the family got him. It was so great to have a nice, normal Christmas this year.

Putting the smack-down on everyone by telling them they can give Jesse only ONE gift, and explaining to him that Santa brings all the good little boys and girls three gifts, really cut down on the obnoxiousness of the last couple Christmas's.

As I mentioned before, last year he had received so many gifts from our family, ourselves, and Santa, that it was absolutely ridiculous. No one child should receive that much crap. He had so much stuff that he didn't even touch half of it for weeks.

So this year I was adamant about it, and it made for a much better Christmas. Jesse played with his stuff all day, and right now, as I type this, he's up in his room playing some more :)

Oh, real quick, about these bites...very good. If you're giving them to children, then obviously you're gonna want to either adjust the hot sauce, or remove it all together. Also, I recommend keeping the balls on the smaller size. Some of mine were kind of large, and they didn't cook as well as the smaller ones did.

I also cut the recipe down a bit from the original (which you can see by clicking the link under the recipe title). Mine fed the three of us perfectly, but you'll want to double it if you plan to make these as an appetizer or for more than four people.

Ok, that's it for me! I'm off to start taking down some of these Christmas decorations. I'm trying something new this year...each day after Christmas I'll take down a little bit, so that I'm not spending an entire day trying to take everything down with my house being a huge mess.

Today : The Foyer

Have a great day!!

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'Buffalo Chicken Bites'
Source: Adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen

Ingredients

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used a store-bought rotisserie)
2 tablespoons hot sauce
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, cheddar cheese and green onions. Roll a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a ball and place onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

3. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place eggs in a second shallow dish, and place the cornflakes in a large zip-lock bag.

4. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg. Drop each ball into the bag of cornflakes and shake until covered (you'll need to do this in batches).

5. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.






Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Day Breakfast/Brunch



Merry Christmas Eve!!! I have one super excited little guy over here who is doing everything in his power to try and convince me into letting him open up a present early. I keep telling him he has to wait until Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Chelsea and Uncle Damen get here...he's not really diggin' that idea.

Anyway, I hope you're all enjoying this time off with your families. I thought that today I would post some past breakfast/brunch recipes that would be great to make for a group of people. I know many people out there are hosting other members of their family for Christmas, so these are some easy recipes that can feed a crowd!

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1. Overnight Tex-Mex Egg Bake. This is what I'll be making for brunch tomorrow. My Mom and Step-Dad will be coming over around noon-ish, so I'll put this out as a late breakfast, early lunch. I know Jesse's gonna want to go right to the gifts, so we'll probably eat something small in the morning.


2. Bacon Egg and Cheese Ring. I love this recipe. I've made it a million times. If you've got a large group of people, you can easily whip up a couple of these and they can all just grab a slice or two and go.


3. Sausage Egg and Cheese Ring. Another variation of the crescent ring. I love this cause it's smothered in gravy. I love gravy :)


4. Crescent Cinnamon Rolls. Great recipe if you've got a bunch of kids staying with you. What kid doesn't love bread, cinnamon and icing?


5. Blueberry Cheese Rolls. If you scroll through to the comments on this recipe, people have really made this their own. You can either make a bunch of individual rolls, or, as a few people have mentioned, you can put all the crescents together and make a giant roll that you can cut like a pie. Not to mention that this is such an easy recipe to play with...add any type of fruit or filling you or your family members prefer!


6. California Breakfast Casserole. You can't go wrong with a casserole! They're always great for feeding a group!


7. Egg Nog French Toast. I love egg nog, and so does Jesse, so this recipe is always a hit in our house.


8. Overnight French Toast. This dish gets prepared tonight, and tomorrow morning, when you're ready to make breakfast, just take it out of the fridge and toss it in the oven!


9. Lemon Pull-Apart Bread. Mmmmm...I need to make this again. This was awesome. You can easily adjust the serving size and double this to feed a larger group.


10. Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins. Who knew a bit of sour cream could make blueberry muffins even better?


Well, there ya go. 10 ideas for Christmas breakfast or brunch! I'm sure the last thing you want to do today is go to the grocery store, and I'm willing to bet most of you already know what you're making tomorrow for breakfast, but I didn't think to put this together on Friday...sorry.

I myself have to trudge to the grocery store since when I went on Saturday, NO ONE had hashbrowns  Seriously...went to three different grocery stores. Everyone was sold out completely of hashbrowns. I need them for that Tex-Mex Casserole! Hopefully the shortage is over.

Ok guys, have a VERY Merry Christmas, and stay safe!




Friday, December 21, 2012

Classic Meatloaf



Well...here we are. Probably should have wrapped all those Christmas presents yesterday. While the world didn't end (though there are still 11 1/2 hours left to the day), it is a rather miserable day out there. Rainy and super windy...bleck.

Jesse is feeling a little under the weather so I've decided to keep him home today and start his Christmas vacation one day early. As I type this he's vegging on the couch playing iPad games while we watch Phineas & Ferb. I think it's a good day for him :)

So, I'm not a big meatloaf fan, and whenever I do make it, I always use THIS recipe. While it's a favorite of Heath's, it was beginning to taste a little too sweet. I decided last night to try a more classic recipe, and it went over really well.

Jesse loves meatloaf, so I think I could make it any way and he'dd eat it, but Heath really liked this version as well. The sauce that gets spread over the top is very sweet, so it's not just boring, plain meat. If your looking for a simple, classic meatloaf recipe, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot. I have another recipe sitting in my Pinterest Dinner folder that's meatloaf made with Stovetop Stuffing...really looking forward to trying that one (I love Stovetop).

Well, that's it for me this week! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time off with your families, and a giant Thank You! to all the men and women serving who will miss Christmas at home this year...stay safe!

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'Classic Meatloaf'
Source: All Recipes

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup dried bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/3 cup ketchup

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 .

2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.

3. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and spread over top the meatloaf.

4. Bake for 40-50 minutes.



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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Outback Mac N' Cheese



When I found this recipe on Pinterest, it was titled 'Outback Mac n' Cheese'. I decided to keep the title, since that's the way I found it, but I have personally never tried Outback's mac n' cheese. If you decide to make this and it tastes nothing like their mac n cheese, then my apologies.

Also, could you please let me know so I can remove the 'Outback' from the title and just change it to Stovetop Mac n Cheese? Although I'm pretty sure I already have a recipe on this blog with that same title...I do love me some mac n cheese.

Well guys, I hate to post and dash, but I have really got to get to wrapping presents. I'm home by myself all day, and have more than enough time to get it done, yet I just keep putting it off. Last year I waited until Christmas Eve night after Jesse went to bed...not doing that again.

Have a great day guys, and hopefully I will see you tomorrow...provided the world doesn't come to a fiery end. Ya know, maybe I should put off wrapping those gifts just one more day....

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'Outback Mac N' Cheese'
Source:Adapted from Cully's Kitchen

Ingredients

1 package of medium-size rigatoni pasta or elbow macaroni (12 oz)
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed

Directions

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly.

3. Once thickened, add milk, salt, paprika and cheese cubes. Stir constantly until the sauce is smooth. If mixture is too thick, add little more milk.

4. Pour the drained pasta into the sauce and gently stir until pasta is completely coated.



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All Images Copyrighted © 2013 The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Classic Southern Tomato Pie



When I told my Mom I was making this recipe, she was so excited. I didn't get it. It's just tomatoes baked into a pie crust. Apparently she had a tomato pie recipe Y-E-A-R-S ago and absolutely loved it, so she was all about trying this.

It was a tasty little pie! Now, as you can see from the above photo, I did not drain all the water out of my tomatoes since the bottom of my pie was kind of runny. I don't know why...I did what the instructions said. I  lined a baking sheet with two paper towels, sprinkled a crap-ton of salt over the tomatoes to draw out the water, and covered them with two more paper towels. I then let them sit for 45 minutes (15 minutes longer than the suggested 30).

Still...they clearly had too much water in them. Oh well. It didn't affect the taste of the pie in the least. Overall, this is a pretty easy recipe, it's mainly just layering stuff. And it smells amazing as it's cooking.

I definitely recommend trying this as either a side dish to a large dinner, or as a dinner all it's own (which is how er ate it). I know it's a little strange to be posting a tomato recipe in December when it's more suited to say, June or July, but I made it now, so I'm sharing it now :)

Also, if you have a few minutes, and you love southern recipes, then I highly suggest heading on over to Deep South Dish (where I found this recipe), and checking out her stuff. She's got a ton of awesomely hearty southern dishes.

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'Classic Southern Tomato Pie'
Source: Adapted from Deep South Dish

Ingredients

1 deep dish pie crust, partially baked
3 medium sized tomatoes, sliced (about 15 slices)
salt
2 tablespoons real bacon pieces, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
1 tablespoon sugar, divided (optional)
black pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
1 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/8 cup of chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400. Place the uncooked pie crust in a deep dish pie pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is dry looking and just beginning to lightly brown. Set aside to cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels. Lay the sliced tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels to drain. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and cover with another layer of paper towels. Let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Heat olive oil in a small pan and saute the onions until tender, but not browned.

4. Heat oven to 350. Add half a cup of the mozzarella cheese to the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Knock excess seeds off tomato slices and top cheese with half of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with sugar if using, then season to taste with the pepper and garlic powder. Add half of the basil, top with half of the onions, and half of the bacon.

5. Repeat the layering process one more time with half cup of the cheese, tomatoes, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, basil, onions, and ending with the bacon.

6. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, hot sauce, parsley and the remaining 2 cups of cheese; spread evenly over the top of the pie.

7. Bake pie for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bubbly and light golden brown on top. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Pie can also be served cold if desired.



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All Images Copyrighted © 2013 The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Avocado Chicken Enchilada's



Ok, before you look at the ingredients list and write this one off as a pain-in-the-ass, stop. Take a good look at it. I'm willing to bet that you already have most of the stuff in your kitchen right now...butter, flour, cumin, salt, pepper, sour cream. It's really not that bad, and these were definitely worth the little bit of effort.

To make things even easier, as I always suggest, go ahead and do a little prep the night before. Chop the jalapeno pepper and the onion (you can store them in the same dish since they get tossed into the pan at the same time), cover, and set in the fridge until you start cooking. Same with the cumin, salt and pepper...you can measure out and mix those spices together ahead of time.

It's the little things...get them out of the way earlier, and it makes preparing dinner so much easier. Personally, I hate having to chop stuff when I'm making dinner, so I almost always do it before hand.

Ok guys, that's all for me. I have a ton of laundry and straightening up to do before tonight's FRG meeting. I know once I get back home, I'm not going to want to do anything but get the Bubba in bed, grab a Twisted Tea, and sit my butt on the couch until bedtime :)

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'Avocado Chicken Enchilada's'
Source: Adapted from The Novice Chef

Ingredients

Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
1 cup medium salsa verde
1/2 cup sour cream

Enchiladas:

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts (or shredded rotisserie)
8 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded & divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 avocados, peeled and chopped
8-10 flour tortillas

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375.

2. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute pepper and garlic, for 1 minute. Stir in flour, stirring constantly, and cook for 1 minute.

3. Whisk in the chicken broth, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, whisk in the sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro (or parsley). Remove from heat.

4. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 3/4 cup sauce to the bottom of the pan.

5. Place chicken, shredded cheese, onion and avocado down the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.

6. Top with leftover cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve immediately.






Monday, December 17, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew



Well, it was interesting weekend. Friday we had the Manheim Steamroller concert at Foxwoods that turned out to be a total disappointment. Then Saturday we had a Hail & Farewell at Mohegan Sun that ended up being a pretty good time.

It was my first official event as the new XO's wife of the USS Annapolis, and I was able to meet all the wonderful ladies that make up the wardroom. They were all so nice and welcoming, and I look forward to being a part of this boat for the next couple years. I believe that the CO's wife and myself will get along famously...she's such a sweetheart.

But then, at the same time, it was an unbelievably difficult weekend. Every single time I look at my precious little Bubba, I see the sweet faces of those poor children in Newtown. My heart is absolutely broken for that entire town, and I cannot even begin to fathom what the families of those children are going through, as well as the families of those brave women who tried to protect them.

I want to wrap my boy in bubble wrap, lock the door, and never let him out again. Dropping him off at school this morning was hard. I would like to say that he's safe, and we have nothing to worry about...but I just can't. 

I don't know how those families can physically handle so much grief, but I'll continue to keep them in my prayers, and hope that they can somehow find the will to go on.

Have a good days, and hug and kiss the crap out of your kids every chance you can.

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'Slow Cooker Beef Stew'
Source: eMeals.com

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup water
1 lb sirloin beef steak, cubed
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can beef broth (14 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained (14 oz)

Directions

1. Mix Worcestershire, flour, salt, pepper and water together in a greased slow cooker.

2. Add beef and remaining ingredients. Mix well.

3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.







Friday, December 14, 2012

Apricot-Lemon Chicken



Sorry I was a no-show yesterday. I was at Target doing all of Santa's shopping, followed by  bunch of other errands. By the time I finally sat down and had a minute to myself, it was 3:30.

Thankfully, Jesse is all done for Christmas, but I have NO idea what to get Heath. Oh well, I'll figure it out. I'm just ready for the holidays to be over. All the commercials and ads that come in...Jesse tells me daily of new stuff that he wants. I'm sticking to my guns this year though (and every year). No more obnoxious Christmas's...I'm tired of that crap. I told everyone in our family that they can get him ONE gift...any extras they send will be given to Toys-For-Tots. Santa will bring him 3 gifts, and then a couple from Heath and I. That's more than enough for one 4 year old little guy/

Last year there was no communication and between Heath's brother, my parents, Santa and us, Jesse had more toys then he knew what to do with, and it pissed me off. That is NOT what Christmas is about, and I'm putting a stop to that shit now, while he's still young.

Anyway though! Here's another eMeals recipe I wanted to share. This one was really good. That apricot lemon glaze is wonderful. Sweet and sticky :)

Plus this cooks up super fast. Really...about 15 minutes from start to finish...can't beat that!

Ok guys...have a great weekend and stay safe! If the Mayans are to be believed, this will be our last one.  ;)

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'Apricot-Lemon Chicken'
Source: eMeals.com

Ingredients

1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast
Cooking spray
1/3 cup apricot spread
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Directions

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; rub mixture over chicken.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan, and keep warm.

3. Adjust heat to medium and add apricot spread, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan, stirring until smooth...about 1 minute. Spoon sauce over chicken, sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.






All Images Copyrighted © 2013 The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife