The Sweetest Thing.

" I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people" ~Van Gogh

Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce. January 9, 2015

Confession- this is kind of a cheater recipe. It uses a jar of spaghetti sauce. While I love the idea of making my own spaghetti sauce from scratch and even canning it to have on hand, I am just not quite there yet. I do occasionally make sauce, but not often enough to support my partners spaghetti habit. This is our go to recipe.

Truthfully, I never really even liked spaghetti and meat sauce before I tried this.That is actually the only reason this recipe made it on the blog despite using a jar of sauce, maybe it will convince someone else who is on the fence about this classic meal. The basic idea came to the relationship with my partner, but we have really amped it up over the years. This recipe is bursting with flavor and texture and is just simply delicious. It tastes like something you spent a long time on but can be done and on the table in less than 45 minutes.

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Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce

serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb very lean ground beef

1/2 red bell pepper (large dice)

1/2 orange bell pepper (yellow would also work) (large dice)

1/2 green bell pepper (large dice)

medium red onion (diced)

1 cup cremini mushrooms (quartered)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup water

1-2 Tbls good olive oil

Fresh Parmesan

Pasta of choice

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1. Brown ground beef in large, deep skillet. There is not a lot of fat in the ground beef we use, so I don’t even have to drain it, but do so if your ground beef is not quite as lean.

2. Add diced veggies and garlic to browned meat and mix. Cook over medium heat about 7 or 8 minutes. We are not trying to cook the veggies until they are soft. I like them to stay a little firm.

3. Add jar of sauce and water and mix in. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil.

5. Serve over pasta of choice. You could also stir the pasta right into the pan of sauce. We don’t do that because I eat gluten free pasta and my partner does not. Top with grated Parmesan.

6. Enjoy!

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Pancake Party. November 22, 2014

Filed under: Entertaining — Jessica @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I love to entertain but often overwhelm myself with elaborate (and expensive) plans and it dulls the fun. I decided I wanted to have a few people over for a simple Sunday brunch last weekend. I have never really considered entertaining on a Sunday before, but it worked out quite perfect for this. My normal cleaning day is Saturday, so the house was already cleaned and there was no extra stress there.  We always have Sunday brunch anyways, so it wasn’t anything out of the normal routine. It was brunch, so our guests left mid afternoon and we still got to enjoy our Sunday at home together. It was the most stress free entertaining I have ever done.

 

*there was more bacon, I just couldn’t make people wait any longer and wanted a picture of everything.

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The night before, I prepped everything I could. I made the oj, chilled the champagne, got the coffee ready and put butter in the butter dish. I put plates, a mason jar with silverware, cups, napkins, syrups, serving dishes and anything else I could out on the counter. The morning of the party, I just had to turn on the coffee pot, cut up the pineapple, mix up the mimosas, put bacon in the oven and cook pancakes.

 

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I kept the menu simple~ pancakes with butter and a variety of syrups, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, mimosas and coffee. The bacon was cooked in the oven so I didn’t have to tend the sizzling skillet. Pancakes are very easy to make on my electric skillet and I just made a giant pitcher of mimosas, so there was little hands on work while the guests were here.

 

 

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I set up a drink station area with coffee, mimosas, cups, coffee mugs, creamer, sugar and a box of tea & hot chocolate in case someone wanted them. Plates, napkins, silverware, syrups and all of the food went in another area.

 

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This was also the cheapest party I have ever had~ It cost me about $25 to feed 8 people brunch (including champagne)!

 

I will definitely do another low key Sunday gathering of friends. Maybe I will make a bit pot of soup and some fresh bread next time.

 

What is your favorite way to entertain?  Do you keep it low key or go all out? What is your favorite thing to share with guests?

 

Bacon Cheddar Squash Bites. July 5, 2013

If you have ever grown zucchini or summer squash, or even know someone who has, you are likely to have it piling up around the house mid summer. As much as I like it on the grill or turned into bread, I still had to come up with some other options. This is one of those options I came up with. They are great as an appetizer or a healthier alternative to tater tots as a side dish.

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Bacon Cheddar Squash Bites
Makes 24 bites

1 c grated zucchini
1 c grated summer squash
2 eggs
1/2 medium onion – diced
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
5 slices crisp cooked bacon- crumbled
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Coat mini muffin pan with olive oil or cooking spray
3. After grating zucchini/squash, place into dish towel & squeeze out excess liquid- This is very important!
4. After zucchini is drained, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well combined.
5. Press mixture into mini muffin cups
6. Bake at 400° for 20mins. Let cool slightly & serve.
7. Enjoy!
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Caramelized Onion, Cremini Mushroom & Spinach Quiche. May 7, 2013

Looking back at the few recipes I have published on this blog so far, I see quite a few of them are egg recipes. What can I say? Eggs are cheap, delicious and a great source of protein! I will often make my egg dishes without a crust to keep them healthier for everyday eating, but once in awhile, usually for dinner or Sunday brunch, I indulge. For some reason, quiche used to seem fancy to me & I assumed it was difficult to make. It is not. This combination is a favorite of mine and made from household staples but you can put just about anything in quiche, so adjust to your tastes or what you have in the house to use up.

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Caramelized Onion, Cremini Mushroom & Spinach Quiche

1 pie crust (your favorite recipe or store bought)
1 Tbls Olive Oil
1 large red onion, sliced thin
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large handfuls spinach
4 oz cheese of choice, shredded (cheddar & Swiss are both delicious)
6 eggs
1/2 c milk
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Press rolled pie crust into bottom of deep dish pie pan.
2.  Heat olive oil  in large frying pan over medium heat, add onions & cook until caramelized, stirring as needed.
3. Once onions are caramelized, add sliced mushrooms & cook until browned on both sides.
4. Add handfuls of spinach & heat until wilted & bright green.
5. Add veggies to pie crust.

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6. Mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper & half off the cheese together.
7. Pour over veggies.
8. Top with remaining cheese.
9. Bake at 375° until firm in center & golden brown around the edges (about 40 minutes)
10. Cool slightly before eating
11. Enjoy!