Hearty Minestrone Soup

I used to really have a hard time liking broth based soups. Don’t judge me too harshly, but I can’t stand chicken noodle soup.  This is a safe space for me to admit that right?  I know everyone loves chicken noodle soup and its supposed to have magical healing abilities and all that, but it really just seems so boring to me.  Maybe I just haven’t had the right one yet (I really hope my mom doesn’t read today’s post).  For a long time, I just stuck to cream based soups, and then one day I tried a bite of French Onion Soup, and I realized broth based soups might have something to offer.  I now love a variety of broth based soups, the caveat is that they need to be totally loaded up on flavor.  This minestrone is souper flavorful(see what I did there?).  This soup is loaded with veggies, and honestly not too hard to make.  You can make this on a Saturday afternoon and have  an easy healthy lunch for the week. If the beans don’t offer enough protein, add a little shredded chicken to the soup and you are good to go.  Only bad thing is my kids won’t touch it, they all hate tomatoes, I blame their father. Continue reading

Easy All Butter Flaky Pie Crust

The leaves are turning orange and that means it’s pie season! I love pretty much every kind of pie, except custard pie, which oddly enough happens to be Mr. Insanity’s favorite pie.  I use butter in my crust and only butter, I don’t really love the flavor of Crisco (who does?) and I try and avoid it whenever possible.  I also think that butter gives the crust a better texture than a crust that has shortening in it.  I once made a butter and bacon fat pie crust, but that was impossible to work with, although it did taste AMAZING.  I welcome you to try it some day if you are a fellow bacon lover.  A warning about using just butter though, while it will taste great, and the texture is amazing, it is harder to work with than a butter/crisco combination.  You need to make sure you are keeping everything cold.  Do not, for example, try and make apple hand pies using hot filling because you will end up with a melted mess on your hands. I have learned the hard way, you can’t rush pie or hand pies for that matter. Continue reading

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

I think I have mentioned I like to eat soups or salads for lunch most days.  If I keep my lunches and breakfasts fairly healthy I don’t feel so bad having a burger for dinner, or maybe even a slice of pecan pie afterwards.  I also need variety.  Mr. Insanity could eat the same thing every day for years and not become bored, even after decades of being together, I still don’t quite understand him. So, my quirk of needing variety means many salad dressing ideas.  I love creamy dressings, but I try and use them sparingly since they tend to be higher in calories than their vinaigrette counterparts.  I love the tangy sweetness that the honey and lemon create here. This is also a dressing you can make for any Paleo friends out there as I believe all of the ingredients in this are paleo friendly.  This is a super easy dressing that comes together in about five minutes. Continue reading

Pork and Bacon Tacos

I am excited to share this recipe with all of you.  I know I missed national taco day last week, but better late than never.  This taco is my best effort at recreating a favorite of mine and Mr. Insanity’s from when we used to actually go out to dinner.  We would go to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, sit at the bar to talk to our favorite bartender, and both order up the Tacos Caseros. Now we have many kids and getting out to dinner is near impossible, so I had to get to guessing in the kitchen and make my own version of our favorite dish. I love all kinds of tacos, but when you get bacon into the mix it is really just brilliant!  And, as a bonus, the margaritas that I used to order at my favorite little restaurant are now sold by the bottle so it really feels like we are on a date rather than at home surrounded by four kids.  These tacos are quite tasty, and even though they are not exactly like the original, they get two thumbs up from the hubby.   Continue reading

Queso with Chorizo

Not much sounds better than a creamy, spicy, cheesy dip on top of a salty chip, and I can tell you not much tastes better either. I can’t even get this dip off of the stove before people start dipping chips into the bubbling cheesy dip right in the pan.  In fact, I like to serve this right in a cast iron skillet, reheating if it lasts that long, and getting it right back out to the party.   I use three different peppers (kinda) in this dip.  I say kinda because I use a jalepeno for that up front spice, then I use a pepper from a can of chipotle in adobo which is also a jalepeno but its been smoked and then packed in a tangy spicy sauce.  I also use a poblano pepper, and while it isn’t a very spicy pepper I just love the flavor of it.  Add to those peppers a little chorizo for another type of spice and smokiness and it’s a killer dip! I can get this dip put together in under a half hour and it can be made ahead and reheated.  I love anything I can make ahead for a party and this dip fits the bill.   Continue reading

No Waste – Stock

Two things I focus on as a stay at home mom are saving money and not wasting.  I am always looking for new ways to stretch a buck in the kitchen.   One way I do that is by trying to get as much out of whatever I buy as possible.  I like to freeze scraps and create meals out of leftovers and make stocks out of left over bones.  I am going to start by hopefully clearing up a few questions you might have about stock and broth.  Broth is a liquid made out of simmering meat in water for a few hours.  Stock is a liquid made out of simmering bones and maybe some meat for many hours.  Then we have bone broth, which for all I can tell is just another name for stock.  As with everything in the world many people have many opinions on how to make stock and what goes into it, and I will tell you what works for me.   I feel like homemade stock might be the best way to impart great flavor into your cooking and save money at the same time.  Plus the nutrients and health benefits of homemade stock far outweigh what you will buy in a can at the market.   Continue reading

Simple Egg Bread

My kids love this bread.  They love it just with butter after school or at dinner, or even more they love it as french toast.  This bread makes awesome French toast! I also love that this is a super simple bread to make, and it makes two loaves so we can have some at dinner and have french toast the next morning. Continue reading

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

My kids LOVE pancakes, but really what kid doesn’t? This recipe was created though because I wanted a pancake that I could love as well. I think my kids would be happy with any vehicle for syrup, one day I am tempted to just put cut up cardboard on their plates with syrup and see if they notice. I, however, need more than just a syrup sponge. I wanted a pancake that could stand up on its own. That just needed a touch of syrup and a little pad of butter and would still taste excellent. I also needed a pancake batter that would come together quickly, and that I could make with only a few sips of coffee in my system. I think I have met all of my goals with this recipe. I can get this batter ready in the time it takes for the griddle to heat up and it is super simple to put together. No sifting, or folding, or whipping needed; just a little measuring and a little stirring and you have beautiful, tasty, fluffy pancakes you would be happy to get at your favorite little diner. Continue reading

Cookie Dough Filled Chocolate Cake

This cake makes me think of that song from “The Sound of Music” when they sing about their favorite things.  I don’t know why whiskers on kittens is mentioned in that song but cookie dough isn’t, get it together Julie Andrews!  A few years ago I made my nephews this Brownie, Cheesecake, Cookie Dough creation that I really wanted to translate into a cake, something that made a little more sense than just tossing together three awesome desserts.  Since then I have grown and matured, and we now have a triple layer cake filled with cookie dough, frosted with a brown sugar frosting, coated in ganache, and decorated with cookies. Grown up cake, right??  Ok, maybe I am just a kid that knows how to use an oven, and has a few grays….and a couple smile lines….they are not wrinkles. Continue reading

Roasted Peach Salsa

Football season is here! I can’t claim to be the biggest sports fan in the world, but I love getting together with friends and family, eating tons of appetizers and desserts, and cheering on our team. My favorite part is probably the appetizers and desserts, if I have to be honest. Usually by the last quarter I am snuggled up on the couch sound asleep. I think maybe I enjoy the best naps during football season.  The amazing coincidence of football season starting up right as the tomatoes are ready to be picked is just too awesome to be ignored and we need to make some salsa. So I call up my mom and tell her to bring over some of those tomatoes stat!  HAHA, did you think I had a tomato garden??  My yard is filled with holes – last I checked the children are burying dragons eggs (one would think that burying something would involve the holes getting filled in). Any way I call my mom for her wonderful fresh tomatoes and she hooked me up.  I also use peaches for a little bit of sweetness to battle the heat of the peppers.   I love roasting everything before I start for the flavor it brings out of the fruits and veggies. Continue reading