Green Bean Casserole

Happy Easter!!

I’m Orthodox, so we actually celebrate Easter this coming weekend on April 15th.  But this year, we get to celebrate it two times!! Some awesome friends of ours (thanks Jess and Ryan!) invited us over for a little Easter dinner this past Sunday.  It was quite the feast: mac and cheese, cheesy potatoes, ham, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, rolls…the food was endless and delicious!

We typically eat a traditional Egyptian meal on Easter, so I had to ask Jess what their traditional Easter meal was.  When she told me that it’s tradition to eat ham on Easter the first thing that popped in my head to bring was a Green Bean Casserole (second to dessert, of course!).   I have no idea why I choose green bean casserole, before Sunday I had never eaten green bean casserole, let alone made one! But after much research and a combination of a couple of recipes I seem to have come up with a pretty yummy dish!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped mushrooms
  • 2 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 cups cooked green beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/3 cups French fried onion
  • 3/4 cup crushed butter crackers
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar shredded cheese

Instructions: 

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add margarine to pan on medium heat.  Sauté mushrooms, garlic and onion in pan until onions are a golden yellow colored.

3.  In 2 quart casserole dish mix together sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and onion, cooked green beans, cream of mushroom, salt, pepper, milk, 1/2 cup of french fried onions, 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese.

4.  In pan, add 1/2 tablespoon margarine, crushed crackers, and remaining french fried onions – until golden brown.

5. Top casserole with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and cracker-fried onion mix.

5.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.

 

Of course I couldn’t help but bake some Easter cupcakes to take along as well: funfetti cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream icing! Delicious. 🙂 Recipes to come.

After dinner, we went outside and played a little bocce ball.  That was my first time playing… I have to admit, I wasn’t very good at it.  But that’s ok – I kept saying “We’re all winners,” to make myself feel better.  All in all, it was a great evening!

Husband and I

 

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Stuffed Pepper Soup

This is a recipe I’ve been itching to make for awhile now and I’m so glad I did! I love stuffed peppers and I thought that turning it in to a soup was such a fun twist on an original stuffed pepper recipe. Not to mention it’s freezing cold here in Ohio and this warmed us right up!

This is a great recipe because I feel like you can make it your own… (Vegetarians – skip the meat; Low carb – skip the rice)! Everyone gave this recipe two thumbs up! Thanks Maryna, Mary, and Husband for being my guinea pigs on this one 🙂

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram (this is a spice that you can find at your local grocery store!)
  • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions: 

1. In a large pot, brown ground meat on high heat and season with salt .Drain fat if any, reduce heat to medium-low.

2. Add chopped red and green peppers, onions and garlic.Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat.

3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, marjoram and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

4. Serve soup bowl and top with desired amount of cooked rice.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Happy Thanksgiving! This year for thanksgiving we went over to a friends house for dinner.  My contribution was something sweet (duh!).  I made two different desserts and they both turned out delicious!!

First, I made these incredible mini pumpkin cheesecakes.  I got the recipe from this new blog I discovered.  This recipe is so so full of flavor.  For those of you who don’t truly LOVE pumpkin, you’re not going to be a fan of these. This recipe really brought out the spices in pumpkin.  They were a huge hit and fairly easy to make!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup cookie crumbs (I used Graham crackers)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp of any combination of the following spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice
  • 2 tbsp melted margarine
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Filling:

  • 8oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp of pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Instructions: 

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with paper liners. This recipe made exactly 12 mini cheesecakes!

2.  Mix together all ingredients for cookie crust.  Press about a tablespoon of the mixture into each paper filled muffin cup.  Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes.  Let cool while you prepare the filling.  Lower the oven temperature to 300.

3.  Cream the cream cheese and sugar together.  Add in one egg at a time, waiting until each egg is fully incorporated. Add in vanilla and beat. Then add in the pumpkin and the spices.

4.  Fill each muffin tin until all the batter is used.  Bake for 25-30 minutes on 300 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then chill in the ridge for a few hours before serving.

 

 

 

Sugar Cookies (Shaped like teeth!!)

A few of the girls from our class had a brilliant idea and decided to have an “Estrogen” party, they kindly invited all the girls from our class over for a night of relaxing.  We’ve been swamped with exams lately and this was a great way to unwind/forget about school for a night.

Surprise, surprise… I couldn’t help myself but bring a baked good.  A good friend of mine (Jessica Martinez!) came over and we decided to make sugar cookies… in the shape of teeth!!! How fitting was this?  I got this tooth shaped cookie cutter months ago at a dental expo and I have been itching to use it.  I couldn’t help but gush and call every tooth shaped cookie “cute.”  Seriously, they turned out so so cute!  How can teeth be cute, you ask?  Just scroll down and judge for yourself.

While the teeth did in fact turn out adorable, they also turned out delicious! Both the sugar cookie recipe (from allrecipes.com) and the buttercream frosting recipe (from wilton) were awesome.

You should be warned of a couple of things… first off, the cookie recipe makes A LOT of cookies, nearly 5 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.  Also, the buttercream frosting is so delicious that you could spoon it out and eat it on its own. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients for cookie:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (added this after reading some reviews)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions for cookie:
  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on surface covered with powdered sugar.  Dough should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 5 to 7 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Ingredients for buttercream frosting:
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon clear butter flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons water (or milk)
  • 1 tablespoon merengue powder*
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.
  •  *  Get white shortening, not yellow! So you can dye the icing without it already having a tint of yellow.  Also, the merengue powder is optional. From my understanding, the purpose of adding this powder is to stabilize the buttercream, so when you add dye it prevents darker dye colors from bleeding in to lighter colors. But I’ve made buttercream frostings without adding merengue powder and it turns out perfect.
Instructions:
  1. With an electric mixer, soften shortening.  Add vanilla, butter flavoring, water (or milk), and merengue powder.  Mix well.
  2. Start adding powdered sugar, one cup at a time until well blended.  I like my buttercream frosting to be really sweet, so taste as you go and add more or less depending on your sweet tooth 🙂
  3. Frost your cookies!
Here’s a glimpse of the Estrogen party 🙂
We know how to eat 🙂

Jessica and I

“Pigs in a Blanket”

Mina was invited over to a buddy’s house for a fantasy football draft party.  This is a conversation we had several hours before the party:

Mina: They’re having wings tonight and they asked me to bring a side dish.

Me: Ok, what do you want to take?

Mina: I don’t know…what do you think about some ranch dressing?

Me: (dying laughing) Um. Well, I don’t think that constitutes as a side dish…

So, I took charge of the side dish situation and made a newer version of pigs in a blanket. They were a huge hit and now that football season is in full swing, I know that we’ll be having many football watching parties and these will definitely be made again!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of reduced fat crescent rolls
  • 1 package chicken italian sausage
  • Slices of your favorite cheese, I used muenster cheese because that’s what I had
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Garlic salt
Instructions:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Boil sausage in water for 5 minutes. Slice sausages in four equal pieces (I cut them in half horizontally and then again in 1/2 vertically)
3. Unroll dough in to triangles.   Place 1/2 a slice of cheese per triangle along with a slice of the sausage.  Wrap triangular dough around dog and cheese.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4.  Sprinkle each with a pinch of  parmesan cheese and garlic salt.
5.  Bake on 350 for about 13 minutes, or until golden brown.
6.  Dig in and enjoy!

Logans Roadhouse

Yesterday Mina and I drove to Dayton to see visit some friends: Mike, Sarah, and their daughter Sophia.  It was a last minute, unplanned trip (the best kind of trips) and we loved every second of it. They’re practically family.  We always have such a great time even though we basically do a lot of nothing.

 

Sophia and I


For dinner we went to Logans Roadhouse, and well I need to discuss the situation at Logan’s.  Have you ever been?  People just throw their peanut shells ON THE FLOOR. Please look at exhibit A:

I think I was having an anxiety attack.  Every time I saw someone throw their peanut shells on the floor I wanted to go pick them up.  Ask anyone who knows me…I’m a clean freak.  In fact  I might be clinically diagnosed as slightly, borderline OCD.  Mina was having a great time. He had a huge grin on his face every time he threw shells on the floor.  Every time he dropped the shells, it brought him great joy and me great stress.  If they had handed me a broom, I would’ve swept the floors for them…

Has anyone else ever shared this same experience?  Stress.ful.

Stir Fry Overload

Yesterday for dinner my friend Mary and I made some chicken and vegetable stir fry.  I think we made enough to feed a small country.  It’s an Egyptian thing…Egyptian mothers only know how to cook for armys of people and I think I have inherited this gene.  I rarely can get the portions right.  I guess the theory is, I’d rather everyone be stuffed and have tons of left overs then for someone to walk away from the table a little hungry.  Crazy, I know.

Anyways, I think I went a little (by a little, I really mean a lot) overboard on the fresh veggies I bought to put in it: broccoli, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, onions, zucchini, eggplant, sugar snap peans…I couldn’t help myself but pick up every vegetable I love. This combination worked out perfectly! It couldn’t have been better.

I’m not going to make an ingredient list for this recipe, because everyone likes different vegetables.  So I’ll just walk you through the steps of how I put this all together!

1 Get some rice cooking. Rice typically takes awhile to cook so I started that first.

2. Chop 1 pound of  chicken breast into cubes.  Season with 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (for spice)

3. Brown 1/2 cup of chopped onions and cubed chicken in pan.

4. While chicken is browning, chop vegetables in to cubes. Add about  tsp of olive oil to lightly coat vegetables, along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp of ginger, and 1/2 tsp red pepper (same spices that were on the chicken!).

5.  Put vegetables in separate pot on medium-high heat. Allow vegetables to cook through, mixing regularly.

Mary while mixing the vegetables, "I feel like a real housewife of Columbus."

6. Add 1/2 cup of soy sauce.  (I had a lot of veggies, so this might be too much soy sauce for you!) I used a light, low sodium soy sauce from the grocery store.  It was perfect.  Some soy sauces are too salty.  So taste yours before adding a ton to your veggies.

7.  Once veggies are cooked down and tender.  Add chicken.

8.  Serve on rice.  Dig in and enjoy!

After dinner a group of us went and saw a comedy show at the funny bone.  Mina got to see the third love of his life (#1. Me, #2. Diesel) Tommy Johngin.  He says I’m jealous of his love that he has for Tommy…but that’s not true.  I know I’ll always be number one.  Overall it was a successful dinner followed by a successful evening of friends and laughter. What more could I ask for?

Tommy's the one in plaid!