Becoming the Domesticated Diva

Finding my inner homemaker… one flub at a time!

Zucchini Squash Casserole.. yumm!

Hello lovely readers!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been trying lots of new recipes lately.  You see, we’ve been getting a produce delivery every week to our home and it’s really made a difference in the food we eat.  Plus, I get to make my son’s baby food from very fresh produce!  (More on that later!)  With all the summer veggies coming in I decided that today I’d share one of my new, easy favorites.. Zucchini Squash Casserole.  Let me tell you – worth every minute it took to prepare!  (which wasn’t long!)  🙂  Enjoy!

Zucchini Squash Casserole

  • 2 – 3 squash
  • 2 – 3 zucchini (in my recipe, I used golden zucchini – which is the same thing, just yellow in color)
  • 1 med. onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (I like the kind in the jar – just because it’s easier)
  • salt, pepper, Italian blend seasoning (the kind in the spice aisle – not the dressing kind)
  • 1 cup Italian blend cheese (or just mozzarella works also!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  2. Dice onion and mince garlic (if you went with fresh).  Throw them in a saute pan with the olive oil until it is all softened.  (About 5 minutes).  While this is cooking – go ahead and cut your zucchini and squash.
  3. Spray the inside of an 8×8 square pan (or similar pan) with non stick cooking spray.  Put the onion mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Alternating the zucchini and squash, place them vertically in the pan on top of the onions.  Season with salt, pepper and Italian blend seasoning.
  4. Cover with foil and and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove foil, and yummy cheese and bake another 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese is slightly golden brown.

    IMG_0896

    Should look about like this..

  6. Carefully remove foil after a few minutes and then dig in!  Veggies are tender, cheesy and delicious!  Enjoy!

    IMG_0901

    mmmhmmm! 🙂

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Easy Garlic Chicken!

garlic chicken

I bet your mouth is already watering, isn’t it? 🙂

I’d love to take credit for that delicious looking picture.. but I can’t.  It’s from http://www.food.com – along with the recipe.  I did make a few tweaks from the original recipe though, and I must say – it turned out great!  🙂  So here goes!

Easy Garlic Chicken

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic (I usually get the kind in the jar – easier that way!)
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • several good shakes of Dash All Purpose Seasoning (no salt kind), or any other all purpose seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line cookie sheet or baking dish with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Saute the garlic and oil until the garlic is tender (3-5 minutes) in a small saute pan.
  3. Remove from heat and add brown sugar and all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place chicken on top of the foil and cover with the brown sugar mixture.

    yummmm.

    yummmm.

  5. Bake uncovered until chicken juices run clear.  Usually for thicker breasts, about 30 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!  🙂

    Finished product!

    Finished product!
    (If you notice I didn’t use the foil, I generally use one of these drip style pans while cooking chicken. I did spray the top of it however – easier removal!)

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Rotel Chicken

So for tonight’s easy peasy, yummy to the max dinner.. I give you:  Rotel Chicken!

This is some seriously good food that is so super easy, you’ll wonder why you waited this long to try it!  The chicken is perfect for nachos,  burritos or just by itself with some rice.  And only 3 ingredients!

Yummy!

Yummy!

Rotel Chicken

  • 1.5 – 2lbs chicken breast (you can also use cutlets or tenders; I use whatever is on sale. :))
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 packet taco seasoning

Throw everything in the crockpot for approx 5 hours.  I usually put the chicken in mostly frozen, and leave it for 6 hours.  Shred it about a half hour before serving.

That’s it!  Easy, pretty healthy and delicious!  Let me know how it turns out for you!

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Orange Creamsicle Cake

So I was at Target a month or so ago and was rummaging through the $1 racks and found the *cutest* Easter plates and napkins.  I decided it was a sign.  I had to make something delicious for Easter with my family.  Not something for dinner, my dad always takes care of that.  But something for dessert.  My husband has been doing a lot of the grocery shopping for us since I’ve been home with our son, and with me watching our pennies and clipping coupons, I gave him the grocery list asking for two Duncan Hines ( http://www.duncanhines.com ) cake mixes; buy one, get one and a coupon – how could I resist? – but I didn’t specify flavors.  He came home with strawberry (a house favorite) and orange.  Orange?  We never eat orange.  What the heck was I going to do with an orange cake mix?

Well, I decided Easter was the perfect excuse to use my orange cake mix.  And boy am I glad I did.  I knew somewhere I could find a recipe for a “creamsicle cake” – and this one was perfect.  Moist and delicious – and easy.  Found it on http://www.cooks.com.

Creamsicle Cake

  • 1 orange cake mix
  • 1 small pkg. orange Jello
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 (8oz) container Cool Whip
  • 1 small instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. orange extract (optional)
  1. Mix orange cake mix according to directions.  Pour into 13×9 in pan and bake according to instructions.
  2. Remove cake from oven and poke holes in the cake 1 inch apart with a fork.
  3. Mix Jello with 1 cup hot water and 1/2 cup cold water.  (Follow instructions on package)
  4. Pour evenly over cooled cake.
  5. Mix Cool Whip, instant pudding, milk, vanilla (and orange extract if you want).  Beat until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Spread evenly over cake.

I didn’t use the orange extract (because I didn’t have any) and it still tasted amazing.

Good luck with your baking readers!  I’ll be sharing another new recipe soon!  🙂

Orange creamsicle cake!

Orange creamsicle cake!

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New recipes rule.

Hello readers!

This past weekend I decided to try out a couple new recipes that I looked up online – and they turned out great!  I mean, how much fun is it to try something you already love in a different way?  So, of course I had to share with my favorite people – my readers!

In honor of the season finale of “True Blood” – we had lots of “vampire” related food and drinks, but I found these recipes can totally be used on any other occasion.   Yummy AND multi-use??  BONUS.  🙂

So without further adieu …

“Vampire Blood Drink!”

Dump it all in a beverage container (like the one displayed below) and stir til blended!  That’s it – a light, semi sweet drink that’s good at any time of the year!  🙂

“Jello Poke Cake”

Now, this cake has been made a number of different ways for a number of years.. but its my first attempt, and I was pretty happy with the results.  I’ve heard a number of different combos, but since this was for a True Blood party.. I went with a yellow cake with raspberry jello.  Here are the ingredients:

1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1 sm. (3 oz.) Jello mix, any flavor
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cool water

First and foremost, bake the cake as usual and allow to cool for 30 minutes.  Poke holes of various depths using a knife or skewer.  Make the Jello using the boiling and cool water, then pour the mixture over the cake, covering all the holes.  You don’t have to use the entire Jello mixture, just be sure to cover the holes.  Put into the refrigerator for several hours.  Once I pulled it out of the fridge, I spread a thin layer for “spreadable” raspberry fruit on top.  Then I mixed cheesecake flavored pudding into a container of Cool Whip and spread that on top.  Back in the fridge for a while – and then YUMMMO!  The “icing” was deliciously cheesecake flavored and the thin layer of spreadable fruit made the super moist cake even better.

Good luck trying out these recipes!  I can’t wait to try out a few others I found – I’ll be sure to post the results!  🙂

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Extreme Couponing?? Sign me up!

Hello dear readers!

For the last few weeks I’ve been looking into the ins and outs of extreme couponing… and let me tell you, its extreme.  🙂

For those of you who haven’t seen the show Extreme Couponing on TLC (http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/extreme-couponing), you should definitely check it out – if only to get a few laughs.  For one, who NEEDS that much stuff??  And for two, who has that much time, not only to find and cut all those coupons and research them – but to go from store to store to store as well?  And has the space to store it all?

So I decided to start doing my own sort of “extreme couponing”.  I don’t see the point in purchasing a million items that my husband and I won’t use, nor do I have the space to put all that extra stuff.  I started simple.. cutting coupons, from my Sunday paper as well as ones I printed from the internet.  Then I got a lucky a few times – sometimes my coupons were also BOGO items (Buy One, Get One), so even more savings.  And then I started paying a bit more attention to the weekly flyer and shopping around what was on sale.  And little by little, I was saving more and more.   But recently, I stumbled upon a few websites to help me along my journey.  I always wondered how these Extreme Couponing people were able to get these deals.  How did they score sales on produce?  And meat?  Those things never went on sale!  Then I learned the secret… it wasn’t that these things necessarily had ‘coupons’ – it’s just that there were so many other coupons for everything else, that you could actually EARN money for buying certain items.

Well, now I’m *really* intrigued!  The first site I checked out was http://www.krazycouponlady.com, which has been featured all over the place.  But I found it was a bit hard to understand, and it was also more of a national site than what I really wanted.  Plus, I already knew about http://www.coupons.com, and other sites where you could print coupons, so it didn’t help me much.  Then I heard about http://www.southernsavers.com.  Now THIS site was perfect.  One, I’m a Publix shopper.  I know, everyone has a preference and some people don’t mind shopping all over the place to get the best deal.  But I love my Publix and I know there is *always* a deal there, even without coupons.  Plus, its easy for me to navigate because its been my store of choice for so long now.  The great thing about Southern Savers is that its specific to stores found in the South, and its very easy to navigate.  The first thing you should find is your favorite store and check on your store policies.  For example, I found with Publix they’ll accept one manufacture’s coupon and one store coupon – but no doubling.  However, you can use them on BOGOs (so, if you are getting a BOGO on toothpaste, you can use a manufacture’s coupon as well as a store coupon for both toothpastes.  Therefore, you can actually get paid to buy toothpaste!)  That being said, all stores are a little different and it’s always good to establish a relationship with your check out clerks and to have lots of patience!  Remember, you can go as extreme as you like with your couponing – for some people, that’s a few hours on a spare night during the week, cutting out every coupon they can find or print, and organizing by what’s on sale that week (like me!) or you can spend 40 hours a week searching coupons, printing coupons, and researching stores policies – not to mention the actual shopping!  Either way, you’re bound to save some money.. and that’s always a good thing!  🙂

Here’s my advice to get you started:

  1. Cut out every coupon you can find; whether you get it out of the paper, the weekly flyer or printable websites (you can find a huge list of these on http://www.southernsavers.com or http://www.krazycouponlady.com)
  2. Pull out (or go online) to find your favorite stores ad for the week.  (Or, go to http://www.southernsavers.com, select your store, and it has the ad broken down by item and which coupons are good for that item)
  3. Print or write out your list and mark the items that you have coupons for.
  4. Organize your coupons by store aisle.  (This takes a little time to figure out what items are on which aisle, but if you usually go to the same store over and over, its worth the extra time you’ll save while you’re in the store).
  5. Head to the register with patience and a smile.  And get ready to be excited about your savings!

Good luck readers!  Tell me about your success stories or any other tips I may have missed!  I’m still learning this, but I think I’m off to a good start.  🙂

 

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Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

So, tonight I was trying to figure out something to do with the last of the hamburger meat I had bought on sale a little over a week ago (it was in the freezer, don’t worry!) and I found this recipe in one of my books that made a quick, yummy meal without little effort!  🙂

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (or 2 heaping tablespoons of dried minced onion)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bisquick complete mix
  • 1-1/2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and monterey because that’s what we had leftover!)

Grease a pie plate.  Brown  beef and onion, mixing in the salt and pepper.  While browning, mix Bisquick mix with the water until smooth.  Spread the beef mixture into the pie plate, then add a cup of cheese across top.  Pour on spoonfulls the Bisquick mix, covering the top of the beef mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees, for approx 20 minutes.  During the last five minutes, add the additional cup of cheese to the top.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting.

For more yumminess, we thought about adding some veggies in the beef mixture.. so if you try it, let me know how it goes!

We added some steamed frozen veggies as a side and had a complete meal!  🙂

So, dear readers, try it out on your next quick dinner night – and let me know your thoughts!

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who doesn’t love..

CHOCOLATE??

Recently in an issue of Real Simple, they had 3 easy recipes using Semisweet Chocolate – and I LOVE them!

All of these are very simple and oh-so-delicious!  Therefore, I thought I’d share them with you – try them out and let me know your favorite, or if you have any others you’d like to share!  🙂

  1. Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips – Grab 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate (melted), 24 ridged potato chips, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.  Next, dip each chip in the chocolate and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with just a bit of salt and refrigerate for about 30 minutes – and enjoy!  🙂
  2. Marshmallow Fudge – Using 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate (chopped), 2-14oz cans of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 1/2 cups of miniature marshmallows – heat the milk and pour over chocolate, stirring until melted.  Then stir in the marshmallows.  Pour mixture into a parchment line 8″ square baking pan and refrigerate approx 12 hours (or until firm); cut into 36 squares and dig in!
  3. Peanut Butter Buckeyes – MY FAVE!  Take 6 ounces of melted semisweet chocolate, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted), and 2 cups of confectioners sugar.  Combine the peanut butter, butter and sugar; forming tablespoon size balls.  Place these on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for approx 10 minutes.  After you remove them, partially dip each ball into the chocolate and put back onto the baking sheet, refrigerating for 30 minutes or so, until the chocolate hardens.

Hope you all enjoy them!  Leave me some comments and let me know how they turn out for you!  😀

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