Thursday, March 20, 2014

March 21, 2014

Spring break is here!  This makes me nostalgic because I began this recipe blog over spring break back in 2011!  Wow!  That is pretty crazy; I've been working on this for 3 years.  Over these years we have found an amazing amount of great recipes, and many have become regulars in our meal planning rotation.  What began as an experiment to get us out of the dinner rut we were in has evolved into a fabulous passion.  I love cooking and trying out these recipes I've been collecting for years and now I have an outlet each week to keep me going on this journey.

As for this week, we have3 keepers!  Whole wheat carrot muffins were fabulous and the recipe was a suggestion from one of my dearest friends.  They were super moist and Hannah loved them so much she thinks these might make a good basis for her birthday cake (though that is in the summer so we'll see if she keeps or changes her mind in the mean time!).  The other two keepers were dinner recipes - a flavorful slow cooker pot roast and a twist on Mexican fare, burrito lasagna. Quite the mix this week!

As I mentioned it is spring break so in terms of cooking that means one of two things...we'll do a ton of cooking and try out all sorts of new recipes, or we'll be completely lazy and go with tried and true favorites...not sure which way it'll work out yet!  Stay tuned!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Burrito Lasagna
Slow Cooker Flavorful Pot Roast
Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

Burrito Lasagna

* 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
* 1 large can enchilada sauce (28 oz)
* 1 envelope taco seasoning
* 1 tbsp ground cumin
* 1 package of Spanish rice
* 9 -12 soft tortillas (depending on the size of your pan and how much your feel like overlapping them)
* 2 -3 cups shredded cheese (Mexican, pepper jack, cheddar, your choice)
* refried beans, optional

1. In a large skillet cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Stir in enchilada sauce, taco seasoning and cumin.  Heat everything through.
2. Cook the rice according to the package.  Set aside.
3. Spread 1 cup of the meat mixture in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  If desired, spread refried beans on the tortillas.  Lay 3-4 tortillas in the 9x13 pan.  On top of the tortillas layer 1/3 the rice mixture, a little less than 1/3 of the cheese, and 1/3 of the meat.  Repeat layers, ending with the meat.
4. Cover the pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the "lasagna" is hot.  Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

This was a great change up to Taco Thursday!  A few nights a week Ryan is in charge of cooking dinner when I have class, and tacos are one of his reliable "go-to" meals.  When the kids and I were looking through recipes to try out this week, Hannah saw this and suggested it instead of tacos.  I put it together for them and Ryan and the kids had it for dinner.  They loved it! We did use refried beans, but I think next time we might replace that with black beans.  I layered 2 full tortillas, and then one tortilla cut in half for each layer.  That seemed to work well so I used 9 tortillas in total.  If you want your "lasagna" cheesier, use three cups.  Some in my family prefer no melted cheese, and to have it not too cheesy overall, so we used about 2 cups. 

Slow Cooker Flavorful Pot Roast

* 1 boneless chuck roast, approximately 3 lbs
* 1/2 envelope of ranch salad dressing mix
* 1/2 envelop of Italian salad dressing mix
* 1/2 envelope of brown gravy mix
* 1/4 cup water

1. Spray the crock of the slow cooker.  Place the roast inside the crock.
2. Combine the three mixes together.  You can either measure each individually and put half in a container, or measure it all together, mix it and use half of the total.
3. Add the water the mixes, and stir.  Pour this over the meat.
4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours on low or until tender.
5. If desired, thicken the cooking juices to make gravy.
6. Serve an enjoy!

We loved this!  We had it with popovers, roasted broccoli and potatoes.  This is definitely more of a winter meal, but we were having gloomy weather so it was perfect.  Delicious!

Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins

* 1½ cups whole-wheat flour 
* 1 teaspoon baking soda 
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
* ½  teaspoon ground ginger 
*  ½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened
*   ½ cup honey
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 3/4 cup carrot shreds

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper, foil, or silicone liners (or use cooking spray) and set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. 
3. In a large bowl beat the butter, honey, egg and vanilla together on medium speed. Turn the speed down and slowly add in the flour mixture until well combined. The batter will be fairly thick at this point. 
4. Using a spatula, carefully fold in the applesauce and carrots. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick comes and muffins are beginning to turn golden brown on top. Enjoy!

These were so moist, and my older kids devoured them! I didn't have any ginger so just added extra cinnamon.  Delicious!