TGITW=Thank Goodness It’s The Weekend

Afternoon everyone! Hope you’re hqving a wonderful day so far. I’m so glad the weekend is here! This has been a crazy week, but at least it ended on a high note. I’ve been toying with the idea of designing t-shirts, mugs, and aprons for a while now. I love designing, something I’ve done since I was a kid with my Barbie Designer Stencil Kit…anyone remember those? If not I have just seriously aged myself BIG TIME! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

I’ve used my love for designing as a Promo Rep for a local author designing images for her instagram account and blog to help promote her indie books, not to mention for my own instagram account and blog. So this week I went looking for a credible site that would allow me to upload my designs to be used on a wide range of products. Boy did I hit a jackpot that is going to be a wonderful jumping off place for Night Owl Kitchen Blog and ~finally~ I can start sharing my other passion with you all! I’ve got some planning to do, an online store front to create, and soon I hope to have a link for you all to click to visit. I’m beyond giddy at the moment! ๐Ÿ˜

Gonna come down from cloud 9 and share a recipe with you all. I promise I haven’t forgotten that I need to get these other recipes up. If you love bratwurst then you will enjoy this easy low carb dish! You can prep the brats by lightly grilling them or pan searing them, it will add an extra layer of to the dish. Of course you don’t to do that if you prefer not to. 


What you’ll need: 

2-3 pounds Bratwursts, frozen

1 large onion, sliced

Bell pepper mix, green, yellow, orange, and red(omit any that you don’t like), sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 tblsp Grill Seasoning of your choice

Directions:

In a 4-6 qt crock pot, the larger being size being appropriate if using 3pounds of meat, add everything into the crock pot, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with a brown spicy mustard, fried cabbage, and/or side salad. 

It’s that easy! Another way to prep the bratwursts is to preslice them. Par frozen meat is easier to cut, so keep that in mind. This can help cut down the cooking time, just make sure to rough chop your vegetables so everything is in unison and easy to eat. Of course, if you can handle bread these are also great on buns! Make according to the recipe above and serve on hot steamed buns with your favorite condiments and toppings. 

Nutritional Information(according to MyFitnessPal)

Calories: 529

Fat: 58.2g

Carbs: 12g

Fiber: 2.4g 

Net Carbs:  9.6g

I realize that if you’re not eating meals high in fat that those numbers are going to throw you for a loop. But to actually live a successful low carb life you have to have the fat, it helps keep you full between meals, keeps you from senseless snacking, and will actually help you to burn the existing fat on your body! Not popular thinking I know, but I am living it and it’s working great for me! 

Hope this recipe is a blessing those who try it, have a great weekend everyone! 


Low Carb Sheet Pan Stir-fry

Let me preface this recipe by saying, this is not an induction friendly recipe. But why label it a low carb recipe? In truth it is a lot lower than if you were pair it with pasta, rice, and crunchy egg rolls. Right?! However, it is better suited for those who are maintaining, or those who can handle higher amount of carbs. I still think, though, any recipe can be altered to fit anyone’s dietary needs, and I will share some induction friendly options for this recipe.

To keep this induction safe, meaning for those who are just starting out on a low carb lifestyle, you will need to skip over the prefabbed Asian vegetable packs with a sauce at the store. I know, it’s easier to just grab something that is already made for you, but trust me a lot of the time those premade packs are full of sugar, msg, and other carb loaded vegetables that you really don’t need when you’re just starting to cut back your carb intake. Instead, opt for frozen broccoli, cauliflower, a little sliced onion, and maybe green bell peppers. This combination of vegetables is a safer option with fewer carbs and with less of a chance of your blood sugar going through the roof. Stay away from most jarred sauces as well, fermented soy sauce is fine, make sure it’s low sodium, and if you want to add a touch of sweetness to your meal use a little Stevia in the Raw. Not much, maybe a teaspoon or until it is to your liking. 

For a while yet you will want to avoid snow peas, carrots, water chestnuts, and copious amounts of Asian sauces. After your induction phase, you may begin to add, slowly, certain vegetable back into your meals. This is when you should pay close attention to what is truly beneficial and what you should stay away from. While most people can enjoy a wide variety of delicious vegetables, when living a low carb lifestyle one must be mindful to not indulge or over indulge in certain vegetables simply because it is deemed healthy. What works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for you.

I personally cannot eat a lot of tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, snow peas, corn, or sweet peppers. I can have them on occasion but not often. The vegetables I absolutely avoid are beets and potatoes. I’ve had to learn where to draw the line for myself after recognizing how I feel after consuming those foods. This is of course after years of trial and error with the low carb lifestyle, it wasn’t something I picked up on right away. I don’t know, maybe I’m slow. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just pay attention to how food is affecting you and adjust your meals accordingly. You’ll feel better and be more successful with your new lifestyle!

Now, for this recipe I must say it was certainly easier to do in the oven than on the stove top. Ok, here’s how not with it I am…I don’t even have a wok! It’s alright, I’m a grown woman, shame me all you want, but normally when I make stir-fry for the family I just use a dutch oven pot. 

Are you still with me? (Listening for crickets…)

I know, I’m just full of all kinds of shock lately…first I use a recipe from a can for my guacamole, and here I am outting myself that I don’t even use a wok when I cook Chinese food…and now I’m baking it in the oven! Before anyone kicks me to the curb, hear me out and give this recipe a try, because it is the ONLY way I am going to make a stir-fry ever again! 


(That’s an extea piece of chicken thigh meat there in my bowl.)

What you’ll need:

2 pounds chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 pounds of frozen vegetables, I used Members Mark Asian Stir Fry Mix from Sam’s Club, with sauce pack

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup Robert Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple and Habanero Glaze & Finishing Sauce, optional

Directions: 

Heat oven to 425*F, line sheet pan with non-stick foil(shiny side down, dull side up). Set aside

Begin by chopping up chicken so that the pieces are roughly 1-inch in size. Add to a large bowl with defrosted vegetables, sauce pack, soy sauce, and Robert Rothschild sauce. (This is why this is not an induction friendly meal, but it is optional to use.) Stir to combine and pour contents out onto lined pan. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Nutritional Information: 1/6 serving(according to MyFitnessPal)

Calories: 327

Fat: 1.7g

Carbs: 33.7g

Fiber: 3.3g

Net Carbs: 30.4g

See, this is why I say this particular recipe is not safe for anyone just starting out with a low carb lifestyle, and it is certainly not recommended for those with diabetes. I used Robert Rothschild Farm sauce because for one it is absolutely amazing!! It rarely ever gets used in our house unless I make a stir-fry(which isn’t often) and two it’s a hold over jar from Christmas Eve when we made a mass batch of pork eggrolls. Yeah, not winning any brownie points, am I? ๐Ÿ˜• If you choose to forego the sauce, but you still want to add heat, add in some diced jalapeno or habanero, a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or a teaspoon of cayenne pepper. 

Well, all I can say is, if you’ve been good all day and had less than 10g net carbs then splurging a bit with this meal isn’t going to set you back too much. That’s why it’s not a good idea to eat this particular meal too often. Once every few months is fine, but not every week. In fact, keep it for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or family get togethers. This way you won’t feel guilty in indulging because hello, birthdays, anniversaries, and get togethers are when carbs, calories, and fat don’t count! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So tuck this recipe away for special occasions and enjoy the time you’ll save in making this amazing meal! Oh, and if you’re wondering where you can find the Robert Rothschild Farm Roasted Pineapple and Habanero Glaze & Finishing Sauce(say that fives fast), click the picture below. You can also find it at Walmart and Sam’s Club(check online first to see if it you can find it locally). 


Hope you all have a blessed weekend!!

Vegetable Beef Soup

It’s been a chilly day, you get home and all you want to do is get the fireplace going and enjoy a bowl of hot soup and melt away the damp chill that has consumed you. 

With all the rain we’ve been having and now the cold has moved in, all I wanted was to feel warm and cozy again. Inspiration hit me whilst looking up recipes for an up and coming Christmas party I’m throwing with a couple of my friends for some very special kids. While scrolling, I saw a recipe for beef  soup, which called for stew beef(not a fan of). Remembering that we had a package of ground beef in the fridge I decided to make a soup from my childhood! Mom would make vegetable beef soup with ground beef and after living in Brazil we switched over to a vegetable chicken soup. Whichis absolutely scrumptious, but tonight’s soup brought back so many wonderful memories! After letting it simmer for 20 minutes I felt like a little girl again. Flavor train had pulled in and I was totally on board!! 

  

Vegetable Beef Soup

2 Lbs ground beef, cooked, drained

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tsp beef bouillon granules

1 1/2 tap kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried basil

2 bay leaves

2 cans of diced tomatoes

2 cans beef broth or stock

1 10 punce package frozen mixed vegetables(I used Asian mixed veggies)

1 can yellow corn, drained

1 cup filtered water, optional

In a large dutch oven pot over med/high heat, brown ground beef with onions and garlic. Drain fat if desired. Stir in beef bouillon granules, kosher salt, pepper, dried basil, and bay leaves. Pour in beef broth/stock, frozen vegetables, diced tomatoes and drained corn. Stir and reduce temperature till soup is just simmering, cover for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings if needed and add water if too thick. Serve with your favorite salad, crackers, cornbread, or dinner rolls. 

This recipe will easily serve 8–10, perhaps more if you choose to serve 1-cup servings. This soup will also freeze well and will make enough for another meal. Which is great on a night when you don’t want to cook but want a quick meal!  G–Man is not a vegetable fan, he did enjoy the broth and bits of meat, making sure to eat around pieces of tomato and pepper of course. He even went back for seconds! Being able share this dish with my son makes it even more special and perhaps one day he’ll get his aversion to vegetables! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Hope you all enjoy this soup, stay warm and have a blessed evening! 

Butter Pecan “Ice Cream” Dessert

Good morning, we’ve made it this far in the week and Friday is almost here ๐Ÿ™‚ Boy I tell you, it’s flying by, before you know it Christmas will be here!! Don’t groan, hehe, in October I’ve got some posts planned that will help get you ready for your holiday baking. Planning ahead for it will help you have a more enjoyable holiday season! You don’t want to miss out ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all have been enjoying the frozen dessert posts this week, especially with all this hot weather having something cold on hand is a blessing. I’ve shared before a childhood memory of my Memaw and Papaw making homemade ice cream with the old hand cranked ice cream maker. Of course now you can get electric motor models which I guess do a good job in making ice cream. I’ve never used one though, but I am partial to the no machine way of making “ice cream” ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so easy and QUICK!! Dad was asking me a couple of nights ago if it took long to make the “ice cream”, which of course it doesn’t. The only time it really takes is to whip up the heavy cream, which that can vary from batch to batch. If you put your bowl and beaters in the freezer 15 minutes before whipping then it will help cut down the time.
I’ve done it both ways and I guess I’m lazy enough to where I don’t mind using room temp bowls and beaters. My advice, do what works best for you ๐Ÿ™‚

Since discovering a homemade butter pecan “ice cream” recipe, my Mom refuses to eat any other kind now! Well, homemade is better after all, and since yesterday was her birthday I decided to not only make her a butter pecan frozen dessert, but to kick it up a notch with Heath Bar Toffee Bits and Breyers Caramel Sauce. Even I was impressed!

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The key to this recipe is toasting the pecans. This helps to release the oil in the pecans and intensify the flavor!

Butter Pecan “Ice Cream”

2 cups heavy cream, whipped
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pan toasted pecans
3 Tblsp butter, melted
1/2 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits
1/2 package Breyers Caramel Sauce

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Toast chopped pecans in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Stir occasionally. You will know when they are done when you can smell a nutty toasty scent. They will burn easily, so don’t toast over a high heat or flame(gas ranges). Set aside in the bowl with sweetened condensed milk. Melt butter and add to the pecans mixture, stir to combine and add in the Heath Bar Toffee Bits.
Fold in the whipped cream until everything is mixed completely. Pour half of the mixture into your loaf pan and spread evenly. Drizzle with caramel sauce and with a knife swirl the caramel around. Sprinkle a small handful of toffee bits over the caramel and top with the remaining “ice cream” mixture. Drizzle more caramel sauce on top and top with more toffee bits and pecan pieces if you like. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

 

This is my Mom’s favorite now, we no longer buy the stuff from the store. It’s super creamy, rich, and has a fresh flavor without all the chemicals. It’s definitely a keeper!

What’s your favorite ice cream or frozen dessert? Leave a comment below and who knows, I just might get a wild hair and make it!!!

Have a blessed day!!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs(LC/GF)

Afternoon all, hope everyone is having a fantabulous day so far! It’s been a great day here in my neck of the woods. Woke up and I’m down a total of 5 pounds, yes very awesome! I posted on Instagram about how it’s weird but I’m actually thankful that I discovered I have this candida overgrowth. Because of it I am being more mindful of what I put in me and realizing the harm of certain foods. I actually feel so much better! This is week three and while I am still suffering from some lower back pain, some soreness in the backs of my thighs, for the most part I do feel better. More energetic, less fatigued, and my mind is clearer. All pluses that what I am doing is making a difference and that I can never stop.

So, Saturday afternoon I had a fun Jamberry home party with a sweet friend. She and her girls invited their friends and moms over for a few hours. We all had a blast! One of my contributions to the party was to bring safe food that I could eat(and yes she provided tasty treats as well). Of the food I brought, I made chicken parmesan meatballs. Found the recipe over at The Iron You blog, very easy recipe!
I wish these were dairy free so I could have them all the time, but it will just have to be one of those things that I only make on occasion. I doubled the recipe so there would be enough for everyone and instead of having 22 balls I had 60…I think I made them smaller than the recipe says to. My go to meatball maker is a melon baller. It just makes the perfect poppable size for meatballs.

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Yields 60 meatballs

2 pounds chicken, ground
2 cup almond meal/flour + extra in a bowl for coating
1 cup parmesan cheese(I used the powdery stuff in the green container)
1 cup lactose free milk(I could have used unsweetened almond milk but I didn’t)
1 tsp kosher salt(I didn’t alter this since I was adding more parmesan cheese)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder

(There are two different methods to cook these and I wound up using both. I first baked them in a 350*F oven for 25 minutes but they didn’t brown up. So I then put some oil a large skillet and quickly fried them up just enough to brown the outside. You don’t have to bake these first, you can skip that step completely. Just fry them up on the stove top and save yourself any troubles. As for the oil, I would suggest a cold pressed organic coconut oil(the one without the coconut flavor). It’s every bit as healthy and better for you than canola, corn, or peanut. )

Grind up chicken in the food processor, I used chicken tenders you can certainly buy chicken already ground up. Place the ground meat into a large bowl. Add in 2 cups almond meal/flour and remaining ingredients. Using a silicon spatula fold the ingredients together. You don’t want to over mix, that would make the meatballs tough. The recipe states that you roll about 1 tablespoon of the chicken mixture up. I just used a melon baller and made them smaller. Works just as good! Roll each ball in a bowl of extra almond meal/flour and fry up until golden brown, draining on paper towels if needed. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce, homemade ranch dressing, or just eat plain!

These were a hit, everyone enjoyed them and were shocked at how moist they were! When you think of chicken meatballs the thought crosses your mind that they’re going to be dry, tough, something that is going to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. But that’s not so with this recipe!

As soon as I get some more almond meal/flour from Kroger I’ll be making up several batches and freezing them to keep on hand. If you’re just wanting something to use to change up your low carb meals in the mornings or for snacks, then these are the best things to go with. However, if you are suffering from candida overgrowth then it’s best to either steer clear or not indulge too often. You know your body better than anyone else, listen to it and know your limits.

Nutritional Information for 1 meatball minus marinara sauce
(courtesy or My Fitness Pal)–

Calories: 45
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 1 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Fiber: 0g
Net Carbs: 1g

Have blessed day!!

Winter Apocalypse Breakfast

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It was a frigid morning, not a foot print to be seen. People held up in their homes, chimneys billowing smoke reminding everyone it was a blistering cold day. One woman who braved this wintery apocalypse set out on a journey to make her family a simple breakfast with eggs, bread, and milk. Unlike others before her, this woman was a visionary, she would transform those ingredients into a delicious meal with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon! Here, her tale begins…

Just a bit overly dramatic, but I caved today. That’s right, for the first time in about five years I made French toast. Since my Dad is home today with workplaces shut down due to this weather, he put in a request for breakfast and I had to indulged him!ย  I love French toast, it’s one of those things I give into maybe once a year. Though it has been several years since I’ve made it here at home! I think the last time I made it G–Man was about four or five years old. Yeah, it’s been a while. There are oodles of recipes out there for the perfect French toast…you can bake it, fry it, make it into a casserole, slow cook it in your crock pot(for real), and the possibilities are endless!
There’s quite a controversy about the type of bread to use, and hardcore French toast fans will hold the fort on day old, stale bread. Nothing wrong with that, but in a pinch before the wintery apocalypse hits most folks are going to grab loaves of sliced sandwich bread. Which is what I used today! I don’t have a special recipe for French toast, Alton Brown has a delicious recipe you can check out here. But to keep is simple here’s what I did…

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Winter Apocalypse Breakfast (aka French Toast)

14 slices of loaf bread

4 eggs, whisked

1 cup milk

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4–1/2 tsp cinnamon

Maple Syrup

Over a medium high heat, heat up your griddle.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, add in the milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
Once griddle is hot dip one slice of bread into the egg mixture and place it on the hot griddle. If it cooks up too quickly, reduce the temp to medium or low. You want golden brown results, not blackened. Serve with your favorite syrup, fruit or a light dusting of powdered sugar.ย 

These were simple, tasty and not overly heavy with cinnamon or vanilla. It wasn’t soggy either, it was cooked all the way through and nicely crisp on the outside. I didn’t use any butter on the griddle which I think helped. But you can use butter if you must.
G–Man could have easily eaten all of them but thankfully he didn’t and Dad enjoyed his with fried eggs. However you choose to eat these you are sure to enjoy the simple pleasure of this wintery storm delicacy! Any leftovers can be frozen for another quick breakfast. Just place a couple of slices in the toaster long enough to thaw and slightly crisp up and enjoyed with a drizzle of syrup or turn it into a French toast breakfast sandwich with a slice of ham and a cooked egg with cheese!ย 

Stay warm and have a blessed Thursday!!

Spaghetti Salad with Homemade Italian Dressing

Nothing worse than falling asleep while typing. In the midst of working on this last night I apparently fell asleep and Mom told me to go to bed. Please bear with me *pleads softly* Wednesdays have become the “I can’t get anything done” day ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, served up with a pie, large fries…oh and a large coffee, and make it snappy!

First off I get downstairs to pour a bottle of Italian dressing on the veggies I had chopped from the previous night, mind you I have at that point only had two sips of coffee and found there was no dressing. Brick wall…me….BAM! I quickly text my Dad and ask him if he had indeed gotten a bottle of Italian dressing. Oops, sorry. Ok, it’s not like I haven’t had this happen before. Seriously I’ve learned from the best on how to punt and think of solutions on the fly(can’t thank my Mom enough for those lessons). To my iPad I went! Looking for any quick recipe for an Italian dressing…and that’s when I found Maria’s Real Life Dinner site. There I found her how to post on making an Italian Dressing Mix. Now I didn’t find her site right away, there were a few others with Italian dressing recipes that called for ingredients I tend to not keep on hand, it’s discouraging to constantly run into those sites. I don’t know about you but I then start to think that such a recipe is impossible to make at all unless I have Romano cheese, white wine and red wine vinegars, etc.

I skipped through her post, in haste and in no disrespect, down to her recipe and scanned through it. Mentally I was saying, yes, yes, yes, yes, kind of yes, yes,yes…and just as I typed that Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally just popped into my head…ok, as I went through the ingredient list I came to the end, gasped and said no. Alright, just for the record there are very few things that will make me gasp in horror, not having an ingredient will pretty much do it for me. But I was determined, after all 1/4 tsp of anything REALLY doesn’t make THAT big of a difference, right? Well, at least not in my book ๐Ÿ™‚ So I left out the celery salt, eventually I’ll get some and add it next time.

With renewed determination I set about in making Maria’s Italian dressing mix and kept telling myselfย  to not look at the kitchen clock. Yeah, we got an hour late start in the end, but I must say her recipe was worth it! No joke, it’s light, refreshing, has a nice bite to it. Especially when used on the Spaghetti Salad recipe! I’m tempted to make extra mix to keep on hand to make 3/4 cup of dressing as needed ๐Ÿ™‚

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing MIx

Picture From Real Life Dinner Blog Click The Picture To Get The Recipe

 

It’s an easy recipe to put together and tastes a 1000 times better than the store bought stuff. But I couldn’t help but feel a tad apprehensive in using this for the spaghetti salad. But I’m so glad I did ๐Ÿ™‚ I first started off marinading my veggies after making the dressing.

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Just love rainbow veggies!!

Over at Six Sisters Stuff I stumbled across the spaghetti salad that was really too good to pass up. During my menu planning I always write down the necessary ingredients that I’ll need and make sure to put them on the grocery list. And I was surprised all I really needed was the dressing, sweet peppers and cheese. This recipe has everything that peaked my interest. Raw veggies, yummy dressing, and cheese!

 

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Spaghetti Salad Recipe

Author:ย Six Sisters’ Stuff
Recipe type:ย Salad
Cuisine:ย American
Prep time:ย  20 mins
Cook time:ย  8 mins
Total time:ย  28 mins
Serves:ย 15
The perfect side dish for a party, potluck, or BBQ because it feeds a crowd! It’s also full of flavor and simple to throw together, making it an instant favorite!

ย Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti, broke into 3-4″ pieces
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium yellow zucchini squash, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 (2.25 oz) cans sliced olives, drained
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes

Dressing:

  • 1 (16 oz) bottle Italian dressing (I love Wishbone Robusto Italian)
  • ยผ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ยผ teaspoon garlic powder

Topping:

Instructions

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, then rinse in cold water and drain. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Place tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, onion, cucumber, olives, and cheese in a large bowl. Add cooled spaghetti noodles and mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together dressing, Parmesan cheese, paprika, garlic powder. Pour on top of the spaghetti and vegetables and mix until completely combined. Sprinkle the top with Salad Supreme.
  4. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving (this salad gets better with time, as the flavors meld together).

 

ย I did take few a liberties with this recipe(no shocker there). I had to tailor it to my family’s taste, not everyone in my family is wild about raw red onion, cucumber, raw green bell pepper or black olives. Man, I have a tough crowd to please *sighs* Never say die! I omitted those items and replaced the red onion with green onions(scallions), used a handful of mini sweet peppers(red, orange, yellow), and the cheese I opted for was a seriously sharp white cheddar. It has a nice bite to it, perhaps too much if you’re not used to it. Instead of cubing the cheese I shredded it for easier eating. But you don’t have to do that.
Feel free to use any cheese you prefer, my nephew wasn’t too sure about the overall flavor. I’m thinking it’s because he’s not an Italian dressing fan, he’s more of a Mediterranean dressing lover. Which I’m sure could be used instead and add feta cheese to it. My Mom really liked it, couldn’t stop eating it in fact! LOL
And here I would have thought the raw veggies wouldn’t be a hit with her. I did dice up certain vegetables such as the peppers, since those tend to be the crunchiest.

I even took some to a few ladies at my church and already one has told me she just had to taste it last night after getting home, told me it was yummy and that she would be having it for lunch today ๐Ÿ™‚ There is no denying that the combination of seriously shard white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and dressing that this salad has a distinct bite to it. If you want to reduce that you could balance out the tang with a little sugar or reduce the amount of dressing and tomatoes that get used. I only used two roma tomatoes instead of three, but I absolutely loved it! It was surprisingly light, refreshing, not at all heavy and could easily be paired with a grilled or baked chicken. However, just as it is it makes for a lovely vegan and vegetarian summer dinner salad! And it can also be made lower in carbs by using Dreamfield’s pasta, which is what I did! I don’t have the exact numbers ready for this post, but I will put that on my list of things to get done hopefully by this weekend.

I hope you all enjoy these two recipes, please be sure to go the Real Life Dinner and Six Sisters Stuff blogs to leave your reviews ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you all enjoy and have a blessed day!!

Crunchy Top Casserole

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Afternoon everyone, I know it’s Monday. It’s not everyone’s favorite day of the week but I hope you’re making the best of it as much as possible. Our school day is dragging on, my headache in tow. Not exactly sure why I have a headache, woke up with it and haven’t been able to shake it. Just one of them days I guess.ย  -.-

 

Last week, as you may remember, I didn’t menu plan at all and was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants. It’s not an unpleasant thing to do, it tends to open the creative gates every now and then. Which is exactly what it did last Friday night. I don’t suggest that anyone get too lazy and forget to plan a week’s worth of meals. Even when I do meal plan I might leave a couple of days open for whatever pops into my head. And the Crunchy Top Casserole was such a recipe that I drew from other related recipes that I’ve made in the past and just went from there.

I’ll just say this now, my family scarfed this casserole up! In fact, my own mother said I just needed to make the topping on a baking sheet alone ๐Ÿ™‚ I love them, when they praise they go all out! I will admit that the topping is quite yummy, a nice contrast to the creamy casserole. Definitely a tried, true and tasty dish!

 

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This is a quick recipe, a little precooking involved, but the over all time is 50 minutes for baking.

Crunchy Top Casserole

(Yields 8-10 servings)

Ingredients

1 pound tater tots, thawed and crumbled**

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound sausage, cooked

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup

8 oz sour cream

1 large jar pimentos, drained

4 oz potato chips, crushed**

2 cups shredded cheese

1 Tblsp paprika

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Crumble thawed tots into baking pan(I always use a disposable aluminum roasting pan for our casseroles, but you could use a 9×13 or a lasagna pan). Set aside.
Brown sausage with onions and garlic. Drain off fat. Stir in soup, sour cream, and pimentos. Fold into the crumbled tots in pan and smooth out evenly. In a gallon size bag crush potato chips(not into a fine dust, leave some large bits), combine with cheese and paprika. Spread over casserole, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to finish melting the cheese and to crisp up the topping. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving.

**COOK NOTES**

You can certainly use any form of frozen potatoes that you like. We keep tater tots in the house most of the time. You can choose to use shredded potatoes, cubed hash browns or hash rounds. Just be sure they are thawed completely. If you choose to use hash rounds they will need to be crumbled just as the tots. The shredded or cubed potatoes will not needed to be crushed or crumbled.

To avoid having to measure out potato chips to crush, simply grab 4–1 oz bags of potato chips. Open them and crush them inside each bag before adding them to the bowl of shredded cheese and paprika. Cuts out the use of a gallon size bag.

Now, if there are any questions feel free to shoot me an email(nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com), comment below, or leave your Q’s on Instagram (@nok_amandagayle) where I have shared the above picture. Hope you all enjoy and have a wonderful day!!

 

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Crunchy Creamy Goodness

Creamy Mexican Chicken Casserole

It’s guaranteed that at least once a week I’m making some kind of mexican dish. Most of the time it’s a casserole that’s been requested but other delights such as chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas and fully loaded nachos have graced our table numerous times. Well, last Thursday I decided to make a creamy version of green chile chicken enchiladas. While gathering my ingredients I discovered I had no green chiles or salsa verde…that is unheard of since I like to keep both red and green salsa in the house. I had to do what my mama taught me, punt. Think fast of what to substitute with and don’t sweat it.

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Creamy Mexican Chicken Casserole

3–13 ounce cans of chicken in water, drained

1 package favorite taco seasoning

1 Tblsp dried minced onion

1 Tblsp dried minced garlic

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup red salsa + extra for layers

2 cans cream of chicken and mushroom soup

1 tsp roasted garlic and herb grill seasoning

6 large flour tortillas(low carb/high fiber is what I use)

12 slices Pepper Jack Cheese, divided

2 cups cheddar cheese

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drain chicken and place in a large bowl; combine with taco seasoning, dried minced onion and dried minced garlic. Set aside.

Combine softened cream cheese, canned chicken and mushroom soup, salsa, grill seasoning. Set aside.

In the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish or large disposable aluminum foil pan, place just enough red salsa to cover the inside bottom of the pan. Place two tortillas down and half the seasoned chicken, spread half of the cream cheese mixture evenly over the chicken, and top with six slices of pepper jack cheese. Press the cheese down lightly before adding a little salsa and two more tortillas, repeat layers reserving last 6 slices of pepper jack cheese for the top layer. I took the pepper jack slices and folded them from corner to corner and placed them around the top, no specific pattern. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese, cover tightly with foil and bake for 45–50 minutes. Remove foil and finish baking for another 15 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving and enjoy with sour cream and tortilla chips.

 

NOK’s Tips:

For the cream cheese mixture– If your mixture is too thick to spread, just add a little milk to help thin it out. Not too much, you don’t want it runny.

Family Reviews:

My nephew’s only beef with with this recipe was that I didn’t add any beans to it. When I make mexican chicken casseroles I tend to add great northern beans that have been rinsed. Basically to keep it blanc, but if you want to add beans you can definitely add any that you like! Black, red, or white. Or a mixture thereof. However, he was very pleased that it didn’t have any green chiles in it. Apparently those give him indigestion, thankfully he didn’t have any issues with this casserole. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Mom was in love with this version! Just because it was so creamy and cheesy, the chicken was perfectly tender for her, and even my Dad was impressed! So much so he had a second helping, he doesn’t always do that when we eat mexican food. All in all this recipe is easy, prepped within minutes because nothing is cooked on the stove top. It’ll serve 6-10 easily, but you can definitely cut this in half if you need to.

Let me know what you think and happy eating!!

What a crock…

๐Ÿ™‚ Evening lovelies, my house is quiet except for Owl City playing in the background and a very sleepy dog trying to catch a squirrel in his sleep *wink* To be honest I’m new to listening to Owl City, I’ve heard some songs before but had no idea that that’s who sang them. Adam Young is a talented music artist, with fun songs, no questionable lyrics or suggestive content. Any Owl City fans out there? Give a whooooo if you are ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am so proud of G–Man, he actually ate lasagna for the first time! He is out pickiest eat in the family, the child only has a few items that he will eat with any regularity. So last night was a mini victory ๐Ÿ˜€ The recipe I used, and monkeyed with, was very tasty! The noodles came out perfectly tender, nothing was burned or stuck to the sides. Just a nice meal that didn’t heat up the kitchen…oh, I didn’t tell you…yeah it cooked itself in the crock pot ๐Ÿ™‚ My nephew loved it, of course, but I still contend that my Mom’s lasagna is the best. Nothing can ever replace mama’s lasagna! But the one I made last night is a lovely substitute.

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This recipe was quite simple to put together and I serve it up with garlic parmesan crescent rolls, which were a great addition to this meal!

Crock Pot Four Cheese Lasagna

(This was made a 7 qt crock pot, adjust ingredients and directions according to the size of your crock pot)

1 pound ground beef, cooked

1 onion, chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp sweet basil

A light sprinkle of Sweet Summer Savory

32 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce

1 can tomato sauce

Cheese Filling

24 ounces cottage cheese

3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

milk or heavy cream(enough to thin out cottage cheese filling)

1 tblsp dried parsley, optional

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

11 slices white American cheese slices

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions

Turn crock pot on low with lid on top to start heating it up.

On the stove in a dutch oven pan, brown the hamburger with onions and mushrooms. Add garlic and cook until onions are transparent. Add in salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir to combine, pour in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Let simmer for a 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine the cottage cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, milk or cream, dried parsley and parmesan cheese. Thin out this mixture just enough so that it’s spreadable but not soupy. Set aside.

Ladle a spoonful of the meaty sauce into the bottom of the crock pot; spread out to cover. Place three uncooked lasagna noodles side by side and break the fourth noodle in half placing each half at either end to cover the open edges. Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with 6 slices of white American cheese slices and more sauce.

Repeat noodles, cottage cheese, and meaty sauce for two more layers. After spreading out the meaty sauce take the remaining 5 slices of white American cheese and fold each one from one corner to the other to make two triangles. Place them however you like over the top of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over it and finish with a light dusting of parmesan cheese. Cover with lid and cook on low for 4–6 hours. Serves 8–10

It doesn’t get much easier than that, plus you’ll definitely want to serve it with my garlic parmesan crescent rolls!

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Garlic Parmesan Crescent Rolls

1–2 cans crescent dough

Night Owl Kitchen’s Homemade Garlic Butter Recipe

Parmesan cheese

Directions

Open can(s) of crescent dough and separate the triangles. Lightly spread the prepared garlic butter on each piece and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Roll into crescent shape and bake on a release foil lined pan for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool before serving and enjoy! Yields 8–16 crescent rolls

A quick note about the garlic butter, my recipe makes a pound of garlic butter. If you have no desire to make that much for the crescent roll recipe, just use half a stick of butter(melted), 1–2 garlic cloves (minced) and adjust black pepper, basil and parmesan cheese accordingly. Any leftovers can be brushed on the tops of the rolls before or after baking.

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See?! No joke, the child was going bonkers over those rolls!

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Let me know what you think, I love hearing from you all ๐Ÿ™‚ And as always…

Happy Eating!!