Smothered Pork Chops…

Smothered Pork Chops

For some reason pork chops always get neglected at my house. I really like them (and so does Joel!) but for whatever reason, I just don’t think about them when I’m menu planning. Poor pork chops. Too bad, too, because pork chops are GOOD! I love them cooked this way, and especially this way. But now I have a new favorite way to prepare them- smothered! Brown them on each side until they’re nicely seared, make a yummy gravy with the drippings, then pour it over the chops and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Fast, easy, and super tasty.

Smothered Pork Chops 2

Smothered Pork Chops

4 center cut pork chops, about an inch thick or so
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup white wine (preferably one that’s not too sweet, like pino grigio or chardonnay)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing (I like Newman’s Own Family Italian)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Brown the pork chops for about 5 minutes on each side, until they have a nice sear (depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in two batches). Remove from pan and place in a greased baking dish.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and sprinkle the flour into the drippings and stir for about 30 seconds, so the flour taste can cook out. Slowly whisk in the white wine, water, and salad dressing. Whisk until there are no lumps and gravy starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the gravy over the pork chops. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Share:




Mother’s Day…

dedication2

Yesterday was a special day. Obviously, because of Mother’s Day, but also because our baby girl, Cassidy was dedicated at church. For those of you who aren’t familiar, in some churches, after a baby is born, the parents will have them dedicated. Basically, it’s a ceremony where all new parents line up in front of the congregation, and dedicate their new baby to God, promising to love them, pray for them, and raise them to be followers of Christ. In turn, the church also promises to keep the new parents in their prayers and help them in any way they can. It’s a sweet little ceremony that is meaningful and special to the parents. Our whole family was there, which made it even more special to us! Joel and I were so happy to take part in this and will remember it always!

dedication5

It was especially meaningful for me, because I was asked to sing. Here’s a little tip: don’t ever agree to sing a song about watching your baby grow up ON Mother’s Day, and ON the day your own baby is being dedicated. Yikes. I may have had a teensy meltdown in the middle of my song. Luckily, every mom in that room understood completely.

My whole Mother’s Day weekend was wonderful. I have the most thoughtful, sweet husband who cherishes me and makes me feel like the world’s greatest mother, even when I don’t deserve it.

I hope all the moms out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day and felt as appreciated and loved as I did!

dedication4

Share:




Beefy Noodle Bake…

Beefy Noodle Bake

I like to set goals. It’s my thing. Even if it’s tiny and insignificant, I’ll still try my hardest and do everything I can to achieve it. I’ve done it all my life, and I’m sure I’ll do it the rest of my days. Some big (really big!) goals I’ve set for myself over the years have been college (private school isn’t cheap, and my goal was to get as many scholarships as I could to help out), grad school, singing with Fort Worth Opera, Joel (probably the greatest achievement of my life!), and so many more! Nowadays, my goals tend to be more family-related, such as putting healthy, homemade meals on the table at least 5 nights a week. It’s a challenge, but it’s definitely doable! Especially with quick and easy meals like this one!

This is actually an old recipe from a few years back, but since it’s one of our favorites, I thought it could use some updating. This is as simple a dish as they come and comforting and hearty to boot. Like I said, it’s a family favorite and I make it all. the. time. Cassidy loves it.

Beefy Noodle Bake 2

Beefy Noodle Bake

1 1/2 pounds lean, ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup onion, chopped
8 ounces egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium heat; drain fat. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar and black pepper; reduce to low heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Combine Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and cream cheese in a bowl; mix well and stir into the beef mixture.

Place the noodles in a greased 9×13 baking dish and top with the beef mixture. Top with cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling. Serves 6.

Recipe source: heavily adapted from Gooseberry Patch ‘Best Ever Casseroles’

Share:




Classic Blueberry Muffins…

Classic Blueberry Muffins

So…May is here. I don’t know how it happened but suddenly, out of nowhere, it’s almost mid-May. Which means…Mother’s Day is almost here! Yay! This holiday has a whole new life to it now that it applies to me and not just my mom and grandmothers (not that I didn’t love celebrating Mother’s Day before I had Cassidy…it’s just more fun now.) ;) Now that I’m on “Team Mom” (golly, that just sounds lame, doesn’t it?), I realize just how important it is for mothers everywhere to have an entire day dedicated to them. A day to feel special and well-rested, pampered and praised, and tended TO instead of being the one doing all the tending. Moms are the hardest working people on the planet- we get spit-up on, pooped on, poked at, toes stomped on, pinched, bitten, screamed at, sat on, and food thrown on us all before 8 in the morning. I think we deserve a day of recognition for that, don’t you? ;)

Classic Blueberry Muffins 3

And maybe a lovely batch of muffins to wake up to with a hot cup of coffee…sipped in silence and peace. Really, that’s all I could ever ask for for Mother’s Day. A little rest, some peace and quiet, and maybe a muffin or two. Sounds heavenly to me. These muffins are no-frills, quick and easy, and taste absolutely perfect warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee. I’ve tried lots of blueberry muffin recipes, but frankly, these are my favorite. They’re everything a blueberry muffin should be. Tender, slightly sweet, and full of juicy blueberries.

I certainly wouldn’t mind if someone were to make these for me on Mother’s Day weekend… (wink, wink!) ;)

Classic Blueberry Muffins 2

Classic Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line 8 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to any empty muffin cups (this helps to make sure the muffins bake evenly).

Whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and the salt in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk the vegetable oil, egg, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add milk mixture to the bowl with flour and sugar then use a fork to combine. Do not over mix. Batter will be thick. Carefully fold in blueberries with a wooden spoon.

Divide the batter between the 8 muffin cups and sprinkle the tops with the reserved tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Makes 8 muffins.

Recipe source: Inspired Taste

PicMonkey Collage2

Cassidy liked them, too. :)

Share:




Baked Oatmeal…

Baked Oatmeal

I’ve been wanting to make this baked oatmeal for SO long now! Almost every morning, I would pull the recipe up on my iPad and get ready to make it, only to have something interrupt me! Finally, I was able to spend a little uninterrupted time in my kitchen and make this for my family’s breakfast last week. Yay! We all loved it- it’s not too sweet, full of juicy strawberries and blueberries, and the texture is great. I’m dying to make it again this week! Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, and this recipe will start it off right!

Baked Oatmeal 2

Baked Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats (feel free to use old fashioned oats)
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in quarters, divided
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), divided

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine the oats, nuts, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.  Stir with a fork to combine.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.  Spread half of the strawberries and blueberries in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining berries over the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-5.

Recipe source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

Share:




Skinny Poolside Dip…

skinny poolside dip

I know it may seem a little preemptive to post a recipe with “poolside” in the title (especially since we’re expected to have some more cold [ish] weather this week), but since a lot of people are gearing up for barbecues and outdoor parties, I decided I couldn’t wait to share this one with y’all! I pinned this recipe months ago and had been dying to try it until our friend Patty brought it to a baby shower I hosted. Everyone kept raving about the awesome dip and finally I asked her what it was- “I saw it on Pinterest. It’s called ‘skinny poolside dip’”. Every single one of us (no joke!) erupted with, “I pinned that recipe too!” Luckily, there was a little left over and I ate every last bit of it for dinner that night! It’s sooo good! I ended up making it for a cookout just a week or so later, with rave reviews. I love this stuff. Even if you don’t have a pool, you’ll definitely want to make it. It’ll be a favorite this summer for sure!

skinny poolside dip 2

Skinny Poolside Dip

2 cans sweet yellow corn, drained
8 ounces fat free cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 packet (1 ounce) dry Ranch seasoning
1 small can (2.25 ounces) chopped black olives

Mix all ingredients until combined. Chill until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips, triscuits, or crackers. Serves about 6-8.

Recipe source: adapted from Home Trends Utah

Share:




Perfect Pancakes…

Perfect Pancakes

You know how everyone just LOVES pancakes?? …..yeah, notsomuch me or Joel. We’ve both never really been all that into pancakes. They’re too rich and usually too much “work” for a mediocre result. Give me waffles any day. Cassidy, on the other hand, LOVES pancakes. I make them for her at least 3 times a week.

However, I’ve recently had a craving for hot, fluffy pancakes lately. I have no idea why. Luckily, I happen to find a recipe that wowed both me and Joel and I’ve never looked back. I’m now a big ‘ol pancake lover! I just love how vanilla-y and fluffy these are! If you haven’t gotten on board the from-scratch pancake train, this recipe should change your mind. It doesn’t take long, and the results are far superior to anything you could get from a box! You could add in any kind of fruit you like to customize them to your tastes, too! We love blueberries!

Perfect Pancakes 2

Perfect Pancakes

1 cup buttermilk **
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat a greased griddle to medium-low heat (if you’re using non-stick, there’s no need to grease). Whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the buttermilk mixture, then the melted butter. Batter will be a little lumpy. Let sit for 5 minutes. Scoop out batter 1/3 cup at a time and pour onto the heated griddle. Cook until small bubbles start to form, then flip. Cook for another minute or so, then remove when golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serves 2-3.

**If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, no worries- just use regular milk, but add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Works like a charm!

Recipe source: adapted from Coleen’s Recipes

Share:




Coconut Cake

What happens when you’re short on time and ingredients but need an impressive cake that not only looks great but TASTES great? I’ve written a whole post on how to get homemade results from a boxed cake mix over at my family blog, A Little Something Lovely and I hope you’ll check it out! :) Click here to see the post.

Share:




Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt…

cookie dough greek yogurt

It’s pretty hard trying to be healthy when you’re a recovering sweets-aholic. I’ve been almost 100% good over the past few months, but to be perfectly honest, most days I find myself daydreaming about giant slices of dark, dreamy, moist, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (seriously- have a look at my pinterest boards…). So what’s a girl to do when those (really, really) bad cravings hit?? Recipes like this one save my life!

I love Greek yogurt anyway, but add in smooth peanut butter, vanilla, and mini chocolate chips, and mama’s HAPPY, y’all! I really love this little trick- it satisfies even my worst cravings and helps keep me on track. Plus, the added protein in my diet helps me burn fat and stay satisfied longer! Double win!

cookie dough greek yogurt 2

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

1 small container (6 oz.) plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon agave nectar, honey, or other sweetener of choice

Mix peanut butter, vanilla, sweetener, and chocolate chips directly into yogurt cup. Eat immediately. Serves 1.

Recipe source: my fridge food

Share:




Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime 2

I hope everyone had a happy Easter! Ours was great- the Easter Bunny came to visit Cassidy, church was great, and my whole family had a wonderful meal at my parents’ house. Of course Cassidy was the life of the party. ;)

One of the best parts about the meal was surprisingly not one of the decadent desserts (one of which was provided by me), but the simple fruit salad my sister brought. Nothing but fresh strawberries, blueberries, and grapes tossed in a honey-lime dressing. It was sooo good! Something about the combination of honey and lime juice is magic! I have a feeling this will be a pool-side favorite this summer!

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

1 pint container fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut into halves
1 pint container fresh blueberries, stems removed
1  bunch (about 1 1/2 pounds) seedless grapes
1/4 cup honey
juice from 2 limes (about 2-3 tablespoons)

Combine fruit in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice and honey until combined. Pour over the fruit and toss to coat. Serves a crowd.

Recipe source: my sister, via Oh! You Cook!

Fruit Salad with Honey and Lime

Share: