Carne Asada Fries

While we were living in Colorado, there was this little Mom & Pop style Mexican restaurant not far from the base. We would go there often, and it was really yummy; they had this dish that I adored, Carne Asada fries. I couldn’t get enough of it! When I was pregnant with Ethan, I would practically nosh on this meal almost weekly! I haven’t had it (or found it, for that matter) at any other Mexican restaurant I’ve been to since we’ve left Colorado, so when I discovered this recipe on Pinterest for Carne Asada fries, I knew I had to try it out. If I can’t find it in a restaurant, then the definite next best thing is making it at home whenever I want! I’ve made a few adjustments to the marinade recipe so that it is more to our liking – for instance, I omit the jalapenos to reduce the amount of heat to zil. But that is perfectly up to your preference! The marinade has a yummy citrusy flavor, and the cilantro just helps to enhance the flavor profile.

Carne Asada Fries

Traditional Carne Asada consists of thinly sliced beef that has been marinated with lime juice and has been grilled to impart a charred flavor. The meat in Carne Asada can be flank or skirt steak.  I’ve used flank steak as well as skirt steak and find that they both work equally as well, but I definitely recommend allowing the meat to marinate overnight. It helps create a super juicy, flavorful component to the dish. I usually buy my meat in bulk, and then freezer seal it. When making this dish, I like to pull out the frozen meat and then slice it when it is half frozen. It makes it easier for me to get the nice thin slices (since the Polymyositis, I struggle with slicing and dicing! So accommodations must be made!) that I look for in the Carne Asada.

After slicing the meat, I prepare the marinade and let it soak up the flavors overnight. When it comes time to prep the dish, I cook the meat last, since the slices will cook quickly and you don’t want to dry them out.

Carne Asada Fries

My first step is to fry the french fries. Normally I would bake them, but with Carne Asade fries, you really want a nice crispy pop to your potatoes and I love the way a golden fry supports the meat and toppings. The toppings on Carne Asada fries are very individual, but are close to what you’d put on a taco or nachos. I love sour cream, green onions, guacamole, salsa or pico de gallo, melted cheese and tomatoes; other toppings to consider are grilled onions, black beans, rice, olives and jalapenos.

Carne Asada Fries

This recipe is adapted from the Carne Asada Fries found at Created by Diane – her recipe uses jalapenos and green onions in the marinade as well as on the fries.

Marinade:

  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • zest shavings from the orange, lime, and lemon
    • as a side note – I often add in the peel of a quarter slice of each to enhance the citrus flavor but that’s how we roll here.
    • Also, once I didn’t have an orange, so I substituted with 2 tablespoons Simply Fresh orange juice. That worked the same! However, I recommend using fresh lemon and lime as the concentrated little bottles don’t provide the same fresh pop!

Carne Asada Fries

Marinade/Meat instructions:

  1. Place meat in plastic bag.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk all of the marinade ingredients together.
  3. Pour marinade over pre-sliced meat.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight as preferred.

The rest of the deliciousness:

Ingredients:

  • French fries (I usually use my judgement on how many my family will consume, usually half a bag is good here)
  • Salsa/pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • sliced green onion
  • guacamole
  • Queso (we use On the Border Creamy Monterrey Jack Queso found in the same place as jarred salsa)
  • marinated skirt steak
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • other optional ingredients you may want include jalapenos, black beans, diced tomatoes, olives, etc.

You’ll notice I don’t really provide exact measurements on these toppings; this is a really easy, flexible dish and the you’ll need as little or as much of each on top of your fries as your little tummy can handle.

Carne Asada Fries

Directions:

  1. Fry the french fries according to package directions, drain on paper towels and salt to taste.
  2. While french fries are frying, set out ingredients and dice the green onions/tomatoes, and warm up the queso.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat; cook a few slices of the skirt steak for about 3-4 minutes, transfer to paper towels to drain. (Since the meat is already sliced, you do not need to cook it for very long; they do cook quickly. I like to slightly undercook my slices since they will continue to cook when I remove them from the heat.)

My (second) favorite part! 

Carne Asada Fries: Assemble! (In Captain America voice)

  1. Place a pile of french fries in a bowl.
  2. Top with meat.
  3. Top with queso.
  4. Top with sour cream.
  5. Top with guacamole.
  6. Top with pico de gallo (or salsa).
  7. Top with sliced green onions.
  8. EAT!!

We are actually going to have this for dinner tomorrow night. I already have the meat prepped and ready to marinate. This is my favorite meal, hands down.

The hubby likes the meat, but not the french fry portion, so he puts his on tortillas and tops with the sour cream, pico de gallo, green onions and queso. He often requests this meal, too. The marinade is flavorful and unforgettable!

Carne Asada

As a little side note, please forgive the awful photos this time around. I fear I have lost the battery pack to my faithful Canon and until I find it, I’m stuck using the not-so-great point and shoot “camera” we’ve had forever (sad face, haha).

Chicken Burritos with Avocado-Cilantro Cream

Not too long ago, hubby complained that we were having too much Mexican-style food for dinner (is there such a thing as too much Mexican food??). In terms of different cuisine styles, Mexican is definitely my favorite, followed closely by Italian and Chinese (…although…where would Sushi and coffee fit in there…?).

So, to appease his bored palate, I started cooking other things besides my beloved Mexican food.

BUT, when I figured enough time had passed, I pulled out the tortillas and decided to fake some chicken burritos!

Burritos

What I love about burritos is how forgiving they are; you can stuff them with so many options and they’re bound to be tasty.

These were so awesome that hubs said he loved them. He even ate the leftovers for lunch. That, in itself, is enough for me!

Burritos

This is an incredibly simple recipe, and after assembly, I grilled them on my panini press. Grilling them on the press put some beautiful grill marks on the burritos and helped the cheese get perfectly melty.

Yumm-o.

Making it even tastier is the Avocado-Cilantro cream. SO delicious!

burritos

I have a habit of buying avocados, I love eating them, but I am the only one who eats them like that. Hubby likes them, but only when “hidden” in a recipe. So I was faced with a soon-to-be-bad avocado. Knowing we were already going to have sour cream with our burritos, I decided to play dress up and make the sour cream pageant-worthy.

Make the Avocado-Cilantro Cream at least an hour prior to using it, so that it has time to let the flavors meld.

avocado cilantro cream

Avocado-Cilantro Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Sour Cream (plain Greek Yogurt would work really well, too!)
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablspoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 whole, small, avocado

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor; pulse until thoroughly blended and sauce reaches a smooth consistency. Taste, add more salt/pepper as needed.
  2. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

Cilantro just goes so well with avocado and lime…

Next, you want to get your rice started, you don’t want it to be hot when you’re trying to stuff the burritos.

I used the boil-in-bag rice, and I added a slice lime and some fresh cilantro to the boiling water. It brought a light cilantro-lime flavor to the rice. I wish I could say it made an obvious flavor profile in the burrito, but you really couldn’t tell. You could skip this part if you so wish.

For the chicken burritos, you could use shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken; this recipe would work great for leftover chicken.  I pan-cooked the chicken with a garlic butter, then when it cooled, I shredded it in my stand mixer, leaving the shredded chicken in the mixing bowl.

burrito5

Shredded Chicken Burritos

Ingredients:

  • Burrito sized tortillas (I was able to make 8)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 cup salsa (or more depending on how wet/dry you want the chicken)
  • sliced avocado
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (I used half a large pepper)
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 2-3 cloves diced garlic
  • fresh diced cilantro
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken and salsa.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, using the olive oil, saute the red bell pepper and onion, about 2 minutes. Once the pepper and onion are soft, add the diced garlic and saute for about a minute longer.
  3. Once the pepper, onion, and garlic are cooked, add in the diced cilantro and allow to cook together for about a minute.
  4. After the pepper, onion, garlic, and cilantro are cooked, combine with the salsa and chicken. Stir to combine.
  5. Now to stuff the burrito –  lay burrito flat, then spread on rice, top with cheese, then layer with chicken/salsa mixture. Top with avocado slices and fold.
  6. Bake on panini press for about 3-4 minutes or until insides are melty and there are nice grill marks on both sides. For my particular press, I don’t need cooking spray, so go with the specific requirements of your press.
  7. Serve with Avocado-Cilantro cream and enjoy!

It really made my night when hubby said he loved them. Ethan even enjoyed his, although I just made him a kid-friendly version – rice and cheese.

burritos

This may have just become my family’s favorite recipe.

Does your family have a favorite recipe?

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Surprising Dinner hit!

Sometimes I just really want Chinese food. However, since we live so far into the boonies, it can be a hassle to drive into town just for my craving.

So that leaves me with the option of cooking it at home, which really never seems to work out.

However, a few nights ago, I decided to try one last time. This recipe wasn’t listed as a Chinese-style dish, but rather, as “Hawaiian.” I told hubby he had no choice, I’m cooking it, I’m trying it, and if it sucks, he can have frozen pizza (just like every other time my Chinese efforts have failed, haha). He unwittingly went along, and even chose his preferred pizza in preparation.

You’re really going to have to forgive the horrible photos in this post. You see, I didn’t have high hopes, so I didn’t prepare for a photo shoot. By the time I realized that not only was this meal edible but there weren’t going to be any leftovers, I had to rush the camera out.  The lighting was awful by then, but the meal was fantastic! 

hulachicken1

The recipe is super simple, but I still modified it in a few ways, drawing inspiration from another recipe. The original recipe, Hawaiian Hula Chicken comes from creme de la crumb. Aren’t her photos beautiful? Within her recipe, she calls for sauteing the chicken with the peppers. However, since I wanted that restaurant feel to my chicken, I decided to fry it. I used Fake Ginger’s breading recipe from her Bang Bang Shrimp post.

It is a super easy breading recipe, and it turned out fantastic! Even the hubs was impressed with the chicken.

hulachicken2

The original recipe calls for those crunchy Asian noodles, but sometimes I find those bland. Instead, I found some Salad Pizzazz  Asian Cashew Medley. It’s a mix of sesame teriyaki cashews and Asian noodles. Please note that I bought these on my own, I was not reimbursed or asked to review them. I love them. Joe didn’t. I was eating them out of the bag, and could see myself putting them in my yogurt… maybe even creating a cookie around them… now if Salad Pizzazz wanted to give me a bag, I wouldn’t say no. Haha.

hulachicken3

The sauce is a sweet/spicy combination, and the addition of Sriracha gives it a super cool, hipster feel. Sriracha is like the really cool kid in class that everyone adores and wants to lick.

Maybe I’m the only (weirdo) person who wanted to lick the cool kid…

Sriracha.

hulachicken5

Hawaiian Hula Chicken
adapted from creme de la crumb and Fake Ginger

Ingredients

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes (I only needed one large breast, use what you need for your family)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • oil for frying
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 20 ounce can pineapple chunks (I used pineapple in real juice – drain the juice into a bowl and set aside for later)
  • 1 cup rice, cooked according to package directions
Hawaiian Sauce
  • 12 ounces pineapple juice – reserved from the can pineapple chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  2 tablespoons soy sauce (next time I will substitute Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water + 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • optional: Salad Pizzazz Asian Cashew Medley

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, combine flour, bread crumbs and seasoning.
  3. Using one hand, dip the chicken chunks into the flour, then into the egg mixture; using the other hand, place the chicken from the egg back into the flour. Place breaded chicken on plate. Repeat with all of the pieces of chicken and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. Fake Ginger says refrigeration helps the breading stay in place (it must work because my breading was magnifique!).
  4. While the chicken is chilling like a homie, start cooking the rice.
  5. Now we’re showing off our multitasking skills.
  6. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine the pineapple juice, ginger, Sriracha, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup and vinegar. Whisk like a beast and allow to come to a boil.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cold water and cornstarch. Whisk vigorously until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.
  8. Once the corn starch is dissolved, and the sauce is boiling, pour the water/cornstarch mixture into the sauce and stir. Gently stir until thickened and sticks to a spoon. Taste test. Adjust heat/sweetness as necessary for personal taste (at this point, I added a tiny more brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha). Once thickened, remove from heat.
  9. Pull chicken out of refrigerator and heat oil in a large skillet.
  10. Once oil is hot, fry chicken 3-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  11. While chicken is frying, lightly saute bell peppers in another, smaller frying pan. Once the peppers begin to sweat, add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. After that amount of time, toss in the pineapple chunks and saute until they are heated through, roughly another 1-2 minutes.
  12. Assemble the meal – scoop rice into bowl, top with bell peppers and chicken, then drizzle with desired amount of sauce, top with Salad Pizzazz Asian Cashew Medley.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this recipe. It really was a sleeper hit in my house, and I am planning on making it again. To be honest, I was disappointed that there weren’t any leftovers, because I would love a bowl right now!

hulachicken4

Even the preschooler liked this. He started out with a bowl of rice and chicken nuggets, but then he climbed over into my lap and started noshing like a monster on my bowl, telling me his dinner was now mine. Haha.

It’s the little moments like that which create a happy heart.

Have you ever grudgingly tried a recipe only to be pleasantly surprised by the results?

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Chicken Bombs

When we were Active Duty Army, we would grill out all the time with our building neighbors. It was a great way to unwind after long weeks, and it fostered a sense of community. Everyone would bring something, and we’d kind of potluck it.

One dish that was always present, aside from copious amounts of liquor, were these bacon-wrapped jalapenos. I’m not sure where they started, who created the idea, but three of us wives always had an assembly line going, the hubsters had the grill hot, and we kept the group satisfied.

They were incredibly simple – fill half a jalapeno with cream cheese, wrap in bacon, grill.

I thought it couldn’t  get any better than that.

Until now.

chicken bombs

Introducing the heart-stopping, calorie-popping, cholesterol-shocking Chicken Bomb.

If a bacon wrapped jalapeno is good-golly, check out a Bacon-wrapped-chicken-wrapped-jalapeno with BBQ sauce.

Chicken Bombs

Whew.

The gas station down the road from us sells something similar. And that’s when the gears started to turn in my brain, but it wasn’t until I came across this post that I had a moment of insanity and decided to cook these for dinner.

Bacon. BBQ sauce. Chicken. Jalapenos. Cream Cheese. Oh my golly, miss molly.

chicken bombs

They’re super easy to prepare, almost identical to the basic bacon wrapped jalapenos from back in the day.

Chicken Bombs
recipe adapted from Key Ingredient

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (flavored cream cheese would be awesome!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 package bacon
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce
  • salt, garlic-pepper grinder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° and pull out a broiler pan.
  2. Prepare your chicken, because thick breasts aren’t gonna work – layer the breasts with wax paper, pull out your meat pounder and beat the crap outta the breasts until they are nice and thin. It really works out the aggression.
  3. Once they are nice and about 1/4″ thick, season both sides with salt and the garlic-pepper grinder. At this point, I sliced my breasts into three strips each. I then had six thin chicken strips. Set aside.
  4. Wash yo hands.
  5. Pull out the peppers, slice lengthwise, and scoop out the centers. I removed all seeds and still had some heat. Rinse the peppers. Set aside.
  6. Wash yo hands. Seriously. Wash those little mofos right now, or else you will burn your face. And you will deserve it.
  7. Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and some more garlic-pepper grinder.
  8. Using a small spoon, scoop the cream cheese mixture into the center of the jalapenos. Use all of the cheese, it’s cheese, really, you can’t go wrong with using it.
  9. Gather up your chicken strips, jalapenos, and bacon.
  10. Place one cheese filled jalapeno face down (by face down, I mean cheese side on chicken) on the chicken breast strip. Roll the edge of the chicken over the jalapeno and roll until completely covered. Pick up a slice of bacon, and wrap that piggy goodness around the chicken. Place seam side down on roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining breast strips and jalapenos. I had 6 total.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes on a 400° oven, then turn over. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  12. At the end of the second 10 minutes, turn and baste in BBQ sauce and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Turn on the broiler, turn and broil the bombs for about 5-6 minutes to give the BBQ sauce a nice set.

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Hubster really liked these, but he wants to grill them next time. His only complaint was that the bacon wasn’t super crispy like they get when he grills the bacon-wrapped jalapenos. So next time, we’re grilling them!

**fist bump**

Yes!

We had our chicken bombs with my Sriracha Potato Salad and broccoli with cheese.

chicken bombs

Definitely looking forward to making these again, especially since hubby wants to grill them.

How can you go wrong with that?!

 

 

 

Potato Salad with Sriracha Cream Sauce

Sriracha Potato Salad

I came across this post on Pinterest the other day, from Damn Delicious,  featuring Salmon with a Sriracha Cream Sauce.

Let me say, it was the most fantastic salmon, ever. Loved it.

Know what else we loved?

That Sriracha Cream sauce! Talk about Heaven! Chung-Ah knows what she’s doing with this sauce. I haven’t been able to stay out of it; I’ve been keeping a constant supply in the fridge.

Cooking with Honey Coconuts

I’ve dipped everything in it. Sushi. Potatoes. A chip. Veggies.

It got me thinking – where else could I use this sauce?

Grilled Cheese?

Macaroni Salad?

Deviled Eggs?

Potato Salad?!?!

The answer, is (ohmygodyespleaseshovelthisinmymouth) POTATO SALAD with Sriracha Cream Sauce.

sriracha potato salad

**drool**

First, I need you to go to Damn Delicious, and check out her original recipe for the Sriracha Cream Sauce.

The lovely part about the recipe is that it is customizable.

Sriracha potato salad

Sriracha Cream Sauce adapted from Damned Delicious

  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha (I used 1.5 tablespoons)
  • 1 – 1.5 tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk (I used 1.5 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Mayo (I used 3/4 cup Mayo)

Combine all ingredients. Easiest is to whisk them vigorously, until a really smooth consistency is reached. Taste, and add a small amount of salt if wanted.

This will provide you with plenty of sauce to use for the potato salad, as well as having left overs in the refrigerator to satisfy your new addiction to a mildly spicy/sweet Sriracha sauce. I only used 1.5 tablespoons of Sriracha because my toddler doesn’t always want spicy foods. So I adjusted for him.

I’ll be squirting some Sriracha on my potato salad before I nosh…

Next step, we’re going to make the potato salad! Easy, peasy, lemon breezy.

Sriracha potato salad

When I make potato salad, it’s rarely the same type each time. Usually my potato salads are of the “use up what I’ve got left” variety.

Carrots? Thrown in. Celery? Throw ’em in. Onion? Yup. Did we just become best friends?!

sriracha potato salad

In this instance, I had carrots, onions, and cheese. Yes, I put cheese in my Potato Salad, because, cheese.

I also know that 4-5 medium sized potatoes will be the perfect amount for a potato salad for my family. I’m estimating that to be about 1.5 – 2 pounds.

Honey’s Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium sized russet potatoes (you can also use red potatoes, yukon gold, etc. whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha Cream Sauce (more or less to taste!)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced (green onions would be great, too!)
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced mozzarella cheese (I used two mozzarella cheese sticks)
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes, then boil them, about 15-20 minutes. Boil until they are just tender, but not mushy. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling,  whip up the Sriracha Cream Sauce.
  3. Dice the onion, carrots, and chop the cheese. I like to pretend I’m Juila Child when I chop them. Then I like to pretend I’m a nurse and decide if I need stitches or not. My best friend is a nurse, so that makes me, like, 0% nurse. It works well.
  4. Toss the onion, carrots and cheese into a bowl, then add 1/4 cup Sriracha cream sauce.sriracha potato salad
  5. Once potatoes are cooled, put into same bowl as the onions and carrots. Add 1/4 cup Mayo. Gently stir. I like a creamy potato salad, so I added a few additional tablespoons of mayo and cream sauce.
  6. Taste and add more cream sauce, salt, pepper as necessary.

sriracha potato salad

This recipe is incredibly versatile – add bacon, scallions, celery for a more “traditional” salad.

You could even add boiled eggs, avocado and plain yogurt.

The possibilities are truly endless, but yummy!

sriracha potato salad

Trust me, you won’t regret mixing up some Sriracha cream sauce.

What will you dip in your Sriracha cream sauce?!

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Homemade White Pepper Gravy

If there is one thing my hubs loves, it’s white pepper gravy. That man can put away his weight in gravy. Probably not the healthiest food item to indulge in, but he enjoys it, and I like to make it for him.

Usually I use one of those powder packets. You know what I’m talking about.

But guess what I learned to make recently?!

gravy!

Now I can pretend to be awesome and whip it up, from scratch, whenever I want! I don’t have to rely on having those packets in my cabinet anymore.

Even better, now YOU can make it from scratch without a mix!

It’s incredibly simple to make, but you have to keep your proportions accurate – 2:2:1 or 4:4:2.

gravy!

2 tablespoons Butter : 2 tablespoons Flour : 1 cup milk

4 tablespoons Butter : 4 tablespoons Flour : 2 cups milk

You’re basically making a roux to start with, be careful not to burn it.

Now, it’s really easy to eyeball this, and make it as thick or thin as you prefer. Hubs prefers a slightly thicker gravy, so I use about 3 tablespoons butter and flour with 1 cup milk. Sometimes I add an additional tablespoon or two of milk depending on how it looks. He hasn’t complained yet!

I perfer to use a pepper grinder for this recipe, too. I love the thickness and the satisfaction of turning the grinder head, haha.

White Pepper Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk, plus 1-2 tablespoons additional for your preference
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. In small saucepan, melt butter.
    gravy!
  2. Once butter is melted, add the flour and stir. It will clump up like a mo’fo so be prepared.gravy
  3. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time and stir to incorporate. Stir continuously. The gravy will go from looking like thick mashed potatoes to gravy consistency once all of the milk has been added.
    gravy
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. I like peppery gravy, so I use a minimum of at least 1 tablespoon pepper. Add what you like and are comfortable with.
    gravy!

I enjoy making this gravy, and it goes great on mashed potatoes, rice, to dip your chicken fried steak fingers in… we had it with homemade mashed potatoes, hamburger steaks and corn. It was a hit, but this is one of those basic, “normal” dinners we have around here. Nothing fancy, but super yummy and artery clogging, I guess!

gravy!

What will you put your gravy on?

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Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls

Hey, Honey! What’s for dinner?

It’s time for another installment in my early stages menu-planning section!

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When I’m working on menu planning, I try to include recipes that don’t require meat. I do this because these recipes help stretch my grocery budget, and are usually pretty simple to prepare. It’s not difficult to create a meat-free dish that is yummy and satisfying, as long as it makes sense. I find that some of the easiest dishes to prepare without meat include pastas – spaghetti, stuffed shells, manicotti, lasagna, pasta bakes, etc.

These are also the easiest dishes to incorporate the not-so-enjoyed proteins, such as black beans or spinach.

Case in point –

Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls

My husband enjoys lasagna. I hate the work required in layering and the mess involved in the spreading … uck. A great compromise can be found in lasagna rolls. They’re soooo much easier to prepare than traditional lasagna, taste the same, and look amazing, too.

Spinach and Feta Lasagna

My favorite thing about lasagna (well, hell, any pasta dish, for that matter) is the versatility in the preparation.

Don’t have mozzarella cheese? Use pepper jack!
No meat? Use spinach!
No marinara/red sauce? Use alfredo!

For this recipe, I love to use spinach, feta cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, marinara sauce, and the four cheese pre-shredded blend with Philadelphia.

Without further ado…

Spinach and Feta lasagna rolls

Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients

  • 15 ounce container Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Feta cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping)
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping)
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup four cheese blend with Philadelphia
  • 1 egg
  • 10 ounce bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Various seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic pepper grinder, oregano, basil, Italian seasoning, etc. to taste
  • Lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar marinara sauce

Directions

  1. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350° and lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray. I’m going to say “set aside” but you could carry it around if you really want… it’s your circus.
  2. Get the water boiling and cook up those noodles according to package directions. Make them al dente, because you don’t want them to get too soggy while in the oven.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 cup feta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, all of the cottage cheese, the egg, and the spinach.  Add your seasoning – I eyeball this part, but it’s possibly 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper each; then several turns of my garlic pepper grinder. Little E usually puts in the green seasonings until it looks pretty… gotta love having midget helpers! Stir to combine.spinach and feta lasagna rolls
  4. Grab your marinara and place a few spoonfuls in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, making sure to evenly coat the bottom of the dish.
  5. Once the noodles are cooked and cooled, lay them out and spoon your filling down the center. Carefully roll the noodle and place seam side down in prepared baking dish.Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls
  6. Scoop a few spoonfuls of sauce over the lasagna rolls and top with remaining 1/2 cup feta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and four cheese blend.SpinachandFetaLasagnaRolls
  7. Pop that beyotch in the oven for 45 minutes. You know you like it that way!
  8. After 45 minutes, turn on the broiler and allow your cheese to get nice and lightly browned, between 3-5 minutes. Hubby LOVES the broiled cheesy tops of my pastas. **whatwhat**Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls
  9. Pull out of the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. This lets the lasagna rolls cool and set.
  10. Enjoy!

Spinach and Feta Lasagna Rolls

We love this with some garlic bread and sometimes a nice salad…

If I’m making it quick, I use the sauce straight from the jar; however, if I’m feeling fancy, I will sauté some fresh garlic and onion, then simmer the sauce together with that. It’s all about your taste and how simple/fancy you want. I tend to buy the “good” sauce when they’re on sale, so often I don’t need to dress it up.

There is a lot of  versatility available with lasagna, and it seems everyone has some sort of variation. This is my favorite way to do it, and really, it works in manicotti and stuffed shells.

I have also tried carmelized onions, feta, spinach and mushrooms, but hubs didn’t care for that version (he’s not a mushroom fan, and the sweetness of the carmelized onion turned him off). I thought it needed bacon, haha.

Do you have a favorite lasagna recipe or do you just wing it?

xoxo,

Honey