{Good Eats} Bacon & Burgers! FAVORITES!

Earlier this week, The Pioneer Woman published this post about wrapping hamburger sliders in bacon. (This is the printable recipe on Tasty Kitchen).

Can I say that first part again??

Literally, WRAPPING BACON AROUND A BURGER, and then cooking them.  I’m just going to go right out and say it, GENIUS!

So here’s the thing. I had defrosted some ground turkey and planned to make our favorite Turkey Burger Sliders this week, but then when I read that post, I KNEW I needed to kick things up a notch.  I basically did my exact recipe, then wrapped my sliders in bacon as Ree suggests, and baked them in the oven.

2 simple little changes that quite simply, rocked my world!

I strongly urge you to do the same this weekend. SUPER EASY, NO STRESS, CROWD PLEASER!! I didn’t even have all our usual fixings, and honestly they were amazing as is!!

What I also liked about Ree’s recipe is that she bakes her sliders in the oven on a broiler pan.  GENIUS again!  I always use a grill pan on the stove top for our turkey burger sliders. But one of the ingredients that makes them so yummy is the grated cheese IN the burgers. Since there is A LOT of cheese, I find that they dont work well on the grill and the oozing cheese can sometimes burn a bit in the pan.  WHY OH WHY have I never thought to make these in the oven?  So easy and less complicated!

I ended up doing some with the wrapped bacon, and some without to see how the oven method would work.

At 400 degrees, the unwrapped were perfectly cooked at 25 minutes.  The bacon wrapped were perfect at 30 minutes.

I will forever and ever, from last night forward, make my sliders this way. Amen.

A few things I didn’t do:

  1. I did not return the bacon wrapped patties to the fridge. (But I had prepared my ground turkey mixture earlier in the day and just pulled it from the fridge).
  2. I did not try the jalapenos, because I didn’t have any, but I know Hubs would have loved this.
  3. I did not try the BBQ sauce, well, because I forgot about it.

I few things I did do:

  1. I did use Sweet Hawaiian Rolls as we always do for sliders…the best!
  2. I did eat 3 sliders all by myself.
  3. I did serve them with watermelon and Trader Joe’s Sweet Onion Rings
  4. And my kids and Hubs did gobble them all up.

And one more thing.  You know the old story about being able to cancel out calories…you know, diet coke & chocolate cake??  How they don’t count when eaten together??  I think the same is true for ground turkey and bacon.

At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself!!

Enjoy!

how does your garden grow?

So a few weeks ago I posted this photo on Facebook and asked people to guess what we were building.  The responses were great…bunk beds? Chicken coop? A fort? A playhouse?

But what we (read = my fabulous husband) was actually building were vegetable beds. We decided that we just didn’t have ENOUGH stuff going on, that it might be fun to add ONE MORE THING to our lists.  I actually take full blame for this project as I thought it might be fun and asked hubs ever so nicely (I think he might have rolled his eyes at me…) if he would build them for us.

I had vegetable garden envy after seeing my neighbors and then my parents.  I had just decided I would wait a year to add this “4th child” to our lives, (since we had NEVER GROWN VEGETABLES, EVER,  and I have a black thumb…).

But then my dad tells me, “It’s easy!  We live in the perfect climate for it. If you water it, you’ve done your job. The sun will do the rest!”

This is their garden around Mother’s Day….
They live in a fab empty nester condo,
so this should show you, you don’t need a backyard to grow veggies.

A few hours later we’re building vegetable beds.

I’m at Home Depot with hubs and am on my iPhone checking out P-Dubs vegetable box tutorial.  We didn’t actually follow hers, but it’s a good one if you need some direction.  Hubs already had in mind how he wanted to build ours, and my only requirement was making it child proof.

I know, I know…I should just let kids be kids and teach them about gardening.  Chalk it up to  – I just don’t want to protect one more thing from being “interesting”. And the fact that I have a 2 year old, 1 year old and a 3 month old. I may have eyes in the back of my head, but I would need them all over by entire body to keep up with this crew. So hubs devised special sliding gates which is what makes the photo above look possibly like a bunk bed or chicken coop!

He and the girls got busy with the building….

I mean seriously, this is just one of the many reasons I love him!

I can’t even fold laundry with the girls “helping” and he’s using power tools!

You go girls!!  Girls can run construction crews too!

Hubs making one of the secret weapon gates…

Then it was off to the backyard.

(Please ignore the ugly and embarrassing cinder block wall….)

Piper chilled in the pack & play for about 2 hours while we did this,

love that kid!!

Addie & Hay were MESSSSSSSSSY! But boy did they have fun with the dirt!

We sort of cheated, but people remember I just said we had NEVER done this before! Lowes ended up having the best assortment of starter plants, including lettuce.  Most of the plants came in great little containers that you planted directly into the soil.  The containers then absorbed into the dirt.

Kinda felt like we were being green for a minute!

This is the girls “job”.  We actually already had the trees planted ~ lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, avocado, and a cocktail fruit tree (no – drinks do not grow on trees, I wish, its a mix of fruit – peaches, plums, apricots). Watering the trees is a good safe job they can do in the garden without ripping apart the beds, and they love helping!

This is the second bed with Artichokes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, & Cucumbers.

See the fab secret weapon gate??  All 4 sides actually slide out.  Man, I love my hubs!

He put this “groovy” groove in each post for the gates.  They do get a little sticky, but we’re going to try the wax trick that I used to use on dresser drawers in my past life. (Rub a wax candle down the tracks that need to run through each other and it helps everything “slide”).

The photo above is 1 of the boxes the day we planted everything.  About a month ago. The photo below is from this past weekend.  Check out the corn stalks on the back right!! And we did actually grow some things from seed. The front has a row of carrots and a row of green onions behind the carrots.  And I promise, I’ve done nothing but water everything (and live in sunny southern California!)  This past weekend was the first time I’ve watered them with fertilizer.

Basil, Parsley, Beefsteak Tomatoes

Green Peppers

Chives (Corn, Green Onions, & Carrots behind)

In the other bed Zucchini…

and Cucumber.

This past weekend we finally got the pumpkins in the ground.  You plant them at different times during the spring, depending on the climate region you live in, for an October harvest.  I’m guessing you might have another week to be able to do this here.  I read somewhere that it’s good to plant pumpkins with companion plants.  Have no idea if this is true or not, but we planted nasturtiums and sunflowers.  And then hubs had the wild hair idea to plant more corn, so that cinder block wall you saw above should have corn all along it this summer, and then pumpkins and nasturtiums (poppies) all fall.

My tip is, try things you wouldn’t normally try. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.

I’m selfishly trying to do more things at our house (so I don’t have to venture out as much with the Littles, it’s just A LOT of work right now!) I would rather spend the energy having fun with them all (rather than getting them in and out of the car and chasing them down).  So I’m looking for projects we can do at the house, even if it means more work, as it gives me something to do with them, that also teaches them something, and is a great, fun project for us all!

I’m planning on giving garden updates along the way. Do you grow one? Any tips & tricks??

Happy Thursday All!!

Pioneer Woman BBQ Meatballs

Holy Moly, I’m all about comfort food, and this just looks like little mini meatloaves to me, which is most certainly comfort food in my book!  For awesome step-by-step instructions, check out The Pioneer Woman’s photo steps on her site.  We’ll be trying this out tonight for sure! Thanks goodness for The Pioneer Woman!

(Image: The Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

FOR MEATBALLS
1-½ pound Ground Beef
¾ cups Oats
1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
1-½ teaspoon Salt
Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste

FOR COOKING MEATBALLS:

1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)
Canola Oil

FOR SAUCE:
1 cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
1 dash Tabasco

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.
  4. Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.
  5. Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread.

crock pot chops and gravy

I have not tried this recipe yet, but I have pork chops in my freezer that I need to use up and it has a high rating, so it’s worth a shot!  I’ll let  you know what I think, and if any of you make it, please let me know what your families thought too!

Crock Pot Chops and Gravy
Tasty Kitchen / RealMomKitchen

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
Cooks: 5 hours

Ingredients:

4 whole Lean Pork Chops
1 whole Medium Onion, Sliced Or Diced
½ cups Cup Sliced Mushrooms
2 cans (10 3/4 Oz Size) Mushroom Soup
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
¼ teaspoons Pepper

Instructions:

Place pork chops in a crock pot (or in a baking dish for the oven). Lay onion slices (could chop or do rings) and mushrooms (optional) over the pork chops.

Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl and pour over the pork chops. Cook on low in the crock pot for 5 to 6 hours (or in the oven on 350F for 1 hour).

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Note: After baking, remove the chops and strain the gravy. This way you have a smooth gravy and then reserve the onions (and mushrooms if you used them) for those who like them so they can put them on their chops.

so much yumminess

Pioneer Woman White Chicken Enchiladas

Oh goodness, it’s been a crazy Thursday afternoon!

But I have got to tell you, the White Chicken Enchilada Recipe that is on next week’s menu is

HEAVEN!

Thank you Pioneer Woman – you are and always will be my hero!

(Second only to my amazing mother who is your talent twin!)

The recipe is a few more steps than I normally do
(not really, just kinda felt like it),
but I’ve been snacking on it the whole time

DELICIOUS!!

PW Chicken Enchilidas 3

To fill you in, pre-blog writing days (when I actually had 5 extra minutes in the day – but now with writing this blog, have SWIFTLY disappeared, and then some) I used to prepare a menu for our family, just like I give to you, each Friday.

Some have asked how I come up with these menus….
you’re assuming of course that I’ve thought that much about them
!

This is what normally happens:

1. I look at what we are doing the next week and figure that we will be eating at home at least 4 nights.  Which leaves room for pre-exisitng plans, last minute invites, and spontaneity.  I also know that there will always be some kind of leftover if we needed it, and honestly, there is enough food in the house to wing it, we wont starve, and neither will you. A quesadilla and soup will always work.

2. I pick 4 meals that sound good to me.  My hubby could honestly not care less what we eat, luckily, so it’s up to me and my moods, and being pregnant for 3 of the 3 1/2 years we’ve been married means we have had to fill a lot of cravings!

3. I normally scan a few favorite cookbooks, try to keep it simple, try for recipes that will work for Addie as well as us, see where I can use leftover meat from one dinner in another and then make up my shopping list.

I was asked if I have some kind of check off plan, like Italian on Mondays, Tacos on Tuesdays.  Or a plan for so many crockpot meals in a month.  Or maybe a list of dinners I like that I plan in a month for how many times I will prepare them.  NOPE.  All sound like good ideas, just more planning than I can typically do.  But each family really needs to do what’s best for them.

5. I plan by what sounds good, what will give us variety, what I can wing with in a week…knowing that I may not eat the meals Monday thru Thursday, that they are really fair game for any of the 7 days.

6. Once I figure out what we are having, I typically shop and prep on the weekend, & make Hayden’s food and freeze it, and then we are  ready to go for the following week with only 1 or 2 straggler ingredients needed if it needs to be fresh. This limits store visits and at least makes me feel prepared.  (Please note that I said it makes me feel prepared…didn’t say that I was!!)

HOWEVER, now that I’m sharing recipes with you all, I prep the menu a week ahead so that our family can eat it and make sure we like how it all works.

(OH THE PRESSURE!!!  WILL YOU LIKE IT???)

So the long and the short of this explanation is that we are having next week’s enchiladas on Thursday night and although it is a bit more steps than normal, I was able to easily make today.  Remember how I said today was crazy??  I worked a consulting job this AM, got home at noon, had to write 3 posts (because I had help today), make Hayden’s food (as I wont have much time this weekend), work on my mother in laws re-decorating project, make the enchiladas early (since I have a holiday bookclub tonight), and finish about 5 loads of much needed laundry…

but I was still able to make these….so I KNOW you can too!

PW Enchilada 2

AND YOU ARE JEALOUS, believe me!!

So have a great weekend everyone!

Check out next week’s menu,

Get your gifts wrapped by an Elf.

Cotton Idea Gift 2

or wrap them yourselves

Amazon scotch tape gun
(I LOVE my Tape Gun!!)

Think about buying a camera for yourself or as a gift…
(and Enter the session Giveaway from Sandy Heit!)

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Figure out what beautiful tablewear you will have on your table for the holiday.
(And enter the Juliska Giveaway, it ends TONIGHT).

Juliska pewter buffet ad

Be sure to check back this weekend for more fun tips & the Juliska winner…

And most certainly spend some time with you Littles, your grand-Littles,  your friends Littles!

IMG_1365
and enjoy the season!

(Please note the photos of the Chicken Enchilada recipe were not taken by me (I wish) that is one of the many talents of the Pioneer Woman! And she is so nice to share them with her recipes!)

The Pioneer Woman’s Mac & Cheese (Heaven!)

The Pioneer Woman’s Mac & Cheese (Heaven!)

PW Mac & Cheese

I made this the week before Thanksgiving so that there would be something all the visiting kids could munch on.  Um hello, it lasted a day. Even the youngest 9 month olds were going crazy for it.   I think next time I’ll separate into 2 dishes to freeze one and have it for a second dinner….of course, that’s assuming we don’t decide to devour the rest of the week.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

4 cups Dried Macaroni
¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
¼ cups All-purpose Flour
2-½ cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
1 whole Egg Beaten
1 pound Cheddar Cheese, Grated
½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Directions:

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salts and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.