Typically I feel no apprehension while writing this blog. I find a picture that makes my stomach growl, add it to the weekly menu, make the husband antsy while I take a few photos (can I call Instagram pics “photos”?), slap it up on the blog, and call it a day. But this time, I’m feeling a bit of apprehension.

I don’t know if it’s because I follow The Mom Chef so her blog seems super legit, or if it’s because she actually follows the recipe whereas I cook like my grandma (applesauce in all the things!). Maybe it’s because I really like her blog and didn’t want to have to face the possibility of a “failed it”. Or maybe it’s because she has the word “mom” in her name which strikes an inherent fear of disappointing her.

Whatever the reason, just know that there was apprehension abound last night as I cooked dinner. And it’s carrying over to the moment I hit “publish”.

 

Nailed It/Failed It: Fat Spaghetti with Bacon & Cherry Tomato Sauce

Verdict

Nailed it. ::phew:: You guys. You guys. This was so much better than I dared hope it would be. Even the husband went back for seconds which, as you know, is HUGE in and of itself, but when tomatoes are involved???

Make this. Immediately.

Alterations

I used tacon (duh), angel hair because pasta is pasta is pasta (shhhhh, Italy, it’s okay), white onion because it was sitting in my fridge begging to be used, roasted broccoli because it couldn’t stand to leave its BFF onion (they came home from the hospital grocery store together), and topped it with Parmesan rather than mix it in. Oh, and I never used a lid because I’m a rebel.

 

 

 

Original recipe from Taking On Magazines.

We have pizza night at least once a week in my house. We’d probably have it every other night, but you know, judgment.

Typically I make my standard pizza or BBQ chicken pizza, but sometimes I get the urge to mix it up. Mostly the urge strikes when there’s food in my fridge that’s in serious need of being used (I despise throwing food away – to me, it’s the same as throwing a hundred dollar bill in the trash). Sometimes the urge results in questionable outcomes. But sometimes it results in omgwhyhaven’timadethisbefore???

Nailed It/Failed It: Roasted Vegetable French Bread Pizza

Verdict

Nailed it. The husband and I each had a quarter loaf’s worth of pizza. I was pretty full after eating about half of it, but I could. not. stop. eating. That food baby came with zero regrets.

Alterations

I skipped the onion and pepper and used leftover jarred tomato pesto.

 

 

 

Original recipe from Budget Bytes.

I tried to come up with a more complex name for this. Really, I did. But then my dad declared me a “football savant” for dominating last week’s NFL weekly picks and I lost interest in anything other than basking in the glory.

So here’s the deal with this “recipe” – I realize strawberry season has come and gone, but the grocery store is still selling them which means I am still buying them. And will continue to do so until I get tired of this combination which, based on my track record here, should be approximately never.

Nailed It/Failed It: Peanut Butter Strawberry Chocolate Chip Toast

Verdict

Can I declare a verdict on my own creation (that I realize is nowhere near original)? Because I am. Nailed. It. It’s entirely possible I eat this multiple times a week (read “daily”). My husband thinks it’s weird “because of the toast”, but that’s what makes it awesome. How else is the peanut butter going to get a little on the melty side?

Process

Toast the bread of your choice (I typically use sandwich thins, but my mom gave us a loaf of wheat bread because we looked poor and hungry and I’m a fan of that as well). While your bread is toasting, cut your strawberries to whatever size you’d like. Once your toast pops, smear as much or as little peanut butter as you’d like. Then top with strawberries and a few chocolate chips and prepare to be addicted.

(I’ll also make this without the chocolate chips for breakfast. Seriously. I have a problem. Send help.)

As of yesterday, the husband and I have been married for 2 years. What does that have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. I just felt compelled to share.

In other news, I’m the oldest of 3 girls (hold on – I promise this one’s going somewhere). There’s 4 1/2ish years between me and the youngest and 18ish months between me and the middle one. As you can imagine, the middle one is fiercely competitive – mostly with me and especially in the kitchen. She’s always doing crazy things like making her own bread and elaborate cakes for my nieces’ birthdays. So you can imagine my mom’s surprise over the weekend when I told her I now make my own taco seasoning. Her response was, “You’re as bad as your sister!”

And now you know why I kept my mouth shut on the homemade ravioli front.

Nailed It/Failed It: Spinach Ricotta and Mozzarella Ravioli

Verdict

Nailed it. They’re definitely more work than opening a bag, but I really like the fact that I can put whatever I want in there – I’m not stuck with beef or cheese.

Alterations

While my sister probably would have made her own pasta (she makes her own gnocchi after all), I was not above using wonton wrappers. We like our ravioli sauceless (weird I know but it also makes these easy to serve as an appetizer), so I skipped that. I also sauteed my spinach and baked the raviolis rather than boiling them. And I’m pretty sure I’ll throw feta in the mix next time. I may even get really crazy and saute the raviolis. Who knows what the future holds?!?!?

 

 

Original recipe from The Kittchen.

Turns out selling a house, moving, and starting a new job in a 3 week span results in pure chaos. Who knew. But we’re more or less settled now which means I have food for you! Consider it my birthday gift to you (30 today – yikes!).

Here’s the deal with beans – for the longest time, I wouldn’t touch them. It was partly because of my inner 5 year old and partly because of texture issues. I don’t really remember when that all changed, but I’m glad it did because a) I can now eat chili like an adult, b) a can of beans is so much cheaper than a pound of chicken, and c) I get to eat an obscene amount of these enchiladas.

 

Nailed It/Failed It: Black Bean Spinach EnchiladasVerdict

Nailed it. I didn’t really know what to expect out of these, but somehow they’re still better than I had hoped. The sauce is absolutely amazing – some might even say life changing.

Alterations

I used chicken broth and frozen spinach and skipped the cilantro. And since I can never get 8 enchiladas in my pan (whyyyyyyyyy????), I get as many as I can in there and top them with the leftover filling before adding the sauce. Oh, and obviously guac went on top.

 

 

 

 

Original recipe from The Garden Grazer.

 

My apologies for the straight up abandonment. Last week we were flying back from Harry Potter World (I don’t care what Disney says, HP World is the happiest place on Earth), and yesterday I turned in my 2 weeks notice which more or less shot my day to hell (let’s just say they did not take it well).

And speaking of 2 weeks notice, consider this your notice that the next 3 weeks are probably going to be chaos with packing, selling a house we’ve had for just over a year (I know – we’ve lost our ever lovin’ minds), finding a new place, getting things finished up at work, and whatever else goes in there. Basically what I’m saying is, I may abandon you again so go ahead and book those therapy sessions now.

In other news, I made breakfast! Maybe it’s just me, but by the middle of July I’m 100% over summer and dying for fall. So I decided to give us a taste of fall. Literally. It kind of actually worked, too, because the morning I made this was cool(er) and rainy. If only this was a guaranteed way to end the melt your face off stupid hot.

 

Nailed It/Failed It: Cinnamon Apple Baked French Toast

Verdict

Nailed it. It smelled like fall, it tasted like fall. I’m in love. The husband topped his with peanut butter which I was surprisingly not on board with. I am, however, fully on board the pure maple syrup train.

Alterations

I used leftover hoagie rolls, 3 real eggs, real milk, and skipped all sweetener (I would have used real sugar).

 

 

 

 

Original recipe from Peanut Butter and Peppers.

I don’t know what it is about appetizers, but I love them. I could easily make an entire meal out of them. Spinach dip with zucchini pizzas or baked parmesan tomatoes with toasted ravioli sounds like an excellent dinner to me. The husband, however, slightly disagrees.

He’s on board the appetizer wagon – he just prefers it be as an actual appetizer. Which is how I found myself making this roasted tomato bruschetta on the 4th of July. Because as we all know, bruschetta pairs perfectly with BBQ chicken, grilled corn, and pasta salad.

 

Nailed It/Failed It: Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Verdict

Nailed it. Even that self-proclaimed tomato hater husband of mine couldn’t get enough. And that, kids, is the mother of all victories.

Alterations

I chopped my tomatoes in half and roasted them with the olive oil, garlic, and basil. I also skipped the mint because this is not toothpaste and served it with warmed up pita instead of ciabatta (although I have no doubt the ciabatta would be a thousand times better).

 

 

 

Original recipe from Uni Homemaker.