Bagels from Heaven!

These were not made from scratch, but tasted just as good.Bagel4

Price Chopper used to have my favorite Asiago Cheese bagels. HyVee happened to have this from their bakery.

This is truly a treat from heaven!

My breakfast during the work week is very boring: Cottage cheese & diced peaches, a Banana or Raisin Date & Walnut Oatmeal. These are my low calorie favorites. But to get that extra fruit, I also drink Orange Juice with my breakfast.

It was a blessing to finally reach my lowest weight in 10 years. I kept a weight & food diary to track the 40 pounds lost so far.Bagel7

My diet has changed so much, which makes sense because Old Age + Less Exercise = Weight Gain.

My favorite breakfast used to be a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich, a Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich or a Spam & Egg & Cheese Sandwich.

Trust me, I have two packages of the Spam slices in my fridge, just for the right moment.

Everything in moderation can make big changes.Bagel1

Back in the day, I could eat a Church’s Chicken (or Popeye’s) 3 piece meal with the sides and biscuit.

Now, that simply would not digest and would just add on pounds.

Making an “All in One Bowl” meal and staying away from Bread (sandwich) carbs, has been very helpful.

Also, adding vegetables to every meal bowl. For example, I love making Chili or Rotel. This week, I added diced Mirepoix with Broccoli to the Beef Rotel. So only one bowl with everything in it.

Bagel2But since this is a Holiday 3-day weekend, I can go crazy a little bit.

My chicken is unthawed for General’s Tso’s Chicken. At first I was going to fry it, but now I am going to bake it instead and add the General’s Tso’ sauce. For my Buffalo Chicken Wings last week, I also baked them instead of frying them.

Little changes can make big (or small) results.

Bake those Bagels for 10 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Then slap on some cream cheese and Everything Bagel Seasoning and you have Bagels from Heaven!Bagel7

THE VAMPIRE DANCER SAGA COOKBOOK COVER IS FINISHED!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Beef Rotel – Just in time for the “old” Tax Day

Beef Rotel 051Woot! I got my stimulus check in the bank today.  What an unexpected surprise on the “old” Tax Day.

I finally got a time slot to order from Walmart. I really, really wanted to do Rotel with the Velveeta Queso Blanco, but they were out it. It is a good thing I had the Velveeta Original to use instead. Walmart used to “spoil” me, with my favorites like Salsa Verde Doritos. But that was also out of stock, so I had to use the Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos.

INGREDIENTS:Beef Rotel 008

  1. Ground Beef, 2 lbs
  2. Beef Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 oz.
  3. Taco Seasoning, recommended: Williams, 2.5 oz (2 packages)
  4. Fiery Tasty Seasoning Mix, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz.
  5. Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.
  6. Diced Tomatoes Chunky with Green Chilies, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.Beef Rotel 005
  7. Diced Tomatoes Original with Green Chilies, recommended: Rotel, 10 oz.
  8. Cheese Pasteurized Original, recommended: Velveeta, 32 oz.
  9. Cool Ranch Tortilla Chips, recommended: Doritos, 5 to 7 per person or more
  10. Mirepoix with yellow onions, celery, and carrots, 10 oz.
  11. Cola or soda to thin out, to your preference, recommended: Coca Cola, ½ to 1 cup
  12. Jalapeño peppers Hot & Sweet, sliced, recommended: HyVee, as desired
  13. Sour Cream, recommended: Daisy, a dollopBeef Rotel 004
  14. Cookie Baking Sheets Parchment Paper, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens, 1

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Freeze the Velveeta Cheese for 30 minutes (the foil only, not the box).
  2. Combine Ground Beef and Beef Chorizo in the same skillet that you will cook it in. No extra bowl to clean – Woot! I turned it 7 minutes then 8 minutes, so it was brown, about the same time as the freezer cheese.Beef Rotel 017
  3. Drain the grease.
  4. Put the slow cooker liner in the crock pot and to that add the “cooked” Ground Beef/Beef Chorizo.
  5. Next add the Fiery Tasty and both Taco Seasoning packages and stir into meat.
  6. Add the Mirepoix next.
  7. Cut the cheese into 8 pieces (I cut through the foil) on top of the Parchment Cookie Sheets and then added it to the slow cooker
  8. Add the 3 cans of Diced Tomatoes on top.
  9. If it looks too thick, you can add some Cola to thin it out.Beef Rotel 019
  10. Drain the meat grease; I used the empty Rotel can to dispose of the grease.
  11. Cook on low for 4 hours; stir to combine after 2 hours.
  12. Then I added a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream.
  13. I like to add the Sweet & Hot Jalapeño next.
  14. I crushed some Dorito Tortilla chips and put that on the top.

I am so glad that Walmart finally has some spots open for grocery delivery. I am also thankful that I could use Aldi (first 3 deliveries free) and HyVee. Food is food and it is a blessing to have it.Beef Rotel 024

 

 

 

 

 

THE VAMPIRE DANCER COOKBOOK IS COMING!Beef Rotel 027

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili 056I thought about making a Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf, but then decided to use the ingredients to make Buffalo Chicken Chili instead.

I love Buffalo Wings and usually eat them with Blue Cheese, Carrot Sticks and Celery Sticks. So I wanted to make sure those flavor profiles were present in this dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Ground Turkey Italian Sausage, recommended: Festive, 1 lb.Buffalo Chicken Chili 053
  2. Chicken Breast Tenderloins, 1.69 lb.
  3. Pork Chorizo, recommended: Cacique, 10 oz.
  4. Chicken Chili Seasoning, recommended: Williams, 1.2 oz
  5. Sriracha, Lime & Garlic Fiery Tasty Seasoning, recommended: McCormick, 1 oz
  6. Chili Seasoning, recommended: Williams, 1 oz
  7. Cream of Celery condensed soup, recommended Campbell’s, 10.5 oz.
  8. Butter Beans, recommended: Joan of Arc, 15.5 oz.
  9. Mixed Chili Beans, recommended: Great Value, 15 oz.Buffalo Chicken Chili 001
  10. Cannellini White Kidney Beans Southwestern Style, recommended: Bush’s, 15.5 oz.
  11. Petite Diced Tomatoes with Jalapeño & Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, two 14.5 oz. cans
  12. Diced Tomatoes Zesty Chili., recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  13. Diced Jalapeño Hot Peppers, recommended: Great Value, two 4 oz. cans
  14. Diced Mirepoix Mix, fresh (Yellow Onions, Carrots, Celery), 10 oz.
  15. Garlic, diced, 10-11 clovesBuffalo Chicken Chili 006
  16. Chicken Flavor Bouillon, recommended: Knorr, 2 tablespoons
  17. Turmeric, recommended: Tone’s ¼ teaspoon
  18. Celery Seed, recommended: Tone’s ¼ teaspoon
  19. Celery Flakes, recommended: Tone’s ¼ teaspoon
  20. Chicken Broth, 1 ½ to 2 cups, use water if needed to thin it out
  21. Vinegar (Rice Wine or Apple Cider), ¼ cup
  22. Blue Cheese Crumbles, recommended: Litehouse, 6 oz.
  23. Sour cream, recommended: Daisy, a dollop
  24. Slow Cooker Liners, recommended: Reynolds Kitchens, 1Buffalo Chicken Chili 004

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Freeze Chicken Tenders 20 minutes to make it easier to cut into chunk-sized pieces. Add to a storage bag with the Dry Rub.
  2. Dry Rub mixture is the Chicken Bouillon, Turmeric, Celery Seed and Celery Flakes.
  3. Mix ground Turkey Italian Sausage and Pork Chorizo, brown in skillet, remove and then discard any excess grease.Buffalo Chicken Chili 011
  4. Brown the Chicken Tender chunks in the same skillet.
  5. Add the Garlic to the Slow Cooker. You can use the Liner bag to “crush” the garlic with a bowl.
  6. Add the Diced Chili Beans on top of the Seasoning Blend.
  7. Add the Chicken Chili seasoning on top of the Chili Beans.
  8. Add ½ cup of Chicken Broth.
  9. Drain and rinse the Beans and add on top of the Chicken Broth.
  10. Add the diced Mirepoix.
  11. Add the Fiery Tasty Seasoning packet on top of the Mirepoix.Buffalo Chicken Chili 009
  12. Add the Italian Sausage, Chorizo and Chicken next.
  13. Add the Original Chicken Seasoning.
  14. Add the Cream of Celery Soup.
  15. Add the 2 cans of Diced Tomatoes. With Jalapeño & Habanero.
  16. Add additional Chicken Broth for your preference, along with Vinegar (of your choice).
  17. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8 hours, stir halfway through.
  18. I stir in the 2 4 oz. cans of Jalapeño after it is done to keep it extra hot.
  19. Top with Blue Cheese and a dollop of Daisy!Buffalo Chicken Chili 018

 

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Buffalo Chicken Chili 055

Ring in the New Year with a Spicy Meatloaf!

Italian Sausage Beef Meatloaf20200101_173252

Making Meatloaf gives you so many opportunities to experiment with different flavors. I started out cooking Meatloaf in an oven. But once I began using a Slow Cooker, I have not used the oven since. Meatloaf is so versatile that you can play with using Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Ground Pork, Ground Turkey or add Chorizo for a Mexican-inspired Meatloaf. Instead of Ketchup, I normally use Condensed Tomato Soup for the topping. This time, I wanted something different, so I am using Tomato Basil Soup instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Italian Sausage Mild, recommended: Great Value, 19 oz.20191231_022249
  2. Ground Beef, recommended: Great Value, 2 lbs.
  3. Meatloaf Seasoning, recommended McCormick, Two 1.5 oz. packets
  4. Cubed Stuffing Herb seasoned, recommended: Pepperidge Farm, 12 oz., divided (or use Salad Croutons)
  5. Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  6. Diced Tomatoes Petite with Jalapeno and Habanero, recommended: Del Monte, 14.5 oz.
  7. Tomato Basil Soup, recommended: Progresso. 19 oz.
  8. Mixed Vegetables with Carrots, Green Beans, Corn & Peas, frozen, recommended: Great Value, 12 oz.
  9. Mirepoix with diced Yellow Onion, Carrot and Celery, 8 oz.20191231_131028
  10. Garlic, diced, 10-11 cloves, divided ¾ and ¼
  11. Sweet Potatoes, frozen, diced, recommended: Great Value, 10 oz.
  12. Eggs, 3 Jumbo
  13. Balsamic Vinegar, 2 teaspoons
  14. Liquid Smoke, 1 capful
  15. Worcestershire Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  16. Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon
  17. Optional: Disposal plastic gloves
  18. Optional: Reynold’s Slow Cooker Liners or Reynold’s Aluminum Foil for the cooking vessel

INSTRUCTIONS:20191231_150135

  1. Beat 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, and set aside
  2. Combine the Ground Beef with Italian Sausage in a (different) large mixing bowl.
  3. To the meat mixture, add in gradually, the Diced Tomatoes, Mirepoix, Mixed Vegetables, Stuffing Cubes, Meatloaf Seasoning, Balsamic Vinegar, ¼ Garlic and Eggs. This is a good time to use disposable gloves for mixing.
  4. If using a Slow Cooker, line the bottom of it with half of the Stuffing Cubes, Sweet Potatoes, ¾ Garlic, Liquid Smoke, Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce. If using a pre-heated 350 degree oven, mix this with the meat mixture.20191231_151251
  5. Slow Cooker on High for 4 to 6 Hours or Low for 8 to 10 Hours, or Bake in 350 Pre-Heated oven for 1 hour.
  6. Top with Tomato Basil Soup during last 30 minutes of cooking time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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2019 Cooking Ends: 2020 Cooking Begins

Samsung 870I created a Cookbook folder on my computer back in 2009. Since then, I have added my recipe creations and saved recipes for inspiration.

I am almost done working on my Cookbook. Hopefully, I will have it ready by January 2020.

I originally planned to publish my cookbook back in 2016. But, along came the thoughts and ideas for the Vampire Dancer Saga series, after seeing 3 bats in my house.

I LOVE planning my meals in advance!Samsung 871

That way, there is no excuse to order Pizza Hut, when the fridge or pantry is empty.

I try to plan my meals 1 to 2 weeks in advance, to allow “smart” shopping versus “impulse” shopping.

This week was Epic Tuna and later on, Pork Chops on Croissant Rolls. I love Salad as my side dish for dinner.

Samsung 866I am also prepping the Catfish Nuggets for tomorrow. For breakfast, during work days, I love eating Cottage Cheese with Diced Peaches.

I used to love eating a Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich for breakfast. Or a Spam, Egg & Cheese sandwich, or a Sausage, Egg & Cheese sandwich. I am cutting out a lot of bread to lose weight. But I will take a break on my diet to make a Biscuit, Sausage, Country Gravy, Hash Brown, Egg and Cheese Quiche for Christmas.

Ground LambMy Christmas main dish will be a Surf & Turf Spazghetti with Truffle Alfredo Sauce, Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Anchovies, Shrimp Scampi and Cream of Shrimp Condensed Soup. I even have Shrimp Bouillon cubes to boil the spaghetti pasta in. This will be epic!

For a lighter meal next week, I have a can of Baked Beans and I can chop and fry Polish Sausage to cook with it. A “Grown Up” version of Pork & Beans.

My lunch break during work days is only one hour. So I love to cook in advance and eat leftovers during the week. And then freeze the rest, when I get sick of eating it.

Samsung 862I like to make Black-eyed Peas & Cornbread for New Year’s Eve, or a pot of Chili. I plan on making Middle Eastern Chili On December 30th or 31st. The Ground Lamb is so expensive, but since it is a holiday, I will splurge.

If I know that I am planning a meal in advance, I also buy things on sale. I plan on making Meatloaf, and I have some of the ingredients now that can be used for other meals, in a pinch. For example: diced tomatoes. can be used in Spaghetti, Chili or Meatloaf. So I try to buy them on sale and stock up.

I ran out of Mirepoix, so I have to wait to make the Macaroni & Cheese with Cream of Mushroom Soup. Boo!

Samsung 864Along with the Surf & Turf Spazghetti, that is way too much pasta. But I still kept it in the picture with the Catfish Nuggets for my Happy Vance Day on December 21st. TODAY!

 

Check out the sample and get your copy here:  Audible.com The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 4 Audiobook

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Happy Vance Day! Tuna & Catfish Delights.

Tuna5My big brother’s birthday is on December 21st.

Sunrise: December 21st! Gone, but not forgotten and still very much loved!

The last meal he cooked for us was Catfish Nuggets and Macaroni & Cheese. He liked to use a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup on the Mac & Cheese, so I will honor his flavor.

I hope to cook my Catfish Nuggets with Mac & Cheese this weekend, either Friday or Saturday. In the meanwhile, I have Tuna to eat for my main meal this week. Not Starkist Tunajust any tuna sandwich, but an “Epic” tuna sandwich, dedicated to Tito Jackson. I was watching one of the Jackson 5’s TV specials and Tito mentioned a Tuna & Tomato sandwich. I am finally getting around to making one.

Epic Tuna & Tomato Grilled Swiss Cheese on Rye Bread!

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Tuna, Yellowfin Solid Wild-Caught, with Lemon Dill and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, recommended: Starkist Selects, two 4.5 oz. cans
  2. Tuna, Solid White Albacore, Gourmet Prime Filet Wild-Caught, recommended: Bumblebee, 5 oz.
  3. Tartar Sauce, recommended: Kraft, 3 to 4 teaspoons
  4. Tuna4Relish, Sweet Pickle, recommended: Vlasic, 2 to 3 teaspoons
  5. Cream Cheese, Garden Vegetable, recommended: Philadelphia, 2 to 3 teaspoons
  6. Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, recommended: Philadelphia, 1 to 2 teaspoons
  7. Tasty Zesty Basil, Thyme & Lemon Zest Seasoning, recommended: McCormick, 1 teaspoon
  8. Celery Seed, recommended: Tone’s, 1/8 teaspoon
  9. Rye Bread, New York Style, recommended: Great Value, 2 slices per sandwich
  10. McCormick Lemon SeasoningSwiss Cheese, Aged, recommended: Sargento, 2 slices per sandwich
  11. Eggs, Boiled, 2
  12. Tomato, Beefsteak, 1 large
  13. Mirepoix (Yellow Onion, Celery, Carrot), 2 tablespoons
  14. Butter, 1-2 pat, per sandwich

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil Eggs, 30 minutes before, or the day of cook
  2. Combine Tuna with Cream Cheese, Tartar Sauce and Relish, to your desired consistency
  3. Add chopped Eggs, Tasty Seasoning, Mirepoix and Celery Seed
  4. Tuna1Add butter to skillet then toast the Rye Bread, and add Swiss cheese slices on top
  5. Remove and add Tuna to both sides with a Tomato Slice in the middle of the sandwich

Easy Catfish Nuggets

Ingredients:

  1. Catfish Nuggets, 1 lb.
  2. Fish Fry, Seasoned, recommended: Louisiana, 5-10 oz.
  3. Smoked SalmonTasty Zesty Basil, Thyme & Lemon Zest Seasoning, recommended: McCormick, 2 teaspoons
  4. Cooking Oil, enough to cover the fish

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the Catfish with the Tasty Seasoning 30 minutes before or the day of cook. Then dredge in the Fish Fry 20 minutes before cook time.
  2. Heat the cooking oil for about 9 to 14 minutes, testing with toothpick to see if bubble when ready.
  3. Fry the fish, until brown and I usually move to a 300 degree oven, while I am using the same oil for fries.

Mac & Cheese for VanceTuna2

Ingredients:

  1. Elbow Macaroni, Large, 16 oz.
  2. Buttermilk, ½ pint
  3. Cheddar Cheese, Sharp, 2 lb.
  4. Panko Bread Crumbs,
  5. Swiss Cheese Shredded, 8 oz.
  6. Chicken Bouillon Cubes, 2
  7. Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, recommended: Campbell’s, 10.5 oz.
  8. Butter, ½ stickGarden Vegetable

Instructions:

  1. Boil Chicken Bouillon cubes in water.
  2. Add Macaroni to boiling water and cook until below tender
  3. Shred Cheese in Food Processor (or use Velveeta cheese, 16 oz.), I have a block of cheese I need to get rid of
  4. Drain Macaroni and add Cream of Mushroom Soup, ¼ stick of melted butter, Buttermilk and ¾ of the Sharp Cheddar Cheese into the baking pan
  5. Melt butter and combine Panko Crumbs with ¼ of the Sharp Cheddar Cheese to the top of the Macaroni and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, covered with foil. Add Swiss cheese and bake an additional 11 minutes, uncovered.

Tuna3

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