Tex-Mex Baked Pierogies

Since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, I couldn’t resist but to make a festive dinner. It only seemed right. Who doesn’t love an excuse to cook or eat Mexican food? We have tacos and quesadillas a lot so I was on the hunt for something slightly different. I came across a recipe for Tex-Mex Baked Pierogies… intriguing. We always have a big bag of frozen pierogies in the freezer so I already had the main ingredient. I went on to read the rest of the ingredients- enchilada sauce, corn, onions, cheese. All the things that make Mexican food so great. As you probably guessed already, I just had to make it. And Cinco de Mayo was just the most perfect time as ever to do so.

It’s a ridiculously easy recipe, great for a busy night. And it’s also very tasty. It’s the perfect recipe for when you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary but using all very ordinary ingredients. Many ingredients in which you probably already have. It could have only of been better with a margarita in hand (mental note for next time).

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Ingredients:

1 can of black beans (I didn’t use these because my husband doesn’t care for them and it was still delicious)

1 can of enchilada suace

1/2 cup of frozen corn

2 scallions (I forgot to buy these so I just chopped up some onion instead)

1 16 0z.-package of frozen pierogies (or about 16 pierogies)

1 cup of Mexican shredded cheese

1 tbs. chopped fresh cilantro (optional- I didn’t use this either)

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Combine the beans, sauce, corn, and scallions/onions in a bowl.

3. Spread half of the mixture onto the bottom of a baking dish.

4. Add pierogies.

5. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce mixture.

6. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

7. Remove the foil and coat the top with Mexican cheese.

8. Put back in the oven uncovered for 5 minutes.

9. Top with cilantro before eating if desired.

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P.S. I actually took my own pictures this time! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Buffalo Pork Chops

I’m not the biggest fan of pork, but I eat it. Sometimes I feel like I am running out of dinner options. There’s only so much chicken, beef, and turkey you can eat. Pasta can quickly become boring. And we are slowly but surely getting into the fish game. Sometimes you just need something different. That’s when the pork comes in. If I’m going to cook and eat pork its got to be all about the seasoning. That’s why I was very happy to come across a recipe for Buffalo Pork Chops.

This recipe was actually very good. I go into any meal with pork involved expecting to be disappointed- it’s just better that way. This time was no different except for that the fact that I wasn’t disappointed at all. As we were eating, my husband and I turned to each other and said we should make this again (he shares my same sentiments about pork). Wait, what? Make pork again? Were we crazy? I have made a few other pork recipes in the past and those words definitely never came out of our mouths before. Those recipes were good or should I say tolerable, but I wouldn’t care to make them ever again. Maybe it’s just the buffalo sauce talking, but this is a recipe for the books.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of butter

2-3 tablespoons of hot sauce

Thinly slice or shredded mozzarella

2 boneless pork chops

Salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper.

2. Heat olive oil, butter, and hot sauce together in a large skillet (medium high).

3. Once the mixture is heated, add in the pork chops. Cook on each side until done (about 5 minutes each side).

4. Transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet and coat with additional hot sauce.

5. Put some mozzarella cheese on top of each pork chop.

6. Broil on high for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

The best part of this recipe is that it is actually two recipes in one. Instead of using hot sauce, you can see barbeque sauce instead. Since barbeque sauce is one of my absolute favorite things ever and possibly one of the greatest inventions ever, we will definitely be trying that one out soon.

While cooking the pork chops I roasted some asparagus and potatoes (tossed in olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper) for sides.

The picture above (because I somehow never remember to take my own picture — mental note, mental note) and recipe was taken from Allison’s Skinny Jeans.

Happy Friday and happy cooking! As always, feel free to share your thoughts on this recipe and others below.

Grilled Chicken Marinade

For some reason, food has been on my mind all day. Maybe it’s my mind’s way of telling me that it is time to post another recipe. Well, lucky for me I tried a new chicken marinade last night and it was probably one of my favorites I have made so far. Perfect timing if I do say so myself. I did that on purpose, right?

Chicken is very easy to cook with and can be prepared many different ways. We probably have it once or twice a week in my house. The problem? It can get very boring. I can’t tell you have many different types of marinades and sauces I have tried with my chicken over the last year. They all seem to blend together in my mind and once again have become boring. Nothing has seemed to really stand out to me yet, but last night I think I found the solution to my problem (well, at least for now). I came across a grilled chicken marinade that I actually haven’t tried yet so I decided to give it a whirl. And I was very pleasantly surprised.

Below is the original recipe for the marinade. I cut it in half because I was only cooking two chicken breasts and it seemed to be just right, so feel free to adjust accordingly.

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 cup of soy sauce

1/2 cup of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)

The rest is pretty simple.

-Mix all the above ingredients together and pour over chicken either in a bowl or a ziploc bag.

-Let marinate for 4 hours or overnight if you can (confession, I only had time for it to marinate for about 2.5 hours and it was still delicious but next time I will for sure let it sit overnight).

-Next, grill it. It is too cold to be cooking outside here so I just cooked them in a grill pan on the stove (a wedding shower gift that we didn’t register for that I am actually glad we got-note to future bride-to-be’s). My pieces of chicken were a little thicker so it took about 20-25 minutes but well, well worth it.

I served my chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus. It made for a delicious meal. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take my own picture of my creation last night but here is a mouth-watering picture from the blog in which I had originally found this recipe. After that I obviously had to try it, right?

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If you try this marinade (which I am strongly encouraging), let me know what you think of it or if you have any other chicken suggestions. The somtimes-bored-cook in me would greatly appreciate it. 🙂

Happy cooking! Enjoy the weekend.

Baked Sausage with Veggies and Potatoes

Last night I made sausage with vegetables in the oven and thought it would be a good recipe to share with you all. It’s super easy and a great solution if you have some leftover sausage in the freezer and don’t know what to do with it. It’s also a really flexible recipe. You can customize it however you want by adding in the vegetables that you and your family like and avoiding those you don’t like. It’s a pretty hard recipe to mess up- no matter what ingredients you decide to use. You can also season with any spices/herbs you want. It’s fun to experiment a little with this one. Here is how I made mine.

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Ingredients:

Any type of sausage you want (the amount varies on the number of people you are cooking for)

One green pepper (you can also use a red pepper as well)

One medium onion

2-3 stalks of celery

Handful of scallions

1-2 zucchinis

2-3 Potatoes (I used a mix of regular potatoes and sweet potatoes)

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Garlic Salt

Pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. I like to make my oven a little hotter so that the potatoes will cook faster.

2. Cut up your potatoes and place into a mixing bowl. I try to cut my potatoes into smaller pieces, I find it’s easier to eat and they cook faster and better. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and pepper and toss until the potatoes are covered.

3. Place in a greased cooking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

4. In the meantime, cut up all your veggies and sausage and throw everything into a mixing bowl (I use the same one that I used for the potatoes). Again, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and pepper. Toss until covered.

5. Add veggies and sausage to the pan with the potatoes. Mix everything together before putting back into the oven.

6. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Poke veggies and potatoes with fork to test the tenderness and continue cooking to your own liking.

And you’re done! Easy, peasy.

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

No woman is complete without her friends. No matter how successful, intelligent, or wealthy- a girl needs her girlfriends. A friend provides many important essentials: a much needed afternoon break from your hectic life, a dependable second opinion, a shoulder to cry on, or a person to share and celebrate your joys with. When you have a fight or disagreement with a good friend it seems as if your world is going to end. You aren’t quite sure how you would ever survive without them.

Friendship isn’t easy. People, especially women, expect a lot from their friends. Despite our own busy lives we are expected to frequently keep in touch, know the happenings of each other’s lives, and organize a get together every few weeks. Sounds exhausting but we all do it (and it’s totally worth it). Making new friends is just as hard as keeping the old but I have gathered some great tips on how to maintain those priceless friendships. Just follow the golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated.

*If you are meeting a friend somewhere- be on time. If you are constantly late, don’t have an excuse, or don’t apologize for your tardiness then it seems like your life/whatever you were doing before is more important than meeting your friend.

*Don’t gossip about friends with other friends (unless you are bragging about all their accomplishments). There’s a very good chance that anything bad you say WILL get back to the other person- especially if you are all in the same group of friends. If you do slip-up and the gossip gets back to your other friend- be honest about it. Don’t dig yourself deeper in a hole. Fess up and explain why you said what you did. Your honesty will be appreciated.

*Listen more than you talk. Show an interest in their lives by asking questions about what they have been up to.

*If you are at a party or large gathering make sure to introduce new and old friends to each other, giving them a chance to form their own friendship. Don’t keep groups of friends separate.

*If you get a phone call while you are with a friend and need to answer it make sure to excuse yourself.  Better yet, if you don’t need to answer it then don’t. It will make your friend feel super important in that moment.

*No matter how boring or pointless, don’t interrupt your friend’s conversation. Let them talk until they are finished then you can politely change the subject. Do not then point the conversation towards you- they are probably just as uninterested as you were. Pick a neutral topic.

*If a friend asks for your opinion or advice- be honest. No matter what you think your friend wants to hear, tell them what you truly think is right. They value your opinion more than you know. You might save them from making the biggest mistake of their life.

*Celebrate their accomplishments and joys by taking them out for lunch or buying them a little gift. Also take part in their sorrows. If they are upset about something or going through a hard time- reach out to them. A friend is someone who isn’t just there for the good times but for the bad as well.

*Every girl has to have someone they tell all their secrets to- we can’t keep everything to ourselves, it’s just in our nature. If you are that person for someone else, live up to the expectations. Keep their secrets safe no matter how tempted you are to run and tell another friend.

*One of the best things about having a friend is that you have a whole other closet to go through. It’s perfectly fine to borrow things from your friends but there are fine rules that come along with it. If something is new, don’t borrow it (even if your friend says you could). Don’t keep anything too long, you never know when your friend is going to need it. Lastly, return everything in the condition in which you got took it in (clean that is).

Friendship is priceless and if you do it right it should last a lifetime. Although a lot goes into maintaining a friendship, if you just follow your heart and do what you feel is right you won’t have any problem making new friends OR keeping the old.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

Claim Your Prize Here

If you are reading this post right now I owe you a sincere congratulations. One, you made it through my last two awfully depressing posts. And two, you survived six months of reading my blog. Therefore, happy six months to me and a big congratulations to you (really- you have no idea how much I appreciate it).

What’s in it for you? Alright, alright don’t get so pushy- I think you deserve a treat too. How about a candy bar? No. An afternoon nap? Nah. A day at the beach? Nope. Jeez, you guys are so hard to please… wait, I got it! How about a nice warm stone massage and facial? DING, DING, DING- we have a winner!

I think you should treat yourself- I really do. You won’t regret it. Spas are for relaxation, a place to de-stress, but not everyone feels that way. The thought of going into a quiet, dimly light treatment room with a complete stranger deters many people from even stepping one foot inside a spa. Have no fear, I’m here to save the day again (hey, I can toot my horn a little today- I’m celebrating!). These few simple guidelines will surely ease your nerves. Speaking from experience, I promise that you will be going back for a second treatment very soon.

*Arrive 15-20 minutes early for your appointment. If it’s your first time, many spas will have a short questionnaire for you to fill out and you will definitely want a few minutes to unwind in the relaxation room while sipping some cucumber water.

*Make sure to be honest about your medical history/any current medical problems. The last thing you want is a nice relaxing spa trip to cause more problems for you down the road.

*When you make your appointment, ask about their cancellation policy. At many spas, if you cancel with too short of notice there will be a fee.

*If you have a particular therapist that you like to see, make sure to tell them that when booking. Don’t assume you can just walk in and request a certain person- they may already have another customer.

*Leave all your valuables at home (they make you take off jewelry anyway) and shower before the treatment whether you take one at home before you arrive or in the locker room of the spa.

*Before you walk in the door, turn off your cell phone. Better yet, just leave it in your car. There is absolutely no reason to bring your cell phone with you, people don’t go to the spa to talk or to listen to other people talk.

*If you are new to the spa, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a quick tour. It’s much better than wandering the halls yourself looking for the locker room and other amenities.

*The biggest problem people have with spas is the nudity. You don’t need to undress completely. If you are comfortable, go ahead. But it’s ok to leave your underwear on (I know I do). Also they will provide you with a sheet to cover yourself when you roll over onto your back and your bottom is always covered with a sheet-nothing is ever exposed.

*If you have a problem area that you would like your therapist to pay special attention to- speak up! They aren’t mind readers so if you don’t say anything it’s your loss.

*Don’t fall for add-ons, unless you want to pay. Sometimes during your massage they will ask if you would like a certain lotion or an extra treatment and most of the time these extras cost something. If you don’t have the extra money, decline politely or if you feel comfortable ask if there will be an extra cost involved (you don’t want to miss out on anything already included in the price you are paying).

*Don’t feel pressure to talk during your appointment. The therapists are usually very respectful and know that people come to the spa to relax. If your therapist is particularly chatty just say that you have had a rough week and really came here to just be by yourself and not have to talk to anyone for an hour. They will understand, they’re used to it.

*You aren’t expected to jump right off the table after you appointment but you should try to move at a respectable pace. There is a good chance that there is someone else waiting to use your room.

*Don’t forget to leave a 15-20% tip (in cash if you can) at the reception desk after your massage.

*When you get home, drink lots of water throughout the rest of the day to rehydrate your muscles and reduce any soreness that may arise in the next couple of days.

Whoever thought of the idea of a spa is a complete genius in my book. There are very few other places where you can go to be in complete relaxation by yourself. Everyone needs that every once in a while. Try it once, you will be happy you did.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence,’ this one is easy. Enjoy- you deserve it!

Night Life Suave

Happy Thursday folks! Hang in there just a few more weeks because summer is just around the corner. Summer is my favorite time of the year because it allows for reconnection. People seem to have more free time, they take a little extra time off from work to enjoy the nice weather and reconnect with friends. Restaurants and bars become busier, sidewalks are a little more crowded, and a few more cars fill the streets. The world becomes completely alive once again- it’s a great feeling.

I don’t know about you, but in the summer I feel like hitting the night scene a little bit more (I will admit it, in the winter I’m usually a bump on my couch). But going out to bars and dance clubs isn’t always a pleasant experience. I often ask myself, “Why am I here again?” Some people don’t know how to act appropriately in public- they are inconsiderate, rude, and totally oblivious. The bar is the perfect recipe for disaster. Mix alcohol with poor manners and well… you know what you get.

Fortunately, the bar scene doesn’t need to be disaster zone. There are many quick fixes that every bar-goer can do to make everyone’s life easier. The next time you hit the bars with your friends try to follow the suggestions below, couch potatoes everywhere will thank you:

*Always have your ID ready when you enter a club/bar or approach a bartender. Don’t assume that they aren’t going to card you, having to fumble through your purse/wallet for your ID wastes unnecessary time. Also, it is a good idea to have your credit card/cash ready as well.

*Be polite/patient while getting the bartenders attention. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, the bartender knows you’re there (they are trained to handle large crowds), there is no need to wave your hands franticly and shout “Hey you!” Your turn will come, I promise.

*Know what you want to drink before the bartender gets to you, don’t waste his/her time with your indecisiveness. If you are ordering more than one drink at a time, order all your drinks at once. Don’t wait for the bartender to come back with your first drink then tell him/her you want another one too.

*Drink with the atmosphere. If the bar is really busy you should probably stick with a simple drink so the bartender can help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

*When ordering your drink, put down the cell phone. In fact, put down the cell phone period. You probably can’t hear the person on the other side anyways.

*Don’t leave your drink unattended on the bar or table. Not only is this a good practice for women to follow for obvious reasons but if bar hops or waitresses see a drink sitting by itself they are most likely going to spill it out and throw it away to clear the space for someone else.

*It’s really important to know your limits- don’t embarrass yourself (it’s NEVER worth it).

*Don’t stay at the bar beyond closing time. Just because you are having a good time, the wait staff/bartenders really want to go home- they deserve it. As closing time draws near, promptly pay your bill and start heading home.

*If you don’t open a tab, tip the bartender after every drink. If you did open a tab, leave a 15-20% tip at the end of the night.

*Try to leave your table/bar area as clean as possible. If you were the one that had to clean it, you would appreciate the effort.

*I really wish I didn’t have to say this one but please don’t drink and drive. Arrange for a friend to be the designated driver before you get to the bar. If you find that all your friends have had too much to drink just call a cab (you should always keep your local cab company’s number in your cell phone). Your life is worth the little extra cash it costs for a safe ride home.

Now go ahead, live life, have a little fun, and practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

(Follow me on Twitter too! @lconfidence)