Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Texas Hashbrown Casserole

Texas hashbrown casserole... or loaded hashbrowns, depending on how you look at it, were a specific request from my boyfriend. I had made them once, and apparently he was wanting more. I can't blame him really, they're so much better than plain ol hashbrowns. Plus, I figured they'd be a perfect combination for the biscuit and gravy cups as well as a GREAT hangover cure for a rowdy St. Patrick's Day. All those Irish car bombs definitely called for a major dose of unhealthy breakfast. We've all been there.


1 medium onion
1 pkg thick cut hickory smoked bacon
1 pkg frozen shredded hashbrowns
1 can salsa (or Rotel)
diced jalapenos
shredded cheese


Brown hashbrowns in oven according to package. Cut up bacon into chunks, fry. Remove from pan (without draining) and place on plate with paper towels to soak up grease. Chop onion and fry in bacon grease until soft, drain and place on plate with paper towels to soak up excess grease. In a casserole dish, mix hashbrowns, bacon, 2 tablespoons diced jalapenos, onions, and salsa. Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Best served with tobasco or habanero hot sauce.

Biscuit and Gravy Cups

I'm pretty much obsessed with this idea of making things into "cups," so when I discovered the boyfriend had never had good ol' sausage gravy with biscuits, I absolutely had to do something about this! I mean, how can you spend 28 years of your life with no biscuits and gravy?! Seriously, I almost cried for him. His excuse: "I'm a Yankee." It's ok dear, I don't fault you for it; I just let you in on what you've been missing.

Now instead of making it normal biscuits and sausage gravy, I went a step further and made biscuit and gravy cups... and to go the extra mile, I used a combination of smoked hog sausage and regular pork sausage. I know, I know, I'm pretty much amazing, but just in case you don't happen to have any hog around (I'm in a house full of hunters, what can I say?), pork sausage alone is perfectly wonderful.


I realize I could have made homemade gravy, but seriously, why bother when Pioneer Brand gravy tastes amazing? No point. It's yum and easy... which works for me!

1 package Pioneer Brand peppered gravy
8oz cream cheese
1-2 cans regular biscuits (No grands or flaky biscuits! Buttermilk biscuits taste great with this too)
16oz pork sausage (I also used about 4oz hog sausage, which I didn't bother including in the picture)

I only used one can of biscuits, which obviously makes 8 cups, and there was left over gravy. This isn't a bad thing because it's awesome on toast, eggs, or whatever, but if you don't want leftover gravy, I suggest using 2 cans of biscuits


Preheat oven to 375. Spray muffin tin with Pam.

Prepare gravy according to package. When done, add cream cheese and stir on medium heat until completely blended. Remove from heat.

Brown Sausage in bacon drippings, if possible. Lucky for me, I had to cook some bacon earlier for Texas Hashbrown Casserole, so I had plenty of bacon grease on hand. It won't make or break the dish, but it most definitely adds flavor, because as we all know, bacon makes EVERYTHING better.

Scoop sausage into gravy... making absolutely sure to get some grease in there (I think about 2 or so tablespoons ended up in mine), mix thoroughly. I know there's some people out there freaking out on me right now for suggesting that I add in some of the grease. Well I'm sorry y'all; some of the most amazing things in life aren't exactly good for you, and I promise I'm not trying to clog everyone's arteries... just adding some Southern flavor!

You'll want to take a biscuit out and somewhat flatten it in your hand, then press in bottom and up the sides of muffin tin cup, leaving a good open spot in the middle. Repeat with each biscuit. Spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons into each cup, slightly over the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

You see that hog sausage? MMMMMM...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I'm sure everyone has a recipe for Shepherd's Pie... who doesn't love comfort food?! Easy comfort food is even better :)


16oz lean ground beef
small can of corn
can of sweet peas
1tbsp minced garlic
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 package sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz cheese
2 packages Idahoan mashed potatoes (prepared according to bag)
pinch of sage
2tbsp Worcestershire
1tbsp butter


Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, combine peas, corn, soup, cheese, and worcestershire. In a large skillet, saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic until onions are clear. Add to bowl. In the same skillet, brown ground beef with pinch of sage. Drain and add to bowl, mix thoroughly & pour into casserole dish. Top with mashed potatoes.

Bake for 25 minutes, then switch to broil (high) for 10 minutes to brown mashed potatoes.

I must say that the most priceless thing happened while making this. Josh saw the size of the dish it was going in, and he says: "will it all fit?" Of course honey, it will all fit, to which he replies: "that's it?" with the saddest (but super adorable) puppy face ever! Awww. Okay, I know it is  a very sad day in our house when we don't have a massive amount of leftovers, but I'm on a diet and so it's not like I can eat anything I cook, so I figured it would be good & he would have something to take to work...nope. Didn't make it through the day. It's that good apparently.

What's even worse, I had made coconut fudge earlier in the morning & tinted it green for St. Patty's... leprechan treats and all... so that he could take it to work and share. SO I used the wrong type of butter & it didn't set right... oops. Baking fail number... who knows, I lost count. BUT I will remake it sometime this week. Sorry babe, no fudge or shepherd's pie leftovers :(

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baked Broccoli

Broccoli... you can eat it raw, you can steam it... you can BAKE IT! Honestly, I don't really like broccoli raw or steamed; I prefer cauliflower. However, I really do enjoy baked broccoli, and since I discovered it, it has been game changing for me. Now, nothing will ever replace my beloved zucchini, but since it's not in the grocery store right now (so lame), I have to turn to other veggies.

The method behind this is extremely simple. I used about half a cup of broc, maybe a little less... frozen, but fresh works even better. Preheat oven to 350, sprayed with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter... Spray, then sprinkled with 1.5 tsp italian dressing seasoning. Baked for about 15-20 minutes. It's DEEEEELISH!

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Love & Tornadoes

Saturday 3-3-12 proved to be a trying day for me. I work full time as property manager of two communities in Valdosta, Ga. Tuesday - Saturday. Putting out fires is my main job description, and let's just say the fire nearly consumed me that day. I was frazzled and at my breaking point by noon. After talking to my boyfriend (and numerous other people in my contacts list) I was feeling pretty calm. My amazing boss, on the phone with me pretty much every step of this truly testing day, even told me to go home an hour early. Awesome right? NO.

What I failed to mention is that it was a torrential downpour pretty much all day, and though I work in Valdosta, I live in Lakeland, Ga. If you watch the news, this may sound familiar about now. Here's a news blip http://www.mysouthwestga.com/news/story.aspx?id=726664#.T1Vrw_GPUSY.

It took me 4 HOURS to get home... about 15-20mi from where I work. The tornado touched down at the end of our road, ripped up trees, power lines, houses, pecan orchards, etc. I'm feeling very lucky to have a home at this point, so when the main road to my house is close, I think no big deal, I'll just go the other way. UMMMM yeah... I'm not very familiar with this state yet, I've only lived here about 7 months, and it's not like I'm driving when we go tour back roads.

My car will not make it down any dirt roads, so I have to stick to the main roads. I got diverted to Ray City, another half hour out of the way, only to get there and have that road shut down, in which I got diverted to another several highways (South Georgia "highways" are one step above a two lane gravel road, ok)... an hour or so later I end up in the town of Lakeland to take the back way to my house... nope, shut down. SO I drive all the way back to Valdosta because I heard the main road was now open, only to find out that yes, the main road was open, BUT MY ROAD IS CLOSED with no estimate of when it will open.

I won't even lie about this because at this point I am 3 hours into this trip home after a particularly bad day and I am bawling my ever loving eyes out. AND the cell service out at my house wasn't working apparently, so I couldn't get ahold of my boyfriend, who I count on like I count on air to breath.

I call my mom, my friends, everyone CRYING and pissed and tired and just wanting to be home with my man and dogs.

BUT Josh finally calls me... and in my heaving cries I tell him I just need him to come save me and find me a way home. He drops everything to come to my rescue... my night in shining camo, and finds a way to get home that won't beat up my beautiful car (it's still raining, I can hardly go down a dirt road when they're dry) & we make it home safe and sound...

Except we have no power. Not surprising, but my dear wonderful man has beer in the cooler (Eff my diet for the day, ok, I deserved it) and the grill in the garage, music on the fully charged iPad, and we had each other, beer, wine, and deer meat pasta.

So now I'm saying bring on the zombie apocalypse because not only is my man my rescuer, my night in shining camo and big truck, but he's a survivor, and not only will we survive, but we'll make a party out of it.

Yeah, I'm a lucky girl.

Josh cooking while I sit on the 4 wheeler & drink beer. Did I mention I'm a lucky girl? And yes, his deer meat pasta was gooder-n-fuck.

The recipe? I was feeling the beer and wine by then, but it had penne pasta, deer cube steak, zucchini, garlic, onion powder, sriracha.... and I don't know what else, but it was basically amazing & I'm not just saying that because I've been on a diet, was having a bad day, and was slightly tipsy. Nope, not at all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Baked Apple Slices (hCG)

CRAVING something sweet. I am very much so in the mood to bake, so that means there will probably be some newly posted non-diet goodies this weekend, because if I can't eat them and be fat and happy, I will make sure everyone else is. I'm thinking nutter butter and/or peanut butter truffles. Thoughts?

Anyhoo, here's something I can eat: apples. This is not my normal baked apple. It would usually be in the form of a crisp with massive amounts of butter, brown, sugar, cinnamon... ok I'm drooling... BUT this is a really good substitute for those flavors that am really missing right now. You know, all calorie loaded sweet ones?

If you're watching your waistline, (bikini season is right around the corner), try baked apple slices!


1 apple (macintosh apples are my fave)
I can't believe it's not butter... spray (in my best Fabio voice)
1 stevia packet


Preheat oven to 400. Slice apple, spray with butter spray, sprinkle with stevia and cinnamon, bake on foil (or a in a baking dish if you are so inclined to have a dirty dish to wash. Foil works fine as you can see above) for 15 minutes.

I'm not going to lie, it's pretty yummy.

The calorie count is somewhere around 80-95 depending on what size apple you use.