$20 Stein Mart Gift Card Giveaway

The blog has hit 300 followers, and that is code for “time for another giveaway!”  So I just wanted to do something to say ‘thank you’ for stopping by, reading, and leaving your fun comments.  They really do make my day!

My thank you comes in the form of this $20 Stein Mart Gift Card.  This is one of my favorite stores, I rarely walk out empty handed!  You can always find stylish clothes, accessories, and decor for a bargain.  Who doesn’t love that?

How to enter

Leave a comment telling me your favorite INGREDIENT to cook with. 

(please include your email if you don’t mind, makes it way easier to contact the winner!)
(If you already follow me, that’s great!  So just leave a comment with your fav. ingredient 🙂

Additional entries


Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry (if you entered each way, I should have 8 comments from you) including your email address, saying you:



1. Liked “The Not So Desperate Chef Wife” on Facebook 
2. Followed me on Twitter 
3. Followed me on Pinterest 
4. Shared this giveaway on your Facebook wall
5. Tweeted about this giveaway saying “I just entered @KMo679’s $20 Stein Mart Gift Card Giveaway at http://www.the-not-so-desperate-chef-wife.com”

6.  Added me to your Google+ Circle! (below GFC Followers)

So there are seven chances for you to enter and win this gift card.  The giveaway ends 11:59pm on Tuesday March 6th.  The winner will be announced the following morning using random.org.  This giveaway is open to US residents.  Thanks again for reading, following, commenting, and cooking these recipes!

Repost – Caramelita’s

Source:  Lulu the Baker

It should be illegal how good these are!  Seriously, if you ever piss someone off to the point they won’t talk to you, they would probably forgive you if you made these for them!  Nate tried them and flipped out over how yummy they were and he said the best part is the gooey filling.  One of his other chef friends came over for dinner last night, and Nate forced him to try them…(like anyone needs to be forced into eating anything with chocolate).  He bit into the carmelita like it was going to be something he’d tasted before. But his eyes instantly lit up and he said with his mouthful “Whoahhh.  These are GOOD!”  Then he stole the other half of mine and ate it.  Wtf?  Good thing I made a whole pan!

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but you can find the recipe on LuLu the Baker’s blog.  Speaking of Pinterest, are any of your husbands or boyfriends struggling to understand the awesomest of Pinterest?  The past few days of conversations at our house have gone a little like this:

Nate:  Look at this really funny picture!
*Shows Me, and I am silent*
Me:  Oh, I’ve seen that before…like a few months ago.  Wanna know where?
Nate:  Where?
Me:  Pinterest!

Nate:  You don’t think anything I show you is funny anymore.  Your sense of humor has changed.
Me:  Oh no, I laughed my butt of the first time I saw it…on Pinterest.

Me:  Are these carmelita’s not the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
Nate:  Yes!  Who gave you this recipe?
Me:  PINTEREST!

Ingredients
48 werthers chewy caramels, unwrapped (2 packages)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. 

In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. 

Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes. 

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes (mine took 25), until the edges are lightly browned. 

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

*A stint in the fridge will help them cool off if you’re pinched for time. They shouldn’t be served cold, but all of that molten caramel takes a long time to cool down. They should be stored and served at room temperature.

**To make a 9×13″ version, simply double the amounts.

Lasagna Roll-a-tini

I love when you get a hankering for something in particular.  You have no question in your mind what you want to cook for dinner.  Makes life so much easier!  Last night, I could’ve named my first child lasagna if it meant that was what I would be eating for dinner!  

These little roll ups are vegetarian delicious!  I don’t even think Nate realized they didn’t have meat in them, or that I added a zucchini… And by using low fat ingredients, this meal is healthier than your average lassagna, which to me, only means I can eat more 🙂

Lasagna Roll-a-tini

Ingredients
1 lb box of lasagna noodles
1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce
8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, grated
2 eggs
2 cups low-fat mozzarella, shredded 
1 32 oz low/reduced-fat ricotta cheese
8 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, mix the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 the parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.

In another bowl mix together the marinara sauce, mushrooms, zucchini.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, lay a noodle flat and add a spoonful of the cheese mixture and the sauce mixture.  Roll the noodle up and place in a 9×13 casserole dish, seam side down.  Repeat this step until you are out of noodles! (last night I fit 14 into the dish)

(I usually halve the cheese mixture, and freeze one half for a later use.  Makes another weeknight meal SO much easier!  Also, if you have extra rollatini’s that won’t fit in the dish, freeze those as well!)

Pour the extra sauce over the rollatini’s (if you like it saucy you may want to add more, whatever!) and sprinkle the other 1/2 of mozzarella and parmesan over the top. 

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Then uncovered for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.  Let the lasagna sit for 5 minutes before eating.

What in the world am I doing?

Here is a quick post to give a little “WOOHOO” to 300 followers!  I do realize, this is code for “you need to do another giveaway,” so stay-tuned for a giveaway in your near future!!!

Now that we have bought a house (vs. renting), and we know we aren’t moving in the near future, we can FINALLY, REALLY, unpack.  We can FINALLY, REALLY, get ORGANIZED!  Can you guess what is going on in this picture???

 

Pepperoni Chips

Pepperoni pizzas are delicious, we all know this.  In my opinion, the best pepperonis are the ones that have crispy edges.  So when my sister passed this recipe along to me, I knew it was going to be good!

Besides being yummy, addicting, and quick to make, these little chips are healthy!  You can use regular pepperonis if you’d like, but the turkey pepperonis are leaner and you can’t taste a difference!  My sister originally tried this recipe because she is on a gluten-free diet, so anti-glutener’s, this one is for you!

Pepperoni Chips

Pepperoni Chips



Ingredients
1 pack of turkey pepperonis (can be found in the deli section with the “fancy” lunch meats)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet in foil (for easy clean up).  Then place the pepperonis on the sheet in rows.  It doesn’t matter how close together they are, just as long as they are not touching.

Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.  Remove, and dab each pepperoni with a paper towel.  This removes some of the grease/oils.

Return to the oven to bake for another 16 minutes (I was told 8 minutes, but mine definitely took 16, and probably could’ve gone longer!).  When in doubt, I take one for the team and just stick my finger in the oven and touch one to see if they are done.  I do this when baking anything lol 🙂

Once they have shrunk in size and are visibly crispy, remove from the oven.  Dab each pepperoni with a paper towel, and enjoy!  They are great warm or at room temperature.


Chicken Mac and Cheese

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Every week is crazy in some way, but some just find away to top all the others.  That was this week for me.  However, I did make this yummy casserole on Monday.  Not the most photogenic casserole in the world, but it was the cheesiest, and that was all I was hoping for!

Chicken Mac and Cheese

Chicken Mac and Cheese



Ingredients

1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves
1 – 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces dried mostaccioli, ziti, or penne pasta
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups milk
8 ounces gouda cheese (2 cups)
4 ounces swiss cheese (1 cup)
2 cups soft sourdough or French bread crumbs
2 ounces finely shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet cook chicken, Italian or desired seasoning blend, salt, and pepper in hot oil over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink.* Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.
2. In a large pot or kettle cook pasta according to package directions until just tender. Drain; return pasta to pot.
3. Meanwhile, in the same skillet in which chicken was cooked, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour until well combined. Stir in tomato paste. Add milk. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Add the shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is almost melted. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sauce and chicken to cooked pasta in pot; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart square or rectangular baking dish.
4.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until crumb mixture is golden and edges are bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Machu Picchu Peruvian Cuisine Continued…

Ok, remember this post?  Well, we went back there for our Valentine’s Day dinner.  Let me start off by saying how lucky Nate was to have Valentine’s Day off of work.  That hasn’t happened since our first Valentine’s back in 2004!  Wow, that sentence just made me feel old.

If you are looking for an adventurous meal with great service, do yourself a favor and go to Machu Picchu.  It would be awesome for a double date as well!  I didn’t take a picture of the ceviche last time because I was too busy scarfing it down, so here it is:

Machu Picchu Peruvian Cuisine


 Ceviche mixto – A great combination of fish and shell fish cooked and marinated in Leche de Tigre, red onions, cilantro, served in the traditional style Peruvian white corn, sweet yam.
I was literally, spooning the Leche de Tigre into my mouth.  When the waitress came to check on us and asked if we were finished with our appetizer, I jokingly told her no and it would be easier if they would just bring me a cup. She got really excited and said that’s what she does at home!  But this restaurant had tablecloths, so I had to behave and pass on the cup.
What does tablecloths have to do with anything?  Well, early on in our dating years, I had terrible table manners and this really annoyed Nate.  I knew perfectly well what the correct table manners were, but I thought life was too short to be prim and proper all the time.  Nate was convinced I had no clue how to have good manners.  So we bet each other that I could/could not have perfect manners for 1 dinner date.  If I had perfect manners, I could act how ever I wanted in a restaurant as long as it didn’t have tablecloths.  If my manners slipped even for 1 second, if my elbow so much as touched the table top, I would have to have good manners at EVERY single meal! I won 🙂

Operation No-Sew Curtains

I can sew with a needle and thread, but I don’t know how to use a sewing machine.  Recently, I’ve thought about learning how to use one, but just haven’t found the right one or the motivation to teach myself.  My next house project is our dining room, and curtains were my starting point.  I always have a picture in my mind of what I am looking for and sometimes it takes me years to come across it.  Like, it took me years to find the perfect, bright red, leather, tote…and one day out of no where, Dooney & Bourke provided me with exactly what I had pictured! 🙂  

So I’ve been on the hunt for a certain pattern and color of curtains, and finally found them.  Curtains = very exciting, price = not so exciting…and I’m not in a place in my life that I can afford the Dooney & Bourke of curtains!  Then it dawned on me…there is such a thing as a fabric store and I can make my own curtains (should’ve thought of this months ago).  But wait, I don’t own a sewing machine and there is no way I’m hand-stiching a pair of curtains! This cute old lady at the fabric store introduced me to Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold.  I thought all old ladies knew how to sew and wouldn’t be caught dead in a no-sew aisle…but hey, there is a first for everything!  And this iron on adhesive tape was CHEAP.


Now the next dilemma, what color to paint the walls?  Originally, I wanted to paint this room orange…now maybe a yellow…what do you think?

No Sew Curtains

No Sew Curtains


Supplies
fabric, cut into “panels” (depending on the length and width of your curtains, this will vary.)
Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold (same as above, someone at the fabric store can help you with all the measurements!)
scissors
iron
ironing board
curtain ring clips


Directions
1.  Preheat your oven iron to medium heat.  (no need to fill the iron with water, this is a dry project!)

2.  Cut a strip of about 6-8 inches of the heat’n bond to work with at a time.  Place the strip on the border of the back side of your fabric and press down with the iron for 2 seconds.  Repeat this step until you’ve done the whole side.

3.  Peal off the paper lining on the adhesive tape.  Fold the fabric over to make a straight edge and press down with the iron for 6-8 seconds until the 2 sides are bonded.  Repeat this step until you’ve done the whole side.

(Repeat steps 2-3 until you’ve done all 4 sides of each curtain panel.  It took me 1 hour to do 1 whole panel.  The heat’n bond package has the same directions for you to follow.)

4.  Clip on the curtain rings and hang those suckers up!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake


When I think of casseroles the word “classy” does not come to mind.  They are quick, simple, and easy to clean up…perfect for a week night dinner.  I came across this recipe and thought it looked classy enough to make for a dinner party.  So I tested it out and not only does it look much better than your normal casserole, it tastes darn good!  I guess you could call this a “classerole”…don’t all laugh at once 🙂

And before you say this is not a festive dish for valentine’s day…it sure is!  ARTICHOKE HEARTS, the best kind of hearts there are!  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Hope your day is full of hugs, kisses, chocolate, and yummy food!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake


Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

Ingredients
8 ounces dried bow tie pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz.)
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. 

In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper. 

Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta, and onion. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole.

Bake, covered, 20 minutes. 

In small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. 

Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
 

Carmelitas

Source:  Lulu the Baker

It should be illegal how good these are!  Seriously, if you ever piss someone off to the point they won’t talk to you, they would probably forgive you if you made these for them!  Nate tried them and flipped out over how yummy they were and he said the best part is the gooey filling.  One of his other chef friends came over for dinner last night, and Nate forced him to try them…(like anyone needs to be forced into eating anything with chocolate).  He bit into the carmelita like it was going to be something he’d tasted before. But his eyes instantly lit up and he said with his mouthful “Whoahhh.  These are GOOD!”  Then he stole the other half of mine and ate it.  Wtf?  Good thing I made a whole pan!

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, but you can find the recipe on LuLu the Baker’s blog.  Speaking of Pinterest, are any of your husbands or boyfriends struggling to understand the awesomest of Pinterest?  The past few days of conversations at our house have gone a little like this:

Nate:  Look at this really funny picture!
*Shows Me, and I am silent*
Me:  Oh, I’ve seen that before…like a few months ago.  Wanna know where?
Nate:  Where?
Me:  Pinterest!

Nate:  You don’t think anything I show you is funny anymore.  Your sense of humor has changed.
Me:  Oh no, I laughed my butt of the first time I saw it…on Pinterest.

Me:  Are these carmelita’s not the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
Nate:  Yes!  Who gave you this recipe?
Me:  PINTEREST!

Carmelitas Caramelita

Carmelitas Caramelita
Ingredients
48 werthers chewy caramels, unwrapped (2 packages)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. 

In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. 

Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes. 

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes (mine took 25), until the edges are lightly browned. 

Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

*A stint in the fridge will help them cool off if you’re pinched for time. They shouldn’t be served cold, but all of that molten caramel takes a long time to cool down. They should be stored and served at room temperature.

**To make a 9×13″ version, simply double the amounts.