everyday food made simple

cheesy lasagna soup

A few months ago, it was brought to my attention by an ER doctor at work that he noticed something particular about Minnesotans’ grammar when it comes to a certain phrase, and after he mentioned it, I couldn’t help but notice it more and more.

QUESTION: when you’re asking someone if they would like to accompany you somewhere, what would you say?

Would you say: 1) “Would you like to come with me?”, or 2) “Would you like to come with?”

Did you pick 1)? I thought so. That’s how I say it too. And I’m pretty sure that’s how you’re supposed to say it. But apparently if you grew up in Minnesota, you would choose 2).

Now I’m not an English teacher, nor is my grammar the best in the world, but is anyone else with me when I say 2) doesn’t seem like a complete sentence whatsoever?? I mean, “come with me?” “come with us?” “come with us to go shopping?” “come with me to see a movie?”

The possibilities are endless. Next time someone asks me if I “would like to come with?”, I’m tempted to respond, “come with who?”

Seriously, if you’re from Minnesota or know someone from around the area, pay attention to how they word it next time and tell me I’m not the only one surrounded by people who talk like that.

[ahem Brian and Lori]

Now that we’ve got all that serious business out of the way, let’s move on to something better… like this cheesy, hearty, stick-to-your-bones lasagna soup with lots and lots of cheese.

cheesy lasagna soup

It tastes just like lasagna, minus all the work, and we’re definitely not sacrificing on any of the flavors either. There is no need to spend time layering everything; instead, just throw everything in a pot and let simmer. It’s so much easier and comes together much much quicker, and I mean just look at that cheese…!!

cheesy lasagna soup

cheesy lasagna soup

cheesy lasagna soup

Do you like cheese? I like cheese. I mean who doesn’t like cheese? And if you’re from Minnesota, there’s no excuse to not liking cheese.

However, I don’t particularly care for cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (or any sort of crumbly lumpy cheese), so I only used mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. If you’re into the lumpy cheeses, you can definitely use a mixture of everything.

Also, I used lasagna noodles to make it resemble like actual lasagna, but you can always use other smaller pasta shapes if you like… or whatever you have on hand, especially if you’re trying to clean out your cupboards!

 cheesy lasagna soup 

cheesy lasagna soup
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon EVOO
  2. 12 oz ground Italian sausage
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  7. 28 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
  8. 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. 1 teaspoon dried basil
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 8 oz lasagna noodles, broken up in small pieces, uncooked
  14. 2 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  15. 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon until no longer pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Using the remaining oil/fat in the pot, sautee the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute or two. Add in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and broken lasagna noodle pieces. Return the sausage back into the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the noodles don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the soup boils, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Make sure to give the soup a few stirs every few minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine both cheeses in a small bowl, mix it around with a spoon and set aside.
  4. Turn your oven's broiler on. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls and generously sprinkle a good layer of cheese over the tops. Place until the broiler for just a few minutes, keeping an eye on it the entire time, and remove soup from the oven as soon as the cheese starts to turn brown and bubbly. Remove from oven, let rest for a minute or two, and serve immediately.
  5. Serves 4-6
Adapted from Center Cut Cook
Adapted from Center Cut Cook
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
 Recipe adapted from Center Cut Cook

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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grapefruit poppyseed muffins  

So the other day we had a real life FRIENDS episode played out in our house.

For all you FRIENDS fanatics, remember the episode where Phoebe’s smoke detector started beeping so she thought taking the battery out would fix it but the stupid thing kept on beeping anyway? Then she got so mad she whacked that thing into pieces but the smoke detector still refused to die?

Yeaaaaaaah. That totally happened this week. Our smoke detector in the spare room started beeping one morning while we were getting ready for work, but after a half hour of beeping, it stopped. On the way back from the gym that day, I asked the mister if we should stop by the store to get batteries for it… he figured since it had stopped beeping, we should be fine… NOT.

PSA: If your smoke detector ever ever ever beeps, please please please for your own insanity’s sake, CHANGE THE BATTERIES. Seriously.

Because later that evening, the dang thing started beeping again. Brian ripped the thing off the ceiling and guess what? It kept beeping. We then decided that maybe taking the battery out would maybe fix the problem… except it didn’t. So we tossed it in the garage, hoping to be able to sleep in peace without getting woken up by the fire department (you know, like how they woke Phoebe up because she tossed hers down the trash chute?).

But wait, it gets better! Five minutes after we laid down, the smoke detector in the hallway started beeping… no joke. Seriously. It’s like they talk to each other…

“Hey hallway detector! I’m getting banished to the garage so keep the beeping going!” Ugh.

Needless to say, we had a terrible night’s sleep (we were just too lazy to get back out of  bed to rip the other one off), and we woke up super grouchy.

You know what would’ve made my morning a little bit more tolerable? These muffins.

grapefruit poppyseed muffins

grapefruit poppyseed muffins

They’re so citrusy and so easy to make! Each bite you take is like taking a bite of summer – light, sweet, and tangy all rolled into one, each double dunked – yes! double dunked – into a sweet glaze that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.

grapefruit poppyseed muffins

grapefruit poppyseed muffins

So the moral of the story is this: either 1) always change your smoke detector’s batteries when daylight savings time comes around like you’re supposed to, or 2) always keep a spare battery around the house.

But if you don’t and your smoke detector beeps at you all night, I sure hope you have these on hand for the next morning… you’ll need it.

grapefruit poppyseed muffins

If you’re looking for other breakfast items, you can check out where I keep all my other breakfast recipes here.

grapefruit poppy seed muffins
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For the muffins
  1. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  2. Zest from 1 large grapefruit (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  3. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1/8 cup poppy seeds
  5. 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1 large egg, at room temperature
  8. 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 3 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 and 1/4 cups milk
For the glaze
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  2. 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 4~5 tablespoons grapefruit juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly spray 15 muffin tins with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and grapefruit zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. The texture should resemble somewhat like wet sand.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add in the oil, poppy seeds, grapefruit juice, vanilla, and egg. Mix on low speed until just combined. Alternately, add in the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1.5 tablespoons), fill each well with muffin batter, about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. While muffins are cooling, make the glaze: combine all the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl. Dip the tops of each cooled muffin in the glaze and return it to the cooling rack. Let glaze set for 10 minutes, then dip the muffins in the glaze again for a thicker coating of glaze. Top with additional grapefruit zest, if desired. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  7. Makes 15 muffins
Adapted from Girl Versus Dough
Adapted from Girl Versus Dough
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Girl Versus Dough

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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I wanted to title today’s post as “Because there are already 184,750,172,902 mint chocolate cupcakes out there on the Internet, so why not add another recipe to the mix”, but that title seemed a little too lengthy, plus I figured people would have a hard time remembering the name of it when I tell them about this wonderfully delicious and moist chocolate cupcake topped with some mint Oreo buttercream frosting.

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So I settled with a concise, to-the-point title of “Mint Oreo Cupcakes”. Short and sweet, just like these cupcakes.

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I’m typically not a fan of St. Patrick’s Day, because I’m not a fan of beer drinking, I’m not particularly fond of corned beef and cabbage, and I really don’t look good in green attire.

However, green = mint, which gives me an excuse to make all things mint chocolate. Like this mint chocolate fudge.

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And these mint chocolate chip meringue cookies.

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Oh, and have I mentioned my addiction to McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes? I don’t care what people say about them and how many calories and how many grams of sugar those things have, it’s the only thing I look forward to when St. Patrick’s Day starts rolling around the corner.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, today I made you mint Oreo cupcakes – a light and fluffy chocolate cake studded with mint Oreo bits in every bite, topped with a mint Oreo buttercream with swirls of green for a festive look. It really is a mint-chocolate-lover’s perfect cupcake!

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Now if you could excuse me, I’m going to go get myself a Shamrock Shake…

Shake in one hand, cupcake in the other, because that’s how everyone should celebrate St. Patty’s Day.

mint oreo cupcakes
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For the cupcakes
  1. 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  2. 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  4. 1 cup buttermilk
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 20-24 mint Oreos, coarsely chopped
For the frosting
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 8 oz cream cheese
  3. 1 and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  4. 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  5. 3-4 cup powdered sugar
  6. Green food coloring
  7. 6-7 mint Oreo cookies, finely crushed and sifted to get rid of any large chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners and set aside.
  2. Sift the cake mix over a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the cake mix and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos.
  4. Fill the cupcake liners ~3/4 fill and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wired cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting: beat the butter and cream cheese over medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add in the peppermint extract and heavy whipping cream. Slowly add in 3 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth. If the frosting is still too loose, add in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Add in the green food coloring, one drop at a time, until the color is to your liking. Gently fold in your crushed Oreos* and pipe over cooled cupcakes with your favorite piping tip.
Notes
  1. *Make sure not to overmix the crushed Oreos, otherwise your frosting will turn into a sickly, unappetizing (yet still delicious) shade of gray.
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake
Adapted from Your Cup of Cake
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Hey guys! Guess what?

Today we’re celebrating a special day that’s coming up tomorrow and I’m quite excited about it.

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I’ll give you a few hints:

  1. It’s going to be a two-year celebration
  2. It involves something that started out as an idea, which turned out to be a hobby
  3. It involves food (lots and lots of food), lots of time in the kitchen, hours of time spent on learning photography and techie things, and a little space I own here on the internet

That’s right, you guessed it! Tomorrow will be Simple Everyday Food’s 2nd blogiversary! Can I get a whoop whoop?!

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This little site of mine started out as an idea, and after a few encouragements from the mister, I bit the bullet two years ago, signed up for my own domain name, and BOOM! SEF was born. Fast forward throughout the years, this little corner of mine here on the world wide web has slowly became my happy place where I get to temporarily run away from everyday stresses, let loose, and be creative. I still have so much to learn in regards to the food blogging business, but SEF wouldn’t be able to continue to grow without all my supporters and those that I constantly learn from every single day.

So it’s only appropriate that we celebrate this special occasion with sprinkles. Lots and lots and looooots of sprinkles. And instead of a cake, we’re celebrating with some soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls. Homemade cinnamon rolls dotted with plenty of sprinkles baked to melt-in-your-mouth perfection, generously drizzled with a sweet and creamy cream cheese frosting with sprinkles, to be exact.

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A big thank you to all of you who have been part of this journey – I wouldn’t be here without you guys! xoxo

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overnight funfetti cake batter cinnamon rolls
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For the rolls
  1. 2 and 1/2 cups water
  2. 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 box funfetti cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
  5. 5-6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling
  1. 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  2. 2 and 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze
  1. 2 and 1/2 oz light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. A splash of vanilla extract
  4. 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  5. rainbow sprinkles for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat water in a microwave safe bowl until it reaches ~120-125 degrees F. Sprinkle in the yeast and salt and give it a good stir. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix and the 5 cups of flour, stir to combine. Using a dough hook attachment, slowly add in the yeast mixture and vanilla extract. Turn on the mixer and mix on low, gradually increasing the speed to medium-low. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is still too sticky, add in additional flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it no longer sticks to you hand (I only used about 1/2 cup of extra flour). Remove dough and place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1-2 hours.
  3. In the meantime, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside. Grease two 9x13" baking pans and set those aside as well.*
  4. Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into two portions so it's easier to work with. Turn half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, approximately 11x15" (or in my case, my dough always turns out to be a large blob instead). Brush half of the melted butter onto the dough, covering every single inch if possible. Then generously sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly on top.
  5. Starting on the long end, tightly roll up the dough and cut dough into 10-11 slices, about 1.5-2" thick each. Place into prepared baking pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  6. Cover baking pans and let rise overnight on your kitchen counter.
  7. The next morning, bake rolls in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown (mine took exactly 15 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. While the rolls are cooling, make the glaze: beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Drizzle over rolls and sprinkle with additional rainbow sprinkles, if desired. Rolls taste best the same day, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days**.
  9. Makes 20-22 rolls
Notes
  1. * If you only have one 9x13" baking pan like me, you can always use a 9" pie plate along with the baking pan.
  2. ** You can always freeze one pan of the rolls after they've cooled from the oven, then wrap well and freeze. Thaw out in the refrigerator or at room temperature, make the glaze, and heat rolls in microwave until warm.
Adapted from Something Swanky
Adapted from Something Swanky
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Recipe adapted from Something Swanky; glaze recipe adapted from Well Plated

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Just a few weeks ago, we finally decided to re-join a gym. I figured with all the cupcakes, cookies, and bars that come out of my kitchen, it would be a matter of time until my pants start to get tighter and the number of the scale to go upwards… okay okay, I lied. All that was actually starting to happen and I was horrified one day when I put on my jeans and realized they were getting slightly snug around the hip and waist and thigh area.

So with the new year and multiple gyms offering “New Year Resolution” rates, the mister and I joined a local gym for only $1 each and made a pack that we would go at least 3 times a week, Monday-Friday, alternating between cardio and lifting. I’m happy to say that a few weeks into it, we’ve been staying strong and going almost everyday after work and I definitely feel better about myself afterwards.

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (errr, I mean, tomorrow) and with us trying to live a healthier lifestyle, today I bring to you an easy, quick, cheap, relatively-healthier Valentine’s Day recipe that will satisfy your sweet n’ salty tooth but not break the bank at the same time.

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If you just realized that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and have started to panic about what to get your significant other, you should totally make these pretzel rods because even though they’re easy and cheap to make, they look beautiful and your honey will think you spent a good fortune on them at the store.

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Plus, you can always customize them to however you want them – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate… chocolate drizzle, sprinkles (always say yes to sprinkles), crushed candy/nuts, or just plain (but that’s soooo boring!). Add a few drops of gel-based food coloring into the melted white chocolate for special occasions. The combinations really are endless and it can always be a fun little project for you and the little ones (if you have little ones) on a snowy day.

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The trick to dipping these is to pour the melted candy melt/almond bark into a tall skinny glass for easy dipping. Swirl the pretzel rods in it, leaving a few inches on the end to hold on to, then let the excess drip back into the glass and place the pretzel rod on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If your candy melt starts to harden again, scrape it back into the saucepan and reheat until melted. See? Suuuuuuper simple. Sprinkle your garnishes on right away before the chocolate coating hardens, otherwise you’re left with plain old boring chocolate-covered pretzels. And why have plain pretzel rods when you can have ones with sprinkles?!

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chocolate covered pretzel rods
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Ingredients
  1. 20 pretzel rods
  2. 16 oz vanilla-flavored candy coating
  3. Assorted sprinkles for decorating
  4. Gel food coloring, optional
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt the candy coating over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted (you can also use a double boiler if you have one).* Transfer the melted candy coating into a tall, narrow glass or container for easy dipping. Carefully dip pretzel rods into the candy coating, leaving a few inches at the end uncoated. Gently tap off the excess and sprinkle the sprinkles over the coated pretzel rods, if desired. Place on baking sheets and let the candy coating harden completely. Pretzel rods can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Notes
  1. * Squeeze a few drops of gel food coloring into the completely melted candy coating until you reach the desired color.
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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