Saturday, March 31, 2012

Italian Zucchini Smothered Steak

Italian Zucchini Smothered Steak

Okay, so this recipe is a little of this, some of that and enough meat and vegies to feed my family. So here are some guidelines, but trust me it is so good you will not want to eat just steak alone again.

Steak 1/2 lb per person (this gives you left overs!)
1 to 2 Zucchini per person (depends on the size, you may need 3 per person. I usually purchase about 5 #)
2 large onions (regular or Maui sweet)
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce (I use store brand meat or mushroom)
Canola oil
Ms. Dash Table Blend
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Frozen Ravioli (I use Kroger Brand)

Add a little canola oil to skillet and brown steak. I do not like red, so I cook my steaks until no red remains (doesn't hurt them, trust me).  Season with Salt, pepper and Ms. Dash.  While steaks are cooking, slice onions and zucchini.  Remove steak once done.  Add more oil if needed and add onions and zucchini.  Season with salt, pepper and Ms. Dash.  Saute to tender crisp.  Pour in spaghetti sauce and return steak to skillet.  Cover steak with sauce and vegies, reduce heat to low and simmer until steak is fork tender.  This is about 30 to 45 minutes.  Keep a watch on it so it doesn't boil, dry out, etc.  This should be a slow simmer.  Add seasoning to your taste.  When steak is about 10 minutes from being done, boil water to cook ravioli.  Boil ravioli according to package directions.  Serve steak and vegies over ravioli with garlic bread.

All Things Yummy.......

Tomato Soup w/ Meatballs2 1/2 # Ground Beef 93% Lean
1 pkg Italian Seasoned Croutons by Rothbury Farms
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Black Pepper
1 Family sized jar Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
1 # Favorite Pasta (Rotini, Macaroni, etc)
8 to 12 Cups Water
2 to 4 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken

Finely crush croutons in food processor (or plastic bag with rolling pin). Mix 3 large handfuls of crushed croutons, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper into ground beef. Make golf ball size (or smaller) meatballs. I bake mine in a large roaster pan with a little olive oil. They can also be cooked in a skillet in olive oil, you choice.

Cook pasta according to package directions. In large stock pot, mix Ragu, water, bouillon and season taste (I use Ms. Dash table blend to season so no more salt is added). Bring to full heat over medium, but do not boil. Add pasta and meatballs. Serve with garlic cheese bread.

Additions: Add white beans (2 cans) and 1 # favorite frozen mixed vegetables with the ragu and water.

Summer Salads
Iceburg Lettuce, Fresh Spinach and Romaine Hearts
Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, & Zucchini
1 pkg Fresh Broccoli Slaw
1 lb Frozen Corn, thawed
Real Bacon Bits
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Ranch Dressing

I use enough ingredients to have ready to eat salad on hand for about 3 days. Shredd Iceburg, spinach and romaine hearts in large bowl. Finely chop two tomatoes, one cucumber and two zucchini. Keep these separated and set aside. The corn can be quick thawed in the microwave, be careful not to heat too much.

To serve: Layer in bowls, lettuce mix, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, corn, bacon bits, croutons and cheese. Top with ranch dressing. Serve with chicken, fish or steak.

SPANISH: Remove tomatoes, cucumber, broccoli slaw, croutons, parmesan cheese. Add Pico de Gallo, chopped Jicama, Tortilla chip strips, shredded Jack cheese and rinsed canned black beans. Serve with tacos, taco meat or fajitas.

FRUITED: Remove tomato, cucumber, zucchini, corn, broccoli slaw, croutons, parmesan and ranch dressing. Add fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blanched green beans, walnuts, rotisarie chicken breast, and brie cheese slices. Dress with your favorite Raspberry Vinegrette.

ASIAN: Remove tomato, cucumber, zucchini, corn, parmesan, croutons, ranch dressing and bacon bits. Add manadarin orange segments, chow mein noodles, cashews, grilled chicken, chopped celery. Dress with your favorite Asian dressing.

White Chicken Chili

2 cans Butterball Chicken Broth
2T Better Than Bouillon Chicken
2 cups Water
1 can Small White Beans undrained
1 small can diced Green Chiles
2 cups diced cooked Chicken Breast
Cumin, Black Pepper, Mrs. Dash and Salt to taste
4 Corn Tortillas cut into small strips
Cooking Spray like Pam
Sour Cream, Diced Avocado, Diced Tomato (optional)

Mix all ingredients excluding tortillas and cooking spray in medium-large stock pot. Bring to slight boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Lightly spray cookie sheet and place strips of tortillas on sheet in single layer. Lightly spray with Pam and sprinkle with seasoning of choice (Mrs. Dash, Salt and Cumin). Bake at 400 degrees until lightly brown and crispy.

Serve chili topped with sour cream, avocado, tomato and tortilla strips.
Quick & Easy Potato Soup

1 can Butterball Chicken Broth
1/2 cup 1% Milk
2T Better Than Bouillon Chicken
2 cups Water
Idahoan Instant Potato Flakes
Light Velveeta Cheese
Mrs. Dash
Pinch of Salt

In saucepan, bring up heat in broth, add bouillon and mix to dissolve. Remove from heat and add 1/8" slice of cheese and milk. Stir until cheese melts, adding back to heat if needed. Add potato flakes to desired thickness. Season with Mrs. Dash, pepper and a pinch of salt. Serve hot.

Variation: Add frozen broccoli florets to broth and heat. Add more cheese to make Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup.
Swiss Miss Vanilla Coffee

1 pkg Sugar Free Swiss Miss
1 T Folgers Instant Coffee
6 oz Hot Water
1 T Vanilla Coffee Mate

Mix and Enjoy.......

All measurements can be adjusted to your taste.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Butterfly March Tag.......

I had so much fun with Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2012 March Challenge.  The mosaic butterflies were so much fun.  Tim used embossing powder around his "tiles", but I used glitter in orange and black. I am definitely going to do some more with embossing powder when I am able to purchase his cement powder. Here are some steps that I took to complete my tag:

I made a standard #8 size tag from 120# watercolor paper.  Then using Distress Ink pads in Pumice Stone & Black Soot, colored the tag.  I spritzed with water and let dry. I used the Tattered Floral and Leaves die to cut 3 leaves and 5 of the small flowers from 65# card stock. I used Distress Ink pads in Peeled Paint, Mustard Seed and Spiced Marmalade to color the leaves and flowers. Buttons for the center and I used the string from the small shipping tag for the center of the top flower.  I colored the string with Spiced Marmalade, then separated the strings.  When you roll the string on the ink pad, when you separate it resembles the baker's twine.  I call this faux twine, anyway..... The small shipping tag was inked with Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade and Black Soot.  The saying was stamped with Black Soot.

Now on to the butterflies......

I choose two butterflies chipboard pre-cut images (I do not own the Tim Holtz Butterfly die yet).  Paint the edges of the butterflies and the top outside edges, I used black. Then I covered the butterflies with heavy duty double stick tape.  I use Pennywise Arts O'So Sticky Tape.  I find for this type of work it is the best, glitter, micro beads and embossing powders. This is harder than it looks, non-stick scissors are the key here.  Then I cut small shapes from some scrap Tim Holtz papers and placed them down mosaic style.  Make sure you leave space between the papers for your "grout".  Now sprinkle with glitter or embossing powder. If using embossing powder, heat set it.  When using glitter, just press the glitter into the tape.  Now brush off the excess.  Then cover each individual piece of paper with Ranger Glossy Accents.  This lets the "tiles" glisten like real ceramic tiles.

Now once all has dried, put your tag together.

While I was making the flowers for the tag, I made this little flower too.  It is the medium flower from the Tattered Floral die. Just ink, scrunch, flatten, push hole through center of 5 petals and insert brad. Now smash all petals, individually, up around brad.  I really smash, then I fluff them out. And voila...............

I hoped you have enjoyed this month's tag.  As always, if you have any questions I will be happy to answer them if I can.


No More Headaches! Art Journal Entry

I wanted to share my art journal entry for this two week challenge from Art Journaling Ning site. This challenge was to document the mundane and make it beautiful.  Using our watercolors was part of the challenge as well. I chose my Lemon Verbena Hand Soap that I get at my local Dollar Tree store.  I have such a hard time finding soaps, lotions, perfumes, hair spray, shampoo, etc. that does not give me a headache.  It is a beautiful thing when I find that product.

Here is the run down. I hand drew the bottle of my lemon soap in pencil, then I used a grey watercolor and a 00 liner and went over some of the lines and around the label area to "pop" the white label of the bottle. I used this same grey to shadow the bottom of the drawing. I tried to use the white of the paper as much as possible for the white needed for highlight.  The white of the label is just the paper with no paint.  I am happy to say that I preserved the label and was able to paint the lemons and leaves with watercolor without any bleeding of the paint. First time for me. I used a black pen (Prisma 005 and 03) and a green marker (Stamping Up!) to finish out the label.

For the rest of the background I used watercolor in blue and yellow and slapped on the colors.  I used a paper towel dipped in the watercolors and sponged all over the page.  I did mask off the drawing area creating a frame of color.  I then used a broad tip black marker (Prisma) and "framed" the drawing.  I used a BIC pen, Prisma pens and the green marker to journal.  The additional leaves are stamped in Stazon Black.

I truly enjoyed this challenge.  I am looking forward to the next challenge.  April I believe is Paula aka Journal Artista. 


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cowgirl Up!

I love all things Cowgirl!  I have owned horses, rabbits, ferrets, dogs and, currently, cats.  Not that this in anyway makes me a cowgirl, but I have always been a country girl at heart.  I have envied ranch life and have always wanted to live on a horse ranch. My favorite family outing was the National Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver and Ft. Worth.  Every year spending time watching the Equestrian events and the smell of horses, still my favorite smell in the world.  I miss cleaning my horse's stall, brushing him down, conditioning his hooves and turning him loose to run.  The best feeling in the world is turning a horse loose and watching him rid himself of his pent-up energy.  I could sit and watch him for hours.  In fact I did.  Then I would work with him on his manners and ring training.  I spent everyday at the barn and still miss it all.  That is probably what makes me  a country girl at heart. I love the smell of horses and all aspects of ranch life.

Okay, okay, yes I have never actually lived on ranch and now unable to physically work with horses or certain parts of ranch life, but a girl can dream.  This brings me to the first challenge on  Leslie (aka comfortableshoes) has the first turn to present a challenge (to see the schedule, click on the link above).  Her challenge was to create a cowboy page, colors of sepia, yellow and denim, in our art journals.  So, I took the challenge and created a Cowgirl page.  I really loved this challenge.  So here is my page.....
"One girl who would rather wear boots than high heels."

On the right side of my page, this was my first attempt at drawing a person.  I am in no way a portrait artist and have lots of problems with faces, henceforth the hat.  But it's drawn and shaded in pencil.  Then I added color with colored pencils.  I stamped the saying in Black Stazon using two alphabet stamp sets (Stamping Up! and The Paper Studio), on brown packing paper. The background paper is a vintage newsprint gift bag that I cut open and glued down.  I then sprayed the background with the Tsukineko Cornflower Walnut Stain Spray Ink (it's a blue color).  Which I think it gave silent blue worn look.

On to the left side of my page, I have drawn a boot in pencil then went over with my sepia Prismacolor pen.  Then I added the floral design and colored the background with a purple copic marker.  Note to self copic markers and Prisma pens do not mix well, well they mix, altogether that is.  But I think it turned out okay.

The picture in the middle is of my Rafferty.  Full blood registered Quarter horse, Rafter Figment West.  He was my beautiful guy.  He loved apples and cookies, which I spoiled him with.  He learned the sound of my car and would talk to me as I was approaching the barn, knowing I had treats and he was going to get to run. He is truly missed.

I finished the page with some stamped images in White Stazon.  I am not a fan of White Stazon, but the small white flowers with the blue around them is a really cool technique.  I am hoping to do a video tutorial next week on this.  I discovered it while playing with my inks and stamps this week.  I have not seen a video for it, so hopefully it will be a new technique for some.  I also have drawn barbed wire around the pictures and through out the page, which was really fun.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you have ever wanted to get involved with art journaling, the site is a wonderful group of people. Every two weeks another challenge will be posted.  The next challenge will be posted on Sunday March 18th.

Until next post.......Enjoy!