Gift Wrapping Inspiration

 

It really is the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is such a unique and special holiday. We get the opportunity to remember the birth of Jesus and celebrate this precious gift. Every year my heart is so full with gratitude for this perfect gift that makes this season oh so special. It is also a perfect time to show we care through giving to those in our lives and those in need as well. I love the idea of thoughtful and heartfelt gifts for family and friends and try every year to focus on what each special person in my life would truly love. Part of the joy of giving these gifts for me is wrapping them with love and care. We may end up ripping the paper in excitement to see what is underneath the wrapping paper, but putting extra love into every detail, including the wrapping is so fun to me! Here are a few presents from under my tree!

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Baked Ziti

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This meal is a household favorite. I originally got this from The Girl Who Ate Everything and adapted it to fit our taste buds. This is a fairly easy dish. It isn’t quite as hands off as some of the other recipes I post but the end result it worth the work!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 jars (26 ounces each) spaghetti/tomato sauce
  • provolone cheese, sliced ( 6-9 rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown  beef  over medium heat. Drain the fat. Add minced garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add spaghetti sauce and Italian seasonings, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, 1/2 sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture and then mozzarella cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. You may want to cover it for the first 20 minutes with foil and then let the cheese melt and brown for the last 10 minutes.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage ( or ground beef…I like sausage better)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 jars (26 ounces each) spaghetti sauce ( I used one Garlic and Onion and one Sausage)
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced ( 9 rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion and sausage (or beef ) over medium heat. Drain the fat. Add minced garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add spaghetti sauce and Italian seasonings, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, 1/2 sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture and then mozzarella cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. You may want to cover it for the first 20 minutes with foil and then let the cheese melt and brown for the last 10 minutes.

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/03/baked-ziti.html#SFrwGXVFyEMMVt8u.99

Fiesta Chicken {Slow Cooker Recipe}

This is seriously such an easy meal and so good. Just dump the ingredients in the crock pot and go!

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Ingredients:

– Bag of frozen Chicken Breast Tenderloins (2.5-3lb bag) (boneless chicken breasts work as well)
– 8 oz block of cream cheese (don’t use Fat Free! 1/3 less fat or regular is fine)
– Can of Black Beans, drained & rinsed. (or Pinto Beans if you prefer)
– Can of Corn, drained.
– Can of Rotel

Directions:

-Put frozen chicken in the crock pot
-Put Cream cheese on top of the chicken.
-Dump in the Black Beans (make sure they are drained & rinsed!!!)
-Dump in the drained corn
-Dump in the Rotel                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     -Cover & cook in your Crock Pot on low for 6-8 hours (if you are in a time pinch you can turn the Crock Pot on high for 3-4 hours, you can also throw the chicken in frozen for the full 6-8 hours!)
-Every 2 hours, I stir the ingredients (or don’t, it doesn’t really matter)
-You can shred the chicken when it is done, or just leave it as tenderloins

Serve over rice or as a burrito. Enjoy!

Goulash

Oh comfort food! How I love good, warm, and delicious comfort food! This recipe is a personal favorite from my childhood. I loved it when it would start to get cold and my dad would make goulash. Naturally I started craving this as it has gotten pretty chilly here lately. This recipe makes sooo much so prepare for some major left overs or better yet freeze some for an easy meal later! Enjoy!

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Goulash

(adapted from Gonna Want Seconds)

Ingredients:

2 pounds- Ground Beef (80/20)

1- Large Yellow Onion

4- Large Cloves Garlic, Minced

3 Cups- Water

2 (15 ounce)- Canned Tomato Sauce

2 (14.5 ounce)- Canned Diced Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons- Dried Oregano

2 Teaspoons- Dried Basil

2- Dried Bay Leaves

1 Tablespoon- Seasoned Salt

1/2 Teaspoon- Black Pepper

2 Cups- Elbow Macaroni, Uncooked

Instructions:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook the meat over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks into small pieces. Cook until the meat is cooked through and there’s no longer any pink. Stir in the onions and garlic. Cook and stir the mixture until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, oregano, basil, bay leaves, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the pasta, cover, and simmer over low heat until the pasta is tender, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and refrigerate, if possible, overnight. If you must, you could serve. 🙂

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DIY Wreath…and other stuff

 

I really enjoy making wreaths and recently I wanted to make an inexpensive fall inspired wreath. I got the natural grapevine wreath from Hobby Lobby for $4 and bought the floral pieces there for half off as well (I used a hot glue gun to put them on the wreath). Here is the finished project!

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Here are some other pictures from my FAVORITE season 🙂

We got to go apple picking with some friends (YES despite our severe lack of trees there are actually apple trees in Kansas!). It was so fun and the apples were so delicious!

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They also had a pumpkin patch! I decided to paint rather than carve this year :).

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Finally this year for Halloween, my husband Ben and I went as Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson from one of our favorite shows Parks and Rec. It was so fun!

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