She Cooks {Drunken Lasagna Soup}

A few months ago I made this soup and it got rave reviews. However, tonight I made it again {without regards to the original recipe} and I think I liked it even better. A few changes were made – and to me, they made all the difference.

The best part of this meal is that it’s quick, easy, and all made in one pot. The clean up is quick – and that’s far more than you can say about normal lasagna.

Ingredients {serves 4}:

1lb ground beef {turkey or sausage would be delicious too}

1 clove of fresh garlic

drizzle of olive oil

1 10oz can of tomato sauce {you’ll also fill this up with water once you empty the sauce – to add to the broth}

1 small can of tomato paste

1 10oz can of chicken broth {or beef – but I had chicken on hand}

1 oz {or a shot} of whiskey – honestly, adds the best flavor to the beef

1/2 box of broken up lasagna noodles {bite size}

1 tbsp of sugar

garlic

chili powder

sea salt

basil

Directions:

In a large pot saute the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. Once the garlic has started to turn golden brown add the ground beef. You can turn the heat up to medium high. When the beef is about 75% browned add half of the whiskey {or a splash – it’s really up to you, the alcohol will cook out and the whiskey will really flavor the beef}. Once the beef is all the way browned just add the rest of the ingredients {aside from the pasta}, stir so everything is mixed well {season to your liking}. Set the heat to low and let simmer for 20ish minutes {or however long you want}. Add the pasta, let cook another twenty minutes or until pasta is cooked through.

Once in bowls I top with a mixture of ricotta, Gorgonzola, and Romano cheese.

I do think this recipe could easily be made in the crockpot as well. {Brown the beef, add the rest of the ingredients, cook on low 4-6 hours, add pasta about 20 minutes before you want to serve}

I think the joy of this recipe is that it’s simple – you could add veggies, spice it differently, let it cook for hours or make it in twenty minutes. Its a really good, basic, fall meal.

If you try this – let me know how it turns out or any tweaks you make to it!

p.s. don’t call this a comeback 😉 I’m trying – but I make no promises, yet. 😉

Happy Thursday, lovelies.

Happy Hour. {Aldean. Veggies. Fall.}

Whew – I feel like this weekend FLEW by! Anyone else?!

So… it’s Ellie and I’s second edition of Happy Hour – y’all ready to link up?? We are still working out some of the kinks with it {html and all that jazz – essentially the weekend disappeared and I failed to figure it out. #oops}


{{  <a href=”http://www.jacmaries.wordpress.com”><img src=”https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-G4eW4t3_Nu4/UBYDw-DGCVI/AAAAAAAAByc/F8ZnCdHv2mg/s200/happyhour3.2.jpg?gl=US”/></a> }}

Grab that code – place it in your post and BOOM – there’s a fancy button. {Obviously not that fancy cause I haven’t made it the correct way yet. Ugh.}

1. Jason Aldean. No, I hadn’t intended on making it a trend that I have a sexy, country singer on my list every week… but – chances are, there will be. I’ve been listening to Jason for YEARS… but last night Amy and I went and saw him and Luke Bryan in concert! It was beyond good – shutting out the world and belting out every J.Aldean song makes me a very happy girl.

2. This weather. I wore a cardigan today… with a dress. And it felt amazing out this morning. It’s the little things, like stepping outside and not being choked by the humidity.

3. Veggie Chips or Veggie Tortilla Chips. I could eat the whole bag in one sitting – which totally negates the whole “being healthy” thing. So I probably shouldn’t – BUT I could.

4. Fall Fashion. I need it in my life right now. I’m ready to just purge everything I in my closet and start fresh? All of the Fall Fashion magazines have hit the stores – this is going to make me crazy. Do you love fall fashion too??

5. The gym. What is it about rocking out an hour of cardio that just makes everything seem better? It’s become such a stress reliever. I’ve always enjoyed working out – but getting back in the habit has definitely been good for my body and soul.

I lack focus today. I think my late night is beginning to get to me. I’m. So. Tired. I need the world’s biggest cup of coffee – or something.

Hope y’all are having a fantastic Monday and I hope you link up with Ellie and I. If not today, next week. Or tomorrow. The link party will be live for a bit.



Happy Hour. {First edition}

Once upon a time I met Ellie. I was looking for swag for the Amy Clark Studios grand opening party… so I played on Etsy for a bit looking for local artists/designers that I could get in contact with and hopefully work with them for this event. Among several others, I found Ellie. Ellie creates these kick-ass coasters. They seriously rock – we have them in the studio and use them DAILY! Well, long story short… we met and were instant friends! We came to realize that we had a mutual friend, we are the exact same age {born days apart}, and have so much in common – including our love of blogging.

And due to that last little fact… Happy Hour was born.

 

{This will be the button you can grab when you link up. Code will be posted later this week. ;)}

 

Ellie and I got to talking a couple of weeks ago and decided it would be fun to host a weekly blog link up. We brainstormed several ideas… but this one stuck. Every Monday we are going to pick 5 things that are really tickling our fancies. Whatever it may be – it’s what bringing us happiness this week. It’s a moment to reflect on the little things that make us smile. And c’mon – Happy Hour makes ALL of us giddy so we thought it was a perfect title!

1. My new Nike’s. First things first… they have neon {and neon coral at that} on them. But most importantly… they are sooooo much more comfortable than my old shoes. And since I’ve actually been making it a point to workout at least every other day…my feet are now rejoicing!!!

 

2. The 17 Day Diet book – okay, so I haven’t officially started it yet. But the plan is to begin it tomorrow. So I’m hoping that I love it. Or at least like it enough to do it. It doesn’t seem to bad… eating healthy is just a good idea and I think this is the little kick in the bum that I’m needing. {again}.

 

3. Kip Moore. Do I really even need to explain this? Dude is yummy. I’m a sucker for a country singer – but I got the luxury of seeing him in concert last week and I he an amazing performer and very easy on the eyes. I’ve been rockin’ out to his album every chance I get. I was really, really hoping that I could charm him into falling in love with me last week… however, I didn’t get the chance. Damn shame, I tell ya!

 

4. The stack of books sitting next to my bed. I have six books awaiting my attention – and that makes me happy. I love having a book that I’m dying to read – I’m in the middle of two books – but I’m thinking I’m going to start Divergent anyways because I’ve heard such good things about it. Have you read it?? What are you reading right now??

 

5. Summer nights… that are beginning to get a little cooler {just a little} but enough that it lets you know fall is on it’s way. And I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for fall. I’m a bit over 90 degree days and the humidity. But – the gorgeous colors in a summer evening, those make the warm days a little more worth it, don’t ya think??

 

And that’s it for the first edition of Happy Hour {I had originally planned to have this posted this morning but html woes and tylenol pm prevented that from happening – blame them, not me. ;)}. Don’t forget to link up with Ellie and I next week for the things that are making YOU happy right now!!

p.s. We have something else up our sleeves for your entertainment pleasure as well. Stay tuned. 😉

Happy Monday loves – hope you survived it. {I barely did – I am sooooo tired today. Ugh.}

I’ve been thinking…

I’ve been doing some thinking lately – of things I want to do… some simple, some complex… but nonetheless they’re goals that I want to achieve.

  • Sending more snail mail – I think there’s something to be said for opening your mailbox and having something you are actually excited about. And c’mon, there’s some seriously cute stationary out there. Penpals, anyone?
  • Create a better budget – using Mint effectively so I can stay on track and get things paid off – it’s a very handy tool. And make a list of a couple things I want to splurge on for the month – to reduce impulse purchases. This month: running shoes, a new bag, pretty stationary to achieve above goal, and a good planner. {but more on those later ;)} I think this will help curb my buying just to buy thing. Like workout clothes – I convince myself that I need new, but in reality, once I cleaned out my drawers, I really have plenty.
  • Make my blog pretty. I want a more “me” design. Anyone wanna help a girl out???
  • Get back to the gym – my goal is to get to the gym 4 days a week, a day or two of yoga by way of Jillian Michaels and my living room, and a day off. I’m not going to go hardcore thinking I’ll make it to the gym everyday – that’s just asking for failure.
  • Set up “date” nights with some of my friends that I rarely see because “life just gets too crazy” – I think it’s important to slow down and grab some coffee, ice cream, or a beer with some of your dearest friends. And I need to get better at it.
  • Write. I used to write a lot – like actual writing in a paper journal – I miss that. It’s so therapeutic to me. Sewing and writing are my therapies. They both allow me to clear my head, but in two very different ways. I need to get back to them.

What are some of your goals? How do you stay motivated and focused??

Want to be penpals??? 😉

Happy Tuesday, dolls! Hope it rocks your socks off – if you have socks on – which would be weird – cause it’s hotter than the sun around here lately. 😉

She cooks. {Lasagna Soup}

I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest this week… and I thought that it sounded delicious, easy, and had the opportunity to be relatively healthy. To me, those things are all I need to convince me to try something. I love to cook, it’s relaxing… however, the dishes and mess it makes are another story…

When I cook I tend to not use recipes… I get the basic idea and just kind of run with it. That’s the fun part – being creative. {Yes, I try to use creativity in everything I do.} In my recipe I used no salt beef broth to bring out the flavor of the ground beef {and to lower the sodium} I also added tomato paste as a thickening agent. And instead of breaking up lasagna noodles I used  campanelle pasta… they’re like mini lasagna noodles – with the curly edge. {Real technical terms here}. And instead of just topping with parmasan cheese I made a cheese mixture and used that to top it… It was like lasagna in a bowl… so, I think I accomplished what I set out to. I had two taste testers and they both were quite pleased. A+ for Jac!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef {mine was fresh from Shull farms}

1/2 white onion {diced}

1 tbsp fresh garlic

1 can {14.5 oz} diced tomatoes w/juice

1 can {14.5 oz} tomato sauce

1 small can {30 ml} tomato paste

2 cups no salt/low sodium beef broth

8 oz Campanella pasta {or whatever pasta floats your boat}

1 tbsp sugar {this is completely up to your taste – I like a hint of sweetness in any tomato sauce I make – so it’s give or take}

Seasoning {I used more garlic, sea salt, different italian seasonings – just season to your taste preference}

Cheese Mixture:

1 small container lowfat ricotta cheese

1 container gorgonzola cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

{again, cheese is up to you – pick and choose as you wish}

Okay guys… this is where it gets real tough… pay close attention…

In a large saucepan saute the onion and garlic in a little EVOO {what? You don’t watch Rachel Ray??? Extra Virgin Olive Oil} until fragrant. Throw in the beef, brown it. Because mine wasn’t very fatty I didn’t need to drain it. Turn the heat to medium, pour in the beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and season to taste. Let cook for about ten minutes {or an hour, if you have the time – I didn’t – so I went with 10 minutes}. Crank up the heat a bit to get a boil… once boiling, throw in your pasta. Let cook until al dente. {the pasta will continue to soak up the broth – and no one likes mushy noodles} Serve into bowls, spoon some cheese mixture on top and it’s ready to be gobbled up!

Oh yes, the cheese mixture… mix the cheeses together {I always season it with garlic and italian spices as well} and you’re done!

This meal was easy peezy lemon squeezy… and hardly even made a mess. I think the best part of this meal is that it makes plenty to have leftovers for the week… hello, lunch tomorrow!

And like a good little girl I calculated the calorie content {with the exact ingredients so it’s pretty accurate} and it came in at 353 w/cheese 208 w/out cheese. I’ll take that for a nice, hearty bowl of comfort food anyday.

{Also, I recommend a glass of your favorite wine to go with this bowl of yumminess. You deserve it.}

What’s your favorite thing to cook?

Happy Hump Day, my little pumpkins!

p.s. I’m not a recipe writer or follower so I apologize if it doesn’t make sense. 😉

p.p.s. I wasn’t planning on blogging this which is why I only had one, awful cell phone picture of it.