October 21, 2014

BBQ Black Bean Pizza

I have a love/hate relationship with pizza.  Wait.  No.  I have nothing but love for pizza!  I could eat it every day.  I love cold pizza for breakfast just as much as I love a hot, fresh one for dinner.  (Is that weird?)  However, it doesn't coincide well with my quest to lose baby weight.  Therefore, it's been a little while since I made this variation on a traditional pizza, but it's super yummy.  Maybe I'll make it again soon, once I've lost a few more pounds.  :)  The original recipe came from eatingwell.com.  They wrote the recipe to be completely cooked on the grill, which I'm sure would be super yummy, but I have not tried that yet.  Maybe I'll put my hubby, the grill master, on that soon.  Here's my version:

  • pizza dough (I use this recipe, or you could easily use store-bought)
  • 1 plum tomato, diced (in a pinch, I've used canned tomatoes and just drained them really well)
  • 1 c. corn kernels (I thaw frozen corn)
  • 1 c. canned black beans, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1/3 c. BBQ sauce
  • shredded mozzarella and cheddar (approx. 1 c. total, or more, depending on how cheesy you like it)
  • sliced jalapenos (optional)
  • Sprinkle cornmeal onto large baking sheet
  • Roll out dough and arrange onto baking sheet
    • I like to use just a plain 'ol rectangular baking sheet and not stress too much about an exactly perfect shape.  I call it rustic. :)
  • Spread BBQ sauce all over pizza dough and top with cheese, corn, beans, and tomatoes
    • I added jalapenos to half of the pizza for my hubby
  • Stick into a preheated 500 degree oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.
  • Cut and enjoy!
  • Bonus hint: it's pretty darn good dipped into ranch.  You're welcome!

October 20, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Confession: I am addicted to chocolate milk.  I feel like this is something that only kids are "supposed" to drink, but nonetheless, I LOVE it.  There are certain food items that I try to never let us run out of, and chocolate syrup is one of them.  So imagine my dismay when one day it happened...we ran out of chocolate syrup!  And I really wanted some chocolate milk!  I had to do something, so I, of course, turned to Pinterest.  I knew there had a to be a recipe worth trying.  I found a few, and set out to make my own chocolate syrup.  What started out being a temporary solution to my problem turned out to be a replacement for store-bought chocolate syrup.  I now have this syrup in my fridge at all times (my kids share my love of chocolate milk), and haven't bought the big brown bottle in who-knows-how-long.  It's quick and easy and oh-so-yummy!

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 c. water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Combine sugar, cocoa powder, water, and salt in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk together until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Boil for 1-2 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Stir in vanilla
  • Let cool and pour into bottle or container.  I store mine in this handy-dandy glass container that I'm pretty sure I got at a garage sale for like a quarter.
  • Enjoy in milk, on top of ice cream, whatever your taste buds desire!

October 19, 2014

Hamburger Stew

It's fall, which means I am all about soups and stews!  I love summer, but am always ready for fall whenever it finally decides to arrive here in Oklahoma.  Every fall and winter, I have our favorites that I make, but then I always like to try new recipes as well.  I came across Pioneer Woman's (LOVE her) Hamburger Soup and decided to whip it up today.  I made a few slight changes to it, including changing the name from a "soup" to a "stew", per my husband's request :).  I also did the majority of it in my much-loved crockpot, instead of all on the stovetop, which makes me very happy! No matter what you call it, no matter what you cook it in, I hope you enjoy it!

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I actually used ground venison)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. beef broth (or more, for desired consistency)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used gree because it's what I had on hand)
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (original recipe called for red potatoes)
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat along with the onion, celery, and garlic
  • Drain fat and pour meat mixture into crockpot
  • Add remaining ingredients and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours
  • Enjoy!

We enjoyed this soup with my go-to cornbread recipe, also from the Pioneer Woman.

October 16, 2014

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

In an effort to eat a more low-carb diet, I have been trying out lots of new recipes and using vegetables that I haven't used much in the past.  This summer I used a lot of zucchini and yellow squash.  This recipe began, from one I found on Pinterest, as a side dish.  After I'd made (and tweaked) it a couple of times, I decided I wanted to add chicken to it to create a one-dish meal.  One-dish meals are a love of mine!  So, if you want to serve it as a side, you can totally leave out the chicken!  And you can use a combination of zucchini and yellow squash, or just one.  I had zucchini on hand when I made last night.  Here's the recipe:

  • 2 zucchini (or squash), cut lengthwise into quarters, and cut into wedges about 1/2" thick
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, separated
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and cubed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese + extra for topping (I used a combo of monterey jack and cheddar)
  • 1/2-1 c. ritz cracker crumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • Chop, dice, mince all ingredients.
  • Bring pot of water to a boil and add zucchini, celery, and carrots.  Return to boil, then reduce heat, add lid, and simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are soft.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet and add onion.  Cook until translucent, then add garlic for a couple minutes.  Empty skillet into large bowl.
  • Melt 2 more Tbsp butter in the same skillet and add ritz cracker crumbs.  Cook for just a minute or so until crumbs are golden.  Remove from heat and save for topping.
  • In the large bowl with onions and garlic, add chicken, egg, sour cream, cheese, salt & pepper, and hot sauce and stir to combine.
  • When zucchini mixture is finished cooking, drain and add to the bowl. 
  • Spoon mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. 
  • Top with more shredded cheese (to your liking - my liking is LOTS), and ritz cracker crumbs.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. 
Here's the one I made last night, after I had already cut into it.  :)

October 15, 2014

Reviving the Blog

So...you may or may not have noticed, but I have been missing from the blog for over a year!  Crazy!  But I think I have a decent reason for it...Shortly after my last blog post in August last year, we received the greatest surprise when we found out that we were pregnant with Baby #3!  Soon after the exciting news, the pregnancy began to take its toll on me.  I was blessed to have a healthy pregnancy, but it was my toughest: I was exhausted beyond comprehension, quickly became very uncomfortable, and remained that way until I recovered from my c-section.  So, blogging was just something I didn't have the time or the energy for.  Life seems to have been a little crazy, but now that sweet baby is 5 months old, and I decided it was finally time to get back into it!  So here's a recap of everything you've missed since the last post (if you've really been wondering :)).

  • Baby #3: As I said, we found out in September that we were expecting another baby, and our third child, a precious baby girl (H), was born in May.  She is a blessing to our family, and I cannot imagine life without her!
  • Homeschooling: We've had a major shift in our family dynamic and plans for the future...deciding to homeschool our kiddos!  We never originally planned on it, but about a year ago, God started laying it on our hearts to make this change, and we took a leap of faith to follow His calling for our family.  We started homeschooling our oldest (V), who is in Pre-K this year, and we are loving the journey!  I'm sure I'll be writing many blog posts on homeschooling in the future!
  • Birthdays: I love throwing my kids' birthday parties, and I hope to blog those in more detail going forward.  Since I last blogged, A turned 2 with a Minnie Mouse themed party, and V turned 4 with a campout themed party.  I also celebrated my last birthday of my twenties :(.  I'm not particularly looking forward to turning the big 3-0 next year, but I guess I will survive!
  • Gardening: We grew our first garden this year!  And when I say we, I mean the hubster. :)  I was 9 months pregnant when he planted, and recovering from a c-section for the first part of the season, so he did the work.  It was so much fun to have fresh produce coming into the house from right outside, and I had fun with a couple of new recipes, which I'll be sharing with y'all.  We learned a lot, and plan to expand our garden by a little every year.
  • Diet/Exercise: Since having H, I've been working on losing the baby weight, plus some.  It's not much fun, but I'm making progress slowly but surely.  I've been trying lots of new recipes in my attempt to eat not only healthier foods, but also a low carb diet.  I'm looking forward to sharing some of these recipes with y'all!  I've also been attempting to exercise regularly, mostly doing kettlebell exercises (which I hate) and yoga (which I love). 
So there's my last year in a very small nutshell!  I hope if you were following my blog before, that you'll come back!  And if you're new, welcome!  I hope you enjoy my recipes and random postings of what's happening at Hightower Homestead!

August 23, 2013

Nacho Cheese Doritos Breaded Chicken

As you probably know by now, if you've read a couple of my blog posts, I try to be as frugal as possible.  Not letting food go to waste is part of that frugality.  A while back, we had a bag of nacho cheese doritos that had gotten down to mostly just crumbs and tiny pieces of chips.  I wasn't quite ready to trash it, so I decided to use the crumbs as a breading on some chicken.  If I'm going to bread chicken to bake, I typically use cornflake crumbs or breadcrumbs, but this seemed like a yummy alternative.  And boy, was I right!  And it was so easy!

  • boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh pieces
  • chip crumbs (at least a cup or so, depending on how much chicken you're making)
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • Pour crumbs into small, shallow bowl
  • Beat egg and mix with some milk in a small, shallow bowl
  • Dip chicken into egg/milk to coat
  • Put chicken into crumbs and roll around to coat well
  • Place onto greased baking sheet
  • Repeat with all chicken
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until chicken is done
We really liked this chicken dipped in ranch!  Goes great with my good potatoes.  Enjoy!

August 16, 2013

Mexican Corn

I love to eat corn.  I especially love it when a bunch of yummy goodness is added to it.  This recipe came from me just randomly throwing things into a crockpot with some frozen corn one day when I was making Mexican food for supper.  It turned out pretty great, so I kept making it, and now am sharing it with y'all.  :)  Once again, these measurements aren't exact, I just throw stuff in till it looks right to me, and you can too, by golly!

  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 3 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 oz velveeta, cubed
  • 1/2 can rotel (diced tomatoes w/ green chilies)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 jalapenos (optional), diced

Dump everything in a crockpot, cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, stirring to combine
Dump everything into saucepan on stove on low-medium heat, heating through till done, stirring to combine
This goes great with my bean burritos or Mexican lasagna :)