Life in Lape Haven

Category - Recipes

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese. This quick, easy, delicious homemade mac and cheese on your stove top is a crowd pleaser and a family favorite. Even the pickiest of picky eaters will love it! It takes about the same amount of time to make as the boxed kind, but it tastes so much better!

Every mom needs a go-to on those days when her child is, or children are, being extra picky about eating.

Personally, I never really had to worry much with Elijah. He’s always been a good eater. He loves his veggies and fruits, and he’ll try pretty much anything. He may not like it, but he’ll try it.

Josiah…not so much. While he’s not horrible, he has his moments. He’ll like something one time and eat it up, then decide when I make it again, that no, he doesn’t like that at all.

However, I have a recipe for something that no one in our house ever turns down, not even Josiah.

But then again, who doesn’t love homemade stove top macaroni and cheese?

Around here, I’ve been making this super easy recipe for about 3 years, ever since I first saw Alton Brown make this mac and cheese on his stove on a rerun of Good Eats (We love that show!). Up to that point, macaroni and cheese was a rare dish in our meals because I just didn’t want to buy it (the orange powder just kind of …uhhh). However, seeing how quickly I could make REAL mac and cheese from scratch – just about the same amount of time it takes to make it from the box – I was sold.

Made with a handful of ingredients that I generally have on hand all the time, this recipe also makes enough that I usually have some left over for another meal, such as lunch for Josiah and me.

So, I’m saving time, money, and feeding my family a little bit healthier (it’s still pasta with butter & lots of cheese, so…).

Here is Alton’s original macaroni and cheese recipe (he also has a recipe for an oven-baked mac and cheese, too, if you follow the “episode” link.)

Here is how I make homemade macaroni and cheese on the stove top.
Homemade Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Homemade Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of my boys' favorites.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Elbow Macaroni
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper (to taste)
  • ½ tsp. Mustard Powder (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup Evaporated Milk (I sometimes add about 1/4 cup more to make it extra creamy)
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I like to mix other kinds of cheese in, too.)

Instructions

  1. In large pot, bring salted water to boil, and add macaroni, cooking for about 9 minutes. Since you will be heating it with the sauce later, you don’t want to overcook the noodles.
  2. While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl, whisk together your salt, pepper, and mustard powder.
  3. Add the eggs and evaporated milk to your seasoning & whisk thoroughly. (I have found it’s easier to get the seasoning incorporated when you start with it rather than add it to the eggs & milk later). Set aside.
  4. Drain the macaroni, and then return it to the large pot.
  5. Add the butter to the pasta, and stir until melted.
  6. Stir in your egg mixture.
  7. Add in your cheese.
  8. Stir to combine, and then cook on low for about 3 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until it is all smooth and creamy.
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/05/10/homemade-stove-top-macaroni-cheese/

Tried It Tuesday: Easy Beef Stroganoff

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Easy Beef Stroganoff. This quick, easy recipe for Beef Stroganoff has become a favorite of my whole family. Plus you can make the sauce ahead & freeze it to make an extra fast, tasty dinner.

Earlier this year, I was looking for something new to make for dinner. Tired of the usual standbys, I went searching for inspiration on Pinterest, and I came across a fairly easy-looking recipe for which I had enough of the ingredients in my pantry or refrigerator that I could try it out.

Knowing that my guys all love pasta, I decided to see how they liked Beef Stroganoff, something that I knew my two little boys had never had. It was a bit of a gamble since they can have their picky-eater moments, but it turned out to be worth the risk because everyone loved it. This quick, tasty dish has since become a regular menu item in our house, one that my boys eat right up.

The recipe I started with is Creamy Beef Stroganoff from Cooking with K, but of course, as usual, I’ve tweaked it based on what I have on hand and our family’s tastes.

This is a really simple, throw-it-together kind of a meal, and according to the original recipe, you can make the sauce (minus the sour cream) and freeze it, which would make it an even quicker dinner if you prepped ahead. I haven’t tried this yet. I do, however, usually buy 3 or more pounds of ground beef, and brown and freeze it in 1-pound portions, so I have that ready to go. (This is great for quick sloppy joes, spaghetti, cheeseburger soup, or even this beef stroganoff.)

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Easy Beef Stroganoff. This quick, easy recipe for Beef Stroganoff has become a favorite of my whole family. Plus you can make the sauce ahead & freeze it to make an extra fast, tasty dinner.

Some of the changes I have made to the recipe include using a little less ground beef and onion, not using any green peppers, adding more evaporated milk, and using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It’s also nice to jazz it up with fresh mushrooms or heavy cream instead of evaporated milk.

It might not be the prettiest dish, but it is definitely a delicious one. 🙂

Here’s my version of an Easy Beef Stroganoff. Enjoy!
Easy Beef Stroganoff

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Easy Beef Stroganoff. This quick, easy recipe for Beef Stroganoff has become a favorite of my whole family. Plus you can make the sauce ahead & freeze it to make an extra fast, tasty dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 medium Onion, diced
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
  • Cooked Egg Noodles (I always cook an entire package, but you only need about half)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef, seasoned with the salt and pepper, until nearly done.
  2. Add onions, cooking until tender.
  3. Add soup and milk and stir to combine. Simmer beef mixture for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in Greek Yogurt.
  5. Add cooked egg noodles & stir to coat them in the sauce. (Since I made an entire package of noodles, I didn’t combine them, but instead served the sauce over the noodles that I needed.)
  6. *Note: If making the sauce ahead, freeze it before you add the Greek yogurt (or sour cream). When you are ready to prepare the meal, warm the sauce, then add the Greek yogurt, and serve over some cooked egg noodles.
  7. * You could also use fresh mushrooms, sauteed when you are cooking the onions and meat, or use cream instead of evaporated milk. Yum.
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/05/03/tried-tuesday-easy-beef-stroganoff/

 

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

With spring now in full bloom, my boys want to be outside as much as they can. When I meet Elijah at school at the end of the day, the first words out of his mouth now are, “Can we go to the park?” If that gets turned down for some reason, the next question is, “Can we play outside?”

Knowing those boys have plenty of energy to burn off, I’m more than willing to comply as often as possible. When we come back inside, I have to be ready for their next favorite question, “Can we have a snack?”

Today, the boys are in for a surprise because with their snack they’ll be getting to mix up some chocolate milk with homemade chocolate syrup, which they LOVE.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

I only make chocolate syrup every so often, not because it’s difficult or expensive (it’s neither), but because if I kept our refrigerator stocked with the syrup, chocolate milk would be all my boys (and husband) would drink. 🙂 When we have it on hand, we also go through a lot more milk, of course!

Besides that, during the colder months of the year, my crew is more about hot chocolate and hot tea. Spring and summer are the months that really call for chocolate milk –  or ice cream with chocolate syrup (Yep, it’s great for that, too.).

I first started making chocolate syrup a few years ago when I saw a recipe for chocolate syrup posted on One Good Thing by Jillee. It looked easy enough, and you know – CHOCOLATE, so I made some.

My husband, who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate but is chocolate milk’s number one fan, was so impressed with how good it was that my first batch was gone really, really, really quickly.

Life in Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

I did tweak the recipe, just a bit. Since I love dark chocolate, I always buy both regular cocoa and dark chocolate cocoa. This way I can “darken” any chocolate recipe, even a little bit – brownies, no bakes, chocolate syrup. I do a mix of both varieties of cocoa so that it’s not too strong for the guys, but it’s a bit more chocolatey for me. 🙂

This homemade chocolate syrup is so easy, quick, and inexpensive, not to mention healthier than store-bought syrup, I haven’t actually bought chocolate syrup since!

Instead, I break out this recipe whenever we need a little treat on a warm day.

Here’s how I make Homemade Chocolate Syrup:
Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Chocolate Syrup. An easy, inexpensive, healthier, and delicious homemade chocolate syrup that will guarantee you'll never need store-bought again. Great for chocolate milk & as an ice cream topping! Yummy.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Sugar
  • ½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • ¼ cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cocoas, and salt.
  2. Slowly add the water and stir.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the syrup starts boiling, reduce the heat and cook about 1 minute. The syrup may still boil up a bit, which is why I use a slightly larger-than-necessary saucepan.
  5. Remove your pan from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Allow the syrup to cool, and then transfer to a sealed container (Mason jar, condiment bottle, etc).
  7. Store in the refrigerator.
  8. Note: You may end up with a little syrup left in the saucepan. I just pour in a little milk, stir it up, and make the first cup of chocolate milk with that! Can’t let any of that chocolate goodness go to waste. 🙂
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/04/19/tried-tuesday-homemade-chocolate-syrup/
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Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

I have a pretty great husband. I do. Not only is he a Godly man who loves me and the boys and works diligently to take care of us, he is my number one fan in everything I do. He helps cover my slack around the house when I’m working on projects, even cleaning the bathroom, and he stays up with me on those late nights when my blogging inspiration is a little delayed, so that he can proofread for me and just be with me.  (It’s okay to say, “Awww.” He’s totally a sweetheart.)

So the other day when I was itching to bake something sweet, I thought of him and his recent comment about craving some good peanut butter cookies.

I don’t think I’ve made peanut butter cookies since we’ve been married, so I had to do some online searching to find a recipe that sounded like a winner.

After reading through a couple of recipes and their comments, I decided on this one, Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies from Dessert Now Dinner Later, mainly because I know Brad likes chewy cookies, and she also mentioned that you can just scoop and bake these cookies rather than rolling them and pressing them with a fork.

Josiah was on-hand to be my assistant, which usually means it takes me way longer to make something than it would if I were doing it all myself, but I know that he gets such joy in being my “big helper boy,” that it’s worth the extra time, mess, and occasional frustrations that come with little ones helping in the kitchen.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

These cookies are super easy. It’s just a matter of creaming your butter and sugars, mixing in your peanut butter, egg, and vanilla, and then adding your dry ingredients. From there, you scoop your cookie dough out onto the baking sheet, bake, and enjoy.

The first time I made these, I let them bake a little too long. The scooper I used was larger (#20) than the one the author used for hers (#30), so I adjusted the time…but a bit too much. On the plus side, the cookies were huge! 🙂


However, the cookies were still really good. Brad was pleasantly surprised to come home to homemade peanut butter cookies, and the boys loved them, too.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

Since I knew the cookies could have been better, I had to do a second batch a few days later with the intent of getting the right cooking time. No one in my house complained about more cookies. This time I pulled them a couple minutes sooner, and they were even better than the first ones.

So now I have a tasty, easy go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies on the days that I want to do something a little special for my hard-working, giving hubby. (Awww – yes, I’m a sweetheart, too. Hahaha)


By the way, even though I haven’t tried it – yet – I’m pretty sure you could create a variation on this cookie by subbing out the peanut butter for hazelnut spread. Mmmm. I considered doing that, but Brad is not a fan of hazelnut spread. Or you could mix in some chocolate chips with the peanut butter cookies because chocolate + peanut butter = yumminess. I have also seen people put marshmallow creme and melted chocolate between two peanut butter cookies to make a fun cookie sandwich.

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

 

Okay, now that you’re hungry for delicious, chewy peanut butter cookies, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!!!
Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Category: Recipes, Tried It Tuesday

Life In Lape Haven - Tried It Tuesday: Easy, Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. A simple and simply delicious peanut butter cookie recipe for crunchy, yet chewy cookies.

A simple, and simply delicious, chewy peanut butter cookie recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Butter (1 stick), softened (If you use unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp. Salt)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1½ cups Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and both sugars.
  3. To the butter mixture, add the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Combine flour and baking soda (and salt, if using unsalted butter). Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, mixing until just combined.
  5. Scoop out dough by spoonfuls or using a disher, placing onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet. (A #30 disher holds about 2 Tbsp, while a #20 holds about 3-1/3 Tbsp.)
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just set (Bake slightly more if making larger cookies).
  7. Allow cookies to cool slightly before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely. (Or enjoy them warm!)
https://lifeinlapehaven.com/2016/04/12/peanut-butter-cookies/
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More Daniel Fast Recipes

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - More Daniel Fast Recipes. Hubby and I are in our second week of participating in a 21-day Daniel fast with our church, and I'm finding lots of new recipes to try as we follow the guidelines of this partial fast, which includes only vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and water. These two recipes are our favorites from this week.

Last Tuesday, I told you all about how Brad and I are participating in a 21-day Daniel fast with our church for most of February.

As we head into our third week of this partial fast, I’m so thankful for the internet and all the Daniel fast recipe ideas out there for us to try. Since I’m not used to cooking with just vegetables and vegan ingredients, we would have exhausted my meal ideas within the first few days for sure!

This past week, we’ve found a couple more tasty recipes to add to our Daniel Fast meal planning.

First up is an unleavened flatbread that was fairly easy to make and surprisingly tasty despite its simple ingredients. Elijah and Josiah “helped” me make this Lavash Bread by fighting over who got to roll out the pieces with me.

However, I think their favorite part (and maybe mine, too) watching each flatbread bubble up once we placed them on the hot pizza stone in a very hot oven.

For the recipe, I used about 3-1/8 cup of unrefined whole wheat pastry flour instead of white bread flour and 3/4 cup warm water, along with the oil and salt. We didn’t top it with any seeds. 🙂  Mine didn’t puff as big as the pictures online, but we’re okay with that.

As soon as these cooled enough, the boys devoured two of the eight pieces, slathering them with hummus. In fact, I had to hide some of it so our two little guys, who aren’t doing the fast, of course, wouldn’t eat all our “special” bread.

 

The other recipe that was a HUGE hit this week was the meal I made last night for dinner.

I had seen several recipes for “mock” shepherd’s pie, and I was curious to make one of them. I picked this “Cottage Pie” recipe that uses lentils and mushrooms for the “meat” part of the dish.

Knowing how much Brad loves mashed potatoes, I was pretty certain he would enjoy the meal if only for the potatoes. However, he really, really liked it all and was surprised at how good it was.

What I didn’t anticipate was how much my two little picky eaters would gobble down! It was kind of a gamble for me to make only our Daniel fast food and not prepare something familiar for the boys to eat, but I’m glad I did. Our boys loved it, too! Josiah has been especially fickle with food lately, so I was really surprised when he and Elijah both had second helpings, and Elijah said he wanted “to eat this every day.”

I did adapt my recipe a good bit from the original one in the link, based on what we had on hand.  Here is MY ingredient list:

For the mashed potato topping

8 medium to large potatoes (I baked mine in the oven then scooped out the insides, using my mashed potato shortcut)

2 Tbsp. Coconut Spread (butter substitute)

¼ cup Coconut Milk (You can use more or less depending on your preference)

¼ cup Vegetable Stock (again, however much you need)

¼ tsp Nutmeg (Never used it in potatoes before, but it was good)

Salt to taste

 

For the filling

1 cup Lentils, prepared according to the package instructions (I did drain away the excess water once they were cooked)

1 Bay Leaf

1 tsp Sea Salt

8 oz. Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

4 oz. Button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2-1/2 cup Vegetable Stock

2 Tbsp. Cornstarch

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 medium Onion, chopped

½ tsp chopped Garlic (about 1 clove)

1 Carrot, diced small (about ½ cup)

1 Celery Stalk, diced small (about ½ cup)

½ tsp dried Thyme (I ran out, or I might have used more)

¼ tsp dried Rosemary

 

I followed the basic directions of the recipe – prepping mashed potatoes, cooking the lentils, then sautéing the veggies (I put the garlic in the filling but not in the potatoes), and then mixing the lentils, veggies, and vegetable stock to make the thickened filling. Then I topped the filling with the potatoes and baked it about 30 minutes at 375.

While this is a really yummy dish, it did take a while to prep (lots of veggies to slice and dice), and it required several pots and pans, even though it all ends up in one eventually.

However, with as well as my boys ate it and as delicious as it turned out, I might be persuaded to make this one again sometime even after the fast is over.


Daniel Fast Recipes: Two That We Loved & One I Won’t Make Again

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Daniel Fast Recipes, Two Recipes We Love & One I Won't Make Again. Since hubby and I are participating in a 21-day Daniel fast with our church, I'm finding lots of new recipes to try as we follow the guidelines of this partial fast, which includes only vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and water. These two recipes are our favorites so far.

For the majority of this month, Brad and I will be participating in a 21-day Daniel fast with our church. This partial fast is inspired by two different passages in Daniel, including the story in Daniel 1 where Daniel and his friends refuse the king’s food and request a diet of water and vegetables.

And that’s predominantly what the fast allows: water, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. We eat fairly healthy as it is, but creating meals without meat, dairy, bread, and sugar has been interesting. Thankfully it hasn’t been as difficult as I anticipated. (Note: There are many different takes on a Daniel fast, so my hubby and I decided that we would follow the guidelines that our church set out. Some interpretations are stricter; some are more lenient.)

Over the last week, I’ve been finding all kinds of new recipes to try out, and while some were just okay, others have been very successful.

The first big win so far was this One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe that was super easy to make and really tasty. All it takes is a handful of ingredients: black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, spices, lime juice, avocado, and quinoa. I don’t always keep quinoa on hand, but I had picked up some at Aldi (who else LOVES Aldi?) so we could try it out. Now that I know what to do with it, it may become a staple around here. In fact, this recipe is going on my meal-planning list because we all liked it so well.


Another yummy meal came about more out of necessity than planning. When we first shopped for this fast, we had two sick little boys, so hubby made the grocery store run. Awesome husband that he is, Brad did his best to cross off every item on the list I’d given him, and then some. When I saw that he’d brought home six different containers of mushrooms, I was a bit surprised, and I knew we’d have to use those up quickly. Thankfully, I found this recipe for Garlic and Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms. I actually didn’t expect them to be as delicious as they were. I had to keep from eating the whole pan before Brad made it home for dinner.

One recipe that I tried that didn’t work at all for us was a homemade applesauce fruit roll-up. Having seen the easy how-to video on Facebook, I thought my boys would enjoy a fun little treat one day. It seemed simple enough – pour some unsweetened applesauce onto a silicone baking mat, smooth it out, then let it dry slowly in the oven all day. After waiting several hours for the applesauce to dry out, I was ready to surprise my kids with a homemade roll-up. Unfortunately, I must have done something wrong because it stuck to my silicone baking mat, and parts of it were really difficult to get off. I figured I would just try again some other time, but then when I gave the boys the pieces that I managed to get off the mat, they wouldn’t eat them. They just didn’t like it. So, that recipe was kind of a flop for us. 🙁 (By the way, our boys aren’t on the fast, but this recipe would have worked for all of us had they liked it.)

So that’s what I’ve discovered so far during our first week or so of the Daniel fast, at least about the food part. Thankfully, these 21 days aren’t just about a special diet or a list of what we can eat or can’t. It’s a time to focus on drawing closer to God, seeking His face, and spending time in His Word. No matter what recipes we enjoy or fail with during this time, we can depend upon Him to always satisfy our soul.

“You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.”  ~ Psalm 63:5