Ryan Welton

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Your breakfast idea for the weekend starts with Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch

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You don’t need to go to the big city for the best breakfast in America. You can have it at home, and all it takes is Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch dressing.

That was the impetus for the breakfast Kristi made last weekend, both days. We feasted, and it was delicious. Of course, my role in the festivities was to take photos and tell you all about it, guided of course by my talented fiance.

This was essentially an egg dish with a potato side. I’ll tell you about the egg dish first.

“Sriracha Ranch Eggs”

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • Turkey lunch meat, 8 slices, chopped
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Trader Joe’s sriracha ranch dressing
  • Dried chives

Beat your eggs. While you’re beating, put that chopped turkey lunch meat (or whatever you have at home) into your dry pan and brown it a little.

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Then you slip in those beaten eggs, all nice and smooth-like.

Add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese to the extent of your cheese-aholic-ness.

Add a couple drizzles of that sriracha ranch, but not more than about a tablespoon.

Add a tablespoon of dried chives.

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Cook it and stir until you get it to the consistency you like.

Put it onto a plate with a little cheddar cheese sprinkled and sriracha ranch dotted atop it.

***

The potatoes dish is even easier.

“Potato Delight”

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of sliced new potatoes
  • Garlic salt
  • Small / medium onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Dijon mustard

Put a little olive oil into your skillet, and then add those potatoes (drained, of course).

Then add your chopped onion, and add some pepper to taste.

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When everything starts to brown, add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

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Sauté until the dish gets slightly crispy, tossing your potatoes every once in a while. Do this on medium to medium high heat.

Serve with a little avocado and your favorite breakfast beverage, and bon appétit!

Recipe Review: Sausage, Ricotta, and Spinach-Stuffed Pasta Shells

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I love to cook, but I can’t take credit for cooking this or for the recipe. It was fantastic: sausage, ricotta, and spinach-stuffed shells.

Kristi was the chef, and this Pinterest recipe was the inspiration.

To be honest, I need to spend more time on Pinterest. As a content marketing tool, it’s highly, highly underrated. Like everything else social these days, it’s a platform that truly doubles as a search engine. And I’m going to send Rachel @ Craving Some Creativity some inbound traffic.

Kristi tells me this recipe was pretty easy. She used:

– 16 oz. jumbo pasta shells (just know you’ll have extra)
– 4 cups of ricotta cheese
– 12 oz. mozzarella cheese (Kristi doesn’t bother with silly measurements)
– 2 eggs, lightly beaten
– 4 tsp. dried oregano
– 3/4 cup Parmesan shredded cheese
– 45 oz. spaghetti sauce from a jar (my favorite is plain ol’ Ragu meat sauce)
– 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
– dried parsley
– pepper to taste

You brown the sausage, and then take it out, browning the spinach in the sausage pan until the spinach wilts.

Cook the shells until they start to get soft, about half the time that the box recommends.

In a side bowl, you put ricotta, 8 oz. of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, eggs, oregano, garlic powder, pepper. Stir in the spinach.

Kristi then coated the bottom of a 9×13 and an 8×8 glass pan with spaghetti sauce from the jar. Spoon the cheese mix into the shells, and place them open-side-up in the glass pan. You may have extra shells, like I said before.

Sprinkle your sausage over the top of it.

Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top.

Cover it with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. You CAN take the foil off and broil it for an extra three minutes to get cheese crusty. Kristi did not opt for broiling.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Add a salad and a cold beer, and time for din din.

Fantastic recipe from Rachel, and perfect execution from Kristi. Like I’d say otherwise, lol. However, I didn’t eat this dish; I devoured it for dinner and then lunch the next couple of days. It was tremendous.

I need to get on Pinterest more often!

Ryan Welton is a lover not a fighter, an eater *and* a cooker, and he likes to write about food even if he can’t take credit for the recipe or the work put into the dish. He can take credit for the videos he posts to his YouTube channel, which you can find at youtube.com/ryanweltonmusic — pay me a visit!

Pasta puttanesca sounds fancy, right? It’s super easy, fast and inexpensive

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While I enjoy cooking, so does my girlfriend, Kristi. It just so happens that she’s way better at it than I am. Of course, as a blogger, I can churn out content pretty darned fast, so I thought: why don’t I tell you about the meals she creates, how she does it and how much it costs?

Brilliant idea, right? Right. More food posts!

I had a long day covering winter weather for the best TV station in Oklahoma City, and I’m super lucky that I was able to navigate the roads to get home. Subaru magic, baby. Truth be told, if you drive slowly, you can make it (as long as the proverbial ‘other guy’ doesn’t drive like a bat out of hell). But I’m doubly lucky that I’ve got Kristi and that she enjoys cooking. Like I said at the outset, I enjoy it, too. You’ve seen that on my blog, so there’s at least some proof.

Tonight she made us pasta puttanesca, ‘puttanesca’ referring to the sauce, specifically one with tomatoes, garlic, olives and tomatoes. It’s common for folks to add capers and anchovies to the sauce as well. I love anchovies, but Kristi doesn’t love them as much as I do. She doesn’t hate them; she just doesn’t go out of her way to buy ’em.

The grocery list for this dish, as she made it, is as follows (the cost being the first figure, and the second being the estimated amount of product used for the dish):

  • Whole wheat pasta: $1 ($.50)
  • Veggie pasta: $1.48
  • Puttanesca sauce: $2.98 (x2)
  • Sliced green olives: $1.98 ($.75)
  • Black olives: $1.96 (for a 3.8 oz. can)
  • Carrots: $1.38 ($.75)
  • Celery: $1.58 ($.50)
  • Onion: $.79 ($.40)

Total cost: $16.13
Cost of product used: $12.30

We estimate that this dish makes 8 to 10 servings, which comes to between $1.23 and $1.53 per serving. You can’t beat that!

Making pasta puttanesca easily took less than 30 minutes, Kristi says.

Here’s how you do it:

Boil a big ol’ pot of water for the pasta, and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking to the pan.

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Chop your onion, carrots and celery and sautee them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar until the celery and carrots are kind of soft. Drain your olives and add those to the veggies. Add garlic salt to taste.

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Note that, above, I included the cost of each ingredient along with the cost of what Kristi used, so in the case of the sliced green olives, it looks like she used about 40 percent of the can.

Warm your puttanesca sauce. Doesn’t get much easier.

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Boil your pasta. Kristi likes her puttanesca with anything-but-spaghetti, and in this case, she chose whole wheat and veggie pastas. Thumbs up from me!

Mix it all together, and serve with a veggie. Kristi roasted some asparagus for us, and it was all delicious.

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The bonus is that I’ve got lunch for Thursday, when once again the Oklahoma City area will be dealing with wintry precipitation and bad road conditions. This dish is delicious and easy, and if you’ve got a big crew to feed, it’s super inexpensive.

If you enjoyed this post, give me a follow — or find me on Twitter (@ryanwelton), Instagram (@ryanwelton2013) or Facebook (/welton). I’m also a YouTube content creator at YouTube.com/RyanWeltonMusic. Come find me online!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yankee potato soup recipe cures what ails you — and it’s stupid easy

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Everybody should have three or four dishes they can whip up from memory. They don’t have to be fancy. In fact, this time of year, comfort food rules the roost, and for me that means soups.

For most folks, potato soup is a thick, creamy delight. However, I learned a much less Southern version of this winter-time classic. I’ve always called it Yankee Potato Soup because I got it from my mother, who is from Ohio. I love this version of potato soup because it’s fast, inexpensive, wholesome and delicious.

As my mom has always said, “This will cure what ails you,” and I had the flu this past week. I can attest to the truthfulness of her statement!

Total preparation time is 40 minutes from start to eats.

Here’s what you need:

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  • Four potatoes
  • Couple stalks of celery
  • Quarter of an onion
  • Baby carrots
  • 2 TBSP of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s how easy this is. Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks, roughly 10-15 per potato. Toss in the carrots, and chop the celery. Slice a quarter of that onion into small chunks, as fine as possible. For the record, I prefer bigger chunks of onion. Onion is a flavor maker. Love me some onion.

Toss it in a pot and cover it with water.

That whole process will take you 15 minutes.

Turn the stove on all the way up and get it to a rolling boil, where it should stay for 25 minutes. At that point, add a cup of milk, 2 TBSP of butter and up to a quarter cup of cream.

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Add salt and pepper to taste, and you’ve got soup! Pair with a small salad for Night 1:

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And on Night 2, kick it with some saltines on the side and a glass of sweet tea.

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The world’s easiest slow-cooker pot roast comes to $4 per (huge) serving

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One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2018 is to cook more in my slow cooker. I’m no chef, and I’m not fancy, but I’m a big believer that cooking more often results in fewer processed foods consumed.

With the recent cold snap we had here in the southern Plains, I decided this week to slow cook a pot roast. Here’s a link to the recipe I picked from a site called The Spruce. I chose this recipe because it had the fewest ingredients and looked like the least hassle.

I work in the news business, and I don’t have time to dilly-dally or for fiddle-faddle. I’m not sure what that means; I don’t have time to look it up. My slow-cooker meals need to be easy, and they need to be cost-effective.

I’m demanding that way, and I’d bet you are, too. So, I wanted to share the recipe and tell you what worked, what didn’t, how it ultimately tasted and how much it cost. The first thing I can reveal is that this pot roast recipe was incredibly easy. It took me less than 10 minutes to prepare.

The ingredients with cost included:

3 pounds of chuck roast: $17.02
Bag of new potatoes: $2.98
Bag of carrots: $1.99
Box of onion soup mix: $1.38 (used one packet, so $.69)
Two cans of cream of mushroom: $1.36

Total cost: $24.04

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In the morning, I popped that chuck roast in the bottom of my Crock Pot. There were two big pieces, and they fit perfectly. Per the instructions, I combined the onion soup mix with the two cans of Cream of Mushroom soup. Meanwhile, I popped the baby carrots and potatoes into the pot — and let me tell you: what a convenience to not have to peel or slice. The last thing you add is 1.5 cups of water.

I turned the slow cooker on low, and I went to work.

Eleven hours later, I returned home, and the house smelled glorious. Holy olfactory senses! The consistency of the mixture was more soupy. If I had been home all day and had more time, I might have added some flour to the mixture to thicken the sauce.

I poured myself a bowl and slathered some butter on a couple pieces of bread, ready for comfort food deluxe.

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My take: It was bland on night No. 1. The meat was tender, but it was all very fatty. With a couple of slices of bread and butter, however, it was quite palatable. Something I should do the next time I make this is to cut the meat into pieces and carve out some of the marbled fat.

Kristi’s take: “Tender. Flavorful. Garlic salt was a nice addition on night No. 2, and my favorite part was that I didn’t have to make it. I got to sit back and enjoy it!”

Mom’s take: While she didn’t have a bowl, she offered up this wisdom from afar: Onions. Always add an onion. They bring out the flavor in whatever you’re cooking.

The reason I didn’t add an onion is because this recipe didn’t call for it, and I was already adding the onion soup mix. Thought it might be too much.

In all, this recipe provided six incredibly generous servings. At a total cost of $24.04, it averages to $4 apiece. Also, it was better on night No. 2 and for day No. 3, a lunch. Garlic salt worked wonders to cure any blandness, and overall it’s worth a go. It’s an incredibly easy dish that, I swear, took me 10 minutes.

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Thanks to those of you who have followed my random li’l blog so far. I know I have lots of random interests and topics, and I know that isn’t ideal in the blogosphere. We’ll see where it goes!

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