Cheesy Orzo, Beef, + Tomato Casserole

by Amy on 26 August 2015

Cheesy Orzo, Beef, + Tomato Casserole | www.FearlessHomemaker.comWe like variety in our family dinners. Even if we love a particular recipe, I typically don’t make it again for at least another few weeks, just to keep things interesting. So, when I tell you that I made this recipe for the first time one day, and made it again for dinner a mere eight days later, it means we all thought it was amazing. This casserole is my idea of perfect comfort food – it has pasta, tender beef, lots of melty cheese, bright tomatoes, and a smattering of tasty vegetables and herbs.

This is the type of dish that I appreciate because it’s (of course) delicious hot-and-bubbly fresh out of the oven, but it’s also wonderful as a leftovers lunch, popped in the microwave for a minute or two. Since I work from home, I almost always eat lunch here, so having a scrumptious, homemade, easily-reheatable meal in the fridge is a major plus. Another great thing about this meal is that it was a huge hit with both the adults AND the kiddos. While I had a pretty good sense that I was going to enjoy this, I was unsure as to whether my daughter would eat it, as ground beef is not her favorite food. Much to my surprise, she LOVED it, and asked for a second helping both times I made it.

While I completely approve of this casserole as-is, as I was making it the second time, I thought that the orzo/beef/vegetable mixture (pictured below) would be wonderful stuffed into bell peppers, rather than baked into a big casserole. I think I’ll mix it up next time and try it that way!

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Simple Refrigerator Dill Pickles

by Amy on 19 August 2015

Simple Refrigerator Dill Pickles | www.FearlessHomemaker.comI know what you’re thinking: Hmmm. That’s an … interesting? … picture of a plate of pickles. Listen, pickles are much stranger and more difficult to photograph than I realized they would be. But this recipe for homemade dill pickles is too delicious (and too crazy simple) to not share!

I have always been a lover of salty, crunchy snacks, much more so than sweet ones. Potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, olives, pickles — those are my go-to salty treats. And with fresh cucumbers growing in our garden this year, I realized I should try making homemade dill pickles. I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy they are to make — you simply make a basic pickling solution (vinegar, water, sugar, and salt), boil and cool it, pour it over cucumber spears with dill and garlic, and pop it in the refrigerator. Three days later, you have some FANTASTIC homemade pickles. They’re cold and crunchy and crisp and salty and dilly and wonderful.

And while my husband is not (and has never been) a fan of dill pickles, my daughter definitely inherited my love for them, and has generously helped me polish off each new jar of ’em. =)

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Baked Peach Oatmeal

by Amy on 4 August 2015

Baked Peach Oatmeal | www.FearlessHomemaker.comI love pretty much all fruit, but if I had to pick my absolute favorite fruit, there’s no question what it is — fresh, in-season peaches. Sweet and juicy and summery and delicious. The local fresh peaches have been absolutely amazing recently, so I’ve been buying tons of them, and using them in as many different recipes as I can. Until now, my favorite peach recipes were this peach lemonade, these peach oat crumble bars, and these boozy amaretto peach popsicles. But step aside, old recipes, because I have a new favorite — this scrumptious Baked Peach Oatmeal.

I typically think of oatmeal (baked or otherwise) as being a cooler-weather food, but with sweet, summery peaches added to it, it has a lightness and freshness that makes it totally perfect for this time of year. And baked oatmeal is a year-round favorite of mine because of how wonderfully re-heatable it is. While it’s fantastic straight out of the oven, I love the leftovers so much for quick weekday breakfasts (or snacks). Just cut a single-serving portion, pop it in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of milk for creaminess, and heat for 20-30 seconds. Bam! A hearty, delicious, quick breakfast to start the day off right. And I’ve found that baked oatmeal is also fantastic if you have little ones to feed – it’s easily crumbled into baby/toddler-grabbable bites, and is always a huge hit with my daughter and her playgroup friends. So, if you’re looking for another awesome recipe to highlight summer’s beautiful peaches, you must give this one a try – I know you’re going to love it!

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Watermelon-Cucumber Rice Noodle Salad (with Coconut-Lime Dressing) - www.FearlessHomemaker.com

Today, I’m participating in a fun blogger event — the Secret Recipe Club. How does it work? Every blogger is secretly assigned another blog + chooses a recipe from that blog to make. On reveal day (today!), all of our posts go up at the same time, + everyone gets to see who was assigned to their blog, which recipe they chose, + how it turned out. Fun, huh?

This month I was assigned 84th & 3rd, a beautifully-photographed blog with an emphasis on unprocessed, healthy, delicious recipes. Choosing a recipe actually proved quite challenging, because there were SO many with intriguing new-to-me flavor combinations and/or ingredients. In the end, I chose this Watermelon & Cucumber Salad, because we have fresh cucumbers growing in our garden, watermelons are juicy, + in season, and I love rice noodles. And what a beautiful, scrumptious, bright, light salad this is! Crisp cucumber, sweet watermelon, peppery radish, and my beloved rice noodles are tossed with a sweet-tangy coconut-lime-mint dressing. The combination of flavors, textures, (and colors!) is absolute perfection – this is sunshiny summer on a plate, y’all. continue reading →

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Blueberry Lemonade

by Amy on 21 July 2015

Blueberry Lemonade  www.FearlessHomemaker.comIf the weather where you are is anything like the weather we’re having, it’s HOT. Hot, humid, sunny, full-on summer — which means it’s the perfect time to be enjoying the most refreshing, cooling beverages. And this Blueberry Lemonade is definitely my favorite hot-weather drink lately. Since I first made it three weeks ago, from the blueberries I picked from the berry farm with Fearless Toddler, I have been drinking it (and making more batches) non-stop. In fact, I’m enjoying another glass of it right now, as I type this up. Really!

This Blueberry Lemonade has all the qualities of a perfect summertime beverage — it’s refreshing, tangy, citrusy, and sweet without being too sweet. The easy-to-make blueberry simple syrup has a delicious sweet + tangy flavor that marries perfectly and balances wonderfully with the tart, citrusy lemon juice. And how gorgeous is that bright berry color?! Poured over a tall glass of ice, garnished with extra fresh berries, lemon slices, and a sprig of mint, it’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the taste buds. A simple, delicious, lovely drink to showcase those beautiful in-season fresh blueberries. I hope y’all give this fantastic Blueberry Lemonade a try — I know you will love it!

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