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Posts tagged “cooking

Homemade Alfredo Sauce {Recipe} + How Index Cards Will Make Your Life Easier

Often I get in moods to bake. Sometimes I get in moods to cook. Rarely I get in moods to meal plan.

This weekend I did all three, and I’m so glad I did. Mostly the last one. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

B A K E – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I’d already spent a full day in my pajamas – watching TV, cleaning the house, reading magazines, organizing my closet, watching more TV – and by 5pm I was done. I needed to get out of the house or do something. (It was 40 degrees and raining, so I chose the latter.)

Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things and I typically make it every fall. I posted a recipe here last year. This year I tried a new recipe and added mini chocolate chips. Turned out fine, not great, but it kept my idle hands busy, and now I have a loaf to share with some friends later this week.

C O O K – Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Next up was dinner. Of course we had no food, and of course I didn’t want to go to the grocery store. (Reminder: it was 40 degrees and raining!!) I decided to raid the pantry and refrigerator and force something to work. I found half a box of pasta and chicken in the freezer … but no sauce.

Then it hit me. How do you make alfredo sauce? It can’t be that hard, right? Or have that many ingredients, right? Y’all. I’m never buying jar alfredo sauce AGAIN. Okay, I never bought it in the first place, because I’m not really an alfredo fan, but seriously, now I am. It was SO easy, and SO delicious.

1/2 c butter
8 oz. cream cheese (which we happened to have leftover from our bagel bar)
2 c milk
2 teaspoons garlic powder
6 oz grated parmesan cheese
black ground pepper
dash of nutmeg


  1. Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

M E A L   P L A N

Meal planning for the week is the worst. Can I get an amen?? It just seems so difficult to decide what to eat for dinner every single night. And cook it. And clean it up. And do it all over again the next week.

Well, husband had a great idea. Write down all of our recipes on index cards, then each Sunday choose from the stack for the week, add all ingredients to Walmart Pickup-Grocery (seriously, life changing) and that’s it!

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I spent several hours Sunday going through recipes on my blog, on Pinterest and cookbooks. I wrote the name and ingredients on one side, and the location of the recipe on the back. Maybe someday I’ll write the full recipe on there, but this was a good start. I also added asterisks to the top right of foods that are whole 30 approved.

You could even take this one step further and pin it somewhere in the kitchen so the whole family can see what’s for dinner for the week.

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I love this idea, and I think it will make meal planning so much easier, and the great thing is, I can keep adding to my index cards when I find more recipes I enjoy!

Do you have tips for meal planning? Or a favorite recipe you want to share, so I can add it to a card?

xo xo

One-Pan Enchilada Pasta {recipe}

With our beautiful, new kitchen and the unboxing of all of our pots and pans and appliances, Husband and I have been spending more time in the kitchen cooking together, and we love it. It’s such a relaxing way to end the day – pour a glass of wine, cook together without the TV on or any distractions, and talk about our day at work.

As we’ve been cooking more, I’ve been trying out new recipes and the one I’m sharing today has been a HIT. We’ve already made it twice in the last month and it will now be a staple in my recipe repertoire. It’s easy, delicious and you can add or remove things to make it just for you. Oh, and it only takes one pan!! That’s my kind of cooking.

O N E – P A N  E N C H I L A D A  P A S T A 

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  • 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of a small onion, diced
  • 1.25 pounds of ground turkey meat
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 19oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 8oz (about 2 1/2 cups) of dried rotini pasta
  • 2 cups of freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • toppings: black olives, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, green onions, southwestern crunch bites


  1. In a large sauté pan, onions in olive oil over medium low heat until softened.
  2. Add ground turkey meat and and taco seasoning and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until browned.
  3. Once turkey meat is cooked through, add pasta, chicken broth and enchilada sauce to pan.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduced heat to low and cover.
  5. Cook on low, with pan covered for about 15 minutes.
  6. Then remove lid and let simmer for additional 5 minutes until pasta is tender and sauce has reduced.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of cheese.
  8. Top pasta with additional cup of cheese and place lid back on pan and let heat from the pasta melt the cheese.
  9. Garnish with your toppings of choice.

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xo xo

You might also enjoy: Pepperoni Rolls {recipe}, Labor Day Weekend Huevos Rancheros, Good ol’ Spaghetti {recipe}

The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Conclusion

WHEW. It was a long three weeks. In part because we were cooking every single night (a rarity in the Alderman home), but also in part because I was so eager to get to my birthday weekend in Vegas! In all honesty, I have no clue what we ate for Week 3 of the challenge, but we held on strong and ate in every night.

By the end of the three weeks, we were craving eating out (are we the only ones like that?? is that strange??) and luckily we were headed to a city with some of the finest and most diverse food you can find within a 2 mile radius. As I ate other people’s creations, I was reminded how much I love food and why I love eating out so much. It’s not the fact that cooking is difficult (sometimes it is) or that you have a lot to clean afterwards (usually it is) or that you have to plan ahead every single day what you’re going to cook (yes it is), but the fact that my cooking isn’t nearly as good as others. There’s not much fun in my cooking or much “brava.” It’s just food. But aren’t we supposed to really enjoy food? Well, I really enjoy food when it’s cooked by someone else.

All that to say, I don’t think I’ll ever be a master chef, but I have realized it’s not as difficult as I thought it was and it’s doable to cook every night. It also helps that I got a PERFECT new cookbook for my birthday from a dear friend – Robin Takes 5: 500 recipes, 5 ingredients or less, 500 calories or less, 5 nights a week at 5:00 pm – I mean, is there a more perfect cookbook for me?!

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Now, enjoy some food porn from our Las Vegas vacation …


{sausage balls, XNA}


{vanilla + nutella creme puffs with banana gelato, Scarpetto}


{arugula + parmigiano reggiano salad, sausage + peppers pizza, Otto Enoteco – Mario Batali}


{housemade beer brat, Public House}


{brunch, The Wicked Spoon}


{decadence, Jean Phillipe Patisserie}

xo xo

You might also enjoy: The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Week 1, The Three Week Cooking Challenge // Week 2

The Three Week Cooking Challenge

As you may or may not know, we’re not the biggest fans of cooking.

As you may or may not know, we’re going to Vegas in 3 weeks.

As you may or may not know, Vegas is expensive.

Thus, the Three Week Cooking Challenge was born.


Husband and I are trying to save money for Vegas, and currently one of the things that sneaks most of our money is eating out. SO we’ve decided to challenge ourselves and not eat out until Vegas – approximately 17 days. Does that sound easy to you? Because to me, it sounds like just about the most difficult thing in the world. A few tips I think will ease the pain …

1. Work as a husband and wife team. One night I cook, one night he cooks. One night I plan, one night he plans. One night I clean, one night he cleans.

2. Leftovers are your best friend.

3. Dinner doesn’t have to be a production. Sometimes a grilled cheese and soup is all you need.

4. Frozen meals & frozen veggies are also your best friends. Lately, we’ve really been enjoying Bon Appetit Steamed Baked Meals for Two.

5. I plan on looking at this as a “class” to learn a new hobby. Instead of a knitting class, I’m taking my own cooking class.

6. We have about 25 cookbooks currently collecting dust, so I think it’s time to bust them out.

7. Crockpot. CROCKPOT! The best ever kitchen invention.

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So friends, we need all the help we can get. Share your favorite easy meal in the comments below!

I’ll keep you updated on our challenge. xo xo