Recipes 2020: 11- 14. Birthday cake, beef stroganoff, sloppy joes and lasagna.

Brownie cheesecake cookie magic birthday cake.

We made this for our cat Neptune’s 5th birthday. This is another amazing recipe from Buzzfeed Tasty. I definitely recommend this recipe but it does take a while to make. We didn’t have all of the exact right pans for this so it was a bit tricky. There was a little smoke out incident where the brownie batter overflowed and spilled into the bottom of the oven. We then placed a large cookie sheet under it to catch the rest of the spillage.

Brownie batter bottom layer.
Brownie layer after baking.
Oreo layer that gets covered with a cheesecake layer.
Top layer cookie dough.
Finished product. Neptune was unenthused but her cake was amazing. It was a bit more gooey than the recipe website that cut it into slices. I think we may have under baked it a bit because we were so amped to eat it.

Beef stroganoff in the Instant Pot.

I used a recipe from the Tastes Better from Scratch blog. It was pretty easy to follow and ended up tasting delicious. Probably could have used more seasoning on my end. I didn’t quite get the pressure cooking right because it started burning at the bottom. The pressure cooker option only kicks in once the pressure is built and sealed. So it was on but never started the 2 minute timer. Instead the instant pot started beeping and said “burn.” This happened twice but by then the pasta was fully cooked so it was fine.

I realized the next time Brian used the instant pot that there is a button next to the release lever that needs to be pushed down or popped up and that was the reason the timer never kicked on. Whoops.

The InstantPot was right that the food was burning.

Sloppy Joe’s

We used the recipe on the sloppy joe mix can. Brian loves sloppy joes. At the beginning of quarantine times I stocked up on ground beef but made the mistake of freezing the whole 3lb. pack all at once. In retrospect I should have used the vacuum sealer to break this up so I could thaw smaller amounts. The way it was, we had to thaw all three pounds and use them before they went bad. So we decided on Sloppy Joe’s and a massive lasagna.

If you didn’t know, Sloppy Joe’s are hella easy. You brown the meat, add the manwich and put that on a bun. That’s it.

Ingredients for lasagna and sloppy joe’s.
Hormel can label instructions.
Browning the meat.
After the hormel is added.
Open faced sandwich.


Lasagna is also a pretty simple recipe but definitely a crowd pleaser. Although for this one, the crowd is just me and Brian. You brown some meat then combine it with red sauce. The cheese layer is comprised of mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and an egg. I use precooked lasagna noodles to skip a step there.

Lasagna box recipe.
Marinara sauce before adding meat.
Cheesy layer.
Cheesy layer all mixed up, .
Building the lasagna. Meat, noodles, cheese, repeat.
Bake the lasagna then pull out to add more cheese before the final baking. Final results were delicious!

It was fun to do some Italian cooking because we were supposed to be going to Italy this month but our trip got cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also been drinking some Italian wine in honor of our missed trip.

Hit me up with other recipes I should try while in quarantine times. In Wisconsin, it’s looking like we have at least 5 more weeks!

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