Monday, December 16, 2013

White Bean, Kielbasa, and Kale Soup

Ok, so I am a fan of big pot of soup. Its cheap and nice to have around for leftovers for a few days. I haven't tried freezing this one yet but its probably fine.

I think that any greens would work in this, especially spinach. I am sure collards or chard would work too, but I don't have as much experience with them. At the first serving, the kale still had a nice texture that spinach would lose pretty quick.

You could use canned beans in a pinch, but why not make your own? Its much cheaper anyhow, and its pretty easy. I use this method. The white navy beans I used needed more like 90-95 minutes, so don't be afraid to add a little more time once you check them and account for a bit extra time so you aren't eating late. The soup can always simmer longer if its done too early.

Home made chicken stock is so great in soups like this. Its really not that much more work! Plan a whole chicken for one meal (or put in the crock pot and shred for another meal) and then put the bones and some veggies or veggie scraps in a crock pot or stock pot and simmer over night. Strain in the AM and presto, stock for your soup. No more salty and pricey store bought broth. Here is more info on this. 

I came across this version of the soup and it had the addition of a parmesan rind. Its optional, but highly recommended. Totally worth buying the block of parmesan at the store. You know you can use the rest somewhere. Or better yet, just make a mental note to keep leftover rind in the freezer for times like this. 

Ok, on to the soup

White Bean, Kielbasa, and Kale Soup


1 package white beans (cannelloni, great northern, navy) cooked or 4 cans drained
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 package kielbasa, sliced 1/2" thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Parmesan rind (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, stem removed and cut into 1ish inch pieces

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil on medium.

Brown the kielbasa on each side. Remove. Add the veggies and cook 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add the beans, broth, kielbasa, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and rind to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper (i used home made stock and beans, so I needed a good amount of salt)

Let simmer for 15-30 minutes (at least long enough for veggies to be soft)

Remove bay leaf and rind. Add kale and let simmer 5 minutes and serve.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Simple Herb Stuffing

Yeah, so I could be a smart blogger and post all these awesome recipes before the holiday that they would be great for. But I am just a mom and just doing this for fun, so you get what I make, after I make it. But trust me, this is so yummy and easy, that I will be making it for more than just thanksgiving.

I am not a fan of fancy stuffings. I like it simple and good. I think I succeeded.

You can use virtually any bread you like for this.

I didn't get a picture this time, but I will add the next time I make it

Simple Herb Stuffing

1 loaf bread, cut into 1 inch pieces (or buy the bag of unseasoned dried bread cubes if you must)
8 tbsp butter
2 stalks celery, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced pretty thin
1 onion, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 cups chicken stock (get the very good stuff at the store, or better yet make it yourself. Or veggie)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

If using fresh bread, spread onto a cookie sheet and let sit overnight to dry out. Or place in a 20 degree oven for 10-20 minutes.

Melt the butter in a pan. Reserve half of it for later. Add celery and onion to the existing butter and cook a few minutes until really softened.  Add herbs and cook 1 more minute. Add a little salt and pepper.

Whisk eggs into broth. Put bread in a large bowl and add onions and celery and the broth and mix very well.

Pour into a buttered casserole dish and pour remaining butter on top.

Cook in a 350 oven 45 minutes

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shredded Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

A while ago,  I decided to cook a roast with little seasoning, shed, divide up, and freeze for later meals. This ended up being a great idea and I have since made french dip sandwiches and "philly" style beef sandwiches. I decided to use my remaining meat for this dish. You could easily use left over pot roast for this as well. Or you can throw a small roast in the crock pot to shred up.

And homemade enchilada sauce! Who knew it was that easy! Never buying it again!

Shredded Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada ingredients:

2 cups shredded beef
2 cups drained beans (black, pinto whatever. I used kidney this time.)
2.5 cups shredded cheese, divided. (I suggest cheddar, mexi blend, or pepperjack)
1 can diced green chills
8 tortillas (medium)

Sauce ingredients:
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp flour
2 heaping tbsp chili powder
8oz tomato sauce
1 cup broth (or water in a pinch)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

In a pan over medium, heat oil. Whisk in flour and chili powder. Cook for 1 minute

Whisk in all other ingredients. Bring up to heat, and then put on low for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the beef, beans, 3/4 cup cheese, can of chilis, and a few spoonfuls of sauce.

In a 9x13 pan, ladle a bit of sauce on the bottom. Enough to just coat the bottom.

Assemble enchiladas and place seam side down in pan.

Top with remaining sauce and then cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until heated through.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

German Pancakes

I believe there are multiple names for this yumminess. I was introduced to this by my husbands family, and its a nice yummy change to the breakfast routine

Its kind of a cross between a omelet and a pancake. Its great with syrup or jam.

German Pancakes


4 tbsp butter
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
pinch of salt

Place a 9x13 pan in a oven an heat to 450.

Meanwhile, whip together on high the eggs, milk, flour, and salt.

Once oven is preheated, add butter to the hot pan. Once melted, pour the batter into the pan. Cook 15-20 minutes, until pancake is raised up the sides of the pan and are nice and browned. This will expand a lot and then collapse a bit once its out of the oven.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oatmeal Banana Bread Cookies

I was craving some sort of oatmeal cookies the other day, and I had a bag full of banana halves from my toddler deciding he doesn't really dig bananas anymore, so I decided to make some banana cookies. These are soft and delicious.

Oatmeal Banana Bread Cookies


1 1/2 cups flour (I did half all purpose and half whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1 3/4 cup old fashioned/rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips or nuts or a combo thereof.

Preheat oven to 375

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and clove.

In another bowl, mix butter, applesauce, brown sugar, egg, and banana.

Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Add oats and chips/nuts.

Drop by the spoonful (or cookie scoop) onto a ungreased cookie sheet or Silpat.

Bake at 375 for around 12-15 minutes. Cookies are still soft, but just barely starting to brown on the edges.

Store in a closed container in a cool place.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


How interesting that my 200th post is my chili recipe. I have actually made this a dozen or more times since I started blogging, but I felt nervous about posting it. I figured basically everyone has "their chili recipe" and no one would bother wanting to try mine. Which is sad, because its GOOD. So I decided to blog it today. And I hope that some people try it.

I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Corn is one. I know I have seen it in a few chili recipes before, but I really like it. It gives a nice visual change, but also a sweetness.

Another is worcestershire sauce. Nectar of the gods.

Roasted red bell peppers is my latest addition. Yum!

And last but not least....a packet of brown gravy mix. It is worth it to toss out my "crunchy" card for this. I think it helps thicken it up a bit and gives a boost of flavor. I don't think I can replicate it well enough.

Also, for the longest time, I seasoned it with 1 packet of mild chili seasoning and 1 packet of hot chili seasoning. And in a pinch, I still do. But using the regular seasonings is cheaper and you don't get all the anti caking additives and what not. And you can also season to your own personal tastes.

All my seasoning amounts are guesses. I use my palm to measure. So feel free to add more if you feel it needs it.

I also *highly highly* suggest throwing this all together the night before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight, and then letting it cook on low all day. Time is the biggest tip on this. Every day it sits, it tastes better and better.

You can use 3 cans beans in this (whatever type you like. I do kidney and pinto) or you can make up some dried beans. One bag of dried beans is a little less than 4 cans, so when I do this, I make a large batch of chili with the higher amount of beef and maybe an extra can of tomatoes and just freeze some leftovers so we don't eat it for a week.

If you use that many beans, it might be too big for a normal crock pot, and you might need to use your stock pot on the stove.

I posted this on another recipe, but my new favorite way to cook dried beans is this:

Inspect and rinse beans

Put in a oven safe lidded pot with 1.5 inches of water on top.

Bring to boil, cover, and place in 275 oven for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes. Drain and wah-la!



1-2 lbs ground meat. (depends on how meaty you like it. I use either beef or turkey and it doesn't make a huge difference)
2 onions, diced
28oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
4oz can tomato paste
2 cups frozen corn
1 small jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and rinsed and chopped
6 cups of drained beans of choice (around 3 cans)
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
1 packet brown gravy mix
hot sauce (I like Chalula, and use this to help make it as hot or mild as you like)
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp seasoning salt (lowrys or the like)
1 tsp-1 tbsp red pepper flakes (to your heat preference)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander

In a large skillet, cook the meat and onion until meat is cooked through.

In a large crock pot or stock pot, combine meat, onion, all tomato products, corn, bell peppers, and beans.

In a medium bowl, whisk all remaining ingredients (with a little water if needed) and add to pot.

Add enough water to cover all ingredients.

Preferably, let sit overnight in fridge and cook low all day long.

We serve ours with fritos, shredded cheddar, and sour cream.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baked Mac and Cheese

Sometimes you just need cheesy, gooey, comfort food. And in my opinion, the blue box stuff doesn't deliver.

This yummy stuff is based on Alton Brown's recipe. And Alton Brown knows his stuff!

And sorry I don't have a better picture. Each time I make it, we dive in too fast to get a great picture.

Its really important to not buy preshredded cheese for this.

Baked Mac and Cheese

1/2 pound pasta
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, fine diced
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
1 tbsp garlic powder
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
8 oz fresh grated sharp cheddar
4-6 oz fresh grated gouda cheese

2 tbsp melted butter
2/3rd cup panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 375

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in flour, mustard, and garlic, and cook 3 more minutes, stirring constantly

Whisk in milk, paprika, turmeric, and S&P. Add the bay leaf and simmer 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Remove pot from heat, stir in cheese, and then stir in pasta. Pour into sprayed casserole dish.

Mix the melted butter and bread crumbs well, and sprinkle on top of the pasta.

Cook 25-30 minutes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tuscan Stuffed Shells

With all these yummy complimentary flavors meshed together, how can these not be delectable?

You could easily substitute the cheese topping with a jar of alfredo sauce if you prefer. I think it would be delicious either way.

This makes a large casserole dish full. So you can freeze half, or just have a lot of leftovers!

You can easily add or subtract ingredients to suit your tastes. Some chopped katamala olives would be good in here I am sure, but our family doesn't care for them much.

You can buy the roasted bell peppers, or just do it yourself. Just rub some oil on the peppers, toss them under the broiler for a few minutes each side, and put them in a covered bowl for 15 minutes to steam the skin off. Remove the skin, seeds, and stem and chop!

Tuscan Stuffed Shells


1 box jumbo pasta shells (around 35)
2 cups shredded and chopped cooked chicken (approx)
6 oz cream cheese, softened (could easily use ricotta)
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out. (I only used 3/4ths of the box)
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup shredded parmesan
2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes (in oil) chopped
i jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped up
few pinches of salt and pepper

Boil the shells as directed on box, using the lower time. (IE if it says 12-15 minutes, do 12) Drain and rinse in cold water.

While boiling, combine the chicken, cream cheese, spinach, a handful of the mozzarella, half the parmesan, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and a little S&P. Mix well.

Using a spoon or your hands, generously stuff the shells. If you have a little extra, go back and stuff a little more.

Top with remaining cheese and cover with tin foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and they are warmed through.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Savory Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I had the desire to use more sweet potatoes in our meals and thought it would be fun to do a spin on twice baked potatoes. The saltiness of the feta and bacon and the slight heat of the poblano counteract the sweet potatoes well.

You could substitute a can of diced green chilis for the poblano if you wish.

Yes, I said "meanwhile" about 10 times in this recipe, but its nicely spaced so you can do everything as everything else is cooking. The timing of the recipe is very smooth.

Savory Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes


1 poblano pepper
4 medium sweet potatoes (comparably sized)
2 tbsp oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, skins on
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
8 slices of bacon, divided
4 oz crumbled feta, divided
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle a little oil on the poblano pepper. Toss on the oven rack and turn on the broiler. Check often and rotate. All surfaces should be charred. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or tin foil.

Preheat oven to 375.

Scrub the sweet potatoes, pat dry, and poke with fork.

Lightly coat in oil, sprinkle generously with salt, and place directly on the rack of a preheated oven. Bake 45-60 minutes, until fork tender.

Meanwhile, place diced onion with a drizzle of oil on a smaller sheet of tin foil and wrap up into a packet. Do the same with the garlic cloves. Place in the oven until potatoes are done.

Meanwhile, use a baking sheet (with a metal rack if you have it) and place bacon on it. Also place in the oven. Check often, should take around 20 minutes depending on how thick. When done, remove from oven and let cool and let the rest continue to cook

Meanwhile, take roasted pepper out of the bowl, remove skin, seeds, and stem. Dice. Place in a bowl with 2/3rds the feta, the oregano, greek yogurt, and 6 of the pieces of bacon, crumbled.

When potatoes are done, take everything out and let cool enough to handle. Add the onions to the bowl and squeeze the creamy roasted garlic into the bowl. Discard the skins.

Slice the top off of the sweet potatoes. Scoop out the insides. Mash in the bowl with everything else. Spoon back into the skins, top with remaining bacon.

Place in the oven, bake 20-30 minutes, until heated through. Top with feta and bake 5 minutes more (if desired).

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chipotle Chili

The quinoa in this mimics the ground meat found in most chilis. The sweet potato and chipotle are a nice change from the norm. Its hearty and filling, but very low on calories. A really good stew that will be made again. This makes enough for plenty of leftovers! Use your big pot

Chipotle Chili


1 lb dried black beans
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 chilis from canned chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
28 oz diced tomatoes, not drained
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup dried quinoa, rinsed

sour cream
green onions

I came across this new way to make dried beans and its AMAZING. I'll share with you here.

Preheat oven to 250

Dump 1 pound of black beans out. Discard any rocks or broken beans. Rinse and drain them.

Place in a oven safe pot (dutch oven works well) and cover with 1 1/2 inch of water.

Bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drain and presto! Perfect beans

Melt the butter in a stock pot over medium. Add onions and cook a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes more. Add the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and chilis. Cook 1 minute, stirring continuously.

Add the tomatoes and juice from tomatoes as well as the black beans. Add enough water (or broth if you have some handy) to cover the beans and then some.

Bring to a rapid simmer.

Add sweet potatoes and quinoa. Once to a high simmer, reduce a little and cook for 45-60 minutes until done. Add more liquid during the process if needed.

Add toppings and serve.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

Oh my goodness this was so yummy. I actually doubled it and froze half. With fall and winter coming (for all you people lucky enough to not habitat the surface of the sun), this is a GREAT recipe to keep on hand. This bell pepper loving family will be making this often.

I made it with ground turkey, but italian sausage, ground beef, or ground chicken would be equally good. Or any combination there of.

You can make this more or less bell pepper-y too

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup


1 lb ground meat
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeno, deseeded and deribbed, diced (optional)
5 bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14 oz can petite cut diced tomatoes, not drained
1 small can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
couple shakes hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups cooked rice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat, onion, garlic, and jalapeño in a large skillet on medium until meat is done.

Add meat mix, bell peppers, broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, basil, oregano, and hot sauce.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until peppers are desired doneness. 15-30 minutes

Serve over a scoop of rice and top with cheese.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Enchilada Casserole

This a great recipe that you can toss most of the ingredients in the crock pot and cook for a few hours, stir in a few more ingredients and finish in the oven. Super comforting and satisfying. I doubled it and froze half.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Enchilada Casserole


2 chicken breasts (can use frozen. Add an hour to low crockpot cook time)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can diced green chilis
15 oz red enchilada sauce, divided
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 medium tortillas, torn into 2 inch chunks

In a crockpot, combine chicken, beans, chilis, 1/3rd of the enchilada sauce, and salsa. Cook on high 1 hour and low 3.

Remove breasts and let cool enough to shred (or use forks). Preheat oven to 400

Add chicken back along with yogurt, corn, cheese and tortillas. Stir well 

Spray a casserole dish and place mixture in, evenly.

Top with reserved enchilada sauce and the cheese

Cook for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is melted and its heated through

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Garlic and Dijon Pork Chops

Pork chops are always on sale in one form or another, and its a lean cut of meat, so its something I try to keep around for a fast meal.

This sauce is zippy and light, but still comforting.

(lighting made it a interesting orange in the picture, haha)

Garlic and Dijon Pork Chops


4 pork chops
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
8 big cloves of garlic, sliced
3/4 cup dry white (one of the mini sized bottles)
1 cup broth
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 shakes hot sauce
1 tbsp fresh chopped basil, parsley, chives, or green onions

Preheat large skillet on medium high heat

Add butter and oil.

Salt and pepper chops generously.

Place in hot pan and sear on both sides until browned. Remove from pan.

Add garlic and cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously

Add wine and scrap all the brown bits off. Add broth

Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium low and add pork chops. Cook until cooked through, 145 degrees internal. Thin pork chops would be about 5-7. Thick ones 7-10.

Remove chops and cover with tin foil.

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, worcestershire, hot sauce, and basil. Whisk into pan sauces.

Heat until bubbling. Simmer on a low temp for a few minutes until thickened. If not thick enough for your taste, scoop out some liquid, whisk with a tbsp corn starch, and whisk back into the sauce.

Spoon sauce over chops and serve.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roasted Cabbage

When I saw a Martha Stewart recipe circling pinterest, I decided we needed to try it. And that was 2 weeks ago, and we have made it 3 more times! Roasting just makes everything delicious.

Roasted Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp butter, melted
1tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450

Slice the garlic into 3/4 inch slice rounds

Combine the butter and oil. Brush a large cookie sheet lightly

Place the rounds onto the sheet. Slice the garlic clove in half and rub it all over the top of the slices.

Brush with the butter/oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper

Place in oven and cook 20-30 until dark and roasty.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls

These are delectable. Cake pops are a little tedious, but really easy. And since we are in the season of

Of course yummy pumpkin ones are needed.

You can use 3/4ths of a can of store bought frosting if you'd like, but I prefer homemade cream cheese frosting. *EDIT* for all that is holy and good, do NOT use store bought! I had to dump an entire recipe out because it tasted like the can. GROSS. Horrible. Awful. Don't do it

You can also use white chocolate almond bark if you prefer. I like regular chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls


1 box spice cake mix
1 can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 block 1/3rd fat cream cheese, room temp
3 tbsp butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

1 package chocolate almond bark, divided
2 tbsp coconut oil, divided

1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon (vietnamese if you can find it)

Mix the cake mix, pumpkin, and yogurt (omit the box mix ingredients)

Cook it according to box instructions. Let cool completely

In a mixing bowl, whip frosting ingredients until well combined

Crumble the cake mix into the mixing bowl. With a large spoon or your hand, mix the cake into the frosting until it disappears.

Form into walnut sized balls. Place on parchment paper lined pan and freeze 1 hour, up to 3 days.

Melt half the almond bark in the microwave at 15-30 second bursts. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil and mix well. Mix the salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Using a fork, swirl the ball in the chocolate and scoop up with a fork. Tap the excess off and immediately sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

Let set on parchment paper until dried.

Keep chilled if using homemade frosting. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas

Sometimes waiting stuff to cook one at a time so you can start another is just plain annoying. Like pancakes and waffles. Then mama is always the last one to eat.

This way you can cook everyones quesadillas at once!

This is a fast and cheap meal. A great way to spread out some of the meat from cooking a entire chicken.

I like to serve with a side of equal parts sour cream and salsa mixed.

Another great thing is this is so easy to customize for taste. My son doesn't love peppers and onions, so we just put cheese and chicken on his.

Oven Baked Chicken Quesadillas

1-1 1/2 cup leftover chicken
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 tsp oil
1 cup cheese
6-8 8 inch tortillas
oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 425
Toss the chicken with the salsa.

Put the onion, pepper, oil, salt and pepper in a skilled that was heated over medium. Cook until softened.

Brush the baking sheet lightly with oil

Place all ingredients in half the tortilla, fold over, and place on baking sheet. Repeat for all.

Brush the tops with oil.

Bake for 5 minutes and flip gently. Cook for 5 more minutes

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Greek Salad with Cucumber and Zucchini "Noodles"

So, faux noodles have been a fad lately. One with which I decided to jump in with both feet. I made a veggie noodle side dish last week, and that inspired my husband to suggest making my greek pasta salad with zucchini noodles instead. I saw his zucchini noodles, and decided to raise him cucumber noodles.

The end result was amazing. Super fresh, light, and satisfying.

For these noodles,  you will need thisthisthis, or this. I have the first two. I used a mandolin this time. I used the thin julienne plate, and sliced the short way.

You can peel the veggies first if you wish. I peeled the cucumber, but not the zucchini.

Greek Salad with Cucumber and Zucchini "Noodles"

3-5 large zucchini, noodled
2 cucumbers, noodled
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp chopped black olives
3 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
pinch of salt and pepper

Place the zucchini noodles in a strainer and toss with 4-5 pinches of salt (evenly spread) Let drain for 30 minutes.

Add cucumber noodles and gently squeeze excess water from veggies (don't go crazy. Just a few squeezes)

Place in bowl with tomatoes and feta.

In a container with a lid, add black olives, oil, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings. Close lid and shake well.

Toss veggies with dressing. Best if chilled a hour or two.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Classic Pot Roast, with a Twist

Everyone does pot roast their own way. I just thought I would share mine!

The most important part? Sear the meat before putting it in the crock pot.

Classic Pot Roast, with a Twist


1 3-4 pound pot roast
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil
1 package onion soup mix (or make your OWN :) )
1 mini bottle of red wine (about 3/4 cup if you want to use a big bottle and drink the rest)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
4 carrots, peeled and 2 inch chunks
3 stalks of celery, 2 inch chunks
2 onions, peeled and quartered (or 1 leek, washed and cut into 1 inch rings)
2 parsnips, peels and 2 inch chunks (optional, but recommend)
1 pound new potatoes, halved (or gold/red potatoes quartered. I used yummy white avalanche)

Heat a skillet on high until piping hot. Add the oil. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the roast. Place in skillet and let sit 1-2 minutes to get nice and golden. Repeat on all surfaces.

Place roast in crock pot. Mix onion soup mix, wine, vinegar, and worchestershire and pour over roast. Cover and cook on high 2 hours.

Add veggies to the sides of the roast (as much as possible) and lower heat to low and cook 4-6 more hours.

If you want to make a gravy, strain out the liquid. Melt 2-3 tbsp butter in a skillet on medium. Add 2-3 tbsp flour and cook while stirring for 3 minutes. Whisk in as much liquid as needed to make the gravy consistency you want.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"Grilled" Cheese Stuffed Dinner Rolls

These rolls are easy and yummy, stuffed or not.

This makes a easy meal for a group. No more layering, flipping, burning sandwiches. Easy peasy.

These can easily be adapted for a pasta meal. Stuff with fresh mozzarella (and basil too!) and add italian seasoning to the brushed butter.

I tried 3 different types this time. American, cheddar, and a mix of american and cheddar. American had the most "classic" grilled cheese flavor, but I really liked the balance of the 2 types of cheese.

"Grilled" Cheese Stuffed Dinner Rolls


2 cups (a little more if needed) flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk, warm
1/4 cup water, water
2 tbsp butter, melted

18 chunks cheese of choice (For american cheese, fold slices into a cube)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

Mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixer bowl.

Mix together milk, water, and butter. Add to bowl.

Mix together until well combined, scraping bowl if needed. Put on dough hook attachment and turn on "2". Once the dough is a nice ball on the hook, let knead 8 minutes. If dough sticks to bottom in the middle, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time.

Remove hook, cover, and let sit 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 18 pieces. (half. Each half into 3rds. Each 3rd into thirds)

Roll into a ball. Flatten into a disk. Place cheese into center and pinch to seal. Place seal side down onto a greased 9 inch round pan. 9 in each pan.

Place in cold oven. Turn on to 375. Once to heat, cook 20-25 minutes, until tops are a deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and brush with the butter (mixed with garlic powder and salt)

Let cool 5-10 minutes and serve

Easy Black Bean Soup

This meal couldn't be quicker, more flavorful, or easier. Its as simple as heating the ingredients. Goes fabulously with a fast cheese quesadilla

Some diced bell pepper would be a great addition if you have any on hand

Easy Black Bean Soup

 3 cans low sodium black beans, not drained
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup medium heat salsa
2 tsp cumin
salt to taste
(1 drained can Rotel or petite diced tomatoes would go well too)

optional toppings:
sour cream
crumbled tortilla chips
shredded cheese

In a sauce pan, heat beans, broth, salsa, and cumin. Taste and add salt if needed

*you can take half the soup, blend it, and combine it for a thicker soup*

Serve with any or all of the toppings listed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reuben Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love reubens. A lot.

So, any way I can incorporate that into our lives, I will make it happen.

We love stuffing peppers here, so it wasn't long before this gem was born.

The rye topping is a important part of this process. It gives the bread flavor that is so important the entire profile of the dish.

Reuben Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 bell peppers, cut in half stem to end, and stem and seeds removed
8 slices thin sliced swiss cheese
3/4th pound corned beef, from deli, thin sliced
8 oz can sauerkraut, drained and squeezed
1/3rd cup thousand island dressing
2 slices rye bread
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350

Bring a pot of heavily salted water to boil. Place the peppers in and let boil 3 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to handle

Meanwhile, chop or tear up the corned beef into smaller pieces and mix with sauerkraut and dressing.

Place 1 slice of cheese inside all the peppers. Stuff with mixture. Top with another slice of cheese.

Place on baking sheet and cook 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, put bread in a food processor or blender, and pulse until coarse crumbs form.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium. Add crumbs and stir until well combined. Take off heat

Take out peppers, and top with crumbs. Put back in oven and broil 2-3 minutes (watching CONSTANTLY) until crumbs are toasted

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Maple and Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Pancake Muffins with Homemade Cinnamon Chips

I kinda hate pancakes. You have to stand right there and watch them, and at least one always burns.

My sister always tells me about these amazing cinnamon chips you can get in the store, but I have never been able to find them! Even in the holiday season they evade me.

So as I am googling the chips to see if I can find anywhere that makes them local, I stumble upon a few recipes for homemade ones! Well, pfftt. I'll just do that! Cheaper anyway. And better ingredients. I adapted the recipe and whipped them up toot sweet. Super fast and easy. And they would last a really long time in a airtight container

And pumpkin. I mean really?? Of course cinnamon and pumpkin.

I was thinking about how yummy the cream cheese frosting is on the pumpkin bars I make, and BOOM. Cream cheese stuffed pumpkin pancake muffins. Sweeten it with maple syrup and its golden.

These will not brown up the same as normal muffins. You have to go by feel.

Maple and Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Pancake Muffins with Homemade Cinnamon Chips


Cinnamon Chips (recipe below)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp vinegar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (about 1/2 can. NOT pie filling)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/3rd cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 block cream cheese, room temp
1/3rd cup maple syrup

Cinnamon chips:
2/3rd cup sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp corn syrup ( I used organic corn syrup. Nice compromise)

Mix until well combined and crumbly. Press thin and even onto a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet. Cook 35 minutes at 200 degrees. Let cool completely (I just let it sit and dry overnight) Use a pizza cutter to cut into small squares. Place in airtight container.

Add vinegar and milk and let sit a few minutes. Turn oven to 350 and spray 2 muffin pans

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Combine milk/vinegar, egg, and pumpkin. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in cinnamon chips

Put a spoonful of the muffin mix at the bottom of all cups(maybe leave 4 undone just in case). Put a dollup of cream cheese mix in the middle of each. Top with more mix, filling about 2/3rds full.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until muffin top springs back and keeps its shape when lightly pressed.

Let cool in pan 5 minutes then take out.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ham and Potato Soup

This soup is cheap and easy. Its a white soup, but since its just milk added, it doesn't seem overly heavy. Its very filling and nice to have on a lazy cold day. Not that in Florida I have any idea what those are like anymore. So I just crank the a/c and pretend! I think next time I will finish it with some fresh parsley

Ham and Potato Soup

4 tbsp butter, divided
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 8oz ham steak, diced into cubes
3 tbsp flour
4 cups diced gold or red potatoes
5 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp butter in a stock pot or dutch oven on medium. Add onion, celery,carrots and ham. Cook until fragrant and the onions are getting transparent.

Add the potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes.

In a smal saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add milk and whisk until smooth. Heat until bubbling, stirring often. Once starting to bubble, add to large soup pot.

Let cook 5 minutes and taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cheesy Mexican Orzo

This is cheesy and spicy noodle goodness. If you like things more mild, cut the rotel in half. This is a fast and easy side, done in about 25 minutes.

Cheesy Mexican Orzo

2 tbsp butter
11/2 cups orzo
2 cups chicken stock (or veggie)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can rotel, drained
1 cup mexi blend or cheddar cheese

In a sauce pan over medium high, melt the butter and add the orzo. Cook 2-3 minutes until toasted.

Add the stock, tomato sauce, and rotel. Stir. Once boiling, lower heat to medium low and cook 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed, stirring often.

Add cheese, stir, and remove from heat. Add salt if needed

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cilantro Pesto Roasted Chicken Thighs

I have been thinking about this dish for weeks. I just love cilantro. And I was looking at a basic pesto recipe a long time ago and thought about a mexican inspired pesto. And from that spurred this dish. Its very fresh and flavorful. The broth from the roasted chicken is amazing. The chicken was very moist. The pesto could be made a day or two ahead of time. Once the pesto is made, this dish couldn't be any easier. Try to marinade 24 hours, or at least several hours.

Cilantro Pesto Roasted Chicken Thighs

1 poblano pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1/3rd cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cotija, manchego, queso blanco, or parmesan cheese. Grated or crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil

4 pounds bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 8)
2 limes

Coat the poblano pepper in a bit of oil and pop under the broiler. Check on it every couple minutes (literally 2-3. It doesn't take long) and rotate it until all sides are equally browned and bubbled. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit 10 minutes. Remove outer skin. Take out the stems and seeds. Dice.

Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, toast the seeds over medium for a couple minutes, watching constantly. They will burn fast. Let cool a few minutes

Add the seeds to a food processor. Pulse until they are ground pretty fine.

Rip the top half of the cilantro bunch off. You want mostly just the leaves. I didn't go crazy pulling off the stems though. Add to processor and pulse until chopped very fine.

Add the garlic, zest, juice, and cheese. Pulse until combined.

Pour in olive oil as the processor is running on low. Pour until pesto is smooth.

Add salt as needed (different cheese have different salt levels)

Stir in the diced poblano.

Mix in large ziplock with chicken until its well coated. Marinate several-24 hours in refrigerator

1 hour before cooking, slice limes and add limes to chicken bag and mix well again.

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with tin foil. Cook 40 minutes. Remove tin foil, turn on broiler and cook until chicken is browned. Keep a close eye.

Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Kid Friendly Chicken and Broccoli Nuggets

So I came across a post a while back about a theory that one of the reasons that kids like processed chicken nuggets and patties is that the blended nature of the chicken makes the texture easier for small mouths to true. Well, that, and all the yummy yummy additives. So I decided to make my own chicken nuggets! And I also had some broccoli that needed to be used up. So while I was blending up chicken, why not steam and blend in some broccoli too? I decided to experiment by mixing in the broccoli into half the nuggets. This made them slightly crumblier, but still good and tasty! Try it with spinach or kale too! My kid likes SPICY food so I added a little hot sauce and cayenne. Totally optional! He also really likes to dip them. So a little ketchup, homemade ranch, or homemade honey mustard (as easy as it sounds. A little honey and a little mustard mixed) goes a long way

You can add the broccoli or not! Either way they are yummy. I think adding some cheddar cheese in with broccoli ones would be super yummy too!

You can use a whole chicken (toss in the crock pot. Easy peasy) and double the rest of the ingredients to make a huge amount you can freeze and use for weeks and weeks.

Kid Friendly Chicken and Broccoli Nuggets

Makes 16-20 depending on size.

2 chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and cut into large chunks (I just baked in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, covered)
2 eggs
1 tsp hot sauce (optional for the spicy guys)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup broccoli, steamed soft and cooled
2/3rds cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8tsp cayenne pepper (again, optional)

In a food processor, place the cooked chicken chunks and pulse gently until chicken is shredded into small pieces. Maybe the size of rice.

Place chicken, eggs, garlic and onion powders, salt, parmesan cheese, and broccoli (and hot sauce) in a bowl and mix until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, and cayenne (if you want).

Take a glop the size of a ping pong-golf ball smush into a nugget shape in your hands. Its a loose mixture, so be firm with it and pack it down. Place in the bowl of bread crumbs, push down, and flip to the other side and press firm. Repeat with all the chicken.

Now you can either place on a sheet pan and freeze through. Then transfer to a ziplock. My 2 year old eats 2-3 of these in one sitting.

Or you can lightly spray a sheet pan, and pop into a 425 oven for 5-10 minutes (10+ for frozen)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Mini Peppers

These little gems are AMAZING. This is my husbands favorite stuffed pepper. And that is saying something. You could always use a regular bell pepper of course, but these are fun and also great as a appetizer at a party. 

For the steak, you can pop the steak into the freezer for a hour and use a really sharp knife to cut thin slices. OR, you can fully freeze the steak and VERY CAREFULLY use a mandolin to slice very thin slices! It was amazingly easy. Or you can ask the butcher to slice for you.

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Mini Peppers

10-12 mini bell peppers (or 4 regular, blanched for 3 minutes in boiling water) cut in half and deseeded and deribbed
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, fine diced
1 half green bell pepper, fine diced (optional. I liked the addition because the mini's lacked the green bell pepper taste that is so vital.
1 cup mushrooms, fine diced
1 6-8 oz sirloin steak, sliced very thinly
1 tsp dried mustard
2 tsp worchestershire sauce

6 slices provolone

Dice the veggies very small. This is a small pepper we are stuffing!

Preheat oven to 375

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter, mushrooms, onion, and pepper

Cook 5-8 minutes until softened. Remove from skillet into a bowl.

Turn skillet to high.

Toss the steak slices in the dried mustard and worchestershire sauce. Add to the skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes until done, breaking the steak up a little with your utensil.

Add steak to veggies.

Shred cheese into strips. Place some cheese inside the pepper halves and top with filling. Once all are completed, place in oven for 20 minutes.

Put out tray, top with more cheese slices and return to oven for 5 minutes until cheese melts.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Basic Fried Rice

Fried rice. Such a yummy thing. Its actually pretty easy to make. The biggest trick is to make the rice the day before. Chilled day old rice will make this dish turn out just right and not a mushy mess. This is a standard basic take on the dish, but there are many ways to add to it!

Fried Rice

4 cups cooked day old rice, lumps broken up
2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari

In a large skillet or wok, heat to medium. Once hot, add 1 tbsp oil. Add the onion and cook a few minutes until soft.

Add eggs and move around the pan a lot, until barely cooked. Remove from pan.

Wipe pan clean with paper towel. Turn heat to high. Once very hot, add oil

Add rice and stir around. Let rice sit undisturbed a minute to fry. Toss rice and let sit again.

Add soy sauce, peas and carrots, and egg/onion and toss well. Let all ingredients heat up and remove from heat. Taste and add a splash more soy sauce if desired.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

Sometimes its nice to be able to make a asian influenced meal without paying the $$$ for take out. I LOVE asian veggies. Cannot get enough. But unless you get a plain veggie meal, there isn't nearly enough veggies in the dishes I like to satisfy me. So this made me happy. You can easily leave the chicken out for a meatless meal.

Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry

2-3 chicken breasts
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red/orange/yellow pepper diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knot of ginger, grated
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sriracha (or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes)
1 tbsp cornstarch

1 can baby corn, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1 can diced water chestnuts, drained

In a slow cooker, put the chicken and soy sauce in and cook on high until shreddable. 3-4 hours on high. Cool and shred. Can be done in advance

Put 1 tbsp sesame oil in a large skillet on medium. Add onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Cook 5-8 minutes until softened.

In a jar with a lid, put 1 tbsp sesame oil, the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sriracha, and cornstarch. Shake well. Add to pan.

Add chicken, baby corn, and water chestnuts. Cook 5 minutes until heated through and sauce starts to thicken.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicken and Herbed Dumplings

Can't get much more comfort food than this. Super comforting, filling, and flavorful. Use home made stock for even more flavor! I put a whole chicken in the crock pot the day before. Shred the chicken and put the bones and some veggies back in the crock pot overnight for some intense stock. Learn more here

Chicken and Herbed Dumplings


Shredded meat from one whole chicken. (Can use rotisserie. Or about about 3-3 1/2 cups shredded chicken from breasts, thighs, whatever you want)
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp dried parsley
8 cups low sodium chicken stock (or home made ;) )
1/4 cup half and half or cream
1 cup frozen peas

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley and/or chives
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup milk or half and half

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook 5 minutes.

Add thyme, turmeric, and parsley. Stir well.

Add chicken stock and chicken meat and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20-30 minutes.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and herbs together. Add milk and butter and mix until just combined

Drop by heaping spoonfuls in a even layer into the soup. They will expand as they cook.

Cover and cook 20 minutes. Do not peek. Uncover and test dumplings with a tooth pick. Should come out cleanly.

Add peas and half and half and cook 5-10 more minutes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Baked Ziti

Ooey gooey cheesy pasta. Nothing to not like about this recipe. Roasted red bell peppers and fresh mozzarella set this dish apart. Buff it up (or make vegetarian by replacing the sausage) even more by adding mushrooms and spinach. Add the mushrooms in with the onion while cooking and add thawed and drained frozen spinach with the cheeses.

Baked Ziti

1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1 lb sweet italian sausage
28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14oz can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ziti pasta, cooked to box instructions minus 1 minute cook time
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 16oz container whole ricotta
1 8oz package fresh mozzarella pearls (pictured below)
1 egg
1 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Heat the butter in a deep skillet on medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until transparent.

Add the sausage and cook until well browned. Drain a little, but not all, of the fat off.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer while the pasta is cooking. Preheat oven to 350

Combine the parmesan, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, bell pepper, and egg in a large bowl.

Rinse off pasta in cool water to slow cooking.

Toss pasta and cheeses.

Add 4 cups approximately of the tomato sauce to the pasta and combine.

In a deep lasagna or 9x13 pan, ladle a little of the sauce onto the bottom. Just enough to lightly coat.

Spoon half the pasta into the pan. Spoon half the remaining sauce on top. Repeat. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.

Cook 30 minutes until bubbling. Top with herbs and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.

Example of the mozzarella I used. Its in the special cheese section

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dill Pull-A-Part Bread

There is something about dill bread that is just so warm and comforting. Same is true about monkey bread. Combing the two couldn't have been a better idea.

This makes a mini loaf or larger ramekin sized amount. Double it for a full loaf pan and just adjust the timing accordingly. (Just add 5-15 minutes to the cook time, until it gets the golden brown top)

Dill Pull-A-Part Bread
Adapted from BlueEyedBaker

2 1/4 flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp dill
2/3 cup lukewarm milk
1 egg
1 tbsp melted butter

Dill butter:
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp dill

1 tbsp butter, melted for brushing.

In a stand mixer, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and dill.

Turn to 2 and add egg, milk, and butter.

Mix well. If too dry, add a splash or two of milk. Too wet, add a tbsp of flour at a time.

Knead in machine for a 2 minutes

Remove from mixer bowl, spray bowl with oil, and place dough back in. Cover with a towel and let rise 45 minutes.

Combine butter and dill.

Punch down dough.

Roll into ping pong sized balls. Dip in dill butter and place into loaf pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat to 375.

Cook for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with butter.

Let cool a few minutes and dive in!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sautéed Zucchini with Garlic, Basil, and Feta

Its always good to have a few more zucchini and summer squash recipes in your arsenal. Husband isn't huge on squash, or basil for that matter, but he actually loved it! It has a really good flavor, and its a nice layered flavor.

Sautéed Zucchini with Garlic, Basil, and Feta


2 medium zucchini, cubed
2 medium summer squash, cubed
1 onion, small diced
4 large cloves of garlic, thin sliced
4 large basil leaves, fine chopped
2 tbsp butter.
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium.

Add all the ingredients, minus feta, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from heat, toss with feta, and serve

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ranch Roasted Potatoes

The combo of butter and oil in this helps the potatoes brown, but not boil.

You can use the store-bought ranch powder or make your own

This is a hearty but simple side dish that you can make from staples.

Ranch Roasted Potatoes


3 pounds gold or red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp oil of choice
3 tbsp ranch powder
3 tbsp grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425

Mix butter, oil, and seasoning together. Toss with potatoes and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Cover with foil and cook 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook until fork tender and browned.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Salisbury Steak

I am not much for things made from ground meats, but this is a nice comfort food and pretty economical and easy to make.

You can substitute the homemade gravy with a can of condensed french onion soup mix if you would like. The gravy takes little effort, but does take time so plan for that.

Salisbury Steak


2 1/2 cups beef stock (homemade or THIS)
2-3 yellow onions, sliced thin into rings
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

11/4 pounds ground burger (I used 90/10)
2 tbsp onion soup mix (bought or make it )
2 tsp dried mustard
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Place stock in a small sauce pan and boil for 10-20 minutes until reduced to 1.5 cups.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium and add onions. Cook, stirring often until well softened.

Remove around 1/4 cup of stock and whisk with cornstarch.

Add cornstarch slurry and onions to the stock and simmer on low for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all the patty ingredients except the meat. Add the meat and mix with your hands gently, but thoroughly. Form into 4 oval patties.

In the skillet, brown patties on medium high heat until no longer pink in the middle. It will depend on the thickness of the patty. 5-10 minutes. Drain fat.

Add gravy to the skillet (coating the patties) and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cherry Cheesecake Poppers

I know these have been going around pinterest for a while, but oh well! I have my own techniques on this, so I thought I would share.

Super yummy! Great for parties! And cherries are getting in season now!

I hated the idea of people having to spit out pits, so I took the time to dig the pits out. You probably dont have to do that. But it was worth it in my mind, and didn't take all that much longer.

I used one of these to depitt the cherries. I just pushed it in the bottom and twisted. A little over half the time that was all that was needed. The rest of the time, I had to use a opened paper clip to scoop the pit out.

Cherry Cheesecake Poppers


About 1.5 pounds cherries (I have no idea if I used that many, but you can eat the leftovers... Besides, not all have the stems, so you need more than you need)

1 block cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 small splash milk (maybe)

1 sleeve graham crackers blended into crumbs

De-pit cherries as described above, if desired.

Whip together the other ingredients except crumbs. If its too stiff, add the milk.

Hold cherry upside down. Use a small spoon (I used a baby spoon) to scoop about a teaspoon worth of filling onto the top (well, its the bottom. Opposite of the stem!!)

Turn over the cherry and place in the bowl of crumbs. Lightly rotate the cherry around, smoothing out the cream cheese to smush up the sides and get coated in crumbs. Repeat for all. Keep chilled

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sherri's Easy Shepherds Pie

Ok, shepherds pie is one of those things that you ask for a recipe, and 10 different people will give you 10 different recipes. So this is ONE version of shepherds pie. Actually...if you want to get technical about it, its a version of cottage pie. Shepherds pie actually uses lamb, and I just haven't gone there yet.

This makes a LOT but its good leftovers and cheap. You will need a bigger pan than a 9x13. A lasagna pan would be great, or split it between 2 smaller pans.

Sherri's Easy Shepherds Pie


3 pounds gold potatoes, cubed (peel if desire. I never do with golds)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1 lb lean burger
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 BIG cans french style green beans
2 cans diced tomatoes (I prefer the petite cut for this)
1 regular (14-16oz??) can tomato sauce
1 small (8oz?) can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in cold water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cook to fork tender. Drain.

Mash hot potatoes with butter, milk, and salt and pepper.

Brown burger, onion, and garlic until burger is cooked through. Drain if needed.

Mix burger with tomatoes, green beans, and tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Place burger mix in the bottom of the baking pan. Place glops of mashed potatoes on top and smooth down. Top with cheese.

Cover with foil and cook at 375 until heated through and bubbly. About 30 minutes. Take off foil and let cheese melt

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ranch Pasta Salad

I am usually more of a fan of oil based pasta salads as opposed to the creamy type. But this was a request from the Husband, so I couldn't refuse! And of course its yummy.

PS, its obvious that food picture people stir up the food in one bowl and then transfer it to the other bowl for a picture. Sorry, ain't nobody got time for that....

Ranch Pasta Salad


1 box pasta of choice
8 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small hot house cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 small can sliced black olives (optional)
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup ranch dressing, store bought or homemade. PLUS more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to directions on box. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking.

In a large bowl, combine all the other ingredients and add pasta and toss.

Chill at least one hour. Add more dressing as needed. After time, it absorbs the dressing and needs a tad more.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bacon, Spinach, and Mushroom Quiche

I have been working on making double of something and freezing one for later. Especially with new baby coming soon. Quiches are cheap, pretty easy, and freeze really well. There is also endless possibilities. Any type of meat, cheese, and veggies you want!

I went ahead and wrote the recipe for TWO quiches. I really recommend doing it this way and freezing one! If not, its really easy to halve the recipe

Bacon, Spinach, and Mushroom Quiche


2 pie crusts
1 lb bacon, cooked crisp and crumble
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed very well dry.
2 large shallots or 1 medium onion, diced
1 big clove garlic, minced
12oz of sliced mushrooms, cut into smaller pieces.
2 cups shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
8 eggs
3 cups of your choice milk, cream, half and half, buttermilk. (I used half whole milk, half buttermilk)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400
Arrange pie crusts in 2 pie pans. Pierce bottom with a fork a few times. Line/cover with tin foil. Cook 8 minutes covered. Uncover and cook for 3-5 more minutes, just starting to brown a little

Heat a big skillet with a little oil or bacon grease. Cook the shallots and garlic until starting to brown. Add mushrooms, and cook until soft. Take off heat.

Sprinkle bacon and spinach over the bottom of the pie crusts. Top with cheese. Put mushrooms and onions on top.

Whip together eggs and milk. Mix in a few generous pinches of salt and pepper

Ladle over the quiche fillings. There might be a little left over.

Lower oven heat to 350 and cook 40-50 minutes. Insert a knife into the middle and its done if it comes out clean.

Let cool 15 minute.

Freeze instructions. Let cool completely. Wrap well. Thaw in fridge overnight and cook at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until middle is warm

Friday, May 17, 2013

Italian Pasta Salad

This makes quite a bit, so use your big mixing bowl! Don't worry, it won't go to waste. This lasts several days in the fridge and is great for lunch.

The great things about pasta salads is the customization. If you don't like black olives, leave them out. Double the cheese if you would like. Tweak to your hearts content.

My friend came to visit me from Maine last week and she made pretty much this same pasta salad. Its so good I had to make it again. Its so fresh and light, it should be a staple for the entire summer.

PS, its Florida where I am...Its basically *always* summer. :)

PSS, this would be FANTASTIC with cheese tortellini. Seriously, do it...

Italian Pasta Salad

2 boxes of tri color rollitini, or 2 packages cheese tortellini
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved. Or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bubble package of pearl mozzarella (in the specialty cheese section. Cubed fresh mozzarella will do as well, just not as easy!)
1 can sliced black olives, drained
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts. Drained and chopped
1 hot house cucumber, diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (about 12 leaves)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cool water until pasta is cool

In a large mixing bowl, mix artichokes, tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, cucumber, and basil.

In a airtight jar, mix the dressing ingredients and shake well.

Add the pasta to the mixing bowl and put dressing on top. Stir to combine. Add more S&P if needed

Chill for an hour and serve.

If making in advance, test before serving and add a bit of olive oil if dry.