Saturday, April 30, 2011

Classic Lasagna

So we needed to add some pasta to the menu this week - so I figured I would make up some lasagna since that is the BEST leftover meal out there :)  I have to say - this might be my new favorite recipe for lasagna!  I literally licked the cheese mixture from the bowl I had mixed it in ....soooo good!!!  I listed another "old school" recipe I have from my Grandma.  That one is also really good - but has cottage cheese instead of ricotta, so try it out and let me know which one you like better!!!
Serves 8 - Bride and Groom Cookbook
8 oz ground beef
8 oz Italian sausage links, removed from casings and crumbled
salt and pepper
6 cups Marinara sauce (2 jars - 26oz each)
8 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz cream cheese (at room temp)
1 cup (2oz) grated Parmesan cheese
1 package (8oz:12 sheets) no boil lasagna noodles
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375.  Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with veggie oil cooking spray.  Combine the beef and sausage in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the meat is lightly browned, 8-10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl.  Add the marinara sauce to the meat and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl.  Season with pepper - set aside.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1 cup meat sauce.  Arrange a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (3 sheets) on top of the sauce.  Spread 1.5 cups of the meat sauce evenly on top.  Add half of the cheese mixture by spoonfuls evenly over the meat sauce, then scatter half of the basil leaves on top.  Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, 1.5 cups of meat sauce, remaining cheese mixture, and remaining basil leaves.  Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, 1.5 cups of meal sauce, and a final layer of lasagna noodles.  Spread remaining sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil - and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 10-15 minutes more.  Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagna - from Grandma Green
Serves 6
1lb beef
1/2 cup onion
Large can tomato sauce
Small can tomato paste
12 lasagna noodles
Cottage cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Slices mozzarella cheese

Brown hamburger - add 1/2 cup chopped onion.  Cook till tender.  Add large can tomato sauce, small can tomato paste, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic.  Cover and simmer 1.5 hours.

Cook about 12 lasagna noodles.  Line a 9x9 pan - spoon sauce on top.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoon cottage cheese, then 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, 2 slices mozzarella cheese.  Repeat until last layer - omit mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with grated cheese. 

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Friday, April 29, 2011


So this was SUPER good....I thought it was funny cause I made this for lunch - and I smelt like it ALL either make sure you have no where to go (or good gum..) - or you will smell like red onion all day!!  And I swear those are mozzarella cubes - not tofu, Ross :)  Super quick and totally worth it for either a side dish or a nice lunch meal!!  One suggestion would be to put grilled chicken or fish to make it more fitting for a whole meal too...
Makes 10-12 side dish / and 6-10 servings main dish - OBB

French bread - cut into 1 inch cubes (8 cups)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
5 large tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup EVOO
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss the bread cubes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool to room temp.

Combine the cucumber, yellow pepper, tomatoes, onion, mozzarella, and basil in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid.  Seal the jar and shake vigorously until combined.  Pour over veggies and add bread cubes.  Combine well.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before serving, stirring periodically.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Broccoli Salad

So this salad totally reminds me of St. Hubert potlucks....I hated broccoli as a kid, but whenever I saw this salad at the potluck - I always took it and loved appar I didn't hate broccoli (hehe).  Anyways - I was thinking about that when I made up the grocery list, so decided to rely on my memory and make up my own version of that salad.  It was pretty tasty - but feel free to play around with the amounts.  ahhh I'm excited already to eat this for lunch tomorrow!!
1 bunch broccoli
5 slices bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup raisins (or craisins)
1/4 red onion, chopped
6oz shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pork Chops in a Creamy Veggie Sauce

So I'm husband less for the next 3 weeks - as Rossy is working the night shift....but I still need to eat - and he needs dinner when he comes home at 7am :)  So I'm still going to cook!!  This was pretty good - but it wasn't my favorite pork dish of all time....I think it would be really good with chicken or something too.  I would make it again - I just can't say it was "amazing" or anything!
Makes 6 servings - Pampered Chef Cookbook - 193 calories / serving
nonstick spraying coating
6 pork ribs (cut 1/2 inch thick and  trimmed of fat)
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium green or red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon paprika
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
3 cups hot cooked noodles or rice

Spray an unheated 12-inch skillet with nonstick coating.  Preheat over medium heat.  Add pork chops; cook for 6 minutes.  Turn chops; add mushrooms and pepper.  Cook about 6 more minutes - or until the pork is slightly pink in the center and juices run clear.  Remove chops and veggies.

Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small mixing bowl - stir together soup, sour cream, milk, and paprika.  Stir mixture into skillet; heat to boiling.

Return chops and veggies to skillet.  Cook, covered, for 5 minutes.  Add tomato.  Cook for 1-2 min more or until heated through.  If desired, serve with noodles or rice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Juicy Lucy's

So even though it's rainy and cold out - this girl is ready for GRILL SEASON!!!  :)  So yeah, we made burgers tonight.  I won't claim that they taste as good as 5-8 club or Matt's....but on the Sodahl grill, they were pretty tasty!!  How can you go wrong with a burger full of CHEESE!!!  We made this with the Oven Baked Steak Fries and Fry Sauce ....yum!!
Ground Beef
1 egg (per patty)
Cheddar cheese (cut into 1 inch cubes -- see picture for perfect amount of cheese awesomeness!)
Garlic salt
Hamburger Buns

Mix egg into the beef (it makes it sticky and hard to form a patty - but don't helps hold it together in the end!)  Make into thin patties (2 patties per "Lucy")

Put cubes on top of a patty - see picture for how much we used.  Then grab another patty and put on top.  Pinch edges together and season with Lawry's and garlic salt.

Then grill until meat is done - and top with onion / lettuce (if desired).

Oven Baked Steak Fries and Fry Sauce

So I'm on this "fry" kick - and these were um - amazing!!  It was seriously something like you get in the restaurant, only I MADE THEM!!  hehe  They still are potatoes BUT at least they are baked and not fried - so a little more healthy.  Yeah the fry sauce uses real mayo - but hey, it's all about "dipping moderation" :)  This goes good with any dish that teams with fries....we made this with Juicy Lucy's!
Serves 4-6 - Our Best Bites Cookbook
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium russet potatoes, washed

**or another variation of spices - substitute 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, and 1/4 teaspoon parsley for the spices listed above**

Fry Sauce:
1/4 cup real mayo (no miracle whip!)
1/4 cup ketchup
2-3 teaspoons dill pickle relish

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix spices in a medium bowl.  Add olive oil and combine well.

Cut the potatoes into 8 wedges each.  Add potato wedge to seasonings and toss to coat.

Lightly crumble some foil and place it on a baking sheet.  Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray and then arrange potato wedges on foil.  This makes clean up easy because your potatoes won't stick, and it also ensures that they're cooked evenly.

Bake for about 40 minutes.  Then whisk fry sauce ingredients together and serve with fries.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bundt Coffee Cake

So we hosted Easter at our casa this year - and it was a success!!  We had 2 egg bakes, 2 quiches (one with meat / one without), mini sausages, fruit, and this bundt cake.  Perfect amount of food - and it fed about 20 of us!  My mom was nice enough to make the coffee cake, but I had to post it :)  And the festive picks totally add to the flavor!! 
From my Grandma Green
1 package yellow or white cake mix
1 package instant pudding mix
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts

In a large bowl, put cake mix, pudding mix, oil, and water.  Add 4 eggs (one at a time - beat well).  Then in another bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.

Grease bundt pan well.  Put 1 layer batter - 1 layer cinnamon mixture - continue.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Icing should be dribbles on top - 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoon milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

OR another tradition in our family is to have a "BUNNY CAKE" for our Easter Vigil party -- check out how cutie this is :)
Whooo and we also had a lovely Bloody Mary Bar - hmmmm!!  We had olives, beef and cheese sticks, pickles, and SIR Bartender Ross throwing in other concoctions!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wild Mushroom Risotto

So it's Good Friday - so one more meal without meat....and this was actually REALLY good.  We liked it better than the sweet potato risotto we tried a couple weeks back, but both were good and different.  The mushrooms totally are worth the cost, so don't worry :)
Serves 2 - Bride and Groom Cookbook
3 1.2 cups chicken stock (or chicken broth)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (if using shiitake, discard stems)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3/4 cup arborio rice (**found in rice aisle)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (I used dried)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt / pepper
Truffle oil for drizzling (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or flat leaf parsley (I used dried)

Bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep the stock hot. 

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook until tender and slightly brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.  Add the rice and stir well, about 30 seconds.  Add the wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, 2-3 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup of the hot stock, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the stock is absorbed.  Add the remaining hot stock 3/4 cup at at time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition to be fully absorbed before adding more, until the rice is just tender and the risotto is cream.  The total cooking times is 20-25 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup cheese, the thyme, and butter.  If rice appears dry, add up to 1.4 cup water to loosen the risotto slightly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the risotto between 2 large bowls and drizzle with truffle oil, if desired.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese and the chives.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leftover Ingredients

So in my new Our Best Bites cookbook - they have this section that lists out what other meals include ingredients that you might have leftover, SO I figured I would start tracking that as well.  This way you won't have random cheeses or fresh spices going bad - and hopefully you can reference this and use them in another dish that same week!!

I listed out the "leftover ingredients" in bold/underlined - and then put the meals that contain that underneath.  I tried to put the category each is under so you have a quick reference point....for some reason this blog doesn't let you search "terms" or that would be WAY easier! :)

Hopefully this is helpful!!

Hot Artichoke Dip - New Year Appetizers!!
Artichoke and Leek Lasagne
Garlic Artichoke Dip
Mediterranean Salad
Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Smoked Turkey and Artichoke Panini
Spaghetti with Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Double Tomato Brushetta
Classic Lasagna
Caprese Salad
Fresh Herb and Watermelon-Feta Salad
Frittata with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Lemon Garlic Spaghetti
Orzo Salad
Roasted Tomatoes with Basil
Pesto Crostini
Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sauteed Green Beans
Spinach Salad with Warm Onions and Crispy Salami
Sun Dried Tomato Burgers
Veggie Panini with Mozzarella

Buffalo Grilled Cheese
Spiced Pork Tenderloin Crostini
Grilled Steaks with Savory Butters
BBQ Bacon Slides with Shoe String Onions
Roasted Butternut Squash
Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes
Hawaiin Turkey Burgers & Candied Walnut Salad
Chicken and Peach Salad
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza
Baked Breakfast Taquitos
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Black Bean Burgers
Black Bean Soup
Caribbean Rubbed Pork Chops
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Corn on the Cob - with Cilantro Lime Butter
Cowboy Caviar
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing
Doctored-Up 7-Layer Dip
Fresh Orange Apple Chutney
Fresh Herb and Watermelon-Feta Salad
Grilled Chicken with Avocado Relish
Grilled Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple
Mango Pico De Gallo
Mexican Stuffed Tomatoes
Pico de Gallo
Pork Tenderloin with Chimichurri
Shrimp Nacho Bites
Southwest Pasta Salad
Taco Pizza

Artichoke and Leek Lasagne
Chicken and Asparagus with Pesto Sauce
Chicken with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Mushroom Sauce
Chicken in Wine & Mushroom Sauce
Eggs Benedict
Feta and Mushroom Chicken Breasts
Orzo Chicken
Parmesan Ham Pasta

7 Layer Greek Dip
BBQ Flatbread Pizza
Feta and Mushroom Chicken Breasts
Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Onions, Feta
Fresh Herb and Watermelon-Feta Salad
Greek Turkey Burgers
Green Beans with Red Onions and Feta Dressing
Greek Whole Wheat Pita Pockets
Lemon Orzo Salad
Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble
Mediterranean Salad
Spinach and Feta Pasta
Summer Salad with Strawberries and Feta
Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap
Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Baked Breakfast Taquitos
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Chicken Enchiladas
Jalapeno Rollups
Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble
Southwestern Beef Wraps
Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap
Turkey, Cheese, and Apple Pinwheel
Veggie Black Bean Taquitos

Asian BBQ Chicken
Brown Rice and Chicken Stir-Fry with Edamame and walnuts
Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork
Ginger Garlic Glazed Green Beans
Hawaiin Turkey Burgers & Candied Walnut Salad
Honey Ginger Glazed Tilapia
Kung Pao Chicken
Pineapple Ginger Flank Steak
Spiced Chicken Mini-Burgers with Peanut Sauce
Steak and Mango Salad
Sweet and Spicy Honey Grilled Shrimp
Veggie Stir Fry

Filet Mignon
Herbed Goat Cheese Bites
Grilled Portobello Bell Pepper Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Roasted Beet Salad
Sweet Pepper and Goat Cheese Pizza

7 Layer Greek Dip
Apple Orchard Chicken Salad
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
BLT Bites
Brown Rice and Chicken Stir-Fry with Edamame and walnuts
Cheese Ball
Spicy Cheese Ball
Chicken Enchiladas
Cornbread Breakfast Casserole
Doctored-Up 7-Layer Dip
Grilled Steaks with Savory Butters
Hawaiin Turkey Burgers & Candied Walnut Salad
Kung Pao Chicken
Lemon Orzo Salad
Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble
Poppy Seed Dressing
Potato and Bacon Breakfast Casserole
Sauteed Shrimp with Peppers
Southwest Pasta Salad
Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice
Thai Peanut Noodles
Turkey Garden Crunch Sandwich
Poppy Seed Dressing

Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza
Artichoke and Leek Lasagne
Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

Brushetta - Grill Style
Caprese Salad
Chicken Parmesan Garlic Pizza
Classic Lasagna
Eggplant Parmesan
Hearty Pasta Casserole
Orzo Chicken

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Philly Cheeseburger Pizza
Simple Stuffed Shells
Squash Saute

Tortellini Spinach Bake
Veggie Panini with Mozzarella

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Artichoke and Leek Lasagne
Classic Pasta Salad
Spinach and Feta Pasta
Chicken and Wild Rice
Chicken in Wine & Mushroom Sauce
Feta and Mushroom Chicken Breasts
Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne
Chicken Marsala with Mustard and Mascarpone
White Pizza with Roasted Mushroom
Chicken with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Mushroom Sauce
Pork Chops in a Creamy Veggie Sauce
Beef Stroganoff
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Wild Mushroom Risotto

Veggie Panini with Mozzarella
Chicken and Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Golden Raisins
Grilled Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
Chicken in Wine & Mushroom Sauce
Broccoli Salad
Low-Fat Apple Waldorf Salad
Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap
Cranberry-Orange Chicken Salad

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip - Warm apps!!
Baked Breakfast Taquitos - Most important meal of the day!!
Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble
Breakfast Quiches - Most important meal of the day!!
Grilled Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
Sweet Pepper and Goat Cheese Pizza
Veggie Panini with Mozzarella

Broiled Salmon with Garlic, Mustard, and Herbs
Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes
Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Casserole
Roast Chicken and Veggies
Grilled Steaks with Savory Butters
Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Glazed Apples
Eggs Italian Style

Simple Stuffed Shells
Tortellini Spinach Bake
Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, and Feta - Pizza Night!!
Hawaiin Turkey Burgers & Candied Walnut Salad
Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers
Mediterranean Salad - Smoky Honey Mustard Pork Chops with Mediterranean Salad
Spinach Salad with Warm Onions and Crispy Salami
Italian Turkey Soup
Big-Island Hammy Sammy
Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap
Aspargus - French Farmhouse Garlic Chicken & Grilled Asparagus w/ Sorrel Dressing

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne
Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers
Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cream Cheese and Basil
Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Broccoli with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Parmesan

Apple Romaine Salad - Crab Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple Romaine Salad
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
Skinny Turkey Cuban Sandwich

Easter / Spring Place Cards

So we are hosting Easter at our casa this year - so I'm "preparing" to host the fun event!  If you haven't seen my Peep-tastic Easter Wreath - make sure you take a look!!  I also needed something to make my tables more fun, so I saw this cutie idea and went for it!!

Card stock (Finally got to use all that card stock I hang onto!!)
Double sided tape
Daffodil template (I just googled and found one online)
Mini cupcake wrappers

Basically, all you do is trace the daffodil template and cut out little flowers in your card stock - tape the muffin wrappers to the card stock, and fill with candy!!  You could write names on the petals and have them be little place cards - I didn't cause I'm not sure where or how I'm fitting all these people in our house :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

SPICY!!  haha I loved it, but if you don't like spice - then you most likely will not like this OR don't put as much cayenne (cause I put extra in!)  Super easy and just a different way to eat chicken :)  This would be perfect with the Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple !! You could also use the salsa on a halibut - I think that would be tasty too!!
Serves 2 - Bride and Groom Cookbook

**Mix all in a small bowl - then set aside.
3/4 cup roasted chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoon chopped red onion
3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Juice of 1 orange

2 boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1.2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place a chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Using a mallet - pound to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Repeat with the remaining chicken breast.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add half of the spice mixture to the bell pepper mixture.  Brush the remaining spice mixture on the chicken and season with salt to taste.

Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side.  Be careful to not overcook chicken breast - as they are thin.  Transfer each chicken breast to a plate.  Spoon the salsa over the chicken and serve.

Whole Grain Banana-Pecan Muffins

So even love I love carbs / bread - I don't really like making bread or eating muffins....weird, I know!  BUT I decided if I can start liking Brussels sprouts - I can start liking muffins!  So I thought I would give this a try....seemed easy for a "to go bfast" too - and I will be eating these all week :)  The little touch of brown sugar makes you feel like you are eating a treat - me likey!!
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey (you can substitute 1/4 c. sugar here if you prefer)
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large bananas or 3 smaller ones)
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners–you’ll need about 15-16.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, honey (if using), and butter. Add each egg in one at a time, combining completely after each addition but not over-mixing. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined (don’t over-mix).

Divide the batter evenly (so the cups are about 2/3 full) among 15-16 muffin tins. Combine the chopped pecans and brown sugar and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to finish cooling. Serve with breakfast or as a snack.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes

So we all know that I'm a sucker for any sort of potato - so when I saw this recipe, I got excited!!  It was SOgood and SO easy - but look how fancy it looks too :)  You also can make these ahead of time too!!  After spreading the potatoes on the foil - cover with some plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.  When ready to cook just bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes instead!!

I made this with Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches and it was a tasty combo.  I think this would be good with some green beans and steak - or even a pork tenderloin (Roast Pork and Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette)!!
Serves 6-8
2 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary (be sure and strip the needles from the stem before chopping them)
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
pepper / salt
1 1/2 lb baby red, fingerling or small potatoes (washed - try to pick the potatoes that are bite size)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  While the water is heating, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, mustard, and some black pepper.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 - line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and boil for about 10 minutes - or until they are easily pierced with a fork.  Drain - and add the potatoes to the mustard mixture.  Toss to coat

Spread the potatoes out evenly over the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Bake for 10-15 or until the skins begin to brown and sizzle.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

So Rossy has been working mad hours and I had to hit up work early this am for a meeting - so found the perfect meal for us!!  We just seared the meat last night - and then threw it in the freezer....then when I woke up this am I threw it in the crock pot and left for work....and when I came home - HEAVEN!  Soooo good....little messy but sooooo goooodddd!!!

I made this with Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Potatoes , but some other suggestions would be to make up with Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes or some lovely fries (like the awesome Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip )!!!

Serves 12 - Our Best Bites Cookbook

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 (2.5-3lb beef roast)
salt and pepper
2 (1oz) packages dry onion soup mix (right in soup aisle)
2 cups water
2 (14.5 oz) cans beef broth
1 (16oz) package sliced Swiss or provolone cheese
Crusty / Hoagie buns

Heat olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat.  While oil is heating, sprinkle all sides of the roast with salt and pepper.  When oil is very hot, carefully place the roast in the pan and sear it on all sides.  This shouldn't take more than a few minutes - you just want to quickly brown the roast to add flavor and seal in the juices.

Now - if you are like me - you would put the seared roast in a freezer-safe container.  Sprinkle with onion soup mix and add the beef broth.  Then just stick in the freezer until ready to use!!  Then when ready to cook - put the roast in a crock pot and add 2 cups water.  Add about 1-2 hours of cooking time.
Transfer the roast to crock pot.  Sprinkle with onion soup mix over the roast and add water and beef broth.

Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.  You can also cook it on high until it begins to boil and then switch to low - but if you are like me and put it in before work....I just put it on low and then came home to the best smell ever!!

When the meat shreds easily with a fork, shred the entire roast.  Serve on sliced crusty rolls with a slice of cheese.  If desired, you can slide these under the broiler on your oven to toast them and melt the cheese - put watch closely!!  Serve with the juices from the crock pot as au jus for dipping!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Peep-Tastic Easter Wreath

So we are hosting Easter this year - and I was looking for some decoration ideas and check this out!!  How cute is this?!  Yes, it's made from CANDY PEEPS!!!  ahhh I'm obsessed with this!!  It cost me about $20 - and took maybe an hour from start to finish!!  I still haven't found a way to "store" this from year to year - but I might hit up Michaels to see if they have some spray or something to keep the peeps from molding....but anyways - super cutie!!

Straw wreath ** I got the 18 inch size - keep the plastic on
Colored peeps **I used 3 packs of each color (10 peeps in each pack) - so 12 packs total

Basically just stick a toothpick into the wreath - and then put the peep on the toothpick.  You'll figure out the spacing as you go!  Then I just tied up a ribbon and fastened that on with a toothpick as well.  You could also use hot glue gun too...might hold the peeps better - but toothpicks worked great!

French Toast Bread Pudding

Well this picture doesn't do this justice....supppperrrr yummy!!  I got this recipe from Tiff's blog - and she had a good recommendation.  I think it would be super yummy with frozen strawberries / raspberries on top of it too!!  It has the banana taste - so I think the extra fruit would make it even better.  I like that you can make it ahead of time too - and then just need to wake up and pop it in the oven!

Spray cooking spray in 8x8 dish - cut bread into 1 inch cubes and put in the bottom of the dish
4 c (about 8 slices) whole wheat bread
In bowl mix:
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Mix Well then add:
2 Large eggs (one at a time)
2 egg whites (I used this little guy-super awesome for the egg whites!)
¾ c lowfat milk
3 tbs pure maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 orange
Mix well and pour over bread, refrigerate overnight.  Heat oven to 375┬║ - let sit for 15 minutes after taking out of refrigerator, bake for 30-40 minutes.  Top with powdered sugar.

Jalapeno Rollups ....come on hiccups!!

Headed over to "The Masters" for SUNDAY FUNDAY - and I can't show up empty handed!!  I know how much Miss Meghan likes her jalapeno's, so I had to make these!!  There super easy - and super good!!  They are filling too - so good for an app party :)

These are my favorite!!  Super easy and super yummy!!
1 lb shaved turkey
2 (8oz) cream cheese – soft
8oz sour cream
1 package small flour tortillas
1 small can diced black olives
1 small can diced green chilies
1 small can diced jalape├▒os
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix cream cheese (soft) and sour cream together using a mixer.  Add in olives (drained), chilies and japs, mix together, add cheese and ranch mix – and mix.  Spread on flour tortilla shells.  Place layer of turkey and roll up – place in fridge – chill for 3 hours.  Cut into slices and serve.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Veggie Panini with Mozzarella

So I wanted a weekend lunch meal that would hold me over all day - and this was it!!!  I'm totally going to use basil on all my sandwiches now!!  Yummy!!  I used french bread - so I would recommend going with the baguette size (since the french bread was a little large for the mouth!)  Fresh mozzarella really made it too - so make sure to get the fresh stuff :)
Makes 6 sandwiches - Giada cookbook
1 eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 baguettes (each about 2 feet long - split lengthwise)
8oz fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
8 large basil leaves
1/2 cup roasted bell peppers

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Brush the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices with the oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onion until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side.  Cool completely.

Spread the pesto over the cut sides of the baguettes.  Arrange the mozzarella over the bottom halves of the baguettes.  Top with the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange the grilled eggplant, zucchini, onion, basil leaves, and bell peppers over the tomatoes.  Fold the baguettes together, the cut each sandwich crosswise into 3 equal pieces and serve. 

Can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time - wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


So it was cookbook club tonight - Chinese style -- and I'm still full....haha.  We did some wontons for an appetizer, cashew sweet and sour pork for dindin, and a yummy wonton for dessert too!!  My house still smells like oil - as does my hair this am.  Not such a yummy after smell!!  Both app and dessert were super good - easy to make too!!  The pork entree was amazing too - would have been equally good with chicken, but kinda nice to mix it up.  I would put in more pineapple for that one!

Cranberry-Cream Cheese Wontons

1 teaspoon whipped cream cheese
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce (from the can)
wonton wrappers (**found in the produce section)
1 egg, beaten
canola oil
Sweet and sour sauce

Preheat canola oil to 375 degrees.  Spoon cream cheese / cranberry sauce into wonton wrapper - brush a little egg on corner of wrapper and then wrap them up (egg helps hold them in place).  Then just place in oil and take out when cooked!  Dip in sweet/sour sauce and it's YUMMY!!

Cashew Sweet and Sour Pork
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cooking sherry or apple juice
1 lb pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops, thinly sliced
1/3 cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon oil
1/3 cup chopped cashews
¼ cup green onions
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoon minced garlic
6-8 oz snow peas, trimmed
8 oz can pineapple chunks, drained

Cut the pork - we just used a scissor and cut into small chunks.  Cook the rice.  Then combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sherry, and pork. Toss well.

Combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch, water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and ketchup. Stir with a whisk; make sure there are no clumps with the cornstarch.  Now collect everything that’s going into the stir fry next to the stove so you can access it easily.

Heat 1-2 tablespoon canola oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add pork and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add onions, ginger, and garlic.

Stir-fry 1 minute. Add snow peas and pineapple. Stir-fry 3 minutes more. Whisk sauce ingredients again and add to pan - bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews and serve over hot rice. Garnish with more cashews and green onions if you want.

Dessert Wontons
1 teaspoon peanut butter with a couple choc chips
1 teaspoon nutella
1 teaspoon  of mixture (cream cheese, powdered sugar, 2 drops almond extract) and a dollop raspberry jam
cinnamon sugar
wonton wrappers (**found in the produce section)
1 egg, beaten
canola oil

Preheat canola oil to 375 degrees.  Spoon whatever mixture you want into wonton wrapper - brush a little egg on corner of wrapper and then wrap them up (egg helps hold them in place).  Then just place in oil and take out when cooked!  Then try to guess which one has what in it :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Golden Raisins

The Brussels sprouts were really good - and fairly easy to make!  I'm starting to actually like these things now :)  Who would have thought ??  I made this with the Chicken with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Mushroom Sauce .  It makes a lot so cut in half for 2 peeps for sure - doesn't keep very well so probably not good for leftovers!
Serves 8 - Real Simple Cookbook
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 lbs small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt / pepper
6 slices bacon
1 small red onion, cut into thin half-moons

Heat to 425.  Warm the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat, add the raisins, and let sit for 15 minutes; drain.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the Brussels sprouts, oil and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Roast, stirring once, until tender and slightly golden, 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 6-8 minutes.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate; crumble.  Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings.  Return the skillet to medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5-6 minutes.  Add the Brussels sprouts, raisins, and bacon and toss to combine.

Chicken with Prosciutto, Fontina, and Mushroom Sauce

Dindin at the Sodahls household in our "Spring Cleaned" Kitchen!!  YAY :)  The chicken was good - not the best chicken dish we've ever had....but it was super good still!!  The sauce was really good - and I would recommend using the shiitake mushrooms for sure - they added a lot of taste!  We made this with Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Golden Raisins and it was perfect serving size!

Serves 2 - Bride and Groom Cookbook

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt / pepper
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 paper-thin prosciutto slices (**got just 2 from the deli at Rainbow)
1/2 cup (1oz) grated fontina cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz sliced shiitake or white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (if using shiitakes, discard stems) about 2.5 cups
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with veggie cooking spray.  Place a chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  Using a mallet pound forcefully.  You want to increase the surface area of the chicken by about 50% and to tenderize the meat.  Repeat with the remaining chicken breast.

Place the chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet and open them like a book.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle half of the sage on each breast.  Top each with 1 slice of the prosciutto and half of the cheese, and leave the breasts open to cook.  Bake until the chicken is opaque in the center, about 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and onion and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms are golden brown. 6-8 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to coat.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 1-2 minutes.  Add the stock and cream, increase the heat to high, and cook until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes.

Transfer each chicken breast to a plate and top with the mushroom sauce.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Had miss Anna over for dindin - so I cut this in half and it was the perfect amount.  Ross said it was his favorite pasta ever - but I think it was because the hot Italian sausage was amazing :)  Try it out - you'll love!!
6 Main-Course Servings - Giada cookbook
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (2 tablespoons of oil reserved)
1 lb Italian hot sausages, casings removed (**we got this at the deli - super awesome!)
2 (8oz) packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (**just used canned)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt / pepper
12 oz penne
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
8 oz fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed (optional)

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high flame.  Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the sausage to a bowl.  Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes.  Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes  Boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse).  Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture.  Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta.  Stir in the mozzarella, if using.  Season with salt and pepper, and serve - with extra Parmesan cheese.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Poached Scallops with Leeks and Carrots

So it was bound to happen....I had 2 bites of this and well, that was it!!  It could be that I don't like scallops - but thought I would give it a try!  Ross ate it, but he wasn't in love so we won't be making this meal again.  So if you are a seafood lover - give it a try....otherwise, don't waste your $$ (as I'm currently eating cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and chips as we speak!)
Serves 4 - Real Simple Cookbook
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, cut into thin strips
2 leeks (white and green light green parts), cut into thin strips
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper
12 large sea scallops (about 1 1/2 lbs) **we used frozen small scallops since they were cheaper**
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, finely chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and leeks and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.

Season the scallops with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper - and place on top of veggies.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the scallops are opaque throughout, 6-8 minutes.  Transfer the scallops to a plate.

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Stir into the veggies and broth.  Serve with the scallops.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


So we are trying to be good on the"healthy and money" front, so instead of going to Chipotle (like I wanted to) - and I brought Chipotle to the Sodahl household!  It wasn't quite as good cause I didn't get my chips/quac, but it was yummy!!  I used ground turkey - then made up some green peppers, red onion, white onion (just like they do at Chipotle....) -- then made up homemade salsa and rice -- and topped with Pepper Jack cheese.

Homemade Salsa (Tiffany blog)
3 tomatoes, cut into four pieces
3 cloves of garlic
Fresh cilantro
Lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Jalapenos (as many as you'd like)

Cilantro Lime Rice (Tiffany blog)
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
½ tsp. salt
½ cup fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped

Combine the rice, 2 cups water and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, stir briefly, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Let cook, covered, until the water is absorbed and rice is fluffy and tender, 16-18 minutes. While the rice is cooking, combine the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic and 2 tablespoons water in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Stir the mixture into the cooked rice and fluff with a fork

Mediterranean Feta Egg Scramble

So went out to bfast yesterday after the 5k - so figured I would whip up some yummy-ness of my own for Sunday :)  This was super good - and super easy!!  Made with some cinnamon buns - and it was like we went out to eat !!
Our Best Bites

6 eggs
1/4 c. light sour cream
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
A few cracks of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. dry oregano
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese (we use Athenos), plus more for topping
2 Tbsp. diced roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp. minced green onions
Flour tortillas (optional)
Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
Whisk the eggs, sour cream, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and garlic powder together. Gently add in the crumbled feta cheese. When the skillet is hot, add 1 teaspoon butter and then add the eggs and allow them to begin to set up and then scrape the bottom of the pan to allow the liquid parts to cook. Stir in the roasted red peppers and green onions. Cook eggs until the desired doneness is reached. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with a little extra feta cheese and wrap the scrambled eggs in a crepes or warm flour tortillas.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Risotto

So it's a Friday of Lent - so I needed to get creative on what to make for dindin!!  Decided to make this - it looked kinda weird, but it actually tasted REALLY good!!  It felt kinda like a side dish - so we saved a little room so we could get popcorn at the movie we went and saw tonight :)  but you could for sure eat this as a "vegetarian main" as the cookbook says!!
Real Simple Cookbook - Serves 4

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
salt / pepper
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 lb), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice (**found this by all the rice - I did a a risotto packet since it was cheaper and then I just didn't use the herbs that came in there...just the rice)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4-6 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed.

Measure 3 1/2 cups of water.  Add 3/4 cup at a time and cook, stirring occasionally and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next.  It should take 25-30 minutes for all the water to be absorbed.

Stir in the Parmesan and oregano.