Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I was over at one of my favorite blogs and saw that Sara Mae was doing a 12 new things in 12 months challenge!  I am ALWAYS up for a challenge and was REALLY excited about trying/learning 12(ish) new things that I have NEVER done before!  Since Morgan is due to arrive in November I won't be starting my "12 new things" until December!  (A little behind...since they started in AUGUST...but better late then NEVER!!!)  But I am REALLY excited about my 12 and I put a LOT of thought into what I might accomplish with the Lords help!  Here they are...

December: Make homemade Cinnamon Ornaments with the boys & hang them on the tree!

January: Learn how to run by following this couch to 5K training schedule found here. (I have NEVER been a runner...but figure now is a good time to start & it wouldn' t hurt with getting some of that baby weight off!  Hehehe)

February: Learn how to make a digital photo book online through this company!

March: Actually RUN this 5K...the date is set!!!!  (I have never ran anything more than 2 miles and that was a WHILE ago!)  :)

April: Learn how to sew my daughter a piece of clothing...this is what I had in mind!

May: Learn to makeTiffany's Homemade Fresh Tortillas with all the works for Cinco De Mayo!!!

June:  Learn to make my own laundry detergent using Mrs. Duggar's recipe!

July: Learn how to make these ADORABLE Distressed picture canvasses of the kids for my BARE bedroom walls.  (Placement may be subject to change depending on how well they turn out!  ;o)

August: Implement a morning devotion for the kids...I liked this Read & Share DVD Bible!

September: Taking a cooking class with my Hubby or a friend at Sur La Table or Hipcooks and learn some new techniques!

October: Go to a College football game with my Husband!  (Not really learning a skill here...but we have never been & we LOVE date night & football!!!)

November: Learn to sew my birthday girl a black apple doll!

I would love to hear if you took up on this challenge...let me know by leaving a comment and a link to your 12 new things!  I will be updating each month on how terrible or how well my challenge turned out for the month!  How FUN!!!  :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dessert: Blueberry Buckle

With the cooler weather here and fresh berries in my freezer, some baking was in order! Someone had recommended this recipe to me earlier this summer and I decided...why not!?!?! So I threw this bad boy together and let me just tell you. This buckle is like a coffee cake but SUPER moist! I am NOT a fan of cake and I had seconds!!! It went perfect with my cup of coffee and my favorite Cinnamon Vanilla Creme creamer from Coffee mate! YUM! Here is the recipe and also below you will find a "how to" on freezing those yummy blueberries! I am defiantly making this again! :)

Blueberry Buckle

9-12 Servings
Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 1 hour

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar, divided
1 egg, beaten
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

In a bowl, cream shortening and 1/2 cup sugar. Add egg and mix well. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Spread into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Toss blueberries with lemon juice; sprinkle over batter. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar and flour; cut in butter until mixture is the size of peas. Sprinkle over berries. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes. Yield: 9-12 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 piece) equals 293 calories, 13 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 231 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Freezing Blueberries!

My sweet friend Marta stopped by at the end of the summer from picking fresh blueberries from a local farm. She was sweet enough to bring me 2 gallon size containers FULL of these blue beauties! I decided to eat some & use some right away!!! But then I still had a ton that I needed to freeze. So I rinsed all of the blueberries and let them air dry. Then I put wax paper on some baking sheets and spread the berries out in a single layer and put them in the freezer until they were frozen through.
Then I put them all into a ziplock freezer bag and placed them back into the freezer! Ta-DA! The wonderful thing about freezing them on the cookie sheet first is that they don't stick together! So when you are ready to make that YUMMY Blueberry Buckle recipe, you can go into your freezer and only scoop out the amount you need for your recipe! Easy Peasy!!! :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

MONDAY WITH MARTA: Chicken Curry & Rice

It's that time again!!! Marta is sharing another one of her favorites!!! Take it away girl!

We LOVE curry at our house, a couple years ago I was came across this recipe in the Real Simple magazine and gave it a try with a few adaptations. We've loved it ever since, it's a staple at our house. Our 2 1/2 year-old daughter loves it too. We especially make it when the zucchini in our garden is ready. If you like curry, you won't be disappointed with this recipe! Enjoy!! -Marta

Chicken Curry
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6


2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons curry powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced

2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 ½ cups heavy cream

1/2-1 whole jalapeno finely chopped, deskinned and deseeded (OPTIONAL for a kick)

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Cooked white rice

½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped


Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut it into 1-inch pieces and place in a bowl. Sprinkle it with the curry and cinnamon, toss, and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and zucchini and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Add the broth, cream, salt, and pepper. (To add some kick, add 1/2-1 whole jalapeno, deskinned and deseeded at this point.) Bring to a gentle simmer. Return the onion and zucchini to the skillet and heat until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Divide the rice among individual bowls, top with the curry, and sprinkle with the basil and almonds. Be sure to have some french bread on hand for dipping!

Additional Tip: You can vary ingredients depending on what you have on hand. For example, you could replace the heavy cream for coconut milk and the zucchini for eggplant.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Main dish: Ham & Broccoli Frittata with Simple Crispy Oven Baked Potatoes

Some nights around here we like to have breakfast for dinner! Easy ingredients and not as labor intensive! Now, I know you have to turn the potatoes every 10-15 minutes...but trust me, it is WORTH the effort! I LOVE these potatoes better than frying them any day! This meal is so budget conscious & it’s an excellent way to use any leftover ham or veggies! Feel free to skip the meat and make it a full vegetarian dish. You can always add any of your other favorite veggies like mushrooms, tomatoes etc… Yum! Now all we are missing is a good cup of Joe! :)

Ham & Broccoli Frittata

1 cup broccoli florets, diced
½ cup green onions, diced
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoon butter
1 cup cooked ham (or sliced turkey works wonderfully as well)
8 eggs
1/4 cup half & half or milk (you could use water here if you have a milk allergy)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375° and spray/grease a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. (I used a pie plate and it worked perfectly!)
Clean and dice the broccoli florets and onions. Finely chop the garlic cloves. Cube the ham, & grate the cheese.
Add the butter to a skillet over medium heat and sauté the broccoli, onions and garlic until tender. Add the ham and heat through. Remove the skillet from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, half & half, and mustard until well blended. Stir in the cheese and broccoli mixture from the skillet.
Pour into your prepared dish and bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the center does not jiggle. YUM!
Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

Simple Crispy Oven Baked Potatoes

5 medium potatoes, scrubbed, dried & cubed into 1 inch cubes
4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Lawry’s Season salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drizzle EVOO all over baking sheet.
Place your cubed potatoes on baking sheet and toss with EVOO.
Salt & pepper to taste, then mix again to be sure all the cubes are seasoned.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning every 10-15 minutes until cooked through!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dessert: Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

I have been CRAVING berry muffins with this pregnancy and a sweet friend stopped by with a TON of hand pick blueberries for our family! That was seriously the BEST gift ever!!! I found this delicious recipe on and just HAD to try it! It was seriously AMAZING!!! The muffins were so moist and the blueberries are so warm and juicy. Seriously, the streusel topping just melts in your mouth! OH YUM!!!! Btw, these freeze really well too! Happy baking! :)

Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins
Original Recipe Yield 1 dozen


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons flour over blueberries, and set aside. (This simple trick will keep you from having "purple" batter)

In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries. Remember, fold gently, don't stir. Spoon batter into prepared cups.

Combine 2 tablespoons flour, 5 tablespoons sugar ,and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over batter in muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack. These muffins freeze really well, and re-heat in the microwave successfully. Hope you enjoy!!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Dessert: Sour Cherry Crumb Cake

Once again my sweet friend Marta has another delicious recipe to share! She made this yummy sour cherry crumb cake for our family and I LOVED the sweet and tangy that it provided. It was PERFECT after dinner with a good cup of coffee and I was even able to enjoy it again for breakfast!!! I hope you all take the time to make this delicious treat. Here is what Marta had to say...

Our family loves to go cherry picking every year, it's now a tradition. This was the first year that our daughter joined us where she could also help pick. I am always on the search around this time in summer for cherry recipes. This sour cherry crumb cake seemed like the perfect dessert to use up some of the 18 pounds of cherries that we picked. Enjoy! -Marta

Sour Cherry Crumb Cake
From Martha Stewart

Frozen dark sweet cherries may be substituted for fresh sour cherries.
Let frozen cherries thaw before using.

Makes 16 squares

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for dish
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dish
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups (1 pound) fresh sour cherries, pitted, or frozen dark sweet cherries

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
2.Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
3.Make the cakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping.
4.Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool before cutting.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dessert: Chocolate Pudding Dessert

This dessert has been a family favorite of my Hubbies for years! When I joined the family, it INSTANTLY became one of my absolute faves as well. The thing I love most is that it has a basic recipe, but then you can add whatever type of pudding you desire or crave! The chocolate is by far my favorite but using pistachio instant pudding & topping it with pistachio pieces as well as using butterscotch instant pudding and topping with toasted coconut has been some others that the family has enjoyed! If it were up to my Hubby he would have me make a chocolate & a pistachio! Hehehe :)

Chocolate Pudding Dessert

1 1/3 c. flour
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. butter/margarine, cubed

Cream cheese layer:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
2(9oz)containers of Cool whip, (reserve 2ND container of cool whip for the very top!)

Pudding layer:
2 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl blend the crust ingredients with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish; bake for 15 minutes and let cool on counter, then cool VERY well in fridge!

Blend the softened cream cheese and powder sugar in a bowl until completely mixed. Fold in one 9 oz container of Cool whip until blended and then spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cold crust; put back into fridge to set up.

Then, in a new bowl put the 3c. milk into the bowl and then add the 2 pkg of instant chocolate pudding in gradually as you whisk together until well blended. (A few small lumps are fine) Pour the instant Pudding over the cream cheese layer and then top with the second container of cool whip! I added shaved semi-sweet chocolate & chopped walnuts to the top! Be sure to put back into fridge and let set for about an hour or more! This dessert is SUPER YUMMY!!!

*You can also follow this same recipe and add Butterscotch pudding in place of the chocolate and top with toasted coconut. OR use pistachio pudding and top with chopped pistachios! The possibilities are endless! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Main Dish: Cashew Chicken

I have to say that when I first saw this recipe nothing amazing stood out other than the Cashews (Which I happen to LOVE with ALL my heart!). We had a long day at the lake last week and I had everything to make this that evening. I figured it wouldn't take too I got the white rice going and this whole dish came together in less than 30 minutes!!! I have to tell you that this was the first time I have ever cooked with Hoisin sauce and boy was this dish YUMMY!!!!! I LOVED the flavor and the toasted cashews were delicious. I think next time I just might steam or saute' some veggies to go in this! OH!!! I just might even put together some Salad rolls with sweet chili sauce to go along with it too. So many choices so little time! :)

Cashew Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste
White rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until chicken is coated. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, tossing often, for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and white parts of scallions to the skillet. Continue cooking until chicken is browned, about 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin sauce and 1/4 cup water. Cook and stir until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Stir in scallion greens and toasted cashews. Serve immediately over white rice, if desired.

Dessert: Kiwi-Lime Bars with Macadamia Nut Crust

I found this yummy recipe and knew I had to try it. I LOVE lemon bars and the combination of lime, kiwi and macadamia nuts sounded wonderful! I threw these together for a dinner party we were invited to last week and they were great! Nice and cool on a hot day and packed full of flavor! I hope you get a chance to make these...Enjoy!!!

Kiwi-Lime Bars with Macadamia Nut Crust
adapted from Bon Appetit


•1 c macadamia nuts
•1/4 c sugar
•1 1/4 c all purpose flour
•1/4 tsp salt
•13 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


•2 c plus 2 Tbs sugar
•5 large eggs
•1/4 c fresh lime juice
•1/2 c kiwi puree (about 2 good sized kiwi)
•1/3 c all purpose flour
•1 Tbs lime zest
•3/4 c (packed) sweetened flaked coconut (about 3 ounces)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Blend nuts and sugar in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add flour and salt; blend 5 seconds. Add butter and process until well blended. Press dough evenly onto bottom of 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Bake crust until golden brown, about 28 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack. Maintain oven temperature.

Whisk sugar and eggs in large bowl until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Whisk in lime juice, kiwi, then flour and lime peel. Pour filling over crust in pan.

Bake lime bars 25 minutes (filling will not be fully set). Sprinkle coconut evenly over. Bake until filling is completely set, about 10 minutes longer.

Cool bars in pan on rack. Chill uncovered until cold, at least 2 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Cut around pan sides to loosen bars; cut into 24 pieces. Using small spatula, transfer bars to platter; serve chilled.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Main Dish or Side Dish: Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad & Lavender Infused Lemonade

Well, It's not every day that you meet a dear friend who LOVES food and LOVES talking about it as much as you do!!! My sweet friend Marta is JUST THAT! We can talk about anything under the sun...but get us talking about food and the hours fly! She was so sweet to have our family of four over for dinner last week and she seriously made some AMAZING dishes. I asked if she would be interested in being my guest blogger this week and sharing a few of the recipes she made. Lucky for us, she gladly excepted! I hope you enjoy her and her two delicious recipes! I am wishing I had a plate of her yummy pasta and a cup of lemonade RIGHT NOW!!! Enjoy!

One of our favorite pasta dishes to make for family and friends is the Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad. It always hits the spot with the prosciutto for crispiness and the feta cheese for some tartness and creaminess! We made it this past weekend for our great friends, The Sorensens. We also sipped on some Lavender Infused Lemonade, which I don't have a picture of. These are just a few recipes we enjoyed last weekend, we hope you enjoy them too!

Cold Spinach Linguine Pasta Salad

1 # (box) of Linguine

1 bag of fresh baby spinach

6 oz – thinly sliced prosciutto

2 Tbsp – finely chopped garlic (I use the whole bunch on mine!)

2 Tbsp – fresh basil

2 Tbsp – fresh oregano

¾ cup – olive oil

½ # tomato basil feta cheese (crumbled) or Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)

½ cup – pine nuts or almonds (toasted golden)

Boil linguine. Slice spinach in thin strips. Cook prosciutto, garlic, basil, oregano in ½ cup olive oil on medium heat until browned, about 3 minutes (you can make this dressing ahead, I usually make it a night ahead).

When pasta is drained, add remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and toss the dressing and the remaining ingredients.

Garnish: fresh basil and grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Lavender Infused Lemonade

2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup sugar

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add four lavender tops (just the Flowers) and cover for one hour.

Then add the remaining ingredients below.

1 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 cups cold water

I doubled the recipe to make enough for 4-6 guests. You can leave the lavender in lemonade and add sliced lemons to make it look pretty!

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Main Dish: Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole

I have to tell you that since my little guy is 11 months old now, he is sooo OVER baby food! He only has 6 teeth though, so there are a lot of things he still can't eat. Lately I have been making a LOT of casserole dishes since they can contain almost every food group & are easy for my little turtle to eat. The left overs are perfect for freezing and then pulling out on the nights we have a "grown up" dish! So I saw a recipe by Rachel Ray and I KNEW we would love it! I of course had to put my own spin on things and we all LOVED this dish. Both of my boys had seconds tonight and I would have...but these days I am running out of room!!!! :) I hope you make this for your family & friends. This is DEFINITELY company worthy!!! Eat well!

Chicken Divan & Egg Noodle Casserole
Adapted from Rachel Ray

For the cream sauce:
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 turn of the pan
4 tablespoons butter, plus additional to coat dish
2 Shallots, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons flour
2 cup chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 (15oz can) cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup dry white wine

1 pound broccoli florets
1 pound extra wide egg noodles
3 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
2 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/4 cups fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
Yields: 8-10 servings

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the broccoli and egg noodles. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the mushroom sauce, heat a medium-size sauce pot over medium heat. Add EVOO and the butter. When butter melts, add in sliced shallots and cook 3 minutes, until just tender. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock & white wine, bring up to a bubble, then stir in the cream. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer. Season sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper. (Be sure to taste the sauce and add the seasoning to your liking!!!)

Drop the egg noodles into boiling salted water in a separate pot and cook to al dente (usually 8 minutes) according to package directions. When there are 5 minutes left until the noodles are finished, Cook broccoli florets in the same water as the noodles. Drain the noodles and the broccoli, then return them to the hot pot. Add the creamy mushroom sauce, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan, and the chicken to the pot and toss the noodles & broccoli to coat in the sauce mixing well.

To prepare the casserole, lightly coat a 9x13 casserole dish with butter then transfer the cream-of-mushroom noodles to the dish and top with the reserved shredded cheeses. Bake for about 15 minute or until bubbly, then turn your broiler on and make the cheese golden! ENJOY!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Main Dish: Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions

We LOVE to grill and I came across this awesome fajita recipe from epicurious. I changed a few things and actually marinaded the veggies & chicken overnight. These were sooooo flavorful and the cilantro added so much to these. Don't be afraid of the jalapenos either, it wasn't spicy as long as you deseed and rib them. I have a lot of this leftover and I'm going to try and make a Cilantro lime fajita grilled pizza..we will see how that goes! :) Enjoy!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Onions
adapted from epicurious


1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 large jalapenos, seeded, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
3 large yellow bell peppers, cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
2 red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

12 8-inch flour tortillas


Optional toppings: purchased salsas, guacamole, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, sliced green onions, and chopped jalapeno peppers Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Puree first 5 ingredients in processor. Season marinade with salt and pepper.

Place chicken in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/3 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Arrange jalapenos, bell peppers, and onions on large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup marinade over; turn to coat. Sprinkle chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining marinade.

Grill chicken until cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Grill vegetables until tender, turning frequently, about 15 minutes for onions and 12 minutes for jalapenos and bell peppers. Grill tortillas until charred, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer chicken to work surface; slice crosswise into strips. Fill tortillas with chicken and vegetables; drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with toppings.

Side Dish: Rigatoni alla Caprese

This summer I have been CRAVING a Caprese salad (Fresh tomato, mozzarella & Basil) but I have also been looking for a great pasta salad recipe. I finally decided to just put two recipes together and make my own! This pasta salad was great for our 4Th of July BBQ! The balsamic vinegar gives it an awesome flavor...fresh & light! I have to make this again...I loved it!!!! Bon appetit!

Rigatoni alla Caprese

1 lb Rigatoni pasta
3-6 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, rinsed & dried
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
16 oz Fresh Mozzarella, diced
1 ½ Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet drizzle about 3 Tbsp. EVOO. Place all the cherry tomatoes on sheet and then top with another drizzle of EVOO on top of the tomatoes. Top with the 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper to the tomatoes; also top with the minced garlic. Shake baking sheet back and forth to be sure the tomatoes are covered in oil. Bake until tomatoes are shriveled or have burst.

While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite. Stirring occasionally about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water; set aside.

Take a potato masher and gently crush any tomatoes that remained whole to make a chunky sauce. Poor all the crushed tomatoes & any drippings in the pan over your cooled pasta; mix and place in fridge. (You can go up to this point up to a day before serving)

Dice your mozzarella & chop your basil; add to the pasta dish. Then add the balsamic vinegar & mix well. TASTE your pasta and then salt and pepper to your liking! Make sure this is very cold at serving time. It pairs perfect with any grilling! Happy SUMMER!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Guacamole is one of my most FAVORITE things to eat! I was enjoying a friends dip when all of the sudden my chip ran into one of these bad boys...

The PIT!!! She proceeded to tell me that she leaves them in the actual dip to prevent it from browning. I had always been taught to use lemon juice...but mine still was brown after a few hours. Well let me tell you what, the next time I made Guacamole I totally left them in and no JOKE people!!!! My guacamole stayed GREEN for up to 3 days!!!! I was so shocked and I just HAD to share my new found fact with you all! (Thank you sweet friend for sharing your know who you are!) I was able to enjoy my dip for a few days instead of feeling like I had to devour every last bite that evening. LOL So here is my recipe...hope you love it!

Holy Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, mashed (SAVE the PITS!!!)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
Lowery's season salt to taste

In a bowl mash avocados, add remaining ingredients & add season salt to taste! Be sure to add the avocado pits back into the dip to keep from browning. Serve with tortilla chips! :)

Main Dish: Cubin Garlic Lime Chicken & Almond Wild Rice

Went to a sweet friends for a BBQ and her Hubby served up this number! The chicken was SUPER EASY thanks to a delicious Safeway Select marinade. be sure to marinade your boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast over night for the best flavor possible!

I loved it soooo much in fact that I just HAD to make it while my BFF was here. It turned out awesome and this Almond Wild Rice was easy and paired well with it! Here is to some easy entertaining & not a lot of time in the kitchen...which means more time for fellowship! Enjoy!

Almond Wild Rice
By: Sandra Lee

1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 (6-ounce) box long grain and wild rice mix, with seasoning packet
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a saucepan, bring pineapple juice, broth, orange juice and butter to a boil. Stir in rice and seasoning packet. Bring to a boil.

Cover tightly and reduce heat to medium-low to low. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Fluff rice with a fork, stir in almonds and serve.

Monday, June 21, 2010


My BFF Chelcie and her family stayed with us last week and we had this AWESOME and tasty pasta dish. I was in LOVE at first BITE!!! Let me tell you...this was SUPER quick to put together and was so elegant! We paired a bottle of Gurtzweimer & a was delicious! I had never roasted tomatoes in the oven before and the flavor was out of this world! We are definitely making this again. Enjoy!!!

Adapted from: The Hungry Housewife

3 grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pound(s) of Pasta of choice
2 pound(s) of Pints, Grape Tomatoes
2 tbsp. of Olive Oil
1/2 cup(s) of Pine Nuts
2 tbsp. of Butter
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 ounce(s) of Prepared Basil Pesto
12 ounce(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup(s) of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup(s) of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1/4 cup(s) of Balsamic Glaze

Preheat oven to 425.
Bring pasta water to boil and cook per package directions.
In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with foil and pour the tomatoes on to it.
Add the pine nuts into a small oven proof skillet.
Place the tomatoes and the pine nuts into the preheated oven.
Remove the pine nuts after 5 minutes and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt the butter.
Add the garlic to the butter and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
Take your jar of pesto and pour off any excess oil. Pour into the skillet and mix.
Add the Philadelphia Cream Cheese and mix until it is smooth.
Stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese.
Stir in the chicken or vegetable stock.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let sauce simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven and toss with the pasta.
Pour into a serving dish
Top with the toasted Pine Nuts.
Finish the dish with a nice drizzle of Balsamic Glaze.

Soup: Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Now, this recipe was made for me by my sweet friend Sheryl and she was kind enough to share this recipe with me. I apologize ahead of time for the awful picture and I can't believe I forgot to top the soup with parm! My preggo brain must be in full swing! :) Soooo it may not look amazing in this pic, but it does taste AMAZING! I absolutely love the Italian sausage in this. I have made it with the sweet & the hot. Both are excellent, but I recommend using the sweet if you are serving children because the hot can be too spicy! This is so good on a cold night and perfect with some rosemary olive oil bread (From Costco) and a perfect Caesar salad! I like to double this recipe and freeze half, but be sure to freeze it with OUT the tortellini so the pasta doesn't get all soggy on you. Then just boil fresh tortellini the night you want to serve it! Bon appetit'

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

1 lb. bulk sweet or hot Italian sausage
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 med. onion, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
½ c. dry red wine (optional)
5 c. beef broth
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 c. chopped tomatoes (fresh, or canned w/ puree)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
8 to 10 oz. cheese tortellini
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat. Drain fat, if any. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, zucchini, carrot, red or yellow pepper, wine, and herbs. Simmer until vegetables are tender crisp. Add tortellini to soup and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning; serve in bowls with Parmesan cheese.

NOTE: If using fresh tortellini, it will swell and will not reheat very well. You can make the soup ahead up to that point and then reheat it and add tortellini.
(I think this soup tastes better the next day, even if I’ve already cooked the tortellini.)

For the chopped tomatoes, I use almost two whole cans of diced tomatoes, and most of the puree that is in the cans.

Main Dish: Southwest Sloppy Joes

Here is my twist on an old recipe I found years ago. This is seriously one of my easy "go to" recipes (that tastes amazing, might I add) when I need to be the good wife with dinner on the table, but feel too lazy to make it! My favorite thing about this recipe is that it isn't the traditional tomato base like we are use to in a sloppy joe, but has a tangy & sweet taste from your families FAVORITE BBQ sauce! :) Hope you all love it as much as we do!

Southwest Sloppy Joe's


2 lbs lean ground beef (can use Ground turkey)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

1 medium-large green bell pepper, diced

1/3-3/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce (We love Sweet Baby Ray's original)

Sliced Cheddar cheese

Saute' Onions & bell pepper in a pat of butter (or EVOO) until onions are just about translucent. Then add ground beef to the pan and brown. Drain any grease. Add BBQ sauce to your liking. Serve on toasted french rolls or hamburger buns & top with a slice of cheddar cheese! EASY & TASTY! :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Main Dish: Amazing Lasagna

Ok, so I have never found a Lasagna recipe that I have been crazy about...until NOW!!! This Lasagna was AMAZING!!! I am seriously eating a slice of it as I write. Yes, having a late lunch! I don't have to write a whole lot about it, it's lasagna!!! But it seriously has awesome flavor and the sausage adds soooo much to it! Hope you make it and LOVE it! :)

Amazing Lasagna
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: 12
Adapted from:

1-½ pound Ground Beef
1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
1 can (14.5 Ounce) Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 1/2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
2 whole Beaten Eggs
½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 pound Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
1 package (10 Ounce) Lasagna Noodles
(add 1/2 Teaspoon Salt And 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil To Pasta Water)
Preparation Instructions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; Add tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, basil and the 1 tsp salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, & 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly dente is boiling the noodles exactly 8 minutes).

To assemble:
Arrange 3 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon part of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon part of the meat/sauce mixture over the top.

Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Look at those layers!!! :)

Main Dish: Sweet n' Sour Meatballs

THIS my dear friends is one of my ALL TIME favorite "go to" recipes! It's EASY, delicious, family friendly, and ALWAYS consistently a favorite! It's an amazing freezer meal as well as a crock pot meal. It is sooooo versatile that I promise you will love it. I make it for friends, my family, or for families in need (such as a new Mama). I also take it to pot lucks as well. We had company in town last week and I made this a week before they got in. I bought the frozen meatballs from Costco (Be sure they are NOT the Italian style...but home style, Swedish or homemade works too!). Then, I just made the sauce with the bell peppers and pineapple and brought it to a boil and then allowed it to cool. Then, I just added it right into the bag that the frozen meatballs came in...resealed it and threw them right back into the freezer until I needed them! I just pull them out of the freezer the day before I want to serve them to thaw. You can warm it up in a pot on the stove or have them cooking away in the crock for the day on low. Make the jasmine rice in 20 minutes and there you have it folks! An AWESOME & yummy meal that everyone will enjoy! :) PLEASE put this on your menu...I promise you will love it!

Sweet n' Sour Meatballs

2 (20oz) cans of pineapple chunks
2/3 c. water
6T. white vinegar
2T. Low sodium soy sauce
1c. packed brown sugar
3T. cornstarch
30 Frozen meatballs(can use homemade)
2 large bell peppers, chopped in 1 inch pieces (opposite colors, I like to use yellow & red)
6-8 servings of hot jasmine rice

Drain pineapples reserving the juice; set aside. Add water to the pineapple juice if needed to measure a full 2 cups worth of juice. Pour it into a large pot. Add 2/3c. water, vinegar, soy sauce, & brown sugar to the pot. In a separate small bowl mix corn starch and a few Tablespoons of COLD water and mix until smooth milky-like consistency. Add to the pot with the pineapple juice mixture & bring to a boil stirring constantly so it doesn't burn on the bottom. Once boiling and thick, turn to low and then add the pineapple, meatballs and peppers. (At this point I take it off the heat and allow it to come to room temp. Then you can open your frozen bag of meatballs and add the sauce and refreeze for another day.) Or you can simmer for another 10-15 minutes and then serve over hot jasmine rice! Enjoy!!!

*Btw, you can EASILY substitute chicken in place of the meatballs. I just wouldn't let it sit in the crockpot cooking in the sauce all day or it might get chewy! ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Appetizer: TJ's Mediterranean Hummus

Sooooo....we went to an awesome BBQ this weekend and a sweet friend of mine brought this AMAZING hummus to go along with her veggie tray! IT. WAS. AMAZING. All I have to say is that I CAN NOT stop thinking about it and how much I wish a container of this was in my fridge RIGHT NOW!!! Anyway, just had to share my new found love! Hope you live close to a Trader Joe's...for the love of Hummus!!! Btw, I'm SURE TJ's flat bread would taste amazing in this as well. Oh GREAT, after all this hummus talk I just MIGHT have to make a trip out there this week! THANKS DAWN!!! :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Main Dish: Cajun Baked Shrimp

We just had some sweet company over Memorial Day weekend & it also happened to be one of their birthdays! I knew how much they loved seafood and I have had this recipe in waiting for just the right time! Now was the time and boy was it ever a HIT!!! It was simple, delicious and the kids even enjoyed it! I have to say that buying the peeled & deveined raw shrimp (just be sure to pull the tails off) was a huge help in making this a dinner in under 20 minutes! LOVE IT!!! I hope you take the opportunity to make this dish for your family. Don't let the shrimp scare you...for they are easy and delicious to prepair! Bon appetit!

Cajun Baked Shrimp
Adapted from:

1/3c. olive oil
2T. butter, melted
2T. Cajun seasoning (You can use half if you like things more mild)
1/4c. Lemon Juice
1 1/2T. Honey
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1T. soy sauce
1 1/2lb. uncooked large shrimp, shelled & deveined
1lb. linguine

Combine first 7 ingredients in a 9x13 dish; add shrimp & toss to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until shrimp are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. While shrimp are baking, cook linguine in boiling, salted water until done. Drain, place in a warm serving dish with a little olive oil drizzled in the bottom. Pour shrimp mixture over pasta; toss & serve! Delicious!!!!

Dessert: Homemade Oat Bottom Brownies

So a few months ago I was able to attend a cooking class taught by Julie Andersen! I absolutely LOVED that night and these were on the menu! Let me just say that I'm not very big on chocolate...but these were AMAZING! So, needless to say I HAD to share this chocolate love with you all. There is NOTHING like a homemade brownie to show the love! Hope you love them just as much as we did. I am totally making these again! :)

Homemade Oat Bottom Brownies
Recipe by: Julie Andersen

Oat Bottom:

2c. rolled oats
3/4c. flour
1/2c. Light brown sugar
1/4tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
2/3c. butter, melted


2c. walnuts or pecans, chopped
14oz. bittersweet chocolate
2oz. unsweetened chocolate
4oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1c. butter
1/4c. cocoa powder
1c. sugar
3/4c. firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1T. vanilla
1c. flour
1/4tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder & salt. Add butter and stir until thoroughly combined. Press mixture evenly into bottom of dish. Bake 12 minutes & cool.

Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Chop chocolates coarsely in food processor. Then add 1/2c. of the granulated sugar. Melt butter in microwave and poor through the food processor feeding tube with the machine still running- this will melt the chocolate! Add cocoa powder and remaining sugar; pulse to combine. Add eggs & vanilla; pulse to combine. Sprinkle flour and salt over the batter and pulse just until flour disappears, scraping side of work bowl. Stir in nuts by hand. (This all can also be done by melting chocolates in a double boiler and using a mixing bowl and mixer!)

Pour batter over baked bottom, spread evenly. Bake about 40-45 minutes until tester in center comes out slightly moist. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares! YUMMY! :D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Appetizer: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

As you can see our family LOVES anything to do with Mexican food. Now these obviously are not your traditional chicken taquitos, but I think you will absolutely love how the cream cheese and pepper jack tie into this dish. I was expecting these to be pretty spicy but they were actually on the mild side. (My 3 year old ate them!) So if you want some spice, dice up a jalapeno for an extra kick! I posted this as an appetizer, but we ate these as a main dish with Spanish rice and re fried beans! I had left overs today and just popped them back in the oven until warmed through...just as good as last night! Hope you love these as much as we did! :)

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Recipe by

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
about 16 small corn or flour tortillas (we liked flour better)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

The corn tortillas can be harder to roll without cracking. For the corn tortillas: work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Makes around 16 taquitos.

Dip in salsa, sour cream, salsa verde, or guacamole!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Appetizer: Soft Cheddar Pretzels

Soft Cheddar Pretzels

The other day I got an email from my old college roomie Crystal! She had sent me this wonderful pretzel recipe that looked delicious and super easy! I couldn't stop thinking about them and you know I HAD to make them! So, the other night I was feeling ambitious and made two batches of these little guys! That night I went to sleep and woke up with the idea of putting the cheese on TOP!! So the next morning I made one more batch just to try it out! I LOVED how they turned out and I hope you guys love them too! I ended up with 1 batch of plain pretzels, a batch with cheese just inside and the 3rd batch had cheese just on top! I probably shouldn't even tell you how badly I wanted to dip these into a jar of processed cheese...but I did!!! The Tostitos con queso was PERFECT! :)

This pretzel recipe is pretty basic and there are soooo many things you can do to make these JUST the way you and your family prefer! Add Jalapenos & cheddar to the dough! Dust them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture before baking for a sweet treat, top them with Parmesan instead of the cheddar, add sun-dried tomatoes to the dough! The possibilities are endless and they are always going to be yummy, soft and delicious!

Soft Cheddar Pretzels
Adapted from the French's Dijon Soft Pretzels recipe

1 2/3 c. warm milk (it needs to be warm, not tepid, but not hot either, or it will kill the yeast)
1 pkg. (or 1 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese*
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 c. all purpose flour (or less, just until dough is pulling away from walls of the bowl and isn't sticky!)

Into large warm bowl, measure warm milk. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.

Stir in cheese, sugar salt and enough flour to make a stiff dough.

Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down.

Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll each into a 20 in. rope. On lightly greased baking sheet, shape into a pretzel. Brush tops with egg whites (Or just top with additional grated cheddar cheese) and then cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 15 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree (190 C) oven 12-16 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.

Note: dough may be shaped into 2 long loaves (baguettes); cover, let rise 1 hour. Bake 20 minutes.

* If you simply want to make plain soft pretzels just leave out the grated cheddar in the dough mixture and then just top with egg white wash & bake.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Main dish: Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Yesterday I had a very dear friend over for a play date. Normally our play dates consist of Mac n' cheese, play-dough, & coffee!!! Well, I had everything to make this dish and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. So we still had the Mac n' cheese (for the kids of course), play-dough & coffee...but it was great to enjoy a delicious "adult" dish with some great adult conversation! I have to tell you that the flavors in this dish are absolutely amazing! If you love curry then this dish is a MUST for you to make! I actually served this to my 3 year old son for dinner last night and he scarfed it down and asked for seconds! I'm sooo proud!!! Too bad it's all gone, because as I write this I am CRAVING another bowl! So, hurry...MAKE SOME CURRY!!!!!

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Adapted from
Makes: 6-8 servings

3 skinless, Large boneless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 medium red onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (by seeding the jalapeno you lose most of the spice/heat but retain great flavor. If you want some spice just de-seed and de-rib 3 out of the 4!) 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
6 cups hot cooked Jasmine rice

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Stir together curry, salt, pepper and chili powder. Sprinkle over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large nonstick frying pan, stir onion, basil, garlic and peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.

Combine coconut milk and cornstarch and whisk well to combine. Carefully add to skillet, whisking vigorously. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in ginger. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Appetizer: Fiesta Taco Dip

This week the Hubs asked me if I would mind throwing some appetizers together for his Texas Hold em' night! (Did he even have to ASK!?!?) My mind instantly started to go through my recipe "box". I was trying to think of something that was tasty and filling since it would be feeding a house full of men! This recipe came to mind and I just knew I had to make it! I have a very soft spot for yummy layers of beans, sour cream, tomatoes, olives and cheese! YUM!

Fiesta Taco Dip

1 1/2 cans (16oz cans) Green chili & lime refried beans
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, diced
1 (6oz) can olives, sliced
16oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning mix
2 clove garlic, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread refried beans evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, and taco seasoning; blend well. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over beans. Grate cheddar cheese over top the cream cheese mixture and bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Dice tomatoes, thinly slice green onions, slice olives, and finely chop cilantro. Sprinkle tomato, onions, olives, and cilantro over dip. Garnish with additional sour cream and serve with tortilla chips if desired!

I made this little number and then excused myself from all the testosterone in my home. (Went to the movies and saw The back up plan..soooo FUNNY!!!) I couldn't wait to get back to snack a little on the dip, but when I got home this is what I found!

Totally GONE!!! I guess they liked it. :o)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Main dish: BBQ Chicken Pizza & Great Pizza Dough

Every so often our family loves to have a Friday family movie night. Right now it usually consists of watching Toy Story, Bambi or Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs! My 3 year old LOVES to choose the movie! So while he is picking out the movie, Mama is choosing dinner! I came across this SUPER YUMMY BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe in one of my Weight Watchers cook books a few family nights back! Now don't let that turn you off to even trying out this recipe, because it is FULL of flavor and a cinch to throw together! So sorry I didn't get a picture of this yummy pizza up for you...I forgot to pull the camera out and by the time I remembered it was GONE! :(

If you are planning ahead and feeling domestic I will also post my favorite pizza dough recipe below! I love it and it always turns out tasty! Just be sure to give yourself enough time for the dough to rise a few times! Happy Family Movie Night!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Adapted from Weight Watchers

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

1 pizza dough (I use Trader Joe's pre-made, or Winco's pre-made if I don't have time to make my own)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2/3 cup favorite spicy BBQ sauce, divided (We LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's!)
1/3 cup sliced or diced red onion (I prefer to saute' these on the stove before adding to the pizza, but I believe that adds more WW points per serving!)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (4oz) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pizza crust on an ungreased baking sheet; lightly coat crust with cooking spray and poke all over the dough with a fork. Then place in oven for 5-7 minutes and then take back out.
3. Combine chicken and 1/3 cup BBQ sauce in a small bowl; stir well. Spread remaining 1/3 cup BBQ sauce evenly over pizza crust, leaving 1 inch border. Top crust evenly with chicken mixture and remaining ingredients.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cut into 8 slices.

Yield: 8 servings (WW POINTS VALUE:6)
Per serving: CAL 281 (21% from fat), FAT 6.6g, PRO 19.5g, CARB 34g, SOD 606g.

Great Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 pizza's

5c. flour
2tsp salt
2c. warm water
2 pkg's of active dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar

Mix dry ingredients, then add water (slowly while mixing just a little...don't over mix) Cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place, Let rise 1 hour. punch down dough. Let rise again 1 hour. Divide into two large balls. Roll out on flowered surface. bake at about 400-450* for 20-25 minutes after putting toppings on. (I like to pre-bake the dough about 5-7 minutes without toppings on and then add the sauce and topping and finish baking. It's much crispier and is always cooked through. I can't stand a doughy pizza!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Food ideas: Colored Play-dough


• 1 cup water
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup salt
• 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
• Food coloring
• Saucepan
• 1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.

(My cute little helpers...they were soooo excited!)

Remove from heat and add to flour.

Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.

Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

ENJOY!!! This was super easy & was lots of fun!