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