Friday, November 14, 2014

Baked Zucchini Crisps

Do you still have some zucchini laying around? The season is pretty much over and it's also around the time when I start to get tired of the squash. I love it, but after a summer full of it, it's nice to move on to some winter veggies.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crock Pot Italian Sausage with Potatoes, Onions, and Peppers

I love my Crock Pot. But really, who doesn't? I'm a big fan of it for a lot of different reasons but the stand-out is giving me good food with little effort. And on a busy work day when there is soccer practice after school, nothing sounds better.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

No Knead Crusty Bread

I wish I could remember where I found this bread. I tweaked it slightly but found the original recipe in a random surfing session and thought it sounded too easy to be good. I was wrong.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Mango

Have you ever had one of those days where you're just craving something veggie packed and fruity at the same time? I have. On many occasions actually.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken Breasts with Potatoes, Onions and a Rosemary Herb Sauce

Man, I just love my crock pot. I don't love when I go to make something only to discover I have everything but one key ingredient. (We'll just call that a tiny bit of poor planning on my part.) That poor planning did lead to this impromptu chicken though. And since it was really tasty, I'm not too distraught over my initial meal not happening.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Zucchini Pineapple Muffins

These. Oh boy. These are some good muffins. It's almost like a little zucchini bread for one. But better. These muffins are good and good for you. You can be very happy while eating them.

We've really been focusing on the healthy lifestyle over here, but that doesn't mean we're not going to enjoy food. I mean, come is delicious! Why would you deny yourself the good stuff? You just have to make sure the good stuff is good for you. And these muffins totally are. They're so moist and there's just enough sweetness to make you feel like you're getting a great little dessert. Or breakfast. Yeah...I think I may have one for breakfast...

I have tweaked the recipe slightly by removing baking soda, lemon juice, and some of the sugar. I have also increased the baking powder by 1 tsp. The muffins have a better texture and taste just as good!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beef with Peapods

My last post was a great chicken and peapods recipe so I thought I'd share a beef version this time. This one actually came before the chicken version and it sort of paved the way for that and a couple others. The inspiration to make this came from a craving for some beef chop suey from our local Chinese restaurant. So instead of calling to place an order, I decided to create something with what I had on hand. I'm big on that, you know...

So I checked out what I had and a bag of peapods from Costco was staring back at me. I knew I had some steak - also from Costco - so I thought about combining them into a simple stir fry with some chop suey sauce similarities. It wasn't exactly like chop suey, but it's exactly what I was going for. I wanted a deep flavor that really highlighted the beef as the main ingredient. The sauce was mellow and not too overpowering so it really let me meat flavor take center stage.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chicken with Peapods and Carrots

According to my 5-year old, this is the best dinner he's ever had. Now, he does seem to say that a lot, but this time he said that it was not only better than pepperoni pizza or chicken noodle soup, but it was also better Panda Express Orange Chicken. It's a special treat type of thing, but he loves that damn orange chicken....

This diner gets an A+ from all of us. I'm so happy when I'm able to create something that everyone likes and that can actually make people smile. My husband - who is even pickier than the boy - loved it! Now that is a big deal because he just honestly couldn't care less about food. I just don't understand that but to each their own I guess.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Steamed and Buttered Red Potatoes

If there's one thing my mom always goes to in terms of potato dishes, it's this. She's made it for years and always just whipped it up every time. She never followed a recipe but knew exactly what she was doing so it was the same delicious flavor every time. Moms are funny like that...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tortellini Primavera

Every once in awhile I buy fresh tortellini. And when I do it's only from Costco because #1 the price is amazing and #2 it's really good. There is a lot though so I end up freezing about two-thirds of it. I love to create new recipes using this tortellini because it's so easy to work with and it's cheese-filled so it goes with everything.

I also look for new ways to incorporate vegetables into our meals that aren't just sitting as a side dish. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just fun to have them involved with the main course sometimes. This pasta dish is great because you can use any vegetable you have in the fridge or the freezer. You can get really creative with this one so I encourage you to use your favorites to make this dish your own. We love broccoli and always have some in the freezer so this was the main vegetable in this version. I combined it with carrots and red pepper but you can easily use zucchini, peapods, other peppers, onions, tomatoes, or anything else you can think of! Serve it up with a salad or some crusty bread and you're good to go!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cherry Chipotle BBQ Sauce

I recently bought a big bag of frozen cherries at Costco because I was going through this massive smoothie phase. I wasn't that crazy about these cherries in smoothie form though so I've been trying to find other ways to use them up. It was warm outside and I was thinking about grilling and the idea of a cherry BBQ sauce popped in my head. I like using fruit in interesting ways and I've done a mango BBQ sauce before so cherry was a good next step. (I plan on doing even more though - especially peach. Yum!) I took an inventory of what I had in the pantry and after writing up a recipe and getting everything cooking, I had a really good sauce that went perfect on our chicken. It had a great balance of tangy and sweet along with a tiny bit of heat and smokiness. I used about a third of what I made on three chicken breasts so there is plenty with this recipe. The rest can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about a month.

I think I'll give this sauce a try on some chops or ribs next time!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Grilled Honey Mustard Pork Chops

Since warmer weather is finally here, I've been working on some new grilling recipes. I've been getting bored with chicken lately so I've turned my focus to pork. We bought a large tenderloin at Costco a few weeks ago and after cutting it up and portioning for a ton of meals, I left a little bit out and cut it into chops. I new I wanted to grill them but it took me a couple days to decide how and with what.

I had written a crock pot recipe for a honey mustard chicken a few days earlier so I decided to adapt it a bit for the pork and the grill. It seemed like the perfect combination. After a few tweaks to my original mustard sauce, I had a glaze that worked great with the fire.

Friday, May 9, 2014

1-Pot Pasta: Creamy Tomato and Spinach

I have found my new go-to dinner. I've seen a few of these one pot meals around and I decided it was high time that I whipped up my own. I wasn't quite sure how my recipe would turn out since I've never made anything like this before and all the ones I've seen have linguine or fettucini noodles, but I honestly couldn't have asked for a better result.

Including all the prep work, the entire meal took me a little over a half hour. It was one of the easiest things I've ever made and it was delicious! The boys loved it and since it was all cooked in one pot, the clean up was a breeze.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pan-Seared Pork Medallions with Mustard Wine Sauce

There are so many things you can do with a  pork tenderloin! I've cooked it in the oven, the crock pot, in chili, in a stir-fry, and a bunch of other ways that would just be too many to list.

This time, I went a little different. I decided to cut this one into little rounds to make some pan-seared medallions. This pork recipe was easier than I thought it would be and it ended up tasting just as good as I hoped it would. It was also very quick to prepare so it's good to make during the week for a nice change of pace.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baked Greek Lemon Chicken Thighs

Chicken and Greek flavors are meant for eachother. I don't usually dive too far into those flavors because my husband isn't really a fan, but I'll try to incorporate subtle flavors into our meals sometimes. This chicken doesn't have a strong Greek influence, but the basic flavors are there. The lemon and oregano infuse the chicken nicely and the garlic adds a nice bite without being overwhelming.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two-Beef Chili

Quick...before it starts to get too warm outside, you need to make this chili.

I've never been a big chili fan, but I decided to make a batch for some reason a couple weeks ago. I still have no idea what prompted that, but I'm glad it did because I'm putting this up there as one of the best things I've ever eaten. The spices are right on and the texture was awesome. The contrast of the two kinds of meats was unlike anything I've had and they worked so well together! It wasn't very spicy either so it had just the right amount of heat.

Oh, and this one is even better the next day.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fire Roasted Tomato and Chicken Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Spring is finally here but the snow on the ground means that it's still chilly outside. And that means that I'm still making soup. A lot. We just love those 'warm-you-up-dinners' in our house!

I try to make a lot of different kinds of soups to keep things interesting around here and get everyone to try new styles and flavor combinations. I usually try to incorporate a meat since soup is our main course instead of a starter. (But I throw in a few veggie-only soups now and then just for fun.) This one happens to have meat but it can easily be left out if you're a vegetarian or not big on meat soups.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Grilled Shallots with Thyme

I love shallots. They're so cute and have such a wonderfully subtle onion flavor that they're the perfect addition for many dishes. They're best for when you want a hint of onion but don't want to overwhelm things. And because they're so mild in flavor, they work great as a side dish all on their own.

These grilled shallots are fantastic when paired with a grilled steak or even barbecued chicken. You can change up the herbs to compliment your other dishes for a custom taste every time! I added the balsamic for a little tang but you could easily leave it out if you aren't a fan. Or try some red wine vinegar or a little lemon juice for some variations. The sky's the limit here!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chicken Picatta

Have you ever been to a wedding or shower and been served chicken picatta? Do you ever sigh when you see it in front of you? I have on occasion. I usually dread it because it just isn't that great most of the time. There doesn't ever seem to be any flavor to it. I love chicken. I love lemon. What could be the problem, right? Well, they usually don't have that lemony flavor that makes it taste so good. It's usually pretty bland. When I get something called chicken picatta, I want it to taste like what's it's supposed to taste like! My version does. It doesn't taste like anything you get at those restaurants because each flavor is pronounced and has it's own job.

And you can feel all fancy on a regular weeknight because it's really easy and super quick to make!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Homemade Ranch Dressing (Without Buttermilk)

Okay, it's not that I have anything against buttermilk, it's just that I never have it in the fridge. I don't keep it 'just in case' so spur-of-the-moment recipes that require it don't happen around here. Ranch dressing used to be one of those things that I couldn't make because I never had the buttermilk. Now, I'm not normally a super huge fan of ranch dressing, but sometimes you just have to have it! And, I got tired of not being able to have it because of that one ingredient. So I improvised. And I tweaked. And I ended up with a dressing that is awesome using ingredients that you probably already have. No special grocery store visit needed just to top your salad. Or dip your vegetables. Or however else you'd use it.

So if you're in the mood for some ranch dressing, don't be discouraged if you don't have any buttermilk! Give this one a try and you won't miss the other kind.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (In Only 7 Minutes!)

I've always loved eggs. I think it stems from when I was younger and my Grandma would babysit my sister and I. She would make us scrambled eggs and they were delicious. I've written about my Grandma before so you may remember that she's Polish and therefore cooks like, well, a Polish Grandma would. Those eggs were full of Polish Sausage and butter. I'm pretty sure there were at least a few tablespoons of that butter mixed in with the sausage grease. I've since changed how I make my own scrambled eggs so they don't have all those 'extras' but I've still managed to make them taste just like hers. The secret? Seasoned salt...