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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eggplant Bruschetta

Another one of my husband's creations.   Delicious!  But the eggplant doesn't hold for too long so this is best served right away.  It's optional to drizzle a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar on each one when they are done but we preferred the taste without.  

1 eggplant, sliced (about 1/2"-3/4" thick)
1 tomato sliced
Fresh mozzarella cheese
1 TBS Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

1.  Slice the fresh mozzarella and lay on a plate lined with paper towels.   Cover with additional paper towels and let sit for at least 30 minutes to draw out the moisture.  

2.  Slice the tomatoes and also lay on a plate lined with paper towels.  Sprinkle a dash of kosher salt on each slice and let sit for 10-15 minutes to also draw out the moisture. 

3.  Lightly brush the eggplant slices with olive oil.   Heat grill on medium.  Add the eggplant.  Gently turn over after 2-3 minutes.   Should take no more than 5 minutes total. 

4.  Remove eggpant from grill.  Turn on broiler on stove.   Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray.  Add the eggplant and then add a tomato slice and then the mozzarella. 

5.  Broil close to the heat for 2-4 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.   Once done, remove from heat.  You can optionally drizzle the balsamic vinegar on them before serving.   Enjoy! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Watermelon, Feta & Bacon Stackers

My husband's new favorite weekend hobby is coming up with fun appetizers and I am NOT complaining!  This was so refreshing and light tasting.  Perfect summer appetizer.  Look pretty fancy too!  This recipe made 6 stackers. 

Watermelon cut into cubes.  About 2" deep and maybe 2.5" wide (give or take, doesn't have to be exact)
1 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less to taste)
6-8 fresh mint leaves, grated finely
6 strips of bacon

1.  Make bacon according to directions until crispy.

2.  Meanwhile cut watermelon into cubes.   Once cut, hollow out about a 1/2" of the top of each one.

3.  Sprinkle the feta into the hollowed out portion of watermelon.

4.  Sprinkle with the grated mint leaves.

5.  Once bacon is done and patted to get off excess grease, break into half and place on top of the watermelon feta cubes to form an X.

6.  Sprinkle a bit more feta on top of the bacon.   Enjoy!

Fried Ravioli (with marinara dipping sauce)

No words to describe this masterpiece!  Simple to make and cheap ingredients.  You could serve this as an appetizer while entertaining for less than $10 (I had most ingredients on hand so I only spent $5).    This is the kind of appetizer that everyone will want you to make over and over again.  Super delicious.  You can make as little or as much as you want.  I was shocked at how crispy they came out.  They tasted better than some of the ones I get in restaurants sometimes. 

One bag of frozen cheese filled ravioli (we used the smaller ones)
2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs (may need more if you are making a full bag)
2 large eggs, beaten (we used egg whites)
2 TBS grated parmesan cheese
One jar of your favorite marinara sauce
2 cups of Olive Oil (or whatever oil you prefer)

1.  Beat the eggs in a bowl.

2.  Place the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl.

3.  Pour the oil into a frying pan and turn on medium - high heat (closer to high side but not all the way up on high).   Wait for the oil to heat.    You will know when it is ready to use when the food sizzles when it touches it. If it doesn't sizzle, WAIT longer or else the food will get soggy.

4.  Dip the frozen ravioli into the eggs and then coat with breadcrumbs.  GENTLY place each breaded ravioli into the frying pan after you coat them.   Again, they should sizzle right away in there.    Be careful not to put too many ravioli in at once.  If you are doing a full bag, you may need to do it batches.  

5.  Turn the ravioli over gently with tongs after a minute or two and fry until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes usually but just watch for their color to change).

6.   Immediately remove the fried ravioli with tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate.   Let sit for about 5 minutes.

7.   While the ravioli sit, warm up your marinara sauce, however you prefer.  Once warm, place about one cup into a bowl for dipping.

8.  Sprinkle the ravioli with the grated parmesan and ENJOY!   

Monday, June 16, 2014

Healthy Broccoli Salad

I loooove broccoli salad, but once you add the bacon, cheese and mayonnaise based dressing it becomes one of the worst cook-out side dishes! This version is lightened up and healthy. The best part, you won't even miss all of the other ingredients. 

Ingredients:1/3 cup mayonnaise (lowfat)1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream or coconut yogurt)1 tablespoon honey4-5 cups chopped very fresh broccoli (cut into bit size pieces)1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins, or dried fruit)1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds (or sliced almonds or other chopped nuts)
1. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and honey in a medium mixing bowl. Add chopped broccoli, cranberries, and sunflower seeds and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. Best when eaten within three days.

Overnight Easy Breakfast Casserole

This is super easy and can be made 1-2 days in advance. This is great to make for a holiday breakfast, brunch or when you have guests stay overnight. 

1 lb. Breakfast sausage (I use turkey)
1 med. onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (fat free)
6 oz. seasoned croutons
12 eggs
2 c. milk
12 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown sausage with onion. Drain well. Mix 1 can cream of mushroom soup with sausage and onion mixture. Place seasoned croutons in 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle meat over croutons.Beat 12 eggs with 2 cups milk and pour over meat. Top with 12 oz. cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Recipe adapted from

Hamburger Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so cute and also fun to make.  I make them every year for our Father's Day cook-out.  They are always devoured by the end of the day.  They look like real hamburger sliders!  :)

1 box yellow cake mix
Chocolate frosting
Yellow cake icing (I used a Betty Crocker one - comes in a bottle with all the tips you need to pipe it on because I don't know how to pipe icing on my own, lol)
Red cake icing (same as the yellow)
Green food coloring (only a few drops)
Sweetened shredded coconut
Sesame seeds (to make it resemble a kaiser roll.)

1.  Make cupcakes according to box directions.   BEFORE baking, sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each cupcake.

2.  Put about 2 cups of your shredded coconut in a bowl.  Add a few drops of the green food coloring and mix well.  It's supposed to resemble lettuce so you can add more if you like.  Stir with a fork until it is evenly covered.

3.  Once cupcakes are done, remove from pan and let cool COMPLETELY on wax paper or cooling rack. 

4.  Once cool, remove the cupcake wrappers.

5.  Cut the cupcakes in half with a plastic knife - but leave a little MORE OF THE BOTTOM half than the top when you cut through. 

6.  Add the chocolate frosting to the bottom half, sprinkle with the green coconut and then add some of the red & yellow icing to resemble ketchup and mustard. 

7.  LIGHTLY place the top half of the cupcake on (don't press down).   Enjoy! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Beef Noodle Bowl

Another awesome take out imposter!  My kids looooved this!  I used to make this years ago but when I pulled up the old recipe today, I found that there were quite a few changes I would make and so I did and they worked out great!   Very simple ingredients too.    It's a light tasting dish but still packed with enough flavor for the kids.   You can add red pepper flakes at the table for the adults if you like spice.  :)

1 lb. linguine
3 cups cut up broccoli florets, frozen (more or less to your liking)
3 cups cut up carrots, frozen (more or less to your liking)
1 TBS olive oil
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup Thai Peanut Asian Sauce (or something similiar - we found the brand  in the pic at Giant Food Stores)
1/2 cup + 1 TBS Teriyaki sauce
1/2 TBS minced garlic

MARINATE the meat in the fridge for a few hours with the thai peanut aisan dressing, teriyaki sauce and minced garlic in a large resealable freezer bag (at least an hour but can go longer) .

 Let the meat sit out of the fridge on your counter (still inside the bag) for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Cook your linguine according to directions and let drain well. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.   Once heated, add the frozen broccoli & carrots and let simmer on medium heat until tender-crisp.  

Add the meat & marinade to the pan with the veggies.   Cook on med-high heat until the meat is cooked to your liking.   STIR OFTEN. Once cooked, remove from heat and let sit for several minutes before serving.   The longer it sits, the better.  :)

Pour the drained linguine into a serving bowl and then add the pan of meat, veggies & sauce.  Stir well.   (Add sesame seeds or red hot pepper flakes for an extra kick!)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Crock Pot Hawaiian Turkey Meatballs

This dinner blew our minds... best new recipe we have had in a very long time!   My kids even had second helpings.  We served it over rice to help absorb the amazing sauce.   This was easy to assemble, cheap to make and only took 4 hours in the crock. 

Large package of precooked, frozen turkey meatballs (we only used about 12 meatballs - enough for dinner for 4 of us and some leftovers for lunch the next day.) 
large can of pineapple chunks (drained, put juice aside)
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 cup of brown sugar
3 Tbl. cornstarch
2/3 cup of white vinegar
3 1/2 TBS Soy sauce

Place meatballs in crock pot and top with green pepper and drained pineapple chunks.  In a separate bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and soy sauce.  Pour sauce over meatballs, pineapple and green peppers.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until heated through.  Serve over rice.   Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

This pizza rocked my world!  Tasted so gourmet.  I couldn't get enough of it.   The picture was taken before it was baked because once it came out of the oven, there was no time to pause for photos!  :)  (or maybe I forgot... lol)

1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced (about 1/4" thick)
1 large tomato, sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (about 1/4" thick)
Fresh basil leaves
Kosher Salt
1 pre-packaged pizza crust (we used whole wheat)
1 TBS grated parmesan cheese

1.  Slice the eggplant and tomato.   Lay them out on a cutting board or cookie shoot.  Sprinkle them with kosher salt and let them dry out for at least 30 minutes.

2.  Slice the fresh mozzarella and layer between paper towels for at least 30 minutes.  (need to get some of the moisture out before cooking so your food doesn't get watery.)

3.  Brush pizza crust with a LIGHT layer of EVOO.  Set aside.

4.  After eggplant has set for a little while, brush on a THIN layer of EVOO on each slice.

5.  Preheat oven to 350.   Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

6.  Lay the eggplant slices onto the cookie sheet and place in oven.   Cook until they are brown (about 10-15 minutes).   We usually let ours broil for the last 5 minutes to give them a little extra crunch.   Once done, remove from oven and take off of cookie sheet to let them cool for a few minutes.   They should should feel slightly firm. 

7.  Time to assemble the pizza!  Start with pieces of eggplant, then top with a tomato, then a basil leaf, and then a slice of mozzarella.  Cover the pizza as much as you can with these stacks and then fill in the gaps with  small pieces of mozzarella or basil (whatever you like).

8.  Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese all over.

9.   Preheat oven according to your pizza crust instructions.   After baking, allow to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Parmesan Garlic Edamame

Made this last night while entertaining and it was gone QUICK.   Cost a total of $2.99 because I had most of the ingredients on hand, except the steamable edamame (yes, steamable - so easy).   Everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. 

1 bag of steamable edamame
1 1/2 TBS EVOO
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (can use more if you like a lot of spice)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (can use more or less if you want)

1.  Steam the edamame according to the bag directions.
2.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
3.  Add in the garlic and red hot pepper flakes.  Let the garlic simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
4.  Add the edamame to the pan and stir well to coat.   Let it simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
5.  Remove from heat and pour into a strainer to get off any excess oil.  Let sit for 2-4 minutes.
6.  Add the grated parmesan cheese to a medium bowl.  Add the edamame in and toss to coat.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jalapeno Corn Dip

I can't even begin to tell you how fast this dip disappeared.   This recipe has been floating around Pinterest for awhile but I know other people who made it and had a few problems with it so after trial and error, we found the perfect recipe!  It has the right amount of spice and cheesy goodness that we all love in a dip.  We served ours with blue corn chips but basically any chip or bread would work. 

1 (14oz) can sweet corn
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1/2 cup LIGHT sour cream
1/2 cup mayo ( we used light mayo)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheese. divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I went very light on this - more like 1/8 teaspoon so make it to your own liking if you enjoy spice!)
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
salt & pepper to taste

optional:  2 green onions finely chopped (we omitted but the original recipe calls for them)

1.  Drain the corn at least one hour before assembling the dip.   You want to get rid of all the excess moisture so your dip doesn't get runny.  I actually had mine sit in a strainer for about 90 minutes while I was busy doing other kitchen things.  

2.  Preheat oven to 375. 

3.  In medium size bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayo, hot sauce and spices.   Fold in the corn & diced jalapeno.   Add 3/4 cup of each cheese and mix well. 

4.  Place the dip in a greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. 

5.  Bake 20 minutes or until the cheese gets bubbly.   Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet & Salty Chickpeas

I found this recipe on pinterest and had to try them.   Luckily I had every ingredient on hand, including garbanzo beans so it was easy to make and WOW they are the best things ever.   Addictive too!  This would be a great quick snack to put out when entertaining.  You can customize them to your own taste if you like.  

  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  •
    1 can (14oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    2 teaspoons EVOO
    2 teaspoons brown sugar
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted the salt but the original recipe calls for it.)

    1.  Put the chickpeas in a strainer, rinse with water and drain WELL. I let mine sit for a few hours to get all the excess moisture off of them. 

    2.  Preheat oven to 450.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.

    3.  Pour the chickpeas on the baking sheet, making sure they are even.

    4.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

    5.  Meanwhile add the remaining ingredients (more or less to taste for all of them) to a bowl.  

    6.  Once the chickpeas are done in the oven, allow them to cool for 1 minute, then add them to the bowl of spices.   Stir well to coat.    Let them sit for a few minutes and then enjoy!  
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  •
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or your spice(s) of choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  •

    Friday, January 10, 2014

    Sauteed Cabbage & Apples

    We love cabbage in this house so this seemed like a perfect recipe to try.   LOVED IT!  We served it as a side dish to the Skillet Pork Chops with Peaches.   It was quick & easy too. 

    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
    • 2 teaspoons canola oil
    • 8 cups sliced green cabbage
    • 2 cups sliced apple 
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less to taste)

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil to pan; swirl until butter melts. Add cabbage, apple, caraway seeds, and salt; cover and cook 5 minutes.

    Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until cabbage and apples are tender, stirring occasionally.

    *recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
    *picture courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Mu Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    This is one of the best new recipes that I have tried in recent months.   Very healthy, very quick to throw together (thanks to a Rotisserie chicken) and extremely flavorful.   Only 193 calories for 3 wraps!  My eight year old son had three of them which means they were obviously a big hit considering how picky he is.   Highly recommend this for a weeknight dinner.   We served ours with  sweet potatoes.

    2 1/2 TBS low sodium soy sauce
    1 TBS dry sherry
    2 TBS hoisan sauce
    1 teaspoon rice vinegar
    1 TBS dark sesame oil
    1 TBS minced garlic
    1 TBS minced ginger
    1 package (14oz give or take) package coleslaw mix (we didn't use all of this but it depends on taste preference)
    2 TBS Mrs. Dash Table Seasoning Blend - Salt Free
    1 1/2 cups shredded skinless boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    1/2 cup sliced green onions, divided
    12 Bibb or Iceberg lettuce leaves, washed & gently patted dry
    1/2 cup chopped cashews (put in a ziplok baggie and crush with a crab mallet)


    Combine first 4 ingredients (through rice vinegar) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

    After you shred the chicken, put in a bowl and add the Mrs. Dash seasoning.  Mix well to evenly coat.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.

    Add garlic and ginger to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture and coleslaw; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

    Add chicken and 1/4 cup onions to pan; cook 1 minute or until coleslaw just begins to wilt. Stir well.  Divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce leaves; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup onions and cashews.

    *recipe adapted from Cooking Light
    *photo courtesy of Cooking Light