Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

We found some jalapeno bacon the other day and wanted to try it out. We are still lucky enough to have fresh green beans available at the local grocery store so we took advantage of that as well. This is a super easy way to get a picky eater to eat more veggies.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped off
about 5 thick slices of bacon, cut in 1/2
Ziploc Steamer bags

Give your fresh green beans a head start by steaming them for just about 3 minutes. Taking about 4 or 5 green beans, make a little bundle and roll 1/2 a slice of bacon around it, using a toothpick to keep everything in place.

Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes (or until bacon is done) take out the toothpicks and serve. Delish!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This is one of my favorites to get whenever we go out for Italian. Cancy & I both love a little heat to our food. This recipe from Cassie is a super fast way to get a really tasty dinner on the table. You can be frugal with the red pepper flakes or go a little crazy. We probably did about a Tablespoon of pepper flakes. I think next time we’ll also just do both cans of tomatoes as the fire roasted. It added a nice depth of flavor.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic

2 cans diced tomatoes, 14.5 oz each (I used one plain and one fire roasted)

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp black pepper

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 lb 31-40 shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
1 lb pasta of your choice

Boil salted water for the pasta. Add the pasta to the water when it reaches a boil. Cook as directed on the package.

As the pasta boils, press the cloves of garlic into the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic is just starting to turn golden and is fragrant, add the shrimp and saute for 1-2 minutes on each side or until pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp to a bowl, leaving as much of the garlic and olive oil as possible. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Bring to a gentle boil then turn the heat down to simmer.

Drain the pasta and set aside. Stir the shrimp into the sauce.

Serve hot!

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I love, love, love Elly’s recipes. This one was adapted from, but I like what Elly did with it so thats the one I made. :) What a great way to get your pumpkin fix. The cheesecake was nice, but the pumpkin cut the sweetness a little bit so it’s not as overwhelming. And my favorite part of the whole things is the crust. Gingersnaps & Pecans? Yum!

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

2.25 cups crushed gingersnap cookies

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 (heaping) tsp. ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 250 and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a large bowl or in your food processor, combine the gingersnaps, pecans, and butter.  Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl or in your stand mixer bowl, mix the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, blending after each addition.  Set aside one cup of the mixture.  To the remaining mixture, mix in the 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Spread the pumpkin batter into the crust.  Drop the remaining plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until filling is just set (the middle will still jiggle a little bit).  Cool the bars in the pan and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

Cuban Sandwich

We had a bunch of leftover Pernil (Puerto Rican Pork) so we thought we’d make some yummy Cuban Sandwiches. This was a great quick dinner before heading out to the Hockey Game the other night. You can use a sandwich press, a George Forman grill, or just a regular pan to make this. Enjoy!

Cuban Sandwich

Crispy crust bread loaf
Pernil leftovers
Swiss cheese
yellow mustard
sweet butter pickles

Heat sandwich press.

Slices bread to desired length, spread with mayonnaise and yellow mustard.    Stack Swiss cheese, pernil, ham and pickles, top with bread.

Brush sandwich press with melted butter, place sandwich on press and brush with butter.  Press for 1 – 2 minutes, until cheese begins to melt, then turn and press for another 1 -2 minutes. 

Enjoy hot off the press.

Slow Cooked Puerto Rican Pork (Pernil)

I’m a big fan crockpots. It’s so nice just to prep something and then forget about it. Your whole house will smell delicious. Even the neighbors might ask what you’re cooking. This recipe will take you almost no time to prepare and after an overnight marinade in the fridge, just drop it in the crockpot & forget about it. **Bonus: You can make a great sandwich with the leftovers.

Slow Cooked Puerto Rican Pork (Pernil)

4 lb Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbs White Vinegar
4 tsp Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.  Rub pork with garlic mixture and refrigerate overnight.

When ready drop into the crockpot on low for 8 hrs. You'll know it's done once it's practically falling off of the bone.

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

In the never ending quest to get my husband to eat more vegetables, I thought I would try something a little different with green beans. The grocery stores around here lately have had fresh green beans. If you don't have access to fresh you can still do the recipe, just skip the steaming process.

Garlic Sautéed Green Beans

1 lb fresh green beans, ends snapped off
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced (you can do more or less depending on your tastes. We like garlic so we did closer to 8 cloves)
Olive Oil
Ziploc Steamer Bag

Rinse the green beans after snapping off the ends. Place in the steamer bag and microwave for about 3 minutes.

While they are in the microwave, heat about 1-2 Tbsp of Olive Oil to medium high heat.

Toss green beans in hot pan and add a sprinkle of salt as well as all of the garlic. Toss over medium high heat just until the garlic starts to brown.


Coconut Chicken Curry

I was on the website for my grocery store when I saw this recipe. The ingredients looked simple enough, plus I already had most things on hand. It turned out great. It’s a super easy, really tasty curry. Great for a rushed weeknight. We served this with Jasmine Rice & Garlic Saute’d green beans.

Coconut Chicken Curry

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced (1 cup)
1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes per side or until done (when internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees). Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Dice onions while chicken cooks.

Add onions to skillet; cook onions in pan juices 10 minutes or until very soft. Stir in curry powder and cook 1 more minute. While onions cook, cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. Dice tomato. Chop mint leaves very finely to mince.

Stir chicken, tomato and milk into skillet with onions. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly and reduce. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water; stir into skillet mixture to thicken. Remove skillet from heat.

Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste; stir in mint. Serve while hot.

Maple-Mustard Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

I’ve been a bad blogger lately. Not one update yet for December. Ooops... I’ll fix that starting with this recipe. I’ve been cooking/baking and taking pictures, just not getting anything loaded up on this blog. Let’s try a bit more consistency, eh?

So I found this recipe on Rachael Ray’s site. I had a pork loin to use but had no idea what to do with it. The maple/mustard combination sounded pretty interesting. We both really liked this recipe. Definitely do the overnight marinade as the flavor really gets into the meat. The best thing about this recipe is the smell once you get it in the oven. Enjoy!!

Maple-Mustard Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary plus 6 sprigs
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
One 4-pound boneless pork loin (about 12 inches long)
One 8-ounce package lean sliced bacon
6 small baking potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), quartered
Salt and pepper

In a resealable plastic bag, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the mustard, maple syrup, chopped rosemary and garlic. Add the pork and turn in the mixture to coat; refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the rosemary sprigs in the center of a roasting pan. Arrange six 14-inch lengths of kitchen string crosswise, about 2 inches apart, in the pan. Place the marinated pork on top of the strings and rosemary. Lay the bacon slices, on an angle, over the pork loin. Tie each string around the meat to secure the bacon, then trim the loose ends.

Scatter the potatoes around the pork and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil; toss to mix. Season the pork and potatoes with salt and pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 150°, about 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the potatoes.

Guacamole Tacos with Tomatillo and Steak Sauce

I’ve had this recipe from Deborah starred in my Google Reader since June. What a perfect combination for Cancy & I. I love avocados & he (like most men) loves meat. This was super easy to put together and tasted wonderful. Please don’t cheat by buying a green sauce from the store. The tomatillo/chile mixture smells great while cooking and is totally worth it. We both really liked this recipe and for sure will be making it again.

Guacamole Tacos with Tomatillo and Steak Sauce

4 Anaheim chiles, seeded

4 dried chiles de arbol

1 pound tomatillos (about 10), husked and rinsed

4 cups water, divided

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 teaspoon aniseed

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound skirt steak, cut into 1/3-inch cubes

3 large avocados, halved, pitted

1/2 cups (packed) finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

12 small flour tortillas, softened

Place all chiles in medium saucepan, then add tomatillos and 3 cups water. Cover and boil until chiles and tomatillos are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool and drain.

Combine tomatillo mixture, garlic, aniseed, and oregano in processor; blend until smooth. Strain, discarding solids.

Wipe same saucepan clean. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add strained sauce, simmer 5 minutes, then add 1 cup water. Bring to boil. Add chopped steak; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if sauce is too thick (consistency is similar to thin Bolognese); about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Using spoon, scoop out avocado flesh and place in medium bowl. Add cilantro, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt; coarsely mash with fork.

 Place 2 tablespoons guacamole in center of each tortilla; roll up. Place on plate, seam side down. Pour warm meat sauce over tacos to cover and serve.

Spicy Tomato Cheese Soup with Inside Out English Muffin Grilled Cheese

I saw this grilled cheese recipe in last month’s Every Day with Rachael Ray, November’09. I’m a huge grilled cheese fan so I thought I’d give it a try. The day I wanted to make them it was a little chilly outside (OK chilly for Texas, anyway). I thought what’s better than just a grilled cheese? So I made a yummy tomato soup to dip the grilled cheese in. Save this when you want a super easy meal on a chilly weeknight.

Spicy Tomato Cheese Soup
1 can condensed tomato soup 

1 can condensed Cheddar cheese soup 

3 cups spicy V8

a splash of hot sauce
salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Inside Out English Muffin Grilled Cheese
2 English Muffins
4 slices of Sharp White Cheddar
salt & pepper

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly Spread the inside of each English Muffin with butter. Arrange the muffins butter side out to build 2 sandwiches, each with a slice of sharp cheddar some salt & pepper, than another slice of white cheddar.

Place them in the pan and cook, turning once or twice, until the cheese is melted and the outsides are a golden brown.

Crockpot Burrito Soup

I usually go to Elly’s site when I’m craving lamb or something else Greek. I stumbled across her Burrito Soup & knew that this was a must-do.This was a really nicely seasoned and easy dish to make. Always on the lookout for crockpot ideas, this would be great for a crowd if you are having people over to watch “the game”. Or if you just want to make a hearty soup and have some tasty leftovers.

Crockpot Burrito Soup

2 tsp. canola oil

1 large onion, diced

1 lb. extra lean ground beef

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

5 cups beef broth

2 Tbsp. aleppo (or any) chili powder)

1 Tbsp. cumin

2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2/3 cup corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup uncooked rice (or, cook rice separately)

Heat a large  heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add oil. Cook the onions for a couple minutes before adding the beef. Brown the beef with the onion and drain if necessary. Put  back on the heat and stir in the garlic, just until fragrant.

Pour the beef mixture into the crockpot and then add the tomato sauce, beef broth, spices, corn and black beans. Cook on low for…however long you’re gone.
Increase temp to high and add the rice, just until cooked. Alternatively you can put the cooked rice in bowls and ladle the soup over it.

Garnish with your favorite toppings.

Banana Pumpkin Bread

You can’t have Fall and not make something with pumpkin. This was first recipe of the season using this Fall Favorite. I can never seem to use bananas up fast enough so this was a great way to use them and get the flavor of Fall.

Banana Pumpkin Bread
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 9x5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, pumpkin, honey and sugar. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pie spice and cinnamon, stir into the banana mixture until just combined. Fold in the raisins and walnuts if desired. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Roasted Balsamic Veggies

This really isn't a recipe, but more of a great way to get you vegetable servings covered. You can mix this up using whatever vegetables you prefer. This nigh was sort of a "clean out the vegetable drawer in the fridge" night. Cancy even liked vegetables this way. I've found so far that any vegetable tastes better when roasted. Eat & Enjoy!

Roasted Balsamic Veggies

about 1/2 lb Fresh Green Beans, ends snapped off
1 Medium Yellow Onion, cut into rings
1 Red Pepper, sliced into strips
1 pkg of Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
small handful of Blue of Feta Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place vegetables in a Ziploc bag, add salt & pepper and about a Tbps of Olive Oil. Toss.

Lay veggies out on a sheet pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes until roasted & tender.

Serve into individual dishes and splash a bit of Balsamic over top and sprinkle cheese as well.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken & asparagus

There really isn't much of a recipe to post for this one other than some basic prep before grilling. We made this to go along with Baked Lemon Pasta and they were great together. I think grilling & roasting are going to be the only way I can get my husband to eat enough vegetables. You gotta do, what you gotta do. Get out to that grill and cook up a healthy, yummy dinner.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken

1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp Lemon Pepper seasoning
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine first three ingredients in a Ziploc bag and shake to mix.
Add the chicken breasts & marinate for at least 1 hour.
Grill chicken until done.

Grilled Asparagus

In a separate Ziploc bag, combine the same ingredients as above, but toss fresh asparagus in the marinade and let sit for 15 minutes before grilling.

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta

I adore Ree of I also happen to love anything of hers that I’ve made. This lemon pasta was no exception. Now, Cancy thinks all meals need to be served with meat so I made lemon pepper pasta. I would have been perfectly content with just the pasta. I hope you try this. While you’re at it, you should check out the rest of Ree’s site. :)

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Lemon Pasta

1 pound thin spaghetti

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cups sour cream

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired

Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese

Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic.
Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.

Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top.
Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley.
Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Gorgonzola Filled Meatballs with Bay & Onion Creamy Tomato Gravy

We have tons of ground beef on hand so I am always looking for new ways to use it. This is yet another Rachael Ray recipe that came out a winner. We both really liked this. My recipe shown below is using smaller amounts than Rachael’s original. I cut most everything in 1/2 since it was just the 2 of us and we were stuffed.
I served this with mashed potatoes & roasted green beans. Easy & delicious weeknight dinner.

Gorgonzola Filled Meatballs with Bay & Onion Creamy Tomato Gravy

1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1 large egg
1 handful grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 handful plain breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons sage leaves, sliced or finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 fresh bay leaves
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
1/2 cup cream

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Place the meat in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add in the garlic, egg and egg yolk, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, breadcrumbs and sage. Mix together with the meat and roll into eight large balls and arrange in a baking dish. Coat the balls with 2 tablespoons EVOO. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation half way into each ball and fill each cavity with some Gorgonzola cheese. Bake until golden and cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO and butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the bay leaves and onions and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and heat through, stir in the cream, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to thicken slightly, 8-10 minutes.

Ladle the sauce into shallow bowls and top with big stuffed meatballs and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Spinach alongside, if desired.

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

I love, love, love broccoli cheese soup. We’ve had a chilly week so this was a perfect fit. I had to add a bit more 1/2 & 1/2 and chicken stock but other than that, I stayed true to the original recipe. This was delicious, creamy, & warm. Great for a chilly, rainy night.

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 medium chopped onion

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2 (I changed this to 3 Cups)

2 cups chicken stock (I changed this to 3 Cups)

1/2 lb fresh broccoli

1 cup carrot, julienned

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper

Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.

Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender if you have one, now is a good time to puree some of the soup. I made sure to leave some of the broccoli pieces whole.

Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

Crab Curry

We went out for Indian food a couple of weeks ago and we remembered how much we liked all of the flavors in Indian cuisine. I came home from work last week to a strong curry smell when I walked in the front door. There was my husband, at the stove using what seemed like every dish in the house and all of the burners on the stove. He decided to try a Crab Curry dish. I’ve got to say, it was delicious. Now this recipe doesn’t have the most common of ingredients so make sure you shop before you start this. Cancy went to 3 different stores that day to get everything. Sweet husband...

Crab Curry

1 cup water
6 big size crabs (Cancy used 1 pound of crab legs instead of whole crab)
8 red chillies whole
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1/2 coconut scraped
1 tsp Garam masala powder
8 cloves garlic
1 tbsp oil
1 big size onion sliced
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds

Boil the crabs and clean them, only the body and claws are used (the crab claws can be lightly cracked and the body cut into half, to facilitate eating).

Grind the scraped coconut with red chillies, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and garlic to a fine paste.

Heat up oil on medium heat up and stir fry cut onion. Stir-fry for one minute. Mix in ground spices and stir-fry for a minute. Mix in tamarind pulp, salt to taste and crabs.

Simmer (boil slowly at low temperature) on low heat, covered for 15 minutes. Mix in little more water if necessary and stir fry till done.

Serve hot over Basmati Rice.

CrockPot Orange Chicken

I love using my crockpot on the weekends. When I saw this recipe from Stephanie pop in my Google reader, I knew I had to make it. I love orange chicken when getting take-out but you know it’s fried & heavily sauced (aka not that great for you). I felt like I was cheating using this recipe because it tasted so good and I knew it was made actually pretty healthy.

The only thing I changed from Stephanie’s original is that when we were ready to eat, I steamed some fresh broccoli and tossed it into the sauce right before serving. We’ll definitely be having this again.

CrockPot Orange Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
olive oil, for browning the chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I'd opt for little-to-no pulp. The pulp can taste a bit bitter when cooked)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Go ahead and throw away any remaining flour, we won't need it. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

Creamed Chicken with Gnocchi Dumplings

I found this recipe in the November ’09 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. The sauce turned out just a little thick but for the most part this was a easy & tasty weeknight meal. I think next time we try this I’ll probably make it into a thick soup by just adding just a bit more 1/2 & 1/2, chicken broth, some baby carrots, & frozen peas.

Creamed Chicken with Gnocchi Dumplings

One 1-pound package of potato gnocchi

4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into thin strips

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup half-and-half ( I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)

1 cup chicken broth

2 scallions, chopped

Cook the gnocchi according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until toasted, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the half-and-half and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened. Whisk into the chicken mixture, then stir in the gnocchi. Bring to a simmer, then season with salt and pepper and top with the scallions.

Drunken Charro Beans

Last weekend, we went to a friends house for a day of BBQ & Football. I needed something manly & easy that would feed a group of hungry guys. This was a hit. Most men seem to love anything cooked with beer so this was an easy winner.

You can definitely adjust the seasonings to your taste and maybe you have another favorite beer. Most anything should work. Enjoy!!

Drunken Charro Beans

1 32oz pkg of dried pinto beans
1 lg onion, chopped
3 jalapenos, seeded & diced
1 Can of Rotel (you can use whatever level, but we used the Hot)
1lb pkg of bacon
2 C chicken stock
1 Tbsp each...garlic salt, jalapeno salt, pepper
2 bottles of Corona

Rinse the dried beans in a colander. Drain and then place beans in the bottom of the crockpot. Layer Rotel, onion, jalapeno, and bacon over top.

Pour 1/2 of the chicken stock in and then sprinkle your seasonings. Add 1 of the Coronas now. Turn crockpot on high heat for about 4 hours. No Peeking.

About 4 hours into it, stir everything together. Add the remaining chicken stock as well as the last bottle of Corona. Put the lid back on and leave on low for another 4-6 hours.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Divan

I saw this recipe pop up from Jenny’s blog. A girl after my own heart. Adding artichoke hearts to Chicken Divan. Genius!! :) I cut this down to use in an 8*8 pan so my recipe amounts are shown slightly different from Jenny’s. It turned out very tasty. I hope you’ll like it.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Divan

Cooking spray
2 cups broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 medium sized chicken breasts, cut into chunks and cooked.
1 cans cream of chicken soup (low fat, low sodium)
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup light mayo
1/2 cup Panko (or bread crumbs)
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (or any other light butter)

Cut the broccoli into bite size pieces and layer the bottom of a 8*8 casserole dish with it. Sprinkle a handful of parmesan over top. Top it with the artichokes and cooked chicken. Combine the soups and mayo in a bowl and spread it on top of the chicken and veggies. Pour the soup mixture onto the chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle remaining cheese on casserole. Melt the butter on the stove. When melted add the panko and saute one minute. Spoon on top of the casserole. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes or until the panko is nicely browned.

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

The nights have been getting chillier so I made this with rice, along with some chicken in the oven to warm us up a bit. This makes no less than a TON of rice. Be prepared for leftovers. This recipe comes originally from, but I found it in my Google Reader from Melissa.
I substituted the can of green chiles for a can of Rotel, drained & it turned out wonderfully! Enjoy!

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies (I used a can of Rotel, drained)
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
12.5 ounces chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X9 baking dish.

In the pot with the cooked rice, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, green chilies, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, corn, and parsley . Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Transfer to the prepared dish, and top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Oriental Beef and Noodles

Another Crock-pot Recipe. This one is incredibly easy to throw together & pretty tasty, although not the prettiest to photograph. We both liked this for an easy dinner that you don’t really have to pay attention to during the day.

We made just a few changes to Colleen’s recipe, and I think it gave it just a tad more flavor. Yum!

Oriental Beef and Noodles

1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir fry vegetables
2 - 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
1 (12 ounce) bottle stir-fry sauce, any flavor
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (we changed this to about a teaspoon for a little mote heat)
2 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, broken
1/4 cup green onions, chopped

Coat a 4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place frozen vegetables in the bottom and top with stew meat. In a medium bowl, stir together stir-fry sauce, water, and red pepper. Pour over stew meat and vegetables in cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 4 1/2-5 hours (I recommend low, it will help to break the meat down more).

At the end of cooking time, Stir noodles, Ramen spice packets, and green onions into meat mixture. Cover and let stand 10 minutes more. Stir before serving. This can be kept on warm for 1-2 hours.

Rustic Chicken

For Joelen’s October Tasty Tool event, she’s highlighting crockpots/slow cookers. I try to use my crockpot once or twice a month so I already have a few recipes in this blog with the Crockpot tag. However, for Joelen’s event I wanted to try something new.

I knew I wanted to make something with chicken and I wanted to use artichokes. I found this recipe on It takes all of 2 minutes to throw everything in the crockpot and then you just sit back and wait, enjoying the smell of a home cooked meal that you don’t have to work hard for. Enjoy!!

Rustic Chicken

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, or boneless chicken breasts cut in 1 inch strips

1 tablespoon real bacon bits (I omitted these)

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

1 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 packet dry chicken gravy mix

1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
** I added about 6 large stuffed Green Olives as well.

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve over pasta or rice.

S'mores Truffles

I saw this recipe on Emily’s blog and I knew I had to make it. I feel like I've had this recipe saved forever. I'm not sure why it took me so long to make it. These truffles were so easy to make. They were a big hit at the cookout we took them to. Make sure you keep them in the fridge or freezer and set them out just before serving. They get soft pretty easy, but they're so tasty.

S'mores Truffles

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips (12 oz.)
24 mini-marshmallows
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat; whisk in cream and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Chill saucepan in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until chocolate is solid and rollable; roll into 24 balls, stuffing a mini marshmallow into the center of each. Chill truffles a few minutes before rolling in graham cracker crumbs; chill for a few minutes again so they solidify a little more.

Antipasta Chopped Salad

I’ve been craving artichokes lately. They seem to go good with just about everything. I made this salad one night to go with some grilled chicken. Cancy really liked it as well. You really could add whatever you like to this. I will probably add some Kalamata olives next time. I hope you like it.

Antipasta Chopped Salad

1 heart of romaine, chopped
about 6 ounces mozzarella, diced
6 ouces of salami or pepperoni, chopped small
banana peppers, diced
12 ounce jar of marinated artichokes, drained & chopped

Combine lettuce, cheese, meat, peppers, & artichokes into a bowl. Toss to combine.

Use a little bit of the reserved liquid from the artichoke jar to dress the salad. Season with salt & pepper.

Jalapeno Chile Coleslaw

I have been making this side dish this summer and it has gone over well each time. It’s a nice side to take to any potluck or bbq since it makes so much. If you like things with a little heat in them, you will appreciate this. My husband’s friends have asked for it a few times since they first tried it. Try it, You’ll love it.

Jalapeno Chile Coleslaw
2 (8 oz) packages broccoli coleslaw
1 Napa cabbage, cut into 1/4” strips
5 jalapenos, cut out the ribs & seeds, then chop
1 bottle of Jalapeno Ranch Dressing (this is important)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. cayenne

Combine broccoli slaw, cabbage, and jalapenos.

Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan on medium heat. Just warm them up a little bit so they are more fragrant. Let cool.

Pour dressing over top, sprinkle cayenne & toss to coat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to let everything combine. Just before serving, top with cumin seeds.

Grilled Pesto Salmon with Grilled Asparagus

I have been a bad, bad blogger. It's been an entire month without any updates. We've been a little busy lately. Cancy's work schedule has been yucky all month. By the middle of the month, we went to Orlando for a nice little vacation only to come back and get the flu a day later. So I'm finally getting around to doing some updates since I've been home from work with the flu. So I haven't really been cooking much of anything lately but here are a few updates from earlier this month.

So a new grocery store opened up by us this month. Sprout's Farmers Market... Yum! Cancy & I went here during their opening weekend and among other things, we found a great deal on fresh salmon. Get ready for the non-recipe...

Grilled Pesto Salmon with Grilled Asparagus
2 pieces of fresh salmon
1 container of ready-made pesto
1 cedar plank for the grill

a bundle of fresh asparagus, rinse & break the woody stems off
salt & pepper
olive oil

Soak the cedar plank in water for about 30 minutes. This is so it won't burn when it's on the grill.

Set the salmon, skin side down on the planks and cover with the pesto.

In a Ziploc bag, shake up the fresh asparagus, olive oil, and salt & pepper.

Set the cedar plank on the grill and cook until the salmon is done. About 10 minutes in, place your asparagus on the grill as well. They should finish about the same time.

Grilled Peaches with Honey & Goat Cheese

This recipe from Cara showed up in my Google Reader last month it looked so good we made it immediately. (Even if I can’t get around to blogging about it for a month or so) :) This is a great way to enjoy peaches with a meal you’re already grilling. And please, please don’t be scared of the goat cheese. I love goat cheese but for those who haven’t had it yet or are wierded out by it being with something sweet, trust me. It’s good.

Grilled Peaches with Honey & Goat Cheese

2 fresh summer peaches
a log of your favorite goat cheese
some honey
good quality cinnamon

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and spray with a nonstick grill spray or brush the grates with some oil (you'll be caramelizing right on the grates, so there's a good chance you'll get some stickage).

Cut the peaches in half and cut out the pits (you might want to cut around the pit, making a bigger hole, if you want to be able to fit more goat cheese in there!).

Sprinkle the cut halves with some sugar, then place cut side down on the grill for about 10-15 minutes. Turn them over, place some crumbled goat cheese in each peach and close the grill for another few minutes to warm the cheese.

Remove to a platter, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cool for just a bit, but not too long

Spicy Shrimp, Sausage, & Spinach Fettuccine

This recipe popped up in my Google Reader and I knew I had to make it. We already had everything on hand so it was really convenient. We didn’t really feel like the corn would be a good fit in here so we left it out. We may try it next time. All in all, this dish was easy to put together, Cancy loved it, & it made for good leftovers too. I hope you like it.

Spicy Shrimp, Sausage, & Spinach Fettuccine

1 pound fettuccine
olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

3 links of hot Italian sausage, removed from casing, about 1/4 pound

2 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 1/4 pounds of large shrimp (21 - 25/pound), peeled and deveined

4 large handfuls of baby spinach, about 4 cups loosely packed

1 cup corn ( i left this out )

1/2 cup pasta water

1/2 - 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated and not packed, plus more for serving

salt & 

Cook fettuccine in a large pot of water according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the sausage in small pieces and the garlic and cook until until the sausage is cooked and browned.

Add shrimp to pan and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until it is slightly wilted. Add corn and pasta water to saute pan and scrape up any bits cooked on to the bottom of the pan.

Add pasta and toss to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place in a serving bowl and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve with extra cheese.

Gnocchi with Summer vegetables

I’m a big Martha Stewart fan. I usually end up on her site looking for recipes. I found this one just in time. Cancy’s parents had a bunch of zucchini & squash from their garden this summer so they brought some down last time they were here. And by some, I mean a whole bunch. This was a delicious way to use both the zucchini & the squash. Enjoy.

Gnocchi with Summer vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini or summer squash, or one of each (about 2 pounds total), quartered and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (I left this out)
1 package (15 to 16 ounces) shelf stable gnocchi
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add squash and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi according to package instructions. Reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid, drain gnocchi and transfer to skillet. Toss gnocchi, adding enough cooking liquid to create a sauce. Remove from heat and stir in basil, cheese, butter, and lemon juice.

Salisbury Steak... It's not just for TV Dinners

I think Salisbury Steak has a bad reputation. The only time I remember ever hearing about it is on a tv dinner package. This recipe came up on Amy’s blog and I thought I’d reconsider since it looked like something Cancy would like. I’ve gotta’ say, it wasn’t bad. It went perfect with mashed potatoes. Try this, and you’ll end up with a very content husband.

Amy’s Salisbury Steak

1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup condensed French onion soup with ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt and black pepper. Shape into 6 oval patties.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Pour off excess fat.

In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth. Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over meat in skillet. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Grown-Up Hamburger Helper

This is a dish made for Cancy. He went through his fair share of Hamburger Helper before I met him. The Dijon & Colby cheese are what pulled me in. This recipe comes together super easily. I would recommend that you prep your ingredients before you start just to keep things moving along. Although this is originally a Rachael Ray recipe, I followed Shelly’s version because she cut the serving size down.

Grown up Hamburger Helper

2 cups pasta (I used orrichette shaped pasta)

1/2 pound ground beef (To help cut some calories & fat, I used ground turkey)

2 big tablespoons of grated onion

2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 cup of half and half (We used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)

1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 1/4 cup shredded colby jack cheese

chopped dill pickles
diced tomatoes or salsa (We didn't use this)

Boil a pot of water and add the pasta, cook per the box. Don't drain until the rest is ready.

In a large skillet brown the meat. Add the onion and worcestershire then some salt and pepper. When fully cooked, remove to a paper plate and get rid of the grease.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the half and half and the chicken stock. Bring to a bubble and cooke for a few minutes until it thickens up. Stir in the dijon. Add the cheese and keep stirring until all melted into gooey goodness. More salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce skillet along with the meat. Serve with the dill pickles and tomatoes/salsa if you wish.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

I’ve had this recipe starred in my Google Reader for awhile now. Today was another hot Texas Summer day so I thought it would be the perfect time for Birthday Cake Ice Cream. This was delicious. I’d say it’s probably one of my favorite ice cream recipes, I’ve tried so far. Very Rich, Very Sweet... Next time, if anything, I may just cut down the sugar to about 1/4 Cup. But this is definitely worth trying out.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream
(I used fat free 1/2 & 1/2)

1 cup boxed cake mix

Sprinkles, if desired

Mix the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour in the heavy whipping cream and cake mix.  Whisk together until completely mixed in.

Turn on ice cream maker and pour in mix.  Let churn for 25 minutes.  Pour in the sprinkles during the last five minutes of churning.

Transfer to a bowl and freeze.

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

I love hummus. Recently I started making my own and am hooked. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy store-bought hummus again. I came across this recipe on Annie’s blog and had to try it. So here, for those who like things a bit spicy... a yummy, healthy snack to keep you happy.

Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus

1/3-1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1-2 jalapeno peppers, ribbed and seeded (depending on desired flavor)

1 clove garlic, peeled

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup water

6 tbsp. tahini

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Combine the cilantro, jalapenos, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the ingredients have been finely minced.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water.  In another bowl, whisk together the tahini and olive oil.  Set aside.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add the chickpeas, salt, cumin and cayenne.  Process until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.

Scrape down the bowl.  With the machine running add the lemon juice-water mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube.

Scrape down the bowl and continue to process for one minute.  With the machine running, add the oil-tahini mixture in a steady stream through the feed tube, and continue to process until smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until the flavors meld, at least 30 minutes.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Creme

We had some tilapia that we needed to use up and this seemed like a nice way to use them. I made a simple avocado creme to serve with this. Overall, a very healthy & easy dinner. I hope you enjoy.

Grilled Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Creme

For the tacos:
2 tilapia fillets
taco seasoning

For the avocado creme:
1 small ripe avocado
1/4 C fat free sour cream

In a Ziploc bag, combine the juice of 1 lime with about a Tbps of taco seasoning. Shake the bag, to mix and then add in the tilapia fillets. Marinate this for about 10 minutes (while you heat your grill.

Before your turn on your grill, place a sheet of foil on the grill grates and spray with a non stick spray. This is just an easier way to cook this fish. Turn grill heat to low & cook fish for about 10 minutes, turning once, until fish is white & flakey.

While the fish is cooking, scoop out the flesh of a small ripe avocado and combine with the sour cream. Set this aside.

Wrap tortillas in foil and place in the grill, on the top section to heat through.

To serve, spread warm tortillas with avocado creme. top with flaked tilapia, and a sprinkling of cilantro.

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Every Southern woman seems to have her own sausage gravy recipe. I started making this as a very occasional breakfast when Cancy & I were married. You see, it’s not very healthy for you... Shocking, right? :) But it’s very delicious and a nice lazy late morning breakfast.

Biscuits & Sausage Gravy
1 small can of buttermilk biscuits (or make your own if you are feeling like a go-getter)
1 lb spicy ground pork breakfast sausage (we use Jimmy Dean’s Hot sausage)
4 Tbps white flour
2 Cups of milk (You can use skim or whole, I can’t taste the difference in this recipe)

Brown your sausage, breaking it down into small pieces as it cooks through. While your sausage is browning, bake your biscuits as directed on the package.

Once sausage is browned, sprinkle the flour over top. You’ll want to stir everything around for about 2 minutes to make sure the flour coats all of the sausage & any grease. This will help to “cook” the flour and get rid of a floury taste.

Once you can’t see the flour in the pan anymore, slowly stir in the milk. You’ll want high heat at first, just until it starts to boil and then drop to low. Stir this often because you don’t want any lumps. Stir in Pepper to taste.

When the biscuits are done, quarter them or just tear them up. Put them on a plate and cover in your sausage gravy.

Frito Pie

This is probably one of Cancy’s most favorite “man foods”. He says it’s just part of being from Texas. He made this for me when we were dating in Minnesota. It isn’t made very often around here, but it is a nice occasional guilty pleasure. Truly nothing good for you in here at all, but thats not the point. :)

Frito Pie

1 full bag of Fritos corn chips
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 bag of grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 large can of Hormel Chili, no beans

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread 1/2 cup of Fritos in a baking dish. Spread 1/2 the chili or the Fritos. Sprinkle half the onion/jalapenos and half the cheese over the chili. Repeat for 1 more layer

Bake for 15 or 20 minutes and cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Strawberry Sorbet

With strawberries on sale this week & the 100 degree temps of a Texas June, this strawberry sorbet recipe form Annie’s blog was perfect. I didn’t have any kirsch on hand so I added 1 Tbsp of a white wine I had in the fridge. This was delicious on it’s own, but when topped with a little fat free whipped cream, it was even better.

Strawberry Sorbet

1 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. kirsch (optional)

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Slice the strawberries and toss them in a medium bowl with the sugar and kirsch, if using, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Cover and let stand for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the lemon juice and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds if you wish.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Pesto Lasagna with Shrimp & Scallops

This dinner comes from Food Network’s, Ask Aida. I’ve watched her show before but never really saw something I had to make until this. The original is 9 servings, I cut the recipe in half and used an 8*8 dish. This made 4 large servings. (We had 2 friends of ours over so the recipe feeds 1 girl, and 3 hungry guys) I served this with a simple salad and everyone was full & happy. Enjoy!!

Pesto Lasagna with Shrimp & Scallops
For the pesto:
2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed, washed and tough stems trimmed and roughly torn
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream (ff 1/2 & 1/2)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Seafood:
1/2 lb scallops & 1/2lb shrimp

For the lasagna:
1/2 pound fresh lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1-ounce)

For the pesto: Combine half pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until evenly combined, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and process until evenly blended, about 1 more minute. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.

For the seafood: melt a tbsp of butter in a pan, add shrimp & scallops to hot pan and toss until done. (do not overcook)

For the lasagna: Heat oven to 375 degrees F and arrange rack in upper third.

Alternatively layer a scant 1/4 cup pesto, a handful of the cooked seafood, and 1 sheet of fresh lasagna noodles in an 8 by 8-inch baking dish, trimming noodles, as needed, to fit. Layer until you are out of the seafood mixture and to 1 layer with just pesto.

Top lasagna with cheese and bake until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit at least 20 minutes before serving.

Rachael Ray’s Salsa Verde Burgers

As most people know, I adore Rachael Ray. Her recipes tend to be a “go-to” of mine when trying to come up meals for the week. These Salsa Verde Burgers were a great reason to grill out.

Rachael Ray’s Salsa Verde Burgers
1 avocado, halved and pitted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey thigh meat
1/2 cup salsa verde
4 slices pepper Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
4 kaiser rolls, split
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 small green or red tomatoes, sliced

Scoop the avocado flesh into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise and garlic and mash with a fork until well combined but chunky. Season with salt and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground turkey and salsa. Divide the mixture to form 4 patties.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the patties for 4 minutes on one side. Flip and top each with a slice of cheese; cover and cook for 4 minutes more.

Spread the avocado aioli on the split side of each roll bottom and cover with 1/4 cup cilantro. Top with a patty and 2 tomato slices; set the roll tops into place.

Asian Meatloaf with sweet/spicy glaze

Brianna posts some of the most delicious Asian dishes on her blog, Oishi. I saw this Asian Meatloaf and knew I had to make it. We served it with Ramen & Edamame for a very tasty, flavorful meal.

Asian Meatloaf with sweet/spicy glaze

For the Meatloaf:
2 TBS. red miso, dissolved in a little water to form a paste, divided
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
4 green onions, white & green parts chopped
1/2 cup chopped shitake mushrooms
a thumbnail-sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
a squeeze of honey
1 1/2 tsp. mirin
1 tsp. brown sugar

For the Glaze:
1 TBS. chili paste (such as Sambal Oelek)
squeeze of honey
squeeze of hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1/2 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a little bowl, combine the red miso and a little water to form a paste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ground meats, breadcrumbs, egg, green onion, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and 1 TBS. of the miso paste. Mix with your hands until combined.

In the same little bowl as the remaining miso paste, add the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, honey, mirin, and brown sugar. Mix well. Spoon this mixture a little at a time into the meat mixture, and use your hands to incorporate it in. Reserve about a spoonful of sauce in the bottom of the bowl to make the glaze.

Shape the meat-mixture into a loaf-shape on a greased baking sheet.

To the bowl with the reserved spoonful of sauce, add the chili paste, honey, hot chili sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Spoon on top of the meatloaf.
Bake the meatloaf for about 45 minutes or until done. If making a side of roasted asparagus, toss the asparagus on another baking sheet with a drizzle of sesame oil, a sprinkling of chili flakes, and some salt & pepper. Put in the oven for the last 10-12 minutes of baking time.

Jalapeno Chicken

I came across this recipe on Linday’s blog. Yum! I baked mine as she did and decided that this is one of the easiest, yummiest, weeknight ways to do chicken. We served this with sliced avocado’s to help cool down from the jalapeno's heat. :)

Jalapeno Chicken

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Appx 5 oz Italian dressing (I used Fat Free Italian)
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded (I used sliced from the jar)
Appx 3 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Fat Free)
2 slices bacon (I used bacon crumbles)

Place chicken breasts in a dish with the dressing. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
Preheat the grill for high heat.

Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese. Roll chicken breasts around jalapeno peppers. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.

(If using sliced jalapenos and bacon crumbles like I did, just spread the cream cheese inside each chicken breast and add in jalapenos and bacon bits.)

Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange wrapped chicken breasts on the prepared grill. Cook for 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until bacon is browned and the chicken juices run clear.
(I baked in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.)

Hoisin Pork Roast

I found this recipe on Katie’s Kitchen. We had everything on hand and a day off from anything today so I figured I would give it a shot. We served this with Jasmine Rice and an Asian Vegetable blend. We were stuffed & had a bunch leftover. This is a great way to cook pork loin and has a great flavor to it. Enjoy!!

Hoisin Pork Roast
cooking spray
1 boneless pork loin (3 lbs.), tied
1   10oz. jar of hoisin or duck sauce
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 T. fresh grated ginger
1 T. chili paste
1 T. rice wine or rice wine vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
4 tsp. cornstarch
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray and add pork roast.  In a small bowl combine hoisin, garlic, ginger, chili paste, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Whisk in corn starch.  Pour sauce over the pork.

Cover the slow cooker and the roast until fork tender or 160 degrees.  Which is about 3 1/2 hours on high heat and 8 hours on low.  Transfer the pork to a platter, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes.  Pour the cooking liquid in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, then skim any fat from surface. ** I cooked mine for 6 hours on low and it was perfect.

Slice the pork and arrange on a platter.  Sprinkle the scallions and cilantro on top.  Serve the Asian sauce on the side.

Chili-Lime Steak Salad

I was in the mood for taco salad and ended up coming across this recipe. I’m so glad I did too. It looks like a lot of steps but really, it comes together super easy. Make your dressing at least an hour before you start the rest of it. Take care of the steak and while the steak is grilling & resting, prep the rest of your veggies. In this link, you’ll find the main recipe with links to the dressing and steak rub.

Cancy & I both really liked this. It’s definitely going to be put on the menu again soon.

Chili-Lime Steak Salad

1 1/2 lb flank steak, cooked with lime-chile rub and sliced into 1/4" slices
1 recipe Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing
1 large head romaine lettuce
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
1-2 avocados, sliced
cilantro for garnish

Start with a nice bed of cold, crunchy lettuce, top with steak, tomatoes, onion, black beans, and avocado.  Top with cilantro and fried tortilla strips if desired.  Serve with lime-cilantro dressing

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (ignore directions on the packet)
1C mayo
1/2 C milk
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 C green salsa
hot sauce

Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender.   Juice the lime in there too, you should get about 2T juice.  Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa.  Blend 'er up.  Sample it and add hot sauce to taste.  Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

Lime-Chili Steak Rub

1 t chili powder
1 t granulated garlic
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t oregano
1/8- 1/4 t cayenne pepper*
3/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
*If you have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute it for the cayenne or just add a little in addition
1 lime (about 2 T lime juice)
1-2 lbs flank steak, or other good grilling cut

Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add spices and stir to combine. Some limes have more juice than others, so sometimes the mixture will be more liquid-y and sometimes it will be more pasty. If you find you're a little short on lime juice, just add a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil to stretch it out.

Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top. Use your hands to massage it in there.

Let it sit for 15 minutes. During that time preheat your grill.

Place meat on hot grill. If you're using flank steak it should take about 5-7 minutes on each side.

When steak is finished, remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.  Slice in strips against the grain.

Italian Chicken & Marinara

This something I’ve been making for awhile. It’s super easy for those nights when you don’t feel like spending forever in the kitchen. If you can find the fat free croutons, it’s also a fairly healthy italian dish. I hope you like it.

Italian Chicken & Marinara

2 Chicken Breasts
1 egg, whisked
1 pkg of croutons, I used fat free seasoned croutons, crushed

1 16oz can of tomato sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp each basil & oregeno
4 Tbsp of fat free 1/2 & 1/2

Prepare chicken breasts by dipping in whisked egg, then dredging in crushed croutons.
heat abut 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium pan and use this to pan fry breaded chicken.

Saute garlic in the butter until the edges of the garlic begin to brown. Add tomato sauce, salt & herbs. Simmer until ready to serve. Add the 1/2 & 1/2 and heat through just before serving.

Boil 2 servings of pasta until al dente

Lay pasta on plate, set chicken breast on top and pour marinara over top.

A Manly Meal...

Every so often, Cancy grows tired of experimenting and longs for some simple man food. He's a good taste tester for my experiments more often than not, so when he requests simple, I've got to give in.

Steak & Loaded Baked Potato

For our steak marinade, we tend to use a random combination of the following:

Worcestershire, Soy Sauce, Liquid Smoke, Beer, salt & pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Grill it up and you have a man pleasing meal.

Jalapeno Grilled Lamb Tortas

Every once in awhile, I find a really interesting recipe at my grocery store. This was in the April magazine put out by HEB. I’m a huge fan of ground lamb and all things avocado so this seemed like a great fit. Cancy & I both really liked it and it’s perfect for the many spring/summer grilling evenings that we get in Texas.

Jalapeno Grilled Lamb Tortas

1 pound ground lamb
1 cup Diced Sweet Onion
1/2 cup cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
4 whole wheat bolillos (I used small loaves of Ciabatta Bread)
1 cup Grated Cotija Cheese
1 Avocado, thin sliced

Combine lamb, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. Do not over mix or it will be tough. Shape into 4 patties 1 inch thick.

Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium 375°F to 400°F. Grill for 6 minutes, turning once and cooking to desired degree of doneness (145°F to 155°F internal temperature).

Place patty on half of bread, top with cheese, 3 to 4 slices of avocado, and the top of the bun.

Roasted Red Pepper, Beef & Goat Cheese tossed with Pasta

Yeah pretty original on the name, right? Couldn’t come up with anything creative so here you have it. I was inspired by a flank steak roll that Elly made, but not a fan of sundried tomatoes and not enough patience last night to make the actual rolls. So why not just toss it all together. :)

Roasted Red Pepper, Beef & Goat Cheese tossed with pasta

1/2 lb flank steak, cut into bite sized pieces
1 8 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained, diced
1 4 oz log of goat cheese (we used 4 pepper goat cheese)
a splash of red wine
1/2 Cup Beef Broth
2 servings of cooked and drained pasta.

In a large pan, brown beef and add red peppers about 1/2 way through. Cook until beef is medium. deglaze the pan by adding about 1/8 - 1/4 Cup of red wine. Let that cooke down. Add the beef broth, let that reduce by about 1/2.

Add the goat cheese by breaking into small pieces and adding a little at a time, stirring to combine as it melts. Add your seasonings at this point. We just used a little garlic salt and some fresh ground black pepper.

Toss with cooked pasta. Enjoy!