Friday, July 3, 2015

Bailey's Chocolate Mousse

Yum

Need a really easy, really tasty and impressive dessert for a special occasion?

Hi there. Meet this Bailey's Chocolate Mousse.  It's decadent, it's rich and it absolutely hits the spot after dinner. 


I couldn't believe how easy this was, and how quickly it came together. The husband went outside to swim with the boys, while I whipped this up and put in the fridge to set. After we got done swimming, and eating dinner - these were ready to be devoured. AFTER the boys were in bed, of course! 

Ha, no really. We stashed these in the fridge because we didn't want to have to share with the boys. I mean, all that alcohol... and chocolate... and deliciousness...


BAILEY'S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • ¼ Cup boiling water
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (for a more intense chocolate flavor, add 1 additional Tbsp.)
  • 1½ Cup heavy cream, very cold
  • ½ Cup Bailey's, very cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Before preparing mousse, prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
  2. Mix the gelatin into the cold water in small bowl and let sit about a minute, to soften/gel.
  3. Add boiling water then stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Let stand to cool(it will resemble a thick paste)
  4. Combine the sugar and cocoa in small mixing bowl and add  the heavy cream.
  5. Beat at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Pour in Bailey's, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well-blended and soft peaks form.
  7. Spoon into serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill for about an hour or until ready to serve.
Source: http://www.lemontreedwelling.com 

Monday, June 29, 2015

(Freezer Friendly) Sausage & Spinach Stuffed Shells

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Clearly, we love stuffed shells at my house - since I have posted (plain) Stuffed Shells, Mexican Stuffed Shells, and Chicken/Broccoli Stuffed Shells in the past.

This is one I make pretty often when doing shells - because:

1) my kids snarf this like it's their job, 
2) it contains spinach, and if the kids are willingly eating it without me renaming it to something fun, I win, and 
3) they're just so darn GOOD

I like to make two pans at a time (using just one box of the shells) so that there is a decent amount of leftovers, or one batch for the freezer.

The problem with these shells is, I can never get a good picture of them because evenings are chaos at my house.  But I never let the lack of a good photo stop me from blogging (perhaps I should), so here they ARE!

FREEZER FRIENDLY SAUSAGE & SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS

INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 oz large shells (can sub manicotti tubes, if you can't find shells)
  • 1lb mild italian sausage
  • 12 oz frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed)
  • 2lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper
  • 24oz pasta sauce (homemade or store-bought, I'm not judging)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan - you choose
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions, drain and let cool. 
  3. In a large skillet, cook the sausage until done, and in crumbles. Let it cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, eggs, mozzarella, garlic powder and seasonings.
  5. Add the cooled sausage crumbles.
  6. Add a cup of the pasta sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish (or two smaller ones if you are freezing one).
  7. Fill the shells with the mixture, and place (filling side up) in the dish.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, and serve.
Freezing directions
  1. In a foil or other disposable dish, complete to Step 8. Cover with foil, label with "thaw, then bake 30 minutes at 350" or "from frozen cook 1 hr at 350"
  2. Wrap plastic wrap over the foil, and freeze (I also put this in a ziploc)
  3. Freeze for up to 6 months.




Friday, June 26, 2015

Grilled Zucchini with Lime Salt

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When the heat is in the 100s (37C+), the last thing we want to do is cook inside and heat up the cool oasis that is our air conditioned house.  With severe heat warnings across the valley, it was time to get out the grill, for sure.

Enter....vegetables! On the grill!

Yeah, okay FINE, nothing unusual about that - but these were a great addition to a steak dinner we had, and meant that the majority of the cooking was done outside. Best of all, the cooking was taken care of, while I sat in the pool. I did do all the prep, but apparently it's the actual COOKING that counts, when it comes time to shirk clean up duty.  Hmph.

I really enjoyed this dish - grilled zucchini alone is great, but the lime takes it to a whole other level. I had leftover lime salt, and think it'll be great on the rim of a big frosty margarita. Mmmm.... margaritas....

GRILLED ZUCCHINI WITH LIME SALT

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coursely ground black  pepper
  • 1 lime, zested, divided, and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (additional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and then cut into quarters, lengthwise. 
  2. In a large zip lock bag, drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 the lime zest and all of the juice. 
  3. Add the zucchini, then seal the bag, and make sure the zucchini is covered by the marinade.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 minutes (not much more though) to marinate 
  5. Preheat the grill to a medium heat, and grill the zucchini on all three sides until tender, but not mushy.
  6. Combine the remaining lemon zest and extra salt in a bowl.
  7. Sprinkle the limed-up-salt over the plate of grilled zucchini and serve.

Based on a recipe from http://thepioneerwoman.com/

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Button! (And a good way to save recipes for later)

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So, if you're browsing the blog and see this at the top of the photos - and wonder what it is.... well, wonder no more.

If you click it, it will save the recipe to your recipe box on Yummly. You can save recipes from pretty much any site (it's similar to Pinterest I suppose, but is just for recipes).  

I've got a recipe collection there of just my own stuff, as well as recipes others have made - so I can go back later - and see the recipes I've saved, and find a few more!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Mesquite Marinated Chicken with Pico de Gallo

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Super simple meal idea - thrown together with what I found in the fridge.

It is: chicken, marinated in a smoky mesquite marinade (store bought), and thrown on the grill.

Topped with pico de gallo, and some cheese (could melt this on top, or use queso from a jar like I did), this made a great dinner with very little effort and lots of pretty colours.

Yum!

MESQUITE MARINATED CHICKEN WITH PICO DE GALLO

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Store bought mesquite marinade
  • 6 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper (finely diced)
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup queso cheese dip, or shredded cheddar cheese (you choose)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Marinate the chicken breasts in the marinade for at least an hour (best when done overnight)
  2. Get the grill good and hot, and grill til the chicken is fully cooked (165 degrees F)
  3. While the chicken is cooking, cut the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno , and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. 
  4. Test for seasoning, add more lime or salt and pepper if needed
  5. When the chicken is fully cooked, plate it, and add some of the pico de gallo to each, and top with the queso or cheese if using.
  6. Serve with the rice.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pineapple/Coconut Cheesecake (Minis)

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"Hello, lover... "  

Oh my goodness, those exact words came out of my mouth when I bit into one of these little lovelies. The pecans in the crust, the sweet pineapple flavor in the creamy cheesecake layer, and the coconut on top completing the deliciousness... oh MY.

I immediately packed a half dozen (hehe, I'm not THAT generous) off to a neighbor who appreciates some home cookin' (Hi Wyatt!) so that I wouldn't eat the entire batch.

I saw these on Pinterest, drizzled in chocolate syrup, so they looked amazing. I definitely don't think they need that syrup though!

These were SO easy to make, I swear. I made them while the boys napped. I used a mini cheesecake pan that had 12 individual wells, with removable bases. Made these a snap to pop out and cool!

You really should make these. Immediately.

Makes around 24-30 minis

PINEAPPLE & COCONUT CHEESECAKE (MINIS)

INGREDIENTS:
For Crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
For Cheesecake
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple, drained (I used the kind in juice, but the kind in syrup would be great too!)
  • 1.5 cups flaked coconut, sweetened
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add the pecans, flour, sugar and melted butter. Blend until crumbs form.
  3. Pat about 2-3 tablespoons of crust mixture into ungreased mini cheesecake pan in each individual cup (you could use mini muffin pans)
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool slightly.
  5. Using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk and eggs. Fold in vanilla, and drained pineapple. 
  6. Add the cream cheese mixture to each cup (almost to the top)
  7. Sprinkle each cheesecake with flaked coconut. Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then pop out.
  8. Refrigerate leftover crust and cheesecake mixture until the pan is free 

Source: Adapted very slightly from http://www.jocooks.com

Monday, June 15, 2015

Classic Crunchy Chicken Salad

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Okay, so the last time I took a blogging break, and actually acknowledged it, I came back with the news that I was pregnant with Hayden (my 3 year old), and didn't feel at all like cooking or blogging.

The time after that, I think I just posted a picture of Cameron (my 1 year old), and let it be.

I really need to get back into meal planning. It just makes my life a bunch easier if I have things prepared and ready or planned, so that when I get home with kids in tow, it's not the mad-dash to the fridge/freezer/pantry trying to figure out what to make in 30 minutes, while juggling snack-demands from both kids, and the clock ticking.

THIS time, I'm just going to post a  picture of chicken salad, tell you I'm not at all pregnant - I just haven't really made anything new lately.  I've been in survival mode, and flying by the seat of my pants at dinner time, just hoping to make it to bedtime.

This chicken salad recipe is super basic, and easy to throw together. I like to make it and keep it hanging out in the fridge ready to throw in a lunch bag with some bread for a yummy lunch.

Switching out most of the mayo usually found in chicken salad for greek yogurt is a great way to keep the calories down, and still have that creamy taste.

This recipe makes enough for around 4 1 Cup servings.

CLASSIC CRUNCHY CHICKEN SALAD
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 Cup plain free greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbs low fat mayo
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 Cups cooked and diced chicken breast
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs red onion, finely diced
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Whisk together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until well blended, and set aside.
  2. Combine the chicken, celery and onion in a bowl.
  3. Add dressing, and toss to combine completely
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Grilled Pork Chops with Spring Succotash

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Thsufferin' Thsuccotash!!

I can never say "succotash" without hearing it in a cartoon voice, complete with listhp... and I don't know that I've ever even MADE succotash before.  I have nothing to compare it to, but this is apparently a different spin on a typical succotash, as it uses edamame beans.

Adapted from Cooking Light, this has amazing flavor and comes together fast - great for a weeknight, and the succotash makes excellent leftovers for lunch the next day.

GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH SPRING SUCCOTASH

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 x 4oz pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup halved and thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Combine garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan and cook to your liking. 
  3. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm.
  4. Return pan to medium heat. Add garlic mixture; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.
  5. Add 1/2 of the stock to deglaze, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, then add the remaining stock.  Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, . Remove pan from heat; stir in butter. 
  6. Pour into another container, then heat the skillet again to medium heat.
  7. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.
  8. Add carrot and onion; cook 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons water, and pepper.
  10. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender.
  11. Stir in edamame and cook until thoroughly heated. Pour a little of the sauce into the mixture.
  12. Divide succotash among 4 plates.
  13. Top each serving with pork and a little sauce.
Adapted from Cooking Light
7 WW Points+




Monday, April 27, 2015

Turkey Sausage, Cannellini and Tomato Ragout

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A delicious and lighter version of a traditional ragout, that doesn't skimp on the flavour!

I have started getting a few cooking magazines again. There was a time where I wasn't reading them, and they were collecting dust. In the interest of my sanity, I am again making time to do the things I enjoy - and I flip through them as they arrive now. I have decided to make at least 1 recipe from each issue of each magazine. If I can't find one I'd make after 3 issues, I'll cancel the subscription. 

This one comes from Cooking Light magazine, and when I saw it, I knew I'd be making it - because I had all the ingredients, and the cooking time was minimal. I actually made this in 20 minutes, including making the polenta to go alongside it.

And it was goooood. H wanted no part of it and demanded mac n cheese (denied). Cams tried the polenta, and wasn't a fan, but then he pretty much only likes yogurt anyway, so there's that. 

The Husband and I thought it was yum. I took leftovers for lunch!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 oz hot turkey sausage (can sub regular sausage)
  • Cooking spray (or 1 tsp olive oil)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  2. Remove sausage from pan.
  3. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  4. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  5. Add ¼ cup of the stock, cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in remaining stock, salt, pepper, oregano, tomatoes and beans.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Stir in cooked sausage, cook for a few more minutes.

SIDES: Rosemary/Parmesan Polenta

Yum

Aaah, polenta. Such an underused side dish. It's so good, and goes perfectly with italian food, can be made, cooled, cut into squares and then fried, if you really want to make it super special.

For me, the simple preparation of boiling some water, adding the polenta and then some flavouring (in this case, salt, pepper, parmesan and rosemary) was decadent enough.

Inexpensive, too - and something different to the usual pasta, mashed potatoes or rice type sides.

Yum!

ROSEMARY/PARMESAN POLENTA
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS


  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup instant polenta
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Add polenta in a thin stream to the water, stirring constantly. 
  3. Reduce heat to low, and cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. 
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in cheese, yogurt, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

1 serving is 3 Weight Watchers Points+

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spicy Chicken Soft Tacos

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I know for a lot of you, any season is taco season. I personally think they're a great summer time dish, with their fresh flavours, and char-grilled tortillas adding that extra "outdoors" taste.  

These tacos, however, can be made inside right on your stovetop, and still taste like you slaved over a hot grill.

The leftover chicken is great in a quesadilla the next day, or made into taco bowls with rice, beans, chicken and the pico de gallo.

Hayden ate some of the chicken, a lot of the cheese and declared the sour cream to be "yogurt" and attempted to eat it with a spoon. Cameron rejected all components aside from a corn tortilla.

One day... one day... my children will eat like real people, and not like tiny neanderthals... some day...

Jaida, over at Sweet Beginnings often posts amazing looking taco recipes. Although it's not Tuesday, Jaida - I totally thought of you while I served these!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Cup tomato sauce (tomato puree, NOT ketchup, Kiwis and Aussies)
  • 1 Cup onion, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced very finely
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied or pounded to 1/4 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 small corn tortillas

Optional toppings:
  • Cheese – feta, goat, queso fresco, whatever you like - crumbled
  • Fresh limes, cut into wedges
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
  • Sour cream
  • Extra cilantro

DIRECTIONS
  1. Mix together the tomato sauce, onion, jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, cumin and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Spray a large skillet with olive oil (using a mister); heat over high heat. 
  3. Season chicken lightly, then add to the skillet.  Cook for about 2 minutes per side (we're just browning here, not cooking through).
  4. Add tomato mixture to pan and pour in about 1/4 cup water (or as much as is needed to just cover chicken). 
  5. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate to rest.
  6. Increase heat to high and cook sauce, stirring a few times, until sauce reduces and thickens, about 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, shred the chicken, then add to the reduced sauce to heat through.
  8. Heat the corn tortillas in another skillet until warmed/charred.
  9. Serve and top as you want!
Source: Weight Watchers
This comes out to 8pts for 2 tacos (with a half cup of filling in each, plus some pico de gallo and some feta cheese), additional points for sour cream and guacamole.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Turkey & Black Bean Enchiladas

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Oh myyyyy.  In my efforts to shed a little heft, I've been actively seeking out healthier, lower fat options for us to enjoy as a family - without compromising taste and enjoyment of the family dinner.

These enchiladas really really hit the spot! With a really simple and fast filling, you could cheat and use canned enchilada sauce (but if you have the time - definitely make the sauce - it's out of this world good), and have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes. Even less if you prep ahead!  If you were to use corn tortillas, it's gluten free, too!

If you care, each enchilada is 7 weight watchers points on the points plus program, without the sour cream.

TURKEY & BLACK BEAN ENCHILADAS

INGREDIENTS:


For the Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

Filling
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey
  • 15.5 can black beans, drained
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • salt
  • 8 (6-inch) low carb whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese  
Optional toppings:
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Olives
  • Avocado or guacamole
DIRECTIONS: 

Enchilada sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté garlic. 
  2. Add the chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. 
  3. Bring to a boil then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Set aside.

Filling
  1. In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt then drain any liquid.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, black beans, chiles, diced tomatoes, cumin and chili powder and combine well.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes.  Add the cilantro at the very end, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Spray or grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray/olive oil.
  6. Pour about a cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  7. Put 1/2 cup turkey mixture into each tortilla and roll it tightly. Place in dish seam side down and repeat with the rest of the tortillas (see below pic).
  8. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
  9. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 20-25 minutes, removing the tinfoil for the last 5
  10. Top with low fat sour cream, extra cilantro, olives and/or avocado/guacamole if you wish. 
Approximate amount of filling

Source: http://www.skinnytaste.com/

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Broccoli Chop Salad with Garlic Honey Dressing

Yum

With temps in Phoenix at 97 last weekend, I guess we can officially say that winter is over (bye bye soups), and Spring/Summer is on its way!

This means we have maybe a month or two where we can "live" outside and use the barbecue, eat outside, etc before the real heat begins. If it's 97 in March, I'm really really dreading June.

Guess this means we really need to clean up the back yard, wipe down the patio table, dust of the seat cushions and get ready for swimming?

ANYWAY - what I like about spring is that we CAN just come home, and go outside to the patio and hang there. Having a salad made ahead in the fridge ready to go as a great side with steak means I can spend more time with a glass of wine than in the kitchen madly prepping dinner.

This salad is super good for you. It brags lots of nutritional buzz words, and can be vegan if you switch out the honey for agave or maple syrup.

Plus, it's yummy. Sorry cilantro haters, this one isn't for you!

BROCCOLI CHOP SALAD WITH GARLIC HONEY DRESSING
INGREDIENTS:
For the Salad
  • 2 small heads broccoli
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 3 carrots shredded
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • chopped cilantro to taste
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

 For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS:
Salad
Pulse broccoli and cauliflower in food processor until chopped roughly (don’t overchop, you don’t want mush).  Add broccoli and cauliflower to a large bowl, add shredded carrots, onion and cilantro.

Dressing
Make dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a lidded jar, and shake until well blended. Or use a whisk and a bowl, whatever... you choose.

To serve:
Mix salad and dressing together (add some, taste then add more until it's dressed how you like), then add the sunflower seeds on top to serve.


Source: http://eastplum.blogspot.com

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lemon Butter Chicken with Egg Noodles

Yum

Quick, easy, great for a weeknight when you are staring at the fridge and pantry "what to make... what to make?!"

I don't know about you, but my weeknights are chaos. In midst of washing bottles, packing bags for the next day, making lunches, folding laundry - somewhere in there, I need to produce something for us to sit down and eat for dinner.

I don't always have time to get fancy, sometimes I just need to cover the bases. Protein, vegetables and optional carbs. Ha. Right, like carbs are optional!

So, HERE WE GO:


LEMON BUTTER CHICKEN WITH EGG NOODLES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4  cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8oz dry egg noodles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice chicken into bite sized pieces, and toss with flour.
  2. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until done, remove and keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions, drain and lightly butter.
  5. Add onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken broth to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the pan.
  7. Add lemon juice and boil until mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup.
  8. Remove from heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  9. Return chicken to pan and heat through.
  10. Serve with egg noodles and steamed vegetables

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Garlic Parmesan Risotto

Yum

I'm not going to lie to you. Risotto is hands on. You have to stand there and stir, and add liquid, and stir, and monitor.

However, this isn't a 40 minute kind of deal, it's 17-25 minutes, I promise. AND you can still multi task and cook your protein or other sides while you do this. Really you can. 

It's totally worth it, because, hi there - yummy carb side that is not pasta (we're pasta'd out a little bit at our house - kids love it, but we're over it for right now).

We totally scarfed the entire pan of this with our Pork with Lemon/Dijon Pan Sauce the other night. What you see on the plate is about 1/4 of the recipe. What you don't see is my husband grabbing a spoon to get every last grain from the pan before doing the dishes.

I'm just keeping it real here.

This recipe comes from Mary-Ellen's Cooking Creations. She actually posted this before I even began blogging!  Full credit to her, I only adapted this very slightly.

Please make it - I promise you, you'll love me for posting this.

GARLIC PARMESAN RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS:
  • ½ medium onion, diced finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (vege broth is fine if you're vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ - 1 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
  • 3 Tbs freshly chopped parsley (dried won’t cut it here, sorry)

 DIRECTIONS:
  1. Begin by heating your chicken broth and keeping it warm.
  2. Add butter and oil to a large skillet over medium heat (I actually use a wok for risotto!).
  3. Add the onions and cook until just tender, then add the garlic. Cook 1 minute longer.
  4. Add the rice and toss to coat, (making sure oil gets onto every grain of rice if you can).
  5. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
  6. Add 1 ladle full of the chicken broth and stir until it absorbs.
  7. Repeat this until you have used almost all of the broth - it should take about 17-25 minutes.
  8. When you add the last ladle of broth, also add the parsley, but only let the broth absorb halfway and then add your cheese.
  9. Let it absorb until it is creamy and thick, but not soupy.
  10. Serve, adding extra parmesan if desired.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Pork with Lemon/Dijon Pan Sauce

Yum

Aaah, pork. We typically egg and breadcrumb our pork chops or make Parmesan Crusted ones, but thought I'd step outside the usual (although delicious) method of cooking.

What I LOVE about pork is that it's quick to cook, and relatively budget friendly. As long as you don't overcook (dry, stringy pork is no one's friend), pork is flavorful and versatile. 

This is really kicked up a notch by adding the pan sauce. It doesn't make a lot of sauce (it's not gravy), but it packs a punch in the flavour stakes. A little goes a long way.

The husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this, served with a garlic/parmesan risotto (recipe coming soon), and steamed green beans.


PORK WITH LEMON/DIJON PAN SAUCE
Serves 2
  • 2 center cut pork loin chops (about 1 inch thick) , or 4 thin sliced chops
  • 2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1.5 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  1. If you are using 1 inch thick chops, cut them in half to make 4.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick pan/skillet, heat butter over medium heat.
  4. Season pork with the lemon-pepper, and cook a few minutes on each side until a thermometer reads 140. Remove, cover and keep warm.
  5. Increase heat to medium high, then add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and mustard mix to pan/skillet, and scrape the bottom of the skillet to get all the browned bits up.
  6. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
  7. Plate your chops, and add some of the sauce to each. Serve


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

CROCKPOT: Poor Man's Stew

Yum

With all the crud going around lately (our house has seen: pink eye, ear infections, chest infections, coughs, colds and general crappiness) having a meal in the crockpot has been a lifesaver. 

There is no way I feel like cooking when I get home at 6pm and everyone is starving. There are bottles to be washed, lunches to be made, baths to be given, snuggles to be had. Medication to administer.... ugh.  If I don't have a meal already prepped and ready to go, we can end up eating some pretty unusual combinations of things. 

Anyway - the reason I like this recipe, is because it's cheap, it's good, and it is just stuff that I had on hand already. Plus, it makes the house smell AMAZING. 

"Poor man's" stew is likely a reference to the fact that ground beef is a lot cheaper than beef sold for stews.

And apparently, when your husband comes in before you, and doesn't see the crockpot on the counter, he'll do a full oven, stove and refrigerator search. Hoping to find where the smell is coming from and steal an elicit sample before dinner.

I managed to hide it in full sight!!

Hope you enjoy it like we did. Next time, I'll add frozen peas to the last half hour of cooking!

CROCKPOT: POOR MAN'S STEW

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced large (I don't peel, but you could)
  • 4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Add the ground beef, potatoes, carrots, onion, to your crock pot.
  2. Mix together the tomato paste, broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder,  onion powder and thyme. 
  3. Pour the mix over everything in the crock pot and mix well.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or 4 hours on high.
Source: Adapted from http://www.themagicalslowcooker.com 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ham & Pineapple Cheese Ball

Yum
Aaaah. Apologies for the unscheduled break in posts. With 2 littles who are in daycare, my house gets hit with the cold yuckies more regularly than I'd like. Then it hits me or the husband, and there's really no recipes for "ginger ale and dry crackers"

ANYWAY... I made this, and thought I'd share. 

There are two distinct camps about mixing fruit and meat - those who love it (hi there Hawaiian pizza) and those who think it's all wrong and should never happen. 

And then there are those that love Hawaiian pizza, but say that fruit and meat should never mix in any other way, ever.  Hi there, Husband. Contradicting yourself a little there, but you just do you, okay?

I was particularly interested to see what he'd think about this recipe. 

I mixed this up in under 5 minutes, and set it in the fridge for later.


VERDICT: I learned that ham and pineapple are okay together on PIZZA but nothing else.

Whatever dude - MORE FOR ME!!

HAM & PINEAPPLE CHEESE BALL

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple (well drained, but not to the point where it’s dry)
  • 1 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs chopped green onion
  • 1/3 Cup chopped ham  
  • ½ Cup chopped pecans


DIRECTIONS:
  1. Mix all ingredients together, and form into a ball (I put it in plastic wrap to shape)
  2. Chill until firm, then roll in crushed pecans.
  3. Refrigerate until serving





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