Bread & Butter: My Italian Dinner Staple

breadbanquet

Today I’m partnering with La Brea Bakery, as part of their Breaking Bread with La Brea Bakery tour stop in Chicago, to show how easy it is to make flavored butter and create a bread banquet for a large Italian meal. I’m not Italian but I love eating pasta (like my mom’s homemade cheese lasagna recipe). To start I headed to Jewel to buy bread from the bakery department. There was a whole La Brea bread display so I picked up four different varieties: Italian loaf, French loaf, three cheese, and a garlic loaf.

I bought five different cheeses and then decided to do something I’d never done before….make my own flavored butter! I bought some crushed garlic, green onions and fresh herbs. I had planned to make a savory butter to go with my garlic and cheese breads but once I got home from the store I decided to make a sweet butter instead. Since my favorite thing to add to toast is cinnamon and sugar I thought this would be a nice addition to the spread.

The flavored butter was extremely easy to make. I let a half stick of butter soften at room temperature before I cut it into large chunks in a small bowl. I then added a packet of seasoning I had in my spice cabinet that consisted of sugar, cinnamon and vanilla beans. The last step was to whip the butter and spices together and refrigerate once they were all mixed together. You can do really any combination of flavors that you think sound good. The next one I’m going to make will be garlic and parmesan cheese flavored.

Once your homemade butter is made you can transfer it to a prettier dish or container. I chose to use little plastic sauce containers that I put into red polka dot cupcake wrappers to go with my red, white and blue themed table. This worked well for the spreadable herb cheese that I bought as well. No ugly store bought plastic containers allowed on the table ;)

The next step was to set out all the sliced loafs of bread and cheeses. I used little cheese stakes in the cheeses and cute decorative toothpicks in the bread so everyone would know what flavors they were eating.

Here was the finished bread banquet:

Learn more about La Brea Bakery on their website. If you live in Charlotte, North Carolina, try free samples of La Brea Bakery’s delicious bread June 12th-15th and June 18th-21st.

Game Time Snack: RITZ Pastrami and Corned Beef Mini Sandwiches

ritz

Check out this amazing game time appetizer that the folks at Ritz shared with me. This featured recipe is the snack-size take on the famous Carnegie Deli signature dish. Yum!

Find the recipe here.

Meatloaf Sandwiches {Recipe}

meatloaf sandwiches

With the big game coming up I wanted to share this perfect sandwich created by Executive Chef John Brand of Mokara Hotel and Spa and Ostra restaurant. Chef Brand created this recipe with LoSalt instead of regular salt which is an easy way to reduce sodium intake.

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Serrano Pepper seeds removed fine chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon LoSalt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup JRB BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Veal stock
  • 3 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan Reggiano
  • 4 Slices Applewood Smoked Bacon

Liquid Mixture:

In a small bowl, combine JRB BBQ sauce, ketchup, Balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and veal stock.

Meat Mixture:

In a large bowl, combine beef, bread crumbs, onions, green bell pepper, parsley, chopped garlic, egg, seasonings, 3/4 cup of liquid mixture, and Parmesan cheese.

Form into loaf. Place into shallow 7 by 10 in. pan or bread loaf tin, lightly oiled. Top with bacon Slices and glaze with some of the remaining liquid mixture to coat.

Bake in a 350°F oven for one hour and 15 minutes, basting occasionally with remaining liquid mixture or straight barbecue sauce. Drain off excess rendered fat as needed during cooking process.

Service:

Toasted potato or challah buns, small, slider size.  Serve 3 oz warm meatloaf slice on a bun with sharp white cheddar.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this recipe but this recipe was provided by LoSalt.)

 

 

Getting Kids To Try New Vegetables {Veggie Pinwheels Recipe}

veggie pinwheels

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own.)

My boys are leery of new foods and if I put any on their dinner plate they eye them, poke them, and smell them and then say “I don’t like this”. I remind them that they won’t know if they like something unless they taste it and that usually gets some grumbles but they eventually end up trying the new food. They’ve discovered a variety of new favorites this way. Jacob especially loves red, orange and yellow peppers and Lucas has found he likes a variety of different fruits and that sweet peas are pretty good too (especially when he can pop them out of the pod).

One vegetable the boys had never tried before was radishes. Even as an adult I can’t remember a time when I had a radish on anything other than a salad. Duda Farm Fresh Foods makes Radish MiniSticks. They’re ready-to-eat shredded radishes that are very crunchy and juicy.

I was challenged to try to integrate this veggie in a recipe. I remembered one of my favorite way to eat cucumbers is with ham and cream cheese and then I immediately thought about making a kid-friendly wrap for the kids. I used cucumbers and peppers along with the radishes but if your child has a vegetable they prefer you can substitute it. I thought the hint of sweetness worked perfect with the tangy taste of the radishes.

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber (sliced thin)
  • Bag of Radish MiniSticks
  • Sweet Peppers (sliced thin)
  • Ham (lunchmeat)
  • Provolone Cheese slices
  • Cream Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Toothpicks (optional, makes cutting easier)
Directions:
  • Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a tortilla
  • Sprinkle veggies on the cream cheese
  • Add a couple of slices of ham and cheese
  • Starting at one end, roll tortilla
  • Stick toothpicks in the top of the roll to make cutting easier
  • Cut roll into slices making sure a toothpick is in each slice
  • Remove toothpick before eating

The verdict? Yum! The pinwheel sandwiches are a fun alternative to normal lunches and are full of crunchy veggies! What vegetable filled recipes have you tried with your kids lately?

 

 

Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna Recipe

barilla 3

Disclosure: This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JoytotheTable  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

When I was growing up I used to love when my mom made lasagna. It was my favorite meal that she made and it’s really hard to eat lasagna any other way. Meat in lasagna? No way! ;)

I’ve been craving lasagna for a while now and I kept pushing it off because I’ve been too busy to cook anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to make. I remembered yesterday though, while making it, how easy it actually was to put together. Also, since it makes more than my family can eat at one time, I have a couple days of leftovers so in the end I’ve saved myself cooking time.

My mom (with Jacob)

Today I want to share my mom’s homemade cheese lasagna recipe. It should be noted that my mom spent her last years of life sick and slowly losing her memory with every seizure she had and during those years rewrote a lot of her recipes. This one I believe was one of those rewritten ones because sliced provolone cheese was the fourth kind of cheese she used and it was omitted from the new recipe. I made it without provolone and it was delicious but you can add it in if you want the flavor of another cheese.

Mom’s Homemade Cheese Lasagna

Oven: 350 degrees

Bake Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 30 oz Ricotta Cheese (2 small tubs)
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Cups Mozzarella Cheese (2 cups for mixture, 1 cup for topping)
  • 2 tbl Basil
  • 2 tbl Parsley
  • 2 Jars of Spaghetti Sauce (I used Barilla® Sauce)
  • 1 Box of Lasagna Noodles (I used Barilla® Lasagne noodles)

Directions:

  • Cook noodles according to directions on box, set aside
  • In large bowl, mix 3 cheeses (just the first 2 cups of the mozzarella), eggs, basil, and parsley together
  • Spray an 11×17 baking dish with non-stick spray
  • Layer ingredients: sauce, then 4 noodles, then 1/3 of cheese mixture and continue to repeat. Note: the top should be noodles covered with sauce
  • Bake covered in pre-heated over for 2 hours 15 minutes at 350
  • Once that time is up uncover it and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese
  • Return to oven uncovered and let back for another 15 to 30 minutes for the cheese on top to melt and brown a little
  • Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving

I used Barilla sauce and lasagna noodles for this recipe. You can find them at your local Safeway store. They are having a special: $1 off the purchase of ONE (1) box of Barilla® Lasagne and ONE (1) Barilla® Sauce.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cake Pops With PEEPS {Recipe}

Peeps recipe with wording

I was so excited when Peeps reached out to me to participate in their online advent calendar and asked me to create a recipe using PEEPS from their holiday line. I love that PEEPS have expanded past their status as an Easter treat and was excited to bake with them. PEEPS sent me their Candy Cane flavored PEEPS that were dipped in chocolate. I decided to make cake pops with them and love how they turned out!

Here’s the recipe to make these Chocolate Candy Cane flavored cake pops!

Yield: 30 Cake Pops

Materials needed:

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix and any ingredients required (water, eggs, oil, etc)
  • 2 bags of candy melts
  • 6 PEEPS
  • container of chocolate frosting
  • lollipop sticks
  • candy canes or sprinkles (optional)
  • Piece of styrofoam

Directions:

  • Prepare cake mix according to box directions and let cool
  • Once cool use your hands to crumble cake into bowl
  • Cut 6 PEEPS into small pieces
  • Add PEEPS pieces and container of frosting to crumbled cake and stir together
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls
  • Melt about 15 candy melts and dip one end of lollipop sticks in frosting and then push into cake balls
  • Place balls in freezer for 30 minutes to one hour to harden
  • Melt ½ of the candy melts in a bowl and dip cake pops using the stick as a handle.
  • When done with each cake pop stick the opposite end of the stick in the Styrofoam so that candy melt coating can harden. At this point add sprinkles or crushed candy cane if desired.
  • Melt more candy melts as needed.

If you enjoyed this recipe make sure to follow along in December when PEEPS features 24 recipes (including mine) on their Facebook page. To find more PEEPS recipes, crafts and other fun holiday ideas visit www.Facebook.com/PeepsBrand/adventcalendar.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I recieved PEEPS to use in my recipe.)

Apple Betty with Almond Cream {Recipe}

apple dessert

Prep: 15 Min.
Cook: 2 Hours
Makes: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 10 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

1. Place apples in an ungreased 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the bread, brown sugar, butter, extract, cinnamon, cardamom and salt; spoon over apples. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until apples are tender.

2. In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar, lemon peel and extract; beat until soft peaks form. Serve with apple mixture.

Recipe and image reprinted courtesy of Taste of Home and their new cookbook, Taste of Home Recipes Across America

Halloween Spider Bites {Recipe}

spider bites pic

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1 package black rope licorice cut into short 1” pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small tube of green (or color of choice) decorating gel
  • Toothpicks

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar, water, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add eggs into the mixture and blend.
  • Slowly mix in flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder using low-medium speed.
  • Drop tablespoon helpings of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets and roll each helping into a ball.
  • Bake 9 minutes at 375 degrees. The batch should produce around three dozen cookies.
  • Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes. Then using a toothpick, create four small holes in either side of the cookie.
  • Still using the toothpick, push one end of a piece of the cut licorice into each hole, creating the “legs” of the spider.
  • Once all eight pieces are in place, create eyes or decorate at will using the green decorating gel.
  • Then serve and enjoy!

Recipe idea adapted from “The Braces Cookbook” by Pamela Waterman. Image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Goblin Goodies {Recipe}

goblin goodies

Ingredients:

  • 1 small box rice cereal
  • 1 small box corn or wheat cereal
  • 1 small box rice puffs cereal
  • 3 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1 bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of milk

Directions:

  • Line a cookie sheet or large baking pan with tin foil
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, putting margarine in the pan and the pan in the oven as the oven preheats so that the margarine will melt.
  • Remove pan from oven and add pretzels, rice puffs and corn and rice cereal – slowly stirring to coat with melted margarine or butter.
  • Once all the cereal and pretzels are in the pan, place pan uncovered in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Once the snack mix is finished baking, remove from oven and allow to cool. While cooling, in a small sauce pan, over low heat, melt milk chocolate chips with one cup of milk, adding milk slowly until melted. Repeat for white chocolate chips.
  • With a spoon, drizzle melted milk and white chocolate over the snack mix and allow to firm. Once chocolate is more firm, toss and serve. Store cool in airtight container for future snacks.

Recipe and image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Sinfully Sweet Cinnamon Apples {Recipe}

cinnamon apples

Cinnamon apples are the perfect Fall treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 Fuji or Granny Smith apples
  • ¼ cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Core apples to ½ inch of the bottom of the apples.  It helps if you have an apple corer.  If not, simply use a paring knife.  Cut out the stem area first, then the core.  Use a spoon to dig out the seeds.  Make the holes about ¾-inch wide.
  • Mix apple juice concentrate and vanilla.  Pour into cored center of each apple.
  • Place a cinnamon stick in the center of each apple.  Place apples on nonstick baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.

(Recipe and image courtesy of Pritikin Longevity Center.)

Sweet Potato Clam Chowder with Bacon {Recipe}

Sweet Potato Clam Chowder (1)

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen Medium clams such as Manila OR 3 dozen Small clams such as Littlenecks
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 12-ounce bottle of clam juice, as needed
  • 1 cup Diced raw applewood smoked bacon: about 4 to 5 slices
  • 1 tablespoon of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3½ cups Raw sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2-inch chunks (about ¼ pound)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Half and Half

Instructions

Scrub the clams well. Spread them in an even layer in a large 12-inch frying pan with a lid. Add the water, cover, and bring to the water to a boil. Set a heatproof bowl nearby to hold the cooked clams. Cook the clams until the shells open, about 2 to 5 minutes. As a clam opens, remove it from the pan with tongs and plop it into the waiting bowl. Give the clams 5 minutes more to cook, transferring clams as they open. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and discard any clams that remain closed. Pour the pan liquid through a fine-meshed sieve or cheesecloth to strain out any grit. You should have about 1 1/2 cups clam cooking liquid. If there is less than that, add enough bottled clam juice to equal this amount. Set the liquid aside. Transfer the clams, still in their shells, back to the pan and cover it with a lid to keep the clams from drying out while you finish the chowder.

Cook the bacon in a 3-quart soup pot until crisp and brown. When the bacon is done transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pot. Discard the rest of the bacon fat. Using the same soup pot in which you cooked the bacon, pour back in the 1 tablespoon of bacon fat, add the olive oil and heat over a medium flame for a few seconds; add the onion and celery. Cook vegetables until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, clam cooking liquid, the bay leaf, salt and pepper. (Save the cooked bacon to sprinkle over the chowder just before serving.) Cover the pan and simmer just until the sweet potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the chowder simmers, remove the clams from their shell. You can use a paring knife or even a grapefruit spoon to scrape them out of their shells and into a bowl. Discard the shells. When the sweet potatoes are perfectly done, add the clams to the chowder. Pour in the Half and Half, heat gently until the chowder is piping hot, and ladle it into individual serving bowls. Sprinkle bacon around the edge of the chowder and serve.

Recipe and image courtesy of Celebrity Chef Cat Cora.

10 Easy Breakfasts Kids Will Love

Breakfast banana split

Cold cereal again? If you are in a breakfast rut like we are, check out these 10 easy breakfast ideas courtesy of Target that your kids will eat up (literally!)

Omelette on the go

  • Omelette on the go. Fried, scrambled and boiled may be more traditional egg preparations, but did you know you can bake eggs? Whisk together your favorite omelette mixture (eggs, tomato and cheese is ours), pour into silicon muffin cups, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. They’ll keep for a few days in the fridge.
  • Cream of wheat with rainbow sprinkles. Your kids will find a way to sneak sugar into their breakfast cereal. Why not let them have fun while they’re at it?
  • Breakfast burrito with turkey sausage.  A whole wheat wrap stuffed with scrambled eggs with turkey sausage, low-fat cheese and a little mild salsa is a crowd-pleasing breakfast that also happens to travel well.
  • Apples with brown sugar yogurt. Dip sliced apples into a mixture of Greek yogurt and brown sugar (about a tablespoon per cup of yogurt). Let’s call it breakfast fondue!
  • English muffin pizza: Pizza for breakfast? Yes, please! Top an English muffin with leftover spaghetti sauce and mozzarella (or any cheese, for that matter). Bake in the toaster oven until the cheese has melted.

Breakfast banana split

  • Breakfast banana split. Just like it sounds—swap Greek yogurt for ice cream and honey for chocolate syrup. Top with crunchy granola or fresh berries.
  • Griddled corn muffin. Corn bread is one of life’s simple pleasures. It should be served accordingly—toasted with butter and honey.
  • The Elvis (for beginners). Elvis loved his peanut butter-bacon-banana sandwiches and for a good reason—they’re delicious. For a healthier twist, cut back on the bacon, substitute almond butter and use whole wheat bread. Bonus points for grilling on a panini pan.
  • Eggy pita pocket. The self-contained breakfast sandwich: Stuff scrambled eggs and any additional toppings (grated cheese, bell pepper, diced tomato) into a toasted pita pocket.
  • Strawberry coconut Bircher muesli. Mix plain yogurt, rolled oats, coconut flakes and strawberries with any nuts or sweeteners (like maple syrup or honey) your kids like. Pour into small single-serving jars or plastic containers, and leave overnight in the fridge.
Want even more ideas? Check out the rest of them on Target’s blog here.
(Disclosure: Images and ideas courtesy of Target.)

 

Pumpkin Mousse {Recipe}

pumpkin mousse 02

INGREDIENTS

  • 15 oz. Pumpkin Puree ( Libby’s)
  • 1 oz. sugar free, fat free vanilla
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 2 cups of heavy cream ( for whipped  cream)
  • 2 teaspoons confectionary sugar (for whipped cream)
  • 1 Cup crumbled ginger cookie
  • Chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a mixer, whip the heavy cream with the confectionary sugar. Start at a slow speed then increase speed to make the mix firmer. Do not mix for more than 5-6 minutes. Refrigerate the whip cream for about two hours.
  • In another mixer bowl add all the other ingredients and mix at medium speed for about five minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE THE MOUSSE:

  • Choose a medium high 12 oz. clear glass and pipe in the pumpkin mousse then add the crumbled ginger cookie, then pipe in the whip cream. At this point the glass should be half way full, use the same amount one more time and top with the cookie. Add chocolate chips for garnish if you’d like.

Recipe and image courtesy of Maria Zoitas, catering director at Westside Market NYC and creator of Maria’s Homemade, a line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Pumpkin Pie Dip {Recipe}

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 21/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon of seasalt
  • Sliced fresh fruit and/or salted whole wheat pretzels

Directions:

  • In a food processor, combine cream cheese and yogurt; blend until smooth. Add pumpkin and remaining ingredients except fruit and pretzels; blend until well mixed.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days. Serve dip with fresh fruit or pretzels.

Recipe and image courtesy of  HealthBarn USA‘s Founder, Stacey Antine, MS, RD.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp {Recipe}

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • 6 large tart apples (Pippin or Granny Smith)
  • 1/3 cup sugar, or 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter

Topping

  • 1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  • Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4-inch slices. 
  • Put the apple slices into a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over the top. 
  • Add the tapioca starch, cinnamon, five-spice, ginger and salt and toss together to evenly coat the apple slices. 
  • Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, dot the top with pieces of the butter and set aside. 
  • To make the topping, combine the flours, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, five-spice and ginger in a mixing bowl. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix in the butter until it is uniformly incorporated into the flour mixture. Stir in the oats and pecans.
  • Crumble the oat topping evenly over the apples. 
  • Bake until the topping is golden brown and set and the apples are warm and bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes.

Note: You can prepare everything ahead of time. Refrigerate the apple filling and keep the topping frozen until ready to assemble and bake. Don’t refrigerate the unbaked topping overnight since the millet flour will interact with the butter and taste and smell cheesy when it’s baked.

Recipe and image courtesy of: Kyra Bussanich, two-time winner of The Food Network’s hit show, “Cupcake Wars.” She graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu and opened her award-winning bakery, Kyra’s Bake Shop, which features gourmet, gluten-free sweets. She has branched beyond desserts to other gluten-free goods in order to help those with celiac and other autoimmune diseases enjoy quality treats.

Pineapple Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps {Recipe}

Pineapple Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Start to Finish: 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Fruitful™ pineapple yogurt (get a coupon here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion (2 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 6 leaves Bibb lettuce

Directions:

  • 1. In medium bowl, mix yogurt, salt and pepper. Stir in all remaining ingredients except lettuce until combined.
  • 2. Divide chicken mixture evenly among lettuce leaves (about 1/3 cup per leaf). Serve immediately.

Recipe and image are courtesy of Yoplait.

Peachy Pancakes {Recipe}

peach pancakes with text

This post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Start to Finish: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Fruitful™ peach yogurt (get a coupon here)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup real maple or maple-flavored syrup
  • 6 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • Whipped cream, if desired

Directions:

  • Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat or to 350ºF. Grease griddle if necessary. In large bowl, beat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with whisk. Stir in milk, yogurt and egg. To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.
  • For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until pancakes are puffed and dry around edges. Turn, and cook other sides until golden brown.
  • Serve topped with syrup, pecans and whipped cream.

6 servings (3 pancakes each)

Note: To toast pecans, sprinkle in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until pecans begin to brown, then stirring constantly until pecans are light brown.

Recipe and image courtesy of Yoplait.

Cherries and Berries Frozen Brownie Dessert {Recipe}

cherry chocolate dessert

This recipe post is sponsored by Yoplait.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Start to Finish: 6 Hours 15 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix 
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box 
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips 
  • 1/3 cup hot fudge 
  • 4 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait® Fruitful™ cherries & red berries yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips 

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Make brownies as directed on box for 9-inch pan, except stir 1/2 cup chocolate chips into batter before spreading in pan. Cool 15 minutes on cooling rack. 
  • Spread hot fudge over brownies. Place in freezer 30 minutes. Spread yogurt evenly on top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips. Place in freezer about 4 hours or until firm. 
  • Just before serving, cut into 9 pieces. Store any remaining dessert tightly covered in freezer up to 1 week. 

Makes 9 servings.

Get a coupon for the Yoplait Fruitful yogurt here.

(Recipe and image provided by Yoplait.)

Oatmeal Is No Longer Only A Breakfast Food: Hearty Sweet Corn & Pancetta Oatmeal {Recipe}

hearty oatmeal

(Disclosure: I am happy to be partnering with Quaker again. I did receive compensation but thoughts are my own.)

Quaker has always been synonymous with breakfast in my mind but recently I learned they made delicious snacks and this week I even discovered someone making dinner recipes with Quaker oats. Samantha Stephens, founder of the world’s first oatmeal bar, Oatmeals, in New York City was just announced as Quaker’s new Creative Oatmeal Officer!

I found Sam’s story interesting. While in college, she was trying to eat healthier and save money and she discovered oatmeal was the way to go and started eating it for every meal. Since opening OatMeals in Greenwich Village in New York City in 2012, Stephens has sold more than 100,000 of her inventive hot oatmeal bowls – including her signature Pumpkin Pie and Indian Spiced & Savory Truffle RisOATto – along with other oatmeal-based products like oatmeal cookies and biscotti. That’s a lot of oatmeal! I can’t wait to try it out the next time I am in NYC.

Sam is teaming up with Quaker  to show foodies everywhere that the possibilities are endless when creating recipes with oatmeal, such as the first exclusive recipe created by OatMeals for Quaker – Hearty Sweet Corn, Tomato and Pancetta Oatmeal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quaker steel cut oats
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh corn (approximately 3 ears) or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pancetta, diced (bacon, prosciutto, or ham can be substituted)
  • 2 small shallots, diced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Grated pecorino or asiago cheese

Directions

  • In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. 
  • Add pancetta, corn, and cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Remove this mixture from the pan and place in a bowl to the side. 
  • Into the same pan add the butter, shallots, and garlic and cook for two minutes at medium heat. Add Quaker steel cut oats and stir continuously for two to three minutes, until lightly toasted, golden, and fragrant. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. 
  • Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats are al dente. 
  • Add the pancetta, corn, and tomato mixture to the cooked oats and stir to combine. 
  • Season with black pepper to taste and top with grated pecorino cheese. 

Makes four servings. See a video of the recipe being made on Quaker’s YouTube channel.

(Disclosure: As stated above, this is a compensated post.)

Big Island Teriyaki Burger With Grilled Pineapple {Recipe}

burger

Happy National Cheeseburger Day! This recipe features lean ground sirloin and a distinctive Hawaiian twist with homemade teriyaki sauce with grilled pineapple, scallions, ginger, honey, and sesame oil—a combination that really makes this burger unforgettable.

Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 30 min
Yields 4 serv.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 Peeled and cored pineapple, cut into wedges
  • 4 Scallions
  • 2 cups Baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon Sesame oil
  • 1 pound 95% lean ground sirloin
  • 2 ounces Link lean sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 2 Slices Canadian-style bacon, halved
  • 4 Hawaiian sweet or whole wheat hamburger buns, halved and toasted
  • 2 tablespoons Crumbled blue Cheese

DIRECTIONS

  • To make the grilled pineapple teriyaki, coat a grill pan with nonstick spray and place over medium-high
  • Heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill and get it very hot. Put the pineapple wedges on the hot grill and cook until the fruit is charred on all sides, turning with tongs, about 10 minutes total.
  • Remove the pineapple from the grill, chop into small pieces, and put into a mixing bowl.
  • Next, lay the scallions on the hot grill and char on both sides until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the scallions from the grill, chop, and add to the pineapple. Keep the grill hot; you’ll need it to cook the burgers.
  • To the pineapple mixture, add the spinach, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and sesame oil. Toss well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Set aside to let the flavors meld.
  • To make the burgers, in a large mixing bowl combine the beef and the turkey sausage. Add the onion powder, oregano, cloves, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Mix gently by hand to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
  • Gently form the meat mixture into four burgers. Spray the grill pan or grill with another coating of nonstick spray. Grill the burgers for 4 minutes per side for medium doneness. The burgers should turn easily without sticking. Remove the burgers to a clean side plate and hold warm.
  • Arrange the Canadian bacon slices on the grill and cook for 1 minute on each side, until they are scored with grill marks.
  • To assemble the burgers, lay the hamburger patty on the bottom bun and top with bacon and about . cup of the pineapple teriyaki. Finish with a sprinkle of blue cheese and top with the other half of the bun.

(Recipe and image courtesy of Recipe Rehab.)

Swamp Dip {Recipe}

Gator-Swamp-Dip-eMeals

It’s football season! Enjoy this delicious dip at your next party!

Ingredients

  • 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ½ cup drained and chopped roasted red bell peppers
  • 8 ounce container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 packet dry vegetable soup mix
  • Pepper to taste
  • Dash ground red pepper, optional

Instructions

  • Thaw spinach completely, and squeeze dry in paper towels.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and add red peppers, sour cream, mayonnaise, onion, lemon juice, vegetable soup mix, pepper, and ground red pepper, if using.
  • Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with tortilla, pita, or bagel chips.
(Recipe and image courtesy of eMeals.)

Menu Plan Monday {Week of 9/16}

menu plan monday

I haven’t menu planned in a while but I need to get back into the swing of things. If I don’t plan I have found that we eat fast food, something we eat for other meals (ie cereal, sandwiches, or waffles), or leftovers. Our current non-menu plan is just not working for me and I’m quite embarrassed to admit how often we currently eat one of the above items.

One thing I realized though is if I have activities in the evening I need something simple or something I can start during the day to have ready for the night. If Sinisa is not working that day I can put something more complicated on the menu for him to make. Here are the meals we will have this week:

Monday: Gyros

Tuesday: Shredded BBQ Chicken Sliders from Carrie Elle

Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Taquitos from Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour

Thursday: Spaghetti Casserole from World Traveling Military Family

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Out to eat as a family

 

Perfect Peanut Pasta with Chicken and Veggies {Recipe}

peanut-noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti, reserve ¼ cup of pasta cooking water
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded and julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts, unsalted (optional)
  • 2 scallions, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt if using.
  • Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and reserve ¼ cup cooking water. Briefly rinse pasta under warm running water. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl whisk peanut butter, reserved pasta cooking water, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes until smooth and creamy. Pour over warm pasta.
  • Toss the pasta with chicken, cucumber, red bell pepper.
  • Sprinkle each serving with scallions and 1 tsp. chopped peanuts.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Per serving: 523 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g trans), 41 g protein, 3 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 500 mg sodium, 62 g carbohydrates, 72 mg cholesterol

(Recipe and image courtesy of the National Pasta Association.)

Caramel Popcorn {Recipe}

CARAMEL POPCORN PIN IT

Make your own homemade caramel sauce to top popcorn! Yum!

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 Cups popped popcorn
  • ¾ Cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¼ Cup light colored corn syrup
  • ¼ Cup Teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven at 300⁰F.
  • Put popcorn into a 12’’x 8’’x 1’’ roasting pan to keep popcorn warm while the caramel sauce is being made.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup – creating the caramel sauce.
  • Cook and stir at medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil; let it boil for five minutes.
  • Remove sauce pan from heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla.
  • Pour caramel sauce over popcorn and stir gently to coat them.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Recipe courtesy of Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Chicken Avocado Wraps {Recipe}

Wraps12

Need a quick meal idea? Try these yummy chicken avocado wraps.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • ½ cup cubed red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 4, 8-inch tortillas
  • 4 red leaf or Boston lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine chicken, tomato, cilantro and hot sauce in a medium bowl and toss well.
  • Add avocado and toss again.
  • Divide chicken mixture among tortillas and top with lettuce leaves.
  • Roll up and cut in half.

Recipe and image courtesy of Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC.

Steak, Bean & Pasta Soup {Recipe}

soup1

(Disclosure: I am taking part in the Beano “Be Natural” Virtual Cook-off. I was compensated for posting and received free products but thoughts are my own.)

Looking for the perfect Fall soup? Try this delicious steak and bean pasta soup for a hearty meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 whole red sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 pound of mushrooms
  • 16 ounce can of beef stock
  • 1 pound of flank steak
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1/2 pound of uncooked pasta
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • water (as needed)

Directions:

  • In a large pot, saute garlic, onion and red pepper in olive oil
  • Grill or broil steak until it’s cooked to medium rare (about 5 minutes)
  • Once steak is cooked, add steak to garlic, onion, pepper mixture
  • Stir in mushrooms, corn and beans
  • Stir in seasonings
  • Add beef stock and red wine and bring to a boil
  • Add uncooked pasta, 3 cups of water (you can add less if you want it thicker or more if you want it soupier), and tomato paste then turn down heat and simmer until pasta is fully cooked
  • Spoon into bowls and serve with bread if you’d like to.

It’s well known that beans make you “toot”. There is even a silly song to go along with that saying that many kids sing but did you know that many other foods cause gas, too? When I was given a list of gas inducing foods I was shocked. Pasta and sweet peppers (two foods I love) were both on that list! The recipe above has beans, pasta and some vegetables that are known to cause gas but if you’ve taken Beano before eating it you don’t have to worry about having gas, bloating or discomfort. Beano contains a natural food enzyme that breaks down the complex carbohydrates found in many foods, making them easier to digest so they don’t cause gas.

The recipe above was created as my entry into the Beano “Be Natural” Virtual Cook-off. This fun cook-off between a group of bloggers has a fun prize. At the end of the cook-off one lucky blogger and a guest will get to attend classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City.

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received compensation for this post.)

 

10 Peach Recipes

peach recipes

Fresh fruit is one of my favorite things about Summer. Sadly, when I go to the grocery store for fruit I don’t find fruit that lasts very long. When I read an email asking me if I wanted to review fresh peaches from The Fruit Company I started thinking of all the delicious desserts I could make and searched Pinterest for ideas.

Here are some delicious peach recipes I found:

Once I received the box of peaches from The Fruit company I opened it and found six HUGE peaches. Each peach was more than double the size of what I find in my local grocery store. I read more about the peaches and learned that each peach is hand-picked from an orchard located in Hood River, Oregon. Each order comes in a pretty watercolor gift box.

 The peaches were really juicy and very sweet. We decided to make the peach crisp linked up above with three of the peaches. I chose it because it was easy, fairly quick to make, and I had all of the ingredients on hand. It was delicious but I definitely would recommend peeling the peaches first.

The Fruit Company will have peaches for sale on their website until the 3rd or 4th week of September so you can enjoy peach recipes for the next month or so. You can find the Oregon peaches here. They make great gifts for family and friends, too!

(Disclosure: As stated above, I received a box of peaches from The Fruit Company. All thoughts are my own.)

Healthier Banana Crepes {Recipe}

Pritikin Banana Crepe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour-Whole
  • 3 each Large Raw Egg White-Each
  • ½ cup Skim Milk
  • 3 oz-wt Apple Juice-Frozen Concentrate
  • 3 each Banana , peeled & sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon-ground
  • ¼ teaspoon Cloves-Ground
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon splenda
  • Pam non-stick spray

Directions

For the Banana filling

  • In a large hot skillet place banana.
  • When the banana starts to brown add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook until the liquid is gone and the bananas are golden brown.
  • Roll the banana filling inside crepe and serve warm.

For the Crepe

  • In a blender mix flour, egg white, milk & 2 tablespoons of apple juice concentrate until smooth.
  • Let batter sit for 10 minutes before cooking.
  • In a small omelet pan spray with Pam.
  • Ladle a small amount of batter to make a thin crepe.
  • When crepe starts to bubble slightly on the inside turn over.
  • Cook for 10 more seconds and lay out on a baking sheet.
  • Serve hot

(Recipe and image courtesy of Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center.)

9 Ways To Make Over Mac & Cheese Cups

mac and cheese cups

I loved Mac & Cheese cups in college and when I lived on my own. Even now they make a quick dinner for the boys when we get home late or have somewhere to be and I realize I need to get dinner ready asap. Target shared this great post with me about 9 ways to make over mac & cheese cups. Seriously, where were these ideas ten years ago?!

Find all of the mac & cheese add in ideas on the Target blog.

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches {Recipe}

barbeque chicken sandwich

This family favorite recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, which are full of flavor and moisture. When combined with homemade barbecue sauce, the tender shredded chicken takes on a sweet smokiness that’s far better than anything you could find in a bottle at the grocery store.

 

Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 60 min
Yields 6 serv.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 pounds pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato puree
  • 1 cup no-salt-added ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 (1 ounce) slider burger buns

 

DIRECTIONS

  • To make the chicken, preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
  • Arrange the chicken breasts side by side in the prepared baking pan and drizzle the olive oil all over the top; season with pepper. Bake the chicken until barely pink in the center, about 40 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, put a pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic.
  • Cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until fully incorporated. Stir in the vinegar, loosening up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the tomato puree, ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar blend, paprika, mustard, chili powder, and water. Bring the barbecue sauce to a simmer, stirring, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Allow the cooked chicken to cool slightly, then peel off and discard the skin. Using 2 forks, shred the meat and discard the bone.
  • Add the shredded chicken to the sauce and stir to incorporate. Simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chicken has soaked up the sauce and is heated through. Divide the chicken among the buns and serve.

Recipe and image courtesy of Recipe Rehab.