Meatloaf Bites Recipe

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KetchupWithFrenchs #CollectiveBias

I love easy to prep meals for busy school nights and it’s even better when my kids actually like to eat what I make. I realized that I haven’t shared one of our favorite kid-friendly meals with you all yet. What started as a funny April fools joke turned into a meal the whole family can enjoy year round. These fancy “cupcakes” are just meatball bites topped with mashed potato “frosting”. “Cupcakes” for dinner will surprise any child and they can be made three different ways to please everyone in the family.

First, you’ll want to gather your ingredients. I was delighted to see that my favorite mustard brand (French’s) had started making ketchup as well. French’s Ketchup uses real ingredients, like real sugar and high quality tomatoes, which make it taste great. Plus, it has no GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial flavors and colors so I can feel good about including it in our favorite recipes and as a dip for our favorite appetizers.

(Recipe yields a dozen meatloaf “cupcakes”.)

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound of mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup of French’s Ketchup
  • 1 cup of stuffing mix (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 pinch of sage
  • 1 pinch of garlic
  • French’s Crispy Fried Onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients other than ketchup, brown sugar, mashed potatoes and fried onions in a large bowl.

Once fully combined, press mixture into muffin tins.

In a small bowl, mix ketchup and brown sugar.

Using a spoon, spread the ketchup and brown sugar mixture on top of each meatloaf bite in the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165 degrees.

Spoon warmed mashed potatoes on to the meat. For fancier cupcake bites, you can make the mashed potatoes look like “frosting” that was piped on them. You can do this one of two ways- either by using a frosting decorator or using a sealed ziplock bag with one corner cut on a diagonal so the mashed potatoes can be piped out. I love using a frosting decorator with a special frosting tip.

Serve as is or with French’s Crispy Fried Onions sprinkled on top. If you have someone in your family who does not like mashed potatoes you can serve the meatloaf without the mashed potato topping. A side of fries or tater tots with ketchup would be perfect with the plain meatloaf bites.

You can even top the meatloaf bites with a dollop of French’s Ketchup on top to look like a “cherry” on top of the “cupcake”.

As you can see, this recipe can be easily customized for your family. If you have a favorite meatloaf recipe you like you can make that mixture instead of the one in this recipe and then just cook it in the muffin pans instead of your typical meatloaf pan. You can also substitute bread crumbs for stuffing mix if that’s what you have on hand. We prefer using cornbread stuffing mix if we have it because it adds flavor but we have used bread crumbs in the recipe and it turns out just as well. It’s all about whatever is easiest for you to get dinner on the table for your family.

You can find French’s Ketchup at Walmart in the condiment aisle. As you can see in the video below, it’s the perfect compliment to your favorite foods!

Feel good about your purchase because, not only are you getting a better-for-you option that’s delicious, but French’s is doing its part in the community through a partnership with Feeding America and donating 10 million meals in 2017.

I hope your family loves these meatloaf bites aka dinner “cupcakes”! Find more recipe inspiration here.

‘Dinner For Two’ Date Night Gift Basket

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WonderfulYourWay #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Before we had kids, Sinisa and I would go on dates quite often. We’d go out to eat, go to the movies, and walk around local downtown areas. It was nice to be able to connect during those times. Unfortunately, once we had our first child, our date nights out became almost non-existent. Nowadays we tend to do a lot of date nights in which basically consist of watching a movie on the couch.

With Valentine’s Day coming soon, I wanted to change things up a bit and create a special date night basket. Since Sinisa loves to cook I thought he’d enjoy a gift basket full of goodies that would let us have a date night in where we could cook a special meal together. I’m calling this a “Dinner for two” date night gift basket.

I started by figuring out what type of meal we’d make and decided upon pasta. Maybe it’s the whole Lady & the Tramp spaghetti scene stuck in my head, but I equate pasta with romantic meals. Along with the box of pasta, I put some other items we’d need for our date night in the basket including Valentine’s themed kitchen hand towels, some red cooking utensils, a couple chocolate roses, salt and pepper shakers, candles and a bottle of wine to enjoy with our meal.

We have a few go-to pasta dishes that we make but Sinisa made a really delicious one a couple years ago that I wanted to recreate together. It’s a dish similar to Pasta Carbonara though we don’t add eggs to it like the typical recipe calls for.

For our recipe, I got all the ingredients at Kroger, including Barilla® Pronto® Penne pasta, a product innovation that allows for one-pan meals to be created with no need to wait for water to boil, and no draining required. I like this pasta because it cooks within ten minutes and is perfect for one pot meals.

Ingredients to make dinner for 2:

  • 1/2 box of Barilla Pronto Penne
  • 1/4 cup of bacon pieces
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 cups of (cold) water or broth (we used vegetable broth)
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • Seasoning to taste (we used black pepper and garlic powder)
  • A teaspoon of vegetable oil

Directions:

Add the oil to the pan along with the bacon and peas and heat for a minute or so, stirring to mix.

Add the dry pasta.

Pour the cold water (or broth) over the pasta. (Feels strange doesn’t it? Usually you have to put a pot of water on the stovetop and then wait forever for it to boil before you can put your pasta in but this new pasta is “no boil”.) Cover and let cook on medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the 4 ounces of cream cheese. Then cover and cook for three more minutes to finish cooking the pasta.

At this point the pasta is fully cooked. Can you believe that you have perfectly cooked pasta in just 10 minutes?! Whoever invented this no boil pasta is a genius. I also love that you don’t have to drain it because the majority of the liquid has cooked out. To finish making this pasta dish, add the shredded cheese, season to taste and stir everything together.

I love the combo of cheese and bacon in this dish and the addition of the peas helps me meet my veggie goal for the week lol. This pasta dish is so easy to make and requires little prep which is perfect for date night. You’ll have dinner on the table within 15 minutes and making the whole meal in one pan is great because nobody wants to spend date night stuck in the kitchen washing a sink full of dishes.

What pasta dish would you make on your “dinner for two” date night? Find more “Wonderful Your Way” recipe inspiration here.

 

Easy Lunch Idea For Busy Moms

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LeanCuisine #CollectiveBias

Now that the holidays are over it’s time to get back to my regular schedule. I spend my days working online, my afternoons and early evenings wearing my “mom” hat and driving the kids to their various activities, and my late evenings doing even more work. In the past I’ve been so busy that I worked right through lunch and that is something that I’ve really been working hard to stop doing. There is no reason that I can’t take thirty minutes out of my day to relax and eat something and it’s taken a conscious effort to take that break every day. (With a blog name like Making Time For Mommy you’d think it would be easier for me, right?!)

If you are as busy as I am, you are probably a fan of quick lunch options. Personally, I tend to gravitate towards frozen meals because they are the easiest to make and I can multitask while they are cooking. I can stick them in the microwave, go throw in a load of laundry and in minutes I have a hot lunch that’s ready to eat.

My favorite frozen meals are Lean Cuisine ones. I love that they have always had such a great variety of meals, whether I’m in the mood for a meat filled dish or craving pasta. They are full of flavor and always taste freshly made. I like that Lean Cuisine offers product options that are non-GMO, gluten-free, and high in protein. Some options are even made with organic ingredients (like the LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese that’s made with organic pasta).

While the Lean Cuisine meals are perfect on their own, I sometimes will make a side dish as well. Some days it’s a salad or fresh fruit, but I also like to make a quick veggie sauté on days I have a bit more time. My zucchini and squash sauté is the perfect side for the Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

The best part about this veggie sauté is that it’s super simple and easy to make. I’m not a huge vegetable eater but I’m working on eating more fruits and vegetables and this is a great way to do it. I always make sure to have some zucchini and squash in the fridge because I make this dish at least a couple times a week for lunches and dinners.

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Seasonings to taste (I tend to use pepper, onion powder, season salt and a chicken seasoning mix)

Directions

Slice your zucchini and yellow squash into pieces about 1/2-1 inch thick. (For faster cooking time you can cut the pieces in half lengthwise also to make them smaller.) Add the oil to your pan or pot and let it heat up on the stovetop. Once hot, add your zucchini and squash and then sprinkle on the garlic and seasonings. sauté the vegetables on low to medium heat, stirring often.

Continue cooking your vegetables, stirring every couple minutes, until your zucchini and squash pieces are cooked all the way through. You’ll know they are done when you can easily stick a fork through them.

These vegetables are perfect with the Lean Cuisine white cheddar mac & cheese. The vegetables are savory and a bit crunchy which pair well with the creamy mac & cheese.

My other favorite meal is the LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Butternut Squash Ravioli that I was excited to discover a few years back. It reminds me of Thanksgiving each time I eat it! When I was at Target this weekend I found that all the Lean Cuisine meals are on sale for only $1.99 (through 1/31) so it’s the perfect time to stock up on them. With their variety of flavorful meals you could try something new every day for weeks.

 What is your favorite lunch to enjoy on busy days?

One Pot Italian Dinner

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Barilla® and Johnsonville®. The opinions and text are all mine.

During the fall I love finding easy, hearty dishes for my family. Sinisa recently made this delicious, one pot Italian meal and I just had to share it with you all. Not only is it fantastic because you only use one pot to cook everything, but it’s affordable, too!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz.  of Barilla Blue Box Penne Pasta, uncooked
  • 3 Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 12 oz. of mushrooms (optional)
  • Seasoning to taste (we used parsley, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning)
  • Cooking oil

Directions:

Get a medium to large sized pot and add enough cooking oil to coat the bottom of the pot.

Cut the Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links into bite size pieces.

Add your onions and sausage to the pot and cook them until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Add crushed tomatoes and broth to the pan.

Then add mushrooms, Barilla Pasta and seasonings.

 Pour cream over the top and then stir well.

Simmer on the stove top for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Your whole family will love this meal and you will love how easy it is on your wallet, costing less than 10 dollars. And cleanup is a snap.

You can find all of the ingredients you need for this meal at your local Kroger store, including the Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links and Barilla Blue Box Pasta.

Pasta dishes are some of my favorite dinners to make, and I always have Barilla Blue Box Pasta, Italy’s #1 brand of pasta, stocked in my pantry. Pasta is perfect for busy nights and those last-minute dinner guests that come over before you can get to the grocery store! There are so many varieties of pasta dishes that you can make and you can personalize the dishes to your family’s likes and dislikes.

When we add meat to our pasta we often choose Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links. They don’t require any additional seasonings which makes them convenient and flavorful additions to any pasta dish. We usually add them to our spaghetti, but Sinisa also likes to put the sausage in some soups he makes as well.

 What are your favorite pasta dishes to make in the fall?


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Football Party With A Baked Potato Bar

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AD #Tailgreatness #CollectiveBias

Football season is one of my favorite times of year and it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family. This year I wanted to plan a party with a baked potato bar because I love party foods that let me enjoy the company and the football game instead of being stuck in the kitchen for hours. Along with the baked potato bar I’m sharing three of my favorite loaded baked potato recipes and information about Nexium® 24HR which provides all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so I can enjoy my favorite baked potato toppings (even the spicy ones!) all season long. Of course, my love of themed parties means I have to share all the party decorating details and three easy, but delicious, dessert ideas!

DECOR

Walmart has a plethora of football tableware and decorations and I chose to do some quick DIY projects as well. I made a colorful banner that says “Go Team” using some green paper and letter cutouts which I hung from string using cute little clothespins.

Silverware holders can be created out of mason jars with a piece of ribbon wrapped around the top and football shaped confetti at the bottom of the jar. I also made labels for all of the bowls on the table from little wood place settings by adding a football sticker and writing the names of the food on them. BAKED POTATO BAR

I love a good baked potato with the typical butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon toppings but there are so many other delicious toppings out there, too. I set out a variety of choices that would appeal to a number of diets, from vegetarian to meat lovers.

I also included options for every palate- from mild to spicy. I bought condiment bottles so I could offer a variety of sauces including hot sauce, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.



Speaking of spicy…do you avoid spicy foods because they give you heartburn? I used to avoid a number of heartburn inducing foods, knowing that as soon as I laid down I’d be regretting my dinner choices, but now I don’t have to anymore! Just one pill a day and you can get all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn with Nexium® 24HR* (*Use as directed. *May take 1-4 days for full effect.)

So now that you aren’t worried about heartburn, I wanted to share three of my favorite baked potato topping combos.

Buffalo Chicken Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chicken
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Blue Cheese

Mix your chicken and buffalo sauce together. The more sauce you use the wetter and tangier the potato will be. Once done, cut your potato open and add in the chicken and blue cheese then drizzle with more buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing.

BBQ Pork Baked Potato Ingredients

  • Baked Potato
  • BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Fried Onions

This baked potato is really easy to make! Slice the baked potato and then put the pulled pork inside. Sprinkle cheese on top and fried onions and then drizzle barbecue sauce on top of your baked potato.

Chili & Cheese Baked Potato Ingredients:

  • Baked Potato
  • Chili
  • Shredded Cheese (or Cheese Sauce)
  • Corn Chips
  • Green Onions
  • Sour Cream

If your fall go-to meal is chili you’ll love this chili topped baked potato. Just add your favorite chili and top it with shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream and corn chips.

SNACKS, DESSERTS & DRINKS

No party is complete without appetizers and desserts! I found cute popcorn containers that had a football design and put popcorn, corn chips and tortilla chips in them. I also used a football serving dish for the dips and set out salsa, cheese sauce and guacamole.

For dessert I made a few different treats with store bought bakery items. To keep with the football theme I used a football shaped cookie cutter to cut football shapes out of brownies and then I used white icing to draw “laces” on them.

I used the excess brownie pieces to make trifles by layering brownies, chocolate pudding and whipped cream in cups and then topping them with green hard candy sprinkles. Since my kids love cupcakes I got some of those and put them in football cupcake wrappers and added brown and green chocolate candies to the top of them.

To drink I offered two options- water and root beer. I tied a festive straw on to the bottles with football themed ribbon.

So now that you are prepared for a football party with decorations and food, don’t forget to take Nexium® 24HR daily for all-day, all-night protection from frequent heartburn so you can enjoy the party and all the football fun!

Nexium® 24HR is the #1 Choice of Doctors and Pharmacists* for their own frequent heartburn. (*Among PCPs and Pharmacists who use a branded OTC PPI) You can find 42 count packages of tablets or capsules at your local Walmart store by the other over the counter medications. Each box has 3 smaller bottles inside with 14 days worth of capsules/tablets.

What foods would you serve at your football party? Whatever you choose, don’t get sidelined by frequent heartburn! Make sure to get ready for tailgreatness and take your Nexium® 24HR daily to ensure you can enjoy all of your favorite party foods.

*May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Use as directed.

Hawaiian Pork Sliders

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smithfield® Marinated Pork. The opinions and text are all mine.

With the nights getting even busier as the school year continues, I’m trying to add more easy recipes to my menu plan. I normally make meals in the crock pot that cook while I work. But sometimes I don’t start thinking about dinner until after I’ve picked the kids up from school, and by then it’s too late to throw something in the slow cooker. Thankfully I’ve discovered the best recipe for nights like that- Hawaiian Pork Sliders!

These sliders can be made with less than 15 minutes of prep time which make them perfect for dinner on busy school nights. They are also a great lunch recipe because you can whip them up quickly before sitting down to watch the football game on Sunday afternoon with your friends and family. I also like that any leftovers can be enjoyed the next day for lunch either as a sandwich or even recreated into Hawaiian Pork Fried Rice. Since I’m really focusing on making sure that I don’t skip lunch it’s always great to have some leftovers in the fridge, and pork is such a versatile ingredient.

To make the sliders I used Smithfield Marinated Sweet Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin. The pork comes already marinated so it didn’t need any additional flavoring or spices added to it which makes busy nights easier. This also helps keep the ingredient list for this recipe low. All you need to create these delicious sliders are four ingredients!

RECIPE

Makes about 8 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • Smithfield Marinated Sweet Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
  • Can of pineapple slices
  • Bottle of honey barbecue sauce
  • Small round rolls

Directions:

Take the pork tenderloin out of the package and slice it into ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices out onto a foil covered pan and cook the pork in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees F.

While the meat is cooking you can sauté the pineapple in a sauce pan. Start with a hot pan and cook the pineapple slices for one minute on each side.

Once the pineapple and pork are cooked you are ready to assemble your sandwich. Cut a roll in half and on the bottom piece set a couple pieces of pork, a pineapple slice and a drizzle of barbecue sauce, then top with the other half of the roll.

Hope your family enjoys these sweet Hawaiian Pork Sliders!

You can find Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork products at your local Kroger store in the refrigerated cases of the meat department.

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork is made from 100% fresh pork and is packed with protein. Their products are available in Loin Filets, Sirloin, or Tenderloin cuts and a variety of flavors including:

  • Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Herb
  • Smithfield Roasted Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper
  • Smithfield Sweet Teriyaki
  • Smithfield Southwest Style Peppercorn
  • Smithfield Slow Smoked Mesquite

While at the store, we also bought the Smithfield Marinated Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Tenderloin. I’ll be putting that in the slow cooker tomorrow with some potatoes and carrots so we can come home from sports practice to a hot, home cooked meal.

Need more meal ideas? Visit Smithfield for recipes you can make on busy school nights. Their #RealFlavorRealFast recipe index has a bunch of great ideas including Veggie-Stuffed Pork Loin with Creamy Mustard Sauce and Filet Mignon Pork with Buttery Mushrooms. Those sound delicious and are perfect for busy nights because both can be made in 30 minutes or less. They look so fancy, though, and your family will think you slaved all afternoon in the kitchen! Instead, use that time saved to play a new game with your kids, curl up on the couch with a good book or go out to lunch with your friends. You deserve it, Mom!

What Real Fast recipe do you want to try first?

@SmithfieldBrand

Candy Corn Haystacks

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Butterscotch haystacks are one of my favorite cookies and one I make often because they are so easy to make. These no-bake cookies only need a few ingredients and, while the inclusion of noodles in this cookie may make you question them, they really taste delicious! They are also versatile. I first shared the recipe for them on my blog in 2010 as a Christmas treat idea. Then this past March made them into nests topped with PEEPS for an Easter treat. Now I’m transforming them into the perfect fall treat by adding a Halloween candy staple to them.

Makes 15-20 haystack cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1½ packages (18 ounces) crispy chow mein noodles
  • Candy corn

Directions

Melt butterscotch morsels in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave for 30 seconds on high power, then stir. Continue melting for 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth.

Stir peanut butter into melted butterscotch and thoroughly combine.

Place crispy chow mein noodles into a large bowl and add butterscotch/peanut butter mixture. Combine until all noodles are coated.

Drop a tablespoon of chow mein mixture onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper and repeat with the remaining mixture.

Top each haystack with a few candy corn.

Refrigerate until the haystacks harden, about 30–60 minutes and store in an airtight container or plastic bag.

It’s amazing how the crispy, kind of salty flavor of the chow mein noodles mix with the butterscotch and peanut butter flavors to form one sweet Halloween treat. Hope you all enjoy them!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad On A Pita

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This post was made possible by iConnect and Litehouse Foods. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine. #SoldinCold

 

Lunch has always been a meal that I tend to skip because I’m so busy working that I forget to eat. I’ve started making “eat lunch” an appointment on my calendar to remind myself to take a break and eat something. Since I only have about 15 minutes or so to eat I try to make things that are easy and quick. Today I chose to make myself a chicken bacon ranch salad wrap for lunch and it was so delicious I had to share it with you all!

Ingredients:

To make:
  • Slice your chicken, onion, tomato and pepper
  • Layer your veggies, bacon and chicken on your pita
  • Sprinkle cheese on top
  • Drizzle with Litehouse dressing 

This lunch was filling and delicious. I love Litehouse’s Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing but had never had any of their ranch dressings before. I love this one flavored with avocados and real bacon. They also have Homestyle Ranch and Jalapeno Ranch flavored dressings. You can find Litehouse products in the refrigerated produce section of your local supermarket.

What is your favorite lunch recipe? I’d love for you to share in the comments below since I can always use more ideas!

Autumn Snack Mix For Happy Snacking

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MixMatchMunch #CollectiveBias

In preparation for back-to-school I decided to come up with some new after school snack ideas. I wanted to make something that we could easily bring with us to afternoon sports and activities. Since Lucas loves Goldfish® crackers so much I wanted to incorporate them into a snack mix and, with fall around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make a fall harvest themed one.

I used two varieties of Goldfish crackers- the Mix (which includes Xtra Cheddar and Pretzel Goldfish crackers) and the Original Cheddar flavor.

Along with Goldfish crackers I included a handful of other items that reminded me of fall. Since apple picking is a favorite Autumn activity I added some dried apples into the mix, along with raisins and dried cranberries. For a sweet touch, I also added in orange, yellow, red and brown chocolate candies and a bit of sprinkles in little leaf shapes. To add an extra crunch I included some plain popcorn in the mix.

To make the snack mix just add each ingredient to your bowl and then stir it together!

Lucas loved the mix I had created and I love that I found a fun snack that he and Jacob can enjoy all year long. There is nothing better than seeing my kids smile with joy over something I’ve created for them!

Another simple snack the kids enjoy is Goldfish crackers paired with fresh fruit. Their favorites are grapes and strawberries and personally I like to pair mine with apple slices. It’s such a simple snack the whole family can enjoy.

Bulk boxes of Goldfish crackers are on rollback now for $5.98 at Walmart! I love that I can buy them in bulk because they are a staple in our house! You can also save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Bolthouse Farms® 10 oz. Baby Carrots or Bolthouse Farms(® 11 oz. juice when you buy any ONE (1) Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers 30 oz. or larger.

Which Goldfish crackers variety is your favorite?

Cereal Coated Fruit Pops Recipe

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RealDelicious #CerealAnytime #CollectiveBias

We love cereal for breakfast but one of the best things about cereal is that it’s really perfect for anytime of day! I love snacking on cereal while I work and the boys like eating it as an after school snack. We even sometimes have it at dinner with some fresh fruit or at dessert time, sprinkled over ice cream. One of the ways I enjoy cereal is as a topping on yogurt parfaits so I thought it would be fun to try making something different with those three ingredients and came up with cereal covered fruit pops.

Cereal covered fruit pops are just what they sound like- fruit (coated in yogurt) that is then covered with cereal. When I was at Walmart I bought a few varities of Post cereal and decided to try this recipe out with a couple of them. I chose to use Fruity Pebbles and Berry Colossal Crunch since both were fruity flavored and would go well with fruit. I let the boys pick out the fruit we’d use for this recipe and they chose apple slices, strawberries and grapes.

To start, you’ll want to gather all of your ingredients. You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of cereal
  • 2 small cartons of yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • Fruit of your choice (we used 1/2 a bag of presliced apples, 1/4 of the grapes in a bag, and 1/2 a carton of strawberries)
  • Lollipop sticks

How to make the cereal covered fruit pops:

1) You’ll want the cereal to be in small pieces for this recipe. Fruity Pebbles piece sizes or smaller are fine but anything larger (like Berry Colossal Crunch) needs to be broken into smaller pieces. To do so, put the cereal into a ziploc bag and use your hands or a rolling pin to crush the pieces into smaller bits.

2) Put a lollipop stick into the middle of a piece of fruit, about halfway through

3) Dip the fruit in the yogurt, fully coating it

4) Sprinkle the cereal on the fruit

5) Put the cereal coated fruit pops in the freezer for about two hours

This would be perfect for an after-school snack because you can make it in the afternoon and it will be ready by the time the kids come home from school! You could also make it with the kids in the afternoon and they could enjoy it as an after dinner treat.

If you are looking to recreate this recipe, or just have a household of cereal lovers, you’ll want to visit your local Walmart for great deals on Post cereal. With all the money we are spending on back-to-school supplies it’s nice to save a bit of money on essentials like cereal!

What is your favorite time of day to enjoy cereal?

Blueberry Chicken Salad Recipe

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I was challenged by Nature’s Harvest bread to come up with a Finding Dory themed sandwich recipe to share with my readers in this sponsored post.

Disney – Pixar’s “Finding Dory” is almost out in theaters! Are your kids as excited as mine? I wanted to add a little Dory fun into our typical chicken salad recipe so Sinisa and I created this amazing blueberry chicken salad recipe. Typically, if chicken salad has fruit in it, it’s either grapes or apples but I figured why not add some blueberries instead to celebrate the movie coming to theaters since Dory is blue! I love the mix of flavors that this sandwich has.

Here’s what you will need to make the sandwiches:

  • Nature’s Harvest Bread
  • 3 Cups of diced chicken
  • 1/2 a red pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1/2 cup of green onions
  • 1/2 cup of mayonaise
  • 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of pecans
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This chicken salad is easy to make!

1) Mix together all ingredients other than the blueberries (and bread of course)

2) Gently fold in the blueberries

3) Put between two slices of Nature’s Harvest bread

 

Select packages of specially-marked Nature’s Harvest® bread will feature the lovable characters from Disney• Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” which hits theaters this Friday.

 

For kid’s sandwiches you can use a cookie cutter to cut out a fish, whale or seashell from the bread before you put the chicken salad on the bread. Serve with goldfish crackers for a fun lunch!

Want even more Finding Dory fun? Nature’s Harvest® bread is hosting the Make A Splash with Whole Grains Sweepstakes on its Facebook page now through July 7th, where fans can enter for a chance to win weekly prizes, including movie tickets, autographed posters and more. No purchase necessary. See official rules here.

Have you ever added blueberries to your chicken salad? If not, would you try it?

 

PEEPS Nests Recipe And Peeps-a-licious Cookbook Giveaway

nests_2

I am so excited to share about this new cookbook that came out called Peeps-a-licious that features 50 fun recipes made with PEEPS. I’m honored to have been asked to contribute to this cookbook and have shared three delicious recipes in it. I’m sharing my favorite one below along with a giveaway where five people will win a copy of this new cookbook.

Makes 15—20 Nests

Ingredients

  • 1 (11-ounce) package butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1½ packages (18 ounces) crispy chow mein noodles
  • 15–20 PEEPS® Marshmallow Chicks, assorted colors
  • 1–2 packages JUST BORN® Brand Jelly Beans, or your favorite variety (you just need white jelly beans)

Directions

  • Melt butterscotch morsels in a microwave-safe bowl in microwave for 30 seconds on high power, then stir. Continue melting for 10-second intervals, stirring after each one, until smooth.
  • Stir peanut butter into melted butterscotch and thoroughly combine.
  • Place crispy chow mein noodles into a large bowl and add butterscotch/peanut butter mixture. Combine until all noodles are coated.
  • Drop a tablespoon of chow mein mixture onto a baking sheet or plate lined with wax paper. Make an indent in the middle of the mixture to form a nest shape. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  • Refrigerate until nests harden, about 30–60 minutes.
  • To finish the nests, add 3–5 jelly beans in the center of each nest and top with a PEEPS® Chick

GIVEAWAY

Five readers will each win 1 copy of the Peeps-a-licious cookbook

HOW TO ENTER

Share this giveaway on social media and leave a comment below with the link and why you want to win

Giveaway ends April 1, 2016 at 11:59pm CST.

Mango Baked Beans Recipe

mango baked beans final

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The National Mango Board.

The easiest way to break out of a routine is to try something new. That is especially true for food. I enjoy trying new foods and introducing my boys to them.

One fruit I recently introduced to my children were mangoes. In order to learn a bit more about mangoes and how to prepare them easily I went to a cooking presentation with my son Luke. The event was sponsored by The National Mango Board. It was very fun for us both and very enlightening.

Most people do not realize there are 6 variety of mangoes in the USA and that mangoes are one of the few fruits available the whole year round. Besides just being very delicious and versatile when it comes to their use, mangoes are actually very healthy. They have as much Vitamin C as oranges. One cup of diced mango contains 100 calories, 1 gram protein, 0.5 grams fat, 25 grams of carbohydrate (23 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber), 100% of the daily need for vitamin C, 35% for vitamin A, 20% of folate, 10% of vitamin B-6 and 8% of vitamin K and potassium. That’s a lot of goodness in one fruit!

Together, Luke and I learned and created awesome mango snack recipes from a culinary expert.Here are some tips we were given:

  • Selecting: Don’t judge a mango by its color – red does not mean ripe. To find a ripe mango, just squeeze gently. A ripe mango will be slightly soft like a peach or avocado. A firm mango will ripen at room temperature over a few days.
  • Prepping: To cut a mango, simply slice off the sides of the fruit, avoiding the large seed in the center.  Once you have these two sides, you can get to the flesh and slice or dice as needed. Then, simply scoop it out of the skin. For more on how to cut a mango or delicious new recipes, visit Mango.org.
  • Storing: Keep unripe mangoes at room temperature. Never refrigerate mangos before they are ripe. Once ripe, mangoes can be moved to the refrigerator to slow down ripening for several days.

And some fun facts I didn’t know about the tasty Mango:

  • Mangos are one of the most popular fruit in the World
  • Mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago
  • Mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
  • The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of a mango
  • A basket of mangos is considered a gesture of friendship in India
  • Legend says that Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree
  • Mangos are related to cashews and pistachios
  • A mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet
  • The bark, leaves, skin and pit of the mango have been used in folk remedies for centuries.

Luke learned how to make a Cinco De Mango Quesadilla and Frozen Yogurt Dipped Mango Pops. At first Luke was shy about the Mangoes but then once he realized how sweet and juicy they were he was hooked. .

As we were both delighted we decided to make a tasty dish with mango at home very soon. We received a great cookbook full of flavorful mango recipes. I chose to try out the Mango Baked Bean recipe this week.

This is a very easy recipe. The prep time is just a few minutes. I started by gathering all the ingredients. I chopped the bacon and onions and the mango. While the bacon was frying, I started to make the sauce.  It’s a very sweet sauce with molasses and brown sugar.

As soon as the bacon was crispy and onions were clear, I added the beans and combined the sauce. The last thing to add was the mango (mango can be pureed or in chunks). Everything needs to be stirred well together and then it needs to be baked in the oven.

While the beans are baking you can go ahead and make anything you wish to use as the main entree. I chose to grill up some steak and shrimp because it was a nice day and fresh grilled meat sounded fantastic.

I hope you are a fan of mangoes. If you just became one, head out to a grocery store and pick up a few. Make a dish, juice them, or best of all eat them freshly cut up. I would love to hear what you came up with.

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

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.

 

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.

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.)

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.)

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.)

 

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.

Southern-Style Drumsticks {Recipe}

50-Southern Drumsticks

This “fried” chicken has been rehabbed by coating the chicken in flour and spices before baking it in the oven. The secret to creating the perfect skin is to place the coated legs in the refrigerator so that they dry out a little before baking—the skin crisps up in the oven once the moisture has evaporated from its surface. This recipe is perfect for a family friendly dinner.

 

 

Cook Time 30 min
Prep Time 60 min
Yields 4 serv.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Hot sauce, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  • To make the chicken, in a large resealable plastic bag add the flour, baking powder, garlic and onion powders, paprika, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it to mix the dry ingredients well.
  • Add the drumsticks to the bag, seal again, and toss for about 1 minute to coat.
  • Set a wire rack insert inside a roasting pan. Remove the drumsticks from the bag, shaking off any excess flour. Arrange them on the baking rack and put them in the fridge for at least 45 minutes, uncovered, to dry out. (You can do this the night before.)
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil evenly over the top of the chicken legs and place them, still on the rack, in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken over and drizzle the remaining 1. teaspoons of oil evenly all over them. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until deep golden brown and crispy.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (PER SERVING)

Calories 335
Saturated Fat 4g
Sodium 510mg
Dietary Fiber 1g
Total Fat 16g
Cholesterol 118mg
Protein 30g
Calories 335

(Image and recipe courtesy of RecipeRehab.com)

Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie {Recipe}

chocolate pecan bourbon pie pin

Pie image courtesy of Delightful Pastries

Did you know that August has two pecan “holidays”? Yesterday was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day and today is National Pecan Torte Day. I had to share this delicious pie recipe from Delightful Pastries,  a family-owned and operated Chicago bakery.

Delightful Pastries’ Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie

By: Executive Pastry Chef & Owner, Dobra Bielinski

 Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces pecan halves
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 9-inch pie shell

 Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar till smooth. Add the corn syrup and molasses, then the flour and mix well.
  • Beat in the eggs one by one, scraping down after each egg; add the vanilla extract and salt. Fold the pecans and chocolate by hand, add the bourbon.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, till the top is dry and the filling is barely jiggling. Let cool. 8 servings.

****

If you live in the Chicago area, Delightful Pastries is celebrating the “holiday” at all three of its locations (Chicago French Market, N. Wells St., and Jefferson Park) by offering their delicious Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie ($5.25/mini pie; $25/8-inch pie) by executive pastry chef and owner Dobra Bielinski. Delightful Pastry also has the Chocolate Pecan Pie available without Bourbon.

Unfried Chicken with Spicy Slaw {Recipe}

unfried chicken

Who doesn’t love chicken? While chicken alone adds nutrition to any meal, ingredients such as breadcrumbs and unhealthy cooking techniques such as deep-frying add unwanted fat and calories to your meal! Check out this chicken recipe from RecipeRehab.com that is sure to keep your meal healthy and wow the whole family’s taste buds: Unfried Chicken with Spicy Slaw, a yummy dish that features skinless chicken breasts coated in healthy egg whites, rolled in cornmeal, and pan-seared on the stovetop.

Cook Time 15 min
Prep Time 30 min
Yields 6 serv.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup cornmeal, such as Bob’s Red Mill whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise, such as Hellmann’s/Best Foods
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard, such as Zatarain’s
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels, either fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1.       To prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Coat a large baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2.       Prepare a breading station: First, put the flour on a large plate. Pour the egg whites into a wide, shallow bowl and whisk until foamy. On a separate plate, combine the cornmeal, parsley, lemon zest, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork.

3.       Put the chicken in between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy pan, pound the chicken until 1-inch thick.

4.       Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess; dip in the egg white; then dredge in the cornmeal mixture to coat both sides. Set the breaded chicken on a side platter.

5.       Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add two pieces of the chicken; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set on the prepared baking pan. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. (Chef Tip: Deep-frying meat adds a tremendous amount of calories and fat. Most often, the taste and texture can be replicated by pan-frying and finishing the meat in the oven. A cast-iron skillet is a great tool for this technique, because cast iron distributes heat evenly and can go from stovetop to oven–and even to table–effortlessly.)

6.       To prepare the slaw, in a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, hot sauce, and mustard. Stir to blend the ingredients together. In a mixing bowl, combine the green and red cabbage, carrot, corn, and onion. Pour the mayonnaise dressing over the slaw and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

7.       To serve, slice the chicken and divide among six plates. Serve with the slaw on the side.

 

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce {Recipe}

Baked Fish Sticks

Serves 4 to 6. Makes 1 cup of dipping sauce.

Both kids and grown-ups like crispy fish sticks, and this recipe is just about as fast as heating frozen fish sticks. 

Ingredients for Fish Sticks

  • 2 teaspoons of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea Kalamata D.O.P Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cups corn flakes, preferably organic, plus more if needed
  • 1/ 2 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/ 2 cup all-purpose fl our
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cod or snapper fillets, cut into 2-by-4-inch strips

Ingredients for Dipping Sauce

  • 3/ 4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/ 4 cup honey
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

 Directions for Fish Sticks

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Using your fingers, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking sheet with Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea Kalamata D.O.P Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  •  To crush the corn flakes, pour them into a large re-sealable plastic bag. Press down on the bag to push out most of the air, seal, and crush with a rolling pin. Stop rolling when the flakes still have some texture and pour them into a wide bowl or onto a plate.
  •  In a shallow bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the mustard and garlic powder. Pour the flour into a separate shallow dish or onto a plate and add the salt and pepper. Rinse each piece of fish, pat it dry, and dredge it in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour and dip the fish into the buttermilk mix, then dredge it in the crushed corn flakes.
  •  Place the fish strips on the baking sheet about ½ inch apart.  Bake until cooked through and crispy, about 20 minutes.

Directions for Dipping Sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, and lime juice. Serve the fish, either with the sauce in one bowl or in individual ramekins, one for each 
Recipe and image courtesy of Cat Cora’s Kitchen by Gaea. Her range can be purchased at www.catcora.com and select retail stores.

Quick Breakfast To Go: Banana Cinnamon Waffles {Recipe}

Banana Cin Waffle LR

Photo credit: Patrick Onofre

Excerpted from Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food by Nisa Burns. Makes one serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole-grain toaster waffles
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (or Nutella)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tsp honey (or agave nectar)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Directions

  • Toast the waffles to desired crispness.
  • Spread the peanut butter on one side of each waffle.
  • Slice the banana into ¼ inch rounds.
  • Place the banana and honey on one side of the waffle, and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
  • Close like a sandwich and enjoy.

Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops {Recipe}

Greek Yogurt Pops

Need a cool treat for a hot day? Try making these Frozen Greek Yogurt Pops with your kids!

Ingredients:

Banana Greek Pops: 2 bananas cubed 1 cup VOSKOS® Vanilla Greek yogurt 2 tbs. sugar

Strawberry Greek Pops: 1 cup VOSKOS® Strawberry Greek yogurt 1 cup fresh strawberries, stems cut 2 tbs. sugar

Blueberry Greek Pops: 1 cup VOSKOS® Blueberry Greek yogurt 1 cup fresh blueberries 2 tbs. sugar

Directions:

  • Using a blender, add all ingredients, blend until combined.
  • Using popsicle containers or Dixie cups pour mixture in half way full in Dixie cups and ¾ full in popsicle containers.
  • Freeze 2-4 hours or overnight. If using Dixie cups, let freeze for 30 minutes before inserting the popsicle stick.

*Make sure you rinse your blender in between flavors.

(Recipe and above image courtesy of VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt)

Roasted Chicken with Cumin and Orange {Recipe}

roasted chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 skin on chicken breasts
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Dannon Oikos Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  • Season the chicken breasts with plenty of salt and pepper on both sides then place them in a gallon sized resealable bag.
  • Whisk together the yogurt, cumin, smoked paprika, orange zest, juice and garlic. Pour this mixture in to the bag with the chicken, seal and make sure all of the chicken gets coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.
  • Remove your chicken from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking to take the chill off of it.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, wiping off any excess and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Discard the marinade.
  • Place a large saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil along with the chicken, skin side down.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes, until the skin is golden brown then flip the chicken and place the whole pan in the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes until the chicken has finished cooking through. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice and serve. {Pictured above with creamless corn}

Recipe creator: Chef Michael Symon from The Chew and Food Network. Michael is Greek so he grew up with Greek yogurt being a staple in his kitchen. The above recipe contains a simple ingredient that not only cuts some of the fat, but adds a delicious creamy thick texture in recipes– Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt.

(Disclosure: Recipe was provided for me to share with my readers. I was not compensated for posting this recipe.)

Spinach & Artichoke Wrap {Recipe}

spinach and artichokes wrap

August is National Sandwich Month so I wanted to share a sandwich idea that is simple, healthy, and delicious. This recipe is from Executive Chef Anthony Stewart from the Pritikin Longevity Center.

Makes 4 wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, cooked
  • ¼ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, ground
  • 1 teaspoon minced Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium stoneground mustard
  • 4 whole-wheat lavash breads (Lavash is a soft thin flatbread about the size of large rectangular-shaped tortilla.)

Directions:

  • Puree all ingredients except lavash breads in food processor.
  • Cut each bread in half. Divide spinach/artichoke mixture equally on each piece of bread.
  • Roll into wrap.

Bruschetta Burgers {Recipe}

Image from emeals.com

Image from emeals.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 c finely minced baby Bella mushrooms
  • ½ c finely minced onion
  • 2 T minced fresh basil
  • (1 T balsamic vinegar, ½ t salt)
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • 5 Ciabatta buns, split and toasted
  • Pesto Mayo:
  • ½ c mayonnaise
  • 2 T basil pesto
  • Shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 Roma or plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Combine ground chuck, mushrooms, onion, basil, vinegar and salt. Shape mixture into 4 patties. Grill over med-high heat, for 6 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 160˚. Top each patty with cheese.
  • To make Pesto Mayo: Combine mayonnaise and pesto. Spread desired amount over each bun. Top with patty, lettuce, and tomato.

(Image and recipe provided by emeals.com)

Shrimp Alfredo {Recipe}

palmolive 6

(Disclosure: I was given a gift card to buy ingredients for this meal but all thoughts are my own.)

Palmolive reached out to me and challenged me to create a meal with the colors of their new line of dish soap. The colors were white, green, and pink. After thinking about it, Sinisa and I decided on shrimp alfredo with broccoli. Asparagus would also work well in this recipe if you aren’t a fan of broccoli. Below the recipe you will find my thoughts on Palmolive’s new line of soaps that I washed the dishes with.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fully cooked shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of basil
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 pound of rotini pasta
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning

Directions to make Shrimp Alfredo:

  • Cook your pasta according to packaging directions, drain, and set aside
  • Saute garlic in olive oil until garlic is golden brown
  • Add shrimp and saute while stirring shrimp until shrimp is fully cooked
  • Stir in brocolli and saute for 3 minutes
  • Add seasonings, sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Let simmer for about 7 minutes
  • Add sauce mixture to pot of cooked pasta and stir well
I love Palmolive’s Fresh Sponge dish soaps so I was looking forward to trying their soft touch brand. They have three scents: coconut butter, Aloe, and Vitamin E. The coconut butter is my favorite scent so I used that to clean the dishes.
The dish soap made a lot of bubbles and using the soap with hot water made it possible to quickly wash my dishes {which, by the way, is my least favorite chore}. Less time doing dishes means Sinisa and I have more time to relax at the end of the day. The bonus is that my hands were still soft so he wanted to hold them while we sat on the couch together. Thank you Palmolive!

Blazin’ Buffalo Potato Skins {Recipe}

Blazing buffalo potato skins-final

 

Ingredients 

  • 3 lbs. small russet potatoes
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat or regular Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/2 cup crushed Blue Diamond Sea Salt Nut Chips
  • 1/3 cup chopped Blue Diamond Blazin’ Buffalo Wing Almonds
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion tops
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse potatoes and pat dry; pierce with a fork or sharp knife. Place in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave on HIGH for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft when gently squeezed. Remove and let cool slightly. Cut in half and scoop out potato leaving a 1/4-inch rim of potato inside the skin. Place on prepared baking sheet and spray both sides of potato skins liberally with cooking spray; bake for 15 minutes to crisp. Sprinkle equal amounts of cheese into each skin. Stir together chicken and wing sauce and spoon over cheese. Top with nut chips and almonds and bake for 5 minutes more. Add a dollop of sour cream to each and sprinkle with green onions. Serve with and additional wing sauce, if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings. For more unique recipe ideas, visit www.bluediamond.com

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post.)

Grilled Vegetables with Ginger Citrus Sauce {Recipe}

Masi Grilled Vegetables

Ingredients for vegetables:

(You can substitute out some of the veggies below. I’d add asparagus!)

  • 2 summer squash
  • 2 baby zucchini
  • 2 large whole carrots
  • 2 large fennel, or 3 medium fennel bulbs
  • 5-6 shallots
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Ginger Citrus Sauce:

  • 3 juicy oranges (or grapefruits, tangerines, mandarins, blood oranges), cut in half (6 halves total)
  • 3 tablespoons (or more for desired consistency) mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Grilled Vegetable Preparation:

Preheat the grill for vegetables. Cut all the vegetables in half lengthwise, rub all sides sparingly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Grill the vegetables on both sides for about 8 minutes if the pieces are large. Transfer to a serving dish.

Ginger Citrus Sauce Preparation:

Squeeze the juice of 5 oranges in half a pot and bring to boil over high heat. When the juice begins to boil, lower the heat and reduce carrying the contents to a more dense and syrupy consistency, being careful not to burn it. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and let it cool slightly. Mix the mayonnaise with the cayenne pepper, ginger syrup and citrus fruits. Squeeze the juice of the last remaining citrus half, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a bowl with the grilled vegetables.

***

Wine pairing suggestion: Masi Bonacosta ($13.99), a light summer red wine, those who typically enjoy a white or rosé with a standard summer meal this time of year may find they would rather indulge in this zesty departure.

(Disclosure: This post is not compensated. Masi Agricola provided the recipe and image.)

Watermelon Salad {Recipe}

watermelon salad

Looking to add a great side to your Summer BBQ? Head Chef Richard Hanna of Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Los Angeles shared his terrific side dish based on a favorite summer staple: the watermelon. It’s easy to make and leaves plenty of time for you to socialize with friends and family.

 

INGREDIENTS

Small watermelon, preferably seedless (1 whole)

Basil leaves, chopped (3 leaves)

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled (1 C.)

White balsamic vinegar (3 tbl.)

Champagne vinegar (3 tbl.)

Extra virgin olive oil (¼ C.)

Salt (½ tsp.)

Freshly ground pepper (½ tsp.)

 

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Slice the watermelon into half-inch wedges

Step 2: Fan the wedges out on a tray in rows with the watermelon “flesh” exposed

Step 3: Sprinkle the vinegars and oil onto the watermelon, one at a time

Step 4: Crumble the cheese and sprinkle onto the watermelon

Step 5: Sprinkle salt and pepper

Step 6: Stack the basil leaves, roll tightly and slice thinly

Step 7: Garnish with basil leaves

For additional tips…read more

Comfort Foods {Recipe & Giveaway}

bolognese sauce

(Disclosure: I received products for review but all thoughts are my own.)

If it were up to me I’d probably eat pasta every day. It’s one of the foods that brings back the most food related memories from childhood. I loved when my mom made lasagna (cheese only, no meat!) and Beef Stroganoff. My dad used egg noodles to make his homemade chicken noodle soup in winter. My favorite food using Creamette® Pasta though is homemade mac & cheese. I remember my grandma making it when I went to visit her years ago and thought it was odd that she added tomatoes to this cheesy pasta dish. It’s my favorite way to eat macaroni & cheese now and I can’t imagine it without tomatoes.

Since having a family of my own, quick pasta dishes have become my new comfort food. I still have the memories of pasta without the time consuming task of making the dishes. One of our favorite ways to have noodles now is to add a red spaghetti sauce to them. I make mine with just veggies but Sinisa likes his with a meat sauce. Here is one of his favorite sauces to make called a Bolognese Sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground pork or ground beef
  • 1 can of mushrooms (pieces)
  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • Italian seasonings

Directions:

  • Saute the ground meat and use a spatula to break it in tiny pieces
  • In a separate pan use a small amount of oil and saute your onion and mushrooms.
  • Add meat to the onions and mushrooms
  • Simmer for a few minutes over low heat
  • Add a can of diced tomatoes (don’t drain them)
  • Add seasonings to taste (Sinisa uses garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper)
  • Simmer for a few minutes over low heat
  • Put a generous spoonful over noodles
  • Sprinkle with shredded cheese (optional)

When it comes to sharing good food and good times with family and friends, nothing makes us feel more at home than comfort food. Creamette® Pasta is proud to have been a part of creating comforting family meals for 100 years and – to honor ten decades of warm memories and mealtime moments – the brand is launching its Comfort Food Recipe and Essay contest.

Through May 30th, Creamette Pasta invites families from the Midwest region to share their favorite comfort food recipe made with Creamette Pasta along with an original essay of 100 words or less explaining their family mealtime memory as it relates to the recipe and what makes it so comforting for a chance to win $10,000. In June 2013, ten semifinalists will be chosen to participate in a nationwide online vote.

You can submit your recipe here: Creamette.NewWorldPasta.Com/100thAnniversary

GIVEAWAY:

One winner will win a delicious prize pack including two boxes of Creamette® Pasta, two Creamette® Pasta recipe cards, one colander and one casserole baking dish.

HOW TO ENTER:

Tell me what your favorite comfort dish made with Creamette Pasta is

Additional Entry:

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Giveaway ends June 3, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be a United States resident 18 years of age or older to enter.

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo {Recipe}

Chicken-and-Sun-Dried-Tomato-Orzo w text

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces orzo (rosamarina) – preferably whole-wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato(es), sun-dried – (not oil-packed), chopped, divided
  • 1 medium tomato(es), plum – diced
  • 1 clove(s) garlic – peeled
  • 3 teaspoons marjoram, fresh – chopped, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, red wine
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons oil, olive, extra virgin – divided
  • 4 piece(s) chicken, breast, boneless, skinless – (1-1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, black ground
  • 9 ounces artichoke hearts, frozen – thawed
  • 1/2 cup cheese, Romano – finely shredded, divided

 

DIRECTIONS

·         Cook orzo in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.

·         Meanwhile, place 1 cup water, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, plum tomato, garlic, 2 teaspoons marjoram, vinegar and 2 teaspoons oil in a blender. Blend until just a few chunks remain.

·         Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden outside and no longer pink in the middle, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

·         Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and bring to a boil. Measure out 1/2 cup sauce to a small bowl. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes to the pan along with the orzo, artichoke hearts and 6 tablespoons cheese. Cook, stirring, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates.

·         Slice the chicken. Top each portion of pasta with sliced chicken, 2 tablespoons of the reserved tomato sauce and a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and marjoram.

(Disclosure: The above recipe and image are courtesy of RecipeRehab.com. No compensation was received.)

Tropical Fruit Parfait {Recipe}

Tropical Fruit Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract
  • 4 fruit choices such as finely diced mango, pineapple, grapes, strawberries or whole blueberries

Directions:

  • Combine the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, milk and orange extract in a mixing bowl and beat using an electric mixer.
  • Alternate layers of the cream cheese mixture and the fruit in a trifle dish or parfait glasses by either spooning the cream cheese mixture or piping with a pastry bag.

Note: Approximately 3/4 cup of each fruit choice allows for 2 tablespoons per layer in parfait glasses.

Serves 6

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. Image and recipe provided by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.)

Strawberry Jam {Recipe}

strawberry jam collage

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground chia seeds

Directions:

  • Puree berries in a food processor with the vanilla and optional coconut sugar.
  • Pour into bowl and stir in remaining whole berries and chia until well combined.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • While you’re sleeping the chia will begin to gelatinize, turning your fresh berries into even MORE of an antioxidant-rich goodness.

Recipe and image courtesy of Peggy Kotsopoulos, Host of Peggy K’s Kitchen Cures on Veria Living. This is not a sponsored post.

Bistro Beef Tenderloin {Recipe}

Bistro Beef Tenderloin

Cook Time 45 min
Prep Time 15 min
Yields 12 serv.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds beef, tenderloin steaks – trimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, Kosher
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, black ground
  • 2/3 cup herbs, mixed, fresh – (such as chives, parsley, chervil, tarragon, thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons mustard, Dijon

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Tie kitchen string around tenderloin in three places so it doesn’t flatten while roasting. Rub the tenderloin with oil; pat on salt and pepper. Place in a large roasting pan.
  • Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 140 degrees F for medium-rare, about 45 minutes, turning two or three times during roasting to ensure even cooking. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the string.
  • Place herbs on a large plate. Coat the tenderloin evenly with mustard; then roll in the herbs, pressing gently to adhere. Slice and serve.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Calories: 185
Sodium: 178mg
Saturated Fat 3g
Total Fat: 9g
Carbs: 1g
Cholesterol: 67mg
Protein: 24g

 

(Disclosure: This healthy St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipe is courtesy of RecipeRehab.com.)