Category: Recipes

Recipes & cooking

Corn, black bean and avocado salad

corn, black bean and avocado salad

The weather is FINALLY warming up in this corner of the world and it’s got me giddy with excitement. I’m totally over winter and even mildly cool weather. I am ready for the heat, sometimes even sweltering heat, of summer. But this post is not about how much I love summer. It is, however, about a summer-inspired salad. Everything about this salad screams summer from the colors to the bright, fresh flavors. I’m not sure which ingredient stars in this dish, but I think it might be the corn. It’s hard for me to say that because of my love affair with avocados and guacamole, and they definitely shine through in this salad too, but the Jersey corn this time of year is so sweet and wonderful and it pretty much steals the show. (more…)

Breakfast quesadillas

breakfast quesadillas

Breakfast for dinner. It’s not something I do often but sometimes it just feels right. Last night was one of those times. My fridge was looking pretty barren but I did have 4 eggs, 7 slices of bacon, whole wheat (low fat) tortillas, and lots of leftover varieties of cheese. These ingredients might not sound like very much but I was able to stretch them and make them into FIVE breakfast quesadillas. Plenty for a dinner for two hungry people and we even had leftovers for today’s breakfast AND I even gave a few bite sized pieces of bacon to the dogs. Bacon makes everyone happy.

breakfast quesadillas

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Easy skillet potatoes

easy skillet potatoes

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t make meat and potatoes very often. However, the other day I stumbled across this balsamic roast beef recipe on Pinterest and it sounded so delicious. It seemed like the perfect recipe to use up a chuck roast I had in my freezer. Plus, the recipe utilized the slow cooker, which I am always excited about. The beef simmered away all day in a savory balsamic gravy. It made the house smell wonderful, and I knew it would be a winner dinner and that my meat-loving husband, Matt, would be so excited.

I just needed to figure out what to make to serve alongside the beef. It needed to be a substantial side dish that could soak up all that wonderful gravy. Potatoes seemed like the best choice. Meat and potatoes is a classic for a reason. Instead of mashing the potatoes, or just baking them in the oven, I came up with these easy skillet potatoes. They are cooked in a cast iron skillet so they get really crispy on one side, but stay soft enough to absorb all the juice from the beef. (more…)

Grilled veggie and chicken burritos

grilled veggie and chicken burritos

I’m obsessed with the show The Kitchen on Food Network. Whether the hosts share an interesting cooking technique, a kitchen gadget, or offer tips and ideas for recipes, I almost always learn something new and I walk away with renewed inspiration. In one of the recent episodes, Katie Lee (love her!), who, by the way, was apparently married to Billy Joel at one point according to wikipedia (what??), offered a tip that helped me come up with my dinner Monday night. They were discussing deli shortcuts and tips and Katie’s tip was that she often picks up some grilled veggies from her deli and uses the veggies to make quick and easy burritos. She didn’t go into too much detail, but I thought, what a great idea. To be honest, I never even noticed the grilled veggies at the deli, but the next time I went to the grocery store, sure enough, there they were! Pre-sliced, perfectly grilled veggies. (more…)

Easy caprese salad

easy caprese salad

Caprese salad is one of the easiest and most delicious salads, appetizers, starters or first courses ever simply because the ingredients do most of the work for you. Good quality ingredients = amazing caprese salad. The rest is just assembly and making it look pretty.

I serve caprese salad often for parties or small get togethers because it’s simple to throw together, can be served at room temperature, and almost everyone loves it. In fact, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like caprese salad and I’m not sure I want to.

Also, it’s pretty. (more…)

Spaghetti squash with chicken sausage

spaghetti squash with chicken sausage

I finally finished my Isagenix diet and cleanse and although it was tough, I was pleased with my results. In 11 days I lost 9.4 pounds and a number of inches all over my body, mostly from my chest (not a good thing) and stomach (a very good thing). All the hard work paid off in the end. You can read about my personal experience in this blog post.

Returning back to normal food and normal life hasn’t been so easy. I’ve had to go out to eat 4 times and it’s only been 5 days since I’ve finished the diet. I’ve been faced with temptations over and over again in just 5 days. For someone who loves food, I think I’ve done pretty well considering all the eating out and Mother’s Day celebrations, but nonetheless, I stepped on the scale this morning and I am up 1 pound. Frustrating to say the least. In the past, I’ve let these frustrations get the best of me, thrown myself a pity party, convinced that I would never be able to lose weight and quickly given up whatever diet I happened to be on. Not this time. (more…)

Carrots with cumin and coriander

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI’ve recently become hooked on Amy Thielen’s show on Food Network, Heartland Table. Although I’m not a gardener nor do I always have access to all of the ingredients she uses, most of her recipes are simple enough and always unique. She often combines ingredients I would never think to put together and she uses some really interesting cooking techniques. The other thing I like about the way she cooks is that she knows how to get the most flavor out of each ingredient she’s using and that’s definitely the case in her recipe for cast-iron carrots with curry. My recipe for carrots with cumin and coriander is an adaptation of this one. When I saw her make it on her show, I knew I had to try it or create something similar. (more…)

Lemon pepper pappardelle with mushrooms

lemon pepper pappardelle with mushrooms

I’ve had two packages of lemon pepper pappardelle from Trader Joe’s sitting in my pantry for quite some time. I’m not sure why since I cook pasta pretty often. Last night, I guess I suddenly felt inspired and I finally decided to use the pappardelle. The recipe I came up with, lemon pappardelle with mushrooms, is a very simple one and although the pasta and the mushrooms are hearty, the dish itself doesn’t feel very heavy because the lemon and basil in the pasta sauce add a bright, freshness to the dish that’s very reminiscent of spring. (more…)

Hot ham dip

hot ham dip

Happy Easter Monday everyone! For those of you who celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. We spent Sunday morning at church and then spent the afternoon at my parent’s house for Easter “dinner”, if you can call it that. My husband pointed out that on holidays, for some reason, we never eat at a normal time. We always eat at 2 or 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Does anyone else’s family do this? Anyway, this Easter was no different. We ate at 3 o’clock and we called it Easter “dinner”. In my family, we divide up the food and each person is usually responsible for one of the courses. My favorite, and the one that usually gets assigned to me, is the appetizers. After some thought, I finally settled on making a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad (aka caprese), my famous guacamole (its really only famous amongst my family, but it’s good! I promise!), and hot ham dip. (more…)

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