Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer Squash Soup

I was slightly nervous to make this soup. The last time I made a soup that required a blender was a split pea soup, that I didn't even put on this blog. However, I'm INCREDIBLY glad I tried this soup! I added some crushed red pepper and it made all the difference in the flavor of this soup! It's a hearty soup with a lot of nutrients. The romano cheese also made the flavors great. I had extra green onions, so I chopped them up for an additional garnish.

Summer Squash Soup-adapted from Healthy Cooking Recipe Cards by Taste of Home
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1 medium leek (white portion only), chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium yellow summer squash, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup romano cheese
In a large saucepan, saute the onions, leek and garlic in oil until tender. Add squash and saute 5 minutes longer. Add broth, thyme, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Discard thyme sprigs. Cool slightly. In a blender, process soup in batched until smooth. Return all to the pan, stir in lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, pepper and red pepper flakes and heat through. Sprinkle each serving with romano cheese.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cheesy Potatoes

These were potentially the yummiest and easiest potato side dish I've ever made. Using Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, instead of a colby or cheddar definitely made a difference! There was plenty to share and everyone loved them! I'm so sad I forgot to take a picture. The potatoes weren't browning, so I ended up turning on the broiler for a few minutes and it worked perfectly!

Cheesy Potatoes-adapted from the General Store of Minnetonka Cookbook
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 12

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 30 ounces frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine butter and half and half. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Place potatoes, cheese and seasonings in a 9x13 inch baking pan. Pour butter mixture over top of potatoes and stir lightly to mix. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Green Beans and Broccoli

This was a great new side dish that was very easy to make! I did use fresh green beans and I think that made all the difference! Next time, I might add some sliced zucchini and water chestnuts, just to throw it over the top! The nice thing about this dish is that you can also get the veggies ready up to 8 hours beforehand.

Green Beans and Broccoli-adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 32 ounce bag frozen broccoli, thawed
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the green beans just until the color brightens, about 4 minutes. Drain, then put the green beans in a large bowl of ice water to cool completely (this can be done up to 8 hours ahead of time).

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, green beans, garlic, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper and saute until the vegetables are heated through and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with more red pepper flakes, salt or pepper, if desired and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Fruit and Wine Sauce

Scott has always told me that he's just not a fan of pork. He thinks it's dry and chicken is much tastier. I made this recipe and the pork ended up so tender and delicious! The fruit and wine is more of a garnish than an integral part of the dish as far as we decided. It was great flavor, but totally unnecessary. It would be very nice to do for a family dinner or special occasion, though.

Pork Tenderloin with Dried Fruit and Wine Sauce-adapted from Best Fall Recipes by Southern Living
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 3 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 7 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried plums (prunes)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Cook pork in 6 teaspoons hot oil in a large skillet over medium high heat for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer pork to a lightly greased baking pan, reserving drippings in skillet.

Bake pork for 18-20 minutes, or until cooked through. 

Meanwhile, add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to hot drippings in skillet. Add apricots, plums, cherries and pine numbers and saute over medium high heat for about 3 minutes, until pine nuts are toasted and fragrant.

Add wine and next two ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens. Stir in broth and simmer 15 minutes, or until fruit is tender. Serve with pork.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Potatoes Alfredo

I saw this recipe and was instantly excited to try it. I'm pretty much in love with my own mashed potato recipe, but I'm always looking for different things to try. The one thing I hate about potatoes is peeling them. I don't know why, but I just haven't been able to find a way to do it easily. Either way, every once in awhile I'll take the time to do it.

These potatoes were very simple to make and the Alfredo sauce just made the potatoes super creamy and delicious in a way that you haven't before.

Potatoes Alfredo-adapted from Five Ingredient, 15 Minute Recipes by Weight Watchers
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 8

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes
  • 10 ounces Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel potatoes, and thinly slice about 1/4 inch thick. Combine potatoes, Alfredo sauce and milk in a bowl, stirring lightly. Arrange potato slices in overlapping layers in an 11x7 inch baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes, or until potato is tender and golden.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hot 'n Spicy Shrimp

This was a very quick slow cooker recipe, that can be thrown together in a pinch. The original recipe is titled, 'Barbecued Shrimp,' however, I don't really get the barbecue. The hot sauce gives it a great flavor, but I'd more call it a buttery shrimp. They were still tasty and easy to make!

Hot 'n Spicy Shrimp-adapted from Make it Fast, Cook is Slow by Stephanie O'Dea
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves 8
  • 2 pounds frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
In a 6-quart slow cooker, place all ingredients and toss lightly to coat. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

I am absolutely in love with this chicken recipe! This is the first recipe Scott looked at me and said, 'This is restaurant quality chicken!' The flavors were amazing, and you know how much we love mushrooms! It was incredibly easy to make as well. The recipe calls for about 4 chicken breasts, but I only made it for the two of us and we ate all the mushrooms, no problem!

Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce-adapted from Dinner Tonight: Done! by Real Simple
Total Time 20 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces feta cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with seasoned salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until golden brown, about 8 minutes, remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the mushrooms and remaining olive oil to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally  until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and feta and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Serve over the chicken

Saturday, May 11, 2013

West Lake Beef Soup

I was so excited to try this recipe. It was the first one I was making from Easy Chinese Recipes by Bin Yinn Low, but, unfortunately, I was very disappointed. As you can see by the picture below, it didn't look all that appetizing. It also basically had NO flavor to it whatsoever. I don't think I'd give this soup a try again-we threw most of it out, which is very rare for us

West Lake Beef Soup-adapted from Easy Chinese Recipes by Bin Yinn Low
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 dashes white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Marinate ground beef with rice vinegar and sesame oil for about 10 minutes. Break up ground beef into smaller pieces once marinated. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch with the 3 tablespoons water, until smooth, set aside.

In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the ground beef into the soup. Skim the fat off the surface as necessary.

Stir in the white pepper, salt and cornstarch mixture and turn off the heat. Add in the beaten eggs and immediately stir. Cover pot for 2 minutes. Add the cilantro and serve immediately.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Apple Crumble Bars

Even though this is generally a fall recipe, I didn't care. Apple crumble just sounded amazing, and I couldn't turn it down. Using the canned apple pie filling saves a bit of time and it still tastes great! The baking takes a bit of time, but you can sit and enjoy the company of others during that time! The prep doesn't take too long.

Apple Crumble Bar-adapted from Betty Crocker's Fall Baking
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Makes 24 bars


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-21 ounce cans
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat crust ingredients with an electric mixer on low until mixture looks like coarse crumbs and press into pan. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool about 30 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Spoon pie filling evenly over crust. In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter and mix with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over filling.

Bake 40 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 6x4 rows.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mushroom Steak

This is another easy and delicious slow cooker recipe. I was an idiot and forgot to buy the mushrooms or onions, but it was still great! I can only think of how good it would be the next time when I actually remember them. This is so great over the pasta.

Mushroom Steak-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 7 hours
Serves 6

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pound beef round steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 16 ounces cooked noodles
Combine flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Add beef and shake to coat.

Put all ingredients, including beef, into a 4 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 7-9 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with noodles.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chicken with Apple, Raisins and Olives

The cinnamon and apples in this recipe originally made me a bit wary. It seemed like it was going to be a bit too sweet, but I decided to give it a try anyway. I am so glad that I did! The flavors were great and this really did go well with the couscous. Which reminds me, I really need to make couscous more often. It's super delicious and very easy to make for a side! Give this a try!

Chicken with Apples, Raisins and Olive-adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Seasoned salt and pepper
  • 1 large gala apple, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup green olives
  • 1 box garlic and olive oil couscous
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the seasoned salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add the apples, raisins and cinnamon to the skillet with 1/3 cup water and scrape up the browned bits and season with a bit more salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat until the apple is tender, about 5 minutes. Add back in chicken and stir in olives and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Once cooked, serve with chicken mixture.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spinach, Strawberry and Grapefruit Toss

Here is another fresh salad for this summer! I found out, from this recipe, that Scott nor I are the biggest fans of grapefruit. It's a little bit too tart for the two of us. This salad was relatively simple, and that may have been part of the reason I wasn't a huge fan.

Spinach, Strawberry and Grapefruit Toss-adapted from Pillsbury's, 'Fast and Health Cookbook'
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 12

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup slice almonds
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
In a 6 inch skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add almonds; cook and stir until lightly browned. Add 1 tablespoon honey and cinnamon; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until almonds are glazed and golden brown. Place aside to cool.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake remaining oil and remaining honey, lime juice, mustard, salt, cayenne pepper, and sugar until well blended.

In a large serving bowl, mix spinach, strawberries and grapefruit; top with dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Beef Stew

I'm not going to lie, this was not one of my best adventures as of late. There wasn't a whole lot of 'soup/stew'ie-ness to this dish. It was carrots, potatoes and beef with a light sauce over it. The flavors were good, but nothing spectacular. I might make it again, but with smaller chopped potatoes and depending on how it looks when it goes into the slow cooker, another can of soup or beef broth. Give it a try with some modifications and let me know how it goes!

Beef Stew-Adapted from Easy Family Meals
Total Time: 8 hours
Serves 4

  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
  • 12 ounces potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 can low sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope beefy onion soup mix
Place meat, potatoes and carrots in a 4 quart slow cooker. Top with soup, 1/2 cup water and soup mix. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Avocado and Edamame Salad

Ever since I found this recipe, I've been excited to make it. It's go som great super foods! Can you say edamame AND avocado? And those are two of my new favorites. The dressing had great flavor, the edamame was crunchy and the avocado gave it that sweet, oily taste! I would highly recommend this the next time you need some good, healthy lunch or snack foods!

This salad, along with the dressing, actually lasted an extra couple of days pretty well! The only exception being the avocado browning slightly. It's not like lettuce salads that get soggy right away.

Avocado and Edamame Salad-adapted from Joy the Baker
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 4

  • 16 ounce bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 5 to 8 radishes, sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Sesame seeds
Heat the edamame in a microwave safe bowl for about 5 minutes until warm and slightly tender.

In the meantime, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, ginger, honey, rice vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked edamame, green onions, radishes and avocado and top with sesame seeds. Toss with prepared dressing and serve.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Roasted Garlic

Garlic is one of my favorite flavors. I usually just use the jarred minced garlic and throw some of that in everything. However, I really wanted to try this roasted garlic as it looked so easy and delicious! The hardest part was getting the cloves out because they were still hot. If you just let them cool a bit, that should make them much easier! The recipe isn't all that technical, but will be based on how many garlic cloves you're roasting.

I made this for tomorrow's recipe of roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Stay tuned to see how those turned out!

Roasted Garlic-adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Serves: However many you decide to buy

  • Several large garlic heads
  • Kosher Salt
  • Seasoned Pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic heads (as shown above) and leave the skin on. Sprinkle with kosher salt and seasoned pepper. Use a baking pan that will fit all the garlic heads. Drizzle the olive oil and move the pan around to coat the entire pan. Place garlic heads, bottoms down, on the baking pan, and drizzle thoroughly with olive oil to prevent burning. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until garlic heads are browned.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Greek Nachos

I've had this recipe on my Pinterest board for over a year and I'm finally getting around to making it! The flavors of everything together was great and something I'd definitely make again. The only thing I didn't love was the pita chips. I don't know if I cooked them too long, or had the wrong type of pita, but I'd much rather eat this with regular tortilla chips next time.

Greek Nachos-adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 pitas, cut into wedges (or regular tortilla chips)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pita wedges on a baking sheet, spray with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat and brown beef, garlic, oregano and onion powder; drain.

While meat is browning, combine yogurt, lemon juice and zest, seasoned salt and pepper, oregano, thyme and basil in a small bowl. If needed, add water for desired thickness. Add additional salt and pepper as necessary.

Arrange pita chips on a platter or individual plates. Dress with vegetables, meat mixture, sauce and feta cheese.


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