Saturday, January 30, 2010

Family Pizza Night

Tonight we had my parents and my in laws over for a casual dinner and we made homemade pizzas. My father worked in a pizza parlour back in the day, so he was in charge of stretching and flipping the dough. I made a big pot of homemade marinara sauce and got all the toppings ready to go.
Cecily loved helping out!

We preheated the oven to 425 and cooked some of the pizzas on pizza stone and the others on a floured cookie sheet. The all came out really tasty, but we preferred the dough that was stretched a little thinner on the cookie sheet.
The first was a white caprese pizza. I added 2 minced garlic cloves to 2 cups of ricotta cheese. After spreading some olive oil on the dough, we put the ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Then sliced vine ripened tomatoes and basil.

For the second pie, we used my sauce, mozz cheese sauteed cremini mushrooms and caramelized onions. This was my favorite flavor combination.

Last but not least, mild turkey sausage and chopped green peppers. This square pie had the best crust. Delish!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Grilled Rib Eye with Twice Baked Potatoes and Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

This week has been so busy that this is the first meal I've made all week that has been "blog worthy," and boy was it!! Felt good to be able to take my time and prepare a really nice meal after a bunch of quick dinners all week.

Zach braved the freezing cold weather to grill us some Rib Eye steaks (marinated in Italian dressing) and I made Twice Baked Potatoes, a food network recipe, and Ina Garten's Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
that I watched her make on Barefoot Contessa the other day. Both side dishes were winners!

Twice Baked Potatoes
Food Network Kitchens


4 large russet potatoes, each about 3/4 pound each, scrubbed and dried
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 scallion, finely chopped
Freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Pierce each potato in a couple spots with a fork and continue to bake until tender, about 30 minutes more. Remove potatoes from the oven, and turn the heat down to 375 degrees F.

Hold the potato with an oven-mit or towel, trim off the top of the potatoes to make a canoe-like shape. Reserve the tops. Carefully scoop out most of the potato into a bowl. Take care to leave enough potato in the skin so the shells stay together. Mash the potato lightly with fork along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the butter and sour cream. Stir in the scallion, nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
(I also added some cheddar cheese into the potato mixture) Season the skins with salt and pepper.

Refill the shells with the potato mixture mounding it slightly. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the potato filling. Brush the reserved top with the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper.

Set the potatoes and lids on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics


4 to 5 pounds broccoli
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

I cut this recipe in half. It was so tasty with all the different flavors. I've never seen Cecily eat so many vegetables!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bruschetta Chicken Burgers

I have to say I am rather impressed with myself tonight! I love when I can whip something up without a recipe and have it come out delicious! These burgers were a big hit! Super tasty!!
I am very happy that this turned out to be my 50th entry!

Bruschetta Chicken Burgers
A Running Mama original recipe

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
fresh basil
few dashes of dried basil
few dashes of salt
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle balsamic vinegar
sprinkle shredded asiago cheese

Mix together and set aside

1 Lb ground chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parm
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tbs Tastefully Simple Tomato and Garlic Pesto Dip Mix
2 cloves minced garlic
fresh black pepper

Mix ingredients together and form into burgers. Grill burgers until cooked through and melt provolone cheese. Top with bruschetta and place on a soft Italian roll.


Get Tastefully Simple Tomato and Garlic Pesto Dip Mix and other great products here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tastefully Simple Garlic Pesto Parmesan Chicken

I have a few friends who are Tastefully Simple consultants so I have quite a few of their products on hand. They are all great, I've never been disappointed with anything I've tried.

I have been looking for a reason to use the Tomato & Garlic Pesto Dip Mix so when Gillian posted the following recipe, I was excited to give it a try. The recipe originally calls for the use of the Spinach & Herb Dip Mix, but I replaced it with the Tomato & Garlic Pesto.

Garlic Pesto Parmesan Chicken
Submitted to Tastefully Simple by Cheri Goldscheitter (PA)

2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. Tomato & Garlic Pesto Dip Mix
4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Pour eggs in shallow dish. Combine cheese and Tomato & Garlic Pesto Dip Mix. Dip chicken in egg; roll in Parmesan cheese mixture. Place in greased baking dish; bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes.

I broiled the chicken when it was done for a few minutes to brown up the cheese. The chicken was moist and very tasty. I served it with a Caesar salad.

Chicken ready for the oven:

Get Tastefully Simple Tomato and Garlic Pesto Dip Mix and other great products here
Monday, January 18, 2010

Coquilles St. Jacques and Apple Crumb Pie a la Allison

When Allison told me about the meal she was making for her Father in Law's birthday, I asked her to take some pictures and give me the recipe as a guest blog entry. It sounded so fancy and special, I wanted to share it here! Not only do I not have the skills in the kitchen that Allison does to pull off a meal like this, I am allergic to shellfish, so I very rarely prepare it.

Coquilles St. Jacques
Adapted from Emeril


•1 pound bay scallops
•1 small onion, sliced
•1/2 lemon, sliced
•1 bay leaf
•1/2 cup dry white wine
•1/2 cup water
•3 tablespoons butter
•2 tablespoons minced shallots
•1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
•6 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
•2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•1/2 cup milk
•1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
•2 tablespoons minced green onions
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•1/2 cup shredded Gruyere
•4 puff pastry shells, baked


In a large skillet or saute pan, combine the scallops, onion slices, lemon slices, bay leaf, wine, and water. Bring to a simmer and gently poach the scallops until just firm, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Strain the scallop cooking liquid into a clean container. Reserve the scallops on a plate.

In a clean large saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, to form a light roux. Slowly add the strained poaching liquid, whisking constantly, and cook until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and whisk well. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the green onions, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cream and Gruyere, stir well, and remove from the heat. Fold in the scallops and mushrooms, and pour into the prepared pastry shells. Serve immediately.

Allison's comments

It was really yummy! I made french onion soup to start, then the coquilles st. jacques with asparagus and then apple crumb pie for dessert. I took a picture of the main dish (sans asparagus) and it came out looking okay but definitely doesn't do it justice! It was a time consuming thing to make but so freakin' good!

Apple Crumb Pie


1 (9 inch) pie shell
6 cups thinly sliced apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice if desired. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated. Stir in raisins and walnuts if desired. Spoon mixture into pastry shell.

3. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling. Cover top loosely with aluminum foil.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Allison's comments:
It came out really time I think I might make more of the crumb topping - it covered the apples a little too thinly for me :)

Eggs in a Fancy Basket

I came across this recipe while looking for some different ways to prepare eggs, my number one pregnancy craving so far. It was a better idea in theory, but that was mainly because I decided to make 4 large ones, instead of 8 small ones. I will post the recipe as it should be, if you decide to try this, do it the right way!!!

We ended up having to cook it way longer than it should have and popping it in the microwave to firm up the eggs without burning the crescent roll. That being said, it was tasty and definitely a neat idea. I will be trying it again the right way!

Eggs in a Fancy Basket
From Lindsey's Kitchen

1 package Low Fat Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1.5 cups egg substitute (or about 6 eggs) I used the Garden Vegetable kind
3 Tbsp. skim milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup 2% shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then take a muffin pan and give it a quick shot of cooking spray. You might not need it, but I did it just to be safe.

Open the crescent rolls and lay the sheet flat on a clean surface. It comes in 4 rectangles (made up of 8 triangles). Separate the 4 rectangles from each other, but don’t tear the triangles apart! You actually use your hands to kind of smush the two triangles together and get rid of the seam. Then cut each rectangle in half and put each of the (now 8) smaller squares into a muffin cup.

In a mixing bowl, beat the egg substitute, milk, salt, and pepper together and fill each crescent cup with the mix. Once they are all filled, sprinkle each cup with cheese.

Bake the cups for 15 minutes, or until the crescent rolls are golden brown and the eggs are puffy and cooked through.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Creamy Crockpot Tomato Soup

Love my crockpot, have I said that enough? Nothing better than throwing a couple ingredients in first thing in the morning and having dinner basically done at the end of the day!

This tomato soup was very tasty, and I loved that it used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I replaced the heavy cream with fat free evaporated milk and sour cream, so it is also very low fat. Great meal to have before hitting the gym for boot camp class tonight!

I served it with a bunch of croutons for some crunch.

Crockpot Tomato Soup
The Crockpot Lady by way of Lauren's Kitchen


•3lbs vine-ripe tomatoes (I used about 10)
•1 onion, chopped
•2 cups tomato juice
•1 cup cooking sherry
•3 tablespoons sugar
•1 chicken boullion cube
•2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
•2 cups heavy cream
(I used 1 1/2 cups of fat free evap milk and 1/2 cup sour cream)
•salt and pepper to taste

Wash all of your tomatoes, and cut them in quarters. Nope, we're not going to peel the tomatoes, yay! To save your counter top from tomato gook, put your cutting board on a cookie sheet with sides. The juice will then stay inside the cookie sheet.

Put all the tomatoes in your crockpot.

Chop up the onion, and add it. Cover with the tomato juice and sherry, and drop in the boullion cube. Stir in the sugar and chopped basil.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

If you'd like your soup to have chunks, go ahead and stir in the cream. If you'd prefer a chunk-free soup, CAREFULLY use an immersible blender to soupify, or blend in small batches in a traditional blender. Then stir in the heavy cream.

All the ingredients (minus the cream) ready to go in the morning

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce

Flavor, flavor, flavor!!!! These Lettuce wraps were SO good, I am really happy I decided to go out of my comfort zone and try making these. The recipe was relatively simple (the prep work was a little time consuming, but not too bad) and the end result was a super tasty (with just enough spice) and attractive meal.

Lettuce Wraps
Inspired by
Big City Cooking
Adapted from Allrecipes

Serves 4, 6 WW points plus per serving

Boston Bibb lettuce
(I used Iceberg)
1 lbs ground turkey
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c. hoisin sauce
2 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
8oz water chestnuts, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 tsp sesame oil

Cook turkey in oil till just cooked, but not yet brown. Add onion, red pepper, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and vinegar. Cook till onions are translucent, then add water chestnuts, green onions, and sesame oil. Cook another 2 minutes and remove from heat.

Lay out lettuce and top with meat mixture and dip in peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
Backpacker Magazine and The Way the Cookie Crumbles

serves 4, 3 WW points plus per serving

1 tsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add water and heat till boiling. Removed from heat and add peanut butter, stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and return to heat. Stir for 2-4 minutes until thickened.
(I added another heaping tbs of PB because it wasn't getting as thick as I wanted, then it was perfect)

Another look at these yummy wraps!

UPDATE - I have since made this with Boston Bibb lettace and that is definitely the way to go. Its softer, tastier and easier to work with. Love this one!!
Friday, January 8, 2010

Kielbasa Pasta

I've blogged about this dish once before, when I made it with all the fresh veggies our friends Fabiana and Anthony gave us. I've since made it a dozen times and have perfected it with store bought ingredients. This is definitely up there on my favorite dinner list. Its good comfort food, yet it's not too heavy and full of healthy veggies.

I start by mincing 6-8 garlic cloves and slicing a turkey kielbasa on an angle into chunks. Heat oil on medium low and add the garlic. Cook a minute or two until slightly browned and then add the kielbasa. Saute for 3 mins or so until it crisps up a bit (I usually crank up the stove to medium at this point).

Then add one sliced onion, one sliced green pepper (or red, but the green is nice for color) and one package of sliced cremini mushrooms. Cook on medium for 5 mins or so, until veggies are tender.

Add a splash of white wine and a can of Italian diced tomatoes (undrained). Add a generous shake of dried basil. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer.

Serve over 3/4 lbs pasta (Ive found that a half pound is too little and a pound is way too much) and a handful of shredded asiago cheese.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I was looking online the other day for a Chicken Bruschetta recipe and came across the video of this one on Food Network. I found the original recipe on the Kraft website and decided to give it a try.

Bruschetta and Cheese Stuffed Chicken


1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
(I used have mozz, half shredded asiago)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lb.)
(I used 6 large breasts)
1/3 cup KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing (I used Wegman's fat free Roasted Red Pepper dressing)


HEAT oven to 350ºF.

MIX tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.

PLACE 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Remove from bag; place, top-sides down, on cutting board. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spread chicken with stuffing mixture. Starting at 1 narrow end, tightly roll up each breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with dressing.

BAKE 40 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.

This dish was definitely a winner. Simple to make and really delicious. Relatively low fat too. I will be making it again for sure! The chicken was moist and the stuffing was super flavorful. I served it with a simple Caesar salad (romaine hearts, Wegman's Caesar croutons, shredded asiago cheese and Cardini's Light Caesar dressing).

Chicken ready to be rolled up

Ready for the oven
All Done

Cut in half

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Resolution Run 5k Race Report

On New Years Day, Zach, Kathy and I ran the Resolution Run 5k in Hillsborough, NJ.

The race started at 11:00 and it was a chilly morning. Not too cold, actually really nice running weather. Since Hillsborough is our hometown we saw a lot of people we know and got a nice hooded sweatshirt in our goody bag.

I ran a steady race, finishing in 33:28, not bad for 9.5 weeks preggo. I'll take it!

Zach racing:
Kathy and I at the finish:

And yes, I shamelessly stole this pictures from the race photography website, hence the watermarks!

Hot Artichoke Dip

3rd and final new years appetizer - my mom's hot artichoke dip. Easy and delicious! And I did the mayo part all by myself :D

Hot Artichoke Dip

3 pkgs frozen artichoke hearts - cook and drain (or 6 cans, no need to cook)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Chop artichokes in the Cuisinart. Mix all ingredients together and bake in an oven proof serving dish at 350 for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Appetizer spread at my Mom's house

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

This appetizer sounds fancy, but they were surprisingly easy! I was very pleased with how they came out, although next time I think I'd broil them a bit at the end to brown them up a little.

This is another Pioneer Woman's recipe that I came across on Lauren's Kitchen Blog.

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms


•1 package White Button Mushrooms, Washed And Stems Removed
•4 cloves Garlic, Minced
•¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
•4 whole (to 5) Green Onions, Sliced (up To Middle Of Dark Green Part)
•Splash Of White Wine (optional)
•1 slice (wedge) Of Brie Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.

In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.

Top mushrooms with onion mixture.

Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.

Note: mushrooms are best when they’ve been allowed to cool slightly

All ready for the oven:

Mini BBQ Meatballs

I was in charge of appetizers for both New Years Eve and New Years Day. I made a double batch of Pioneer Woman's BBQ meatballs, inspired by Lauren's Kitchen Blog Entry.

They came out great, but I have to admit they were time consuming and a little bit of a pain. It was hard to make them small and even because I didn't have a small ice cream scoop, which I would definitely have to get if I was making these guys again.


•1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
•3/4 cup oats
•1 cup milk
•3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
•1 1/2 teaspoon salt
•plenty of ground black pepper

•1 cup ketchup
•2 tablespoons sugar
•2.5 tablespoons vinegar
•2 tablespoons Worcestershire
•4 to 6 tablespoons onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.

Remove from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.

Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.

Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty french bread.

I reheated a small batch for a friend's dinner party on New Year's Eve in my little crockpot and the rest on New Years Day in my large crockpot.

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