Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baked Apple with Crumb Topping

Watching Food Network can be dangerous. I saw Sunny Anderson make these today and was checking to see if I had all the ingredients about 10 minutes later! Lucky me, I did :)

Baked Apple with Crisp Topping
Recipe by Sunny Anderson


2 apples (recommended: Fuji or McIntosh)
I used golden delicious
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup strawberry jam, jelly or preserves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, cold and diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup oats, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut each apple in half along its equator. Using a melon
baller (I just used a spoon), cut out each side of the core, creating a rounded hole. Rub exposed apple flesh with lemon juice. Place 1 tablespoon of jam into each hole. For the topping: in a small bowl mix together flour, butter, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt. Press this mixture on the top of each apple, covering jam. Place in a baking dish filled with about a 1/4-inch of water. Bake until top is golden brown and apple is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Cecily and I really enjoyed this as a late afternoon treat.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

French Onion Soup, with London Broil and Broccoli

French onion soup was my very first blog entry in October. I made it one night and thought it looked pretty impressive, so I took a picture and decided to start a food blog.

Even though I liked the recipe, I have been meaning to try it again and make a few changes. Here is the recipe I used tonight. I thought it was really good, and closer to what I would consider a "perfect" french onion soup. It had more flavor than the first time.

I used shredded provolone cheese and it didn't brown up the way I would have liked. Next time I will definitely use sliced.

French Onion Soup


2 tablespoon olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 bay leaves
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
salt and pepper
4 slices French bread
1 cup shredded provolone


Place a large saucepan over low heat and add olive oil. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or more, until very soft, translucent and brown on the edges. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to combine. Pour in beef broth, wine, sherry, thyme and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes. Preheat oven broiler. Toast the bread slices. Ladle the soup into 4 ovenproof bowls and place the bowls on a baking sheet. Place a toasted slice of bread over each bowl and top with cheese. Place bowls under broiler until cheese is melted.

We also had London broil, one of my favorites, which came out perfect. I seasoned the meat with Lawry's and broiled for 10 minutes on each side until it was medium rare. We also had steamed broccoli.

Zach's Rating:

Soup - *** 1/2
London Broil - **** 1/2
Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pesto Prusciutto Chicken Rolls

We had our former neighbors and good friends Debbie and Brian over for dinner tonight. I have been meaning to make this recipe for awhile, and thought this was a good opportunity. It was inspired by a recipe I saw on the NJ Nest awhile back, and I've made it several times, always a winner.

Pesto Prosciutto Chicken Rolls
A Running Mama original recipe

8 Thin cut chicken breasts
4 roasted red peppers, cut in half
1/2 cup pesto
8 slices prosciutto
1 cup Italian blend cheese
2 cups marinara sauce
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350

Lay chicken breast between two sheets of wax paper and pound them thin (I do this even if they are thin cut). Arrange on a cutting board. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread each breast with pesto, then layer with a slice of prosciutto, 1/2 a roasted red pepper, and a sprinkle of cheese.

Ladle sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Roll each breast and place seam side down on the sauce. Cover with more sauce and sprinkle with Italian blend cheese and Parmesan.

Bake for 45 minutes. Open the oven door and broil for the last 2-3 mins so cheese is brown and bubbly.

Chicken ready to be rolled:

I served them with spaghetti and marinara sauce, garlic bread and a Caesar salad. Here's a look at the dinner table:

The chicken rolls:

Bread YUM (brushed Italian bread with butter and sprinkled generously with Tastefully Simple Garlic Bread Seasoning)

A look inside the chicken rolls. So flavorful!

Get Tastefully Simple Italian Bread Seasoning and other great products here

Zach's Rating - ****
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Taco Meatloaf

Or Taco Meat"love" as Cecily was calling it tonight!

This recipe was inspired by my father in law, Gary. Some of my favorite dinner ideas come from him, he is a great cook and is very creative.

This was tasty and a fun twist on regular meatloaf! I used ground turkey breast and it was very moist, and pretty low in fat (if you skip the queso! lol!)

Taco Meatloaf
A Running Mama original recipe

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
1 egg
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
1 10oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used RoTel), drained
1 cup whole grain tortilla chips, crushed
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tbs taco sauce
1/4 cup salsa con queso

Preheat oven to 400

Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions until tender.

Place tortilla chips in a ziplock bag and crush until pieces are very small. I used a rolling pin.

Mix all ingredients except for the taco and queso sauce until well combined. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and add meatloaf mixture.

Brush top of meatloaf with taco sauce

Bake for 35 minutes. In the meantime, place salsa con queso in a microwave bowl and heat until hot. Once meatloaf is sliced, drizzle hot queso over meatloaf.

serve with sour cream, chips, salsa and any other condiments you like with tacos!

Zach's Rating - ****
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and Sausage Marinara

On Monday, I had a craving for chicken cutlets, so I made a double batch. We had just enough left over to have Chicken Parmesan tonight! I also had a little frozen marinara sauce, so I defrosted it in my small crockpot. I heated up the cutlets, spread on some sauce and topped with Italian blend cheese. Popped it under the broiler and it was done!

On the side, I served spaghetti with a sausage marinara that I made fairly quickly. I was really happy with the end result.

Italian Sausage Marinara
A Running Mama original recipe

1 lb Italian sausage
1/2 diced onion
1 tsp EVOO
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
dash of dry red wine
dried basil
salt and pepper

Heat EVOO over med heat. Add sausage and brown. Add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes, cook until onions are soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and red wine. When sauce begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer. Season with a generous amount of dried basil along with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta
Friday, March 19, 2010

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

For Cecily's birthday cake tonight, I decided to do something a little different. She will have a regular cake for her birthday on Sunday during her bowling party, and since she is a huge cookie fan, I made her a giant cookie cake. It was so good.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Adapted from
Emeril Lagasse


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 14-inch, light colored, round pizza pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, beating well after the addition of each.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix with a whisk. Add to the butter mixture, mixing to incorporate, and add the vanilla extract. Fold in the dark and white chips and the nuts. Spread across the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until the edges are golden and the cookie is set but the center is still slightly soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate with icing and cut into wedges to serve.

I can't take credit for the decoration. I started it and quickly realized that isn't my strong suit. Zach fixed it and made it adorable!!

Cake with her candles. 4 years old and one for good luck

Me and the birthday girl

Birthday Dinner! Italian Mac n Cheese and Fried Onion Chicken Fingers

My baby girl turned 4 today. I cannot believe it!!! To celebrate, we had both sets of grandparents over for dinner. I decided to make a kid friendly meal that appealed to the adults as well.
First was Italian Mac n Cheese. I've been dying to try this Rachael Ray recipe and thought this was a perfect opportunity.

Italian Mac n Cheese
Recipe by
Rachael Ray


1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
1 pound Italian bulk sweet sausage
(I used turkey sausage)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian 4 cheese blend, available on dairy aisle
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), optional
1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.

Preheat broiler to high.

To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.

Next was a twist on one of Cecily's favorite, chicken fingers. We recently discovered that she loves French's Fried Onions. I remembered making chicken breasts breaded with them a long time ago and loving it. It did not disappoint!

French's Fried Onion Chicken Tenders


2 lbs chicken tenders
3 eggs
2 cans French's Fried Onions


Preheat the oven to 400.
Beat eggs and place in a shallow bowl. Place fried onions in a ziplock bag and crush (I used a rolling pin). Put broken up onions in another shallow bowl. Coat tenders in egg, then the onions. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 mins.
Serve with honey mustard.


I also served a spinach salad. I had this at Allison's house last Saturday and it was so good. I used 2 bags of baby spinach, 1/2 lbs turkey bacon, sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced red onion and balsamic vinaigrette.


It was a great birthday dinner! We had a wonderful night celebrating!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Am Cooking....

A BOY!!!!!!

I had my anatomy ultrasound this morning and everything looks perfect. Baby boy weights 12 oz and is right on target. It feels surreal knowing for sure I am cooking a little boy in there. I couldn't be happier that we are going to have a son!

I am exactly 20 weeks today. I cannot believe I am half baked! :)

A few more pictures:

Monday, March 15, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

I knew I wanted to make a french dip sandwich and looked at a ton of recipes to find one that fit the bill. Most used a roast and the crockpot, which looked good, but I wasn't in the mood to do it that way. I didn't want the meat to be shredded, I prefer it thinly sliced.

When I saw Rachael Ray's recipe, I knew I found the one. It was quick, easy and used yummy deli sliced roast beef. I made a few changes, using my small crockpot to allow the meat and au jus to hang out for about an hour before serving. Plus, I need cheese on my French Dip!!

French Dip Sandwiches
Adapted from Rachael Ray


2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 jigger dry sherry, optional
2 cups beef broth
1 lb deli sliced roast beef
coarse salt and pepper
4 french sandwich rolls, split
4 slices provolone cheese


Pile meat loosely across your cutting board or a large work surface. Season meat with salt and black pepper. Place meat into crockpot and set to low.

In a large, shallow skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Add shallots to butter and saute 2 minutes. Add flour to butter and shallot and cook a minute longer. Whisk in sherry and cook liquid out. Whisk in broth in a slow stream. Bring sauce to a bubble and pour into crockpot over the meat. Allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve sandwiches (about an hour).

Set out 4 ramekins or small soup cups for dipping sauce and 4 split french rolls. To assemble, using a pair of kitchen tongs, pile meat into rolls. Please sandwiches on a baking sheet. Set ramekins or cups with extra dipping sauce. Place a slice of provolone cheese on top of sandwiches and broil until melted and browned.

ZACH'S RATING - A Solid ****

Update - This recipe has turned into a family favorite. I make it at least once a month and have also used it for entertaining. Great for when you have a small group of friends hanging out. Highly recommend it!
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Scallion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Scallion Pancakes are my favorite thing to order from a Chinese restaurant so I jumped at the chance to make them myself tonight as a starter for my Sweet and Sour Chicken.

They were a teeny bit difficult because the dough is sticky, but despite my concerns, they turned out perfect. They tasted exactly like the ones I usually order.

Scallion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce
Brown Eyed Baker

Serves 4

For the Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
Salt & pepper to taste
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

For the Ginger Dipping Sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Place sifted flour in a medium-size bowl. Slowly add water in a steady stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep adding water until a ball is formed. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

2. While dough is resting, make the ginger dipping sauce. Simply combine all ingredients and whisk to blend. Set aside.

3. On a floured surface, knead the dough a handful of times to bring it together. Roll the dough out into a thin rectangle about 18×13 inches.

4. Brush the sesame oil all over the surface of the dough, scatter scallions evenly over the oil, and then season with salt and pepper.

5. Carefully roll the dough up like a jelly roll, with the long side facing you. Cut the cylinder of dough into 4 equal pieces.

6. Take one pieces and twist 3 times. Coil the dough into a spiral and then flatten and roll again into an 8-inch pancake. The dough should be very thin. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of dough.

7. On a non-stick griddle over medium-high heat, brush 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Place one of the pancakes on the pan and cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining three pancakes.

8. Cut into wedges and serve with dipping sauce.


Sweet and Sour Chicken

When my parents come over for dinner, we typically order in, usually Chinese. Tonight I decided to make my own Chinese for a change. Allison had raved about this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken from Brown Eyed Baker, and it did not disappoint. We polished it all off. I served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Brown Eyed Baker

Serves: 3-4

For the Chicken:
3-4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

3. Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.

4. Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish.

5. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.

6. Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2

Banana Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Pancakes

This was the perfect breakfast for a rainy Sunday. It was the first time I've made pancakes from scratch, and they were awesome. The sour cream and banana made such a smooth, velvety texture.

Now I can't get Jack Johnson's song "Banana Pancakes" out of my head!

Banana Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Adapted from
Barefoot Contessa


1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, mashed, plus extra for serving
Pure maple syrup


Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and banana. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Sprinkle chocolate chips on each pancake. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Pizza Pockets

For dinner tonight, I made 2 different kinds of pizza pockets. I was excited to be able to make my own pizza dough, it was surprisingly easy and turned out really good! No more store bought dough for me :)

Basic Pizza Dough
Recipe from Annie's Eats


½ cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp.) instant yeast
1 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ½ tsp. salt
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl


Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

The first set of pockets I made with mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni. They were good but could have been stuffed a bit more. I served them with my homemade marinara sauce on the side, minus the onions since I wanted a smoother sauce.

Next were Chicken and Broccoli pockets. Really loved the filling in these. Delicious.

Chicken Broccoli Pizza Pockets
Inspired by
Jen and Food, Perfect Together

2 6oz Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cups broccoli florets
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 cups shredded cheddar

In the crockpot place chicken breasts and cover with chicken stock. Add bay leaves and oregano. Cook for 6-8 hours on low. Remove with slotted spoon and shred. Add a ladle of liquid to moisten.

Heat 2 tbs EVOO in pan. Saute garlic on med low heat until lightly browned. Add broccoli and saute for 3-4 mins. Add chicken and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and stir in cheddar.

Roll out dough into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and then thirds to make 6 smaller rectangles. Add filling and fold over, pinching shut. Coat with an egg wash and bake on 400 for 20-25 mins.

I am looking forward to making these again, and getting even more creative with the filling!

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beef "The Bomb" Bourguignon

Guy Fieri calls this dish "The Bomb" and it sure was!!! It instantly went on the top of Zach's favorite meal list. The beef and sauce were yummy and the other flavors made this dish a winner. We also loved the addition of the fried onions as a garnish.

Here is the original recipe

Beef "The Bomb" Bourguignon
Recipe by Guy Fieri


1 1/2 cups red wine
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 pounds rib-eye steak, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 pound bacon, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil, if needed
3/4 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup parsnips, peeled and diced
(I used mushrooms instead)
1 cup pearl onions, frozen
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano leaves
(I used dried)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan (I skipped this)
1 cup store-bought fried onions


In a nonmetallic bowl, combine 3/4 cup red wine, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons pepper and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce. Add the rib-eye steak and let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a large saute pan, on high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. When crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the pan.

Remove the beef from the marinade, pat dry and add to the pan with the bacon fat. Cook over medium-high heat, browning the meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, to a plate. Add extra oil, if necessary, to amount to 2 to 3 tablespoons of total fat in the pan. Add the carrots, parsnips, and the frozen onions. Cook until the onions are light brown, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the flour to the vegetable mixture to make a roux. When the roux begins to brown, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the remaining red wine and stir in the beef broth. Reduce over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the browned beef, cooked bacon, thyme, parsley and oregano. Adjust seasonings, to taste, with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with Parmesan and fried onions and serve immediately

I skipped the parm because I didn't think it would really add anything to the already great flavor. And I served over egg noodles. Yummy!

This post marks the beginning of Zach's Recipe Rating System. You can see the key on the righthand side of the page.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barnyard Chicken Cordon Bleu

Who doesn't love laughing cow cheese?! (besides you Leslie lol!) This recipe caught my eye on Juliann's Easy Eats and I thought it came out great. Lots of flavor, easy to prepare, and relatively low fat.

I served it with leftover kielbasa pasta that we had last night (minus the kielbasa part, since we ate it all yesterday!!)

Barnyard Cordon Bleu
adapted from cooking light by way of Juliann's Easy Eats


1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
5 teaspoons butter, melted
1 large garlic clove, minced
(I used a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder)
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless thin cut chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices low salt-ham (about 2 ounces)
4 wedges of light laughing cow cheese
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350°.

Place broth in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 15 seconds or until warm. Stir in butter and garlic. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and paprika in a medium shallow bowl; set aside.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, oregano, and pepper. Spread the laughing cow cheese on the chicken breast. Top each breast half with 1 slice of ham. Roll up each breast half jelly-roll fashion. Dip each roll in chicken broth mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place rolls, seam side down, in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until juices run clear and tops are golden.
Sunday, March 7, 2010

Baby T and Me, Still on the Road

For now at least!! Since I haven't raced in quite some time, I thought I'd update you on my running during pregnancy so far. Although I haven't been running as much as I'd like, I am still getting out there, at least once a week.

About a month ago, I was coming down with a cold and forced myself on the treadmill anyway, it was the most miserable mile of my life. I thought I was done with running and felt pretty sad about it. After a few weeks of being sick, I gave it another try and was able to squeeze out a few miles. It felt pretty good! Even though I've been spinning, teaching boot camp and pilates, and doing varies other exercises, running is really what makes me feel strong.

This morning I couldn't resist the ideal running conditions. Sunny, almost 50 degrees, just perfect. Since my running skirt still fits, I decided it was game on. I haven't ran outside in well over a month, mostly because of the snow and ice, and it really felt great. I was able to run 3 miles, slowly, but I still felt strong.

I think I might have at least another month in me. I was hoping to make it to 20 weeks, which is now only a week and a half away, so my new goal might be 6 months. Just 10 more days before I know whether my "running partner" is a boy or a girl!

Pesto Parmesan Crusted Tilapia and Sundried Tomato Risotto

Whenever we have company for dinner, I love serving something special. I feel like this meal fit the bill. I made my parmesan crusted tilapia but added a little twist. It came out great and I think it took an already tasty fish dish to another level.

The instructions are exactly the same as the link above, but the topping was a bit different. I put a handful of fresh basil, 5 sundried tomatoes, and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts in the food processor and pulsed until finely chopped. Then I added a cup of parmesan cheese and 2 tbs of dried basil and pulsed to combine. This made enough topping for 9 tilapia filets. The flavor was amazing!!

My main side dish was Pioneer Woman's Sundried Tomato Risotto. Wow! Definitely make this if you love risotto. It was awesome

Sundried Tomato Risotto
from The Pioneer Woman


4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Large Yellow Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cups Arborio Rice, Uncooked
8 whole Sundried Tomatoes Packed In Oil, Drained And Minced
1 cup Dry White Wine (optional)
7 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
(I used low sodium vegetable broth)
Salt As Needed
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Parmesan, Freshly Grated
¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Fresh Basil, Chiffonade
(I used dried basil)

Preparation Instructions

Heat broth (note: it’s important the broth be low sodium) in a saucepan or in a microwave safe pitcher. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in wine. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sundried tomatoes and stir.

Then begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat this until the rice is done—it usually takes between 6 and 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all.

Remove from heat, then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

I originally thought I was going to skip the heavy cream at the end, but decided what the heck, since it was a special dinner. I'm glad I went for it. And I'm really happy to have some leftovers today. Is 9am too early for risotto?

I also served roasted asparagus (425 for 15 mins with olive oil and salt) and a simple Caesar salad.

Big Thanks to Lynsey and John for coming to dinner!
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken Stir Fry

I was wandering around Wegmans this afternoon looking for something quick I could make after teaching boot camp and pilates tonight and the stir fry veggies caught my eye. They have chicken already cut up, all ready to stir fry, so it really makes it easy. I came home and made my own stir fry sauce and popped it in the fridge. It was so quick to throw together. And so yummy.

The sauce:

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tsp ground ginger
few pinches of crushed red peppers
2 tbs hoisin sauce

yields approx 1 cup of sauce

Here is the chicken, gotta love how Wegmans makes it so convenient! I heated some olive oil on high heat and sauteed the chicken.

Then I added the veggies. I took out the bok choy since I am not really a fan, and added a can of sliced water chestnuts and a can of bamboo shoots instead. After the veggies were in, I poured in the stir fry sauce.

Simmered for 10 mins until the brown rice was ready. So easy!

Hearty Apple Oatmeal Bread

I have to admit I was worried about this one, since I made so many changes to the original recipe, but it turned out great! I often say that I have no business baking (not my strong suit!), but since my daughter was begging to "make a recipe" this morning, I decided making a healthy apple bread would be a fun project.

I used this recipe as a jumping off point. I was going to make muffins, but the batter was very dense and seemed to lend itself better to bread. I think the addition of the plain yogurt was key, the end result was very moist, yet hearty bread. My only regret is that I didn't have whole wheat flour on hand.

Hearty Apple Oatmeal Bread


1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, beat together egg, milk, oil, and sugar. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Fold egg mixture into dry mixture, just to moisten. Stir in yogurt.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for one hour
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Nothing better than lasagna, such good comfort food! I really liked this twist on regular lasagna from Gina's Weight Watcher's Blog, they were cute and delicious. Here is the original recipe.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Adapted from Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes


8 lasagna noodles, cooked
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more
1 egg
salt and fresh pepper
32 oz homemade marinara sauce
8oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove foil for the last 5 mins. Open the oven door and broil until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Makes 8 rolls.

Ready for the oven:

Ready to eat!

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Despite growing up in a large Italian family with a mother who is a great cook, it wasn't until about a year ago that I made my own homemade marinara sauce.

I was always intimidated so I stuck with the jarred sauce. One day I decided to give it a go, so I looked at a bunch of recipes and also watched my mom make her sauce before coming up with my own version. Since making my own, I will never go back to the jarred stuff! Its so easy to make a big pot, have enough for dinner, and left overs to freeze for future use. Not to mention the house smells amazing for the rest of the day!

So if you are the way I was, trust me and just give it a try. This recipe usually makes enough for one meal (pound of pasta, homemade pizza, baked ziti, lasagna, etc) and enough to freeze for at least one more.

What you need:
Olive Oil
3 28oz cans Italian Style crushed tomatoes
6oz can tomato paste
Medium onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minces
1/4 cup dry red wine
dried basil
dried Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp Better Than Bouillon (or 2 bouillon cubes)

Heat large pot on med low
Coat the bottom with Olive Oil
Add garlic, cook until fragrant and lightly browned, be careful not to burn

Add onion, increase heat to medium and cook until soft, about 2-3 mins

Add one small can of tomato paste, combine with garlic and onion
Continue stirring until tomato paste becomes smooth, about 3-4 mins

Add 3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes, about 1/4 cup dry red wine, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of red pepper flakes, generous shakes of Italian seasoning (I use Emerils) and dried basil, and 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon (or 2 bouillon cubes)
Reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally

UPDATE - I usually grate some carrot into the sauce with the onions now, and also use my immersion blender to smooth out the sauce.
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