Sunday, April 25, 2010

Caprese Salad and Grilled Chicken Kabobs

On Friday night we had our good friends the Maizel's and Luciano's over for a little BBQ. Since the Maizel's had to re-home their awesome grill due to a townhouse ordinance, and we benefited from this, we decided there was no better way to thank them then to have them over for dinner!

I made a simple Caprese Salad as an appetizer. So simple, and so pretty. I love the colors.

Caprese Salad


Vine-Ripened Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


Slice the tomatoes and the cheese. Arrange on a platter with fresh basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil

For dinner I made Grilled Chicken Kabobs. The amounts below made plenty for 5 adults and 3 kids, which left overs.

Grilled Chicken Kabobs


3 lbs boneless skinless chicken tenders, cut into uniform chunks
4 bell peppers (red, green or yellow)
2 onions
1 lb baby bella mushrooms
20 oz can chunk pineapple, drained
Italian Salad Dressing (I used Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian)
Wooden Skewers


Cut peppers and onions into large uniform chunks. Place vegetables and chicken into ziplock bags (I like to keep them separate) and marinade with Italian dressing

Soak skewers in water to help prevent burning. Arrange veggies, chicken, and pineapple on the skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked through

The Grill in Action:

We also had some shrimp on skewers that I marinated in the Italian dressing. On the side I served Roasted Potatoes, prepared using Lipton Onion Soup Mix and Olive Oil. The recipe is right on the back of the box of the soup mix, and these potatoes always come out awesome!!! We also had some bread and Allison's delicious Asian Noodle Salad, which I regrettably don't have a picture of!

The potatoes: It was a fun night! I am looking forward to many more BBQs now that the weather is nice!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce and Fried Brown Rice

Experimenting with Asian food has been a lot of fun for me lately. Why order out when I can make it at home? I've had this meatball recipe bookmarked for quite some time, and I'm glad I finally got around to making it. They were really flavorful and I loved the dipping sauce.

I was equally happy with the fried rice. Actually, that was probably the star of the dinner for me. I LOVE fried rice. This version was not a let down at all. So good and easy!

Asian Turkey Meatballs With Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce
Recipe from
Gina's Weight Watchers Recipes



1/4 cup panko crumbs
1-1/4 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

Dipping Sauce-

4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 chopped fresh scallion


Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.

Serve meatballs with remaining sauce. Makes 12 meatballs.

A closer look at the rice:
Fried Brown Rice
Recipe Adapted from


2 cups cooked brown rice
2/3 cup chopped baby carrots
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
soy sauce to taste
hoisin sauce to taste
sesame oil, to taste (optional)


In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add carrots and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Drop peas into boiling water, and drain.

Heat wok over high heat. Pour in oil, then stir in carrots and peas; cook about 30 seconds. Crack in eggs, stirring quickly to scramble eggs with vegetables. Stir in cooked rice. Shake in soy sauce and hoisin sauce, and toss rice to coat. Drizzle with sesame oil, and toss again.

Meatballs *** 1/2
Rice ****
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops and Spinach salad with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Such a perfect night for grilling! We had these pork chops (sooo good) and a spinach salad.

This is definitely my favorite salad lately. I used 1/2 lb turkey bacon, a bag of baby spinach, 1/2 a sliced red onion, 1/2 container of sliced white mushrooms and lemon-balsamic vinaigrette.

I have had some trouble with salad dressings in the past, but this one came out really good. Could end up being my go-to vinaigrette.

Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe from Bobby Flay


1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Whisk shallot, juice, zest, vinegars, and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified.

A big thank you to Allison (once again) for turning me onto this salad and pork chop recipe!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Smoked Sausage Pizza with Green Peppers and Carmalized Onions

Homemade pizza is so good!! I used the recipe for pizza dough that is in this pizza pocket post, and it was just as good for a pie. I topped it with chopped up smoked turkey sausage, diced green pepper, caramelized onions, low fat mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and homemade sauce.

Cooked it in the oven on 450 for a half hour.

The whole pie:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Looks like Running Mama really can bake! These cupcakes might not be the prettiest, but the cake was delicious and moist and the buttercream was perfect, if I do say so myself.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from


2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
3 drops food coloring, or as needed (optional)


Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer, the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.

Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring, if using, and beat for thirty seconds until smooth or until desired color is reached
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lemon Mahi Mahi with Garlic and Thyme over Garlic Spinach

My Mom came over this afternoon and I made us a light early dinner. I knew this would be right up her alley and I have been meaning to experiment more with cooking fish. This ended up being a big winner!

Lemon Mahi Mahi with Garlic and Thyme
A Running Mama Original Recipe


2 mahi mahi filets
2 lemons, one sliced, the for juice and zest
1 tbs lemon zest
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 450

place lemon slices in a small baking dish, covering the bottom. Add thyme sprigs on top. Season filets with salt and pepper and place on top

Drizzle filets with olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Scatter garlic cloves on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, until fish is opaque and flaky.

Serve fish on a bed of garlic spinach (see below)

Ready for the oven:
Garlic Spinach


1 9oz bag prewashed fresh spinach
2 tbs olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper


Heat olive oil in a pan on med heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant but not browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pasta Cordon Bleu

First of all, I am sorry I have been MIA! I can't believe it's been a week since I've updated. Life has been busy so I have been sticking with easy, quick meals (that aren't that exciting!). Since this week isn't looking any less busy, I decided to take my free afternoon to make a yummy pasta dish so I have left overs for a few days. Zach is going away for the long weekend so this will hold me over.

I ran into this recipe awhile back and have been waiting for an opportunity to make it. I made quite a few changes, all incorporated in the recipe below. I eliminated a lot of the butter and used all reduced fat or fat free ingredients. The taste or richness didn't suffer a bit. It was really good!

Pasta Cordon Bleu
Recipe Inspired by Dunne at With a Cherry on Top by way of
Amy's New Kitchen
Serves 6

1 lb. pasta (I used cellentani)
2 tbs olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup pancetta, cubed
1 1/2 cups skim milk
8 oz. fat free cream cheese (softened)
2 tbs dried minced onion
2 cups reduced fat swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup panko crumbs
1 tbs butter


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over med-high heat. Salt it and add the pasta; cook until al dente (about 11 minutes). Drain and return to the pot.

Heat 2 tbs olive oil in a pan. Add chopped shallot and cook until softened. Add chicken, season with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and paprika. Saute until chicken is mostly cooked through (3-4 mins). Add pancetta and cook for a few more minutes. Add chicken mixture to cooked pasta.

Preheat oven to 400. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and minced onion over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until it becomes a smooth texture (about 5 minutes). Stir in the Swiss cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over chicken and pasta.

Transfer pasta to a baking dish (sprayed with cooking spray) and top with Panko crumbs. Dot butter over crumbs and bake for 25 minutes. Open the oven door and bring temp up to broil. Broil for 2-3 minutes until top is browned.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad

The weather is still summery and gorgeous! since we were eating outside, it felt like a good night for a salad. Plus a light dinner is a good idea with all the Easter candy still hanging around!

Asian Chicken Salad
A Running Mama original recipe


1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs canola oil
2 tsp brown sugar
a pinch red pepper flakes
1 sliced scallion

1/2 head shredded napa cabbage
1 lb thin cut chicken breasts
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1 11 oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup Chinese rice noodles, plus more for garnish


Combine all ingredients for the marinade. Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pour in marinade. Place in fridge for at least an hour.

Assemble all ingredients for the salad. Whisk together dressing and set aside. Grill the chicken until cooked through and cut into strips.

Toss dressing onto the salad and place chicken on top. Garnish with rice noodles.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Guinness Chocolate Cake

This year Zach's birthday falls the day after Easter, so we celebrated today with our whole family on Easter Sunday. I wanted to make him a fun birthday cake, and was excited when I came across this recipe.

It came out very moist and yummy. I really liked how subtle the Guinness flavor was while giving it a unique taste.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Recipe from
Annie's Eats


For the cake:
1 cup Guinness beer
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese (no need to soften)
5 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the sides of a 9-inch round springform pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine the Guinness and butter. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the Guinness mixture to the bowl and mix until incorporated. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes back clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove the sides of the pan.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream on medium-high speed. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl in batches, beating on low until just combined and then on high speed until desired consistency is reached. For a stiffer icing, add more powdered sugar. Frost cooled cake as desired.

Easter Meat Pie

Easter Meat Pie is a tradition in my family. Mommom, my grandmother, makes it every year. This year I decided that I wanted to help her make it and learn how she does it. On Tuesday, we got together for the afternoon and had a great time cooking, and then having some tea and her homemade biscotti (the next thing I want to learn how to make!)

Easter Meat Pie
Recipe by Florance Colarusso


4 eggs
1/2 lb ham
2 pepperoni
1/4 lb salami
1/4 lb prosciutto
3 lbs ricotta cheese
1 basket cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella


Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 inch spring form pan

Chop all the meat and set aside. In a mixer, beat eggs and add in cheeses one at a time. Stir in meats.

Place prepared pastry dough (we made it from scratch) into the spring form pan. Pour in egg mixture. Make a lattice top with extra pastry dough.

Bake for 1 hour


Mommom rolling out the pastry dough:

Pie ready for the oven:Cheddar Cheese Ring that I also made for Easter:

Our four generation picture:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Grilled Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Spring is here!!! The weather the past couple of days has been absolutely beautiful. We took advantage of it tonight but grilling a yummy meal and eating outside for the first time this spring.

This meal was a staple for us last summer. Light and good. I served it with a simple salad.

Grilled Roasted Red Pepper Chicken
A Running Mama Original Recipe

1 package thin cut chicken breasts
1/4 cup fat free Italian dressing (tonight I used roasted red pepper vinaigrette)
4 roasted red peppers, cut in half
1/2 cup low fat Italian blend cheese

Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and pour in dressing. Marinate for at least an hour.

Place chicken on a hot grill and cook through. Place 1/2 a roasted red pepper on each piece and sprinkle with cheese. Remove from grill when cheese is melted.

We enjoyed some more outdoor time by dying Easter eggs and making s'mores by our fire pit! Such a fun Saturday night!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sausage Jumbalaya

This crockpot meal was really easy to throw together, perfect for a night I was teaching some classes and couldn't be home to cook. It was tasty, a little spicy for Zach's taste, even though I cut down on the cajun spice (amounts I used noted below). Definitely has a kick to it! Loved the sausage and adding the rice during the last hour allowed it to cook perfectly without being mushy

Sausage Jumbalaya
Adapted from Kelly's Kitch


1 lb cooked, smoked turkey sausage links, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg can diced tomatoes (28 oz), undrained
1 tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp fresh thyme. chopped
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice


Spray slow cooker and combine all ingredients except rice. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Add the rice, mix well, and cook an additional 1 hour on low. Serve warm.

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