Friday, March 30, 2012

Blueberry Crisp

My family celebrated Easter on Sunday because my parents are going to be away on the actual holiday (in Puerto Rico...lucky!!). My family got together and had a lovely dinner. We had my Dad's famous steaks, mashed potatoes, and steamed asparagus. Yum!  I brought blueberry crisp for dessert to finish a lovely meal. I found this recipe on Jenna's blog Eat, Live, Run.  I love reading Jenna's blog because there are tons of delicious recipes written with humor and a sense of playfulness. This recipe is so easy and tastes wonderful with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love blueberries, and will happily gobble up anything that contains them. However, I think this recipe would be delicious with the addition of raspberries, perhaps something for the summer! My family loved the flavors of the dessert, as well as the addition of oatmeal. A perfect Sunday night treat to enjoy with family!


Ingredeints

4 cups fresh blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp almond or vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
3/4 cup old fashioned oats

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 and spray a shallow 9'x15' pan with cooking spray. Squeeze lemon juice into a small cup and add extract. Spread out the berries evenly along the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the lemon juice mixture on top.
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Use your hands to work in the butter. In the end, you should have tiny pieces of butter throughout creating little clumps.
Spread the streusel on top of the blueberries and bake for about 25 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Friend Brittanie's Awesome Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip


This is my favorite buffalo chicken dip ever.  My friend Brittanie makes this for get togethers, and it is awesome! I made this to send with Ron for his cribbage tournament (mainly so my sister in-law could have some because I love her).  On our most recent girls weekend, Brit made this and it was so good I think we gobbled it down in one sitting. It is so cheesy you literally get a long string with every chip you dip. We were obsessed.  I believe it was uttered on multiple occasions that it was the best dip ever.  Brit heats this in the microwave and stirs the dip (about every thirty seconds) until it is hot. You could also put this in the crockpot, but be careful  not to heat it too long at too high a temp because the cheesiness will not be at peak, and it probably won't last that long anyways! A perfect treat for a cookout, tailgate....well really any type of party... or you can make it for yourself and not share at all!


Ingredients
1 large can of swanson white meat chicken, shredded with a fork.
12 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup hooters mild wing sauce (I used hot because I love spicy)
1/4 cup ranch
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions
Mix cream cheese, wing sauce, and ranch till smooth.  Gently stir in chicken. Add cheese and mix well. Heat in microwave until melted and hot (I suggest stirring every 30 seconds).  Like I said before, you can put this in the crockpot, but make sure to keep it low so the cheese stays nice and stringy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 3/26 - 4/1

Happy Monday! I am so excited because tonight I am finally going to see Hunger Games with Emily. After this I will stop talking about I in every blog post (until the next one comes out). This week we are off to Indiana for my cousin Erik's wedding. Erik is partner in crime for out holiday meals, and I am sure he and Lauren pick out a great spread for us. One thing I am really hoping to do in Indianapolis is go to their children's museum. I use to go all the time as a child and loved it. The museum is beautiful and HUGE! Hope everyone has a fantastic week!


Here is what's on tap:

Monday: Pimento Cheeseburgers,  Baked Beans & Cottage Cheese With Fruit and then to the HUNGER GAMES!!! Yay!!
Tuesday: Anthony Bourdain's Roti de Porc Au Lait , Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Off to Indiana for my Cousin's wedding!
Friday: Congrats to Erik and Lauren! Ron and I will be feasting on rack of lamb and wedding cake!
Saturday: Hanging out with family and hopefully a trip to Sharpiro's for a corned beef on rye.
Sunday: TBD (Depends when we get home)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Happy Sunday everyone! Today we are celebrating Easter with my family (my parents will be on vacation for real Easter).  My dad is making my favorite steaks IN THE WORLD! I will try and document his recipe so I can post it. The most exciting this about Sunday is that it is almost Monday and I get to see the Hunger Games with my friend Emily. Yay!

Anyways, this recipe has been on my radar for awhile, but I hadn't gotten a chance to make it. I used a recipe from Pearls, Handcuff, and Happy Hour, but I know there are a bunch of different variations floating around blogland.  This recipe is really easy, and so good! Ron and I loved the flavors of the pasta, and had it for two dinners in a row. The toppings are a must (I have to confess I forgot to put the avocado on before I took at picture), and I listed our favorites below. If you want a mild dish use mild sauces, but for a little more heat use the hot sauce or add a little jalapeno (I think that would be a great topping too!).  I also think this would be a really great baked pasta dish..hmm....maybe for Cinco De Mayo....


Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded (you can add more chicken if you like a meaty pasta)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 4 oz. can diced green chiles
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 10 oz. cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used medium heat)
1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce (I used mild heat)
2 cups shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup light sour cream
1 lb Penne pasta

Toppings:
Avocado
Green Onion
Sour Cream
Cheese
Black Olives

Instructions
In a large rimmed skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Add chicken, spices, chilies, and enchilada sauces. Simmer for 15 minutes.  While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta, drain and set aside.

Lower the heat for the sauce and stir in the cheese. Allow mixture to stop bubbling and stir in the sour cream. Be careful not to boil the sauce because the sour cream will break and curdle.

Return drained pasta to the original pot and pour sauce over pasta. Toss pasta with sauce so it is evenly coated. Plate and top with desired toppings.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Channa Masala

I saw this recipe for Channa Masala on Pinterest from Simran and Stacie of A Little Yumminess, and I knew that I needed to add it to our meal plan. I love this dish and often order it when we go out to an Indian restaurant.  I opted to cut the recipe in half and serve it with our grilled tandoori chicken. I also made the dish a little thicker than the traditional "stew".  I loved the flavors of this dish! Sweet, spicy, rich, and complex really sum up the flavors. Every time I eat this I find myself saying, "who knew chickpeas could be so flavorful!".   Today Ron is in Appleton playing cribbage, and I am heading down in a bit for dinner after the games are done. Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 (15 oz) can of whole tomatoes with their juices
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach (optional)
salt to taste


Instructions

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric,and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and juices.  Season to taste.
Cook for another 5-10 minutes. 

Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Add more seasoning if necessary.
Simmer for another 20-25 minutes, covered on low heat.  During the last 5 minutes of simmering add the baby spinach.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe Swap: Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Time for another Recipe Swap! The theme for this month was Secret Recipe Club style. The idea is to throw your name in the hat, and you are given a blog in return. From that blog, you must pick a recipe of your choice and post it by the deadline. I received the blog Nicole of Prevention RD. Nicole has some wonderful and healthy recipes on her blog, and I was very torn between a few. However, I have a  recipe for Channa Masala that I have been waiting to make, and when I came across her recipe for Grilled Tandoori Chicken I was sold.  In addition to going perfectly with my side dish, I wanted a grill recipe because the weather has been so beautiful this week. This chicken does not disappoint! The chicken is juicy, flavorful, and full of spice. Another recipe I have my eye on are her Oven Fried Pickles....yum! Stop over at Nicole's blog and have a peak at all the delicious recipes.


Ingredients

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup packed cilantro
1 heaping tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 oz each

Instructions

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except for the chicken. Mix till smooth. Pour in the yogurt mixture and stir to coat completely. Refrigerate for several hours. Preheat grill to medium-low heat and oil the grates (the yogurt mixture may stick). Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning only once. Remove from the grill and serve.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rick Bayless: Crockpot Pork Tinga with Potatoes

Ever since I first read about Rick Bayless I was very interested in the type of food he creates. He was originally a Anthropology student in Mexico, and fell in love with the cuisine.  I have not tried a lot of his recipes, but the recipes I have tried are awesome. I love authentic Mexican dishes, and am always excited to try new recipes. This recipe did not disappoint in the least! It is spicy and savory with a kick of freshness from the avocado. I also love the different combination of the meats and the starch of the potato and corn tortillas. If you haven't cooked with chipotle peppers before, give the sauce a try before adding it because the flavor is different (think smokey and spicy), but very delicious. I am excited to pull out a few more of Chef Bayless's dishes for our Cinco De Mayo celebration. Yum!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
4 ounces chorizo sausage, removed from its casing
4  to 5 medium (about 3/4 pound total) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
1 garlic clove, minced
1  28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, in juice
2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles, en adobo, finely chopped
4 teaspoons chipotle canning sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Salt
About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced
Warm corn tortillas

Instructions
Heat oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the pork and chorizo in an single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about  6 to 8 minutes.  Turn off the heat and a crockpot.  Add the potatoes.

In a large bowl, combine the onions, garlic, tomatoes, chipotles, adobo sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Pour mixture into the slow cooker and stir to mix thoroughly.  Cook for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.   

After six hours, gently stir the tinga.  If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water.  Taste, and season with salt.  Scoop into a large bowl, sprinkle with the fresh cheese and diced avocado, and serve with warm tortillas.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bite You Back Pasta

I came across this recipe for Bite You Back Pasta on Nibble Me This. I was immediately drooling. Ron and I love chorizo, and what better way to use up a few extra links chilling in our fridge. Nibble Me This is a cool blog with lots of BBQ recipes and resources- I have my eye on a few more recipes to keep our grill a brewin' this summer. I scaled down the amount of jalapenos in this dish to make it wasn't too spicy for Ron. I also reduced the amount of cheese and sour creamy to make the sauce a little less creamy. I loved the flavor of this dish, and we will definitely be making it again. I think another yummy variation would be to slice the sausage and not remove the casing. We topped our pasta with a little sour cream and chopped cilantro. Delicious!

Ingredients
1 lb chorizo sausage
1 shallot, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large jalapeno, diced
8 oz tomato sauce
2 Tbl taco seasoning
2 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb pasta
Sour Cream and Cilantro, for garnish

Instructions
Remove casing from sausage and crumble into a large skillet.  Add shallots, jalapenos, and red bell. Saute till vegetables are tender and sausage is brown. Add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, and garlic. Allow the sauce to come to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Add milk and simmer an additional 10 minutes.  While sauce is cooking, cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cheese. Toss cooked noodles into the sauce. Plate and garnish with sour cream and cilantro.

Weekly Meal Plan 3/19 - 3/25

Happy Monday! We had a lovely Sunday, and are preparing for a fun week. March Madness (I am doing well in the pool), volleyball, exercise class, HUNGER GAMES, and a small Easter celebration with my family.  Wisconsin is suppose to have tempuratures in the 70's this week, which is insane for mid-March. We all love the warm temps, but we haven't had a lot of snow which may mean a very dry summer for us....

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Tandoori Chicken (for recipe swap), Channa Masala, Rice
Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Pasta
Wednesday: Stroganoff Casserole and Green Beans
Thursday: BBQ Pork Chops, Crockpot Ranch Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday: Workin' at the Bar!
Saturday: Out for Dinner or maybe Tatertot Casserole and green beans....decisions decisions...maybe Crockpot Coq Au Vin...Or Tacos...
Sunday: Easter Celebration with my parents (they will be in Puerto Rico over Easter). I am really hoping my Dad will make Tenderloin with Whiskey Mustard Sauce.
Breakfast, Treats, and Bites: Oven Fried Pickles, Blueberry Crisp, My friend Brittanie's Awesome Buffalo Chicken Dip

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Mashed Potatoes

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am working at my second job this weekend feeding Guinness and green beer to the  masses. Not my favorite way to spend St. Patty's, but my parents, sister, nephew, and husband are coming in for a visit tonight. I think I will also head down to the Irish pub for a short happy hour (or two) before I tonight. I made these mashed potatoes for dinner the other night along with a grilled pork tenderloin, and I realized they are perfect for today because they are GREEN! I saw this recipe on Pinterest posted from Sweet and Savory Tooth. I was immediately interested because I love the flavor of broccoli and cheese mixed together. The original recipe called for the broccoli and potatoes to be cooked together and coarsely mashed. I made mine separately, and it turned out very nicely.  Ron loved the potatoes and gobbled them up for dinner and lunch the next day. For those who need to "sneak" veggies into food for picky eaters this could be a perfect storm. We will certainly be making this again! Hope everyone has a fun, slightly crazy, and safe holiday. Have a pint for me tonight and don't forget to tip your bartender!

Ingredients
4 cups broccoli florets
2 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and quartered
3 1/2 Tbl reduced fat cream cheese
3 Tbl butter
2/3 cup 2% milk
2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese (plus a little for topping)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook till tender.

While potatoes are cooking, steam broccoli till tender, drain and set aside. Drain cooked potatoes and place back in pot. Add broccoli, cream cheese, milk, and butter. Mash potatoes with a hand masher, or elecritc mixer. Stir in cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Top potatoes with a sprinkle of cheese once plated.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip- Crack

March Madness is upon us! I look forward the the tournament ever year, and am usually glued to the t.v. with my husband.  I made this dip from Plain Chicken last weekend when I was in Door County (yes, all we did was eat and drink...no joke...and it was awesome).  Anyways, I thought this was a perfect time to post this recipe because it would make a perfect dip for a party. It is super easy to make, and delicious to eat. Ron put this one together while I was scrambling to get my artichoke dip ready before my friends came. We did not use the bacon bits in a bag. Instead, we cooked 5 strips, chopped it, and added it to the dip. This recipe is very similar to my favorite beer dip, and I think next time I make it I might add a little beer.  Bacon and beer dip?  I'm in! Hope everyone is having an awesome week! Wisconsin hit 75 degrees on Wednesday! I keep asking myself if I am in the right state!


Ingredients
16 oz light sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions
Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve with chips and vegetables.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Improv Cooking Challenge: Egg, Bacon & Cheese Baked Potato

It is time for another Improv Cooking Challenge! The theme for this month is Potatoes and Cheese. I first thought about doing a bread of a cheesy baked dish, but I decided I wanted to try something a little different. I have seen a few pictures of eggs baked in potatoes on Pinterest, and decided I wanted to try and make my own version. It was fun to play around with this because there are so many possible toppings! Ultimately, I decided to go simple with bacon and green onion. If you decide to try this I highly recommend slicing the bottom of your potato so they won't tip while cooking (I had a little issue with this on my first try). We actually had this for dinner, but I think it would be delicious for breakfast! If you are interested in join us in the Improv Challenge hop over to Kristen's blog Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Next month's theme: Peanut Butter and Jelly! I have a few ideas I can't wait to try out!
Ingredients
2 medium baking potatoes
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
4 eggs
4 tsp 2% milk
2 tsp butter
Salt & Pepper
Sliced Green Onions

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap potatoes in tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from oven, unwrap, and cool.

Slice potatoes in half and slice a small portion off the bottom so the potato will stay up right while baking.  Scoop out the potato and set on a greased baking sheet. Place 1 tsp of cheese , milk, 1/2 tsp butter, salt & pepper in each potato half. Add a sprinkle of bacon to each potato, but leave enough to top the potato.  Crack an egg into each potato, and top with remaining cheese, bacon, and black pepper.

Place potatoes into the 400 degree oven. Allow potatoes to bake until set ( about 15-20 minutes). Be sure to watch your eggs and remove them when they slightly jiggle because they will continue to cook (you can always put them back in if you want them a bit more cooked).  Top with sliced green onions.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warm Artichoke and Feta Dip

I love spinach and artichoke dip, but was very intrigued when I came across this recipe. One of my favorite pizza places makes a killer creamy artichoke dip, and this recipe reminded me of their version, but with the twist of feta cheese. I modified this recipe from Deep South Kitchen, and was very pleased with the result. I brought this up to Door County with me, and my friends and I devoured it quickly. I added a bit of sour cream and mozzarella cheese to make it a bit creamier an mellow out the mayo flavor.  The dip was delicious, and I can't wait to make it again. I also think that this would be great in a crockpot for easy travel to a potluck or get together, or perhaps as March Madness party (Go Wisconsin and Kentucky!)?


Ingredients
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of mayonnaise (I use light olive oil mayo)
1/4 light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (2 ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 tsp black pepper
Sliced, toasted French bread or Tortilla Chips


Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a circular baking dish with cooking spray. In a separate bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, feta, mayonnaise, sour cream Parmesan, pimientos and mozzarella until well blended. Season with black pepper. Transfer to the baking dish and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meal Planning 3/12 - 3/18

Happy Monday! I just returned from a great weekend with my girlfriends. Lots of food, laughing, and cocktails... Makings of a great weekend. We woke up on Sunday and it was 65 degrees! 65 degrees in early March in Wisconsin....that is just strange. This week is busy busy busy! I work at the bar Friday and Saturday night which I am not excited about AT ALL.... No corned beef and cabbage for this girl. Actually, I am hoping to grab some during the day on Saturday. Hope everyone has fun this planned and is getting great weather as well.

Monday: Out to dinner with one of my favorite girlfriends, Emily. We are going for pasta at Grazie's!
Tuesday: Parmesan Pork Tenderloin (we may play with this so we can grill), Cheesy Broccoli Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Bite You Back Pasta and Salad
Friday: Workin' at the bar!
Saturday: I will be working at the bar, again.... Happy St. Patty's Day!
Sunday: Rick Bayless Crockpot Pork Tinga, Tortillas, and Rice

Breakfast, Treats, and Bites: The Best Egg Sandwich You Will Ever Have, Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grapefruit Margaritas

I thought since the weather is great and I just returned from girls weekend I would share the awesome cocktail we enjoyed at the lake. These margaritas are originally a Barefoot Contessa recipe. My friends and I loved this drink. Crisp, sweet, and tangy. They are also such a pretty color it is impossible to turn one down! These are a perfect drink to sip on with your girlfriends while relaxing away from the boys!


Pink Grapefruit Margaritas
From: Barefoot Contessa’s  How Easy Is That

1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2  cup fresh squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 cup triple sec orange liqueur
3 cups ice
1 cup  silver tequila
1 lime cut in wedges, optional Kosher salt.

Instructions
If you prefer to rim the glasses take a lime wedge and rim, then dip in salt, if you do not like a salted rim sprinkle a touch of salt in each glass, the salt really brings out the flavor.
Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, triple sec and ice in a blender. Pour into a large pitcher (or just keep it in the blender) and pour in the tequila, stir. Makes 4 drinks.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Recipe Swap: Italian Baked Pastina with Grilled Chicken

This recipe swap theme was pasta......yummy! I submitted the recently posted recipe for Sausage Cacciatore. In return, I received Baked Italian Chicken and Pastina from Nicole at Cookies on Friday. I love pasta dishes so naturally I was really excited about the theme for this swap! If you haven't noticed I am not a big fan of baked chicken. I usually find any reason possible to shred the chicken or grill the chicken. The original recipe called for pieces of chicken to be baked with the pasta. I decided that I needed to grill it, as I said, baked chicken pieces and I do not mesh... I made a few changed to the recipe by adding sour cream and extra garlic. Ron and I grilled the chicken with a little salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. I really like the flavors of the pasta, and the parsley flavors were fresh and tasty.  The grilled chicken was awesome with the baked pasta- very hearty and rustic! Another great, and super easy recipe to bring to our dinner table! Be sure to check out Sarah at A Taste of Homecooking for more delicious pasta dishes!


Italian Baked Pastina with Grilled Chicken
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta. we use gluten free)
1 tablespoons olive oil  
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some for seasoning chicken
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus some for seasoning chicken
1/4 cup bread crumbs (we use gluten free)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Put the onion mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, sour cream, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

While pasta is baking, brush chicken with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Heat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken breasts 5 minutes per side or until juices run clear. Remove chicken from grill and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Remove pasta from over, plate, and top with sliced grilled chicken breast.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Spaghetti Pie

**Update: I recieved the most clicks and voted Unltimate Recipe! Thank you to Tina and Lesa for an awesome challenge and an awesome recipe!**
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          Another Crazy Cooking Challenge is here! Can you believe a month has gone by??? It feels like time flew by so quickly. The theme for this month's challenege is Spaghetti.
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I was really excited when Tina unveiled the theme last month because I love spaghetti. I think if I had to choose one comfort food that really makes my day it would be spaghetti. I have a great sauce recipe I posted early on in my blog that we use all the time. However, this was a fun chance to try a different recipe. While browsing different sites I came across Spaghetti Pie from Edesia's Notebook. The recipe reminded me of a dish my Mom made when I was a kid called Spaghetti Pizza. I knew I found my recipe for the Challenge! This recipe is really simple and has great flavor. I loved the creamy flavor from the cream cheese and sour cream paired with the savory sauce. This is a wonderful weeknight meal joined with a crisp sald and you have a winner! Check out my fellow bloggers below for more fantastic spaghetti recipes!
Ingreidents

1 tsp olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
15 oz tomato sauce
1 Tbl italian seasoning
1 1/2 cup light sour cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
8oz spaghetti
Cooking Spray
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded



Instructions

Preheat oven  to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until onions begin to soften.  Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return meat to pan. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes

Meanwhile, boil spaghetti according to package directions.  Combine the sour cream, cream cheese, and green onions in a medium bowl and set aside
Place the spaghetti noodles in a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the sour cream mixture over spaghetti noodles. Top with meat mixture. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 3/5 - 3/11

Happy Monday! Last night we celebrated Ron's birthday with a traditional Sunday chicken dinner at one of our favorite supper clubs. This week is pretty relaxed, but this weekend will be filled with fun. Me and a bunch of girlfriends are heading to Door County, WI (about an hour north of Green Bay) for a relaxing and wine filled weekend. I think Ron is excited to have the house to himself for the weekend, and I am excited for a weekend that will no doubt be filled with tons of laughing and fun. I have a couple fun recipes for different swaps and challenges this week. I am especially excited about the baked potato eggs! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Out to dinner with my in-laws to celebrate my birthday, Ron's birthday, my father in-law's birthday, and my brother in-law's birthday!
Tuesday: Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina (for recipe swap)
Wednesday: Out for dinner before volleyball
Thursday: Egg, Ham, and Cheese Baked Potato  (for Improv Challege)
Friday: Up North with The Girls till Sunday
Saturday: Door County Fun Continues!
Sunday: White Chicken Enchiladas and Black Beans

Breakfast, Lunch, Treats, and Bites: Cheddar Bacon Dip, Pink Grapefruit Margaritas, Warm Feta Artichoke Dip

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crockpot Swiss Steak

This was a delicious meal put together by Ron the other night. The picture is a little odd because we started eating, and realized we forgot the cheese and had to hide the missing bites to re photograph! Oops.... It tastes better than the picture looks. This is originally a Weight Watchers recipe (doctored up a bit). I haven't had swiss steak is ages, and it was delicious. Kudos to Ron for making a great meal! I have tasked him with cooking a few more dinners each month because sometimes it is so nice to get home and have dinner ready (especially on workout days!).  Ron added a few extra seasonings, and adjusted the recipe a bit because we had a little more meat than the recipe called for. As Ron said, there is just something about the swiss cheese that ties it all together! I couldn't agree more because the flavors were great, and it was really easy for a weeknight. This Sunday is Ron's birthday, and we will be out and about to celebrate!
Ingredients
1/2 cup light italian dressing
2 lb boneless beef chuck blade or shoulder steak,
cut in 6 pieces
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup beef stock
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions
Heat dressing in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Meanwhile, coat steaks with flour; gently shake off excess flour. Add to skillet; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until steaks are browned on both sides. Remove from heat.
Combine tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and seasoning in slow cooker. Add steaks and peppers; cover and cook on HIGH 3 to 4 hours or LOW 8 to 10 hours. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pizza Muffins

Yesterday we had a get together at work and I volunteered to make a treat. This recipe was found via pinterest from Lick the Bowl Good (originally from Rachael Ray).  I have had my eyes on these babies for awhile now, but didn't want an entire batch to devour by myself in the darkness of my closet. I decided bringing them to work would be safer (I still ate two at home and one at work).  These muffins are so easy, and taste wonderful.  Ron had a little nibble at home, and was very sad because they are not gluten free.... It was probably a good thing because he would have ate them, and there would have been none for the party. I doubled the recipe, and it makes 36 mini muffins (I filled them pretty full so you may want an extra muffin tin if you don't fill to the top). I served the muffins with a bit of warm pizza sauce on the side- delicious!
Ingredients

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup store-bought pizza sauce

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning, salt and red pepper flakes (if using) ; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through