Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lighter Lasagna Soup

Sorry for this terrible photo! When dinner was ready it was hailing outside and there was no sun to be seen! Do not let the photo fool you- this soup is delicious. I have had the Dean Brother's recipe for Lighter Lasagna Soup on my radar for awhile now, and finally got around to making it. Ron and I loved the flavors of this soup and it really does taste like lasagna! I know it is a bit early in the season for soup, but I had been loving tomato anything...minus the heartburn. The basil absolutely makes this dish, and I highly recommend using fresh basil over dried.

On another note, we finished painting the baby's room! Whew...monkey removed from back....  Now to bring in the furniture in a few weeks! I can't believe in 3 short weeks I will be moving to the final trimester!


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz container chicken broth
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4-5 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I do not recommend using dried)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese


Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepot or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 7/30 - 8/5

Happy Monday! We had a very productive weekend filled with cloth diapering and painting! I moved our soup to tonight because by the time painting was done we were feeling wiped out. We settled for ordering pizza and watching the Olympics! This week we do not have a lot on the agenda besides a second coat of paint for the bambino's room. However, this weekend my cousins are in town from Chicago and we are going to Door County for some R&R. I hope everyone has a wonderful week and stays nice and cool!

Monday: Lasagna Soup
Tuesday: Saucy Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday: Cheeseburgers, Homemade Oven Fries, and Corn
Thursday: Lasagna Roll-ups and Salad
Friday: Dinner with my family. My cousins are in town!
Saturday: Door County till Monday- We are eating at the Whistling Swan...yummy!
Sunday: Door County! I can't believe it is August already!

Treats: Flourless Chocolate Cake (to celebrate our anniversary a little early)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipe Swap: Island Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Happy Friday and Recipe Swap reveal day! The theme of this swap was blogger' choice (a personal favorite). I was given Christine's Kitchen Chronicles, and I loved looking at all the different recipes she had made.  The recipe for Island Spiced Pork Tenderloin caught my eye right away. The mixture of sweet and heat sounded wonderful, and I knew that I could turn this recipe into a grill recipe. The recipe is very easy, and the rub is absolutely delicious. The flavor has a mild spice and a smokey sweet taste- not too spicy or too sweet! Ron and I loved the flavors, and were happy to have another delicious pork tenderloin recipe.  Thank you Christine!

On another note, we purchased our crib! We went with the Young America brand because it is one of the few cribs that is made in the USA, and very sturdy. The crib is a two tone color of walnut and natural. I can't wait till it gets here! This weekend, Kellen's room is getting a paint makeover!


For the spice rub:
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbl brown sugar

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total)
2 Tbl olive oil
 2 tsp hot sauce 


Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix olive oil and hot sauce in a small dish. Brush pork tenderloin with oil/hot sauce mixture.  Run spices into pork tenderloins.

Heat grill to medium-low heat. Think of the tenderloin as having 4 sides. Cook the pork 4-5 minutes per "side".  Remove from grill and allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spaghetti and Meatballs

One thing about this pregnancy that is certain is my love of pasta (potatoes too!). I have heard from other women who have kids or are pregnant that they loved the carbs as too.  I haven't been wanting creamy sauces lately, but will eat pretty much anything with a tomato sauce. The only bad thing is the killer heartburn...I swear I get heartburn from ketchup...  I usually make my spaghetti with a meat sauce, but Ron has been requesting meatballs.  The reason I don't usually make meatball is because it takes a little extra time, but I decided it was time to put them on the meal plan.

I usually like my meatballs on the small side, but you could make them any size you like just be sure to adjust your cooking time. I used beef for my meatballs because it was what we had, but you could use a mixture if that is what tickles your fancy.

I forgot how much I like spaghetti and meatballs! Delicious! I guess I will have to give in to Ron's requests more often since his last two (pot roast and this meal) have been so successful! Or maybe he can whip up the next batch...I love a man that can cook.


for meatballs:
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 Tbl grated Parmesan
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl Italian seasoning
1 pinch of sugar

for sauce:
1 onion, chopped
3 gloves garlic, minced
30 oz tomato sauce
3 Tbl Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar

3 Tbl olive oil
1 lb spaghetti
Grated Parmesan, for topping


By hand, mix all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. Do not over work the meat, but gently insure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.  Form into meatballs (whatever size you desire), and set aside.

In a dutch oven or large skillet (large enough so the pasta can be added), add 2 Tbl olive oil and onion. Saute onion until tender, and add garlic continuing to cook for an additional minute (be careful not to burn the garlic).  Add tomato sauce and seasoning, and simmer on medium-low.

While the sauce is cooking, add 1 Tbl olive oil to a fry pan. Heat to medium heat and gently add the meatballs. Cook on all sides turning with a tongs until they are cooked completely. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Allow the sauce to cook for an additional 20 minutes on low heat. 

While sauce is cooking, cook your pasta according to package directions. When pasta has completed cooking, drain, and toss into tomato sauce till coated.

Plate spaghetti and meatballs. Top with grated Parmesan and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 7/23 - 7/29

Good Morning! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and were able to beat the heat. We swam most  of Saturday and Sunday, and it was wonderful! However, my shoulders got a little pink! This week is pretty busy. We are going crib shopping tonight (I am so excited!), have a few workout classes, volleyball, and I work this Friday. Working a second job at a bar is really starting to take it's toll, but I am trying to get to the end of August. I will miss my friends, but can still go in and visit on Fridays.  I hope everyone one has fun things planned for the week- we are looking to fit in more swimming....

Monday:  Crib Shopping and Out for Dinner!
Tuesday: Island Spiced Pork Tenderloin (for recipe swap), Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans
Wednesday: Cowboy Burgers, Ron's Homefries, and Salad
Thursday: Zucchini Stuffed Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday: Working at the Bar
Saturday: Out for Burgers at Joe Rour's (we going to be painting Kellen's room!)
Sunday: Lasagna Soup and Garlic Bread

Sweet Treats: Mini Chocolate Caramel Cheesecakes and Zucchini Bread

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Improv Cooking Challenge: Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter

Is the July Improve Cooking Challenge here already!? I feel like I just finished baking my Cherry Almond Scones! The theme for this month is corn and butter. I decided I wanted something simple to serve along side a BBQ dish. I ultimately decided to grill the corn and toss it in cilantro lime butter sauce because I was craving a margartia (few more months to go before I can indulge in one!). I loved the flavors of the corn side dish! They are unique, but familiar and versatile at the same time. This recipe made me think of other yummy flavor combos like, shrimp & corn in old bay butter sauce or corn & tomatoes in basil butter sauce....the list goes on and on! If you are interested  in joining the Improv Cooking Challenge (it is very fun, and very easy!) visit Kristen at Frugal Antic of a Harried Homemaker.  Watch out for next month's theme: tomatoes and pepper....I sense a pasta coming on!


6 ears of corn
3-4 Tbl salted butter (depending on the size of the corn)
3 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 1 Lime
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
One pinch of sugar
Olive Oil


Shuck the corn and place on a large plate. Brush the corn with olive oil prior to grilling. Heat grill the medium heat. Rotating frequently, grill corn till lightly (or moderately- depending on preference) charred. Remove corn from grill.

While the corn is cooling, add butter, cilantro, lime, and seasoning to a small pot. Melt butter and stir ingredients till incorporated. Keep heat on low and cut the corn off the cobs. Place corn into butter mixture and toss till evenly coated.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Crockpot Baked Potatoes

I know this is not a very pretty picture, but this is a cool recipe (or technique I suppose is more appropriate). Have you ever made potatoes in the crockpot? I had not tried it until recently, and it really is nice to "set it and forget it". The method is super easy and you have delicious baked potatoes. The only difference is sometimes the potatoes will get a little discolored for the long cooking time, but they still taste great.  You can modify the amount you make as well- which is nice for Ron and I. I love baked potatoes, but usually I am home around 6, starving, and not wanting to wait for an oven baked potato (I know I can use the microwave, but it is not the same). Wisconsin finally got some rain last night! Thank god because I was starting to think that brown is a natural color for grass (dead grass maybe).  Hope everyone is having a great week!


8-10 baking potatoes (scrubbed, washed, and dried)
Aluminum Foil


Wrap potatoes in foil and place in crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, remove, and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 7/16- 7/22

Good Morning! Wisconsin is in another heat wave....and the pregnant lady shrivels to the ground. Thank goodness for air conditioning, and going to Door County this weekend. We have a cottage on the lake the makes hot days much cooler, and enjoyable. My in laws are also coming up with us, and I am really excited! I have two nephews that are almost a year apart to the day and will have a blast splashing in the waves together. I am also making a cherry cobbler for the festivities from the fresh cherries I bought last weekend. Yum! Besides the beach we have a couple of fun things going on this week that are mainly Baby related. Our hospital is providing a tour for parents-to-be, and we are learning more about cloth diapering!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (after a cloth diapering get together with my friend Kayla)!
Tuesday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter (for Improv)
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Mini Meatballs
Thursday: Out to Dinner or leftover spaghetti (we have Baby U at our hospital!)
Friday: Up to Door County till Sunday! I think we would like to head to Fish Creek to try a new place...
Saturday: Family Time! My in laws are coming up. I think we will do brats and burgers on the grill....
Sunday: A simple casserole supper (Baked Spaghetti Pizza or Tatertot Casserole).... or maybe out depending on when we get home

Sweet Treats: Cherry Cobbler (I froze my fresh tart cherries for later use)

Monday, July 16, 2012

SRC: Black Bean and Peach Salsa

This is my first month participating in a new challenge. The Secret Recipe Club has become very popular as far as blogging challenges go, and they have has a wait list since October. A month ago I recieved an e-mail alerting me that a spot was free. I ws very excited to participate because I love discovering new blogs and recipes. I also like to see what other people think of the dishes that I have made.

Secret Recipe Club

For this round, I recieved the blog Biking and Baking. I really enjoyed reading the different types of recipes because many of them are vegan and/or vegetarian. I came across a recipe for Black Beans and Peaches. I thought it sounded both refreshing and delicious- perfect for summer. As described, it is both strange and delicious (and I mean that in a good way!). I love the combo of the two main ingredients, and paried with a salty tortilla chip it is addictive! I think my only future modification would be the addition of a jalapeno for a little extra heat! Thank you for a great recipe!


1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained)
2 large ripe peaches (peeled)
1 small red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbl cilantro
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper


Drain beans and place in a medium mixing bowl.

Peel peaches and chop into small chunk and add to beans.

Chop onion, crush garlic and add to beans.

Add remaining ingredients and toss gently until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips

Friday, July 13, 2012

Recipe Swap: Black Bean Salsa

It is time for a Recipe Swap! I love participating in the swaps because finding new recipes is so much fun! The theme for this month is vegetarian recipes. I submitted a recipe for pasta with tomato-blue cheese sauce.  I received Black Bean Salsa from DoughSeeDough. I love trying different salsas in the summer time, and this salsa has tons of great ingredients (sort of reminds me of my Wisconsin Caviar). My only hesitation is was the oil and sugar. I have had similar recipes and never cared for the oily sweet sauce. I reduced the amount of sauce so that the flavor was lighter and the oil not so heavy (I also cut back on the onions- pregnancy has made me a little sensitive).  I have to say I prefer my salsa more on the spicy side to the sweet side, but I love the different textures of the beans and peppers.  DoughSeeSough has great recipes of all kinds. I really think the Apple Strusel Bars  and Slow Cooker Ribs sounds wonderful! Thank you to Sarah for putting together these wonderful swaps (check out her blog to join the fun)!


1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white corn, drained
3 large tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced


Combine oil, apple cider vinegar, and sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Warm until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir to combine.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekly Meal Planning: 7/9 - 7/15

Good afternoon (evening)! we just returned from a lovely weekend in Door County. The swimming was wonderful, and my Dad made his famous ribs. This week is pretty busy work wise and after work wise! However, the weekend should be calm and relaxing....now that I said that it will turn into a fire storm! I was able to pick up some tart cherries this weekend, and can't wait to bake a pie! The cherry crop in Door County has suffered because of our weather early in the season....sweet cherries are $7 a pint!  Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Monday: Tacos with Black Bean Salsa (for Recipe Swap), Rice, and Beans
Tuesday: Out for dinner with my mom and a friend visiting for Cali!
Wednesday: Quick dinner! Ron is making his Mom's tuna noodle casserole
Thursday: Dinner out...My friend is running for State Assembly in Wisconsin and we are attending his fundraiser (Go Eric!).
Friday: Working at the Bar
Saturday: Lasagna Roll Ups and Salad
Sunday: Ad Hoc's Pork Spare Ribs, Baked Beans, Potato Salad and Fresh Fruit

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Art Smith's Fried Chicken

Time for July's Crazy Cooking Challenge!


The theme for this month is Fried Chicken! I have to admit I was a little nervous about the theme. I live in Wisconsin and I eat broasted chicken at weddings. I don't think I know anyone who makes fried chicken from scratch.... fried cheese curds that is another story. Needless to say, this was going to be something new and different for me to try. I saw a program on Food Network and they discussed Art Smith's fried chicken and claimed it was the best. I looked all over the web for a recipe, and I finally came across this recipe for Art's chicken at What's On My Plate. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the recipe appeared, and decided that this was the one! This recipe is simple, but takes planning because the chicken needs to brine and soak in buttermilk. After the chicken was done soaking I went to work. Again, this recipe is really simple, but I think perfecting a fried chicken takes practice! I put Ron in charge of the frying since I did all the prep. We had a little issue with some of the coating falling off, but we reduced the heat a touch and it helped keep the coating intact. I really loved the flavors of this recipe! The crispy coating is so yummy and full of flavor (we added a few more components). The brine also gives the chicken meat a nice touch of salt.  I am not sure we will be trying more fried chicken recipes, but it sure was fun to step outside the box! If you are interested in joining the challenge visit Tina's blog to sign up!


1/4 cup kosher salt
4 quarts cold water
One 2-3 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 tablespoons Tabasco (or any other hot sauce)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
vegetable, for frying


In a pot, combine 1/4 cup of salt and the water. Stir to dissolve. Add the chicken to the pot and refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours).

Discard the brine, rinse out the pot and rinse the chicken well to remove the salt. Pour the buttermilk in the pot with Tabasco and add the chicken back to the pot. Allow the chicken to marinate for about 8 hours.
In a shallow bowl or large plate, mix the flour, baking powder, and seasonings. Remove the chicken from the marinade and set aside. Crack the eggs into the remaining marinade and whisk to combine. Dredge the chicken in flour mixture, dip into buttermilk mixture and dredge once more in the flour mixture shaking off excess flour.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 375°. Fry the chicken in batches until golden and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July & Our Newest Addition!

Happy (EARLY) 4th Of July!!!!!

We hope everyone has a a lovely holiday tomorrow!

I would like to share that Ron and I are expecting a.....


We look forward to welcoming Kellen Michael in late November!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 7/2 - 7/8

Happy Monday! We had a wonderful weekend (only a little sun burned!) We had Baby L's reveal on Sunday, and I have a special post for tomorrow morning! This week is a bit scattered because of the Holiday. I have a few recipes for various challenges mixed in with a few favorites. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday: Leftover Brats, Potato Salad, and Fruit Salad
Tuesday: Art Smith's Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy, and Fresh Peas
Wednesday: Happy 4th of July! We will be grilling (menu TBA) and enjoying the fireworks (Black Bean and Peach Salsa for SRC!)
Thursday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
Friday: We are heading out to dinner with my good friend Amanda! Chips and Salsa will be involved!
Saturday: Enjoying a cook out (steak maybe?) and a bonfire!
Sunday: We are going up to Door County for the evening and returning on Monday!