Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Grapefruit Lime Basil Punch

I love a cool drink on a warm summer day. I made this cocktail for my sister when my family came over to celebrate her birthday. I had a few different ingredients around my house and decided to experiment with a new cocktail. I made my recipe with no alcohol because my nephew was joining us, but I think that this would be delicious with a little vodka thrown into the mix. I was unsure about the basil initially, but it created a very refreshing and tasty beverage. I can't wait to play around with more summer cocktails as our weather gets warmer and warmer!


3 1/2 cups ice
5 cup grapefruit juice
1 12oz bottle of 7-up
1 cup ruby red or citrus vodka (optional)
4-5 basil leaves, chiffonade
Juice of 2 limes
2 limes sliced


Place ice into a large pitcher. Stir all other ingredients together and pour over ice. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 5/27- 6/2

I am a little delayed getting my meal plan out this week! We had a great weekend in Madison and had a great time at my cousin's wedding. It was really fantastic to see some family members we have not seen in what feels like forever. This week is pretty easy and we have a nice free weekend (after a short work week).  Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Monday: Dinner with my parents
Tuesday:  7-Up Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Broccoli
Wednesday: Recipe Swap
Thursday: BBQ Grilled Chicken, Cheesy Red Quinoa and Broccoli
Friday: Wow Burgers and leftover sides
Saturday: Out to Dinner
Sunday: Gluten Free Stromboli (SRC) and Salad

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pineapple Rum Mainated Pork Chops

I love a sweet marinade on pork or chicken. I saw this recipe on Pinterest which was originally from Kitchen Confidante and thought the recipe would be fantastic. I used Bacardi in this recipe because we always have it in our house, but I think a spiced rum or coconut would work really well too. I love grilling marinades because they are so simple to put together and the flavor combinations are endless. One thing to keep in mind while these babies are sizzling away is to keep an  eye for burning because of the high sugar content of the marinade. we had a small issue with that, but the pork chops were delicious! I loved the flavors and they were especially good with the grilled pineapple rings. These pork chops are a fantastic addition to our summer grilling rotation.


4 pork chops or chicken breasts
1/2 cup rum (I used Bacardi)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice- I like to reserve the rings and grill them to serve along side the chops
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl lemon juice + 1 tsp zest
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl molasses
2 tsp grated ginger
2 clove garlic, crushed
1/2  tsp pepper


Combine ingredients and allow meat to marinate overnight in a sealed container or bag. Remove meat from container or bag and discard the marinade. Grill meat to desired doneness. My pork chops were medium thickness and were grilled 3-4 minutes per side (this can be adjusted depending on the thickness of the chop).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Recipe Swap: Spicy Taco Chili

Time for a WC Recipe Swap!

The theme for this swap was blogger's choice and I received Mary Ellen's blog Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations.  Mary Ellen has tons of awesome recipes and I had a really hard time picking one! She has a recipe for grilled chicken with cilantro crema that looked delicious, but I ultimately decided on making a big pot of Spicy Taco Chili.  Wisconsin has gone back to being chilly and a warm pot of chili sounded fantastic.  Ron and I are both chili and taco lovers and the idea of marrying the two flavors sounded delicious. I made a few adjustments to the original recipe by adding green chilies, beef stock and taco seasoning.  Ron and I loved this chili and thought it was the perfect balance of flavors for our tastes.  I loved that this was served over rice and don't skim on the cilantro- it give the chili great flavor! Thank you Mary Ellen for a delicious recipe and thank you to Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting our swaps!


1 1/4 lb ground beef or turkey
1 small onion, chopped
Chopped bell peppers - I used 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 orange
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 Poblano pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
20 oz crushed tomatoes
14 oz can dark red kidney beans
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 Tbl taco seasoning 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning
1 cup beef stock
Juice from of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheese (I used cheddar) and sour cream
Brown Rice

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add meat and cook until browned.  Add onions and peppers, saute till tender.  Add chilies and garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add all spices, tomatoes and beans. Stir well. Add beef stock and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper (if needed).  Serve over rice and top with cilantro, cheese, and sour cream

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Red Velvet Cheesecake

My sister's 25th birthday was on Monday and I wanted to make a special treat for her. Rachel has been really busy lately because she is a full time student, works full time and is a single mom to a 4 1/2 year old little boy. I found her a lovely little necklace from Etsy, but I wanted to plan a nice dinner for our family. I made Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches and Ron made potato salad.  We usually will make a dutch apple pie, but I wanted to try something new. I saw this recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake on Cassie's blog Cassie Craves and knew it was prefect for the occasion. I made a change to the preparation of the crust and removed the buttermilk from the cheesecake, but other than that I stayed pretty close to the original recipe. My family and I loved the cheesecake! We especially loved the rich layer of cream cheese frosting on top. I cant' wait to try out this recipe again.... I was actually thinking it might be fun to try a green or blue velvet depending on the occasion!

For the crust:
18 Oreo cookies
2 Tbl butter, melted
For the filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 (1-ounce) bottles red food coloring

For the frosting:
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: chocolate chips

Position oven rack to middle of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  

Place the Oreo cookies in a gallon-sized zip-top plastic bag, and crush finely with a rolling pin. Pour in melted butter, and mix until crumbs are coated. Press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.
 For the filling, beat 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 5 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

 Bake at 325° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.
For the frosting, beat 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake. Remove sides of  9-inch springform pan. Garnish, if desired.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Warm Roasted Red Pepper, Feta and Basil Dip

I am a sucker for a warm gooey dip. I had a few roasted red peppers left from a roasted red pepper pasta I made a few days ago and thought it would make a lovely dip for our get together with our friends. I decided on a different combination of flavors: roasted red pepper, feta and fresh basil.  I love these ingredients and I was excited to taste the finished product. My guests, Ron and I loved this dip. I served it hot and bubbly from the oven with tortilla chips (bread would be great too) and it was gone pretty quick.  This is a really simple recipe, but the flavors are awesome!


8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers (I used jarred)
3 Tbl chopped fresh basil
Tortilla chips and Bread, for dipping


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Gently combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Lightly spray a small oven safe baking dish with cooking spray and spread the dip into the dish. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly throughout. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creamy Curry Chicken Pasta Salad

I have a pesto chicken pasta salad that I absolutely love, but I have wanted to try a curry version for awhile.  Since the weather has started to warm up Ron and I tend to get in the mood for cold pasta salad. I quickly put together this pasta salad for work lunches and we both loved it! I added a little cinnamon and ginger to go with the curry powder and it provided a nice zing to the salad. I also really liked the sweet raisins with the rich curry flavor.  A perfect salad to kick start the pleasant weather!


3 cups uncooked shaped pasta
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 Tbl curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbl diced white onions
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins


Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Mix sour cream, mayo, and spice together. Stir in veggies and chicken. Gently fold in the pasta. Allow the salad to be refrigerated for at least an hour before serving.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chili Spiced Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

It is Surprise Recipe Swap reveal day! This month I received Heather's blog Sugar Dish Me. Heather has tones of delicious sounding recipes on her blog. I am holding on to her recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Loaf when strawberry season hits. Ultimately, I decided on Chili Spiced Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes to pair with our grilled pork chops. I have seen different recipes for various hasselback potatoes and these sounded delicious. The potatoes are very easy to make and the flavor is great! My potatoes must have been a bit on the large side because I thought they could have used about 10 more minutes to get the super crispy exterior, but the pork chops were done and hot.  Ron and I both enjoyed a different twist on a potatoes. I also love that there are tons of different variations you could create with a hasselback style potato! Thank you Heather for a great new recipe!

If you are interested please visit Jutta at Hungry Little Girl and join the #surpriserecipeswap


4 good baking potatoes, thoroughly scrubbed
4 1/2 tsp olive oil (for rubbing the skin of each potato)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp spicy seasoning salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, divided (1/8 cup per potato)
Sour Cream and Green Onions, to garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Use a sharp knife and slice each potato crosswise, making 1/4-inch apart slices, cutting down vertically. Do not cut completely through. You need to leave 1/4-inch of the bottom of the potato intact.

Rub the potatoes all over with olive oil and use your fingers to rub in between the slices, while doing your best not to break the potatoes. Mix together the cornstarch, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, seasoning salt and garlic powder.

Drizzle just a little more olive oil over each potato so they’ll brown and crisp at the edges.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet or baking dish. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Take the potatoes out of the oven, sprinkle them with the cheese, and then put them back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese.

Garnish with the green onion slices and sour cream.


Weekly Meal Plan 5/20 - 5/26

Happy Monday!

The weekend went by too fast....again. Kellen is all over the place these days. He rolls all around and has started "rolling after" toys and people. It is so much fun to watch him grow. We had a bonfire last night and the little guy was enamoured by the different colors and movement.  Kellen is getting to be so grown up and sometimes I feel like we just left the hospital (I am told this feeling never stops).

This week is quiter than last week and we will be in Madison for the weekend for my cousin's wedding. I lived in Madison for 4 years and miss it all the time...needless to say any chance I have to go back I take!

Monday: Happy Birthday to my Sister! Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches, Potato Salad and Grilled Asparagus Tuesday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Crema, Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus
Thursday: Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Friday: Madison
Saturday: Madison
Sunday: 7-Up Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Broccoli

Friday, May 17, 2013

Grilled Chipotle Beer Pork Chops

I am so happy the warmer (warmer...still not warm) is starting to hit Wisconsin! Ron and I like to play around with different marinades for grilling. I had a few chipotle pepers left from a different recipe and I wanted to try and create a new marinade. This is a really easy marinade to put together and the flavor is great! Ron and I both loved the spicy sweet flavors of the pork chops. I think this would be fantasic on beef, chicken or even shrimp.  Hope everyone has a fantasic weekend!


4-6 pork chops
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
2 Tbl adobo sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbl brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup beer


Place all ingredients (besides the pork chops and beer) into a food processor or blender.  Pulse till all ingredients are blended together.

Place pork chops into a ziplock. Add marinade and beer. Gently rotate bag to mix ingredients.

Allow pork chops to marinate for at least 6 hours, but overnight is best.

Remove pork chops from bag. Grill 4-5 minutes per side (7-8 if it is a thick chop) and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

Ron and I have really been loving quinoa these days and when I saw Elly's recipe for Creamy Quinoa Primavera I knew I needed to give it a try. I made this along side grilled chicken for Mother's Day and my entire family absolutely loved this dish. The flavors of the fresh veggies are wonderful and go well with the creaminess of the dish. I honestly can't wait to make this one again! Maybe next time I will add it a little asparagus or zucchini and sub in a little white wine.... A big plus with this dish is that it is very versatile. I think that the fresh basil is amazing (I added a little extra) in this dish and would not recommend subbing in dried basil. This is a fantastic side dish that will go well with any summer time entree. Thanks Elly!


1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 Tbl butter
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cups mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
2 Tbl chopped fresh basil
3 Tbl grated Romano cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Place quinoa in mesh strainer and rinse for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium skillet or large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until juices have been released. Stir in the carrots, celery, and bell pepper and cook for just 1-2 minutes minutes; vegetables will still be crisp. Add the garlic and quinoa, stirring for about one minute before adding the broth. Bring the broth to a boil; cover with a lid and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until quinoa is cooked and broth is almost entirely absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Add the peas, stirring to warm through. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, until mixed throughout. Add the basil and Romano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with additional Romano, if desired.

Monday, May 13, 2013

SRC: White Fish Curry

Time for the May Secret Recipe Club reveal day!

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned Corina's blog Searching For Spice. I was thrilled to see a great selection of Indian and curry dishes. The recipe for White Fish Curry caught my eye because my husband had just returned from a fishing trip earlier that day with a bag fun of fresh walleye in tow. I had never tried a curry with fish and figured there was no time like the present. I made a few alterations to the original recipe, but stayed close to the recommend seasonings.  The walleye is a sturdy white fish worked perfectly for this dish and held up nicely to the sauce and kept a good texture. Ron and I both loved this dish and were so pleased to find a new way to prepare the fresh walleye. 

We will definitely be making this curry again. Thank you Corina!


1 1/2 lb white fish fillets (we used fresh walleye)
1 cup plain yogurt (I used greek)
1 cup water
1 Tbl  fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper


In a large rimmed skillet, saute onion till tender.  Add the ginger, garlic and chillies.  Continue to saute on medium heat  for 2-3 minutes.  Add the bay leaf and other spices expect salt and pepper.  Allow the mixture to cook for an additional minute.

 Set heat to low and add the yogurt. Add the water once yogurt and spices are all incorporated together. Add salt and pepper. Bring slowly to the boil and then simmer for about five minutes.

Add the fish and push to the bottom of the pan so the sauce covers it. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

 Serve with rice or quinoa.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekly Meal Plan 5/13 - 5/19

Happy Mother's Day!

We had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday and my boy surprised me with a big bunch of tulips and a sweet card. We also went to the zoo and had dinner with my family.  This week is a little busy, but it is full of fun! We have a few dinners with friends and one with family.  Kellen turned 5 months on Saturday and is getting bigger is crazy to me because it feels like we just left the hospital! Pretty soon (as my Mom use to say) I am going to put bricks on his head so he stops growing!!!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: 7-Up Pork Chops, Wild Rice and Green Beans
Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper, Bacon and Gouda Penne, Grilled Chicken Sausage and Salad
Wednesday: Out to Dinner with Ron's Family
Thursday:  Pineapple Rum Marinated Pork Chops, Grilled Potatoes and Asparagus
Friday: Grilled Brats & Various Sides....we are picnicing
Saturday: No Plans....Ron is Out of Town
Sunday: French Onion Burgers, Potato Wedges and Salad

Friday, May 10, 2013

Recipe Swap: Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

Time for a recipe swap!

The theme for this swap was fish/seafood. I have been on a big shrimp kick lately and was super excited about this theme. When I opened my inbox and saw my assignment I was even more excited. I recieved Christina's recipe for Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa....I love coconut shrimp! Ron hates coconut so I never get it, but I knew it was a perfect appetizer to share with my in-laws. The recipe is reall easy and came together quickly.  I made the salsa a few hours before so it had a chance to chill in the fridge. I also put the salsa in the food processor for a pulses to make it a little easier for dipping.  The only other change I made was to increase the cooking time for the shrimp. After 10 minutes mine were a little soft and not as toasty as I wanted. I increased the time to 12 1/2 minutes per side and I was very pleased with the results.

My family and I loved this appetizer! I also loved that you didn't have to fry the shrimp to get the crunchy coconut crust.

Thank you Christina for an awesome recipe and thank you to Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking  for organizing our swaps!


28 large shrimp
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
3 large egg whites
1-1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
Cooking spray

Salsa (can be prepared beforehand):
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pineapple preserves
1-1/2 Tbl fresh lime juice
1 Tbl finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400.

To prepare shrimp devein, leaving tails intact. Rinse shrimp in cold water; drain on paper towels.

 Combine cornstarch, salt, and red pepper in a shallow dish; stir with a whisk. Place egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium high speed until frothy (about 2 min). Place coconut in a shallow dish.

 Working with one shrimp at a time, dredge in cornstarch mixture. Dip in egg white, and dredge in coconut, pressing gently with fingers. Place shrimp on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat shrimp with cooking spray.

Bake for 25 min turning halfway (be gentle so the coconut does not fall off).

 To prepare pineapple salsa, combine pineapple and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir to combine.
If you would like a less chunky salsa, pluse 2-3 times in a food processor.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Restaurant Style Queso

Mmmmmm......queso..... Seriously make sure you think it with a Homer Simpson voice- it makes it even better. I love the creamy queso dip from our favorite Mexican restaurant. I saw this recipe on Smells Like Home and knew it sounded perfect for my spread on Saturday with Ron's family. We are all big cheese fans and this recipe passed with flying colors. I loved how simple this recipe was to put together and I was able to keep it warm in my small crockpot with no problems. I followed the recipe closely, but I think this recipe would work well with ground chorizo, mushrooms or more peppers.  To get the the correct amount of shredded cheese I simply went to my deli and requested it to be shredded off the block (I think it is so much better than bag shredded). I served this with simple tortilla chips, but you could serve with tortillas, tacos, burritos or fajitas.


1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed; diced
6 oz white American cheese, shredded
4 oz Provolone, shredded
4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk (I used whole milk)
1 roma tomato, seeds removed and diced
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Tortilla Chips


Heat the oil in a saute pan. Cook the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low.
Add the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup of the cream. Stir until mostly melted.
Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Weekly Meal Plan 5/6 - 5/12

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a lot of fun. On Friday we had friends over, Saturday Ron's family came for dinner, Sunday my parents were back from Florida and we enjoyed dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. This week is pretty slow, but will have a busy weekend to follow.  I am excited for my first mother's day with my family. Last mother's day we were just telling people I was pregnant and this mother's day I have a 5 month old..... Insane.  The place is to go to my parents and celebrate with my mom and sister. I have a menu planned below and am hoping that it is delicious.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Monday: Out for Thai
Tuesday: White Fish Curry (SRC), Rice and Salad 
Wednesday: Out for Dinner & Volleyball
Thursday:  Crockpot Italian Pork and Olives, Parmesan Risotto and Salad
Friday: Dinner & Drinks with my Girlfriends
Saturday: Lunch: Curry Chicken Pasta Salad/Dinner-Grilled Chipotle Beer Marinated Pork Chops, Chili Spiced Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes (SRS) and Grilled Asparagus
Sunday: Happy Mother's Day! Grilled Ceasar Chicken with a Creamy Feta Sauce, Creamy Quinoa Primavera, Salad and Dutch Apple Pie

Treats: Brown Butter Caramel Snickdoodles

Friday, May 3, 2013

Indian Spiced Meatballs with Curry Quinoa

Do you ever see a recipe that jumps off the page/screen at you? I saw this recipe on Ellie's blog The Bitchin' Kitchin' and I was immediately drooling. Ron loves my version of mexican meatballs and I thought these would all be a hit. The original recipe calls for you to grind the almonds, but I found ground almonds at the store and it made for a much quicker meal and eliminated the food processor (less dishes- yay!).  I also subbed 2% milk in for the heavy cream to cut down on some of the calories, but keep the creamy element of the sauce. I served this dish with quick curry quinoa. Quinoa is so versatile and gives us a little extra protein! Ron and I absolutely loved this meal. We both adore Indian food and this was a fun variation on some of our favorite flavors. 

This weekend we are having out first bonfire of the season! Ron's family is coming up for a small cookout and I think a s'more might be in order!


for meatballs:
20 ounces lean ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly minced ginger
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used gluten free)
1 1/2 pinches salt and black pepper
olive oil

for sauce:
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 (14.5-oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

for quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbl curry powder


In a large bowl, mix together the beef, garam masala, ginger, garlic, cilantro, onion powder, breadcrumbs, salt, and black pepper.  It is easiest to do this using your hands.  Place the meatballs on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.  Drizzle the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  In batches, place the meatballs in the pan and sear until brown on all sides and cooked through. Once the meatballs are done, place them on a plate covered in a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

In a small pot, add quinoa, stock, curry and oil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes (you can do this while the meatballs and sauce are cooking).

While meatballs and quinoa are cooking, place almonds, cumin, tomato sauce, cream ginger and salt into a saucepan. Allow mixture to simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Plate meatballs and quinoa. Top with sauce and, if desired, chopped cilantro.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Ron and I are big pasta lovers and are always on the look out for a new recipe. I love finding quick weeknight meals to are new and different. I saw Sarah's post for this pasta and I was immediately interested. I love broccoli and pesto- together it sounded delicious.  This recipe is really easy and the flavors (if you are a broccoli lover) are delicious. Ron grilled a few pesto chicken sausages from Trader Joe's to accompany the pasta for a little extra protein. I loved this pasta, but Ron was a little luke warm of the broccoli pesto. I think he was thinking it would taste more like a traditional pesto and less broccoli flavor. You know what I say to that? More for me!


1 lb. broccoli crowns
1 lb. pasta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan, for serving


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, chop the broccoli crowns into florets. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer skins of the broccoli stems, and chop the stems into ½-inch discs. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli to the water to boil briefly just until fork-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a bowl, leaving the water in the pot. (Use a skimmer or strainer to remove the broccoli if you boiled it.)

Maintain the water at a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve 1½ cups of the pasta water and then drain the pasta well. Set aside.

Return the pot to the heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pot over medium-high heat, heating until the butter is melted. Add the onion to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook 1-2 minutes more. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes more to heat through. Season with pepper to taste.

Transfer the broccoli mixture to a food processor or blender. Pulse in short bursts, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is finely chopped. Add in the cream and process until smooth. If needed, add the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time just until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste. In a large bowl (or in the pot), toss the pasta with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.