Thursday, July 30, 2015

Loaded Beergarita Grilled Chicken

Summer is the perfect time for margaritas. Don't they taste amazing on a hot summer day? Plus there are tons of fresh off the vine berries in season right now and they make for a delicious array of margarita flavors.  One type of margarita that doesn't get all the play is a beergarita. If you have not tried one before you must- perfect for warm summer evening on the deck. 

In addition to drinking beergaritas, I love looking with the flavors in the drink. The citrus flavor with the beer makes a fantastic marinade for chicken. The sugar from the mix allows for a delicious char on the chicken and the citrus flavor is really bright and flavorful. I like to load up my chicken with ripe avocado, tomatoes, onions, cotija cheese, and sour cream. The flavors are craveable and absolutely mouth watering. 

Kellen, Ron and I loved this chicken with piled high toppings. It was a perfect meal for a warm summer night, and it went perfectly with a ice cold margarita on the rocks. 

Last night, Kellen and I met friends at an area splash pad and enjoyed that warm weather. It has been really warm this week and we love taking advantage of the fantastic weather. I am really excited to get to Door County this weekend for a little beach sitting and water splashing! Tonight, we are relaxing at home and I am going to make a quick run to the gym. We are also grilling a new pork chop recipe tonight so stay tuned! 


Instructions

1 cup margarita mix (store bought will work too)
1 cup beer (I use Corona)
1/2 Tbl salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbl olive oil
1 1/2-2lb chicken breasts

Garnishes: 
 Sliced Avocado
Crumbled Cotija Cheese
Sour Cream
Chopped Onion
Chopped Tomatoes

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together mix, beer, salt, cumin, garlic and olive oil. Place chicken into a large resealable bag and pout in marinade. Toss to coat. Allow chicken to marinate for at least 8 hours.

Heat grill to medium. Remove chicken from bag and place on the grill. Grill 4-5 minutes per side. The cooking time will depend of the piece of chicken. The internal temperature should reach 160 degrees. 

Remove from grill. Slice and top with desired garnishes. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Burger

Like many of us, I am a big fan of a plain jane cheeseburger, but sometimes I like to do a little poking around to find different types of burger recipes. 

When I was in high school I worked at a burger and custard shop and they made very yummy pizza burgers. I remember loving them, but it is not something that I often make at home. I have had Pioneer Woman's recipe for Pepperoni Pizza Burgers bookmarked for forever, and finally decided that I needed to make them for my family. 

The recipe is simple: beef, sausage, cheese, pepperoni and pizza sauce. Easy as pie, right?  The original recipe calls for the burgers to be cooked in a skillet, but I grill my burgers. No skillets for us unless it is raining, and even then we still will just move the grill under the overhang on our deck.  I also toasted the bun on the grill and if you use this method, as noted in the recipe, watch closely to prevent burning. This recipe makes 4 very large burgers and could easily be made into 6 for appetites on the smaller side. 

This burger was so delicious! I loved the addition of the grated Parmesan cheese right on the tomato sauce.... sometimes it is the little things right?  

Tonight Kellen is having a play date with a friend and we are grilling bbq chicken. I am planning on filling up his pool, and the kids can splash around a bit because it is suppose to get pretty hot tomorrow! 

Have a great week everyone! 


Ingredients

 1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage (hot or mild will work)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 slices mozzarella cheese
 20-25 pepperoni slices (about 5-6 per burger)
8 Tbl marinara sauce
 Grated Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil
4 Kaiser Buns


Instructions

Combine ground beef, Italian sausage, and Italian seasoning in a medium bowl. Gently mix with your hands and form 4 large burgers. Heat grill to medium high and grill 3-5 minutes per side or until thermometer reads 160 degrees F at the thickest part of the burger. Towards, the end of the cook time, place pepperoni evenly on the burger and top with 2 slices of cheese. Allow the cheese to melt over the pepperoni. Remove from grill and cover to keep warm.

Split the bun and lightly brush the inside with a little olive oil. Toast the buns on the grill, but watch carefully because they can burn easily. Spread both halves with marinara sauce and sprinkle the sauce with Parmesan.
Lay the burgers on the bottom buns, then top with the top buns. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 7/27 - 8/2

How does Sunday night come so fast every weekend? I always feel like I just walked out the doors of work just to go back again. 

This weekend was hot and fantastic. On Friday, Ron, Kellen and I headed out for fish for a little after work relaxation. We headed home early because Ron had to work on Saturday, and I was heading to Door County with my friend Emily. 

On Saturday, we headed to Door County for some sun and swimming. Out first stop was The Farm (of course) and we saw lots of our animal friends. We also met my friend Melissa and her family and got to chat a little bit before the kids ran in opposite directions. My mom, sister and nephew also met us and the kids had a blast together. 

"The corn is as high as an elephant's eye!" (well almost)


Feed me! 


After the farm we headed back to our cottage for lunch and beach time. My parents were there for the weekend and the rest of us made a day trip. Emily, my mom, Kellen, my nephew, Emily's daughter and I headed down the beach to a lake fed creek to play in the sand and water. I think the adult had as much fun as the kids jumping in the lake. My sister and her boyfriend stayed back and worked on clearing some of the grass for our fire pit. A few weeks ago, Ron cleared a big area and they worked on widening it and clearing out the roots. The kids were beat and we packed up for home. The littles passed out right away and we headed up the peninsula to grab some fresh tart cherries. Kellen and I watched a movie and ordered pizza for dinner, and I had just climbed into bed when Ron got home. 

On Sunday, Kellen and I did a little grocery shopping and relaxed at home before heading to Appleton for Thai with my sister in law and brother in law. We have a Thai place that we love and it is so fun to go with them. We always laugh a lot and enjoy letting the kids have some playtime with their grandparents. 

We just did bath and bed for Mr. K and are finishing up a few things (blogging for me and a puzzle for Ron) before we watch Last Ship. 

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday:  Grilled BBQ Chicken, Cheesy Ranch Potatoes, Grilled Zucchini and Ron's Cucumber Salad
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, Pesto Garlic Monkey Bread and Salad
Wednesday: Potato, Brat, Corn and Cheddar Casserole
Thursday:  Lemon Pepper Herb Grilled Pork Chops, Corn and Grilled Green Beans
Friday: Door County
Saturday: Door County
Sunday:  T-BLAT Wraps and Watermelon

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Simple Mango Lassi #BookClubCookbookCC

I joined a new book club because it is hard for me to say no to anything book related......and it involved cooking. Match made in heaven I think! 

Starting  in July 2015, a group bloggers organized by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla (click the link if you want to join the fun!) draw inspiration from a book and recipes published in The Book Club Cookbook. Each month, a blogger selected a book and The Book Club Cookbook offers several suggested recipes or the blogger can create a recipe inspired by the story.  At the end of the month the host or hostess posts a round-up and gives away a copy of the book. 

Here are a list of my fellow participating bloggers/hosts:

A Day in the Life on the Farm 
Adventures in All Things Food
Cheese Curd In Paradise 
Culinary Adventures with Camilla  
Life on Food
Mostly Food and Crafts
The Pajama Chef
The Spiffy Cookie
Things I Make (for Dinner)     
Tortillas and Honey
ZooeySuff

The book selected for July's host Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book is comprised of nine different short stories taking place in India and the United States. Many of the characters experience the pull between two very different cultures. Food is also a very prevalent theme in this book. While reading the novel I noticed that meals or culinary descriptions were often in settings and helped set the scene of that particular part of the story. I really enjoyed this book and like the structure of nine short stories. I felt that it made the various character stand out to me because each situation was very different. 

I decided to make a traditional Indian yogurt drink, a Mango Lassi (it also happens to be one of my sister's favorite things). It is a recipe featured in the cookbook and my version is based on it. This drink has be come increasingly popular in America and differs a bit from it's traditional counterpart.  In India, the drink is rarely sweetened and is salted. However, in the United States the drink is usually sweetened with a bit of honey. I opted to make a simple sweetened mango lassi. 

I opted to use a very simple recipe for a mango lassi: milk, yogurt, mango and honey. So simple and so easy. Traditionally, recipes might require a bit of rose water, but I do not use it in my recipe.  I made think drink for my family for an after dinner treat and they slurped it down like there was no tomorrow! Kellen asked me the following day if we could have mango yogurt for dinner with straws. This recipe is soooo easy and very simple to whip up for a sweet treat for the entire family with very little clean up (always important!). 

Tune in next month to learn about our next book selection and to discover more delicious recipes from our blogging crew! 


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups cold whole milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cups frozen chopped mango
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cardamom 


Instructions

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend till completely smooth. Our into glasses and enjoy. 

Makes about 4 servings



Giveaway
And to kick-off the event, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla, this month's host, is giving away a copy of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

One of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authorsby Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin.Giveaway runs from July 1st till July 31st at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Camilla received a complimentary copy ofThe Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp to use in this year-long project plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Peach Margarita

It's Tuesday and I am ready for a cocktail..... I wonder what that means.... 

Loads of peaches from Georgia and Michigan have come to my area and they are so delicious. I love peaches and I love that the flavors work in so many different recipes. I love peaches with cheese or bacon, and I love them in a dessert. One way I had not used my peaches was in a drink.... a margarita to be exact. 

There is no secret about my summer obsession with homemade margaritas. My normal method is booze, fresh grapefruit or fresh orange juice and homemade mix. Recently, I have made margaritas using freshly picked strawberries and it was amazing. I decided that I wanted to make a version using my fresh peaches. I used the same method I usually do, but omitted the citrus juice and added a little homemade peach puree.  The peach puree is really simple, but it is important to make sure your peaches are nice and ripe.  I remove the pit and blend the rest. I do not bother with peeling the peaches because everything is ground up so fine and strained. 

The verdict? Soooooo delicious! It was like a glass of summer and the peach flavors were  nice and strong, but worked perfectly with the rest of the drink. This drink is also very easy to make in bulk if you have summer guests at your house for a cookout. 

Tonight, we are relaxing at home and hopefully picking a few things from the garden. I am hoping to get to the gym later, but we will see how the night goes. I am putting together a new recipe tonight using a few of my favorite things: blts fixings, a skillet and pasta! Have a great night! 


Ingredients 
(for 1 drink)

1 1/2 oz silver tequila
2 1/2 Tbl fresh peach puree
Ice
Lime Wedges or Peaches, for garnish


Instructions

Peach puree:
Pit 6 peaches and place in food processor. Puree till smooth. Strain and discard solids. 6 peaches will make 12 oz of puree. 

Fill and 8 oz glass 1/2 - 2/3 full with ice. Add tequila and peach puree.  Top with margarita mix. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge or a Peach wedge. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 7/20 - 7/26

I am running a little late this week aren't I!? 

This weekend was crazy and I am still catching up from everything! On Friday I left work a little early so we could get to Ron' Cousin's wedding rehearsal (Ron was a usher). Poor Kellen was pretty tired and had a pretty short fuse, but it was lovely and the dinner after at the Groom's parent's was delicious. We headed home after dinner and crashed early. 

On Saturday, I headed to the farmer's market before heading home to bring Ron to the ceremony. Kellen and I skipped the ceremony to rest for the reception. Kellen was really excited about his outfit and was excited for cake and dancing. 


We picked up my niece and nephew on the way and caravaned to the reception. The happy couple looked amazing and the meal was lovely. Kellen got his cake and enjoyed dancing with all the kids on the floor.  Ron and I were lucky because his parents took the kids home and the adults got to stick around and party. 

On Sunday, we slept till 9 a.m.! Seriously, this never happens and it was amazing. We grabbed breakfast and picked up Kellen. Kellen crashed when we got home for an early nap before heading to a Green Bay Bullfrogs game for Ron's work picnic.

Kellen tested his hand at the batting game:


Watching them water the field:


Down the big slide:


After the game and picnic we headed home and relaxed for the rest of the evening. 

This week we are much more relaxed and it is nice after a long weekend. Tonight my friend Emily's daughter was over to play and my friend Kayla stopped with the kids for a play-date. This week I have a few blogging projects to work on and I am getting ready for a fun Door County day trip on Saturday. 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Slow Cooker Rosemary Ranch Roast, Cheesy Zucchini Rice and Salad
Tuesday: Skillet BLT Tortellini and Salad
Wednesday: Chicken Bacon Pesto Gnocchi Skillet and Salad
Thursday: Lemon Pepper Herb Grilled Pork Chops, Street Corn and Grilled Green Beans
Friday: Out for Fish
Saturday: Pizza Night
Sunday: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Cheesy Ranch Potatoes and Grilled Veggies

Pesto Feta Scrambled Eggs

Time for July's Crazy Ingredient Challenge!


The theme for this month is pesto and coconut. What???? Don't worry I said the same thing and wondered how I could make this combo work. Well my friends I made it work, and it is delicious. My initial thought process was dried coconut and I racked my brain, but then I remembered coconut oil. Coconut oil is very popular right now and I use it a lot in my house, but normal it is not my "go-to" for cooking. I use it for oil-pulling (I know this sounds odd, but I swear by it), diaper cream and part of my face wash! I actually do like to cook with it, but Ron is not a fan of the flavor so I use it in other ways. 

Anyways, I decided that I was in the mood for eggs and had fortunately just whipped up a fresh batch of pesto. I also added a bit of feta cheese because, as you know, I am a big fan of this combo. How did it turn out you are wondering? I really liked the flavor combination. If I had not known I used coconut oil I would not have guess it was in there. The coconut flavor was very light and almost a little nutty and that was yummy with the pesto. I am still not sold on dried coconut with pesto, but using the oil for my eggs was delicious. 

Tonight, my friend Emily daughter is coming for a play-date and I am going to bring out the kiddy pool so we can beat the heat (as long as it doesn't storm!).  This week is much calmer than last week and I am honestly looking forward to a few nights at home without the needs to run around! 

 If you are interested in joining our challenge, stop over to Dawn of Spatulas on Parade to say hello and to get more information.  I am excited to see what everyone else made, and what next month will bring! 


Ingredients

1 tsp coconut oil
2 eggs
1 Tbl milk
1 Tbl pesto
1 Tbl crumbled feta (+ additional for topping)
1/4 tsp black pepper


Instructions

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. 

Heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium low heat and add eggs. Gently stir in feta and pesto. As the sides begin to set pull in the firm sides until eggs are set and cooked but not browned. 

Plate and sprinkle with extra feta cheese and black pepper.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Crispy Baked Pretzel Chicken with Creamy Honey Mustard Ale Sauce

Time for July's Improv Challenge! 

The theme for this month is pretzels and mustard.  I love this ingredients duo and knew there was a lot of possibilities for an amazing meal.  I tend to favor savory entrees over apps and desserts in these challenges and decided to keep with that direction for this challenge. 

I decided that I wanted to make a crispy oven baked chicken with a creamy honey mustard sauce. I thought the dish needed something extra and I added a little beer to my sauce. Perfect. I used an amber ale in this recipe, but a lite beer would work as well. 

To me, meals like this are great for a weeknight because they are simple, but are unique enough to feel a bit more special than my casserole rotation. Sometimes I find that baked breaded chicken is not crispy enough for me, but not in this case! The chicken breading was crispy and flavorful- the pretzels worked perfectly.  The sauce was soooooo good. I made sure not to use too much honey because I didn't want the sauce to become to sweet and loose the mustard and ale flavor. Thankfully, all flavors were strong and accounted for in my sauce. 

Kellen, Ron and I loved this dish, and Kellen especially loved dipping his chicken into the sauce. What is with kids and dipping sauce? I suppose probably the same thing that is with adults and dipping sauce, right? 

Tonight, my friend Emily daughter is coming to play and I am hoping we can harvest a few things from the garden. I picked two massive zucchinis on Tuesday! Kellen is going to be thrilled because he loves when he has another little to tear around the backyard. I also have a late volleyball game and there is a good chance I am going to be a tired lady tomorrow! 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Lesa of Edesia's Notebook for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using tomato and herbs! 


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, trimmed
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika 
2 eggs, beaten
8 pretzel rods, finely crushed or ground
1 cup ale (I like to use amber ale)
1 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 Tbl stone ground mustard
1 1/2 Tbl honey


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set to the side.

Set up an assembly line for the chicken. In the first bow, mix flour, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika. Place a second bowl next to the first bowl and add the beaten eggs. Finally, in the last bowl add the crushed pretzel rods.  Dredge chicken breast in flour, next dip it into the eggs and, finally, roll it on the pretzels and ensure it is evenly coated.   Place chicken on the baking sheet and bake 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Half was into the cook time of the chicken, begin the mustard ale sauce.  In a sauce pan, oven medium-low temperature, heat cream and ale till steaming. Whisk in the mustard and honey till smooth. Increase heat to medium and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Simmer 10-15 minutes whisking often to prevent scorching or separating.  When sauce has thickened and reduced by half turn heat to low, and wait till the chicken has finished cooking.

To serve, slice chicken and top with honey mustard ale sauce. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Penne with Feta Pesto Cream Sauce and Meatballs

I have an incredible pasta dish to share with you today! 

My basil is doing awesome right now and I have been making batches of pesto like it is going out of style (like that would ever happen). I like to make lots in the summer, freeze tablespoons in ice cube trays (great for measuring when preparing a recipe) and use it till the next season. Ron, Kellen and I love pesto and it is a win win for us all. 

I love the flavor combination of pesto and feta, and decided that it would be a great sauce to highlight one of my favorite flavors. I opted to make meatballs with my pasta because I love them, but you would easily use grilled chicken or have your pasta sans meat. I like a smaller meatball, but if you prefer big go for it, but adjust your cooking time in the oven. The sauce is very easy to make, but make sure to do a very light simmer because it take awhile for the feta to melt into the sauce. 

My family went gaga for this meal, and I can't wait to make it again. Kellen loves feta cheese and was thrilled to find little crumbles of it in his pasta. 

Tonight is my work employee picnic and I am playing in the volleyball tournament. Kellen and Ron are coming to watch and have dinner. They are predicting storms, but I am hoping it will be done by the time we play. The park where the picnic is held is really like and there is a large play area and I know Kellen will have a great time.  I am playing with a few girls from my Thursday night volleyball league and two other co-workers- hopefully we do well! 


Ingredients

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef 
1/8 cup finely chopped parsley 
1/2 cup dried plain bread crumbs
2 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
8 oz heavy cream 
1 cup milk (I use 2% or whole)
2/3 cup crumbled feta (+extra for topping)
1 lb penne pasta
 3 Tbl grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
6 Tbl pesto 
1/4 tsp black pepper


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside. 

Combine first 8 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and gently mix the ingredients together by hand. Roll meatballs by hand (1-2 inches around depending on your preference in size). This recipes makes about 50-55 small meatballs.  Bake meatballs for 25 minutes (depending on size of meatball this can vary). 

While meatballs are cooking start the sauce. Combine cream, milk and feta. Lightly simmer till melted reduced 15 minutes. While sauce and meatballs are cooking cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. 

Remove meatballs from oven and cover with foil if necessary. Whisk Romano/Parmesan, pesto and pepper into the cream sauce and add the pasta. Stir gently to combine.  

Plate the pasta and top with meatballs. Sprinkle feta over the top if desired. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 7/13 - 7/19

Happy Monday! 

This weekend flew by waaaayyy too fast. I need another Sunday. 

On Friday night, I went to S.A.L.T with my friends Emily and Kayla for restaurant week. It was so delicious and we had a great time. I dropped Emily off only to circle back around when we decided that we wanted to grab a drink before calling it a night. Moms gotta do what moms gotta do. 

On Sautrday, I was up early to meet friends at the farmer's market. Ron headed to Milwaukee to pick up a friend his bike ride on Sunday. After the market my friend and her family stopped over to play before they headed home. Kellen crashed for a nap and I worked on some laundry while I waited for Ron to get home so we could head to Appleton for a family party.  We were a little late getting to Appleton, but Ron, Kellen and I had a great time hanging around the campfire! We headed home around nine so Ron could rest before him race in the morning. 

On Sunday, Kellen and I were up early to meet my friend Kayla and her family at the zoo. We got there early, but it was already getting pretty warm! The kids had a blast and adults had fun playing too!


When we got home Kellen and I ordered pizza for lunch and he crashed for a nap. After nap, Kellen and I checked out the garden- our stuff is getting really big! 


We ate BLTs for dinner and Ron got home after a very long bike ride. Ron still needed to give his friend a ride back to Milwaukee, but made it home around midnight to hit the hay.

This morning I woke up to tornado warnings to the south of us! Talk about a quick start to the day! Everything was fine and they never got to us, but I was a little nervous. Tonight Ron and I are going to dinner with our friends Kayla and husband Zak for restaurant week. We are going to Republic Chophouse and I can't wait! Kellen is having a night with his grandparents and is really excited. Tomorrow is my work picnic and volleyball tournament and I am super pumped about that as well! 

Here is what is on tap this week:

Monday:  Out for Restaurant Week to Republic Chophouse
Tuesday: Work Summer Picnic: brats, salads, burgers, chips, fruit and beer.
Wednesday:  Homemade Taco Pizza and Salad
Thursday:  Beergarita Grilled Chicken, Black Beans, Grilled Veggies and Garlic Scapes
Friday: Rehearsal Dinner for Ron’s Cousin Melissa's Wedding
Saturday: Melissa and Sean’s Wedding
Sunday: Creamy Pesto Chicken Bacon Gnocchi Skillet and Salad

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Time for July Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!


This month I received the blog, Morsels of Life.  The blog is lovely and there were tons of amazing recipes to pick from. I almost made the Peach, Onion and Bacon Salad because I have a beautiful crate of Georgia peaches that need to be used, but my mind was changed when I saw the ruby red final strawberries of the season at the farmer's market.  I searched for strawberry recipes and was torn between the Balsamic Strawberry Galette and the Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Ultimately, the appeal of roasted strawberries over a fresh green salad from my garden sounded too delicious to pass up. Don't get me wrong I love making galettes and have bookmarked the recipe to try with the remainder of my strawberries. 

This dressing is the bomb you guys- so flavorful and so fresh. I did not add the five spice to my dressing because I did not have any and it was very good without, but I am sure wonderful in the dressing as well.  I served my dressing over a fresh romaine salad with sliced red onions and sliced fresh strawberries. It was amazing. I think a sprinkle of feta over the salad would be a great touch or it could be a delicious marinade for the grill as well. 

I am sad that strawberry season is coming to a close. It is so useless to eat strawberries out of season because the flavor is not sweet and they are always disappointing.  I love to soak up as many as I can when the season is good. I have to say that this is one of my new favorite recipes along with my fresh strawberry margaritas

Thank you for a delicious recipe and check out the recipes from my fellow bloggers below! 


Ingredients

1/2 pint fresh strawberries, topped and halved
2 1/2 Tbl olive oil
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. 

Place strawberries in a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes.

Remove strawberries from oven and place in food processor. Add oil, vinegar and dijon. Pulse till smooth. Cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite salad or use a meat marinade. 


Friday, July 10, 2015

Strawberry Margarita

It’s Friday! Who is ready for a cocktail?!?! I know I am.

For 4th of July weekend I brewed up a big batch of my favorite margarita mix and came armed to our celebration with two large mason jars, silver tequila and freshly picked strawberries.  Normally, I opt for a regular lime or grapefruit margarita, but since it is strawberry season in my neck of the woods I could not pass up making a strawberry margarita.

Many times I see strawberry margaritas blended and a blended margarita is not my cup of tea because I am a rocks girl all the way!  However, my strawberries were so sweet juicy and ripe I know that a simple muddle would do the trick for a sweet strawberry flavor (super ripe sweet berries make this drink!) and the signature pretty pink color. These margaritas are really easy to make and you can muddle the strawberries right in the glass using a muddling tool or the back of a spoon works great as well.  Just make sure that you are ready to make a bunch of these babies if you start offering them up to your friends and family!

Tonight I am headed out with my two awesome girlfriends to S.A.L.T. for restaurant week. I love restaurant week and have already plotted out what I am going to order- the scallops appetizer, salmon entree and the dirt pie (I love marshmallow).  On Monday, I am headed to another favorite restaurant, but more about that in a future post. This weekend Ron's friend Dan is coming up for a charity bike ride. I am hitting up the farmer's market, a play date and Ron's Dad's party with out of state family on Saturday night.  Sunday will be for relaxation and a little gardening- my garden is looking great! 


Ingredients 
(for 1 drink)

1 1/2 oz silver tequila
2-4 ripe strawberries (depending on size)
Ice
Lime Wedges or Strawberries, for garnish


Instructions

In an 8 oz glass, muddle strawberries and fill glass 1/2 - 2/3 full with ice. Add tequila top with margarita mix. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge or a strawberry. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Italian Style Pasta Salad

This pasta salad started off in a totally different direction and ended up becoming an absolutely delicious summer salad. I was originally going to make a sandwich with the pasta ingredients (our local grocery store had a great sale on salami!), but never got around to making it and decided that the ingredients would make a delicious 4th of July pasta salad. 

When we make Italian style sandwiches at our house my favorite dressing to use is olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano. I love how the flavors soak into the bread and sandwich fillings, and knew that the pasta salad would be delicious with our favorite dressing.  The ingredients of this salad are pretty simple and you certainly could add more things depending on your preferences. Personally, I thought it was delicious as is. I use a very thin sliced salami, but a thicker cut will also work but you will want to make sure the pieces are small enough. I also like to use bocconcini  over a chopped or shredded mozzarella. I love the little pearls and they are a perfect bite. 

My family loved this pasta salad and I had enough leftover to take with me for lunch at work on Monday. I can't wait to make this recipe again! 

Last night I headed to to zoo with a few co-workers and it was practically empty. The kids loves having their picnic and run of the place and looking at all the animals.  Tonight, I am off to volleyball with my girlfriends. We only have two more games and then we are changing to Wednesday nights. I love my weekly nights out and playing on the team is a total blast! My team is getting ready to play in a tournament next week and we are really excited- wish us luck! 

Ingredients

1 lb uncooked shaped pasta
2 roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1 small can sliced black olives
4 oz chopped salami
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
8 oz bocconcini (small balls or mozzarella)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbl dried oregano
Salt and black pepper, to taste


Instructions

In a large pot of boiling, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water and drain pasta. 

Pour pasta into a large mixing bowl and  gently stir in  roasted red peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, salami, mozzarella, vinegar, oil, oregano and reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. 

Cover and chill 30 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Italian Sausage, Bell Pepper and Garlic Scape Risotto

Ooooooo Risotto...... how I adore you. 

I have a hard time not ordering risotto when I see it on a menu, and I love trying different flavor combinations. Right now garlic scapes are popping up at our farmer's market and I couldn't want to wait to try them in a risotto.  Normally, I like to make pesto with garlic scapes, but I wanted to try something new (I of course made pesto too). I knew that an Italian sausage and bell peppers would make a great trio with my scapes, and was I on the money! 

The flavors of this risotto are delicious and I loved the sweet peppers and the bit of sharpness from the scapes- plus how can you go wrong with Italian sausage! I know that risotto can seem like and intimidating thing to make, but I promise you that it is not that hard. It is so versatile and makes a great side or, in this case, a main meal. 

Tonight, I am headed to see the new Terminator movie with my Dad and sister Rachel. The three of us are sci-fi/action fans. My love of the Alien movies comes from getting to watch it, Terminator, Willow and Indiana Jones as a kid. I am also pretty pumped because Emilia Clark is Sarah Connor, and how can things go wrong when Game of Thrones meets a Terminator? Ron is not as impressed with the type of movie as I am, but I can still get him to watch Alien(s) and Jurassic Park! 

Tomorrow, I am heading to the zoo with my friend Emily and a few co-works for a picnic and play time for the kiddos- can't wait! 


Ingredients


1 lb Italian sausage (hot or mild will work)
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 shallot, diced
2/3 cup chopped garlic scapes
1 cup Arborio rice 
4 cups chicken stock 
3/4 cup dry white wine 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions

Place stock in a medium saucepan. Bring  to a simmer (do not boil). Keep warm over low-medium heat.

Brown sausage in a large rimmed skillet over medium heat.  Once browned, drain excess grease if needed.  Add shallots and peppers. Cook 1-2 minutes. 

 Stir in rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine and cook about 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Continue by adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of stock is absorbed before adding the next. Add the garlic scapes with the last portion of stock.  Remove risotto from heat and stir in the cheese. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weekly Meal Plan 7/6 - 7/12

Happy Monday! 

I am a little late with my posts this week after being away all weekend for the holiday. Hope everyone had a fun 4th- I know we did! 

I was lucky enough to have the Friday before the holiday off and I decided to take Kellen to Bay Beach for rides before heading to Door County for the weekend. We met our friends there and the kids enjoyed playing for a bit before the lines got too long for them (i.e. adults) to wait. 

Kellen's favorite ride is the race cars:


After Bay Beach, I headed to the store and we had a quick lunch before heading home for a nap while I packed. When Kellen woke up I was ready to go and we headed up to the cottage (poor Ron had to work!).  My parents were already there and we unpacked quickly before heading to dinner at a favorite Italian place in Sturgeon Bay. Kellen was starving when we sat and shrieked with joy when his spaghetti was placed on the table in front of him. Kellen decided the best option was to toss the silverware and use his hands- I love this kid. We headed home after to drop off my Dad before heading to Egg Harbor for the fireworks. We also met my friend/co-worker Casey and her friend Ashley to watch the show. Kellen had never been able to stay awake for fireworks in past years. He knew that there was going to be a big boom, but the poor guy almost jumped out of his skin at the first boom and asked me "are the fireworks mean?".  However, by the end of the show he was yelling out his favorite colors with each boom. 

On the 4th, I met my friend Amanda and her family at The Farm for some playtime. Kellen was in a bit of a mood, but had fun running and playing with the kids. 

Kellen loves the windmill:


Feeding our friend the cow. Kellen loves tossing corn in the cow's mouth (he even has a "Got Corn" t-shirt:


Kellen practicing milking the goat. I was surprised when my cautious guy walked up to try and be first in line:


Cuddling the kitten and bringing him back to "his bed":


We came home and grabbed lunch before Kellen went down for a late nap. In the evening, Ron made it back and we grilled brats, enjoyed margaritas and fireworks. After everyone was in bed Ron and I got to dangle our toes in the water and watched the stars and a few late fireworks down the beach. 

Sunday morning we headed back to The Farm and then back to play on the beach. Ron and I also cleared a little beach grass to make a bigger area for the fire pit. After lunch we packed up and headed home. 

This sign will forever crack me up:


When we got home we unpacked and rested. I headed out around 5:30 for my friend Emily's 30th birthday. We grabbed dinner at a local brewery with a few friends, walked by the water and played Apples to Apples at a local hookah lounge. Love that game! 

Much to my joy my victory garden prints came in the mail! I can't wait to hang them. I am such a history nerd and love stuff like this. 


This week I am headed to a movie with my dad, the zoo with work peeps, volleyball, a visitor for Ron's bike race this weekend and a big family party with Ron's parents! It is going to be a fun and busy week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Creamy Tex Mex Slow Cooker Chicken and Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice
Tuesday:  Penne with Mini Meatballs and Creamy Pesto Feta Sauce and Salad
Wednesday: Evening at the Zoo- we are picking up subs
Thursday: Pizza Burgers and Grilled Veggies
Friday: Out with my Girlfriends
Saturday: Cookout for Lecker Family Party
Sunday: BLTs and Watermelon