Monday, September 27, 2010

Penne Pasta with Bacon, Spinach, and Tomatoes!

I had a bag of penne pasta in my pantry and didn't know what to do with it. I googled penne recipes and found this fantastic one that was fast and didn't have a ton of ingredients. It also had really positive ratings on the website where I found it. Ratings and comments on cooking websites are my new favorite thing. It is nice to see that 50 people have tried it and loved it. There are always those people who give the recipe 5 stars and then proceed to explain all the ways they changed it to make it taste better. How can you give a recipe 5 stars and then say you changed half the ingredients? Anyway, most of the people who commented for this recipe changed little to nothing, and in my book that is when you know a recipe is good.


  • 1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic - I only used 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. 2 tbsp sounded like a little too much.
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the penne pasta, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place bacon in the skillet, and cook until browned and crisp. Add garlic, and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until heated through.
  3. Place the spinach into a colander, and drain the hot pasta over it so it is wilted. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and toss with the remaining olive oil, and the bacon and tomato mixture.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tomato-Basil Chicken

I love breaded chicken recipes and this one is one of the best I have tried. The wheat thins give the chicken a lot of flavor, and the best part is that you have crackers left over to munch on.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt
5 ounces tomato-basil wheat thins, about half a box
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Parsley, flakes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk

Pour yogurt into a small dish. Crush crackers into fine crumbs. In a separate dish, blend cracker crumbs with Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Dip chicken breast halves into yogurt, coating both sides. Roll in crumbs until well coated. Place in greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour. For sauce, combine soup and milk in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until hot. Serve over chicken.

* Sorry there is no picture. I need to start taking some. I have tried before but they never look that great. Most of the time I just find ones that look similar or use the one from the website I found the recipe. In that case I will always post the link to the original recipe. Really, I should just start taking me own. That would mean we need a new camera...

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and mash are what the British and Irish call a dinner of sausage and potatoes. I made this recipe back in March for St. Patrick's Day as a effort to be festive, but never posted about it. Since then we have had it three or four times. We found some real English bangers at Whole Foods, but since then have been using just regular bratwurst and the taste is still amazing. It may sound a little strange but it tastes really good!

  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Or Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 whole Bangers Sausage or Bratwurst if you can't find Bangers
  • 1 cup Diced Onion, About 1/2 Large
  • ¼ cups Beef Broth to de-glaze pan
  • 1 Tablespoon Flour
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • ½ Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and butter until butter is melted. Brown your Bangers until they are crispy on all sides. Add chopped onion and allow it to cook with the sausage until soft and slightly browned. Take out Bangers for just a bit and put them on a plate. Add 1/4 cup beef broth to de-glaze the pan. Next, sprinkle flour over the onions in your pan and stir to coat. Cook just until lightly browned. Add beef broth and Dijon mustard and stir to combine. Put Bangers back in pan. Lower heat to medium-low. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. If you need to thicken your sauce a little more, simply add a tablespoon of cornstarch to 1/4 cup cold water and whisk this mixture into your sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve your Bangers on pile of hot mash potatoes. Pour gravy over the top and dig in!

The original recipe called for a couple different ingredients that make it truly authentic Bangers and Mash. Here is a link in case you want to check that out.

Murphy's Hot Hamburger

I found this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen and it is AMAZING. It is a definite man pleasing meat-and-potatoes recipe. It takes a little effort but sometimes good comfort food is worth the work. I like to add some caramelized onions on top for extra goodness.

  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cans (14 Oz. Can) Beef Broth OR 4 Cups Water With Beef Bouillon
  • 5 whole Large Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil, Or As Needed
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice potatoes into fries. Place on a large baking sheet. Pour about 1 tablespoon of oil over the fries and toss with fingers to coat evenly. Sprinkle fries with seasoning of choice. I use seasoned salt. Place in the oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until golden and crispy.

In a mixing bowl, mix hamburger, garlic, seasoned salt, onion powder and salt and pepper. Mix well with hands. Form 4 large patties. Place in a large preheated skillet over medium heat, preferably one with deep sides. Brown burgers on each side until done.

Remove burgers from the skillet and place on a plate covered in paper towels. Do not drain the grease. Add the flour a tablespoon at a time, stirring with a whisk. You have enough when the grease is all absorbed and the flour mixture gets thick and bubbly. Slowly add the broth a little at a time, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken.

To serve, place an ample amount of fries on the plate. Place a hamburger on top of the fries and cover it all amply in gravy. Enjoy!

Cuban Steak Marinade

I used this marinade this other day and it was easy and pretty tasty. We had the steak with the Cuban red beans and rice on the side. It was a fun and exotic meal for our normally conservative table. I really loved the freshness of the lime with a little kick from the cumin.

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons Oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds steak, trimmed of visible fat

Mix all ingredients, except steak, in a large, self-closing plastic bag or glass bowl. Add steak, turning to coat well. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or longer for extra flavor. Remove steak from marinade and grill.

Thumbprint-Jelly Center Cookies

These cookies are pretty versatile. You can roll them and twist them like pretzels, make sandwich cookies, or you can put drops in the center, which was my favorite. Here are the instructions for the thumbprint-jam center variation. You can find the other instructions at Everyday Food- my new favorite place to find easy and tasty recipes.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add yolks, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour; mix just until combined. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm, about 1 hour. To make ahead: Refrigerate up to 2 weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On parchment-lined baking sheets, drop all-in-one cookie dough by heaping tablespoons, 1 inch apart.

Next, use a 1/4-teaspoon measure to gently press a hollow in the center of each dough mound. Fill each hollow with 1/2 teaspoon jam or jelly, a chocolate chunk, or a nut half (makes about 28). After forming cookies, bake until pale golden, 13 to 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.

Cuban Red Beans and Rice

This was my first time making fancy rice from scratch. I normally buy the packaged rice at the store thinking it would be too hard to try on my own. This was easy and so flavorful and I am excited to try other rice dishes. Here are the directions from the Everyday Food website where I found it:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 white onion, diced small (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced small (1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook until onion is soft, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cumin, oregano, and rice; stir, and cook 1 minute. Add beans and broth; stir, then season with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover. Reduce to a medium simmer and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Mouth Is Watering!

Blueberry Swirl Cake

1 package (2 layer size) white cake mix

3/4 cup water

3 egg whites

2 Tbsp. oil

1 package (3 oz.) jello lemon flavored gelatin, divided (I don't love lemon so I might try another kind)

1 cup blueberries

1 8oz cream cheese softened

1 whole egg

3 Tbsp. water

How to make it!

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Beat cake mix, 3/4 cups water, egg whites, and oil in a large bowl with a mixer. Add 1/4 a cup dry gelatin mix and beat on a low speed for about 1 minute, then on medium speed for 4 minutes. Stir in berries and let sit. Beat cream cheese and whole egg in another bowl with mixer until well blended.

Pour half the cake batter in a greased 12 cup fluted tube pan or a 10 inch tube pan. Cover with layers of cream cheese mixture and remaining cake batter.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes. Gently loosen cake and let it finish cooling on a cake pan or board.

Microwave 3 Tbsp. water in a bowl or measuring cup on high for about 30 seconds. Add to remain gelatin mixture, and allow to dissolve. Brush over cake until the mixture is absorbed. Refrigerate leftovers.

I thought this looked like a yummy spring/summer dessert!!!! I am going to try it ASAP!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

This is a healthy and easy version of Chicken Parmesan because the chicken breasts don't get breaded and fried. Don't worry the chicken is still super tasty, because it cooks slowly in the spaghetti sauce in your slow cooker. Give it a try! We loved this at our house.

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan
cooked spaghetti noodles

Place chicken in greased slow cooker. Mix garlic with spaghetti sauce and pour over the chicken. Cook on low 4-6 hours if chicken is thawed, 6-8 hours if frozen. During last 30 minutes, add Parmesan cheese on top. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toasted Ravioli

I love it when meals look fancy and difficult, but don't actually take too long to put together. This recipe is a great example of that, especially if you use the steam in a bag ravioli. It saves time and dirties less dishes. I have only found steam in a bag ravioli at our Winco and so I stock up when ever I go. Mmm Mmm Mmmm! These were good!

1 Bag (13 oz.) of Ravioli- frozen or fresh
1 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup buttermilk
oil for frying- I used olive oil

  1. Cook ravioli until al dente (follow directions on package). Let them cool.
  2. Heat oil to approximately 350 degrees. (I didn't check the temp. I let it get hot and then tested one to see if it was ready.)
  3. Mix bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of cheese.
  4. Dredge the ravioli in the buttermilk and then in the bread crumb cheese mixture.
  5. Gently place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on the cooked ravioli.
  7. Serve with spaghetti sauce for dipping.

Monday, February 22, 2010

German Pancakes

Well since today is my anniversary, I think
I'll share my husbands all time favorite breakfast!!!
Who doesn't love German pancakes: fluffy, buttery, and just plain scrumptious if you ask me!

1 stick butter

6 eggs

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in 9X13 inch glass pan. Beat eggs until fluffy, add remaining ingredients and pour into pan with melted butter. Cook 20 minutes. (It's fun to let your kids watch it bubble high in the pan). Serve with syrup or fresh strawberries and whip cream!

Mix N' Chop

This is by far one of my favorite kitchen tools! It is called the Mix N' Chop, and is sold by Pampered Chef for $10. I use it for so many things!!! I use it to make my Oreo truffles (recipe under desserts), chopping my meat for tacos and other such things, mixing orange juice from concentrate, and even mashing potatoes!! I can be used for so many things and I love it. It is solid and versatile! So the next time you're invited to a Pampered Chef party, pick one up!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homeade Oreos

These are delicious. They are also really easy to make. I think I may never go back to the store-bought kind- they are that tasty!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I didn't have fancy cocoa, just Nestle's, and it worked just fine.)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temp., unsalted butter
1 large egg

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F
  2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
  4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.
  6. Enjoy them with a tall glass of milk!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Okay first I should say I really dull down my enchiladas for my kids, but add whatever you want to spice yours up ;)

1 lb. chicken breast cooked and shredded (I like to season the meat like I would taco meat)

10 + medium sized flour tortilla shells (depending on how full you make your enchiladas)

1 Large can (rosarita mild) enchilada sauce (0r whatever brand you prefer, I like this one best)

1 2 cup bag monterey jack cheese

4 cups cooked rice (I use white because my kids are picky, I really can't tell any difference because you cover it with enchilada sauce and cheese)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lay out shell: add a small layer of rice, chicken, cheese, and enchilada sauce. Roll up and place in a 9X13 glass baking dish. Repeat until all chicken, and rice is used up. Pour remaining sauce over top and sprinkle remaining cheese. Cook for approx. 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is fully melted on top. Serve with sour cream on top!

Like I said if you want to add ingredients go ahead. They are pretty easy! I actually let my kids help construct them, and they LOVE it! So take some time and really make it a family meal :)


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sinful Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman on Fat Tuesday. I made them that night for dinner and they were SOOOO good! If you love cinnamon rolls but want something easier to make, try these out. I just used regular syrup but there is a tasty frosting recipe that you can try with them too.

1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons White Sugar
½ teaspoons Salt
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
2 whole Eggs Beaten
1 cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
¼ cups Butter, Melted
1 Tablespoon Vanilla

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon with a whisk. Whisk well to make sure everything is combined.

In separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syurp, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium/low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Brown on both sides.

Serve warm with icing drizzled over the top.

Icing Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. butter- melted

a cup or so of powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. of vanilla or maple flavoring- you can use more if you want it stronger

1-2 Tbsp. of milk - enough to make it pour easily but not too runny.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pesto Tortelli Soup

I found this recipe on This Week for Dinner
and needed to try it since my husband LOVES pesto. It was easy and pretty healthy.

1 small onion chopped
2 cloves minced
1 tbsp. butter
-saute these together in a large soup pan until they are tender.

Add to pan-
5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 9 oz. package of tortellini (cooking times vary depending on the type of tortellini, so add it at a point where it won't overcook)
2 cups frozen vegetables (the California mix is recommended)
-simmer until the veggies and tortellini are tender

Add 1/4 cup of pesto at the very end

Garnish bowl with Parmesan cheese, serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Easy Shredded Beef Sandwiches

3 tablespoons dried minced onions
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium sized beef roast

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours. Remove the roast when fully cooked and shred the beef. Return the beef to the slow cooker and mix together with the sauce it cooked in. Serve on sandwich rolls and enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Italian Potpies

This recipe was pretty tasty and easy too! The picture is courtesy of Martha Stewart's website where I got the recipe. Here is how to make it...


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lbs. ground beef
2 cups tomato sauce (Martha says the best quality store-bought sauce or homemade sauce works the best, but I used the canned stuff and I thought it tasted great.)

1 cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. crushed dried rosemary
4 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.

Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins; mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vanilla Cupcake

I needed a yummy cupcake recipe and I found this one on Martha Stewart's website. They taste like a sugar cookie and weren't too tough to make.

1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing Recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Meatballs and Rice

Here is a new recipe from me as well. I have been trying out some new ones and will post the ones we loved. This meatball recipe is quick and easy.

25 Meatballs, cooked and frozen
1 can cranberry sauce
1 jar salsa
cooked rice

Whisk together cranberry sauce and salsa. Pour sauce in a slow cooker. Add frozen meatballs. Cook on low 4-5 hours, or high 2-3 hours. Spoon meatballs and sauce over cooked rice.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Okay I am awake!

Okay I know I have been super duper lame!!!! I haven't posted since October, and this food blog has become sort of a joke am I right?? Well, I am back!!! I am going about this in a whole new way too! I plan on posting one recipe a week, and maybe just a fun snack for kiddos. I also plan on posting about some of my favorite cooking tools or gadgets from time to time, and some crafty goodness now and again! So please come back and check it out, I swear I am here and trying to do better :) Here is one to kick it off for all you busy moms out there! I got this one off of Real Simple awhile back and it is an easy fix without too much mess!

Last Minute Lasagna

1 24-26 oz. jar of pasta sauce

2 18-20 oz refrigerated large cheese ravioli

1 10 oz box of frozen spinach, thawed and excess water sqeezed dry

1 8 oz bag of shredded mozzarella

1/2 c. (2 ounces) grated parmasean

Heat Oven to 375 degrees F.

Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish. Cover with a single layer of ravioli. Top with half the spinach and mozzarella, and a third of the sauce. Repeat using the remainder of the spinach and mozzarella. Top with another layer of ravioli (you may not need all the ravioli). Sprinkle with the parmasean cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes until bubbly.

Let me know what you think! Thanks for stopping by :)