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Jul 1, 2014

Spaghetti with spinach, lemon, and garlic


This is a great throw together right quick dinner.
You can even add shrimp or chicken to it and it would be the perfect meal.
I like to add lots more lemon, so I add more juice than the 1 lemon, but play with it and see what you prefer!


You will need:
1 lb spaghetti or angel hair
6 Tbsp evoo
8 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon, ( i like more)
10 oz bag of baby spinach

To Make:
In a skillet heat 6 Tbsp evoo over medium/low heat. Add garlic and cook 10-12 minutes to gently cook the garlic. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl. Immediately add spinach and garlic lemon oil and toss everything together. 


Jun 25, 2014

Penne, basil, pine nut, and cheese Casserole


I have to say that I've never cooked with pine nuts before, and I was pleasantly surprised!
This recipe calls for toasting them which gives a really great flavor.
This casserole was devoured by our entire family!



You will need:
8 oz (3 cups) penne, cooked and drained
2 cans (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes in thick puree
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp salt
fresh pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup firmly packed grated swiss cheese
freshly grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling

To Make:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Place pasta in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil.

*toasting pine nuts*
Place pinenuts in a small nonstick skillet over medium/high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until toasted, 4-5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, stir together tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, salt, parsley & pepper. Simmer 2-3 minutes. 
Mix with pasta in casserole, and stir in swiss cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese on top.

Bake uncovered until bubbly, 35-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: The big book of casseroles by Maryana vollstedt


Jun 17, 2014

Spicy Lemon, Tomato, Chicken Pasta



I love a simple recipe for when the evenings are a bit chaotic and this is a great one because it's all cooked in one pot together. Paired with a salad and sourdough bread and you've got a great meal!

You will need:
1 pound chicken breasts
2 Tbsp evoo
1 Tbsp minced garlic
 2 1/2 cups fusilli pasta (dry)
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
juice from 1-2 lemons, depending on how much you like
1 cup water
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded Mozzerella

Instructions: 
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add chicken and cook until just browned.
Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice, water, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and continue to stir often, uncovered, for about ten minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top, and cover for ten minutes or until cheese is melted and remaining liquid is absorbed.

Recipe Source: Yellow Bliss Road

Jun 11, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham




This recipe has me swinging from chandeliers! 
I watched the Pioneer Woman make it on her show and I knew that I just had to try it.
I've never made from scratch scalloped potatoes and with the addition of bacon, they were swoon worthy!
I cannot wait to make these again.


Ingredients:

3 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes, Washed Thoroughly
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 cups Diced Ham
1-1/2 cup Half-and-half
1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Flour
Black Pepper To Taste
1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
Chopped Parsley (optional)



To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Butter a large casserole dish.
Heat butter in a large skillet. 
Add ham and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and set aside.


Combine half-and-half and cream in a microwave-safe container and nuke for a minute or so, until no longer cold. Whisk in flour and black pepper until totally combined. Set aside. 

Combine the two grated cheeses. Set aside.



Using a mandoline, slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (very thin.)


 Layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the buttered casserole dish. 

Sprinkle on 1/3 of the ham mixture, then 1/3 of the cheese, then pour on 1/3 of the cream mixture.
Repeat this twice more, ending with a sprinkling of cheese and a pouring on of the rest of the cream mixture. 


Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes at least, or until bubbly and hot.


Cut into squares and serve. Sprinkle on chopped parsley if you'd like!

*Tip* To speed up the process, you can also boil the sliced potatoes for 3-5 minutes before assembling the casserole. Just drain before putting it all together.\

Recipe Source: The Pioneer Woman

Jun 4, 2014

Bosc Pear Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing



My sister in law brought this salad over for dinner and I couldn't stop eating it.'
I now call it the "Molly Salad" and make it all the time.
There is just something about this salad...maybe the candied walnuts, the delicious pears, or the homemade balsamic dressing, but everything goes together perfectly.


You will need:

Spring mix & spinach
Candied walnuts (directions below)
Cranberries
2 Bosc pears
Shaved parmesan

Balsamic Dresssing

3/4 cup evoo
¼ cup balsamic
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
Sea Salt, pepper


To candy the walnuts, 2 Tbsp butter and 1 TBSP brown sugar melted in pan. 
Then add walnuts and coat. Lay on wax paper to dry.


After the walnuts are candied, add spring mix and spinach to a bowl.

Slice up 2 bosc pears and toss in a handful of cranberries.


Add some freshly grated parmesan cheese and your salad is ready to eat!

To make the dressing combine all ingredients and whisk.
Pour over salad and toss well. 





May 29, 2014

My favorite cookbooks


I love to find recipes and the thrill of the hunt is so fun for me.
I absolutely love to check out a ton of cookbooks from the library and then peruse each one to see if there are any great recipes inside. Once I know that I will really use the cookbook, then I buy it.
So friends....these are the best of the best!

After going through hundreds of cookbooks,
I've narrowed it down to my top favorites.

Here they are {in no particular order}:


2. Perfect Pies & More by Michele Stuart

3. Cake Simple by Christie Matheson

4. Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah

5. The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

6. Baking Out Loud by Hedy Goldsmith

7. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

8. In the Kitchen with David by David Venable


10. Eva's Kitchen by Eva Longoria

11. Picky Palate by Jenny Flake



May 27, 2014

Graduation lollipops



Know someone graduating?
This is the perfect treat!
Here is how to make Graduation Lollipops!



You will need:

mini reese’s cups
Lollipop sticks
Godiva chocolate mini squares
Wax paper
Red licorice or Airheads extreme sour rainbow candy
Mini m&m’s

To Make:
Start with your Miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups. Put the bag of PB cubs in the freezer for a few minutes so that it will be easier to peel off the wrappers without damaging the chocolates.
 Then let them sit for a little while. Place some wax paper on your counter top. One by one dip your lollipop sticks in a bowl of melted chocolate and then gently push them into the peanut butter cups.


Get out your melted chocolate again. With a toothpick, place a tiny dot of melted chocolate in the center of your square and glue down your candy-coated m&m. Then draw a thin line down the side of the square with melted chocolate using your toothpick, and position the “tassel.”
Dip the tops of your PB cup in the melted chocolate and secure the chocolate squares!




Finished product!


May 23, 2014

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes




I am always on the hunt for great side dishes and I love the sweet, tangy flavor that the balsamic vinegar brings out in these potatoes.
These are perfect for a summer bbq or a quick add on to dinner!


Ingredients:
Baby new potatoes [yellow or red]
Garlic [Minced]

Olive oil
1 tablespoon Rosemary
1 tablespoon Basil
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

To Make:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1) Wash potatoes, and cut them in half or quarters if they are too large.
2) Place potato halves in a large bowl.
3) Add rosemary, basil, paprika, garlic, and two tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well so that all potatoes are covered.
4) Coat a large oven-proof dish with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.
5) Place the potato halves in the pan, and spread evenly.
6) Roast for about 25 minutes, until tender.
7) Take potatoes out of the oven, add the balsamic vinegar, some salt and pepper.
8) Put the potatoes back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.


Recipe Source: The Lazy Cook


May 16, 2014

Chicken Bacon Pasta





This recipe is my latest addiction.
I love the blend of bacon, pasta, chicken and the sauce....whoa! it's outstanding.
I've already made this twice this month and have no intention of stopping!

You will need:
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don't want the heat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 grilled chicken breast, sliced (I marinated the chicken in Lawry's Garlic & Herb marinade)

To make:
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done (according to package instructions).

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon, and add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.  Top with grilled chicken.


Enjoy!



Recipe Source: plainchicken.com

Apr 20, 2014

Peenya Kowlada Smoothie




Peenya Kowlada Smoothie
with Strawberries

This is one of the perfect summer smoothies out there! It is delicious, sweet, & can be made lots of different ways!
It originally isn't made with strawberries so when it's mixed, its a creamy light yellow color, but I like strawberries & I like pink....so, i throw some in & wah-la....a delicious light pink smoothie!
Feel free to skip the strawberries, coconut, or anything else & come up with a fun new recipe. But if you want to stick with the recipe for a fabulous drink.....then here you are!

You will need:
12 ounces pineapple juice
1 Tbsp dried, unsweetened coconut
2 scoops pineapple sherbert
1 scoop frozen yogurt
1 scoop (5-6 inch thick frozen) bananas
1 scoop (4-5) strawberries