Search This Blog

Jul 27, 2012

Quote Friday

You are one individual on a small planet in a little solar system in one of the far-flung galaxies.....but you can still make a difference.

Jul 20, 2012

Quote Friday

There is in each of us so much goodness that if we could see its glow, it would light the world.

Jul 18, 2012

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

This is a great appetizer or addition to a summertime meal!
I loved the texture of the hot tomato and it was a great change in our usual side dishes.
I think next time I will try different cheeses and see how it works out.

you will need:
  • 4 tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make:
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Jul 17, 2012

Baked Hasselback Potatoes

Baked Hasselback Potatoes

Ingredients (serves 4):
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed (leave skin on)
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of smoked paprika
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
chopped chives for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425˚F (220ÂșC).
Slice each potato crosswise at 1/8-inch intervals, cutting to within 1/4 inch of the bottom.

Be careful not to slice all the way through. The potato will fan out a bit as it bakes.
Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, smoked paprika and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.

Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet. Carefully insert pinches of this mixture in between the slits of the potatoes. Rub the outsides of the potatoes with residual oil.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The inside should be cooked through and the outside of the potato should be a bit crispy.

Garnish with additional parmesan and chives!

Jul 15, 2012

Mozzarella Sticks

I only discovered mozzarella sticks a few years ago and I am completely obsessed with them now.
I saw this idea all over the internet, so I thought I would give it a go.
You take mozzarella sticks and roll them up in egg roll wrappers and then deep fry.
Sounds delish, right?
They were really good, but the only problem is that you have to eat them asap or else they will cool off and then be cold. They are super east to make though, so give it a whirl!

                                          Mozzarella Sticks

12 pieces string cheese
12 egg roll wrappers
Oil for deep-fat frying

Place a piece of string cheese near the bottom corner of one egg roll wrapper (keep remaining wrappers covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use).

 Fold bottom corner over cheese. 

Roll up halfway; fold sides toward center over cheese.

 Moisten remaining corner with water; roll up tightly to seal.

 Repeat with remaining wrappers and cheese.

In an electric skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°.

Fry sticks, a few at a time, for 30-60 seconds on each side or until golden brown.
 Drain on paper towels. 
Serve with marinara sauce. 
Yield: 1 dozen.

Source: taste of home

Penne Al Forno

Oh man.
I love it when I find a recipe that i just drool over.
and i saw that now because I made this a few weeks ago and about a week later I was thinking of it and wanted it again. That is when I know that I have a great recipe!
The touch of fennel in here is what seals the deal for me!

Penne Al Forno

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. penne pasta
1 onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 lb. Italian sausage or ground hamburger
2 cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
½ tsp. fennel seed
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of nutmeg
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 ¼ cups milk (2%)
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Using a large skillet turn heat to medium and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Chop the onion and mince the garlic.  When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and stir occasionally, after a few minutes add the garlic.  Stir occasionally until the onion is transparent, soft and starting to color.  Add the meat to the onion. Break up the meat as you cook into small pieces. When meat is cooked, add the tomato sauce and spices.  Add salt to taste. Turn the heat down and let it simmer.

Fill a large pot with water and turn heat to high. Once water is boiling add salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente. Do not overcook! It will continue to cook in the oven.

Preheat oven to 420 F.
To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small pot.  When it’s melted, stir in the flour to make a pasty substance. Whisk continuously. Turn the heat to medium and add the milk a little at a time while stirring constantly.  This will take some time to thicken up but just keep stirring until it thickens.

Using a 9 x 13 or 11 x 15 casserole pan put some red sauce or olive oil on the bottom of the pan.  Put 2 spoonfuls of bechamel in the red sauce and mix.  Make layers in the pan in this order:  pasta, red sauce,  bechamel and mozzarella.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on the top.

Bake until bubbly and cheese is golden brown about 20-30 minutes. For the last minute or two turn the oven to broil. Watch very carefully. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and serve! 


Jul 14, 2012

Twice baked new potatoes

I LOVE twice baked potatoes and I watched the Pioneer Woman's show where she made these and they just looked SOOOOO yummy. So I made them for our Memorial Weekend Dinner and boy were they a hit!
These are a lot smaller than the typical ones, but they are absolutely delicious!

You will need:
12 new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives
1 clove garlic, pressed
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle the potatoes with the olive oil and toss them to coat. Roast until the potatoes are tender and the skin is slightly crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.

Use a spoon or small scoop to remove the insides, leaving a small margin of potato intact.

To the scooped out potatoes, add the Monterey Jack, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until the mixture is totally smooth. Give it a taste and add more salt if necessary.

Scoop the mixture into the potato shells. At this point you can cover and refrigerate them until dinnertime. When you're ready, bake the potatoes in the oven until golden brown on top.

Source: Pioneer Woman

Jul 13, 2012

Banana Boats

Ever since the wintertime when I saw this recipe I knew I couldn't wait until summer to make these!
We were up north at our family's cottage and it was the perfect time to bust this recipe out!
Pardon the photos....all i had on my was my phone camera and I didn't even snap a pic when it was all cooked and melted.....that's because I ate it so fast!

Bananas-as many as you need.  1 per person. 
Chocolate chips, 
 peanut butter chips,
 mini marshmallows, 
sweetened coconut 
Seriously.....any topping you want!


  1. Choose your bananas.
  2. Slit the bananas lengthwise.
  3. Stuff them with any combination of toppings you desire. 
  4. Wrap them in foil and place on the grill or oven! Grill with the cover on until toppings get melty and delicious.
  5. Eat with a spoon!

Quote Friday

Step back in those deafening moments of sadness, anger, exhaustion, and frustration. 
Your child did not choose you for your ability to wish the difficulties away, but rather because he knew your heart held enough love to see him through.

Jul 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Are you ready for the best ever cookie.
Well, in my book at least!
I'm not great at baking, but I still try and I have to say that these cookies are hands down winners.
They were easy to make and they ALL came out great. I didn't burn any and they all rose up and looked beautiful!
Here is the recipe for the amazing peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and this makes about 16 cookies.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

To Make: 
 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
If you don't have parchment paper that is okay, i made mine without.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat to combine. On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined. Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips. 
4. Use a large cookie scoop and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet

and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Then enjoy!
We made some popcorn along with it and enjoyed a movie!


Jul 10, 2012

Pasta Ponza

I love Giada de Laurentis and I've watched tons of her shows. She is the queen of pasta and when I found this recipe for her "Pasta Ponza" filled with cherry tomatoes, capers, pasta, and parmesan cheese I knew that I had to try this. 
What an easy, quick meal with a TON of flavor. Toss it up with some sourdough bread and you've got dinner time covered!

Pasta Ponza

 Butter for greasing
2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, capers,
1 tablespoon olive oil,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the prepared baking dish.
 Toss to coat.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture.
Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden.
Cool for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl.
Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta.
Add the cheese and toss well.
Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately!

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Jul 6, 2012

Quote Friday

You have no right to destroy what you didn't create.

This can be applied to so many things in life.