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Sunday, March 27, 2011

this weekend

 This weekend, I made this...


...and this...


...and this.


In the process, I also made this...


...and this...


...and this...


...and this.


The end.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

french toasted sandwiches

Note:  I've joined the world of Twitter!  You can click the button to the right to follow me (I think).  I'm still learning how it all works, so feel free to offer your help and advice!


These are just too cool!

They aren't exactly French toast...and they aren't exactly toasted sandwiches.  They're a bit of both (and mighty delicious, if I do say so myself)!

The inspiration for these came when I got the opportunity to review Nature's Pride's new bread - Hearty Wheat with Flax.  My husband takes sandwiches to work everyday, so I like to provide him with good bread.  I want stuff packed with whole grains, fiber, and natural ingredients.  He prefers store-bought bread for his sandwiches (as much as I've tried to convert him), so I'm always on the quest for a good product.


I think we've found a winner!  Nature's Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax is a 100% whole wheat bread made with pure olive oil.  It's got 22 grams of whole grains, and each slice contains 3 grams of fiber and only 100 calories.  Because of the flax seed it's also a good source of Omega 3's...something we especially need since we don't eat a lot of seafood.

Oh...I almost forgot...this bread tasted great!  Now...onto the recipe...

Because this is a lunch sandwich and not a "stuffed French toast" concoction, we're going to add some deli flavors to the outside of the bread.  The line-up?  Egg substitute, Dijon mustard, and Miracle Whip (or, if you prefer, regular mayo).  Combine 1/4 cup of the egg substitute with a tablespoon each of the mustard and Miracle Whip.


Go ahead and make your sandwiches.  We chose cheddar, turkey, bacon, and hot honey mustard...yum!


Spread your eggy mixture onto the outside of both sides of the sandwich.  Place in a preheated, greased nonstick skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides.


Voila!  Delicious sandwich, great bread, fabulous new toasting method...delightful!


French Toasted Sandwiches
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. Miracle Whip or mayo

Combine the ingredients and spread on both sides of sandwiches.  Place sandwiches on a greased and preheated nonstick skillet.  Cook over medium heat, turning once, until sandwich has browned on both sides.  Makes 2 sandwiches.

Disclaimer: Nature's Pride sent me a loaf of their bread; however, the sandwich recipe and review of the bread are my own.  The recipe will work with any bread, by the way!  


P.S. I think my husband's a hottie. :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

nutella mug cake

This Week's Craving is chocolate, chocolate chocolate!  I decided that I wanted to showcase an easy chocolate recipe - fast to whip up, fast to down.  I also wanted absolutely no leftovers!  I'm trying to get swimsuit ready, and a load of chocolate cookies isn't going to help me get there.


To the rescue...The Family Kitchen!  This beautiful blog has a post on Nutella mug cake (you really should check it out - her picture is SO much better than mine).  I love mug cakes - you know, the kind you mix right in your coffee mug and then microwave to perfection?  They don't require a lot of effort and leave me perfectly satisfied.

My husband declared this mug cake the best he's ever had.


A few thoughts on this recipe:
  • The recipe calls for self-rising flour.  If you don't have that in your cabinet (and I didn't), use all-purpose flour with a little baking powder mixed in.  By "a little," I mean 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.  
  • Use the largest mug you've got.  I used one of my larger mugs, and as you can tell from my picture, it still overflowed a bit.  
  • Mix your batter really, really, really well.  Otherwise, you might have bits of scrambled egg or clumps of flour mixed into your lovely cake.
Nutella Mug Cake
from The Family Kitchen
4 T. self-rising flour
4 T. sugar
1 egg
3 T. cocoa powder
3 T. Nutella
3 T. milk
3 T. olive or vegetable oil.

Combine all ingredients in a large coffee mug (I suggest spraying the mug with cooking spray first).  Whisk well with a fork until smooth.  Microwave on high for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until done.

Toppings: You could top with whipped cream, but I generally prefer whipping up a thin chocolate glaze.  I mix a teaspoon of cocoa with one tablespoon of powdered sugar, and then I add milk until it's just the right consistency.  You want it a bit thin so that it will seep through the cake...yum!


This post was linked up with Gooseberry Patch's Recipe Round-up as well as...

Chocolate!

Friday, March 18, 2011

pizza lasagna


If you love pizza and you love lasagna, then you'll really love combining the two. :)

This is an easy and fun dish to make...best of all, it's totally customizable.  Slap your favorite pizza toppings in between lasagna noodles, and you are good to go!  Here's how we did it...

Brown some ground turkey with chopped up green pepper and onion.


Whip up this snazzy sauce...it's a cross between pizza sauce and "lasagna" sauce, and it uses pre-made tomato soup!  Mixing this together takes only a snap.


Spread a bit of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, just to get it lightly covered.


Place cooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce...


Top with 1/3 of the remaining sauce, 1/3 of the ground turkey mixture, and another favorite topping...we used olives!


Top all of that with some freshly shredded mozzarella.


For the next layer, lay down your coked lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, 1/3 of the ground meat mixture, and some more favorite toppings.  I layered on some mushrooms and pepperoni.


You continue layering until you've got all three layers.  I love putting different types of toppings in between each layer.  This lasagna is loaded!

Cover it with foil and bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until the inside is heated through and bubbling.  Take the foil off and bake it for additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is all melted.


This dish easily serves 12 and is really fun to make and experiment with.  Hope you love it!



Pizza Lasagna
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 oz) tomato soup
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 t. each oregano and garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
9 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente according to package directions
2 cups shredded mozzarella
4 oz. sliced mushrooms
6 green onions, chopped
1 can (2 1/4 oz.) sliced olives, drained

Brown turkey, onion, and green pepper in a skillet until meat is cooked through.   For sauce, combine diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato soup, and seasonings.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of a greased baking dish.  Layer 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce.  Spread 1/3 of meat mixture and 1/3 of remaining sauce over the lasagna noodles.  Sprinkle olives over the top, and then cover with 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of meat mixture, 1/3 of the sauce, mushrooms, and cheese.  Repeat layer one last time with remaining lasagna noodles, remaining meat mixture, remaining sauce, green onions, and cheese.

Cover and bake 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover and bake 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Gluten-free variation: Use gluten-free lasagna noodles...works great!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

every little bit helps

Like many of you, I have been watching the headlines for a week now and praying for Japan.  The devastation is unbelievable...sometimes it's hard to know how to respond, especially when we are so far away.  I'm so grateful to organizations like the Red Cross that help people like me to make a difference by combining my meager donation with others across the globe. 

My donation didn't just come from me, though.  In fact, it came from you.  I earn a small amount of money for each hit my site gets.  I've only had ads for a short time now, so I've only made $220...but this morning I put all of that money toward the Red Cross efforts in Japan. 

I want to thank all of my readers for helping me help Japan...it might not be much, but every little bit helps.

P.S. The Red Cross has no idea who I am and is only one of several excellent humanitarian and relief organizations out there.  I chose them because they are already on the ground in Japan through their Japanese branches, and I believe that they have the power and resources to really put my donation to good use.  I encourage you to donate to whatever organization you believe will best meet the needs of the people in Japan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

spinach lentil stew


Last week, I discovered lentils. :-)


I can't believe I've never had these before!  They are delicious, and this soup is the perfect (and easy) way to eat them.  It was so easy that there was no point in taking step-by-step photos.  I'm looking forward to more rainy days so that I can have this again!



Spinach Lentil Stew
from Taste of Home's Light and Tasty 2004
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. canola oil
5 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
4 t. vegetable or chicken bullion granules
3 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/4 t. pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup chopped carrots
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 T. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender.  Add the water, lentils, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add carrots, tomatoes, and spinach; return to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes longer or until lentils are tender.  Stir in vinegar.  Discard bay leaf before serving.  Serves 6

Nutrition: 168 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g cholesterol, 1123mg sodium, 27g carbs, 10g fiber, 10g protein.

Monday, March 14, 2011

marinated veggie salad


I'm absolutely horrible at making salads.  Just horrible!  Whenever I have company and they ask what they can bring, I always say salad.  At least if they bring the salad my reputation as a cook will still be intact. :-)

One of my issues with salads is that it's hard to make a fancy salad for two.  Once you toss the lettuce in dressing, it must be eaten immediately.  And then there's the matter of all of the fixings...it would take forever to prepare all of the different veggies just to only use a small amount.  (Okay, okay, really these things are just excuses...I'm just bad at making salads!)

Salads may be out for me, but I've recently discovered that I can handle marinated veggies.  This version is easy to prepare and doesn't wilt after being in the refrigerator.  I love it!

Start by trimming a pound of asparagus and then cutting it into smaller pieces.  To trim asparagus, just hold both ends of the stalk and start to bend.  It will snap naturally - throw away the base and keep the top.


Place asparagus in a microwave-safe dish and pour in 2 tablespoons of water.  Cover and microwave for 3-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is crisp tender.  Drain out the water and let the asparagus cool for a while.


Prepare all of your other veggies, especially the avocado.  Aren't avocados delicious?


Combine all of the veggies in a large bowl and mix them together.  Look at the bursts of color! 


Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake.  Then pour your dressing over the veggies, toss them to coat, and stick the whole mess in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.


This is one veggie salad I know you'll love!



Marinated Veggie Salad
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
8 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1 medium summer squash, diced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Place asparagus and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe dish.  Cover and microwave on high for 3-6 minutes, or until crisp tender.  Drain and cool.

In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, mushrooms, avocado, zucchini, tomato and onion; toss gently.  In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well.  Pour over salad and toss gently to coat.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.  Serves 7.




Green!
 
In celebration of all things Irish, we're sharing our greenest recipes today!  Be sure to link up yours.


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