Monday, June 2, 2014

june menu


I am so, so, so, so excited!  The doc has had me on a paleo diet for months - no corn, no potatoes, no sugar, no wheat, no diary.  Ugh.  I know that the diet has lots of benefits (I did lose 10 pounds!), and a lot of people have achieved much better health on it.  I have full respect for it.  But, honestly, I hated it.  I missed my recipes.

Well, folks, I'm off!  I have had the best time pouring through my cookbooks today picking out what recipes I'll be making this month.  Here's the list I've come up with.  All of the recipes with links are ones that have appeared on the blog before.  Those with asterisks are ones I'll be reviewing from a new Gooseberry Patch cookbook - they look delicious!

Angel Fluff Waffles*
Power Goop
Apple Fritters with Caramel Sauce
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Side Dishes
Bacon Ranch Beans
Cast Iron Fried Apples
Fruit Salad
Country Creamed Corn

Honey Whole-Wheat Bread

Main Dishes
Cheesy Tortellini Bake
Enchilada Casserole
Hearty Chicken Stew*
Starla's Savory Mac and Cheese*
Brown Sugar Meatloaf*
Honey-Walnut Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken Florentine Alfredo
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Cheddar Apple Salad
Apple Chicken Quesadillas

Double Chocolate Brownies*
Cherry Buckle

Friday, May 16, 2014

grilled chicken marinade

Today I'm sharing with you the final recipe that I reviewed from Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook.  Remember - you can enter to win it here!

I think I mentioned before that I'm temporarily on a paleo diet.  Ugh.  Don't get me wrong, it's great for a lot of people.  I've lost 11 pounds in the past 2 months without even trying, and it's so healthy.  But it seems like all I eat is brown rice, meat, and steamed veggies.  It has gotten very boring!

I was so excited to see an entire chapter on marinades in Gooseberry Patch's book.  This one was so simple and has turned out to be a new favorite of mine.  It took our grilled chicken to a whole new level.  Whether you bake your chicken, grill it outside, or just plop it on a counter top grill like I did, you will love the flavor this marinade imparts.

Grilled Chicken Marinade
from Gooseberry Patch's Grilling and Campfire Cooking
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dry mustard
salt to taste
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix together marinade ingredients.  Flatten chicken slightly and place in a shallow glass dish.  Pour marinade over chicken, turning to coat well.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.  Drain, discarding marinade.  Grill chicken as desired.  Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

quinoa stuffed peppers

I've recently started getting baskets of fruits and vegetables from Bountiful Baskets (you should check it out and see if it exists in your area...great program!).  I have been loving the variety of produce, and it's forced me to try things that I normally wouldn't buy in the grocery store.

For instance, one day I got 10 anaheim peppers in my basket.  What exactly do you do with 10 anaheim peppers?

My thought - why don't I stuff them with seasoned quinoa and cover them with spaghetti sauce?  BAM!  It was easy and absolutely delicious.  We've eaten this recipe twice, and I've loved it both times.  And I love that it can easily be turned vegetarian.  I've got some vegetarian friends that I love having over, but I'm running out of ideas for things to feed them.  This recipe is sure to be a hit!

If you aren't into quinoa, you could easily use rice, although I think quinoa is absolutely perfect in these peppers.  Experiment with your own favorite herbs for seasoning, and try topping it with different versions of spaghetti sauce.  I think you'll love it!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 t. parsley flakes
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 1/8 t. marjoram
  • 1/2 t. thyme
  • 2 T. sunflower seeds
  • 10 anaheim peppers

In a small saucepan, bring the water, quinoa, bay leaf, and seasonings to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Discard bay leaf and stir in sunflower seeds.

Cut stems off peppers and discard seeds.  In a large kettle, bring water to a boil.  Drop peppers in and boil for about 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  Remove peppers and spoon quinoa mixture into them.

Place peppers in a large baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until peppers are tender.  Serve with spaghetti sauce.

Monday, April 21, 2014

flaky cheddar-chive biscuits

I remember when Cookie Bandit and I were dating, he came to visit me in college and suggested that we go out to dinner.  I asked where he had in mind and was floored when he said Red Lobster!  Not that I have anything against Red Lobster, but it just seemed odd.

We were young 20-year-old college students who both hated Red Lobster?

But then I discovered the real reason he wanted us to go there.  He loves the biscuits.  Who cares if we would be the only people of our generation there?  Who cares if we'd have to eat the dreaded seafood?  As long as he got the biscuits, he was happy!

I was so thrilled to see this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine recently and knew we had to give it a try.  It's been years since we've been to Red Lobster - in fact, I think the last time was that particular date we took in college - so it was so fun to surprise Cookie Bandit with these biscuits!  They taste very similar to that restaurant favorite and easy to make.

You just combine the dry ingredients and then cut in butter...

Stir in the cheddar and chives and then add the buttermilk, stirring until just moistened.  Pat out, cut with biscuit cutters, and bake on a greased cookie sheet.

So delicious, especially when eaten fresh out of the oven.  Make sure you have plenty of butter!  Seafood is totally optional. :)

Flaky Cheddar-Chive Biscuits
from Taste of Home
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
3 T. minced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk the first five ingredients.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; stir in cheese and chives.  Add buttermilk; stir just until moistened.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8-10 times.  Pat or roll dough to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2 1/2-in. biscuit cutter.  Place 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Yields 10 biscuits.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

split pea soup

Here's another delicious and easy recipe from Gooseberry Patch's latest - 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes!  You MUST enter to win this book - go here for the giveaway!

Honestly, I didn't know what I was going to think about this one.  I decided to try it because it only called for a few ingredients and seemed relatively inexpensive.  Split pea soup has never seemed all that appetizing to me, otherwise.  But I really don't know why I doubted - this soup is great!

Because it's got ham in it, it's a full meal.  There is so much fiber and nutrients packed in, that I felt great about feeding it to my toddler.  And it was easy to customize - I swirled some sour cream in my husband's and topped mine with a bit of bacon.  Mmmmmmmm.........

Split Pea Soup
from Gooseberry Patch's Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes
1 lb. cooked ham, diced
1 lb. carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 12-oz. packages dried split peas
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ham, carrots and onion in a freezer-safe container.  Refrigerate overnight, or freeze until ready to cook.

To cook: Thaw ham mixture overnight in refrigerator if frozen.  Combine thawed ham mixture and dried peas in a slow cooker.  Add enough water to cover.  Cover and cook on high setting for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and soup becomes very thick.  Add additional water to reach desired consistency, if desired; season with salt and pepper.  Serves 8 to 10.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

101 super-easy slow-cooker recipes | review and giveaway

I may have just reviewed a Gooseberry Patch cookbook, but who says I can't go straight into reviewing another?  That's right!  Here's another review and giveaway (see bottom of post) just for you.  I love this book just as much as the last one...maybe a bit more.

Unlike many of the traditional Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, this is a flat-lay spiral bound full of large color photos - one of each recipe!  If you like pictures in your cookbooks, you'll love this book.  I love the way it's organized as well.  The chapters are divided by cooking time - "1 to 6 Hours," "6 to 8 Hours," "8 to 10 Hours," and "Make-Ahead Meals."  That's so perfect!  I'm always trying to find slow cooker recipes that will fit the amount of time I'll be away, and this takes all of the guess work out of it.  Totally ingenious, Gooseberry Patch!

There's lots of good stuff in here that I've bookmarked - Chipotle-Black Bean Dip, Perfect Pumpkin-Apple Cake, Brunswick Stew, Maple Praline Chicken, and the Easiest Rice Pudding (to name a few - but I've tried three recipes that I'll be sharing with you this week.  Here they are:

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa Beef

This is, hands-down, the best barbacoa beef we've ever had.  Chipotle, watch out!  I can't wait to share this recipe with you because I know you will agree.  Perfectly spicy, this beef needs no barbecue sauce, salsa, or other embellishment - it's just right the way it is.

Split Pea Soup

This soup only has 4 ingredients (peas, ham, carrots, onion), so it's not only easy but also economical.  I love that!  Don't let it's lack of ingredients fool you - it's got great flavor and makes the perfect base to add in other favorites, like bacon, sour cream, or tabasco.  It's also chock full of fiber and has delicious flavor.  Since it feeds a crowd, we froze half of it to enjoy later.  I love soups that are easy to assemble and freeze well.  Is there anything better?

Chicken Cacciatore

This is such a delicious meal!  Once again, not a lot of ingredients, but a lot of flavor.  Like the recipe suggested, I combined all of the ingredients in a freezer ziplock bag and froze it until we were ready.  That made making this dish so easy - just poured the bag into the slow cooker!  This is a great dish that I know will be gracing our table time and again.

I'll be sharing all of these recipes with you over the next few days, but I'm starting with Chicken Cacciatore...

I can't tell you enough just how easy this was to put together.  We didn't add in the optional sherry, and we ate ours with fettucine.  So good!

Chicken Cacciatore
from Gooseberry Patch's 101 Super-Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • cooked spaghetti
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except spaghetti and garnish in a freezer-safe container.  Refrigerate overnight, or freeze until ready to use.

To cook: Thaw chicken mixture overnight in refrigerator if frozen; spoon into a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high setting for one hour.  Turn slow cooker to low setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours more.  Remove lid during last hour of cooking to allow sauce to thicken.  Discard bay leaves.  Serve chicken mixture over spaghetti; garnish servings with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 4.
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Friday, March 28, 2014

mexican roasted cauliflower

My friends, I bring you the last in a series of recipes from Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook, Good-for-You Everyday Meals.  This one is sooooo good!  I'm actually salivating just looking at the pictures.  I've been a cauliflower fan for a while, but I never knew it could be so delicious.  My husband ate it up, too!  I have to admit - we ate the whole head of cauliflower in one sitting!

This side dish is a must next time you make Mexican food...or even just plain grilled chicken!  And don't forget the lime - it takes the cauliflower to a whole new level.

Mexican Roasted Cauliflower
from Gooseberry Patch's Good-for-You Everyday Meals

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. chili powder, or to taste
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into bite-size flowerets
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Mix oil, garlic, and spices in a large bowl.  Add cauliflower; toss to coat.  Spread in an ungreased shallow roasting pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven.  Drizzle with lime juice; sprinkle with cilantro and toss well.  Serve warm.  Makes 6 servings.

Friday, March 21, 2014

honey-lime peas

The giveaway for Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook, Good-for-You Everyday Meals, has ended and the winner is announced here.  Congratulations!

But even though the giveaway is over, I still had to share a few more of my favorite recipes.  These peas may look pretty average, but they are oh-so-good.

The honey-lime coating on these peas makes them a delicious hot side dish (we loved them alongside grilled fajita chicken) or a perfect cold topping for your favorite salad.  And they are soooo easy to make - takes just minutes!

Honey-Lime Peas
from Gooseberry Patch's Good-for-You Everyday Meals
2 12-oz. pkgs. frozen peas
2 T. rice vinegar
2 T. honey
2 T. fresh chives, snipped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cook peas according to practice directions; drain and transfer to a serving bowl.  Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender.  Pulse to combine; slowly stream in olive oil and blend well.  Drizzle mixture over cooked peas and toss to coat.  May be served warm or chilled.  Makes 8 servings.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

spicy chicken soup

Here's another great recipe from Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook, Good-for-You Everyday Meals.  If you haven't already entered the giveaway to win a copy of this book, you can do so here.

If you like chicken soup, you'll love this spiced-up version!  It's similar enough to that down-home traditional favorite to make you all warm and fuzzy inside, but it's different enough to make your everyday dinner a fiesta!

I made a few changes to the recipe when I tried it.  We had leftover chicken in the freezer, so I used the leftover meat and 8 cups of chicken broth - it worked perfectly!  We also topped ours with our favorite pico de gallo.  Absolutely delicious.  You really can't go wrong no matter what you do!

Spicy Chicken Soup
from Gooseberry Patch's Good-for-You Everyday Meals
1 lb. chicken breasts and/or thighs
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
8 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
Garnish: lime wedges, avocado slices, shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients except rice and garnish.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear.  Remove chicken and set aside to cool, reserving broth in soup pot.  Return broth to a boil; stir in rice.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.  Meanwhile, shred chicken, discarding skin and bones.  When rice is tender, return chicken to the pot and heat through.  Serve soup in large bowls, garnished with a squeeze of lime juice, a few slices of avocado and a sprinkling of cheese.  Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

energy boost smoothies

Here's the second in a series of recipe reviews from Gooseberry Patch's latest cookbook, Good-for-You Everyday Meals.  If you haven't already entered the giveaway to win a copy of this book, you can do so here.  It's fabulous!  Don't miss out on a chance to win a copy!

This smoothie has a delicious flavor, and there's no added sugars!  I was so impressed.  I do wish I had had a Magic Bullet to make it - my food processor didn't get it quite as smooth as I would like.  Despite that, Miss Pebbles declared it to be "good soup" and gobbled it right up, which is a compliment coming from a picky eater like her!

Energy Boost Smoothies
from Gooseberry Patch's Good-for-You Everyday Meals
1 ripe banana, sliced
3 to 5 strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 carrot, sliced
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 cup ice cubes
1/2 cup water
optional: flax seed to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth and well-mixed; pour into tall glasses.  Makes 2 servings.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

good-for-you everyday meals | review and giveaway!

Scroll down to enter giveaway...

Gooseberry Patch has an amazing line-up of new cookbooks coming out this year, and I'm so glad they decided to kick things off with this one...

I have been doing my very best lately to eat healthy, so I was MORE than happy to review this cookbook.  It's fabulous!  Over 200 guilt-free recipes that are easy enough for this busy mom to whip up on a weeknight.  And would you believe it - I lost over 5 pounds while reviewing this book, all while eating delicious, hearty meals!

There are several recipes that I've placed on my short list to try in the coming weeks.  I'm always looking for good breakfast recipes, and the Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes, Hearty Breakfast Quinoa, Banana Bread Pancakes, and Baked Blueberry Oatmeal totally caught my eye.  The Rosemary-Sea Salt Bread and Sweet Avocado Muffins intrigued me - I've never heard of putting avocado in a muffin, but it sounds delightful!  We will definitely be trying the Rosemary-Braised Navy Beans, Sweet Potato Chili Wedges, Summer Squash Pie, and Corn, Tomato, and Black Bean Salad this summer.  And for dessert, who wouldn't want to try Brown Sugar Pineapple Crisp with Coconut Whipped Cream?

Oh, and did I mention that two recipes from this blog are featured? :)  Around here, we love Kristin's Peasant Stew and Kickin' Pasta Sauce!

Here are the recipes that we've tried so far and our thoughts on them.  I'll be sharing all of these recipes with you in the upcoming two weeks!

Energy Boost Smoothies in "Off to a Fresh Start"

These smoothies are chock full of fruits and vegetables.  With no added sugar, it's all healthy!  The taste is incredibly good.  My food processor didn't get the drink smooth enough for my tastes (I've heard a Magic Bullet would do the trick), but little miss Pebbles couldn't get enough of it.  She said it was the best "soup" she's ever tasted! :)

Mexican Roasted Cauliflower in "Garden-Fresh Sides and Salads"

Who knew cauliflower could be so good?!  I enjoy cauliflower, but I have to be creative in order to get my husband and daughter to eat it.  This passed their test.  The spicy flavor perfectly compliments any Mexican entree (or just about any entree, for that matter).  We enjoyed it alongside marinated chicken breasts and brown rice for a delicious, healthy meal.

Spicy Chicken Soup in "Hearty Soups and Fresh-Baked Breads"

We've had more cold weather here, so I enjoyed warming up to this spicy soup.  The ingredients are simple, but the addition of a jalapeno adds a perfect boost.  I topped it off with some homemade pico de gallo - we loved it!

Honey-Lime Peas in "Garden-Fresh Sides and Salads"

These peas are out-of-this-world awesome!  We served them warm alongside our favorite spicy roast - they were perfect.  We had them cold on top of our favorite salad - they were perfect.  I love how versatile they are and how much the flavor comes out.  Next time I make these, I might turn them into a full-on pea salad, complete with cheese, onions, and peppers.  I know these will be delicious!

Black Beans and Saffron Rice in "Fish and Vegetable Mains"

And now for our favorite of the bunch!  This was such an easy meal to put together (only about 20 minutes), but you would never know it.  The taste is excellent, and I love the way that the colors just pop!  This makes quite a bit, so we enjoyed it for several meals.  This gets my blue ribbon for best weeknight meal!

Isn't that just beautiful!  See below for the recipe.

Black Beans and Saffron Rice
from Gooseberry Patch's Good-for-You Everyday Meals

  • 2 5-oz. packages saffron yellow rice, uncooked
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3/4 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 T. garlic, minced
  • 2 16-oz. cans black beans
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or salsa

Cook rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; add onion, celery, and garlic.  Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, just until crisp-tender.  Stir in beans with liquid and cumin.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.  Season with more cumin.  To serve, divide rice into individual bowls; top with bean mixture.  Garnish with pico de gallo or salsa.  Serves 6.

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