Sharing our food successes and failures, new recipes and old favorites
...and throwing in some great money-saving deals here and there!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Luke's recent menu

I haven't updated about Luke's solids in awhile, so I thought I'd write a quick note to let everyone know what Luke is eating! After trying oatmeal with him unsuccessfully, I finally decided to give up on the cereal - he just HATES it. We haven't ventured back to rice, despite knowing there is no allergy, because I'm just too worried about going through the vomiting again.

I know he has no milk allergy, so I've been feeding him vanilla yogurt for breakfast. He enjoys it plain, but to add some nutrients, I add mashed up banana. He likes it, although every once in awhile he gets a small chunk and has no idea what to do with it. Here he is enjoying his banana yogurt!
For a veggie, I bought eggplant, green beans, carrots and sweet potatoes at the store. I steamed a sweet potato yesterday and added a few shakes of cinnamon while pureeing it. He loved it! In fact, I took a bit and gave Linds a bite...and it seriously took feats of strength for us not to devour the rest of it. I need to start making mashed sweet potatoes at dinner - healthy and scrumptious!

I'm planning to make a few recipes that I've found on my FAVORITE homemade baby food site: That site is the most comprehensive I've found and offers so much great information. If you're interested in making baby food, you MUST check out Wholesome Baby Food!

Jan. 30 - Cottage Cheese Enchiladas

I want to get some good, authentic Mexican recipes in my collection (not the American version of Mexican food) and found a recipe for cottage cheese enchiladas that sounded yummy. It might not have been 100% what I was looking for, but I love enchiladas and figured we'd give this a try. The prep time is a bit long, so I decided to make it on a Saturday when, a) I have a few hours before dinner to make it in stages, and b) I have the boy at home to keep the kids entertained so I don't have to listen to the screaming if I'm not paying enough attention to them.

I think the prep time was probably between 30 and 45 minutes and the cook time was about 35 minutes (although it could have used maybe another 10). I thought they were good...I didn't make any sides but I could have used some refried beans or rice to make it more complete. The boy really enjoyed them, and even Linds ate a half of one (they were just a tiny bit spicier than I figured she'd like). I'm looking for some more Mexican recipes (any dishes, really), so you if you have one, please share it!

Cottage Cheese Enchiladas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - boiled and shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce

  1. To Make Meat Mixture: Heat oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, onion and green chile peppers and saute until browned, then add taco seasoning and prepare meat mixture according to package directions.
  2. To Make Cheese Mixture: In a medium bowl mix sour cream with cottage cheese and season with salt and pepper; stir until well blended.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. To Assemble Enchiladas: Heat tortillas until soft. In each tortilla place a spoonful of meat mixture, a spoonful of cheese mixture and a bit of shredded cheese. Roll tortillas and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with any remaining meat and cheese mixture, enchilada sauce and remaining shredded cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan. 29 - Leftovers

The boy went out after work last night for some drinks and appetizers, so Linds and I were on our own for dinner. She had eaten a soft pretzel while we were at the mall, so she snacked on some grapes and cheese before going to bed. We still had some baked potato pizza left over from Thursday, so I reheated a slice of that and poured myself a glass of Fish Eye's Riesling. The wine isn't too bad for inexpensive stuff and the pizza tasted as delicious as ever!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jan. 28 - Baked Potato Pizza

Another mom in the club just had a baby (and what an absolutely adorable little man he is - so tiny...neither of my kids were ever under 8 lbs. and this one was about 6.5 lbs!). I made my "Helping Hands" staple - a baked potato pizza and salad with dessert. It's easier to just double everything I do and eat half of it myself, so we're having that for dinner! I bought a whole wheat crust to try and give it a little bit more of a healthier vibe and it tasted good. Wegmans' pre-made pizza crusts are fantastic and their wheat bread is the BEST. We muched on the brownies for dessert, too, that we made yesterday. I didn't have a chance to make Luke any of his new food yet (eggplant! avocado-'nana mash! sweet potatoes and apples!), but hopefully that will keep me busy for part of tomorrow. Here are our pizzas:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jan. 27 - Brownies!

Did you know it is National Chocolate Cake Day?! In honor of the day, my oven being fixed, and since I'm only making leftovers because I need to grocery shop this evening, Linds and I made brownies. We're not big cake eaters, and I didn't want a big cake sitting in the house, so I found an amazingly easy and scrumptious brownie recipe that I am head-over-heels in love with! Here's Linds helping to prepare (she is a bit of a grump today!).

Best Brownies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pan. If you use a glass dish, turn heat down by 25 degrees and bake a few minutes longer.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Use a wooden spoon to mix and do NOT use a blender (they won't be as fudge-y if you blend).
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, making sure not to over cook.
Lindsay was able to help mix everything and even helped clean up.

These are 100% a HUGE hit and far surpass anything I've made from a box! Not much more work either.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan. 26 - Spaghetti and Applesauce

Well, we have no working oven, so I needed something to do on the stove top (since we used the crock pot yesterday). Figured spaghetti was easy enough...especially since I also have a bunch of sauce in the fridge. I used the same kind as I did for the Chicken Parm Sub (see

And without an oven, I couldn't do any bread or biscuits like I wanted, so I made some applesauce on the stovetop and the kids and I ate that. Linds absolutely LOVES homemade applesauce and I also served some to Luke, mixed in with the squash I made last week (just a box of frozen stuff, so nothing fancy yet!). Here's my applesauce recipe:

4 apples (I used Gala this time), cored and chopped up (you can also peel them, although I like to keep the skin on for a little extra fiber)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 packets of Splenda (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup sugar but that was just WAY too sweet!)
3/4 cup water

  1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Once finished, blend in a food processor to make it a smoother blend.

Linds gobbled up a pretty big bowl after her dinner and Luke scarfed down a few dallops that were mixed in with his squash. I'm super stoked to go grocery shopping tomorrow so that I can get the little guy all sorts of fresh fruits and veggies to mash up and serve him! I made all of Lindsay's food and hate, hate, HATE serving jarred stuff to him for the past month, but I just haven't had time to hit the grocery store. I'm picking up some avocado, bananas and peaches for fruits (there's a great peachy banana 'cado blend with yogurt that I'm dying to try out!), and I'm going to do some green beans and eggplant for veggies (he's never done eggplant and I'm not too huge a fan, but maybe we can both learn to love it together). I also have carrots at home I can steam just in case he doesn't dig the eggplant. I'm probably only shopping tomorrow night after the boy comes home from work, so it may not be until Thursday that I have a good update of what he enjoys.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan. 25 - Chicken & Dumplings

I've been meaning to make this for what seems like forever, but just finally got around to it. It's a great cool-weather meal - hearty, warm and not too heavy. I served mine with corn tonight (starch overload!), but I also like it with steamed or braised carrots.

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 10-ounce packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

  1. Place chicken, butter, soup and onion in crockpot. Fill with enough water to cover.
  2. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 hours on high. About 45 minutes to an hour before serving, place torn biscuit dough in crockpot. Cook until dough is no longer raw.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan. 24 - Kraft Mac-n-Cheese

It was a SUPER lazy day - I'm talking, stay-in-your-PJs, watch movies, do absolutely nothing lazy day. Linds let us sleep (and stayed asleep herself!) until almost 10 a.m., and then we watched Finding by about 3:00 I realized I hadn't eaten anything, nor had she, aside from the waffle for breakfast. We ended up making a "lupper" and had none other than Kraft macaroni and cheese. And as crazy as it sounds, it tasted GOOD! I need to go grocery shopping this week (I'm thinking Thursday), so I'm going to start making a list of meals tomorrow. Any suggestions? Leave a comment with some ideas!

Jan. 23 - Crab Legs!

We dined at Casa de Kurzeja on Saturday night and had the most amazing meal! Sarah steamed crab legs, which were absolutely amazing and we had cheesy garlic croissants, salad and hushpuppies on the side. I made the salad and hush puppies and have two great recipes to share!

First, the salad - it was just a simple romaine, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cheese and croutons mixture, but the dressing was the key. I found a copy cat recipe for Olive Garden's salad dressing and it was perfect! Here it is:

Olive Garden Dressing
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons light mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon water

  1. Mix all ingredients, shaking vigorously. Serve chilled.
The other dish I made - hushpuppies - were a hit! The boy kept talking about them all's not like him to rave about food, so I guess this was a fan favorite. Here's that recipe:

Hush Puppies
Oil for frying
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten

  1. Using a deep pot, heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Stir in the onions.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg.
  5. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry mixture and mix until well blended.
  6. Drop the batter, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning hushpuppies during the cooking process. 
Now, I didn't have self-rising anything or buttermilk, so I made a few changes to the recipe. In place of self-rising cornmeal, I used regular cornmeal and added 2 1/4 tablespoons of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. As far as the flour, I used regular flour and 3/4 tablespoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. For the butterrmilk, I used skim milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. It's nice not having to go out and by a whole bunch of stuff I knew I wouldn't use for much else!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan. 22 - Pizza Night

In honor of Hoover tradition, we had a "Pizza Friday" (we used to do this when we were kids every week - always loved it!). The boy and I are really diggin Domino's new crust (the garlic makes it SO much more delicious), and they're pretty much the only place that delivers, so we got that. We got a large hand-tossed with sausage and a medium half-mushroom thin crust. Can't beat not having to cook or clean up a big mess!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Green Rice Krispies Treats

Linds was in the mood to make Rice Krispies treats, so we decided to whip up a batch. She insisted they be green (her favorite color), so I pulled out my green food coloring and - ta da! - green Rice Krispies treats! Here's the marshmallow/butter mixture:

And here's the recipe!

Green Rice Krispies Treats
3 tablespoons butter
10 oz. bag mini-marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies
few drops of green food coloring

  1. Melt butter on low in large saucepan.
  2. Once melted, pour in marshmallows; add a few drops of green food coloring once marshmallows are creamy.
  3. Mix in Rice Krispies.
  4. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan/baking dish. Use wax paper to flatten top.
  5. Let cool for about an hour.

Jan. 21 - Leftovers & Bee My Honey Fruit Dip

We have lasagna and chili leftovers to eat tonight, so no fun dinner to share. I did, however, make a fruit dip that I'm taking to a lunch with friends tomorrow...and it is deeeeelicious! I hadn't had a chance to make it before, but now that I have, I will definitely make it more often. Here's the recipe:

Bee My Honey Fruit Dip
8 oz. softened cream cheese (I used reduced-fat)
7 oz. marshmallow fluff
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Assorted fruit for dipping

  1. Blend first six ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Serve chilled with fruit.
You can't beat this low-fat, scrumptious dip!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan. 20 - Chili & Corn Muffins

I made one of my *favorite* cold-weather meals - chili & corn muffins! I was thinking about going all out and doing my sweet potato cornbread from scratch, but alas, the Jiffy box called and I took the easy route. The boy absolutely loves this chili recipe - in fact, he's said it's the best kind he's ever had. Compliments will get you anywhere with me ;-)

I can't remember where I got the chili recipe, but it's a snap to make and can be done on the stove or with a crockpot. I did mine on the stove since I was home the whole day, but I've cooked it both ways and don't have a preference. The corn muffins are a no-brainer...although I did follow a suggestion on the box: mix the batter, let it sit for about 3 or 4 minutes, remix and pour into the liners. Not sure if it's psychosomatic, but the muffins were much  moister and tastier than when I mix and pour immediately.

Here's the chili recipe - enjoy!

2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
8 oz. jar of salsa
4 tablespoons of chili seasoning
15 oz. light red kidney beans
15 oz. dark red kidney beans

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender.
  2. Drain grease if desired (I always do).
  3. Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning and beans.
  4. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least an hour.
If you choose to use a crockpot, the recipe suggests adding a can of beef broth. When I did that, it turned out way too soupy, so perhaps try 1/2 a can? This one takes about 15 or 20 minutes of preparation and then about an hour of cook time (stove top recipe). I did a rough estimate of the calories in this dish before, and if split into 6 servings, it's about 500 calories per serving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jan. 19 Sweet & Sour Pork

I tried a new crockpot recipe today - sweet and sour pork - and served it over rice with a side of green beans and almonds. The pork was dry (despite being cooked all day in a juicy sauce), the flavor was blah (there definitely was a sweet and sour flavor there...just not very good), and I was pretty disappointed with the result. Linds refused to eat it...she took one bite and walked away from the table. Scott said it was okay, but he wouldn't miss it if it didn't make the rotation. Needless to say, I won't be putting that dish together again!

I'm not going to bother posting the recipe, but it was pretty much pineapple, diced green pepper, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, ketchup and a few other things mixed together and served over the pork. Here's how it looked in the crockpot:

Then here's the final product:

The green beans tasted delicious and I snacked on some leftover Amish bread tonight (even better the next day!). I'm dying for a glass of wine, but trying to cut back on my wine consumption during the week (between trying to shave off those last few pregnancy pounds and making sure I'm not hitting the bottle too hard on a regular basis!). Oh, well, tomorrow will be a better day! It's either chicken and dumplings or chili - need to think about what I should defrost...hmmm...

Egg Salad

I was in the mood for some egg salad today (and needed to use up some of the two dozen eggs I have in my fridge!), so I decided to make some for lunch. Linds loves it just as much as I do...although I can't help but giggle to myself every time I talk about making it after watching The 40 Year Old Virgin. ("I went out and got, like, a dozen eggs and I boiled them all and then I just I-I spent, I don't know, probably three hours... like three and a half hours making you know, the mayonnaise and the onions and paprika and, you know, all the accoutrement. And then by the time I was done I just really didn't feel like eating it.") Now, my recipe doesn't take 3.5 hours (only about 20 minutes), but it sure is delicious. And, unlike Andy, I always want to eat it when I'm finished!

Here's my recipe...I don't like onion in mine, although the original recipe calls for it.

Egg Salad
6 hard-cooked eggs, diced
2 tablespoons light mayo
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients; stir well.
  2. Cover and chill.
Yield: 6 servings. About 100 calories per serving.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jan. 18 - Lasagna & Amish Bread

I *finally* broke in my bread maker! I decided to make the frozen lasagna I bought last week at BJs (a 12-person size lasagna for only $6.50!) and I figured what better side dish than some bread? It was super easy once I figured out how to take the bread pan out (which was a good 20 minute ordeal) and it tasted delicious! The lasagna was pretty good, too (nothing like a homemade one, but god it's so nice to have a quick easy meal every so often!).

On a separate note, El Vez was phenomenal! We got 2 pitchers of margaritas, the Nacho Mamma appetizer (nachos with black beans), and then I got the enchilada sampler (black bean, shrimp and chicken) and the boy got surf and turf tacos. We were way too stuffed to get dessert, but they sounded so good. Maybe next time? Here's my margarita!

Here's the Amish Bread recipe - it's not strikingly full of flavor, but it's a great, soft bread - Linds couldn't get enough!

Amish Bread
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water

  1. Put ingredients into bread pan starting with wet ingredients, then dry ingredients, and finally the yeast.
  2. Select white bread setting; press start.
Bake time is about 3 hours or so and it makes a 1 - 1 1/2 lb. loaf. Here's the finished product!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan. 16/17 - Leftovers & Date Day!

On Saturday, we were at my in-laws' to celebrate my MIL's birthday and spent the afternoon snacking on pizza, chips and pretzels. By the time we got home we weren't too hungry, so we skipped a big dinner and just ate some leftovers.

Today, the boy and I have our first "date day" in what seems like years (I'm probably exaggerating just a tad), so we won't be around for lunch or dinner. We've got a "lupper" reservation for 3 p.m. at El Vez (Restaurant Week in the excited to eat here!) and then we're going to see Body Worlds 2 at the Franklin Institute. Since we're eating a large mid-day meal, I'm cooking up some scrambled eggs and hashbrowns for breakfast.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jan. 15 - Ham & Cheese Loaf

This one was SO easy that I can't believe I haven't made it before! It's a pseudo-stromboli...just ham and cheese rolled up in a refrigerated pizza crust. I took pictures as I went along...

First, unroll the refrigerated pizza crust on a baking sheet.

Second, lay down some slices of provolone (or your favorite cheese).

Third, place about a dozen slices of ham deli meat down.

Fourth, top with some shredded cheddar cheese (I was out, so I used Mexican cheese).And, last of all, roll the long side up, pinching the seam after it is in roll form.

Tuck ends under and bake for 35 minutes at 350. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. You can use marinara to dip, but we decided to use mustard. I added some broccoli and cheese on the side (can never have too much cheese, huh?). Prep time was about 5 minutes - can't beat that. Enjoy!

Lindsay loved hers!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jan. 14 - Stove Top Easy Chicken Bake

If you don't mind a dinner filled with a bunch of processed ingredients, and are looking for something that's quick to make, then give the Stove Top Easy Chicken Bake a try! I only started thinking of what to do for dinner around 3ish, and two of the four choices were crockpot meals, so it left the chicken bake or ham and cheese stromboli. We hadn't done chicken in a few days, which helped make it an easy choice.

Prep time for this one is only about 10 minutes and cook time is 30 - 40 minutes (the recipe calls for 30 minutes, but mine needed 40 today).

Stove Top Easy Chicken Bake
6 oz. Stove Top stuffing mix (will need butter for this
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup sour cream
16 oz. frozen vegetables, thawed, drained

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside.
  3. Mix chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables; pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish (grease it so the stuff doesn't stick).
  4. Top with stuffing mix and bake 30 - 40 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Little Pink Turtle Virtual Party!

Good friends of mine own a virtual homemade hair "bow"-tique - The Little Pink Turtle! I'm hosting a virtual party for them, complete with a 10% discount if you use my special code! Please take a look at their site - you'll find all sorts of goodies. The sale starts on Thursday and runs through the following Thursday.

You’re invited to an online “Little Pink Turtle” party!

During the week of January 14th through January 21st you are invited to shop with a 10% discount! Just enter the discount code “LUVFROMERICA” during checkout. It’s that easy!

The Little Pink Turtle offers a unique selection of hair accessories for your girls, toddlers and babies at reasonable prices. With a growing selection of bows, clips, headbands, beanie, caps, hair bow holders and pacifier clips, your baby is sure to stand out!  No girls in the family? The Little Pink Turtle also offers unique baby gifts and birthday presents. Custom orders can also be taken for uniforms, birthdays, or any outfit you would like to match!

Jan. 13 - Taco Salads

I whipped up some taco salads for dinner tonight, and boy were they yummy! They're so easy to make - they only take 15 or 20 minutes to make, and it's easy to customize them to each person's liking. On mine, I use lettuce (I use the bag with field greens, carrots and radishes), ground beef seasoned with taco spices, Mexican cheese blend, corn, black beans, crushed tortilla strips, salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The boy doesn't do corn, black beans or the guac, but everything else. I tried giving some to Linds, but she opted for leftover pizza instead - I guess for her 3-year old taste buds that's to be expected. Here's my salad!

So if you plan to make a taco salad, what goes on yours?

DOLE 30 Day Challenge

DOLE 30 Day Challenge

I always love a good freebie! If you buy 8 4-container packages of Dole fruit bowls, you get two weeks for free (a $10 value). You have from 1/10 - 2/10. Pretty kick ass deal!

Jan. 12 - Coppa 82

An impromptu gathering with our friends, the Kurzejas, edged into mealtime, so we ordered some AMAZING pizza from Coppa 82 in Downingtown. It is easily the best pizza in this area! No recipe to add to today's post, but I highly recommend trying their stuff if you are in the Chester County area.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan. 11 - Pasta Primavera

In the wake of yesterday's highly-caloric dinner at Misconduct Tavern, I thought it would be a good idea to make a healthier dinner. I decided to do a pasta primavera (okay, yeah, the sauce was probably laden with calories, but there were a ton of veggies, so I felt a lot less guilty). I'd never made this, but had it in my collection for quite some time.

Knowing the boy wouldn't eat the veggies, I made extra sauce, but that was unnecessary - he was easily able to pick around the stuff he didn't want. Linds liked it, too - ate most of the veggies and all of the pasta. I couldn't believe how much of the dinner she ate - she had already eaten a waffle with peanut butter, craisins, strawberries, yogurt and granola (just for breakfast!), tomato soup and pretzels (lunch), and a 100-calorie snack bag of popcorn for snack. This kid has my appetite (and luckily the boy's metabolism!). Luke ate well, today, too - blueberries and apples for breakfast, chicken and squash for lunch, and bananas for dinner. He even snacked on some Gerber Puffs - some of which he picked up himself!

Below is the pasta primavera recipe. Prep time and cook time are about 30 minutes total. It's not something I'd make often, but it was a nice change to our typical spaghetti and marinara pasta dishes. Enjoy!

Pasta Primavera
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup chicken broth
1 T unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
6 thin asparagus spears
1 cup each diced zucchini and yellow squash
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas and carrots
1 lb fresh fettuccine
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Torn basil leaves

  1. Heat large pot of salted water to boiling. 
  2. In a food processor, puree the ricotta, broth, butter, salt and pepper. Pour into a large heatproof bowl. 
  3. Add asparagus, zucchini, squash and peas and carrots to the pot. While vegetables are cooking, place heatproof bowl on top of pot to warm the sauce. 
  4. Cook vegetables 2 to 3 minutes; remove with slotted spoon to bowl with sauce. 
  5. Add pasta to same pot of boiling water and cook 3 minutes; drain and toss with vegetables, sauce and tomatoes. Top with Parmesan cheese and basil.

Crockpot Meatloaf

This one is for Dave! It is, by far, the moistest and most delicious meatloaf I've ever had.

Crockpot Meatloaf

2 lbs. ground chuck
1/2 lb. bulk sausage
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 clove garlic
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup crushed saltines
3 large potatoes sliced in 1/4" thick fingers

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Line bottom of crockpot with potato fingers.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except sauce) in a large bowl. Mix well; shape into a loaf and place on top of potatoes.
  3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour over loaf.
  4. Cook 8 - 12 hours on low.
Usually I toss some baby carrots in about half-way into cooking for the veggie and whip up some mashed potatoes to go along with it. The sauce is a little sweet, but a great complement. Leave a comment once you make it and let me know what you think!

Jan. 10 - Wicked & Misconduct Tavern

On Sunday, my mom, sister and I *finally* celebrated my mom's birthday (only 7 months late?!?) with a trip to Philadelphia to see Wicked. The show was absolutely incredible...we all loved it! The matinée show ran from 1:00 to about 4:00, so afterwards we decided to grab dinner at Misconduct Tavern, which was right down the street. This was the first bar my sister ever went to when she moved down to Philly, so it held some nostalgia for her. The food was amazing - we split two entrées and two appetizers...and polished off EVERYTHING! We had crab and artichoke bruschetta, onion rings with a peppercorn dipping sauce, grilled cheese (melted gruyere and provolone on brioche with sweet pepper relish), and (my favorite of the night!) pears and brie served on a baguette with a chunky apple-walnut spread. I also enjoyed a couple glasses of Victory's Helios Saison beer. After all that food, though, I feel like I'm a thousand pounds heavier than I was a day ago! Tonight I'm making some pasta primavera so I can get in some much-needed veggies.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan. 9 - Chicken Parm Sub

I've been wanting to copy a chicken parmesan sub that a fellow MOMS Club member made for me when Luke was born, and I thought that since my mom was in for the night it was better for four mouths to attack it than three. I was geared up to make it, but a screaming (hungry!) baby kept me on the couch while mom made it as I shouted instructions to her. I think it tasted all the more delicious that I didn't have to make it?!?

This one doesn't have a formal recipe since I pretty much made it up as I went (and for the sake of easy posting, I'm pretending I actually made it myself). I bought a large loaf of Italian bread from Wegmans and brushed it with garlic butter. Then, I tossed four slices of provolone cheese on each side.

Setting that aside, I cooked a bag of Tyson chicken strips in the oven (400 degrees F for about 15 - 20 minutes, flipping half-way through cooking time; leave the oven on for later). Once finished, I cut them into bite-size chunks and mixed them into my home-made spaghetti sauce (I'll post that recipe below!).

I then took the chicken and sauce and scooped it into the loaf and cooked it until the cheese melted (about 5 or 10 minutes). And voila! Chicken parmesan on a garlic bread loaf. DELICOUS! It was a bit messy (we used a fork to eat the stuff that fell out), but definitely scrumptious. I think if we wouldn't have cut the whole way through the loaf it may have held better (just cut to about one inch on each side). It wasn't long to make - heat the sauce up when you cook the chicken, and butter the bread and lay the cheese down during that time, too. Prep time is almost nonexistent since it coincides with cook time, which was about 30 minutes max. If you use Perdue chicken strips instead of the frozen Tyson strips, it would probably take a whopping 10 or 15 minutes between prep and cook time. Here's the finished product!

Here's my spaghetti sauce recipe:

Spaghetti Sauce

3/4 cup onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. 
  2. Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf. 
  3. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 90 minutes. 
  4. Stir in tomato paste, basil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more. 
The thing I love best about this spaghetti sauce is that it makes almost 4 dinners worth. I freeze mine in tupperware and then pull one out the morning I plan to use it. I actually prefer this recipe to jarred sauce (which I was always a fan of). Hope you enjoy this one...we sure did! Let me know if you try it.

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Coupon Mom: How to Cut Grocery Bills in Half

    Some great tips in this article!

    Coupon Mom: How to Cut Grocery Bills in Half

    Jan. 8 - Leftovers & Wine

    One of my goals this year is to lessen the amount of food we waste (we toss WAY too much stuff), so we're going to be doing a lot more leftovers than we have in the past. There is some baked potato pizza and mixed-up enchiladas we haven't finished, so we'll have that for dinner tonight.

    In place of a recipe, I wanted to share my new favorite wine! We received a bottle of Funky Llama wine from Scott's uncle and it is EXCELLENT. I looked it up on the PA Wine & Spirits site and they sell it at all of the stores for only $7 for small bottle or $13 for the big one. We polished off a small bottle of the pinot noir easily last night. I'm not usually a red wine drinker (I prefer white), but my taste buds are slowly learning to enjoy a wider variety. I'll still take a glass of Blue Nun any day, but I think I could get used to some reds on an occasional basis, too.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Jan. 7 - Mixed-up enchiladas & the strike is over!

    As of 5 p.m., Luke has finished his nursing strike! Yee-haw! I tried every trick suggested by lactation consultants and as I was nearing the end of my rope, I decided the "warm bath" trick - take a bath with the baby, get a lot of skin-to-skin contact and try again. Luckily, it worked! We've had a few sessions since then, so I'm confident he's back on the wagon.

    We have some pizza leftover from dinner last night, but only enough for one person. I figured we'd do a "leftovers" Friday, so I wanted to make something tonight that would leave some extras. I decided to do the mixed-up enchiladas - pretty much a mixture of everything you'd normally find in enchiladas, served over rice. It's, by far, one of my favorite dinners - but definitely not diet-friendly. It may not look entirely appetizing, but good lord, it is DELICIOUS!!

    Mixed-up Enchiladas
    1 - 2 lbs. ground beef
    1/2 small onion
    Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
    1 can enchilada sauce
    1 small can chopped green chilies
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    10 corn tortillas, crushed
    1 - 2 cups cheddar cheese

    1. Brown ground beef. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.
    2. When complete, add green chilies, enchilada sauce and cream of mushroom soup. Mix well.
    3. Add corn tortillas, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
    4. Cover with cheese and let melt.
    5. Serve after a few minutes over rice.

    Give it a shot when you aren't feeling diet-conscious and let me know what you think!

      Day 5 of the Nursing Strike

      It's really hitting me today that Luke hasn't nursed in five days, and I'm very bothered by it. I have always taken great pride in the fact that Lindsay never had a drop of formula and I hoped it would be the same with Luke. I love breastfeeding and it was something I was good at...and since I'm no longer working and accomplishing great things in my career at this time, the things that I kick ass at in my mommy life are great sources of pride. But now that Luke is refusing to nurse and I can't coax him back, it's a total blow to my ego.

      And it's not just all about me - this pumping thing is taking time away from my kiddos. I'm sitting here, tethered to this machine for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours to keep my supply up, and then I feed Luke the bottle I just pumped out (because I'm barely getting enough out to feed him at a time). It's almost 35 minutes between that and cleaning the parts. Poor Linds probably feels like she is being ignored, and that eats away at me, too!

      I think the worst of it is how much I miss the little things...the feeling of his hand brushing my chest as he nursed, the look in his eyes he'd get as soon as he started sucking, the smile he'd give me mid-session that just spoke a, "thanks mom" in volumes.

      I'm praying that this ends soon because part of me is ready to just give up, but I know I'll regret it the second I do...we aren't even half-way to our goal of 18 months. I'm going to go down to the basement and dig out more bottles (they are buried deep underneath the steps) in hopes that all that work jinxes it and he goes back to nursing?!? Wishful thinking!

      Wednesday, January 6, 2010

      Jan. 6 - Baked Potato Pizza & Banana Bread Muffins

      A friend of mine from the MOMS Club recently had a baby and it was my turn to drop her off a meal today. There are always lots of casseroles and stews that are brought to new moms (perfect comfort foods for this awful, cold weather), but I wanted to do something a little different, so I made her a baked potato pizza. I added a bag of salad and banana bread muffins for dessert (after all the cookies, pies, and sweets over the holidays, I thought the muffins might be a nice change of pace). I made the muffins this morning and the whole house smelled like warm banana bread throughout the day - it was heavenly! The baked potato pizza is quite easy to double, so it's a snap to make dinner for my family at the same time. I always skip the green onions in the recipe because I'm not a fan, but have been tempted to toss on some broccoli for the nutrition factor (and because I love broccoli on my baked potatoes!).

      So what about you? What do you like on your baked potatoes? Would you add it to your baked potato pizza?

      Baked Potato Pizza
      1 large pre-made pizza crust
      4 medium unpeeled potatoes, baked and cooled
      1 tablespoon butter, melted
      1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
      1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
      6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
      3 to 5 green onions, chopped
      1 1/2 cups (6 oz) mozzarella cheese
      1/2 cup cheddar cheese

      1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
      2. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. In a bowl, combine butter, garlic powder and oregano. Add potatoes and toss.
      3. Spread sour cream over crust; top with potato mixture, bacon, onions and cheeses.
      4. Bake at 400 for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.
      5. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
      Yield: 8 slices

      Banana Bread Muffins
      1 1/2 cups flour
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      3 large bananas
      3/4 cup sugar
      1 egg
      1/3 cup butter, melted

      1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat muffin pans with nonstick spray or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
      2. Blend bananas, sugar, egg and butter in food processor. Pour into dry mixture and stir until smooth. Scoop into muffin pan.
      3. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.
      Yield: 12 muffins

      Luke has an allergy

      We got our results from Monday's allergy tests and they are surprising, to say the least. The foods we thought would be flagged (rice and peaches) showed no signs of Luke being allergic to them. On the other hand, they ran a whole panel of other common allergens that he has not yet had (tree nuts, shellfish, etc.) and he tested positive for a peanut allergy. UGH! It's a class 3 allergy, which our doctor described as a "mid-class." From what he explained, class 1 and class 2 allergies are likely to be false positives or to go away as children age, but when you move up to class 3, it's more serious. He didn't mention anything regarding an EpiPen, although he did tell me to cut back on the peanut products I'm ingesting while nursing.

      On the nursing front, we have gone through four full days without him wanting the breast. It's still pretty frustrating - I'm not pumping nearly enough for him and I don't have much of a freezer supply. I'm going to get in touch with a lactation consultant tomorrow to see if there's anything else I can do.

      Otherwise, he's continuing to do well with some new solids. He ate pears and applesauce for breakfast and a almost an entire jar of apricots/pears/apples for dinner. Hopefully this progress continues! Here's the happy guy post-dinner.

      Tuesday, January 5, 2010

      Blender Recipes

      My dear friend, Sarah, just received her very first (ever in her life!) blender. Now, as a bit of a history - my blender is my second best non-human friend (my computer, naturally, is my B(N-H)FF). When I was just a mere few weeks pregnant with Luke, it broke - I thought my world was ending. I remember writing on the mommy forum I belong to the following "eulogy:"

      Pre-pregnancy, my blender was my best friend - bringing me icy margaritas, blended vodka punch drinks, kahlua milkshakes and the like. We had a rocky, overusing it, abusing it, always wanting more. But it was kind and gentle - and always provided for me.

      Then, the horror, I tried making a non-alcoholic milkshake for Linds and myself last night, and she did not like that. She sputtered and spun - and disintegrated the plastic pieces on the base that makes that little inside spin with glory. She's off in a better place now (the trash can...soon to be dump). And I'm all alone. With things to blend. But nothing to blend with.

      Please, if you will, give her a five second salute of silence for all of her courageous work over the years. She will be missed. 

      So, in understanding that, when Sarah shared with me that she had NEVER owned a blender, I was just in shock. Luckily, that situation was rectified this past Christmas and now she has a blender - but nothing to blend! Here are a few of my favorite blender recipes.

      First of all, one must have the perfect frozen margarita recipe! This is courtesy of my Uncle Doug who, to this day, still makes, hands-down, the best margarita I've ever had in my life.

      Margarita Ingredients

      • 8 – 12 oz. tequila
      • 6 – 12 oz. triple sec
      • 12 oz. frozen limeade
      • splash of lime juice
      • Crushed ice


      1. Blend all ingredients.

      Another favorite of mine is one I happened on by accident. I was looking for a good summery low-cal drink and found one for a strawberry-kiwi Crystal Light. After searching through nearly every grocery store in the area, though, I have yet to find that particular kind. Instead, I use the C.L. fruit punch and it is SCRUMPTIOUS! A blender will be plenty if you're looking to get tipsy and the entire blender (if you use diet ginger ale) is only 300ish calories - can't beat getting drunk on less than 300 calories worth of booze!

      Vodka Fruit Punch Ingredients

      • 1 tub of Crystal Light Fruit Punch
      • 2 cups of diet ginger ale or diet lemon-line soda
      • 1/2 cup vodka
      • 2 1/2 cups crushed ice


      1. Place ginger ale, vodka and drink mix in blender container; cover. 
      2. Blend until drink mix is completely dissolved.
      3.  Add ice; cover. 
      4. Blend on high speed until smooth. 
      5. Pour into 6 martini glasses.

        Another one I enjoy (but have only done once) is a watermelon margarita.

        Watermelon Margarita Ingredients

        • 1/2 watermelon, chilled, rind removed, sliced, cut into large chunks
        •  4 cups ice cubes
        • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
        • 1 1/2 cups tequila


        1. Combine in blender and puree until smooth.

          And just so that this whole post doesn't revolve around booze, here are some non-alcoholic concoctions that can be blended together for tasty treats.

          Non-alcoholic Combinations

          • 1 cup of milk, low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1 small banana, 2 tsp honey, 4 ice cubes, OR
          • 1 cup OJ,1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, OR
          • 1 tablespoon peanut butter,1 cup low-fat chocolate yogurt, 1/2 banana, 1 tsp cocoa powder, 4 ice cubes


            January 5 - I *finally* went grocery shopping!

            It was leftovers AGAIN today. So, I bit the bullet, put Linds to bed early, downloaded an episode of Preston & Steve to my phone to listen to, bought a decaf coffee, and went to Wegmans around 8:00 tonight. It's a bitch going out that late, but the fact that the snobby Main Line customers aren't there (hell, NO ONE is there!) makes it tolerable...and not having the kids there with me makes it even more tolerable! Bought my usual 10 meals worth of items (I menu plan for 10 meals which lasts us at least 2 or 3 weeks at a time) and then the obligatory breakfast and lunch items and it only came to $137 (used $7 worth of coupons - yay!).

            I'm pretty excited about what we'll be eating (baked potato pizza, chili, mixed-up enchiladas, chicken & dumplings, and pasta primavera, just to name a few!). Tomorrow I'll be doing the baked potato pizza for both myself and a friend who recently had a baby.

            On the Luke front, the kid housed some serious solid food today! He ate a 1/2 Gerber container of green beans and another 1/2 container of pears. I bought 16 jars of Beech Nut 2nd stage food, too, that I hope he'll enjoy (nothing with rice or peaches), as well as some Gerber puffs (sweet potato flavor that he ate three of tonight and managed to get down). He's still not nursing, but he's eating almost 5 ounces at a time?!? I pumped just enough today to cover his milk habit. I tried nursing a few times with him, but nothing came about of it - just refused altogether. I'm trying hard not to get discouraged or frustrated, but honestly, it isn't easy. Any and all encouragement or advice is welcome right now!

            Monday, January 4, 2010

            January 3 - Leftover Monday & Update on Luke

            Little man has decided to go on a nursing, that means the primary form of nutrition for this little guy he no longer wants. Luckily he'll take a bottle, but pumping and bottle feeding is a lot of work! I much prefer popping a boob in his mouth and going from there. We are about 36 hours in, so we'll see how long this lasts.

            Luke did go in for a follow-up regarding his issues with solid food and they decided to draw blood for allergy testing after hearing of his continued symptoms and seeing the dozen or dozen and a half patches of eczema all over his body. Drawing blood from a baby is probably the most awful thing I've had to witness, but with any hope, it will provide some answers. On a separate note, Lindsay had her 3 year check-up, too, and passed with flying colors at 37 inches tall and 31 lbs (50th percentile for both height and weight).

            With Luke's nursing strike, we slept just shy of four hours last night, so needless to say, I'm barely functioning right now. We're going to eat the leftover pork and sauerkraut tonight (at least I am). I also desperately need to grocery shop, so I'm going to try to get there Wednesday or Thursday. Far more interesting meals are to come next week!

            Saturday, January 2, 2010

            January 2 - Takeout Saturday

            Impromptu drinks at Kildare's with my good friend Katie derailed any possibility of a home-cooked meal today, so we got some Bella Rosa take-out. Bella Rosa is an Italian restaurant/pizza joint near our place that we've deduced has the best local pizza/stromboli/calzone stuff. Scott and Linds split a chicken cheese steak stromboli and I ate a buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing. Tomorrow we're heading to the boy's parents' house for a get-together with his mom's side of the family (and, just as importantly, for the Eagles-Cowboys game), so it'll be an hors d'oeuvres lunch and pizza for dinner. I think after this weekend the official 2010 diet will have to begin?!?

            Luke likes squash!

            I decided to give squash a try this morning with the little man...and he LOVED it! He kept grabbing the spoon and shoving into his mouth quicker. After all of the times he's turned his nose up at stuff, this was so great to see. He had tried yams before (a bite of Memma's yam casserole at Thanksgiving, but it was only a small bite and he didn't react much to it). Now we're just in the waiting period to see if it'll come back up. Most of the food he regurgitates comes up within a few hours, so it's just a waiting game. I gave him a little bite of my banana, too, and he gagged and fussed at the taste - guess he isn't a fan! Here he is enjoying his squash.

            Friday, January 1, 2010

            January 1 - Happy New Year!

            Happy New Year! We're ringing in the new year PA Dutch-style with pork and sauerkraut for dinner (with a side of carrots). The sauerkraut is supposed to bring wealth and the pork represents moving forward/progress (the animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving). I found an interesting article on New Years food traditions here.

            I've had mine simmering in the crock pot all day (you'll find my crock pot is one of my best friends! that and the blender). I got my recipe from and tweaked it a little. It's super delish! Here is how I do it:


            • 1 tablespoon minced onion
            • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
            • 1.5 teaspoons celery salt
            • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
            • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
            • 1 (4 pound) boneless rolled pork loin roast
            • 2 (14 ounce) cans sauerkraut with liquid
            • 1/4 cup brown sugar
            • 1/2 pound fully cooked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


            1. In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; rub over roast. Place roast fat side up in a crock pot. Combine sauerkraut and sugar if desired. Spoon sauerkraut and sausage over and around roast. Cover and bake on low all day.

            I know I'm excited to eat this! Scott and Linds won't do the sauerkraut (maybe a bite just for tradition's sake), but we always enjoy this meal. We're planning to try some squash with Luke to see how he reacts. I'll update with photos of our dinner- I know my food doesn't always look "pretty" (no matter how good it tastes), so another goal is to gussy up my dishes as the year continues.

            Blogging our way through 2010

            One of my resolutions this year was to start a blog - I've always wanted to journal, but never had an idea of a theme that would translate well into the "online world." I figure my obsession with food and Luke's struggles with starting solids were the perfect catalysts to starting a food blog about what I'm feeding my family. I'd like to have pictures, recipes, etc. to include.

            I'm a stay at home mom, so it's primarily my responsibility to make sure there is food on the table each night. Lindsay (my three year old daughter) is a great eater, so I rarely have issues with her, but her brother Luke (7 months old) is really struggling with starting on baby food. He projectile vomits rice cereal (no matter the quantity he eats), spits up pretty decent size amounts of most other foods, and grimaces and gags anytime he eats. He's thriving on breastmilk, so I'm not too worried (maybe we'll skip the pureed crap altogether!), but it's still an exhaustive effort to figure out what is going wrong. Patches of bright red eczema all over his cheeks, chin and neck make me wonder if it could be allergies?
            Related Posts with Thumbnails