Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BBQ Beef Turnovers - the easy way

Aaahhh, Christmas.......

Usually, the few days leading up to Christmas are spent running around like a chicken with my head cut off!

Shopping for last minute gifts...
Stocking suffers...
And food...

Baking cookies...
Making peanut butter balls...
Spiced nuts...
And bourbon balls...

And cooking... EVERYTHING!

Then, Christmas morning if filled with the chaos of presents and wrapping paper and stockings and cocktails. Oh my! (lol!)

Then comes food and more cocktails...
                                                        and more food and more cocktails...

But, it's not over yet, the day after Christmas is cleaning up the leftover messes, and weeding out old toys and clothes and kitchen gadgets to make room for the new ones!

By the end, I'm pooped!

I don't want to cook, and I don't want to shop, I don't even want to leave the house.... so what is for dinner???

Leftovers!! Or, something fun made out of them!!

BBQ Beef turnovers...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Veggie Pasta (AKA Adult Mac and cheese)

serves about 12 as a side dish

1 lb pasta
1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped
½ onion, diced
About a dozen mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup sliced sundried tomatoes
Garlic – either a couple tablespoons chopped, or a dozen or so cloves of roasted garlic, whole
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1 box butternut squash soup
4 oz Brie cheese, rind removed and cubed into ½ pieces
4 oz extra sharp cheddar, cubed into ½ inch pieces
1 cup panko or bread crumbs
Cooking Spray

Boil the pasta, cook till al dente – don’t overcook as it will cook more in the oven.
Sauté the mushrooms, coarsely chopped, and onion for 3-4 minutes. Add in the coarsely chopped zucchini and cook for another couple minutes. Remove from the heat.
Combine the pasta, zucchini, onion, mushrooms, peas, sundried tomatoes and garlic on a large bowl. Mix in the butternut squash soup a little at a time, you want it to be saucy, but not soupy. Also mix in the seasoning – add salt and pepper to taste. Once this is all combined, it should be fairly cool – at this point stir in the cubed cheese – you do not want it to melt yet! Transfer to a casserole, top with bread crumbs and spray with cooking spray.
Cook @ 350 until hot all the way thru – about 20-30 minutes, you can broil the top for a few minutes at the end. There will be little pockets of melty cheese.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Serves 10-12

2 lbs green beans
1 lb crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cups dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
½ onion, sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1 can cream of mushroom soup – I like the Trader Joes Portabello Mushroom Soup in a box
½ to 1 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
French Fried Onions

Sautee the mushrooms and onions in a little Olive Oil on med high heat for 5-10 minutes till lightly browned, stirring often, add in garlic and green beans (they work best if they are about 1 ½” to 2” long) sauté for another 5-10 minutes, you want the green beans softened, but not mushy. For the last 2 minutes of cooking, sprinkly with a tablespoon of flour and mix well. (The main goal here is to remove some of the liquid from them, so you don’t end up with soup later).
In a separate bowl, mix together the soup, half and half and seasonings.
Combine the green bean mixture with the sauce mixture, adding a little more half and half if it needs to be thinner.
Transfer to a casserole dish and bake @ 350 for about 20 minutes, topping with the French Fried Onion the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes – top with the French fried onions for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pesto, With Toasted Almonds and Garlic

What do you do when you have a ton of basil that needs to get used up??



Fresh, light, and oh so tasty - homemade pesto is so much better that store bought, and you can customize it to your liking!

Oh, and I almost forgot - this is so easy, my 3 year old can make it!!
He loves to help in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Italian Stuffed Peppers with Zucchini & Lemon

Italian food is delicious.

Tomatoes are awesome.

And I LOVE peppers.

So, tonight, stuffed peppers it is.
With tomatoes, zucchini and lemon... and all kinds of other yummy stuff!

Even my kids love these!
(I know, they are weird, most kids would NOT eat these, but Julian (6) begs me to make them!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pasta with Spinach Alfredo Sauce


Creamy Alfredo sauce.



Oh geez, what could be better on a cool fall night?

Not much!

This Alfredo sauce is lighter than the traditional, but still has a great creamy consistency. Combined with spinach and whole wheat linguine, it's not all that bad for you.

I served mine with a piece of salmon and a fresh mixed greens salad.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fajitas, Using Veggies & Leftover Steak

Last night, Nate wanted steak.

He bought 2 HUGE New York's - HUGE! Like, 1 1/2 lbs. each.
They were beautiful, and that's coming from someone who doesn't eat meat!

He seasoned them with just a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled them, HOT, on the charcoal BBQ.

He said they ware amazing - I'll take his word for it.

He thought he was going to finish off these steaks between himself, the boys and his mom.

Boy, was he wrong!

They ate less 1 full steak between the 4 of them!!!

You know what that means??


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

Since learning how to make Vinaigrette Dressing, and Ranch Dressing, and Caesar Dressing, and Honey Mustard Dressing - all from scratch - I have decided that I will no longer (OK - rarely, in a pinch!) buy dressing from the store!

I will make all of my dressings!

They are so yummy, a lot healthier, and possibly cheaper.

Here is my homemade Caesar Salad Dressing.

And BTW - it is NOT very easy to photograph sauces or dressings!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Clam Chowder

It is fall! It is fall! It is fall!!

I'm not saying this because I like the cold weather, in fact, I hate it!
I wish it was summer all year long!

The only thing I like about fall and winter is the food :)

I LOVE soup!

I make soup almost once a week in the cold season, sometimes more.

Today: Clam Chowder!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Layered Veggie & Traditional Meat Lasagna

Alright - before you say it - I know it's still summer, and nowhere near baked pasta season, but I have so many yummy summer veggies and lasagna sounded SOOO good!

So, I'm making it! And eating it!

I decided on a layered eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash lasagna for my self, and a good ole traditional lasagna for my carnivores.

And, if you're going to spend all that time making lasagna - you may as well make a few more for the freezer!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Creamy Pesto Tortellini (with Chicken)

Pesto is absolutely amazing!

Creamy pesto is even better!

Throw in some asparagus and other veggies and I'm in heaven!!

And this is "lite", made with Greek Yogurt! So you don't have to feel guilty about the calories!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sushi Rolls

I could live on sushi - 2 meals a day for the rest of my life!

Who doesn't love rice, veggies, raw fish and soy sauce??
I guess there are probably a lot of people! But I'm not one of them!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pad Thai-ish Asian Noodles with Rice and Beef/Shrimp

I love stir fry and Asian noodles.

I also love rice, plain white sticky rice! Yum!

I really love Pad Thai - and this is my cheater version of how to make it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Open Faced French Onion Tuna Melt

I love tuna just about any way, but tuna and tomatoes and melted cheese is just YUMMY!

Plus, this only takes 15 minutes to cook!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sesame Garlic Asparagus

This is one of my favorite side dish/appetizers!

The first person who introduced me to is was my friends mom in California. They invited us over for Christmas Eve dinner back in 2007, we had drinks and appetizers and felt so at home in their home! She made this fantastic asparagus, and gave me the recipe. I'm not sure how close to hers this really is, as I don't write things down, I'm sure I have changed it over the years, and if I do write a recipe down, I never really  follow it! But none the less, it reminds me of her, and is oh so good!

Thank you, Kim Beltjens!

It is so, simple, and so pretty, and so delicious!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Traditional Macaroni Salad

What is a summer BBQ without traditional macaroni salad??

I'm not talking about the too sweet, greasy, mushy stuff you get out of a box - YUCK!

I'm talking about the fresh, creamy macaroni salad full of diced veggies that your grandma (mom, aunt, cousin, dad... neighbor?) used to make that is SO SUMMER!

I'm not saying you have to have this every time you BBQ, but a couple times each summer is good.
AND - this is a 'slimmed down' version, so not too much guilt here!

Make it, eat it and reminisce about past summer BBQ's.

Or, just make it and eat it.  :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Linguine with Onion & Garlic Cream Sauce & Shrimp

Quick meal - I cooked the sauce the night before, so this only took about 20 minutes the day of to heat and serve!

And it was oh-so yummy!

I am a sucker for pasta, doesn't really matter what is on it!
But some creamy, cheesy, oniony, garlicy sauce... aaaaahhhhh!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Black Bean & Spinach Enchiladas

I love Mexican food - if you follow my blog, or know me personally, you are aware of this fact.

I could, and sometimes do, eat a burrito, every day of the week! (Or tacos, nachos, chile rellenos, enchiladas....)


Here is another quickie - this only took about 10 minutes to prepare, and 15 minutes to cook.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

15 Minute Naan Bread Pizza with Arugula & Avocado

Football season is upon us!

Julian (6) is beginning  his first season of Pee-Wee football - Wednesday began M-F practices from 6-8pm, we get home from work and daycare at 5pm.

What does that have to do with food, you ask?

We have approximately 45 minutes from the time we walk in the door to smoother the dog with lovins, get Julian changed and ready for practice, cook & eat dinner - thus we are in search of the fastest dinners in the history of the world!

Tonight - Naan Bread Pizza with Arugula, Avocado, Fresh Mozzarella and Feta Cheese.
(Chicken and black olives for the boys!)

This seriously only took 15 minutes to make - start to finish - if I can keep this up, we might survive!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa, at Home!!

Who doesn't like the fabulous salsa you get at your local Mexican Restaurant?

This salsa is just that good, and so easy to make, you'll wonder why you haven't been making it yourself all this time!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beer Can Chicken

Even though I don't eat chicken, this is one of the best smelling chicken dishes ever - and everyone that eats it LOVES it!
It is flavorful, moist and super easy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rosemary & Caraway Patty Melts

Sometimes a new twist to an old favorite is needed... time to re-make the Patty Melt!

I am obsessed with good bread and flavorful herbs - so the rosemary Sourdough from Essential Baking Co. and Caraway Havarti will make this sandwich out of this world!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baked Tortilla Roll-Ups

An easy summer dinner was in order, after all, IT WAS HOT OUTSIDE!!!!

And, I was already tired and the thought of making 5+ gallons of Orzo Pasta and Herb Salad for Scott's wedding on Saturday (recipe to come!) was looming over my head, I just didn't feel like cooking.... beware, I may be like this all week!! LOL!

Chicken and Bean Tortilla Roll-Ups, I think so!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sliders - Ranch Beef & Roasted Red Pepper Salmon

Have you ever thought that if you eat a whole hamburger, you'll be too stuffed to eat anything else?

Make sliders - they're small enough to still enjoy a side dish - or eat 3!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Lets face  it - nothing is better than homemade Ranch Dressing - from scratch!
You just can't get that taste from a bottle.

I'll give you the basics, and you can make it how you like it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dijon Tortellini Salad Skewers

I had a BBQ to go to - what to make....... pasta...... salad....... skewers......?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Deviled Eggs

Think back to your childhood... back... back...a little further... STOP!

Remember those Fourth of July potluck celebrations?
The ones you would drive to at the butt crack of dawn, and spend all day eating, and playing, and having water fights, and eating, and watching fireworks, and eating?

Do you remember one time where there weren't deviled eggs?

They are about as American as hot dogs and potato salad!

So make some up, and eat them, and share them with your friends - they are good!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cool & Creamy Chicken & Green Chile Sandwiches

On a hot night  (in Seattle?? Awesome!) you don't want to use the kitchen any more than you have to!

Grilled chicken sandwiches it was.... but what could I do to make them out of this world??


Fire Roasted Green Chilies...

Pepper Jack...

(These are a few of my favorite things!)


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Veggie Soup

My friends got married, and I got a big ole bag of food!


No, but really, Congrats to the happy couple!
And my fridge is stocked with more fruit and veggies that I know what to do with!

So... I made crock pot veggie soup!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grilled Salmon and Smoked Bratwurst

We were having some friends over for dinner tonight that we haven't see in awhile.

What to cook??

They all love my blog, so I gotta make it good!

Grilled salmon and smoked brats, with grilled veggies and roasted potatoes!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Biscuits and Gravy for my Hubby on Father's Day!

Fathers Day = brunch!

But not at a crowded, over priced restaurant with sub-par service and weak drinks!

We do brunch at home, with Mimosas, Bloody Mary's, and all the breakfast fixins!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clam Linguini

I had a bottle of good white wine, and a white wine pasta sounded good.....

So I looked thru my pantry to see what else I could throw in there.... and found a can of Clams.

Clam Linguine it is!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Italian Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Today was a typical June summer day in Seattle - crappy and rainy.
I really miss the hot summers in Sacramento, but Seattle is my home, my love!

Throughout work all I could think about was the warm tomato soup and crispy grilled cheese I was craving for dinner.

I went to the store on my lunch break and picked up some roasted tomatoes, feta, sharp cheddar and fresh bread.


I couldn't wait for dinner!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Smokey Grilled Asparagus

I have a love affair with asparagus.
I like it grilled, roasted, pan seared, breaded, pickled, raw... really it doesn't matter - I just like it.

My kids like asparagus, my husband likes asparagus, my dad, my brother, my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law like asparagus... my dogs like asparagus (I really don't know, we never have leftovers!)

When it is asparagus season, we eat it 2-3 times a week, when it is not asparagus season, we eat it less often, waiting for the season to come so we can gorge ourselves again!

Tonight, was grilled asparagus... and we ate some other stuff....

Monday, June 4, 2012

Citrus Marinated Fish

We try to get together every Monday night for dinner with my dad, my brother Chad and his wife Steffy. Chad and Steffy are vegetarian also (in the same manner as I am) so it makes it really easy for us to eat fish or seafood when we get together - it's one meal we can all share.

It is currently Copper River Salmon season here in the Pacific Northwest and that stuff is SOO good!
AND to top it off, Steffy's dad happened to give them a bunch of fresh cod. So - fish it was - on the grill!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Honey Mustard Corned Beef & Breaded Asparagus

Do you like Corned Beef?

Well, there are other ways of cooking it besides the norm - boiled with potatoes, corn and onions - we grill it with a brown sugar-mustard glaze!

Add a side of crusty, lightly breaded asparagus, and this is a perfect summer meal!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Happy Memorial Day!!!

If you're going to a BBQ, and need to bring a summery side dish, this is a good one (and it doesn't really need to be kept cold!). Or, if you just think black beans, fresh corn and cilantro are absolutely amazing together, you should try this!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grilled Stuffed Quesadillas

I love Quesadillas - crunchy tortillas, melty cheese, yummy veggies, sour cream and salsa... marinated, grilled steak...

So I thought, why not grill the quesadillas too!?!?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Italian Meatballs and Veggie Ragu

Who doesn't like spaghetti!?

This completly from-scratch red sauce is packed with veggies - and there are meatballs for the carnivores - you can't go wrong!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Breakfast Burrito's with Herb Scrambled Eggs

On the weekends, breakfast is always a big deal! Nate and I fuss around the kitchen preparing this huge delicious meal, cause we only really get a good breakfast on the weekends or holidays - on work mornings, it's cereal or whatever we can throw down our throats on the way out the door to school, work and daycare.

Planning weekend breakfast usually goes something like this:

Me: What do you guys want for breakfast?
Jaxon: Egg sandwich!!! (For breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack... this kid can eat egg sandwiches all day long!)
Julian: Burrito!!! (But that is pretty much his answer to any food question, if you tell him we are having burritos, he's happy, no matter what is in them!)
Nate: Chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy and bacon!!! (haha! this is an exaderation, but he sure does love his MEAT!)

Today, Julian won, breakfast burritos, with herb scrambled eggs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3 Grain Veggie Salad

Nate wanted 'different' food tonight. Not Mexican, not Italian, not Asian, and definitely not pasta - just something, 'different', he said.

He found boneless beef ribs in the freezer, and had them braised, and ready for the grill before I got home from work, so I had to figure out a 'not pasta' side, that would satisfy my need for protein to go with it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Grilled Veggie and Chicken Sandwiches on Foccacia Bread

I love summer! Its the best time of the year! And grilling is one of the best ways to cook! I LOVE grilled veggies, and Nate loves grilled chicken (well, meat of any kind really!)

The easy part about this is, I just leave the chicken off of my sandwich, and I've still got a totally satisfying, healthy meal!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pepperoni Burgers and 3 Bean Burgers

We were all feeling like hamburgers tonight, so Nate and I got busy in the kitchen while the boys played outside.

A little preview, Nate's Pepperoni Burger:

Candy's 3 Bean Burger:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pizza Pizza!

Who doesn't like pizza?
It's dough, topped with sauce, cheese and whatever else your little heart desired, then baked till hot and bubbly - simply amazing!
And what's better than good homemade pizza?


Steffy loves pizza!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Shrimp/Carne Asada Tacos

A few days ago, we made a 3 lb. Carne Asada Tri Tip.
(That's Jaxon in the picture, he could not wait to eat it!)


• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup white vinegar
• juice of 2 limes
• juice of 2 lemons
• handful of chopped cilantro
• 2 jalapenos, chopped
• 12 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1 tablespoon pepper
• 4 tablespoon chile powder
• 1 tablespoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon sugar

Muddle together all but the oil, vinegar, lemon and lime juice. Transfer to a mason jar, add wet ingredients and shake well. Add to your meat (hmmm, maybe veggies too!!) This will marinade about 4 lbs. of meat. (Chicken, beef, fish, shrimp... whatever you like!)

We had extra marinade, so I threw some jumbo shrimp in the marinade, let it sit for a few hours and tossed it in the freezer.

Today, I decided I wanted shrimp tacos!!

With the left over tri tip, I diced it and simmered in beer while the rest of the meal was cooking. (PBR, but you can use your favorite beer.)

I thawed the shrimp so I could grill it - it smelled SOOOO good!
While I continued with the indoor prep, Nate started the grill and cooked the shrimp, about 5 minutes is all it took.

I made homemade tortillas with the help of the 3 year old, Jaxon... he kept asking me "Am I your tortilla man?" So cute!

I made fresh mango salsa:
• 1 fresh mango, diced
• 1/2 cucumber, diced
• 1 jalapeno, chopped
• small handful cilantro, chopped
• juice of 2 limes
• salt and pepper to taste

I made avocado cream:
• 2 small avocados, mashed
• 1/4 cup light sour cream
• 1 tablespoon ranch powder
• juice of 1 lime
• salt and pepper to taste

I julienned red cabbage and shredded cheese for taco toppings, you can do onion and tomato too, I just used what was in the fridge. I prefer cojita, but we had cheddar, so that is what I used. :)

Then we assembled tacos!!!!


Carne Asada:

These were fabulous!

I finished out the meal with left over Spanish rice and beans - recipe to come later.

And, you can't have amazing authentic tacos without.... margaritas!!!