Thursday, May 31, 2012

Margherita Pizza

I hope everyone who celebrated memorial day enjoyed their day off!! I enjoyed sitting by the pool that just opened up at our apartment complex. Man, it is getting humid here!! Anyways, this is the best pizza recipe for the summer. It is so simple yet so delicious. 

adapted from Sweet Treats and More
makes one 12-inch pizza

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp basil, oregano and parsleySalt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or sliced thin
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 Store bought pizza dough  or  homemade pizza dough


Preheat oven to 500. 

1.  In a food processor, combine tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and process until smooth. Sauté the mixture on the stove top for about 5 min.

2.  Roll out dough into a rectangular shape on lightly floured surface. 

3.  Place dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet with a touch of salt. Continue to roll and press out to edges (and up the sides if possible) of cookie sheet. 

4.  Cover dough evenly with pizza sauce mixture that was sauteed previously.  Top with mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, and basil. 

5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

6.  Bake on lowest oven rack in a 500 degree oven for 12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.  

Enjoy !!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mexican Lazagna

I love Rachael Ray, her story, and most of all some of the flavor profiles that she is able to bring out in her dishes. This one is based on one of her recipes, with a couple slight changes.

This is kid friendly because all the veggies inside the lasagna are grated, so you can't even see them! now, getting the tomatoes and lettuce on top may be a different story, but the lasagna itself, they gobble up!

  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs coriander
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 6 (the smaller ones) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 3 cups of shredded cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 romaine heart, chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • Sour cream, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat up 2 Tbs of vegetable oil
  3. Add meat and brown for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, grate the zucchini and carrots with a box grater. Add them in, and then grate in the onion and garlic.
  4. Season the meat with chili powder, ground cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and cook 7-8 minutes to soften vegetables. Stir in the beef stock.
  5. Grease a 9x13 baking pan with 1 Tbs vegetable oil. Layer 2 tortillas, and top with 1/3 meat, 1/3 cheese. Repeat to finish tortillas and end with the meat and cheese.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes to brown cheese. Serve like lazagna, then top with scallions, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Mango Salsa

For some reason mango salsa has never been something that I found appealing cause I like my salsa with a little heat. Surprisingly this salsa was so good that we actually made another batch after this one. We added a can of corn to the second batch and it was very good!
Source:Two Peas and their Pod
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Tortilla chips or pita chips-for serving

1. In a medium bowl, stir together strawberries, mango, avocado, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt, to taste.

2. Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips.
Note-this salsa is best eaten the day it is made. It also goes nicely with fish, chicken, and pork.
Enjoy !!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

S'more Cookie Bar

Another dessert for you guys this week! I have been seeing this dessert everywhere since I made it a few weeks ago. I feel like it's the new dessert to try out. It was super tasty and very easy to make. My favorite part was pressing the dough in the gallon sized bag (you'll see in the directions.) 

Source:The Girl Who Ate Everything

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 6 full graham crackers)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 super-sized (5 oz.) chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. 
Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Two 5 oz. Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. 
Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.
Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This is most easily done by putting the second half of the dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Use your palms to flatten it out, and then use scissors to cut down both long sides of the bag, so it will open up book-style. Open it up carefully, and the dough will stick on one side of the bag. Then place the bag, dough side down, on the other three layers. From there peel the bag up ad spread the dough where it is uneven.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars
Makes 16 cookie bars.

Enjoy !!

Monday, May 21, 2012

No Bake Nutella Cheesecake

So I had this at work forever ago for Valentine's Day...Everyone LOVED it. It was seriously the best dessert I have ever had. Next time I make it though my servings will be a lot smaller. It is extremely rich!

Source: Croutons and Cupcakes

For the Crust

  • 12 Oreo Cookies, crushed into crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (8 ounce) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the Garnish

  • whipped topping, optional
  • chocolate shavings, optional
  • toasted, chopped hazelnuts, optional

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well blended and no streaks remain.
3. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
4. If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, chocolate shavings, and/or toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

Enjoy !!

Friday, May 18, 2012

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

This salad is a keeper! Cathy and I made it together a few weeks ago while she was visiting Utah. I used to work at California Pizza Kitchen and I swear it tastes just like the one from there. I used to always get this salad at the end of my shift and now I will probably be making it all summer! It is super quick and easy and a nice break from something hot for dinner!


  • 1/2 head of Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
  • 1 bunch of Mixed greens
  • 1/3 cup of Ranch
  • 2 red vine Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, pitted &chopped
  • 1 can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of Corn, drained
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked Chicken, chopped
  • BBQ Sauce

(ha, now I know why it's called BBQ Chicken chopped Salad-- everything is chopped in this salad!)

Toss the iceberg lettuce and mixed greens in the ranch so it covers all the salad
Add the tomatoes, avocado, black beans, corn, red onion and chicken over the salad
Drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce on top and dig in

Enjoy !!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chicken and Rice Casserole--with a wild side!

When Blake and I first got married, all I ever made were casseroles. He grew up NEVER eating casseroles, how could this be?! He hasn't been a huge fan, but we do have a few favorites that have grown on him. My mother-in-law is also a huge fan of this particular dish...and of course, so am I!

  • 1 cup wild and brown rice mix (found at bulk barn in Canada) or 1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice
  • 2.5 cups salted water (to cook rice, or cook Uncle Ben's box according to package directions)
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1.5 cups grated cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring the water to a boil and add rice. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for about 35 minutes OR cook uncle ben's rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter and add carrots. Cook for 2 minutes. Add onions and carrots, cook for another 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees (about 10 minutes away from rice being ready)
  4. In a large bowl, mix rice, chicken, the cooked celery, onion, carrot and garlic, frozen peas, cream of mushroom soup, and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spread in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and sliced almonds.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes-1 hour (until bubbly)
Enjoy and bon appetit!

adapted from a recipe found at

Monday, May 14, 2012

Veggie Packed Moroccan Casserole

I hope you all had a great mothers day!! Celebrating the moms and women in our lives is so important, all year round. We spent the day with my in-laws, potluck style, and it was a blast.

So about this home hearty comforting picture to the right, it is a keeper! That's all I have to say. I cannot wait to make this one again.

Time: 1h45 minutes (1h15 of downtime)
Servings: 4
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 lbs pork stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1-14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with the juices
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 medium unpeeled red potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 cups of green beans, washed, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • Flat bread or pita bread
  1. Fire up your oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and onions and cook until the pork is brown on all sides, approximately 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the meat until the flour had absorbed the pan juices, then cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes, water, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and pepper. Put in a 2-quart casserole and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, cut up your potatoes, green beans, and carrots.
  5. After the 30 minutes is up, stir them into the casserole, mix well, cover, and bake until the potatoes are tender (about an hour).
  6. Serve with flat or pita bread. Maybe we'll share our sweet recipe one of these days :)
Bon Appetit!

Adapted slightly from "Easy Moroccan Casserole" in The One Dish Bible.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lauren's Cinnabon's--I take no credit

The picture is mine--don't let the 'one' fool you,
I ate about 3 in a yummy.
Mothers Day is tomorrow! Make these...the woman/mom/friend in your life will forget about all the years past where you didn't measure up. Or just make them cause they're delicious!

So, I take no credit for what will follow. I actually use this blog as a way to document the recipes love and want to keep making. Well, of course this made the list. Lauren's Latest website should be checked out for some great recipes, I go there all the time!.

for the dough-
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour
for the filling-
1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
for the frosting-
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  1. Making the Dough- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir and proof 5 minutes. Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 15-20 seconds. In a small bowl, measure buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until egg is incorporated to other two ingredients. Pour contents into the water and yeast mixture. Stir another 20 seconds in the mixer. Pour 2 cups of flour into mixer and stir on low until incorporated. Sprinkle flour in by 1/4 cup increments until dough cleans the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched. Once it has reached this stage, turn mixer on and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl, grease and replace back into same mixing bowl {since it’s practically clean anyways.} Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Rise 1-2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  2. Filling and Cutting Rolls- In a medium size bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch together until combined. Set aside. Punch down dough. Flour a large clean table liberally with flour. Lightly flour dough as well. Roll dough out to be a 20×30 rectangle {or as close to that as possible} while moving dough around to ensure it’s not sticking to your work surface. If it’s a little short or uneven, feel free to cut off the edges to even it all out. {FYI-I cut off some dough on one side and filled in a spot that needed more dough on the other side to make a more even rectangle.} Spread softened margarine over dough, being sure to go right to the edges leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough. Dump brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the margarine, still leaving that 1-inch strip of dough untouched. If you have any filling that falls off the sides of the dough, use a bench scraper to replace. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the margarine using a rolling pin. Roll the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the entire thing together. Cut off the uneven ends to even out the log. Score log every 2 inches and then slice your rolls using those marks. Place into parchment paper lined, margarine greased pans. 12 into a 9×13, 3 remaining into a loaf pan, or 8×8 with the small ends. Cover pans with plastic wrap and dish towels. Let rolls rise another 1-2 hours or until they are touching and have risen almost double. My rolls always spread out more than up, so just be aware that they will most likely spread out more than up. Bake in a preheated 350 degree for 17 minutes, or until tops start to brown. Watch them carefully!!
  3. For the Frosting- While the rolls are baking, whip cream cheese and margarine together. Stir in vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Pour in powdered sugar and stir slowly until it starts to incorporate. Then mix on high for 5 minutes or until frosting starts to lighten in color. Scrape sides and mix again briefly. Once rolls have been removed from the oven, frost using half the amount made. Then after they have cooled a few more minutes, frost again with remaining frosting. The first frosting will melt down into the rolls and the second layer should stay put. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes: See step my step photos for more details I neglected to mention. Also, if your frosting isn’t quite ready after you pull the rolls out of the oven, cover with foil so the tops don’t dry out and get crispy.

Go here to see her detailed step by step photos...and her awesome blog!

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

'Healthy' Carrot Cookies {Sister-in-Law Guest Post}

Photo form

" got this recipe from my friend Lauren’s website – I switched it up at bit though. My version is slightly less healthy, but still healthy! It’s a good way to use up carrots too, I don’t know if most people have this problem, but our carrots always end up going bad before we can eat them all. These cookies are also Cat and Abi approved!"


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (butter would work too) 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, or as many as you want! I never measure chocolate chips.          

  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • milk, if needed

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
  2. Mix coconut oil, brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy. 
  3. Stir in egg, vanilla and carrot. 
  4. Mix dry ingredients separately, then mix them in (don’t over mix).
  5. Spoon cookies onto greased pan and cook for 8- 10 min, or until golden brown. 
  6. For the glaze: mix all glaze ingredients together until smooth. Add a little milk if needed- to reach a smooth drizzly consistency. Drizzle over slightly cooled cookies and serve.

Brittany (Cathy's sister-in-law)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuna Ball

Wow! It seems like forever since I have posted something on here. Probably because it has been. My hubby and I have made it across the country to Maryland where we will spend the summer. Because of traveling and unpacking and getting settled in, it has been so hard to post a recipe--not to mention we don't have the internet yet so it is kind of difficult to post. Here is a quick and easy tuna ball recipe. It's great! Mama B makes it all the time when guests come over.

1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese
1 can of tuna, drained
1 bunch of green onions, sliced
2-3 drops of tabasco sauce
1 t. Worcestershire Sauce

Mix all the items together and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve with your favorite cracker.

Enjoy !!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baked Haddock {dinner idea}

Sometimes all I need is an idea of what to make for dinner! I wanted to cook fish the other night, but didn't know what I wanted to pair it with. This is what I came up with and thought I'd share so that you busy ladies and gents out there don't have to rack your brains like I used to go at about 4pm every evening!

Menu: Baked haddock (mine was frozen), steamed green beans, and sidekicks (any kind you prefer)

Yes simple and a little help from our knorr friends, but quick and hassle free.

Ingredients for Baked Haddock:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1.5 Tbs parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground dried thyme
  • 4 pieces of haddock fillet
  • 1.5 Tbs melted butter
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Mix up the milk and salt in one bowl and the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and thyme in another bowl.
  3. Dip your thawed haddocks in the milk, then the bread crumb mixture. Place them in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with the melted butter.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, until the outside develops a nice crisp. Place them on a cookie rack for a few minutes to cool and to prevent soggy bottom.
  5. Serve with green beans and sidekicks. Squeeze with lemon juice if you want!

**I found the recipe here, but found it was way too much for the haddock to dip in, and I threw most of it away. If you need more batter for larger haddock fillets, just use their recipe since it's tripled.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Bake [with artichokes, olives, and feta]

We  were behind this week on recipes, so here in a Saturday Story with today's recipe!

When Blake and I first got married, I was a little taken back when I noticed that he added hot sauce to everything that I cooked for dinner. There are a few things that I realized since we're been married for almost 7 years.

One. He adds hot sauce to everything. In fact, the first time I opened his fridge at his house while we were dating, I swear all I saw was every variety of hot sauce that you could ever imagine. That has changed since Blake and his dad got married!

Two. I realized that I loved bland food. I grew up eating and loving it, never adding salt, pepper, ranch, or hot sauce, or even thinking about doing so. Not such a bad thing I think!

My taste buds have evolved, and I now love flavor.

Well, to my big surprise, no such "additive" was added to my meal as I watched Blake devour it all up. I thought something had gone terribly wrong...but when I questioned him on why he did not add any additional flavorings to this meal, he replied with, "well I just don't want to ruin the flavor!" A few bites later he added, "this is my new favorite meal." Ok wow, what on earth did he want from me? Well nothing, he just loved it.


Time: 45 minutes total (30 minutes of down time)
Servings: 4-6

  • 2 cups uncooked rotini
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (or about 2 cups)
  • 1-14.5 ounce can  of diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1-14 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 3/4 cup of sliced kalamata olives (or a 6 ounce can, drained)
  • 1 to 1.5 tsp italian seasoning
  • 2 cups, or 8 ounces, of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Feta cheese to crumble on top (optional)
  1. Fire up your oven, 350 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart casserole or spray it with cooking spray.
  2. Cook your pasta until al-dente (you don't need to add salt, there is enough natural salt in this dish already), about 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chopped onions and peppers for 1 minute. Add cooked chicken, diced tomatoes with juices, cooked pasta, artichokes, olives, and italian seasoning. Mix until combined.
  4. Place 1/2 the chicken mixture in casserole. Sprinkle half the cheese, and repeat.
  5. Cover it up, and bake it for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  6. Serve warm and add a little bit (not too much, it's already a salty dish) of feta cheese if you want!

Bon Appetit!

Adapted from "Artichoke-Olive Chicken Bake" recipe in The One Dish Bible.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Raisin Bran Muffins

So these are ever so slightly different from the classic raisin bran muffins with the best rating on I didn't have buttermilk, so I did a cup of milk with 1 Tbs of lemon juice incorporated into it (so that it totals 1 cup of liquid). They were delicious! I love muffins, and really wish I made them more I think I might just do that.

Time: 40 minutes total
Makes: 12 muffins

  • -1 1/2 cup wheat bran
  • -1 cup milk (aprox) + 1 Tbs lemon juice (so that it equals 1 cup total)
  • -1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • -1 egg
  • -2/3 cup brown sugar
  • -1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • -1 cup all-purpose flour
  • -1 teaspoon baking soda
  • -1 teaspoon baking powder
  • -1/2 teaspoon salt
  • -1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Line your muffin pan with liners, or spray/oil them.
  2. Mix the wheat bran and buttermilk and let it sit while you combine the other ingredients.
  3. Beat the oil, egg, brown sugar and vanilla. Once the bran and buttermilk have set for about 10 minutes, combine them.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add it to the wet mixture until it's just blended. Do not over mix, that's how they get dense and dry.
  5. Gently fold in the raisins.
  6. Add a scoop of batter in each tin, and bake for about 18 minutes. Start checking them at 15 minutes since all ovens vary. When your toothpick comes out clean, take them out, cool them off, and enjoy them all!

Oh these are yummy! Enjoy them.