Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I had to share this summer meal with you guys because we eat this at least once a week if not more. And you need to try it before all of these delicious summer veggies are out of season! I for one never thought I would like this dish. The name alone just doesn't sound appealing to me {pronounced rat-a-two-ee}. I definitely didn't think my husband would like it. But to my surprise he loved it and so did I! The following is a more traditional ratatouille recipe but read the notes below to find out how I tweak it...


1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups eggplant, diced
1 cup bell pepper, diced
1/8 tsp ground thyme
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup yellow squash, diced
1 cup tomatoes, diced
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parmesan cheese, grated

In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stir occasionally. Sauté until the onion starts to become translucent. Add eggplant and ground thyme and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper to the pan. Sauté another 5 minutes. Add zucchini and yellow squash to the pan and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fresh basil, salt and pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve over rice, pasta, crusty garlic bread or by itself! Then sprinkle {more like drown} the Ratatouille with parmesan cheese. Yum!

FYI: Our favorite way is over crusty garlic bread and eating it bruschetta style. But we've tried all 3 ways and each are delicious in their own right.

*Special Notes: The hubs and I don't like eggplant. So instead of eggplant I add an extra cup each of zucchini and yellow squash. I just didn't want to leave it out of the recipe for those of you who like eggplant or are feeling adventurous and might want to try it. If you plan on skipping the eggplant like we do, then just add the ground thyme with the bell pepper and then continue with recipe as follows.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Garlic Vinaigrette

I use this dressing mainly on pasta salad. It still has that same tried and true italian-ness to it that I normally associate with pasta salad but with a little something extra. And it's incredibly easy. It does have one weird ingredient but I promise totally worth it!

Garlic Vinaigrette

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Add all ingredients in to a container that can be tightly sealed. Shake until well blended. Pour over salad.

Now that was totally painless right??

In case you wondered what we typically put in our pasta salad...

broccoli (fresh never frozen! The frozen stuff goes limp and nasty)
bell pepper
Feta cheese (it is very important that you put the feta in very last right before serving. This way the feta retains its own flavor and doesn't absorb the dressing)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Black Bean Soup

This soup is souper simple! Ha get it? Ok. I know. That was lame. As a family we are trying to eat less meat. It's just a health thing my husband and I have decided on. We try to make sure that about 90% of our meals lately are meatless. It's been hard! But this soup is tasty and comes with a kick!

Black Bean Soup
adapted from Betty Crocker

1- medium onion, finely diced
1- large clove garlic, finely diced
1- tbs olive oil
1- large celery stalk, chopped
1- large carrot, peeled and chopped
2- 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1- tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on preference)
2- 15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
Lemon wedges

In a large saucepan, add olive oil, onion and garlic over medium high heat. Cook until onion is tender and translucent. Once onion is tender and translucent pour in vegetable broth and add the celery, carrots, oregano and red pepper flakes. Heat until boiling and then reduce heat so that the soup is simmering. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until carrots and celery are tender and easily pierced with a fork. While the soup is simmering drain and rinse the black beans. Reserve some beans to be mashed with a fork about 3/4 of a cup. Once celery and carrots are tender stir in the black beans and the mashed black beans in to the soup. Let the soup simmer for another 5-ish minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.


Serves 4-6

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

I have made {more like ruined} my fair share of homemade macaroni and cheese. You wouldn't think it would be that hard but boy oh boy! You really have to follow directions when making this stuff! This recipe is by far the easiest and not to mention the yummiest homemade mac and cheese I have made thus far. My one year old honest to goodness ate more than me! Delicious!

Macaroni and Cheese
recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

1 1/2 cups cooked macaroni noodles
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sharp or extra sharp grated cheddar cheese (the sharper the better!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional topping: grated parmesan or breadcrumbs

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Melt butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add flour to butter and stir until the mixture starts to darken but doesn't burn. Turn the heat down low and quickly whisk in milk. Turn the heat back to medium and continue whisking until the mixture starts to thicken and all the lumps are gone. Stir in the grated cheese until it is melted. Turn off the heat and add the macaroni noodles. Serve and eat up!

Special notes: The original recipe uses whole wheat noodles and whole wheat flour. I have tried it and it is yummy! Except I prefer all purpose flour because the whole wheat flour makes the sauce a little gritty.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Honey Roasted Carrots

We make homemade potato wedges all.the.time as a side for dinner {recipe to come soon! sorry we've been slacking} I was getting a little tired of potato wedges all of the time. Luckily, I remembered this recipe for honey roasted carrots. Soo delicious!

8 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into pieces {or what I estimated to be about 3-4 big handfuls of baby carrots}
1 tbs honey
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil {very important for easy clean up!}. Toss carrots with honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out carrots even on the baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and tender all way through. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Six Week Bran Muffins

No don't worry... these muffins don't take six weeks to make. The batter is good for six weeks in the fridge in a covered container. My mom made these all the time when I was younger and I had been craving them for weeks! I know you might think, a bran muffin? ew. Just try them. They are delicious for breakfast especially heated up in the microwave for a few seconds with little butter or margarine on top... mmm... Not to mention my toddler and husband love them!

Here is the recipe directly from my mama!

Six Week Muffins
2 cups Bran Flakes Cereal
2 cups All Bran Cereal
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dates chopped
3 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
5 tsp baking soda
4 eggs beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice)
2 cups Bob's Red Mill Wheat Bran

In a large bowl, add 4 cups of the two bran cereals and the dates. Pour the boiling water over and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together. Blend the oil and sugar, then add the beaten eggs. Fold into the hot bran mixture, the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Fold in the last 2 cups of the bran flakes and the nuts.

Grease and flour the muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-18 minutes. The un-used batter may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

NOTE: Sometimes I use raisins, but I do prefer the dates as they mix in better. You can also find prechopped dates at the store, which are really easy. Smiths Marketplace
used to have them in the healthfood area where you can measure them out yourself and they were a lot less expensive buying them that way.

These are the 3 types of bran you need in the recipe just to help you out. I found the Bob's Red Mill brand in the health food section. Also, I omit the nuts when I make them only because I worry about my daughter choking on them.

And sorry about the lack of posts as of lately. I've been trying new recipes but nothing share worthy. I keep finding duds for some reason.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes

I have been on a mission lately. What is that mission you ask? To find foods my now one year old {eek!} baby will eat. Now that we're moving out of the baby food stage I've been terrified! Don't ask me why but it's been really stressing me out. I'm a working mom so it's important to me to find a healthy quick breakfast to fix my daughter in the mornings. Especially one she can feed herself while I'm getting ready without too much worry from me that she will choke on it. That's where Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes step in! I know you're thinking making pancakes in the morning is not quick! Well I am here to tell you that you are correct! That's why I make them ahead of time and freeze them. Pop them in the microwave and voila! Quick and easy breakfast!

Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes
from Allrecipes

1 cup flour
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together. Set aside. In another bowl combine applesauce, sour cream, egg, vanilla extract and milk. Once the wet ingredients are well mixed together pour in to the dry ingredients and mix it all together.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of pancake mixture on to a griddle heated to medium-low heat. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Turning once. Serve with maple syrup and butter, peanut butter or mashed up bananas smeared on top.

*Special notes: this batter is pretty thick. I used the bottom of my measuring cup to help spread the pancakes out on the griddle. Also the recipe called for milk but I used soy milk with great results since that's what we drink in these parts!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chicken Parmigiana

Hello there! I'm back. I have a whole load of recipes that I need to get posted, but I've had a serious lack of motivation. I spent over a week of not cooking, so now I need to get back in the groove of cooking and start posting.

Chicken parmigiana is one of my favorite Italian dishes. I'm not a fan of spaghetti but add some breaded, cheesy chicken then it is one of the best meals! This was one of those recipes that I sat down to the computer at 5:30 trying to come up with a meal and I had all the ingredients in the house. The original recipe calls for making your own sauce which I'm sure is delicious, but I had a jar of marinara sauce in the cupboard so I adapted.

This was by far the best chicken parmigiana I've ever made. We won't even consider the frozen, breaded chicken patties I used when my husband and I were both in school and working full-time. Ah I shudder to think I ever considered that dinner!

Chicken Parmigiana
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
1/2 cup
All-purpose Flour

Salt And Pepper, to taste

1/2 cup
Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons

Medium Onion, Chopped

1 clove chopped garlic

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 cup
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 pound
Thin Linguine

Preparation Instructions

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.

At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.

Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.

Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in jar of spaghetti sauce let simmer for 10 minutes.

Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.

Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.