Welcome to Sarah's Adventures in Culinary Experimentation

This blog is for posting recipes I've experimented with while teaching myself to cook. Some I have taken from my favorite recipe books, others are purely my own experimentations. My audience is usually just my husband, my toddler daughter, and I and we are living on a tight budget. Sometimes you might find a splurge.

Hopefully you'll find something here that you like!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chicken Sausage with Fire Roasted Tomato Jasmati Rice

Chicken Sausage with Fire Roasted Tomato Jasmati Rice

This made four servings and when I put it into a calorie measuring program, it registered at about 350 calories per serving. This was a "necessity" recipe. I looked at what we had left in the house, as we're getting down to the nips and bits before payday. It turned out amazingly delicious and my husband says I have to make it again. It's a keeper, a one-pot, and quick! Could even make it in the slow-cooker and let it cook on high until the rice is ready. It's worth trying.

  • 1 1/4 Jasmati Rice
  • 1 can Progresso Starter Fire Roasted Tomato
  • 2-4 cups of Water
  • 1 Knorr Homestyle Chicken Concentrated Stock
  • 1 package (4 sausages) Smoked Mozzarella and Artichoke Chicken Sausages (cut into pieces)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped up celery and celery leaves
  • 3-4 tendrils of Saffron (or a pinch)
  • Salt and Pepper

  1. Heat a skillet or pan on high.
  2. Chop up the onions and celery (with leaves) and saute with a TBSP of olive oil and the 2 TBSP minced garlic.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, then add the Knorr concentrated stock.
  4. When the vegetables have softened, add in the sliced chicken sausage and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in 1 1/4 cup Jasmati rice, 2 cups of water, and the can of Progresso Fire Roasted Tomato Starter Sauce. Add in a pinch (3-4 tendrils) of Saffron.
  6. Bring to a boil, stir, and then cover tightly. Turn to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Check on it every 5-10 minutes to make sure it's not sticking. Add more water if necessary.
  8. After the rice is ready, remove the pan from the heat and let sit.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Notes: Shrimp could also be added to make it more like a jambalaya! Maybe a little cayenne pepper to give it a little spice or some jalapenos. Seriously a delicious dish!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cheesy Tortellini and Chicken Bake

Cheesy Tortellini and Chicken Bake
Serves 8

  • two 9-ounce packages refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar snap peas, halved crosswise
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 small red or green sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Progresso Starters Cheese Sauce
  • Laughing Cow Lite Swiss Cheese 5 Triangles
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic (1 in the cheese sauce, one in the chicken)
  • 1 TBSP McCormick Lemon Pepper seasoning

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook tortellini in boiling salted water according to package directions, adding the carrot during the last 5 minutes of cooking and the sugar snap peas during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain.
  3. Meanwhile, 1 TBSP olive oil in a pan and add the diced onion, red pepper, and 1 TBSP garlic.
  4. Once they are starting to soften, add chicken and mushrooms, and cook about 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from skillet.

  5. In a small sauce pan, add 1 TBSP minced garlic, 1 TBSP lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, and the Pregresso Starters Cheese Sauce. Once it has warmed through (on medium), add in the laughing cow cheese triangles and whisk together.
  6. In an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking dish or shallow 3-quart casserole., add the drained pasta and carrots, the chicken and vegetable mixture, and the cheese sauce. Mix together until coated evenly.
  7. Bake, covered, in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.
  8. Take out, stir mixture, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Zesty Pork Chop and Cucumber Salad Wraps

Zesty Pork Chop and Cucumber Salad Wraps
Serves 5-6

We wanted a fresh and new recipe that was quick and easy to make for dinner. For some reason, we thought pork chop and cucumber salad in a wrap. Go figure! It was delicious! These might be great on the grill. Will definitely try it when it's not raining.

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 bottle zesty Italian Dressing
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • preferred wrap or tortilla shell (Flat Out Healthy Grain Harvest Wheat)

  1. Heat a skillet. Marinate the Pork Chops in a bowl of ziploc bag for 30 minutes in the Italian Dressing, saving 1 cup for the salad.
  2. Peal and slice the cucumbers in half and then slice them into thin strips. 
  3. De-seed and slice the tomatoes into chunks.
  4. Slice the red onion in half and then into 1mm strips.
  5. Mix the cucumber, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the Italian Dressing and pepper to taste. 
  6. Now cook the marinated pork chops in the skillet until cooked through. Let them rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
  7. Next, take a wrap and put down a layer of spinach. Make sure it has been rinsed and dried, first.
  8. After putting down a layer of spinach leaves, put some pork chop strips in the middle and then a spoonful or two or cucumber salad. 
  9. Wrap and enjoy!

Oriental Beef Salad

Oriental Beef Salad

  • 1 bag of coleslaw mix, shredded 
  • 2 packages of Ramen noodles (chicken flavor)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  •  2-3 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1 seasoning packet from Ramen Noodles
  • 1 cup rice vinegar 
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1 flank steak
  • 2 cups soy sauce 
  •  salt/pepper
  1. Marinade the flank steak in the soy sauce for 30 minutes or more in the fridge. 
  2. Season the steak with salt and pepper. In a grill pan, sear the steak over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes per side for medium rare; transfer to a plate to rest.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, sugar, and Ramen seasoning packet. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine the slaw mix and dressing and toss. 
  5. Crush the Ramen noodles into small pieces and spread out on a baking sheet with the almonds and sesame seeds. Broil until medium brown.
  6. Add the dry Ramen noodles (right before serving) and toss again. Divide evenly among 4 shallow bowls.
  7. Cut the steak into thin slices and distribute among the salads.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Another Beef and Broccoli

Another Beef and Broccoli

Once again, inspired by a Rachael Ray recipe, but sadly it was not orangy enough for my taste. But it was a delicious Beef and Broccoli recipe. So I've adjusted the recipe to make it a bit less misleading about the orange flavor. This also provided great leftovers for a good portioned lunch the next day. We made some homemade fried rice, but this would also go well with some plain rice, because the sauce is so flavorful. It served two of us with a third leftover comfortably.


  • 4 cups broccoli
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons plum sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1 3/4 pound flank steak sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. In a pot, bring water to a boil.
  2. Cut the broccoli into 1-inch florets.
  3. Boil the broccoli until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes, then drain the broccoli and rinse under cold water. Save the pot.
  4. In the pot, stir together the broth, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, plum sauce and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Simmer on medium, whisking occasionally.
  5. Slice the steak 1/4 inch thick, then cut the slices crosswise into thirds; toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch.
  6. In a pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and  cook, turning, until the meat is barely pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  7. Stir in the meat, broccoli and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Outback Classic Wedge Salad

My Outback Classic Wedge Salad
Serves 4

I live in a place where the closest Outback Steakhouse is, or at least feels, like farther away than I want to travel for a salad. I was really craving one, so I made a list of all the things that were familiar about the salad and this is what I came up with. This is the closest taste I have ever had to the salad I've been craving. Sans prime rib.

  • 1 head of lettuce cut into 4 wedges.
  • 1 cup real bacon bits
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 4 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups Ken's Steakhouse Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 3/4 cup Ken's Steakhouse Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing

  1. Mix the two dressings in a bowl together until they are thoroughly mixed together.
  2. In 4 bowls, put the 1 lettuce wedge, 1/4 of the onions, and 1/4 of the cherry tomatoes.
  3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the walnuts, blue cheese crumble, and bacon bits on each wedge.
  4. Drizzle 1/4 of the dressing onto each wedge. Then drizzle 1 TBSP of the balsamic vinegar on each.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pierogi and Squash Soup

Pierogi and Squash Soup
Serves 4

I saw this recipe in my Food Network magazine and I was super excited to make it. I love pierogies. I love tomato-y soups. Perfect! But then I forgot a few of the ingredients and had to change some of the recipe. So this is an inspired-by recipe from the Food Network. It was so good and those Progresso Recipe Starters are seriously delicious and helpful!

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 Knorr Vegetable
  • 1 can Progresso Recipe Starters Fire Roasted Tomato
  • 48 oz low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups shredded coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
  • Half of a fresh butternut squash cut up into cubes (about 2-3 cups)
  • 8-12 frozen cheddar and potato pierogies
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot, cook the onions, garlic, and sausage with olive oil on high.
  2. When the meat is cooked through, add the cabbage to soften it a bit.
  3. Add in the squash, chicken broth, and the Progresso Recipe Starter. Cover, and cook on high until the squash is almost cooked through.
  4. Add in the pierogies and cook uncovered until heated through. They will rise to the top of the pot.
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste at any time through cooking. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Redux)

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Redux)
Serves 4-6

When I first started this blog, I was living in Scotland and I was just really stepping into cooking. I was looking for recipes to try to help build my background in food. I remember cooking this recipe back then and I thought it was actually quite delicious. Now, with a few years behind me and many, many recipes, I thought I would retry the recipe. It doesn't hurt that a week or so ago, the episode of Top Chef had a quickfire using lettuce (some as a wrap) and it made me think of these rolls. So I reworked certain parts of it and I'm hoping it turns out just as delicious!

This original recipe I got from Liz's cooking Blog. But now that I've made some changes, I have to say I'm claiming it as a little bit more of my own recipe.

  • 12 Large Cabbage leaves
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 TBSP Salt
  • 2 TBSP pepper (1 for the turkey, 1 for the mixture)
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 C uncooked Brown Rice
  • 1 29oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Lemon Juice (1/2 cup for the turkey, 1/2 cup for the sauce)
  • 1 cup Worcestershire

  1. Get out the slow cooker.
  2. Start by browning your ground turkey. Season your ground turkey as it browns with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon. When this is done, set aside.
  3. Start water boiling in a large pot for your cabbage. Cut the bottom of the cabbage off and slowly wiggle the leaves apart. Then boil as many as will submerge in the pot at a time until tender and flexible. If you still have trouble getting leaves off without ripping them, submerge the whole head of cabbage in the pot and then pull of leaves, re-submerging when needed. Do this until you have about 12 whole leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg, greek yogurt, onion, spices, and rice. Mix well. 
  5. Take about 1/4 C of this mix and put into the center of a leaf. Fold in the sides, then fold up the bottom until it looks like a little burrito. Place them seam side down in the slow cooker until you have gone through your leaves or ran out of mix.
  6. In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire. Pour this over the cabbage.
  7. Set to cook for 6 hours. 
  8. Make sure the cabbage is tender.  Serve.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cheesy Ham and Corn Chowder

Cheesy Ham and Corn Chowder
Serves 4 (as a meal)

Once again, Ray has found a recipe that has been quite delicious. This was a recipe he had saved from a long time ago when he wanted to start cooking meals and when he looked it up again, he realized it came from Hormel! The soup, though, was definitely a treat when I arrived home after struggling through snow just to get home. It wasn't completely what I thought, but it was delicious. Chowders are a creamy broth with whole food chunks. I had thought it was going to be a creamy corn soup with ham. I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't what I expected. A must cook again treat! Leftovers were also very delicious!

  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
  • 4 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded Colby cheese
  • 2 cups Farmland diced ham
  • 1 4oz jar of Dromedary Pimentos
  • Sliced green onions (garnish)
  • 1 TBSP poultry seasoning (sage)

  1. In large saucepan, cook onion in oil, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until tender.
  2. Stir in flour until smooth. Keep stirring, making sure it does not burn.
  3. Stir in water, bouillon, potatoes, seasoning and pepper.
  4. Cover saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Stir in milk, corn, cheese, ham and roasted peppers. Cook 8 to 10 minutes longer or until heated thoroughly.
  6. Once broth is to a preferred consistency and potatoes are cooked, serve and garnish with sliced green onions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mediterranean Capellini

Mediterranean Capellini
Serves 4

Yet another quick and easy meal made by my husband. We made very few changes to the recipe he found and it was absolutely delicious.  Great for busy weeknights. It would also be a great base for a protein dish. Shrimp or Chicken might be good. It's a start.

  • 1 (12-oz) pkg angel hair pasta
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 14 1/2-oz can chopped tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies with juices
  • 4 tsp drained capers
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • grated Parmesan cheese (garnish)

  1. Cook pasta. Add 1 TBSP olive oil and salt to the water. Drain, set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, in large pan, heat oil and saute garlic, onion, and red pepper over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add tomatoes with their juice, tomatoes and green chilies, capers, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Toss with pasta and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lemony Asparagus Gnocchi

Lemony Asparagus Gnocchi
Serves 4

Necessity is the mother of invention. I know that I have cod. I know that I have gnocchi. What can I do with cod and gnocchi? I found a recipe on Life Takes Lemons and I was excited to try it. In all honestly, my husband was dubious at best. Fish AND gnocchi are not a winning combination for him. But I went ahead with it anyways. I have split up the two recipes into two different entries, making my own adjustments to what we cooked based on the original recipes, but they link to each other. Paired, they are Spicy Panko Cod with Lemony Asparagus Gnocchi. This meal was so delicious and filling! Even my cod and gnocchi disliking husband demanded we cook it again.

  • 1 pkg gnocchi
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Bacon Bits (real bacon preferred)
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP Tarragon
  • 6 TBSP butter

  1. Boil water and cook gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or as directed. 
  2. Meanwhile, break off the asparagus by snapping it in the place where it gives the most. 
  3. In a frying pan, add the asparagus, butter, bacon bits, garlic and tarragon. Cook asparagus to preferred doneness.  
  4. In a bowl, toss lemon juice, pepper, and asparagus.
  5. Add gnocchi and toss again. Serve.

Spicy Panko Cod

Spicy Panko Cod
Serves 4

Necessity is the mother of invention. I know that I have cod. I know that I have gnocchi. What can I do with cod and gnocchi? I found a recipe on Life Takes Lemons and I was excited to try it. In all honestly, my husband was dubious at best. Fish AND gnocchi are not a winning combination for him. But I went ahead with it anyways. I have split up the two recipes into two different entries, making my own adjustments to what we cooked based on the original recipes, but they link to each other. Paired, they are Spicy Panko Cod with Lemony Asparagus Gnocchi. This meal was so delicious and filling! Even my cod and gnocchi disliking husband demanded we cook it again.

  • 4  4oz pieces of Cod (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups panko
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP pepper
  • 2 TBSP chilli powder
  1. Mix dry ingredients together. 
  2. Pat fish dry. 
  3. Coat each filet evenly in mix. 
  4. Saute fish on medium in canola oil until coating is golden brown and fish is flaky.  Remember not to flip the fish too many times.

Pair with Lemony Asparagus Gnocchi.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Serves 8 (makes 2 pizzas)

I like to try to make different kinds of pizzas at home with flavors that I really enjoy. After Ray, my husband, played around with taco pizzas, I couldn't pass up making a Buffalo Chicken Pizza using the Buffalo Sauce for the pizza sauce, especially on Super Bowl Sunday! We LOVED it more than any pizza I've made before. This is a must keep.

  • 3 cups Sargento Shredded Provolone and Mozzarella
  • 2 cans white chicken
  • 1 cup Buffalo Sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 thin premade pizza crusts (you can use a thicker crust per preference)


  1. Preheat the oven to the crust directions (425 usually).
  2. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce on each pizza crust.
  3. Spread out one can of white chicken on each pizza.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of onion and 1 stalk of celery evenly over the pizza.
  5. Crumble half of the 3/4 cup of blue cheese on each pizza. 
  6. Spread 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese on each.
  7. Bake until desired crispiness. 
  8. SERVE AND ENJOY!!! Mmmmmmmm......

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken and Corn Enchiladas

Chicken and Corn Enchiladas
Serves 8

This was one of Ray's weekly recipes. He found the recipe using one of his fancy little phone apps. The recipe was for 16 people! So he halved the ingredients and we still had leftovers for two work lunches (it reheated really well). The cool thing about it was that he doubled the chicken, sour cream, corn, and spices so that we had leftover filling and we made an awesome Chicken Fajita Pizza. This is an absolute cook again meal. Our two-year-old daughter loved the filling (she hates tortilla shells).

  • 1lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1.5 cup canned enchilada sauce (Old El Paso)
  • 1/2 16oz. jar salsa (Chi-Chi's White Bean Salsa or Tostitos Black Bean and Corn)
  • 8 8in. tortillas
  • 8 oz. frozen corn
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 2 cup shredded cheese (Kraft Mexican Blend)
  • 1TBSP ground cumin
  • 1TBSP chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • guacamole
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. On the stove top, use a pan to cook your chicken breasts. Make sure you season them. Once they are cooked, use two forks to shred the meat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, red onions, corn, sour cream, cumin, chili powder, and half of the cheese. Add salt and pepper as preferred.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the salsa and enchilada sauce.
  5. Soften tortillas for 10 seconds each in medium skillet coated with cooking spray.
  6. Fill tortillas with the chicken mix and place seam down in baking dish. Spoon salsa/enchilada sauce mix over and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add more if you prefer.
  7. Bake, covered with foil for 30-40 minutes.  sprinkle with green onions and serve. Mexican or Tomato Rice are great additives for side dishes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Broccoli, Kale, and Potato Frittata

Broccoli, Kale, and Potato Frittata
Serves 4

Based on Rachael Ray's Broccoli Rabe Frittata and Fennel Salad, but I wanted to add Kale and use egg whites for half of the eggs in the recipe. It turned out deliciously!

  • 5 tablespoons EVOO
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch  broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 4 large leaves of kale, striped from the stalk, tore into chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (setting 1 on a handheld mandolin)
  • 1 large yukon gold, thinly sliced (setting 1 on a handheld mandolin)
  • 3 ounces pecorino-romano, grated
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup egg whites

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Stir in the broccoli and kale with 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until crisp-tender. Drain and transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tbsp. EVOO to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until tender.
  4. Add the kale and broccoli; cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir half of the cheese into the eggs; season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the vegetables.
  6. Cook until set around the edges of the pan but still jiggly in the center.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. 
  8. Transfer to the oven and broil until set and golden.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera with Real Beef Hot Dogs

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera with Real Beef Hot Dogs

This popped up when I was looking through my Rachael Ray Magazine and it looks so fresh and delicious, so I tried out the recipe from Johnsonville.com. Sadly, the sausage didn't make it on the grocery list (a mystery yet to be solved), so we used our beef hot dogs to fill in the gaps. It turned out AWESOME! My husband says he probably wouldn't have liked it as much if it hadn't been for the accidental slip. He didn't even know they were hot dogs! We also couldn't find zucchini. Both stores were out or had not received a shipment. Make it hard to cook healthy when stores don't provide healthy foods.

  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium orange (or red) bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kelement's Chicago Brand Beef Hot Dogs (cut at an angle)
  • 12 oz. uncooked Cavatappi Pasta or pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Add the oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  3. Transfer to a greased shallow baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the sausage and pecorino over vegetables. Bake until sausage is heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl.
  6. Add sausage mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blackened Chicken Tenders

Blackened Chicken Tenders

Ray (my husband) made this as one of his recipes he wanted to cook for the week, as he ventures into the world of twice-a-week meals. He said it was a little different than the one I will link to here, but it turned out really well. It would have been better if he followed the recipe linked here from Relish. So that is the one I will share, as the only difference was the amount of condensed milk used. The recipe went really well with scalloped potatoes.

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 - green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 - red bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 - (5-ounce) can evaporated skim milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  1. In large resealable bag, combine paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, pepper, salt. Add chicken, shake to coat.  
  2. In large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, heat olive oil over medium heat, sauté chicken 5–7 minutes or until browned and done. Remove to a plate.  
  3. In same skillet, add green pepper, red pepper, onion, scraping bits from bottom of pan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add evaporated milk, stirring, one minute or until heated and bubbly. Serve chicken with sauce, sprinkle with green onions, if desired.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year Meatloaf

New Year Meatloaf
Serves 8-10

I am always trying to strike that balance between what my husband loves about meatloaf and what I want to get out of meatloaf. So I browsed recipe after recipe. I looked through different articles talking about how to replace this with that to make a healthier recipe. What I came up with is below and did an amazing job hitting the mark on all accounts. So I called it a New Year Meatloaf to include that idea of healthy foods, without misrepresenting the idea that it is healthy. Gluten Free, by the way. I just included healthy options in the loaf, so for me, it's a healthier loaf than what I've known before. For my husband, it was exactly what he wanted.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or 2 egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup rolled Oates, minced in a blender until they resemble fine bread crumbs (or use a hand chopper)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 packet Onion Soup mix
  • salt and pepper as preferred

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the meat, carrots, bell peppers, onion, egg, egg whites, Oates, Parmesan, curry, coriander, chili, onion soup mix, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a non-stick baking dish, form meat into a loaf shape.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Pull out, take off foil and spread the ketchup on top.
  7. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash.

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash
Servings: 6

I wanted something healthy to go along with my mashed potatoes. I used this as a filling once for a ravioli, but I thought I'd see if I could make it healthier and use it as a side for my healthy meatloaf. A recipe showed up on EatingWell.com, so I tried it. You can get all then nutritional information on their website for the recipe. It breaks down to about 135 calories per 2/3 cup of potatoes. It was awesome, even though it was lacking a little love in the butter department. Ahem. But here it is with my changes.

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 cups broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk, heated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place potatoes and broccoli in and cook until tender.
  3. Transfer the broccoli and potatoes to a large bowl and coarsely mash with a potato masher. 
  4. Add the cheese, milk, salt and pepper and continue mashing to desired consistency. 
  5. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

National Popcorn Day!

Lemon Pepper and Parmesan Popcorn
Make 2 Quarts

I got the directions for popping homemade popcorn from a website online and it has proven to be a really great way to make homemade popcorn. I have been experimenting with different kernel brands. When I made this recipe I used the tri-color Amish popcorn kernels and I used olive oil.


2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels

Heat the oil and salt in a large (at least 3-quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add the kernels and cover.

When the kernels begin to pop, move the lid so it is slightly ajar and steam can escape. Shake the pot gently but continuously over the burner by moving it back and forth.

Continue to shake the pot until popping slows. When there is 3-second lull between pops, remove from heat, uncover, and pour into a bowl.

2 tablespoons of butter
1 tsp McCormick Lemon Pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter with the lemon pepper. Drizzle over the popcorn.

Sprinkle the cheese over and toss the popcorn.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Doritos Nacho Platter

Doritos Nacho Platter
Serves 4-6

This recipe grew out of a frustration to cook something that we didn't have the typical ingredients for. As I continued to stare into the abyss of our pantry, I started to have certain items jump out at me and I realized I could attempt to make these nontraditional nachos.

  • 1 bag Doritos Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips
  • 1 10oz can of Ro-Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis
  • 1 15.25oz can of Whole Kernel Sweet Corn
  • 1 15oz can of Goya Black Bean Soup
  • 1 15oz can of Hormel Chili with Beans
  • 3/4 cup Cheez Whiz
  • Sour Cream
  • Taco Sauce
  • Black Olives
  • Jalapeno slices

  1. Over medium heat in a medium pot, mix the corn (strained) , Ro-Tel with liquid, and Black Beans with liquid.
  2. In a bowl, mix the can of Hormel Chili with the the Cheez Whiz. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat again for another minute. Stir. Repeat until heated through.
  3. On 4-6 plates, pile on the chips. Then spread the Cheez Whiz mixture. Use a slotted spoon to spread the tomato/corn/bean mixture. Drain the liquid before putting them on the chips.
  4. Add sour cream, sliced black olives, taco sauce, and jalapenos on top. Serve!