Monday, October 18, 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna Rolls

Ingredients (this feeds a family of 4)

8 uncooked lasagna noodles (can use more or less)
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups washed baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Cook the noodles 9 minutes, drain and set them out on a platter (cutting board, work surface, etc). Once they've cooled to the touch, spread two scoops (about two tablespoons) of ricotta on each noodle.

Next, spread about two spoonfuls of marinara on each noodle.

Now, spread some of the baby spinach on top.

Now roll.

Fill casserole pan (that you have already sprayed with non-stick spray).

Top with remaining marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Bubbly goodness!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The best Brussels sprouts EVER!

These are absolutely the best Brussels sprouts I've ever had!!

Leave it to Simply Recipes to find me another great recipe! I think it's definitely important to blanch them first, as this seems to really add to the taste and texture of the sprouts. We'll definitely be making this one again!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cucumber and Pimm's

1/2 Pimm's
1/3 Ginger Ale
Slices of cucumber and lemon

Super tasty on a nice cool evening.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shrimp and Grits - my own combination!

So the Whole Foods Shrimp and Grits didn't satisfy me and the amount of work to accomplish that "bleh" was way too monumental.... soooooo I decided to make my own recipe - or rather combine a few. I ended up making grits (with garlic and butter) and topped them with shrimp scampi and peas. This turned out better than I expected. Kudos for spontaneous thinking!!

I basically made the grits like this:

Southern Grits

2 cups water (I used 4)
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup grits (I used 1 cup)
1 Tbl butter

Added* 2 cloves of chopped garlic

Use small heavy pot with thick bottom and tight fitting lid. Pour water into pot followed by remaining ingredients. Bring to full boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it is.

And I made the shrimp like this (although I added an onion to the olive oil sauteing):



  • One standard sized bag of Shrimp (I used about 10 large shrimp for two adults)
  • Half of Garlic bulb (approx 5-6 cloves)
  • 4 tbsp of butter (I used about 2.5)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • Few sprigs of freshly chopped Parsley (I omitted this and added a half an onion instead)
  • Dash of Olive Oil and S+P

*Optional- Dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio- I definitely used this!!)

How to make Easy Shrimp Scampi (Garlic Butter Shrimp)


  • First rinse and peel your shrimp.

  • Chop the Garlic Cloves and Onions (or Parsley)

  • Start to fry shrimp in dash of olive oil (I actually sauteed the onions for about 3 minutes first), add Salt and Pepper and lemon juice. Pour 2 ounces of wine if desired, simmer for two minutes

  • Add the garlic, butter and Parsley (if using), let fry for 2-3 minutes (or until shrimp are pink and garlic is cooked)

  • Remove from heat and dish onto grits (be sure to smother the grits with the butter sauce)!

I also threw a bag of frozen peas onto the burner with a little bit of water (of course in a pan). When these were heated, I put them on the side of the main dish. These turned out to be a great addition to the entire meal because once the shrimp was gone, the extra grits and butter sauce went well with the peas!!

Sorry, we ate this faster than we could take a picture.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy's Little Helper

Do you ever have one of those nights that you just wish you were without kids again? Well this was one of those nights. I have to say, I prefer the Topo Chico to the sugar filled or diet tonic waters.

Whole Foods Muenster and Jalapeno Sliders

We bought the pre-made mini sliders at Whole Foods (they're a pretty good deal) as well as their mini buns. These turned out sooo good topped with fresh jalapeno slices and then Muenster cheese on top. Of course we left the jalapenos off for the boys, but they loved them!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

This week's Menu

Monday - Ravioli
Tuesday - Peruvian Soup al la Minuta
Wednesday - Asparagus Pesto Pasta
Thursday - Spaghetti w/Meatballs
Friday - Pizza night

Black Bean Soup (leftovers)
Turkey Sandwiches
Bean and Cheese Soft Tacos
Banana Bread

Monday, August 30, 2010

Grandma's Famous Banana Bread

My kids love this. The neighbor kids ask for these banana muffins every time they come over. I had to make another batch tonight. My grandma and mom always made these into loaves of bread. This makes for having to figure out how to keep the chocolate chips spread evenly throughout the bread (mine always fall to the bottom) and how to get the bread to fall out of the pan easily (I usually lose half the loaf to the oiled and floured pan - WTF?). Anyway, these silicone cupcake liners have been wonderful for us over the years. Here's a run down of the recipe from memory:

Mash 2-3 bananas in a bowl (old frozen bananas work well as do fresh ones)
In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of warm butter (my grandma called it spry - love that word) and 1.5 cups of sugar (I use a little less and use turbinado or pure cane sugar).
Mix in two eggs
Add 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix mix mix.
In a small measuring cup, combine 1/3 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar (to sour the milk).
Alternate adding bananas, then milk, then dark cocoa chips (optional) into the flour mix. Once you've mixed it all together, spread into about 18-24 muffin/cupcake tins and bake 350 for about 45 minutes (my oven is convection, so the timing may vary). When doing a loaf, it calls for an hour and 15 minutes cooking time (another reason to do the cupcakes).

Tuesday Lunches

I am pairing these with some organic peanut butter and jelly whole wheat bun sandwiches. I am also hoping that I can find these "all natural" cheese puffs again. They even came with a $1 off coupon! I should have bought all of the bags they had! I think the boys will eat the green cauliflower too. I'm not sure why they don't really like it when it's white... I guess it's not broccoli enough for them then?

Sockeye Salmon with Sunshine Rice

This Salmon with Sunshine Rice recipe from Whole Foods had such a cool name that I thought, "How can I not love this?" Well, I guess it's kind of like that really snoozer book that had the cover that just called your name. I don't think I'll make this one again :( I must admit, I made too many changes (cooking changes) and I don't usually like brown rice, so I think those are two major reasons for my unhappiness about this meal. Plus, it just took way too long. I didn't have a dutch oven (nor any type of big pot that could go in the oven) so I thought I'd research and find out how to do it in the crock-pot. That worked, but I just wasn't pleased with the overall taste and combination of the ingredients.

Without a step by step detail, I'll just post the pictures I took along the long, hungry journey.

If I would have left it here, it probably would have been good.

Adding the tomatoes was a bad idea for the recipe (in my opinion). I think a can of coconut milk would have done wonders for the flavors though!

I cooked the salmon separately in the oven and it actually came out just fine (I sprinkled it with salt and curry powder and drizzled with olive oil).

Recipes I'd like to try!!

Pea Hummus
Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Green Curry Broth
Summer Succotash with Bacon and Croutons
Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint
Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing
Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shrimp and Grits with Sweet Peppers

Pretty yummy Shrimp and Grits with Sweet Peppers from start to finish! I cheated and microwaved the bacon though - I used olive oil and butter to compensate for the lost bacon grease. It was still yummy though!!

Creative lens on the grits (thanks hubby)!

Onions, garlic and two bell peppers (red and yellow are my favorites!!)

Mixing in the shrimp, lemon and hot sauce.

Sprinkled bacon on top!

Waalaah! Edible to the nth degree!

This Week's Menu

You'll notice a few meals that we were supposed to cook in the past two weeks that we didn't end up doing because of potlucks, etc that we have been going to.

Crock Pot Refried Bean Soup
Shrimp & Grits with Sweet Peppers
Spaghetti and Tita's Meatballs
Coho Salmon with Sunshine Rice

Lunch Ideas:
Turkey Sandwiches/Wraps
Crackers and Tuna

Salad with Champagne dressing

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vegetable (not) Fried Rice

We had the Vegetable (not) Fried Rice tonight from Budget Bytes website. Of course, I have to change it up, so we didn't add the bell peppers (yuck - too much burping for me thank you!), but instead doubled up the carrots and added some edamame and two eggs (instead of just one). We need lots of protein in this house of growing boys!!

Also, here is what I'm serving up for tomorrow's lunch for the boys. I think they'll dig it. It's basically celery with ranch dressing (we'll see if they actually use the ranch), some Whole Foods turkey in tortillas with mayo and grated carrots, some homemade carrot bread with cream cheese (yum!), Annie's bunny choco chip cookies, and a Stoneyfield Farms YoKids Yogurt. I'm pretty sure these boxes will be cleaned out (as long as my 4 year old's teacher lets him eat the cookies - they usually let them keep those around for after school snack).

Oh- and I'm so mad that my husband's iPhone 4 takes such better pictures than my mere year old iPhone model. Can you tell which picture he took and which one I took? Yea, me too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Second day of second grade lunch

My son came home without a crumb (well, maybe one or two) in his lunch bag from his first day. This is a first for skinny-malinky-dinky-dink. Hopefully tomorrow (turkey tortilla wrap) will make him just as happy. I know he'll dig the banana bread muffin with choco chips, he loves celery sticks (go figure) and how can you turn down squeezy yogurt, grapes, string cheese and a cookie?

Grits 'N Greens

Oh my goooooodnesssss!!!

Why have I not found this awesome recipe before in my 21 years of life (haha)!!???!!!
This Grits 'N Greens was so yummy tonight!! I did a few variations (didn't have instant grits- cooked them from scratch the first time ever!!! and I had to cook the collard greens on the stove top) but overall, this recipe was really easy, very satisfying and super tasty!! I'm definitely adding this one to my rotation and to my top 50 list!! Thank you Budget Bytes! You never fail to make my family happy!!

First - the trick is in the stirring of the grits (it feels like it's constantly for 20 minutes). I used one cup of grits to 3 cups water, a pinch of salt, and boiling/stirring for about 20 minutes.

Second - I didn't have collard greens already wilted, so I poured myself a glass of white wine (a big one), cleaned the greens, and wilted them in olive oil (about a tablespoon), salt and a hot pan.

Third - the greens are wilted! And oh-so yummy!!

Finally - throw them all together with some butter, salt and pepper, and you've got yourself a super winner!!

Disclaimer : these eggs are from Whole Foods (Texas) and have not been added to the eggs salmonella list yet!! Yay!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Next week's menu ideas

Grits 'N Greens - Budget Bytes
Vegetable (not) Fried Rice - Budget Bytes
Wild Coho Salmon with Sunshine Rice (and Cauliflower) - Whole Foods
Shrimp and Grits - Whole Foods
Spaghetti and Meatballs - In the freezer from Tita!
Salmon Burgers - Costco and dad
Ravioli - in the freezer from Costco

Lunch ideas:
Tuna and Crackers
Turkey Sandwiches
Breads (Carrot, Banana, Zucchini)


Peruvian Soup with Potatoes

Last night we made Whole Foods Peruvian Sopa a la Minuta and it was just as good as the first time we made it. I omit the red bell pepper and add two carrots instead (my kids seem to eat more of it this way). It seems as though we had two thumbs up from our guests (my parents) as well. My dad, the cook, is hard to please when it comes to the kitchen, so I'm always happy when he likes a meal I've made!

I popped some cheese bread in the oven and roasted some zucchini slivers in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served as a side. This is a pretty simple meal after everything is peeled!

Rachel Ray's Oven-Roasted Cod

We decided to make Rachel Ray's Oven-Roasted Cod with Herbs instead of the Fish Fillet Italiano. In my opinion, that was a mistake. The cod was good (I used panko breadcrumbs to make it better) but it was just pretty bland. I had to sprinkle paprika on mine after I cooked it and tried it. I would have liked it to be juicier and spicier. Maybe if I make it again I'll put more than just parsley in the mix.

We paired this with couscous and the famous Chili Roasted Broccoli that has never done us wrong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Farmer's Market Beer Can Chicken

Okay, so I made my first beer can chicken last week. It was great because it was from the farmer's market. It was also horrible because it was from the farmer's market. Well, not really. I just had to write that because this farmer's chicken made me learn some new techniques (like actually cutting off the neck, trimming the skin, and removing the oil gland - at least I didn't have to kill it, bleed it or pluck it!!).

Defrost time: 5 days
Weight: 4.5 lbs
Cost: $14.50
Cooking Method: With beer can
First: Mom twisting off it's neck (and the beer can thing).

So, I got this Beer Can Chicken recipe from one of my tried and true sources - Simply Recipes. I love this site!

I also sliced up a farmer's market heirloom- type squash, tossed it with some olive oil, and threw it in the roasting pan during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Yummy!

I also feel like I'm getting lazy on my posts. I'm basically just referring you to the websites I find these recipes at. Nothing is original for me anymore these days. Oh well... on to working and playing with the kids instead!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

So I finally got around to baking these Whole Foods Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies. For some reason, baking on a day that it's a 102 degrees outside is never very appealing, but the end product was very yummy and worth it!!

I did mine with organic peanut butter and added Reeses Peanut Butter chips. The kids love them and I am happy they're getting a little extra protein!

Ramon Bowl Saturday

Boys had plain Ramon (oh mom! you're so healthy!!) and hubby and I made the Quick Ramon Bowl from Budget Bytes. Definitely was much better than just plain Ramon. Now if I could get the boys to eat their vegetables!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Last week of summer menu

Here are my ideas for grocery shopping and menus this week:

Peruvian Beef & Potato Soup (Whole Foods Recipes)
Spaghetti Carbonara (from a previous post in my blog and Six O'Clock Scramble)
Tortilla Casserole (Six O'Clock Scramble)
Crock Pot Re-fried Bean Soup (A Year of Crock Pot Cooking)
Fish Fillets Italiano (
Quick Ramon Bowl (Budget Bytes)
Bratwurst & Potato Soup (Taste of Home)

Ideas for sides:
Corn bread, Broccoli, Spanish Rice, White Cheddar Annie's Mac and Cheese, Couscous, Zucchini

Lunch ideas:
Tacos, Mac and Cheese, Turkey Sandwiches, Quesadillas

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sausage Po-Boys and Cold Pea Salad

We are trying some of the Sausage PoBoys from our trusty Budget Bytes blog. I'm also pairing it with our favorite, the famous Cold Pea Salad.

Vegetable (not) Fried Rice and Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes

My husband found Budget Bytes and now we're addicted to making most of our meals from her blog. Most of the time, we don't even have to go to the store to get anything special (and I love that!!). So the other night, we made Vegetable (not) Fried Rice and Teriyaki Sweet Potatoes. And like Beth M suggests, you don't have to worry about sticking to the recipe!! So, with the (not) Fried Rice, I added chopped up zucchini and corn and omitted the carrots (didn't have) and peas (son #1 hates). This meal turned out really well and I'll definitely make the rice again!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Grilled Salmon - Basic Teriyaki Blend

This Salmon Recipe was very yummy. I need to post this for future use, but I apologize for not writing more. Life has been hectic, but I do still LOVE my food!!