Monday, March 31, 2014

March Re-Make Recap

Wow, March was a busy month! I was so happy when we set the clocks ahead an hour. I love, love, love that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. I finally have natural light in the evening again. And we officially welcomed Spring, although Mother Nature doesn't seem to have gotten the memo yet.

It was another busy month in the kitchen and boy did I remake a lot of recipes this month! I don't think the list has ever been this long. Whenever I write these posts I find myself salivating over all the dishes I made and wanting to make them all again.


With all the cold weather we've been having, perfect roast chicken has been remade often. This is such a simple recipe that packs a lot of flavor. I love a good roast chicken dinner on a cold Sunday.

crispy potatoes

We've been eating these oven roasted potatoes a lot this winter. They're a great side dish that can double as French fries. I love them dipped in various sauces. They're so easy to prepare and come out perfect every time.


SP loved these black bean tacos with feta and slaw so much he insisted I make them again the following week. I love how simple these are but they don't skimp on flavor. These were a big hit with all three of us and I know I'll be making them often this summer.

Shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce

I wanted to remake this angel hair with shrimp in lemon cream sauce but since shrimp are so expensive I swapped out the shrimp for chicken. It worked beautifully. I don't know why but the lemon cream sauce is just so delicious.

These remake recaps wouldn't be complete with the Texas Roadhouse salads. It's always our go-to salad.

I love this recipe for tilapia francese. Whenever I buy a club pack of frozen tilapia I always make this recipe at least once. The sauce is delectable and the coating gets nice and crispy. Definitely a family favorite.


This month I remade one of my favorites side dishes: creamed spinach. I've loved creamed spinach since I was a kid and I love having a homemade version to make whenever I want it.

I made a double batch of these homemade refried beans to take to a Mexican themed dinner at our friend's house. I always love sharing this recipe with new people because they're always blown away by how good they are.

It had been awhile since I last made these Hawaiian chicken sandwiches. I can't go too long without eating them. I've always loved them but it warms my heart that Baby Girl is also a big fan. She finally loves pineapple and managed to put away an entire adult-sized sandwich. What can I say, the kid can eat.

Sometimes I like to make a lighter dinner for a change. I remembered this veggie frittata from one of the recipe swaps. I love that it's packed with healthy vegetables and plenty of protein from the eggs to be a filling dinner.


Whenever I don't know what to make with ground beef I turn to taco rice. I probably make it at least once or twice a month. It's always delicious and the whole family loves it.

corned beef

We decided to bring corned beef and cabbage with herb-buttered potatoes to my parent's house for Sunday dinner this year. They couldn't stop raving about how good this was and I have to agree - it's such a great recipe. It's a shame we only make it once a year.

grasshopper brownies

St. Patrick's Day wouldn't be complete with these grasshopper mint brownies. I sent most of them to work with SP and, once again, they were a big hit.


I've been wanting to remake this chicken with prosciutto and brie for ages but kept being put off by the cost of prosciutto. I needed it for another recipe so I decided to get a full pound so I could make this dish. Man, it this an amazing meal. I cooked up 5 chicken breasts so we'd be sure to have plenty of leftovers and it was just barely enough. We all just wanted to keep eating.

Since SP had a work dinner one night I decided to make Greek pita pizzas. SP isn't a big fan of Greek food so this was a perfect dinner for me and Baby Girl. Simple and hearty.

One Sunday my mom asked me to make crispy baked zucchini fries to go with our dinner. I doubled this recipe and the four of us (Baby Girl still isn't a fan of these for some odd reason) inhaled the entire batch. Good thing they're pretty healthy.

crispy fish

I can't get enough of this crispy fish recipe. I'm so glad we've started eating more fish - I really love it. This may not be the healthiest version but it's truly delicious.

creamy noodles2

I finally got around to remaking these creamy noodles with spinach after not having any spinach the last time I made them. I loved that the spinach made this a complete veggie and starch side dish. I made a whole bag of egg noodles so we'd have plenty leftover, but we all loved these so much there was just enough for lunches.


I had a craving for these pepperoni pizza sliders this month. I'd forgotten how good these were. I could have made a double batch. I added some sliced black olives since Baby Girl loves them. I loved dipping these in extra sauce - so good.

club salad2

This California club chopped salad is one of my favorite dinner salads. I love all the fresh ingredients together and I love how adaptable it is. This time I used some leftover crispy chicken from another meal and swapped the blue cheese for feta, although I realized right before I went to toss it all together that the feta had expired, so I picked it out as best I could. Still delicious and satisfying.


I had to restock with freezer with more of this sausage and spinach egg bake. I added a bunch of different cheeses this time since I had some odds and ends to use up. Such a great breakfast.
Pin It!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Recipe Redo: Creamed Spinach

I've been making my friend Melissa's recipe for creamed spinach for years but was never able to get a good photo of the finished product. SP has been hankering for a good steak dinner. Unfortunately there aren't any great steak places nearby that offer a consistently good meal, so we decided to make our own dinner at home. We have a fantastic Amish butcher at a local farmer's market so we picked up some steaks and I whipped up this creamed spinach.


Of course I forgot that I wanted to blog the creamed spinach on its own, so this Instagram photo is the best shot I got that night. Trust me, this is a recipe you want to have in your back pocket. It's easy and delicious. The original Emeril recipe calls for fresh spinach, but I always use frozen since finding 2lbs worth of fresh spinach without breaking the bank can be difficult. Frozen is just as good and makes this a side dish I can throw together whenever the mood strikes.

Creamed Spinach
As seen on Alosha's Kitchen, modified from Emeril Lagasse

2 cups frozen spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream

Place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for a few minutes (will vary depending on your microwave) until just defrosted. Place in a clean kitchen towel and wring out all the excess water in the spinach.

Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until the liquid is released. Add the cream (start with 1/2 cup), salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. You may want to add more cream if it looks dry. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
Pin It!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Restaurant Knockoff - Baja Fresh Grilled Salsa

I've been wanting to make Nicole's recipe for Baja Fresh Grilled Salsa for years, I just needed a party with enough people to eat it all. When we decided to do a Mexican-themed dinner with our friends, it was the first thing I knew I wanted to make.

roasted salsa
Photo credit - T. Casey

This could not have been easier. I used my indoor grill pan to char the vegetables and then whirred them up in the food processor. I only used one jalapeno since I wanted this to be mild enough for the kids to enjoy, but unfortunately my jalapeno was pretty spicy. It was great for the grown-ups, though. We inhaled this. Initially SP had been more excited about the salsa fresca I also made but ended up loving this one more. It's positively delicious and I can't wait to make it again.

Baja Fresh Grilled Salsa
As seen on Prevention RD, adapted from My Bizzy Kitchen

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat
6 large tomatoes
1-3 jalapenos (1 for mild, 2 for medium, 3 for hot), stem removed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Couple handfuls cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime

Pre-heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Coat the tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and garlic in the olive oil.

Grill the vegetables until they are charred, but not falling apart.

Place the vegetables in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip.
Pin It!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Corn Casserole

This is one of those recipes that came into my life by chance. I had a 16oz container of sour cream that was mostly full and expiring in a few days. I asked the ladies on my cooking board for savory ideas to use it up and my friend Stephanie responded with this recipe for Corn Casserole. I was making a roast chicken for Sunday dinner and thought this would be a great side dish.


I knew this would be good but I wasn't expecting it to be incredible. There were 5 of us eating this and the only reason there was a smidge leftover was because there was chocolate pudding for dessert. It's an incredibly simple recipe that's slightly sweet and slightly savory. We couldn't stop eating it, Baby Girl especially.

The only issue I had was finding the corn in the sizes indicated in the original recipe. The small cans were 8.5 ounces and SP could only find whole-kernel corn in a 15.5-ounce can. Once I drained and rinsed the corn I weighed it and it was exactly 8.5 ounces, so I just dumped the whole thing in. It was totally fine. And if you can't find the no-salt-added corn, don't sweat it. One of my cans was and one wasn't and it was still delicious.

Corn Casserole
As seen on Stephanie Cooks, originally from Elizabeth's Edible Experience

1 egg
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 can (15.5-ounce) no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
1 small can (8.5-ounce) no-salt-added cream-style corn
1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
8 ounces sour cream
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine everything but the cooking spray in a medium bowl and stir into well incorporated. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish (or 9x13 if you double it) with cooking spray. Pour in the batter.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set.

Use a spoon to stir and mash the bread until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes or slice and serve like corn bread.

Pin It!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Breakfast Bowls

Every night someone on my cooking board will ask "what's for dinner?" One night my friend Heather said her husband was making breakfast bowls. I immediately asked her for the recipe. I finally got around to making them one weekend when we didn't have plans and needed a hearty breakfast to hold us over until dinner.


This dirties a few pans but it's worth it. So, so worth it. The flavors come together so well and the combination of hash browns, breakfast meat, eggs and cheese is very filling. You can also add any veggies you choose. I did onions and mushrooms, but Heather uses peppers as well. Use your imagination - this is a great way to use up any leftover veggies in your fridge.


I ended up putting everything into a large, round Corningware dish then dividing it in half for us to eat, but if you have larger, oven-safe bowls I think it would be fun to make these as individual servings. I cooked the full pound of breakfast sausage but froze half since it was just the two of us eating (Baby Girl stole bites from our plates since she'd already had breakfast). I can't wait to make these again.

Breakfast Bowls
From my friend Heather
Serves 4

1 pound ground breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean's)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Shredded hash browns, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon butter

1 green or red pepper, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
8 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar
8 eggs, scrambled
1 tomato, diced
4 scallions, sliced

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Remove the sausage from the skillet.

While the sausage is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another large non-stick skillet. Add as much of the hash browns as you want to the pan. Cook, turning often, until they're brown and crispy. Divide the hash browns evenly among 4 oven-safe bowls or one, large oven-safe dish.

Add the butter to the now-empty skillet and add the veggies. Cook over medium heat until they soften. Add the veggies to the bowls on top of the hash browns. Sprinkle some of the cheese on top, then add the cooked sausage.

Add the eggs to the pan the sausage was in and cook until slightly under done. Divide the eggs among the bowls and top with the rest of the cheese.

Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and bake until heated through and the cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the chopped tomato and scallion. Serve immediately.

NOTE: You can use cooked, chopped bacon instead of the sausage and cubed breakfast potatoes instead of the hash browns. You can also cook the eggs over easy instead of scrambling them and put them on the top of the bowls (potatoes, meat and cheese) once they come out of the oven.

Pin It!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Chocolate Pudding

It's recipe swap time again. The theme this month was Blogger's Choice, which can be both fun and nerve wracking. This month I was given Eva's blog. Eva is a baker. I don't bake. I was a little worried.

I spent a great deal of time looking through Eva's blog trying to decide what to make. Unfortunately the first recipe I chose was a flop, but I'm forever grateful because it brought me to this recipe for Chocolate Pudding.


Guys, seriously, if you like chocolate pudding you NEED to try this recipe. Thick, rich, and chocolately beyond compare. This is the ultimate chocolate pudding. And simple as all get out. I couldn't believe it used pantry ingredients and took less than 30 minutes, most of which was spent whisking it on the stove while checking Facebook on my phone. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as Baby Girl would say.


We brought this to my parent's house for dessert one Sunday and we were all amazed by how good it was. I was practically licking my ramekin clean. Next time I'll double the recipe because there weren't any leftovers. Thanks for an amazing recipe, Eva!

Chocolate Pudding
As seen on Eva Bakes, originally from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups milk
a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate, sugar and milk in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Heat gently over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.

Put the salt and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl. Pour half the milk mixture into the bowl, whisking vigorously until all the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan.

Return the pan to medium-low heat and whisk constantly for about 10-15 minutes, or until the pudding becomes thick and glossy. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Transfer the hot pudding to a serving bowl or individual ramekins. Lay a sheet of waxed paper over the surface of the pudding, pressing down gently, so a skin doesn't form. Chill completely before serving.

To see what other recipes were made click on the links below.

Pin It!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Salad with Pancetta, Pepperoncini and Parmesan

I was looking for something different to serve alongside the Breakfast Risotto I made a few weeks ago. I remembered Bridget's recipe for Salad with Pancetta, Peperoncini and Parmesan and figured it would be perfect since both recipes called for pancetta.


We all enjoyed this salad, although the peperoncini were a bit too spicy for Baby Girl. It's a very simple salad that packs great flavor. Baby Girl was popping the pancetta like candy and really enjoyed the dressing.

Salad with Pancetta, Peperoncini, and Parmesan
As seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 romaine hearts, washed and chopped
8 peperocini, stems removed, chopped fine
6 ounces pancetta, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup (1 ounce) shredded parmesan

For the dressing: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves in their peels and allow to toast, turning often, until the peel starts to blacken in spots, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove the peel and mince the garlic. Combine the garlic with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

For the salad: Mix everything together, then toss with the dressing.
Pin It!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw

Sometimes I'll put a dish on our weekly meal plan that makes SP nervous. He's always game to try anything I make and he's the first to say, "I trust you because you're a good cook" but we all know that sometimes a recipe can sound good on paper but not taste so great in person.


These Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw were one of those dishes that initially made him wary. When I told him the name of the dish he gave me that side-eye look of his that lets me know he's reserving judgement. I think it was the corn tortillas - neither of us are big fans of corn tortillas, but I knew frying them in a bit of oil would completely change their texture for the better.


I'm happy to report that he loved these tacos, as did I. Baby Girl was also a huge fan. Per usual, she wanted to taste the black bean mixture and snacked on the broccoli slaw as I was getting everything prepped. Like Elly says, these are an awesome weeknight meal because there's very little prep work or cooking needed. I'm so happy SP loved this dish because I can't wait to make it again.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw
As seen on Elly Says Opa, from Bon Appetit
Makes 8 tacos

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups broccoli slaw mix
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
vegetable or canola oil
8 white or yellow corn tortillas
crumbled feta cheese
Bottled hot sauce for serving

Place the beans, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and partially mash.

In another bowl, toss the broccoli slaw mix with olive oil, lime juice, scallions and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat about 3 teaspoons of the vegetable or canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add as many tortillas as you can fit in a single layer. Move the tortillas around in the pan so they're all evenly coated with oil on both sides. After one side is golden brown, flip the tortillas over and spoon some of the bean mixture onto one half of each tortilla. Cook for about 1 minute. Fold the tacos in half and cook until golden brown and crispy, 1-2 minutes per side.

Remove the tacos to a paper towel-lined plate and drain off any excess oil. Open the tortilla and stuff with some of the slaw and crumbled feta. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil to the pan, as needed. Top with hot sauce, if desired, before serving.
Pin It!