Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cilantro Lime Rice (like at Chipotle)

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Please tell me you've been to Chipotle. Please, please tell me you have. If you have not, I'm telling you to go right now. Just leave this blog, drive to your closest restaurant, and order something. Anything. The food there is amazing. It's fast food, but it's healthy and so tasty. I won't even be mad at you for leaving (as long as you eventually come back). It's just that worth it.

Chipotle's founder is actually one of the investors in the winner of the new show on NBC, America's Next Great Restaurant.  The reason why he was chosen is because Chipotle is a "fast food" restaurant, but it's so successful since it's cheap, quick, delicious and made with natural ingredients. The show is striving to find another new restaurant concept (like Chipotle), but the restaurant must be a unique idea. I hope they do find one because the idea of Chipotle was pure genius, so I'm excited to see what the next big craze will be.

As for this rice, it tastes exactly like the one they make at Chipotle. I think I could eat this as as side at every meal and be perfectly content. So if you haven't been there yet, you can make this and kind of sense the perfection I'm talking about. It's really simple and the cilantro, lime and salt add just the right about of flavor. We had it on tacos the other night and it was excellent. Give it a try and let me know how you think it compares!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup extra long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced or 2 tbsp. lime juice (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Pour the rice, water, and 1 tbsp of the olive oil into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and continue boiling over medium heat until the water just skims the top of the rice. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and continue cooking for 15 minutes. 

Turn the heat off after 15 minutes and keep covered for 5 more minutes. Remove lid and transfer the rice to a large bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of the lime, and the finely chopped cilantro to the rice. Mix well and slowly add salt, to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and lime juice if necessary.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper

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No matter what grocery store I go to, ground beef is always sold in packs of either 1.25 pounds or 2 pounds and higher. Most recipes call for one pound of meat exactly. So, what are you going to do with the extra quarter pound of meat? If you're like me, you'll put it in the freezer knowing that it will probably be used sooner or later. 

I looked in the freezer the other day and I had six quarter-pound bags of ground beef. SIX!! Who does that?

Guess what was for dinner that night? Something with ground beef.

I usually make meatballs, chili, meatloaf, etc. with my ground beef, but I had an urge to try something new. I did a quick search in Google and this recipe for Homemade Hamburger Helper popped up. I'll admit I've only tried the actual Hamburger Helper one or two times, but it wasn't half bad. I decided to give this a go thinking that getting rid of the preservatives and fat content of the store-bought version would make it better. And it sure did! 

There was a light chili flavor, and the cheese and milk made it thick and creamy. I also used all reduced-fat ingredients, so it wasn't even all that bad for me. It probably took about the same amount of time the store-bought version takes, too. About a quick 30 minutes. You can even prepare the dry seasoning mix and store in a ziplock bag so that it's ready to go next time you decide to make this meal!

Next time your kids ask for Hamburger Helper, give this recipe a try instead. You'll thank me!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown beef in a large skillet. Drain and add back to skillet.

Combine corn starch, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, sugar and paprika in a small bowl.

Add hot water, milk and macaroni to the beef in the skillet. Stir well and then add the dry ingredients.

Let the mixture come to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 12 minutes or until the macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Add cheese during the last few minutes of cooking. 

Let stand for about five minutes so it can thicken. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Chickens in the Road

Friday, March 25, 2011

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

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One of the most challenging things for me in the kitchen is to come up with good side dishes. I find that they're usually either too filling or don't go along with the main course. I, of course, love sides since I'm a big veggie lover and that's usually what my sides consist of. Chris, on the other hand, would probably have steak as his main course, salmon as a side, and chicken for dessert if he could. He'll have a salad or some other plain vegetable, but I like to switch it up once in a while and try to find things that satisfy both of us.

On that note, I love mashed potatoes. They're best when they are creamy, silky and smooth. If they're dry or clumpy, they are a huge disappointment. As a matter of fact, we've designated my oldest brother, Eddie, as the official potato masher on Thanksgiving. He did it great one year, so every year since we call him to the kitchen when it's time to mash the potatoes. Sucker! He's got it down to a science, though, so who could blame us?

Thanks to him, I already knew how to make awesome mashed potatoes. In order to spruce up my baked potato, I decided to mash it and then add cheese and bacon to make it a little more exciting. Serve this with a juicy steak or some grilled chicken and you've got yourself a dinner. I also used all reduced-fat ingredients to make this a little healthier. If I'm going to make it loaded, I figured I should make one aspect of it healthy!

Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits 
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp. light butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 4 green onions, sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour or until knife can smoothly enter the center of the potato. If they aren't soft after 1 hour, you can zap them in the microwave for a minute or two (poke them with a knife and wrap them in damp paper towels first).

When the potatoes are done allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Reserve the skins. 

Add butter, salt and pepper to the potato flesh. Add the milk slowly until it reaches your desired consistency. Then stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese and bacon.

Bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions, if using.

Source: SK Original

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Puppy Chow

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Hey guys! I'm doing a guest post over at Kim's Concoctions today while she's adjusting to the new precious member of her family, so go check out my Puppy Chow recipe! It's a quick and easy treat for new mom's who are balancing a newborn and other young children. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

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I realize I've been posting a lot of chicken recipes lately. Sorry about that for all of you who don't eat chicken. But for most of these recipes, you can easily substitute the chicken for pork, shrimp, etc. Just something to keep in mind!

I think the reason I've been cooking with so much chicken lately is either because a) Chicken is so diverse and there are so many different recipes I can make using it; or b) When I made my trip to Costco a couple weeks ago, along with the 17 pounds of vegetables I bought, I also bought a bag of about 25 frozen chicken cutlets.

I'll let you decide the reason on your own.

Anyways, I was really craving buffalo chicken the other day, and I had a few different options of what I could make. I always love Buffalo Wings or Buffalo Chicken Dip, but I also had some bread and lettuce that weren't going to stay good for too much longer (man, I guess I should really clean out my pantry/refrigerator, huh?), so I decided to make a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

I used the technique I use for making chicken cutlets (like in Chicken Piccata) and just doctored it up a little. It turned out so good! I plan on slicing up the extra chicken pieces and having them on a salad for lunch this week, too. I've got to use up that lettuce somehow!

Serve it on bread with lettuce, a little ranch dressing, and the hot sauce mixture.

Look how good this looks! You can also slice it up and put it on a salad or in a wrap as an alternative.


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup hot sauce, divided
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 6 slices of bread, toasted
  • Lite Ranch dressing, optional
  • Romaine lettuce, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a shallow plate. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg and stir in 1/2 cup of hot sauce. Spread panko in a separate plate. Dip each cutlet in flour, then egg mixture, then panko, allowing excess to drip off in between each plate.

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook breasts on each side until light brown, about 3 minutes per side. Place cutlets on the prepared baking sheet and continue cooking cutlets until they are all browned.

Place cutlets in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through.

In the meantime, melt remaining 1/2 cup hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan until melted. Turn off burner and set aside.

Spread a little Ranch dressing on one side of your bread. Top with lettuce and a chicken cutlet. Top with the hot sauce mixture and another piece of bread. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Monday, March 21, 2011


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It's pretty obvious in my family that when we are having pasta, we are having meatballs. It's like peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Cookies and milk. Scrambled eggs and ketchup (if you're into that sort of thing). They just go hand in hand and there's really no way around it.

Fortunately, they're pretty easy to make and this recipe makes a good deal of them. My dad prefers them with no sauce, no dressing, no ketchup, just...plain. The rest of the household has them after my mom fries them up and tosses them in her marinara sauce. It adds a lot of extra flavor and the meatballs soak up the sauce.  If you prefer this method, make sure you fry them so they're crispy. If they are still soft, they may fall apart in the sauce and no one really wants that. Make the whole batch and you can enjoy a meatball sub the next day, too!

Combine all ingredients and shape into meatballs.  This recipe makes about 40 meatballs.

Add meatballs, about ten at a time, to the hot oil. Keep flipping until browned on all sides.

This is what they should look like when they're done. Crispy and delicious!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Marinara sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients (except oil) in a large bowl.  Mix just until combined. Form into small balls.

Add oil to a frying pan so that it lightly coats the bottom.  Fry meatballs in batches until cooked all the way through and crispy, about 5-7 minutes for medium sized meatballs. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all meatballs are cooked.  

If serving with marinara sauce, add the fried meatballs to the simmering sauce about 1-2 hours before serving.

Note: To save some calories, spray a 9x13" baking sheet with cooking spray and bake these in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Source: My Mom

Friday, March 18, 2011

Whoopie Pies

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Did any of you eat whoopie pies growing up? Or ding dongs or ho-hos or twinkies?

By the way, who came up with those names?

Anyways, these whoopie pies are semi-homemade since I cheated and used a box of cake mix (shame on me, I know!), but they taste incredibly similar to the real thing I ate as a kid. And they took little-to-no time to make! They look like jumbo sized oreos, except the cookie is fluffy and moist, and the filling is sweet and sticky.

It kind of reminds me of taking a cupcake, ripping off half of the cake on the bottom and placing it on top of the frosting. So basically turning it into a cupcake sandwich. Do any of you do that? If not, you should try it! Makes cupcakes so much easier to eat and a lot less messy!

Back to the whoopie pies.

They're delicious, easy and fun. Everything you'd want in a dessert. Plus they're perfect for kids OR adults. You can even switch up the type of cake mix you use for a different flavor combination.

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe. Have a fantastic weekend!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 (18.25 oz.) box Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (7 oz.) jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine dry cake mix with oil, water and eggs. Stir until combined. Use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to drop the scoops of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for about 13 minutes.  Cookies should be firm enough to handle, but not overly done and crispy.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, beat together the butter and powdered sugar.  Add the marshmallow cream and vanilla, blending until smooth. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the filling onto the bottom of a cooled cookie. Press the bottom of another cookie on top of the filling to make a sandwich.  Repeat with remaining filling and cookies. 

Store pies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

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First and foremost, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of today's holiday, I want to share Irish Soda Bread with you. Now, I've never tasted this bread before and didn't really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the end result. Although the name was misleading to me (I thought I'd be adding Sprite or Pepsi, but baking soda is the only soda involved in this equation) the bread was moist and sort of resembled corn bread. Since I've never had Soda Bread before, I'm not sure if that's the way the traditional bread tastes. But regardless, I'll take it!

The name Irish "Soda" Bread comes from the baking soda that is used as a rising agent in the place of yeast. There are only four traditional ingredients in most Irish Soda Bread recipes, which include buttermilk, baking soda, flour and salt. I found this recipe that doctored it up a little, so I decided to go with it. It's also common to add raisins and/or caraway seeds to add a little texture. I left them out, but feel free to add whatever your little heart desires.

The bread is best right out of the oven with a light spread of butter. I'm sure you could even eat it for breakfast with some jam! It's nice and moist on the inside and has a nice, thick crust. Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 1/2 cups raisins (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.

Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut the stick of butter into small pieces and add to dry mixture. Mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins if using.

Add 2 1/2 cups buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the greased pans.

Combine 1/4 cup butter milk and 1/4 cup melted butter in a separate bowl. Spread a light layer over the top of each loaf.

Bake for 1 hour. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wrap in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Bread will last 2-3 days.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

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One of my closest friends was vacationing in Japan back in January and surprised me with a few goodies when she got back! One thing she brought me was this cute matching bowl and plate along with his and her chop sticks. I immediately knew I'd be making something in the near future to show them off. Thanks, Christy!

I'm a sucker for Chinese food, so I figured I'd try making something new that I haven't ordered at a restaurant before. If you also love yourself some good Chinese food, but hate how unhealthy it is for you, definitely give this one a try. You avoid the deep fryer all together, but the flavor is still out of this world. If you like a little heat in your food, this will satisfy that as well. I wouldn't say it's the spiciest thing I've ever eaten, but there is a very prominent kick in it! I'm sure you could try this out with pork or shrimp if you don't want to use chicken, too. Enjoy!

Side note: Thankfully Christy missed the horrible events that are taking place over there currently, but please remember to keep Japan and all those innocent people in your thoughts and prayers.


  • 1lb. boneless-skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. green onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked

Combine chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in a large deep-dish skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from wok.

Combine soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

If necessary, add another teaspoon of sesame oil to the skillet so it is not dry. Add green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture and combine.

Return chicken to the wok and coat with sauce. Cook just until heated through. Top with additional green onions if desired and serve over white rice.

Source: Adapted from Pennies on a Platter

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parmesan Croutons

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I love croutons. I guess that's why I don't mind going on diets? Because when I'm only forcing myself to eat salads, I'll still top them with a handful of carb-loaded, delicious croutons. Does that still count? I guess not. They're by far the best part, though. I even find myself going into the pantry sometimes and sneaking handfuls of them by themselves. Weird? Maybe. Good? Definitely.

Since I love croutons so much, saying that these are the best croutons I've ever had is a very, very bold statement. But they really are.

I think the Parmesan and spice blend is perfect. Also, there is a nice crunch on the outside of each crouton, but they are still light and flaky in the inside. Not super hard like store bought croutons.

I put these on top of the tomato soup I made the other day and they were a perfect compliment. I made a huge batch of them and keep them stored in my pantry for whenever I need a salad or soup topper. They stay great for months! I hope you all enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 cups day old French bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Combine butter, olive oil, garlic powder, basil, oregano, Parmesan cheese and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Gently pour on top of bread cubes and toss to coat.

Transfer to baking sheet and cook 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Cool completely and serve or store in airtight container.

Source: Adapted from Bella Online

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mushroom and Onion Bundles

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Does anyone besides me love Costco? If any of you watch Modern Family, I feel like I can relate to Mitchell. He was a total grocery store snob that would not be caught dead shopping for groceries in a bulk food store.  But once he made it inside, he just couldn't get enough. But who can blame him? They have everything. From TV's to fresh produce to books to clothes. You want it, it's there.

I don't have a Costco membership card (yet), so whenever my parents ask me to tag along with them I never hesitate. We went to Costco the other week and bought a slew of fresh vegetables. The good thing about it was they were a lot cheaper than I would find at a regular grocery store. The bad thing is that I now have an enormous amount of vegetables. In bulk. Vegetables don't stay good forever.

I had some leftover phyllo dough in the freezer, so I decided to use up the rest of my 20 oz. package of sliced mushrooms and one of the 30 yellow onions I have stashed in my refrigerator to make a tasty appetizer. Everything that I used I had on hand, so that made it a lot easier. They came out great!

Enjoy and have a fantastic weekend!

Printable Recipe

Makes 8 bundles

  • 1 package (1 roll) phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and chicken broth. Continue cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 additional minutes. Turn off heat once done.

Unroll phyllo dough. Working quickly, spray one sheet with cooking spray and layer another sheet on top. Repeat this until you have 4 sheets of phyllo stacked. Do not spray the top layer. Cut the phyllo into four even rectangles (I cut a little extra off each of the four pieces to make it a square).

Place a spoonful of the mushroom mixture into the middle of each square. Gather the corners of the square to create a small bundle. Pinch the corners so they stay closed and place into the muffin tin. Continue with remaining squares, and repeat with the rest of the phyllo dough until mushroom mixture is gone.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creamy Basil Tomato Soup

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One of my favorite things to eat growing up was grilled cheese. Especially on a cold, rainy day or when I was sick. Even now that I'm older, if I stop by my parents' house during the day one of the first things my mom will do is ask if I'm hungry. If I say yes, grilled cheese is still always one of the first things she offers to make me. She knows how much I love it and I just can't say no! But it has to be paired with a hot, steaming bowl of tomato soup. There's nothing like dunking a crispy sandwich into it.

I wasn't feeling too well the other day and wanted some comfort food. I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and then I decided to take a crack at homemade tomato soup to accompany it. The recipe looked pretty easy, so I didn't really think it would interfere too much with my pounding headache or dripping nose. Good thing I was right. I topped it off with some homemade Parmesan Croutons and it was del-i-cious. I think my cold cleared up right away, too. Enjoy!

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream (light or heavy)
  • 3 tbsp. butter or margarine

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted. 

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bananas Foster

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I've never been to Bourbon Street. Or New Orleans. Or Louisiana.

I've never had gumbo or crawfish. 

I've never participated in the parades and you won't see me wearing purple, green or gold today. 

So even though I have no prior expertise in Mardi Gras or its cuisine, there is one thing I have tried and know I love. I didn't even know it was considered a traditional food of the Fat Tuesday celebration, but after a little research I was thrilled to know I could make this for such a widely celebrated occasion. And so I present:

Bananas Foster!

In honor of Fat Tuesday, I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes. And it really lives up to the name of the day, because it sure ain't healthy! Enjoy!

Here they are bubbling away on the stove top. Gorgeous.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. rum (dark or light)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 bananas, halved and cut into fourths
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

In a large, deep skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in sugar, rum, vanilla extract and cinnamon. As soon as the mixture begins to bubble, add the banana pieces.  Stir until the bananas are coated and let cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over ice cream.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Monday, March 7, 2011

Creamy Broccoli Casserole

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My mom was out of town the other weekend, so I decided to go over to my parents' house to make my dad, younger brother and Chris some dinner. Now, mind you these men don't really do the whole "veggie" thing, but I always need a vegetable with dinner. Even if it's just a salad. So they had no choice!

They actually laughed when I took this pan of broccoli out of the oven. Luckily I made manicotti as well, so they had something to fulfill their appetite. But surprisingly they tried this and enjoyed it! I personally thought it was really delicious, but I figured getting them to try it (let alone enjoy it!) would be a huge task. I decided on this side since it's mixed with cheese (and what man doesn't like cheese?) and it proved to be a great decision. They each had a serving (my dad actually had two!) and said they liked it. Score!

This is a great side dish or light lunch. I ate it for a few days after and it was awesome every time. Even cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (can use light mayo)
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
  • 2 (4 oz.) cans sliced mushrooms, drained (or 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced) (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish.

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Add soup, mayonnaise and onions. Stir in cooked broccoli.

Pour into greased baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

Combine butter and breadcrumbs in separate bowl. Sprinkle over top of broccoli mixture.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chicken Salad

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I met my best friend, Laura, in middle school and we immediately hit it off. She would come over on the weekends and we would hang out in at my parents' house, watch TV, sing along to the radio, play games, annoy my younger brother and whatever else pre-teens did. You know, normal, kid stuff.

Now, I know she came over to hang out with me a lot, but after she tried this chicken salad it seems like she would come around a lot more often. And then the crowd started to expand. My friend Erin. Then Winnie. Cheri. The whole girls lacrosse team. They would all be over. All the time. And in the fridge.

I mean there's really nothing special about it...except the secret ingredient.

Ground mustard.

I told you earlier that ground mustard really doesn't get enough praise as it should. But it does wonders! Now whether or not Laura came around more often because of this chicken salad or because she enjoyed singing along to 'Nsync with me on a Saturday night...well, that will never be known. But if it was for the chicken salad, I'm very thankful to my mom for keeping a never-ending stash in the refrigerator because it brought me a lot closer to my best friend of close to 15 years.

Have a great weekend!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (regular or light)

In medium saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Add chicken breasts and cook for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from boiling water and allow to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred chicken and place in large bowl.

Add pepper, mustard powder and mayonnaise to the chicken. Combine and taste, adding more seasoning if necessary or more mayonnaise if it is too dry.

Refrigerate for one hour or until chilled.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tortellini with Chicken, Peppers, Mushrooms and Tomatoes

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I love tortellini, but I definitely don't cook with it as much as I'd like to. Maybe that's a good thing for my waistline.

But when my mom was explaining the tortellini dish she made for my dad and brother the other night, I couldn't wait to create something similar. Lately I've discovered that a lot of my inspiration for new recipes comes from dishes I hear other people talking about. If it sounds good, I know right away that I want to try to replicate it without getting the recipe. Since I'm one of those people that needs to follow recipes line by line, I figure this is a good first step!

I used what I had in my pantry and this turned out awesome. It was full of flavor and exactly what I was hoping for. I even had it cold for lunch the next day and it was still just as good. Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 lb. cheese tortellini
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup frozen green and red peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, basil, garlic and oregano flavor
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

To cook the chicken, heat a grill to medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken on the grill and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 4 minutes on each side. If you do not have a grill to use, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken breasts on a greased baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Once chicken is cooked, slice into small strips or cubes.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a large pot of boiling water for 6-7 minutes. 

In large skillet, heat canola oil.  Add peppers and mushrooms. Saute for about 4 minutes or until tender.  Add the diced tomatoes and dressing. Continue cooking until the mixture starts to boil. Add the cheeses and stir until melted and well combined.  Add the cooked chicken to the mixture. 

Drain tortellini and add to the sauce. Mix well and serve.