Friday, July 29, 2011

Turkey Sloppy Joes

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Talk about eating healthy! Last night we put carrots in our sloppy joes. Carrots!! 

Now I know that sounds a little strange...and it is. Turkey is a healthy alternative to ground beef all in itself, but using half grated carrots in addition to the turkey makes it even better for you. Plus this is a great way to sneak vegetables into the meal if you have picky eaters at home. 

The carrots add a slight sweetness to the mixture, but when you put it on a hamburger bun it evens it out. I'm sure if you're weirded out by the carrots you could just do all turkey, no problem. But if you're on a healthy eating binge like Chris and I, I'd definitely suggest trying out this recipe. It won't disappoint. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 carrots, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 lb. ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat)
  • 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger rolls, split

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add carrots, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve on whole-wheat rolls.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken Stir Fry

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Long gone are the days where I can spend a couple hours after work putting together an elaborate and delectable meal (at least for now). Easy to throw together dinners are slowly becoming a staple in my kitchen. These days my evenings are full of wedding vendor appointments, and when I don't have that I'm trying to squeeze in time with friends/family, some sort of work out, and quality time with Chris. On top of all this, Chris plays basketball a few evenings per week so our time together gets more and more scarce. Quick dinners are a necessity, and I'm now realizing they can still be as fun and delicious as a more intricate meal!

The other week when Chris had to run off to a basketball game shortly after work, I wanted to make sure he had something in his stomach before he left but I only had about 20 minutes to do so. We usually have some chicken on hand and I keep frozen vegetables stored in the freezer, so the meal was a no brainer. I just combined all my favorite flavors including sesame oil, garlic powder and soy sauce, and it blended together beautifully. Plus it was all ready in under 15 minutes. Put it on top of rice and you've got more than half of the food pyramid covered. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. pure sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (such as carrots, string beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.)
  • 1 cup rice, cooked

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Spray a large pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, water, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic and cornstarch in a bowl. After chicken is done cooking, add mixture to the pan.

Add the frozen mixed vegetables and cover. Cook for 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve over rice.

Source: SK Original

Monday, July 25, 2011

Breakfast Sausages in a Blanket

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Do you ever have those mornings when you're starving and either a) don't have any good breakfast food to make or b) just don't feel like making anything? My nephew slept over the other weekend and since he woke me up at 6:45am on a Sunday (thanks Trevor!) I was pretty starving by 9am. Since I didn't have many options on hand and knew I couldn't make anything extravagant since I had to entertain him, I pulled together these little breakfast sausage croissants while he was eating his Cheerios. They were so quick and easy to make and SO delicious. The maple sausage and flaky rolls were great together. They would be perfect for a brunch, get-together or just a quick any day breakfast! Enjoy!

  • 1 package Pillsbury refrigerated crescent butter flake rolls
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese (or your cheese of choice)
  • 8 pre-cooked maple sausage links

Preheat oven as directed on crescent package.

Roll out crescents onto a baking sheet and separate into eight triangles. Cut each slice of cheese in half and place on the wide end of each crescent. Top the cheese with a sausage link.

Starting with the wide side of the crescent, roll up each triangle and press to seal.

Bake for as directed on crescent package or until golden brown.

Source: SK Original

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Bruschetta

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I like to change up my workout every once in a while, so yesterday evening Chris and decided to go swim a few laps. It was fine, except we both thought we were going to collapse after each 50 meters. I was a swimmer growing up, so my body is still kind of used to that sort of workout. But poor Chris. He's a basketball player. Basketball players and swimmers don't exactly use the same muscles and stamina when working out. My arms were burning and my chest was thumping, so I can only imagine what he was feeling. But he still did great! All I could think about was how dynamite my toned arms were going to look on our wedding day and that kept me going! Talk about motivation!

In preparation for the wedding, we've also recently decided that we need to start eating a lot healthier. I always try to incorporate low-fat or fat-free ingredients whenever possible, but with a wedding coming up that's hardly enough. This meal was very light, but packed with flavor. It was very refreshing as well considering the temperature has been in the 90s-100s the past few days. Chris is a big fan of balsamic vinegar, so that mixed with the tomato and mozzarella mixture really tied the dish together. Wedding diet, here we come!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 medium vine ripe tomatoes   
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3 oz. part skim mozzarella, diced
  • 1.25 lbs (8 thin sliced) chicken cutlets  
Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.
Chop tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, onion-balsamic combo and additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let it sit at least 10 minutes or as long as overnight. Toss in the cheese when ready to serve.
Season chicken with additional salt and fresh pepper. Grill the chicken cutlets on your indoor or outdoor grill, top with bruschetta and serve.

Source: Adapted from Gina's Skinny Recipes

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Croccante: Almond Brittle

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Growing up, I'd always grab packages of peanut brittle to snack on when I was out shopping. All of the convenience stores had the Planters Peanut Bars up at the front where all the candy usually is, and that's what I was always drawn to. When I saw David Rocco making this almond brittle on his television show, it immediately brought me back to those days. Since almond brittle seems like the "grown-up" version of peanut brittle, I decided to try it out. Once the mixture is dried, it becomes a sweet and salty crunchy treat. It is delicious!

One of the main reasons that I think almond brittle is a perfect mid-day snack is because almonds are known to curb your appetite. You can just grab a piece of this to satisfy a sweet craving and it will hold you over for a few hours. If you aren't a big almond fan, you can also substitute them for peanuts, hazelnuts or pretty much any small nut you prefer. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cups almonds
  • Butter, for greasing cookie sheet

Grease a 9x13 inch cookie sheet with butter.

In saucepan, add the sugar and cook on high heat. Continue to stir until the sugar begins to sweat and liquify. Add a bit of water to help, if necessary. Continue to cook until the sugar turns a deep, rich brown color.

Add the almonds and mix well. Cook for a few minutes, making sure the almonds are fully coated. Remove the almonds from the heat and quickly pour and spread the hot almond mixture on the buttered cookie sheet. Spread to desired thickness.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes before breaking into smaller pieces.

Source: David Rocco

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classic Caesar Salad

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I never realized how much I use my laptop until I didn't have it. My laptop is in currently being repaired (the screen was accidentally cracked and has been in the repair shop since last week), and it's making me a little restless! How do I update my blog? Where do I upload my pictures? How do I check my email? And twitter and facebook? I'll be relieved once I have it back in my hands. But until then I don't want to leave you all high and dry! I had this recipe stored in the back of my posts folder and figured today would be a great day to break it out.

Caesar dressing is one of the most popular salad dressings, and since the weather has been sticky and humid the past few days, a refreshing salad is a perfect idea for a light lunch or dinner. I usually eat lunch in my office at work, and since I'm usually pretty busy I tend to snack on something quick or eat something I bring from home. Salads are a personal favorite since they are healthy, filling and not messy at all. You can top this with some grilled chicken or shrimp to spruce it up as well. Hope you all enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 small garlic cloves 
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced, or ½ tsp. of anchovy paste 
  • 1 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Iceburg lettuce
  • Croutons

Place the garlic in a mortar with a pinch of kosher salt and use the pestle to mash it together until you have a paste. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, place the garlic and a pinch of salt on a cutting board and continue to smash the garlic with the back of a wide-bladed knife until it turns into a paste.

In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, anchovies, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the oil in a stream, whisking until the oil is completely blended in. Add the Parmesan cheese and continue to whisk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Toss with lettuce and top with croutons and extra Parmesan cheese.

Source: Adapted from Group Recipes

Friday, July 15, 2011

Banana Cream Pie

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I try to make it a point to create homemade versions of recipes for my family and friends whenever possible. For example, I made Chocolate Cream Pie for my dad for Father's Day. I baked Chris' Dad Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick's Day. Whenever my friends are over for breakfast, I make the Sausage and Hash Brown Bake. Chris loves these Sesame Noodles so I cook them very often. And so I made this pie for my mom.

Whenever we have a birthday in my family, that family member gets to pick what's on the menu for that day. Since my mom's birthday and Mother's Day fall around the same time, we usually do a combined celebration for both her birthday and the National holiday. This year, I decided to make a Banana Cream Pie for her birthday since we didn't get to do a separate celebration. This is what she asks for ever year and we usually just pick one up from the store, so I decided to surprise her and make it from scratch. It surprisingly wasn't hard to make at all and tasted delicious! Looks like I won't be able to get away with store-bought pies anymore :)


Printable Recipe

  • 1 9-inch pie shell, baked
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 bananas
Prepare pie shell as directed on package.

In a large saucepan, scald the milk.

In another saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt; gradually stir in the scalded milk. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened. Cover and, stirring occasionally, cook for two minutes longer.

In a small bowl, have the 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, ready; stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten yolks; when thoroughly combined, stir yolks into hot mixture. Cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly.

Remove mixture from heat and blend in the butter and vanilla.

Let sit until lukewarm.

When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell; pour warm mixture over bananas.

Put pie in refrigerator until chilled, about 2-3 hours. Top with meringue. For a little color, put until the broiler set to high for about 2 minutes or until meringue begins to turn brown.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch. Add sugar mixture to egg whites a little at a time, beating constantly. Spoon onto pie and serve.

Source: For Pie:; Meringue: Have used this recipe forever!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

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I'm a lover of sweet potatoes. Even more so than regular potatoes. Baking them brings out the sweetness, but they're low-fat at the same time. Delicious and healthy in one? I'll take it. 

I recently bought some sweet potatoes on sale and I decided to make some fries. I prefer to keep them simple, but there are a ton of seasonings you can use on these besides just salt and pepper. Pumpkin spice is perfect for the holidays. Cayenne makes them a little spicy. But one treat I found is to dust them with powdered sugar. Kids are sure to eat them!

I personally like dipping them in light mayonnaise. Oh, is that weird? Yea, sorry about that. You can stick to ketchup or other normal stuff, I guess. If you're feeling a little rebellious, just try the mayonnaise thing. I promise it's good!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Grease baking sheet and set aside.

Peel sweet potatoes and place on cutting board.  Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch strips. Place in large bowl and toss with oil, just enough to lightly coat.  Toss in seasonings of your choice and salt and pepper to taste. Add any other seasoning of your choice.

Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 25 minutes, flipping occasionally. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Monday, July 11, 2011

Creamy Pasta with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

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One thing I've learned is that quick meals are a necessity. With all the things going on in my life, such as moving, decorating and furnishing the house, planning a wedding and keeping up with normal, every day life, it's important to have balance and to make short-cuts. This isn't always easy, but when something comes along that saves me even ten minutes of my time, I cherish it. Boy, do I cherish it.
I've heard about the new Kraft Philadelphia Cooking Cremes, so when I saw them in the grocery store one day I bought one flavor on a whim in hopes it would come to use. Last Friday, when I was rushing in between work and getting ready to go out to celebrate a friend's birthday, I realized I still needed to eat dinner. That's when this came in handy. The Creme added a little tang and a hint of garlic to the dish, plus is made the sauce creamy, which I love. It was even better the next day when the pasta had soaked up the sauce and got a chance to marinate. Yum. Hope you enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (16 oz.) box Rotini pasta
  • 1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Philadelphia Cooking Creme, Savory Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped Cook pasta as directed on package. Drain and set aside.

Open the can of whole tomatoes and cut tomatoes into quarters. Add tomatoes and juice to a large pan over medium-high heat. Add tomato sauce and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tomatoes soften. Using a fork, smash the tomatoes down.

Add the Cooking Creme, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until well combined. Add basil and stir.

Add tomato mixture to the pasta and mix well. Add extra Parmesan cheese on top and serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Friday, July 8, 2011

Classic Potato Salad

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I'm not sure why, but I've always been hesitant to make potato salad. I think it's because I was afraid that I'd under cook the potatoes and have an inedible result. I knew for the Fourth of July I'd have to put that fear aside, and thank goodness I did. This recipe was fantastic.

As usual, I try to slip in light or low-fat ingredients whenever possible. For this recipe, I used light mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip...that stuff will change the flavor all together) and I couldn't even tell the difference. There was a perfect amount of dressing, and the onions and celery really perked it up. I'm not normally a huge fan of potato salad (I tend to lean more towards pasta salads), but this is a recipe I'd for sure eat over and over again. Enjoy and have a fabulous weekend!

Printable Recipe

  • 8 medium potatoes, cooked and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced 
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Peel potatoes. Add water to large pot and heat to boiling. Add salt to taste. Add potatoes and cook for 25 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a separate bowl.

Once the potatoes are cooled, dice into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large bowl. Top with mayonnaise mixture and stir to combine. Add celery and onions and mix well. Stir in hard-boiled eggs. Allow to chill for at least two hours and serve.

Source: Adapted from

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tortellini Pasta Salad

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One thing for certain is that I don't like my food plain. I like "stuff" in it. For example, I like salads with croutons, cheese, banana peppers, red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and if there's room, some lettuce. I love my pizza with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, pepperoni and topped with Parmesan cheese. And I love my pasta salad with everything but the kitchen sink.

This has got to be one of my favorite pasta salad recipes of all time (besides the one Chris makes--but that's a different post for a different time). My mom made it up and I just think the flavor combination is the best thing ever. I normally don't like Ranch dressing on my pasta salads, but the coating on this particular one is very light since there are so many other components to add flavor. I usually don't really stick to the recipe and add much more "stuff" than it calls for, but that's alright. "Stuff" is good. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (19 oz.) package five-cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 (2.25 oz.) can black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pre-cut pepperoni slices, quartered
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup light Ranch dressing (can use more or less)
Cook tortellini as directed on package. Allow to cool.

Cut tomatoes in half and deseed them. Drain olives. Add tomatoes, olives, pepperoni slices, red onion, basil and feta to the tortellini. Combine. Add the Ranch dressing, a little at a time, until the pasta salad reaches your desired consistency. Allow to chill for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

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Happy Independence Day!! My favorite side dish, hands down, is asparagus. It's so quick and easy to make, but at the same time filling and delicious. You can spice this up with a number of combinations, but my favorite is simply some lemon juice, garlic powder and olive oil. I roast them until they are just tender. And then I consume them. The whole thing. No the whole pound. I could do it easily if I didn't have to share. The're just so stinkin' good. This is easily my favorite fallback for when I don't know what side to make with dinner. And it's green, so that's okay. Enjoy these today while celebrating our amazing country and our freedom!


  • 1 lb. (1 bunch) asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Preaheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Break off the ends of each asparagus stem (about 1-2 inches from the bottom) and discard.

Place asparagus in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice over top of the asparagus and toss well to coat.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender. Serve immediately.

Source: SK Original

Friday, July 1, 2011

Grilled Steak with Havarti Fondue

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Chris and I love the Melting Pot. Like love, love it. Since it's not the kind of restaurant you can just pick up and go to, we try to space out our attendance to a couple times per year. We also join an NFL pool during football season, and we both vow that if either of us comes in first place, we'll treat the other person to a full course at the Melting Pot with our winnings. That includes the cheese fondue, salad, main course and chocolate fondue. Talk about a fondue feast! 

Since I'm a big fan of both fondue and Chef Michael Symon, I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that I wanted to give it a try. Havarti is one of my favorite types of cheese, too, so this was definitely a no-brainer. Chris grilled the steak to perfection and was amazing by itself, but dipped into the fondue took it to a whole other level. It was creamy and cheesy with a little kick from the horseradish. I'm sure you could dip bread or vegetables in it as well if you want to go that route. Enjoy!

Yummy, yummy fondue.

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced (about 1 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup bottled horseradish, drained well
  • 2 tbsp. chives, sliced 
  • 2 1-pound (16-ounce) rib-eye beef steaks

Prepare outdoor grill for cooking, if using. Heat medium saucepan over low heat; add olive oil, shallots and garlic with pinch of salt; sauté over low heat for 2 minutes, until shallots and garlic are aromatic and translucent. Add vinegar and water; reduce by half. Add cream; reduce by half (be patient, this takes some time).

Check seasoning; add salt and pepper if needed. Remove pan from heat and whisk in Havarti cheese, horseradish and chives. Keep fondue warm.

Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper and grill to your liking. Pour fondue into fondue pot over heat. Cut steaks into bite-sized pieces and dip!

Source: Adapted from Chef Michael Symon