Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Pin It

I've been wanting to make taquitos for a while now, and when I decided I wanted to try out a black beans recipe the other night, I thought it was the perfect opportunity. Taquitos are one of my favorite menu items at Mexican restaurants, but since I like a lot of "stuff" mixed in with them, the creamier the taquitos, the better.

When I saw this recipe, I instantly knew it was "the one" since the ingredients include lime juice, cheese (lots and lots of cheese), salsa verde, lots of spices and some cream cheese. The perfect list of ingredients to make the taquitos creamy and delicious. And I was right. I absolutely loved these taquitos. I paired them with the extra salsa verde, sour cream and mild salsa. Delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp. chopped scallions
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8-12 (6-inch) tortillas, flour or corn
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients, from the cream cheese to the shredded cheese. Stir well until all ingredients are evenly coated.
Fill each tortilla with 2-3 tbsp. of filling, rolling tightly. Place seam side down. Continue until all tortillas are filled. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 15- 20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Serve with salsa, sour cream, etc.

Source: Pink Parsley

Monday, August 29, 2011

Black Beans

Pin It
My fiance's mom is Cuban, and she makes the best pork, rice and beans, and other traditional Cuban food. Since this is mainly what Chris grew up on, I enjoy trying new Cuban recipes and getting his input. Although what I make is not as good as his mom's cooking, it's fun switching up the menu and trying new things.

Take these black beans for example. I thought they were amazing. The pinch of cayenne pepper gave them a little heat, and the lime juice and onions really gave them a refreshing and delicious flavor. We also topped it off with a dollop of sour cream (I never would have thought of this, but it's what Chris' family does and it's amazing). Give these a try next time you're looking for a fun side dish. I promise you'll love them!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (16 oz.) can black beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
In a medium saucepan, combine beans, onion, and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Season with cilantro, cayenne, lime juice and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cheddar, Prosciutto, Caramelized Onions and Apple Pizza

Pin It
This recipe was inspired by a pizza I had at a local restaurant a few months back. I was a little hesitant to order it since the ingredients were ones that I had never experienced together on a pizza before. But, as you should know by my French Onion Soup post, I am a sucker for caramelized onions so that reeled me right in. I also love prosciutto and Granny Smith apples, so I figured it couldn't be too bad!

Boy was I right! This pizza was awesome and I knew right away that I wanted to recreate it at home! The apples add a little bit of sweetness, which pairs nicely with the onions. They loose some of their crunch while cooking, but still add some texture to the pizza. The peppery prosciutto and cheddar cheese are perfect compliments to each other and pair nicely with the other toppings. Please try this one at home and don't be intimidated by the ingredients. They work together perfectly! Promise!


  • Quick and Easy Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups Cabot white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb. prosciutto, sliced thin and cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Make your pizza dough. Let it rest while preparing the other ingredients.

In saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Once dough ready, stretch it out on a large pizza pan or baking stone. Spread the cheese evenly on the dough. Top with caramelized onions, prosciutto and apple slices.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Pin It

Every year on Christmas Eve, my dad is in charge of making our dinner feast. Since we're Italian, he likes to stick with the traditional "Seven Fishes" theme. And boy does he ever stick to it. I think he usually makes at LEAST seven fishes, if not more. Everything is always completely delicious, though, and he doesn't miss a beat. And heaven forbid someone offers to him help. This is his meal! But he always manages to pull it off.

Since I wanted to make linguine with white clam sauce the other night, I obviously first went to my dad to see what he puts in his Christmas Eve sauce. Once I got the basic ingredients down, I was ready to go. Although this doesn't live up to my dad's clam sauce (how could it?), it was really good. Some consider it a sin to put grated cheese on pasta with seafood, but I just think it's a necessary compliment. You can never have enough cheese. Enjoy!


Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. linguine
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (6.5 oz.) cans clams, juice reserved
  • 1 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 3/4 cup reserved clam juice 
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. oregano, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional, plus shavings for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (high quality)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Drop the linguine into the salted boiling water and cook until the pasta is very "al dente" maybe a minute or so less than the box directs.

Meanwhile, coat a large saute pan with olive oil and add the garlic cloves and red pepper flakes. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until the garlic just begins to brown.

Put drained chopped clams in the pan with the wine and 3/4 cup reserved clam juice. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat and cook about 5 minutes.

Add the butter and bring the liquid to a boil. Toss in the cooked pasta and the herbs. Cook the pasta together with the sauce until the sauce clings to the pasta. Turn off the heat and toss in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if using, and finish with a drizzle of oil. Toss or stir vigorously to combine.

Source: Slightly Adapted from my Dad and Food Network

Monday, August 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Pin It
One of my favorite things is coming home to a delicious smelling house. Crock pot meals are quickly becoming one of my best kept secrets since they take practically no time and the meal is ready by the time you get home from work. Awesome.

I know the name sounds a little skeptical, and believe me, Chris and I were very skeptical ourselves. But you have to believe me when I tell you this dish was delicious. I thought it sounded like an easy recipe that would probably give the chicken a little flavor, but little did I know that it would be as good as it was! Chris thought the flavor kind of resembled chili, which I definitely agree with. The chicken was nice and tender and the sauce We served this over rice, but it would be good over noodles or even shredded in a taco shell. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Sour cream

Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle with taco seasoning.

Combine cream of chicken soup and salsa. Pour over chicken.

Cook for 6-8 hours on Low. Once done, you can either shred the chicken or serve whole.

Serve topped with sour cream.

Source: Adapted from Spark Recipes

Friday, August 19, 2011

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chops

Pin It
I have a great grilling recipe for you this weekend! These were some of the tastiest pork chops I have ever had. They were very moist and the flavor was incredible. Grilling them gave them a little char, which was an excellent touch. My only recommendation is to make sure you use low sodium soy sauce. If you use regular soy sauce, the marinade might be too salty. So just do that and you'll be set!

The weather is supposed to (hopefully) be nice this weekend, so get out there, turn up the grill, pop open a beer and spend some time with your loved ones! The summer is quickly coming to an end, so live it up while you have the chance. Have a fantastic weekend :)

Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick

Combine the soy sauce, water, sugar, ginger and garlic in a large food storage bag. Add pork chops; seal and turn from side to side to coat chops. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour, turning several times to coat pork.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Shake pork chops of excess liquid and grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, pour marinade in a small saucepan. Cook until boiling, and then continue boiling for 5 minutes.

Top pork chops with sauce. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Supreme Calzone

Pin It
I don't like to eat store-bought pizza that often just because of the calories and the grease. But when I do get it, I like to get it right. Getting it "right" means including all of my favorite toppings, such as green peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives and pepperoni. So when I was going to make calzones for dinner, it was only right that I included all of my favorite ingredients.

This is another super quick and easy meal. This one would be fun for the kids since it's fun to stretch out the dough and they can fill their personal calzone with all their favorite toppings and with as much or as little as they want. What a fun family weeknight activity! And it will feed you too!

I chose my favorite pizza toppings for this calzone, but you can fill it with whatever you prefer. Make sure after you fold over the dough to press the edges together very tightly with a fork. You don't want it exploding in your oven. I've heard that causes fires (I have proof). Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 quick and easy pie crust
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni slices
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup pizza sauce, for dipping

Make pizza dough as directed. Place baking stone in the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.

Divide dough in half and roll out each piece into 8-inch rounds. Put 1/2 cup of cheese on one half of each circle. Top each piece with pepperoni, bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives. Put remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top of each round.

Fold over the other half of the circle and press the ends with a fork to seal.

Lightly whisk the egg and the water together. Brush the mixture over top of each calzone. Puncture a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape.

Transfer the calzones to the preheated baking stone. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until calzone is lightly brown. Serve with pizza sauce.

Source: SK Original

Monday, August 15, 2011

Seared Scallops with Wilted Spinach

Pin It

I'll be the first to admit that I was not a fan of scallops before I started dating Chris. Something about the texture weirded me out. He sauteed them one time for me in a simple lemon juice mixture, and he made me fall in love. I guess he's good at that.

I was in the mood to make a nice, fancy meal the other night, so that's exactly what I did. My favorite nights are those where I can enjoy my time in the kitchen, sip on a nice glass of white wine and spend time with some (or one) of my favorite people. I hate having to rush dinner or make something quick, so a long, thought-out dinner is a luxury to me. Although scallops only take a few minutes to cook, I served them with risotto, which takes time and patience. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Printable Recipe


  • 16 oz (about 12-14) sea scallops
  • Salt and fresh pepper
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 10 oz baby spinach, washed
Wash scallops and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a medium size pan on a high flame. When pan is hot, melt 1 tsp butter and place half of the scallops in the pan. Sear without touching them for a few minutes until the bottom forms a nice caramel colored crust. Turn over and cook about another minute or 2, until the center is slightly translucent (you can check this by viewing them from the side) and the bottom is seared. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the pan and set aside on a warm plate. Add addition tsp butter and cook remaining scallops.

Add olive oil to the pan and sauté shallots, add spinach, salt and pepper. Toss until spinach wilts.

Serve the spinach over risotto and top with scallops.

Source: Gina's Skinny Recipes

Friday, August 12, 2011

Parmesan Risotto

Pin It

I love risotto. The creaminess. The smoothness. It just all blends together so perfectly and melts in your mouth. Since I am a huge pasta lover, risotto of any kind is definitely a preferred side dish in my house since it closely resembles pasta.

Risotto takes a fair amount of time, so make sure you have a half hour or so to spare before making this. You need to cater to it consistently for the whole half hour, or else it will stick to the bottom of the pan and/or it won't cook correctly. Gradually adding the broth allows the risotto to absorb the liquid and become nice and tender. It also brings out a natural creaminess in the rice. Any flavor of broth can be used for this, depending on what you are serving it with. The Parmesan cheese and parsley make the flavor go over the top in this recipe. If you like creamy dishes, this is your guy. Hope you enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 4 cups fat free chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Heat chicken stock in a small pot.

In a medium size heavy sauce pan, add butter on medium-low heat. Add shallots and sauté about 1 minute. Add rice, mixing well, until well coated and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine, salt and pepper and mix well until it is absorbed into the rice.

Ladle 1 cup stock into rice and mix until all stock is absorbed. Add another ladle and continue adding and stirring until all broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

Add Parmesan cheese and parsley, mix well and serve.

Source: Gina's Skinny Recipes

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Garlic Rubbed Steak with Blue Cheese & French Fried Onions

Pin It

Nothing screams summer like a perfectly grilled steak on a hot August evening.

I usually figure out what will be for dinner during the day and then I stop by the grocery store to pick up ingredients during my lunch break. Since we had frozen steaks in the freezer, I had already decided that we would be having them for dinner. The only problem? I didn't have time to marinate them.

I found this recipe that paired the steak with both blue cheese and french fried onions, and thought it was an interesting combination. Since I recently found out that I do, in fact, like blue cheese, I wanted to give this a try. The cheese melted into a creamy topping and the onions added a necessary crunch. This was much different than steaks I'm used to eating (aka smothering them with salt and pepper, grilling them and dousing them in A1 sauce), but a much welcomed change. I really enjoyed how creamy the blue cheese got and I love onions, so I couldn't go wrong there. Enjoy! 

Printable Recipe

  • 2 whole 1-inch thick New York Strip Steaks
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 pinches salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup french fried onions

Remove steaks from the fridge and let them sit for 30 minutes or so to take the chill off.

Preheat outdoor grill to high.

Cut the garlic clove in half and rub both sides of the steak with the cut side of garlic. The longer you rub them, the stronger the flavor. Drizzle canola oil over the steaks and spread evenly. Sprinkle both sides of the meat generously with salt and pepper.

Place steak on the hot grill and reduce heat to medium. Cover and grill 3-4 minutes and flip. (If you like a more well-done steak, leave on the grill to cook 4-5 minutes before flipping.)

Cook steak another 2 minutes covered. Top each with 1 teaspoon butter. As butter starts to melt, spread it evenly over the top of the meat. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of blue cheese on top of each steak. Replace the lid and cook another 1-2 minutes or until steak is cooked to your liking and cheese has started to melt.

Transfer steaks to a serving platter and cover with foil to let the meat rest.

After 5-10 minutes, remove the foil and top with French fried onions. Serve warm.

Tasty Kitchen

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Pin It

I recently went to New York with Chris, my mom, two of my brothers and my nephew to see a Yankees game in their new stadium. Besides the fact that it was 110 degrees and we were sweating beyond belief the entire game (oh, and they lost), we had a really good time and the new stadium was gorgeous. One of the things that made it so great was, quite frankly, the food. New York vendor food is just the best. The pretzels, dirty water hot dogs, knishes....there's just nothing else like it.

One thing I didn't get while I was up there was a sausage, peppers and onions sandwich. That's another one of my favorites, but my stomach just couldn't handle anything else after the seven other things I shoved in my mouth. Making this at home seemed like the next best obvious solution. Despite the fact that this only took about 20 minutes to make, it was sooo delicious. I used frozen strips of green and red bell peppers and onions, so that took away all of the chopping time. Always a bonus. I decided to use tomato sauce as the base and then lightly spruced it up with some seasonings. So good!! Hope you enjoy :)

Printable Recipe

  • 6 Johnsonville sausages, mild or hot
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3-4 cups frozen bell pepper and onion strips
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray and add sausages. Cook for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Lower heat to medium-low. Carefully add the water. Cover and cook for about 12 minutes or until sausages are cooked through. Remove when done and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a separate large skillet. Add frozen vegetables and cook for a few minutes or until they begin to thaw. Add tomato sauce, garlic, basil and oregano and stir well.

Cut sausage into bite-size pieces. Add to vegetable mixture and cook until the sausages are heated through. Enjoy!

Source: SK Original

Friday, August 5, 2011

Easy Skillet Potatoes and Hot Dogs

Pin It

Have you ever been tubing? Like down a river? If not, I'd suggest driving to your local river, filling up a cooler, hopping in a tube, and drifting away. It's such a relaxing experience, and if you go with great people it makes it even that much better.

That's exactly what we did last weekend. Chris and I went with two other couples to the Shenandoah River where we had all rented a cabin. We grilled, played games, drank and made s'mores at night, and during the day we went tubing. The whole excursion took about 5 hours, but it was totally worth it. If you do go, though, make sure you don't tie your tubes together like we did. Because more than likely, there will be a part where the water gets a little rough. If you're like me and head straight for a rock, it's hard to push yourself away with four other tubes attached to you. Hence the huge bruise currently on my back side.

Anyways, Chris had bought the food that we grilled, and we took home all our leftovers. Since I didn't want them to go to waste, I made this childhood meal that my mom would often make us for dinner. It takes no time at all and is delicious. The potatoes get nice and crispy, and the hot dogs get a slight char on them, giving them a great flavor. If you're looking for a easy, fast (and child pleasing) weeknight meal, this is your recipe! We also used to eat this on a bun with American cheese...yum. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 Russet potatoes
  • 6 hot dogs

Peel potatoes and cut each one in half. Cut each half into thin, half-circle pieces. Blot with a paper towel to dry off excess water.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add potatoes and cook, flipping occasionally. Cook until crispy on the outside and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut hot dogs into bite-size pieces. Once potatoes are done cooking, add the hot dogs to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes longer or until hot dogs are lightly browned and cooked through.

Eat by itself or serve on a bun with American cheese.

Source: Family Recipes

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

Pin It

I've been meaning to try a lemon pound cake for a while, and I came across this recipe where the batter didn't seem too difficult and it sounded like it would be moist, sweet and lemony. Plus it would be balanced out by the blueberries.

The lemony part is not under exaggerated whatsoever. If you loooove lemon, like would pick it over your first born child, then this is the cake for you. Two different types of sugar toppings are poured over the baked cake, with the intention of making it super moist and to add even more lemony goodness. Next time I would probably ditch the lemon-sugar mixture just because it was a little too heavy on the lemon for me and I think the glaze alone would suffice. But if you're obsessed with lemon, you'll greatly enjoy this!                            

Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries, covered in 1 tbsp. flour
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil and blueberries into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Monday, August 1, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Pin It

Whoever said "You learn something new every day" is a genius. For example, I had no idea that I liked Brussels sprouts. I guess I've never really given them a chance, but I lived by the stigma that they just aren't good. Just like everyone believes Fruit Cake at Christmastime isn't good. You never know unless you give them a chance!

But one thing is for sure. I absolutely positively had no stinkin' idea that Chris liked them! Total shocker. He's not a picky eater, but he can be sort of selective about the vegetables he eats. But Brussels sprouts? I'm not going to argue there. If he'll eat it, I'll take it.

Roasting these little guys gives them a little crunch on the outside, but they remain soft and moist inside. The salt and pepper really brings out the flavor, too. It kind of resembles the saltiness you would find on a french fry.  These are definitely one of my new favorite side dishes. If you think you don't like Brussels sprouts, give these a try and hopefully they'll change your opinion of them!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the ends of each Brussels sprout and remove any discolored leaves. Combine them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Pour the Brussels sprouts into a roasting pan or sheet pan and cook for about 30 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and tender inside. Shake the pan every few minutes so they cook evenly.

Source: SK Original