Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

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My family came over a few weekends ago for dinner, and I wanted to make a satisfying and quick treat for dessert. I also didn't want it to be anything too filling since we also had my dad's birthday cake to eat.

These chocolate chip cookie cups were a huge hit. I wanted to make something my niece and nephew would enjoy, but I think they wound up being a bigger hit with the adults. They couldn't stop picking at them and snacking on them while dinner was cooking. And I don't blame them! The cookie recipe is really delicious and the cup shape got everyone's attention. These would be great for a child's birthday party or just an everyday get together. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/4 cup butter 
  • 1/4 cup shortening 
  • 1 1/8 cup flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Beat together the shortening, butter, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking powder, and flour, then gradually stir them into the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flat disk, and wrap it in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 375°. Turn two 12-cup muffin tins bottom side up and cover 10 of the cup bottoms with squares of aluminum foil (use every other cup so there’s some space between them).

Unwrap 1 disk of dough, place it between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 4-inch circles of dough and place each one over a cup bottom, smoothing out any cracks. Repeat with the other disk, re-rolling and reusing any scraps.

Bake the cookie cups for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cookies together from the muffin pan. Peel off the foil and let the cups cool completely on a rack. Just before serving, fill each cookie cup with a scoop of ice cream. Makes about 9-10.

Source:  The Idea Room

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liebster Blog Award!

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Thank you to Teri from The Freshman Cook for choosing me to receive a Liebster Blog Award!

This is my first award and I'm honored to receive this special recognition :)

A Liebster Award is given to an awesome blog that has under 200 followers, but is on their way to many more. I also get to choose five other bloggers who I think are deserving of this award. Here is the list of the up-and-coming blogs I picked:
I will be contacting each of you to let you know about your award. The rules are that you pass it on to five of your favorite, under 200 members blogs, and mention and link back to the person who awarded the Liebster to you.

Thank you to Teri and congratulations to these other fabulous blogs!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey (or Chicken) and Rice Soup

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I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I was able to enjoy two Thanksgiving feasts on Thursday and spend time with my amazing family, who I am so thankful to have in my life. I hope all of you were as lucky.

When I made this, I was only a few days away from going to try on my wedding dress (it surprised me and came in a whole two months early...yayy!), and I really wanted something light for dinner. This soup was perfect because it used up all the leftover ingredients I had from my other turkey leftover meal, and it was ready in about fifteen minutes. You can easily substitute the turkey for chicken if you don't have it on hand. But either way, you need to give this a try on the next cold and dreary day. I'm sure there are many more of those to come this winter season! Enjoy!

  • 5-6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 fresh thyme stem
  • 1 cup roasted turkey, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice

Place rice and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan.  Heat until boiling. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes or until rice is al dente and water is absorbed.

Heat broth in a large pot. Add the diced carrots, diced celery, garlic, garlic powder, bay leaf, thyme stem, salt and pepper. Heat until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. 

Add cooked rice and turkey to the heated broth mixture. Remove thyme stem and bay leaf. Allow turkey to heat through and serve.

Source: SK Original

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey and Pancetta Pot Pie

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Looking for a new recipe to try using all that leftover turkey from yesterday? You've come to the right place. Mac and cheese is usually my favorite comfort food, but this pot pie is giving it a run for its money.

Once again, Giada did not disappoint. These pot pies were absolutely delicious! The flavor is more than I expected and the filling is light, but still creamy and very filling. I chose to go the easy way and bought Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits to flatten and put on top. It was perfect! I will definitely use this recipe in the future, but probably with chicken since I don't normally have 3 cups of leftover roasted turkey on hand. Enjoy!
Here's the inside of the completed pie. So good!

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. finely diced pancetta
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups (about 14 oz.) roasted turkey breast meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 package Reduced-Fat Pillsbury Biscuits
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Pour the pancetta and any cooking juices onto a paper towel-lined pate. 

Add the butter, shallots, carrots and thyme to the saucepan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the carrots are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. 

Increase the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. 

Add the cooked pancetta, heavy cream, turkey, peas, corn, and the remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 3 minutes until heated through. Using a ladle, fill the ramekins with the mixture.

Press a biscuit so it is flat and place one on top of each ramekin. Cook according to biscuit package directions, 13-15 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Food Network

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Post: Better Than Apple Pie

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Here's a special Thanksgiving post from my lovely mother. Have a wonderful holiday!

Hi, I'm Andrea, Amy's Mom. I am so proud of her blog and happy that she inherited my love of cooking. I must admit, though, she is more adventuous than I am. After apple picking, I found myself with lots of apples and only one pie crust. I remembered I had this recipe somewhere, and after some searching, found it in my "recipe file." This is a great rustic pie and although it's not the best looking dessert, the smell and taste are amazing!

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.

Printable Recipe


  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. sugar 
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1-2 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Prepare crust as directed on package. Place on foil lined baking sheet, pressing out any folds or creases.

Mix 3/4 cup sugar, corn starch and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add apples and toss to coat well.  Spoon into center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edges. Dot with butter. Bring crust over applesto form a border of about 2 inches, pleating or folding crust as needed.

Brush edge of crust with egg white; sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.

Source: My Mom

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Candied Sweet Potatoes

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These sweet potatoes are requested each and every Thanksgiving without fail. My sister-in-law, Lissa, makes them, and they are amazing. I'm not sure where she got the recipe, but they deserve major thanks! 

These are one of my favorite parts of the meal (besides the stuffing of course). I don't really like when sweet potato casseroles are topped with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows, so this is a perfect medium for me. They are still sweet, but it's not overpowering and the caramelization from the sauce makes them extra tasty! If you're looking for a new sweet potato recipe for this Thursday, give these a try. Even the sweet potato non-lover will thank you! Enjoy!
Printable Recipe


  • 12 medium yams or sweet potatoes (or about 3 - 16 oz. cans, drained)
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
  • 1 cup Dark Karo Corn Syrup or molasses
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
If using fresh potatoes, boil potatoes long enough to remove skin. Slice potatoes and place in baking pan(s), only one layer deep (disposable pans make for easy clean-up).  Crowding is okay.

If using canned sweet potatoes, drain the can before placing in the baking pan.

Combine the remaining items and pour over potatoes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour.

Check after 30 minutes, turning to glaze or spooning sauce over the top. The longer it bakes, the more caramelized the potatoes become. 

Source: My sister-in-law

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cheese Blintzes

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Today is my first post for the SRC (Secret Recipe Club)! The idea behind it is that each person is assigned a "secret" blog where they have to choose one recipe to make. On the posting date, each person reveals their blog assignment and the recipe they chose. We also get to see who had our blog and the recipe they decided to try out. Sounds like fun to me!

This month I was assigned to Susan's blog over at You Go Girl! As soon as I saw her recipe for Cheese Blintzes I knew I wanted to make them right away. Never in a million years would I have thought to make them using white bread, but it worked! The filling was delicious and the coating was a perfect compliment. These are great for a quick weekend breakfast or when having company over. Enjoy!

The creamy center. YUM!
Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 loaf of white bread
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Beat cream cheese, yolks and 1/4 sugar and set aside.

Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Melt a stick of butter in another bowl.

Cut crusts off bread (you can stack up 4-5 slices at a time and cut the crust off). Using a rolling pin, roll out each slice of bread as flat as possible.

Spread cream cheese mixture on each slice. Roll up jelly roll style with mixture inside bread.

Dip each roll in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You can freeze and save for later or cook immediately. If cooking, place them on a cookie sheet and cook for 15 minutes. 

If you want to freeze the extras, before baking place them in an air tight container lined with wax paper and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw 15 minutes and then bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Source: Adapted from You Go Girl

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pizza Roll-Ups

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Watching football on Sundays always calls for some kind of snack. These pizza roll-ups were delicious and definitely a fan favorite. I only had sauce and cheese on hand so I couldn't make them all fancy-schmancy, but we still really enjoyed them. The outside is light and flaky, but the inside is a cheesy, gooey, delicious mess. You can easily add pepperoni, olives, green peppers, etc. to the center to tailor them to your preference. These are great for game day, a child's birthday party, a small get-together, or an every day appetizer. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 roll Pillsbury Reduced-Fat Crescent Rolls
  • Pasta or pizza sauce
  • Reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • Pizza seasoning, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

Roll out crescent roll sheet. Seal the perforations together with your hands so that the dough does not fall apart.

Spread a light layer of sauce over top of the dough. Sprinkle with cheese and top with seasoning, if desired.

Starting on the longer side, roll up the dough all the way. Cut the dough into 3/4-inch pieces.

Arrange the dough slices about an inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with extra sauce.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

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Last weekend, I was supposed to host my dad's birthday dinner and have my entire family over the new house for the first time. Since fainting and constant dizzy spells didn't really allow me to stand for long enough to cook anything, we relied on my mom's delicious cooking instead. That doesn't mean I still didn't stock my refrigerator with all the ingredients for the original menu I had planned. And I was not going to let that go to waste.

We had about four pounds of mushrooms in the fridge (there are 12 of us...what do you expect!) and they weren't getting any fresher. Once I was feeling better, I decided to go ahead and make the risotto my dad had originally requested since I already had everything on hand. It did not disappoint. I love the creaminess of risotto and the flavor combination of white wine, Parmesan cheese and fresh mushrooms was really delicious. Risotto is very time consuming, but worth the wait. I highly recommend this!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 oz. portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 2 tsp. chives, dried
  • 1 tbsp. plus 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

Add 1 tbsp. butter to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with butter, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.

Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, remaining 2 tbsp. butter, chives, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Monday, November 14, 2011

Super Easy Crockpot Chicken

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I'm finally getting over being pretty sick the past week and have not been able to spend much time (if any) in the kitchen. Woe is me! Towards the end off my week-long illness when I was gaining some energy back, I decided I wanted to make dinner since I was tired of having soup every night (although I really appreciate everyone who did make/bring me soup!). I'm not even sure if you can consider this "making" dinner since I just threw it all into the crockpot, but for me it counts!

This was the simplest chicken to make and the flavors were finger-licking good. The meat was falling right off the bone when I pulled the legs and thighs out of the slow cooker. I recently went to a Tastefully Simple party and bought a Bayou Bourbon sauce that I used for this, but you can easily substitute your favorite BBQ/teriyaki sauce or anything you have hiding in the back of your pantry. And you don't even need to defrost the chicken first! Enjoy!

The meat literally fell right off the bone.

Printable Recipe


  • 2-3 lbs. frozen chicken legs and thighs
  • 1 bottle of your favorite sauce (ex. BBQ)
Place frozen chicken in slow cooker. Top with the full bottle of sauce.

Cook on high for 7-8 hours. Towards the end, you may want to use tongs to remove the skin to reduce fat (it will practically fall off when you pull at it). Serve over rice.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thick Chocolate Pudding

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This chocolate pudding tastes just like the boxed stuff that we're all used to, but somehow it's even better. It still has that rich, thick, creamy texture, but the flavors are even more intense and satisfying. I'm definitely keeping this on the back burner for when I have a chocolate craving and want something quick. It even tasted pretty good warm, which was a pleasant surprise! Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Stir in milk until smooth. Microwave, uncovered on high for 3 minutes; stir. Microwave 4-6 minutes longer or until thickened, stirring after each minute. Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual serving dishes and enjoy!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Southwestern Shredded Beef Sandwiches

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I think beef is Chris' favorite type of meat to eat, but it's my least favorite thing to cook. If it's not done on the grill, it becomes a hassle to me. Searing the outside and getting it cooked to the right temperature on the inside...all without making it smoke up the house? Well, that's something I'm learning. But when I can stick it in the slow cooker like in this recipe, I definitely don't mind coming home to a delicious home-cooked beef dinner. 

There are really two steps to this recipe (making the beef in the slow cooker and then making the beef recipe for the sandwich), but both are really simple and take little time to do. The lettuce on top is a perfect compliment and we used the leftover juice from the slow cooker to dunk our sandwiches in. Even if you don't want to make this sandwich, the Beef Master Recipe is great on its own and would be delicious on a salad, as a taco or in a quesadilla. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 2 cups Shredded Beef Master Recipe (see recipe below)
  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
  • 4 onion rolls, split and toasted, if desired
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce

In a large saucepan, cook onion in hot oil over medium heat about 4 minutes or until tender. Add shredded beef, undrained tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until heated through and desired consistency. Stir in cilantro.

To serve, sprinkle some of the cheese over bottoms of onion rolls. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture over cheese on each bun. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and the shredded lettuce. Add roll tops. Makes 4 servings.

Shredded Beef Master Recipe

  • 2 large onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-3 1/2 lb. boneless beef chuck pot roast
  • 1 (14 oz.) can beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Trim fat from a 3 to 3-1/2 pound boneless beef chuck pot roast. If necessary, cut beef to fit a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Place onions and garlic in the cooker. Top with beef. 

In a medium bowl, combine beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, dried thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Pour over beef in cooker.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 11 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5-1/2 to 6 hours. Remove beef and onion from cooker, reserving juices.

Using two forks, shred beef, discarding any fat. Skim fat from juices. Add onion to beef; add enough juices to beef to moisten. Place 2-cup portions of beef in airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 6 cups.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Turkey and Black Bean Chimichanga

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Can I be honest with you? I have no idea what a chimichanga is. I guess I know now that I've made one, but I still don't completely get it. Aren't they like burritos? Or enchiladas? What's the difference? Oh lordy.

Whatever chimichangas are, they're delicious. And even better when they're made with ground turkey and simple ingredients to make them healthy. I used the leftover turkey I had from when I made Swedish meatballs, so I pretty much had everything on hand and they came together in no time. Hope you enjoy!

I advise you to be a rebel like me and top them with salsa verde and light sour cream. Mmm.

Printable Recipe

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 10-inch whole wheat, low-carb, flour tortillas
  • 8 oz. uncooked ground turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (15 oz.) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup bottled salsa
  • 2 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
  • Light dairy sour cream, fresh cilantro sprigs and/or salsa for serving
Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Wrap the tortillas in foil. Heat in the oven for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook turkey and onion until turkey is no longer pink and onion is softened. Add black beans. Using a fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly. Stir in tomato, salsa, 1/4 cup cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Heat through.

To assemble, spoon about 1/2 cup of the filling onto each tortilla, spooning filling just below the center. Fold bottom edge of each tortilla up and over filling. Fold opposite sides in and over filling. Roll up from the bottom. If necessary, secure rolled tortillas with wooden toothpicks. Place filled tortillas on prepared baking sheet, seam sides down. Lightly coat top and sides of the filled tortillas with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tortillas are golden brown. Sprinkle chimichangas with cheese and, if desired, sour cream and/or cilantro sprigs.

Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Garden

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chef's Salad with Herb-Mustard Vinaigrette

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My mom was the queen of making this type of salad growing up. I guess other people and restaurants refer to it as Chopped Salad, but in our household, it was called Chef's Salad. It would basically consist of any and all vegetables that were lingering around in the fridge, plus any deli meat we had on hand. Whenever someone was dieting or if we had a big lunch and wanted something light for dinner, this would always be our go-to.

I really, really love this salad and could eat it every night if I wanted to (but I like carbs too much, so that would never happen). I decided to make a new type of dressing to accompany the salad I threw together, and it was a huge hit. I think the flavors blended really well together, and the Parmesan cheese gave it a nice touch. I definitely recommend this if you want to eat healthy or cut back on carbs. You can alter the ingredients to your liking, but I think the combination I used here was perfect. Enjoy!
Delicious dressing.
Toss it all together and serve. A perfect, hearty salad!

Printable Recipe


  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cups pure, mild-flavored olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 bags Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4-5 oz. oven roasted turkey deli meat, chopped
  • 4-5 oz. smoked ham deli meat, chopped

For dressing, mix all ingredients except oils and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Slowly add in the oil, whisking constantly. Once incorporated, add the Parmesan cheese. Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Toss the lettuce in a large bowl. Add each ingredient on top. Mix well to combine.

Top with Herb-Mustard Vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Source: Dressing very loosely adapted from CopyKat