Friday, March 30, 2012


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This Cioppino recipe is one of our favorites. We can't wait for the weather to get a little cooler every year so we have an excuse to make it. The only problem is that we like all the usual ingredients in it. The clams, the lobster, the mussels. Sometimes it's hard to find a few of the essentials, though. Or else we can find them, but the prices are so jacked up that we can't justify spending so much. But we want them all!

Luckily, we wanted this one Friday for Lent and we were able to find all of the seafood at reasonable prices. The mixture of all the different textures is fun and really delicious. The broth is a little spicy, but it's perfect for dipping the warm, crusty bread in. Hope you enjoy this before the weather heats up again!

Printable Recipe

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 24 small littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 lobster tails, cut into pieces
  • 10 scallops, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Warm crusty bread, for serving

Heat oil in a heave large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf and red pepper. Saute until the garlic is tender, about 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the flavors blend, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in the clams. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the mussels. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels, about 5 minutes longer. 

Using tongs, transfer the opened shellfish to serving bowls (discard any shellfish that do not open). Add the scallops and lobster to the simmering tomato broth and cook for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and basil. Simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes longer. 

Divide the seafood and tomato broth among bowls. Serve with warm bread.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms

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I love stuffed mushrooms. I love mushrooms in general, but they're even better when they're piled high with a delicious filling. I usually just have mushrooms that are stuffed with some kind of breadcrumb mixture. It's easy, simple, and gets me the results I want. But these? The stuffed mushrooms are on a whole other level.

French Onion Soup is easily one of my favorite soups, so it's no surprise that taking those same ingredients and packing them into a tiny mushroom would give great results. We had these as a side dish, but next time I'm definitely serving them as an appetizer. They're easy enough to make and I'm sure they'd be a real crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 whole large onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Muenster cheese, grated
  • 24 whole white or crimini mushrooms, washed and stems removed
  • Parsley, minced
In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Splash in wine, broth, and Worcestershire. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until liquid is cooked down. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Throw in mushrooms and toss around for 2 minutes, just to start the cooking process. Sprinkle mushrooms with salt.

Place mushroom caps face down in a baking dish. Heap cavity with sauteed mushrooms, then sprinkle Muenster over the top. Bake at 10 minutes on 325 degrees. Turn on broiler and broil for a couple of minutes, until the top of the Muenster starts to bubble and slightly turn brown.

Remove from oven and place on a paper towel to blot the excess liquid. Sprinkle minced parsley over the top and serve.

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Salad

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The other weekend, one of my girl friends was coming over for dinner, wine and movie night. Since it was a Friday during the Lenten season, we decided to have a simple soup and salad dinner. I picked up some Lobster Bisque and Broccoli Cheddar soup, but I needed something quick to throw together for the "salad" part. Since I want to have something homemade, I knew it had to be something quick, but still a show stopper.

This has got to be one of my favorite salads. I'm a new lover of avocado, and caprese salads have always been a staple for me. The flavor was so fresh and simple. We both really enjoyed this and I will definitely be making it again soon. Enjoy!

  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 carton fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup basil, julienned
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baguette-optional

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and parsley, Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Just before serving the salad, stir in the chopped avocados. Serve salad with slotted spoon and toasty bread.

Source: ValSoCal

Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest Post: Halushki

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Hi all. It’s Amy’s mom again. Since I am half Italian and half Czechoslavakian (Austrian Hungarian, Polish or whatever was the "good" country at the time according to my mom), I love to make both Italian and Slavic recipes. Besides pastas, sauces, pizzas and meats, we also had halushki (cabbage & noodles), halupki (stuffed cabbage), kielbasa, nut roll, poppyseed roll, and pierogies. We all had a very diverse palate.

This recipe for halushki is so easy because there are no real measurements- it’s all according to taste and eye. If you like more cabbage, get a bigger head. If you like more onions, add another. The secret is LOTS of fresh ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Note from Amy: The pictures don't have any pepper on them, but like my mom said...add lots!!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 small head green cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 2 large onions, the sweeter the better, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 16 oz. wide egg noodles
  • Lots of fresh black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat oil in a large pan. Add cabbage & onions. Keep turning until caramelized. That’s the trick. If they’re not caramelized enough, it doesn’t taste the same. Add more oil if necessary so that it’s not too dry. Add pepper as you go along.

In the meantime boil water and cook noodles.

When cabbage mixture is ready, add noodles (or vice versa, whichever pan is larger). Add more pepper and serve. Some of my kids add Parmesan cheese- the best of both worlds.

*Don’t tell anybody but it’s good even cold right out of the fridge! Yummy!!!!

Source: SK's Mom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Asian Turkey Meatballs With Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce

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Once again, Asian flavors came into play during dinner. I think sesame oil is one of the best Asian flavors out there. I use it in the Sesame Noodles I make, and those are undoubtedly one of our favorite meals. So the use of that in these meatballs in addition to scallions, soy sauce and fresh cilantro makes them have amazing flavor.

I love that they're made with turkey and that they're mixed with so many intense flavors that all really stand out. The dipping sauce has a great tang from the lime and also makes them really fun and different. I actually doubled the sauce recipe and tossed half of it with some steamed green beans. It made a great side dish! You can also make these a little smaller and serve them as an appetizer with toothpicks. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1-1/4 lbs (20 oz.) 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
Lime Dipping Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 fresh scallion, chopped
Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.

Serve meatballs with remaining sauce, about 1 tbsp. per person.

Source: Skinny Taste

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms

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Today is my next post for the Secret Recipe Club. I was assigned Gloria's blog over at The Ginger Snap Girl. I absolutely fell in love with her blog and spent almost an hour sorting through all of her recipes. Although I chose this recipe for reveal day, I had an incredibly hard time narrowing it down! All of her recipes look delicious and her pictures make everything so tempting! Since I'm on a diet it was easier for me to pick this one out, but I was SO close to making the apple pie muffins or the New York style crumb cake. I'll get to them one day, though. That's for sure!

These mushrooms were extremely tasty and definitely reminded me of a loaded cheeseburger. I adjusted the measurements a little since I wanted to use portobello mushrooms and serve this as an entree, so I used a full pound of meat and just tripled the rest of the ingredients. Same concept, just on a bigger scale. Gloria noted in her post that her family serves similar mushrooms using bacon instead of ground beef, so I decided to add a couple slices of bacon in there just to spruce it up a bit :) It added a ton of great flavor to the filling! These were perfect for an entree, but they'd also be great if you use smaller mushrooms and serve them as a side dish or appetizer. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 6 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 1/4 tsp. Lawerys Seasoning Salt
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp. plus 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place mushrooms topside down on foil lined baking sheet and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Brown ground beef in a non-stick skillet. Season beef with seasoning salt halfway through the cooking process. Once beef is cooked, drain off the fat and place ground beef in a medium bowl to cool. Once beef is room temperature, stir in onions, bacon bits, 2 tbsp. cheese and mayonnaise.

Generously fill each mushroom with the beef mixture. Sprinkle filled mushrooms with grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Source: Adapted from The Ginger Snap Girl

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grasshopper Cheesecake

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What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with something green? Here's something sweet to wash down with all that green beer you'll be drinking tomorrow.
Grasshopper cake is made with crème de menthe, which is just a mint flavored liquor. This cheesecake version is a little different than the traditional cake version, but anything that includes cheesecake is a winner in my book. The cake is really light and creamy with a subtle minty flavor. There's not even a crust that you have to make beforehand, so that makes this quick and even healthier in my opinion. Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Printable Recipe

  • 3/4 cup Original Bisquick® mix
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup green crème de menthe
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Topping
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate
  • Splash of milk

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat all cheesecake ingredients except chocolate chips with electric mixer on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 35 minutes or until center is firm and puffed. Cool 45 minutes (cheesecake top will be cracked).

In 1-quart saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth; remove from heat. Carefully spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 3 hours until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

Source: Betty Crocker; Topping: SK Original

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce

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Black bean burgers are a great alternative for someone who is on a low carb diet or vegetarian (or observing Lent, like me!). The consistency is nothing like a traditional hamburger, but the same idea is there. Make some patties, brown them and you're on your way. You can definitely serve these on a bun and pretend it's the real deal, but I made a Cilantro Lime Sauce to accompany my burgers and it made them taste a lot like the Black Beans I sometimes make. Those are a staple in my house so you know these burgers have got to be good!

If you're looking for a nice, hearty hamburger, I suggest you just eat a nice, hearty hamburger. Although this is a great substitute, the texture isn't as firm as a burger, so there's no fooling anyone. But if you're in the mood to try something new, different and delicious, give these a try. They're awesome!


For the patties:
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked black beans), divided
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canola or vegetable oil
For the cilantro lime cream sauce:
  • 1/2 cup part-skim Ricotta
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking pan with foil and place the whole bell peppers on the baking sheet. Roast until the skin is browned and bubbling, about 15 minutes, turning at least a few times during cooking to brown all sides. Once the peppers are evenly browned, remove them to a plate or bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil (I reuse the foil from the baking pan). Let stand about 15 minutes. Peel the skin from the outside of the peppers and discard – it should come away easily thanks to the roast/rest technique. Seed and chop the peppers.

To make the bean patties, place half of the beans in the bowl of a food processor with 1 coarsely chopped bell pepper, the eggs, oregano, cumin, and chipotle. Process until smooth. Finely chop the remaining bell pepper. In a large bowl, lightly mash the remaining beans. Stir in the bell pepper, onion, and smooth bean mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the panko, a bit at time, mixing lightly just until the mixture firms up. (Pick up a bit and see if it can be easily molded into a ball. If it is too sticky, add a little more.) Chill the mixture for 30 minutes.

To make the cilantro lime cream sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and process until completely smooth.

Form the bean mixture into patties approximately 3½ inches in diameter. Heat about 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties in batches, cooking until lightly browned and firm, about 3-4 minutes per side. Serve the patties warm topped with the corn relish and drizzled with the avocado cream sauce.

Source: Patties: Adapted from Annie's Eats; Sauce: SK Original

Monday, March 12, 2012

Orange Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Sure the name is a little strange. Oranges? Sour cream? Chocolate chips? Together?! Believe it! These muffins are a nice little switch from your normal breakfast routine of oatmeal, cereal or pop tarts.

The orange flavor in these muffins is very subtle, but definitely noticeable. I've found that the sour cream addition makes these kinds of snacks very moist and fluffy. I knew as soon as I saw it in the title that these would be decadent little breakfast treats. And the chocolate? Well, who can go wrong with chocolate? It's a nice little boost in the morning and pairs nicely with the orange. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tbsp. flour

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking, and salt.

In a separate bowl combine the orange zest, butter, vanilla, orange juice, sour cream, and eggs.

In a small bowl toss together the chocolate chips with the 2 tablespoons of flour until they are well coated.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until most of the dry ingredients are moist. Add the chocolate chips and fold to incorporate.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and top with a few extra chocolate chips, if desired. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the center of the muffins springs back when lightly pressed and the tops are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

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Spaghetti squash. The carbless and healthier alternative to spaghetti.

The great thing about it is that it practically has no flavor, so whatever you choose to put on it will take over. I've had it with regular marinara sauce and this picture is when I made it with pesto. If you don't have anything special on hand to put on top, it's also great with plain ol' butter, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Whenever I'm craving some pasta and choose to steer clear and be good, this is my back-up. It might not taste the same or have the same consistency, but if you really pretend, you can fool yourself. Enjoy!

This is what it looks like after you cut it in half and scrape the insides.
Printable Recipe


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup pesto, or whatever sauce you desire

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prick the squash all over with a knife. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour.

When cool enough to handle, cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and string from the center.

Gently scrape the insides of the spaghetti squash with a fork to shred into strands. 

Top with your favorite sauce and serve.

Source: Home Cooking

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Crockpot Fiesta Chicken

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Here's another dinner that I was able to throw into the crockpot before work and have a minimal amount to do when I got home. The hardest part was actually stopping by the local Chinese food restaurant to pick up some rice. Do you know how hard it is to go in there and not order something? Hard.

Since I've started training for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (which I'll be doing on April 1st), most evenings after work I have to do a long run or go to the gym. Crockpot meals are great for nights like these because I don't have to worry about what I'll be making for dinner and when I'll have time to make it. And when the end result is as delicious as this, it makes me want to work out and make crockpot meals more often! This kind of tasted like the inside of a taquito to me. It was creamy, a little mild from the salsa, and it had a nice surprise of crunch from the corn and the beans. Normally this is made using black beans, but since I had none in the pantry and Chris is OBSESSED with kidney beans, I decided to use those instead. You can use whatever you want, but this combination was awesome. Enjoy!

  • 5 chicken breasts, frozen
  • 1 (15 1/2 oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 (8 oz.) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
Take 5 frozen, boneless chicken breasts put into crock pot. Add the kidney beans, corn and salsa.  Keep in crock pot on low for about 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked. Once it is cooked, shred it into small pieces.
Add the cream cheese (just throw it on top!) and let sit for about a half hour. After the half hour is up, stir in cream cheese so the mixture is combined.
Serve over rice or in warm flour tortillas.

Source: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stuffed Baked Tomatoes

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New favorite side dish alert! You want to know why? Cheese, basil and tomato are all baked together until warm, gooey and delicious. That's why.

Ketchup is my all-time favorite condiment, so it's no surprise that tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables (or fruits?). These were very easy to put together and I already had all of the ingredients on hand, which makes it a future dinner staple in this house. Plus, it's packed with a ton of flavor and it's still healthy and low-carb, which is perfect for this "wedding is in three months" diet I'm currently on. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400° F. Scoop out the inside of each tomato half with a melon baller and roughly chop the scooped pulp. Combine tomato pulp, mozzarella, basil, Parmesan, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Spoon in tomato mixture and bake until cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Source: South Beach

Friday, March 2, 2012

Steak Diane

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I usually always buy Chris one big gift for holidays such as his birthday and Christmas and then a bunch of smaller gifts. Sometimes they're serious and sometimes they're gag gifts. My parents gave us a beautiful crystal decanter that has just been sitting on our bar, so one thing I decided to get Chris this past Christmas was a bottle of Johnny Walker Black to fill it up. Some people might think this is cool, but to us it was definitely more of a gag gift. Chris had always joked that when he bought a house, he would come home from work, put on his sweatpants, pour a glass of whiskey/scotch and relax. If you could only see his facial expression when he takes a sip of whiskey...well, you'd know why this is funny.

He's had some friends over since Christmas and the bottle is surprisingly dwindling down, but I still wanted to put it to use before it was all gone. When I made this steak, I decided to substitute the cognac or brandy for some of this whiskey. It tasted really good! Since I'm not a steak person, if we have it for dinner it needs to have a really yummy sauce to accompany it. And this one fit the bill. I just did a light drizzle on top, and the flavor really took over. The shallots and scallions gave the sauce a little kick and the lemon added some zing. I also decided to add some beef broth to loosen it up. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 (6 oz) sirloin steak
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. fresh scallions, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. whiskey
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • Extra scallions, for garnish
Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper.

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a heavy skillet; add steaks and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare; about 2 minutes longer per side for medium. Remove steaks to serving plate and keep warm.

Add into pan drippings, mustard and shallots. Sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Then add 2 tbsp. butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and chives.

Cook for 2 minutes. Add brandy and beef broth; pour sauce over steaks. Sprinkle remaining scallions over the top.

Source: Adapted from 
Vanilla Sugar