Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Greek Tortellini Salad


This quick salad is so yummy! I have made it three times in the last couple of months. Sometimes I put kalamata olives in it, some times I sub them out for capers. The first time I made it I used feta and the last time I used freshly shredded Parmesan. The first time I made it I didn't use red bell peppers, but the last time I made it I did! One time I made it with fresh mint and the last time I made it with mint AND basil. What I'm getting at is this salad is just delicious - you can customize it to suit the likes of your family.....as long as you do not omit the balsamic glaze and dressing, you're guaranteed a tasty meal.

*Please read above before you look at the ingredients - I have made this dish many times and the ingredients are not set in stone.....

*Salad Ingredients:
20 oz package of tortellinis, cooked al dente
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 large cucumber, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup capers OR kalmata olives
1/3 cup pine nuts (toast them lightly for extra yummy-ness)
1/2 cup crumbled feta OR freshly shredded Parmesan
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, chopped
Store bought balsamic glaze

For the Dressing:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 Tbl fresh basil (use fresh if you can)
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste

Cook tortellini according to directions on the package.  Set aside and let cool.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together.

Add all the salad ingredients, including cooked and cooled tortellinis, to a large bowl.  Add the dressing and toss (you may not need to use all the dressing). Chill for an hour or overnight.  Just before serving drizzle with the store bought balsamic glaze (do not forget the glaze- it really sets this dish apart!).  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Oh boy, this chocolate banana bread is amazing!!! We ate it for breakfast and we ate it for dessert - it is just yummy-ness. 

I found this banana bread recipe on the blog Two Peas and Their Pod. Here it is word for word:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 large brown bananas  (1 1/2 cups mashed)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup canola, vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature <I used 2 eggs>
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Directions:

  1. Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork. Add the melted butter and oil and stir until combined. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean, you might have some melted chocolate chips on the toothpick and that is fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool on the wire cooling rack until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve.
Note-the bread will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. This bread also freezes well. To freeze, cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before slicing.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

No Bake Crispy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 
 
These are yummy, the ingredients are simple, and there is no baking required. Need I say more? Super tasty dessert that we all loved! 
 
Recipe is from the blog The Big Man's World:
Ingredients:
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal <I used "One Degree" Brown Rice Crisps>
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup peanut butter can substitute for sunflower seed or soy nut butter <I used 1/2 cup almond butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter>
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil can sub for grass fed butter
Directions:
  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish or deep baking tray of choice with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add crispy rice cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a microwave safe bowl or stovetop, combine all your other ingredients and heat until melted. Remove from microwave/off stove and whisk until completely incorporated.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the crispy rice cereal and mix until combined. Pour into the lined baking dish <I use a piece of parchment paper over the top of the mixture to REALLY push the bars down so they are compact and even> and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour). Remove and cut into bars. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

GF Peanut Butter Cookies with M&Ms


I really like these GF peanut butter cookies!! They have very simple ingredients, are quick to whip up, and bake in only 7 minutes. My kids especially love the M&Ms! I have made these three times in the last few weeks! YUM!

This recipe makes about 18 cookies. Here is the recipe straight from the blog Love to Be in the Kitchen 

 Ingredients:
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats (or quick oats)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup mini M&M's
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl <I use my hand mixer> stir together the peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar. Do not warm up the peanut butter or the honey.
  3. Add in the oats, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Stir well.
  4. In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg and then add it to the mixture.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. Press the dough very tightly in the cookie scoop to form the balls if using your hands squeeze the mixture tightly into a ball so it doesn’t crumble.
  7. Form the balls onto a cookie sheet, press down slightly, top with the M&M's and more mini chocolate chips if desired and bake for 7-8 minutes.
  8. Watch the cookies closely and remove when the bottom barely starts to brown even if they don't look completely done (they cook more as they cool).
  9. Remove and allow to cool completely.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fajita Steak Salad

Oh my goodness, this salad was SO delicious!!!!! I know what some of you are thinking - yes, I am a vegetarian, so no, I did not eat the flank steak. But, my husband and son did and they just loved it - it smelled incredible. I actually marinated tofu for myself in the same steak marinade and baked it in the oven. I loved it!  The cilantro dressing is just flat out yummy. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we all did!!

I found the recipe on the blog Damn Delicious. You must check this blog out - she has so many yummy recipes posted! 

Here is the recipe word for word from Damn Delicious:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and thinly sliced

For the cilantro lime dressing

  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar <I only used 2 tsp>
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup <my own addition to balance out the tartness of the vinegar>

For the steak

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds flank steak <I also used firm tofu - read the intro above>

Directions:

  1. To make the cilantro lime dressing, combine cilantro, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, lime juice, maple syrup (if using), and salt in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, add olive oil and vinegar in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.
  2. To make the steak, whisk together olive oil, garlic, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, oregano and onion powder in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine steak and marinade; marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a grill pan over medium high heat. Working in batches, cook steak, flipping once, to preferred temperature, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
  5. Add onion to the skillet, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent and slightly caramelized, about 7-8 minutes; set aside.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet. Add bell peppers, and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 8-10 minutes; set aside.
  7. To assemble the salad, place romaine lettuce in a large bowl; top with arranged rows of onion, peppers, steak and avocado.
  8. Serve immediately with cilantro lime dressing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms with Spinach & Artichokes

 

 Ingredients:

  • 4 large portabello mushroom caps
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 cups firmly packed fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 6 oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbl pine nuts, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean off any dirt. Remove the stems. Use a spoon (I like to use a grapefruit spoon) to take out the black gills of the mushroom. Use your hands to rub oil onto the outside of the mushrooms.
  3. Heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add diced onions and sautee for 5-7 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and sautee for another 3 - 5 minutes, letting the spinach cook down. Stir the onions and spinach together. Remove from heat.
  4. In a mixing bowl, mix together softened cream cheese, sharp cheddar, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined. Add the slightly cooled onions and spinach; mix well. Divide cheese mixture between the prepared mushroom caps. Sprinkle 1 Tbl pine nuts, if using, on top of each mushroom.
  5. Place filled mushrooms in a baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Enjoy with a side salad. 


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

One Pot Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup



I've heard from a few friends recently that the Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Tortellini and Sun-dried Tomatoes I blogged a few weeks ago was a big hit with their families (as it is with mine!). So, I thought I'd look for another soup recipe with tortellini recipe to try.  I was inspired by the soup recipe I found on the blog Gal on a Mission. I added my own flare by putting a pear and some maple syrup.  I also blended mine bc my children like pureed soup opposed to chunky.

Click here for the Gal's original recipe.

And below is her recipe with my additions and slight changes.

This soup nicely serves a family of four. Serve with a crusty bread and a side salad. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion diced or 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary chopped or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 pear, chopped with skin, <my addition> 
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup <my addition>
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves or ½ teaspoon dried basil <I used about 10 fresh basil leaves>
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock <I used veggie>
  • ½ cup heavy cream <I used half and half>
  • 20 ounces three-cheese tortellini
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
  • fresh basil, to garnish
  • shredded parmesan cheese, to garnish
Instructions:
  1. Place the onion, garlic, and olive oil, fresh rosemary, and chopped pear (if using) in a 6-quart soup pot or dutch oven. Sautee over medium heat for 5 - 8 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, pure maple syrup (if using), basil, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and heavy cream - stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. This next step is mine because I wanted the soup to be creamy. (If you want your soup chunky, skip this step and go right to step 4). Place the soup mixture in a high speed blender (you may have to do this twice because there is a lot of soup!) with the lid insert removed to let steam escape. Place a clean towel over the lid insert to catch any soup that escapes while blending. Blend until creamy and smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  4. Place the three-cheese tortellini into the soup and cook for 12-15 minutes or until the tortellini are tender and cooked through.
  5. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve and garnish with fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese.