I recently discovered I love beets and have been putting them in everything I can! They are a bit difficult to deal with, so if you’ve never made them before be prepared for your kitchen to get a little messy. And by a little messy, it will practically look like a crime scene.
What I’ve discovered on this little health kick I’ve been on is that I can eat a salad for lunch and feel full if I put the right things in it. The few times I’ve attempted to eat a salad for lunch in the past have left me feeling faint and disoriented hours later because there was nothing useful in it. I honestly thought that a salad was a combo of iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and shredded carrots. Maybe a little ranch dressing to make it edible. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This salad is packed with flavor and nutritional value, so it keeps me full for almost the rest of the day.
- roasted beets
- goat cheese
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
I didn’t include the amount needed for the ingredients because I think it would be good no matter how much or how little you add of each of the salad parts. For me, I roasted four beets, but since I was going to the trouble I wish I’d done more. To roast beets, preheat your oven to 375. Just wrap them in tin foil and place on a cookie sheet. Place in oven and roast for 45-50 minutes. Allow beets to cool slightly, but peal them while they are still warm to make it easier. While beets are cooling, mix dressing ingredients. Chop pealed beets into bite-sized pieces and pour half of the dressing over the beets.
Allow the beets to marinate for at least an hour. Once you are ready to serve the salad, combine arugula, goat cheese, walnuts and beets in a bowl. I made small servings everyday and stretched this salad into three lunches. Pour remaining dressing over salad.
I kept seeing this dish on Pinterest and was dying to try it, but I convinced myself it looked too complicated and time-consuming. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I honestly think in some ways it’s easier than the regular lasagna casserole.
The main benefit of this recipe is that you can freeze the leftovers, or you can freeze the rolls before putting them into the oven. Either way, they turn out great and you get the coveted two meals out of one cooking session.
The other benefit may be just me being picky, but when I’ve made lasagna in the past, the edges get so crispy that they’re hard to chew. That might be a personal problem with my cooking method, but with these I did not have that issue.
The main thing to pay attention to is letting the noodles dry after boiling. This takes a little patience, but luckily I had the time to spare this past weekend!
- 1/2 box of lasagna noodles, boiled
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Boil noodles according to package directions. Allow noodles to dry completely by spreading them out on cookie sheets or wax paper.
Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese and thawed spinach.
Pour one cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Reserve the rest for topping.
Once noodles have dried, spread ricotta/spinach mixture across. Roll up like a fruit roll-up! Place in bottom of casserole dish, making sure the noodle rolls aren’t touching. Top with remaining tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 covered with foil for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.
After a chaotic weekend in downtown Jacksonville for the GA/FL football game, there was nothing I wanted more than comfort food! My aunt told me about this recipe in an email, and I thought it would be the perfect thing for dinner.
It’s an interesting take on the traditional fettuccine alfredo and originally comes from one of Ruth Reichl’s books. I wrote about her memoir, Tender at the Bone a few weeks ago and have since read Garlic and Sapphires about her time as the New York Times food critic. Both were enjoyable reads, and as I mentioned here come with recipes in each chapter. I changed the recipe slightly and added spinach into the mix.
- 1 box fettuccine
- juice from one lemon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) melted
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 package fresh spinach (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, as desired
Melt butter in a skillet. Add lemon juice and heavy cream. Remove from heat, but keep warm.
Prepare pasta al dente. Stir in cream mixture. Add reserved pasta water, a little at a time, until sauce is thinned.
Stir in spinach until leaves wilt. Top with Parmesan.
I invited some friends over at the last minute, and I wanted to have something as an appetizer. I had a bag of chips for dipping, so I figured I could mix ingredients I already had in my fridge and create some kind of a dip. This turned out better than I could have imagined!
The best part of this recipe is that it used fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach. While they are pretty equal when it comes to nutritional quality, I still prefer fresh to frozen anytime. You can use frozen spinach in this if you want, just squeeze all the juice out before stirring it in.
On another note, I know I haven’t been posting as often as usual! A lot has been going on in my personal life, but I’ll have lots of new recipes and books to read coming your way soon!
- 1 block (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
- 16 oz. sour cream
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 10 oz. fresh spinach
- 1 pkg. onion mix
Mix cream cheese, sour cream and onion mix. Stir in red peppers. Add spinach, a handful at a time and stir until mixed.
This is a great, vegetarian casserole that is good even to people who like meat! My boyfriend said he refused to eat just that, and asked me to make chicken on the side. I bought a couple of chicken fingers at the grocery store to go with it, and he didn’t even eat them. Not only that, he didn’t even remember they were there because he said this casserole was so good.
I found it on Budget Savvy Diva’s website, which I used when I started couponing. She has a ton of advice, and a few delicious recipes. I don’t know if I consider this to be the most budget-friendly recipe I’ve ever come across because it involves so many ingredients, but most of them are already in your pantry.
Honestly, I would make this dish for company it was so good. It also took less than 30 minutes from start to finish, so if you’re short on time, but want to fill up, this is perfect!
- 1 box pasta (preferably penne, shell, or something short)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, water squeezed out
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice, plus a little lemon zest
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup mozzarella
Preheat oven to 425.
Boil pasta al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
Saute onion about 8 minutes in olive oil. Add garlic and continue sauteing for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, combine sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Once onion and garlic are done, stir into pasta.
Stir pasta into sour cream mixture. Stir in spinach and drained artichoke hearts. Stir in 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Place all ingredients in a greased 13X9 casserole dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes (cheese will start to brown.)
This recipe is another one of Jim’s Specialties. I got to go over to his house and help him make it this past weekend, and it was so good! The cheeses blended into the crust perfectly and created a light, flaky crust that was even better than using tomato sauce as the base.
I also got to learn exactly how to roll out pizza dough and keep the air bubbles intact. Jim described rolling the pin over the dough as “angels kissing” which I thought was a pretty interesting way to explain. He meant to convey touching the dough lightly, but it didn’t necessarily help me touch the dough lightly because I burst out laughing and leaned forward into the dough. Oh well, it’s a beautiful image nonetheless.
While this is a more time consuming process than calling your local pizza place, it is worth the effort! It was perfection! I can’t wait to try it again on my own and see if I can make angels kiss properly.
- fresh, pre-made pizza dough
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mushrooms
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small onion, sliced
Begin by caramelizing onions. Do this by heating olive oil over medium in a skillet. Use about one teaspoon olive oil per onion. Add chopped onions and coat, allowing them to saute about ten minutes. Add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt to help with the caramelization process if desired. Continue cooking 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Once the onions are caramelized, add tomatoes and mushrooms. Saute until softened, about five minutes. Set aside to cool while pizza dough is baking.
Meanwhile, roll out dough into square or circular shape. Mix ricotta, egg and Parmesan and spread over top of pizza. Bake 8 minutes at 500.
Remove from oven and top with onion and tomato mixture. Return to oven and continue to bake at 500 for another 15 minutes.
This Sunday I drove to my hometown in Georgia to attend a baby shower for one of my best friends! Her sister prepared the food, and everything was delicious and perfectly bite sized!
These were my favorite thing, so I asked her for the recipe so I could be sure to have it in my file for all the baby showers I will be helping throw in the future.
The key to this recipe is making sure that the super thin slices of lemon have the rind on them. It adds the right amount of sour with the sweetness of the cheese and the beets. I think I ended up eating six of them (I know that would not even be a whole sandwich if put together, but it seemed a little excessive when finger food is involved!)
Special thanks to Irene for sharing this recipe with me!
- package of thinly sliced bread
- one container mascarpone cheese
- 1 bag spinach
- 1 beet, minced
- 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices with rind
Saute spinach and beet in olive oil. Set aside.
Spread mascarpone cheese onto bread and cut bread into triangular slices. Top with spinach and beet mixture. Top with lemon slice.
Up close look at the Spinach and Mascarpone Bites! Note the lovely champagne grapes in the background!
Beautiful set-up with cucumber dill sandwiches, petit fours, fresh fruit and chips!
When my friends were visiting the other day, we went to brunch at Fly’s Tie Irish Pub. Generally, I would not have trusted this place for food of any kind, but they recently redid their kitchen and I’d heard lots of good reviews. It did not disappoint. I got shrimp and grits (mmmm,) but I had a bit of food envy for the lump crab cakes my friends ordered. They were unbelievable! My boyfriend doesn’t really like crab, but when I was thinking of some food to make this week, I was seriously craving more bites of crab cakes. That’s when I was reminded of this delicious recipe I first made a few years ago.
I’ve made this recipe a couple of different ways, and it’s always good. When I first made it, I shredded both squash and zucchini into the cakes, but today only the zucchini was on sale. I’ve also added Parmesan in the past, but it’s just as good without it.
This particular recipe comes from Carzy Cook, and I like that it uses less butter than my past zucchini cakes. And by less butter, I mean I used a whole stick in the past versus 2 Tbs. in this recipe.
I love that the cakes come across like they have meat in them, even though they are strictly vegetarian.
- 3 cups shredded zucchini (basically 3 zucchinis)
- 1/4 cup onions
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Tbs. butter, melted
- 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
Mix together zucchini, butter and egg. (Remember that you can add shredded yellow squash at this point two if it’s available!) Add breadcrumbs, Old Bay, flour and onions. Stir. Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Shape zucchini mixture into patties and fry on both sides until browned. Serve with tomato pasta sauce for dipping.
This is the last of the food I prepared this past weekend! I wanted to make some seafood for my friends because it’s so fresh here at the beach. As I’ve said in a previous post, my friends are into being healthy (like sometimes exercising on vacation healthy) so I wanted to be sure to accommodate that while preparing something rich and delicious.
Shrimp pasta is probably my all-time favorite food. That being said, it’s not exactly the healthiest. I love this recipe because it keeps the creamy flavor I love, while being low on calories. The key is the vegetable broth used as the base of the sauce. That way the sauce coats the pasta while maintaining a creamy texture. This recipe also has a smaller portion of the cream-based products, contributing to the healthy factor. The best part is that the flavor isn’t sacrificed at all!
The recipe comes from The Realistic Nutritionist, and features recipes complete with calorie counts. This is under 500 calories (even if you eat more than the serving size!)
- 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 lb. pasta
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 5 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup light cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup Parmesan
- 2 Tbs. butter, divided
Boil pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 1 Tbs. butter over medium high heat. Saute onions two minutes until soft. Add garlic and continue to saute three minutes. Lower heat to medium and add vegetable broth, cream cheese, light cream, and white wine. Cook about six minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in Parmesan and let simmer a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat shrimp in 1 Tbs. butter. Cook until done. Remove from heat and add to cream sauce. Saute spinach about three minutes in the same pan until wilted. Add spinach to sauce.
Stir together sauce, pasta and serve!
This weekend I went camping at Hanna Park, a local campground on the beach near my house. Despite the 100 degree weather, it was a fun time! It included all my favorite things- going to the beach, riding bikes and making good food! Plus, my pup Lumen loved every minute of exploring the wild!
I didn’t go all out with the food this weekend, but I did make a Pesto Pasta Salad that got better and better as the days went by. I even had it for lunch today, and it was still yummy at three days old! The more days the pesto marinates on the pasta, the better tasting it is. It was great the first night with hot dogs, and the second night with chicken skewers as well! (You can see I took a vacation from cooking this weekend and let Publix and Oscar Myer do the work…) The original recipe can be found here.
In addition to the pesto pasta, we had to make smores. I’d never actually eaten smores, so it was a treat for me. (I know… how did that happen?) Mine were far from perfect, but tasted amazing. I guess it’s hard to go wrong with the perfect combination of graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate…
Pesto Pasta Salad gets better with time!
- 1 cup prepared pesto (I doubled this recipe and froze the second cup to use another day!)
- 1 1/2 lbs. shell pasta
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1 bag (16 oz) frozen peas
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare pasta according to package directions.
In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients except the Parmesan and peas. Once pasta has cooled, stir in the pesto mixture. Then add the Parmesan and peas. Stir again. This will keep for days, and tastes best on the second day!
Setting up camp with Lumen!
It’s not pretty, but it is delicious. Gimme smore!