Italian Antipasto Salad

antipasto1

I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit ūüėČ The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

antipasto2

Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

antipasto

Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions –

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Tequila Lime Chicken Club Sandwich with Jalapeno Mayo

tequilalime1

If you haven’t tried this marinade yet, you should! I love a good grilled chicken sandwich, but what drew me to this recipe was the addition of bacon and jalapeno mayo – how bad can that be?

tequilalime

Verdict: Amazing! I will definitely make this again and especially the jalapeno mayo. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

I used this marinade again, made this mayonnaise (I didn’t have a drop in my house – luckily, it’s so easy to make!), these buns; and this guacamole.

Roasted Jalapeno Mayonnaise – adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice and zest

mayo

Directions –

  1. Place the peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.
  2. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blackened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Place the peppers in a zip-lock bag or other sealable container, seal and let them cool until you can handle them, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the skins from the peppers. The skins should easily “pinch” off.
  5. Puree everything.

Key Lime Pie

keylimepie1
He is seriously spoiled…I don’t even like key lime pie, but he has been asking for it recently; and lucky for him I stumbled upon two pound bags of these cuties at my fave store.
wpid-13-1-5.jpg
Peruvian lime meets baby key lime ūüėČ
wpid-13-1-6.jpg

Just when I thought they couldn’t possibly be any cuter, I cut them in half to juice them – I was wrong!
wpid-13-1-7.jpg

But those fuzzy feelings quickly disappeared when I proceeded to squeeze 1 3/4 pounds of these to produce the required 3/4 cup…owee. Other than squeezing all those limes, this is a super easy pie to make.

Verdict: This pie is smooth, creamy and the most tart dessert I have ever had. I loved decorating the pie the whipped cream rosettes, key lime slices and zest. I don’t usually break out the piping bag, but any proper key lime pie seems to have them so I went with it.

keylimepie2

Key Lime Pie – adapted from I Wash You Dry

  • 9″ graham cracker pie crust
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lime peel
  • 1 ( 14¬†oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Whipped Cream (optional)

Graham Cracker Crust – adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 6 1/2 ounces graham crackers (12 crackers), finely ground (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions –

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined
  2. Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake until crust is fragrant and edges are golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Pie

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Brush the graham cracker pie crust with the lightly beaten egg white, then bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks, key lime juice, lime peel, sweetened condensed milk, and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared crust.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool to room temp.
  6. Chill in fridge for at least three hours, then serve with whipped cream if desired.

Re-Post: Italian Mac and Cheese

pasta

I haven’t made this in nearly three years, but it tasted better than I remembered it. The leftovers didn’t last long in our house and ¬†we happily ate them for lunch two days in a row – yeah, it’s that good! ūüôā Thanks for reading, enjoy!

pasta1

Italian Mac and Cheese Ingredients ‚Äď adapted from The Food Network

  • 1 pound¬†penne,¬†ziti¬†or rigatoni pasta
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 12 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 ‚Äď 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese blend ( I used Fontina, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Asiago)
  • 1 ‚Äď 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, optional *I used chili flake*
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions –

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.  In a large skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on a paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, mushrooms and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute about 5 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and mushrooms become lightly browned.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add flour to skillet and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in milk. Bring to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of Italian cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.  Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta and transfer to a large baking dish.  Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread

bread1

I love making bread – actually, I love that I know how to, and that it’s been three years since I tried it out for the first time. I remember feeling so intimidated by yeast (silly now that I think about it), but I’m so glad I got over that ūüôā When I see my daughter smiling as she’s smelling fresh from the oven bread, I know it’s something that she will always love and remember about me. I can’t wait to pass on what I have learned to her, so she can pass her knowledge onto someone else.

I had a homemade batch of buttermilk that I needed to use up, plus we were almost out of sandwich bread. Thankfully Pinterest came to my rescue again! I doubled this recipe  and my sweetener of choice was raw honey. When I took it out of the oven, I smelled the honey and oats Рso perfect! It has a great slightly chewy bite and flavor is mild enough for sweet or savory toppings. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

bread

Buttermilk Oatmeal Bread – adapted from Buttered Side Up

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, maple syrup or honey, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (262 grams)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

1) Gently warm the buttermilk in a 4 cup or larger measuring cup. Add the oats, hot water, melted butter, sweetener and salt. Stir to combine and set aside until it cools slightly.
2) In a standing mixer bowl, combine the flours, (I always hold back at least 1/2 cup). Add the yeast, and buttermilk mixture and mix to combine.
3) Using the dough hook, knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7minutes. Add flour as necessary. Return to mixing bowl and let rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours, depending on how warm your house is.
4) Form risen dough into loaves, buns or whatever shape you wish. Place in greased pans (if making a loaf use a 9×5-inch pan) and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 more hour.
5) During the last 15 minutes of rising, preheat your oven to 350, bake loaves for 35 -40 minutes or until the internal temp is 190 degrees. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

icecream2

So smooth, creamy, decadent, flavorful and satisfying! I love the creaminess of custard-style ice cream over Philadelphia style hands down. The texture and mouth feel of custard based is so much more pleasant than the butter fattiness¬†of Philadelphia. I learned that a couple of years ago when I tried this recipe; and even though my favorite style requires more ingredients and wait time, I promise it’s worth every minute. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – adapted from The Food Network

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla sugar if you have it (next time I will use a less – it’s pretty sweet!)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Directions –

custard2

Place the half-and-half and the heavy cream into a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.

custard1

In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine.

custard

Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about a third of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

icecream3

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Serve as is for soft serve or freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

Portobello and Kale Pesto Pizza

veggiepizza1

I needed a vegetarian pizza that wasn’t plain cheese (boring!) for my friend who was coming over for dinner. Anytime we have company over I don’t like to make something that I haven’t made/tweaked/perfected; but I threw caution to the wind and made this amazing pizza.¬†I found this recipe, (surprise, surprise!) on Pinterest! I immediately sent a text to her to see if she was up for it – thankfully she was game for anything! I love when I get to cook for people who aren’t picky ūüėČ

veggiepizza2

Verdict: This was seriously good! My friend said it was the best thing she’s ever eaten – maybe that’s just because she’s pregnant and super sweet, but I’ll take it ūüėČ The kale pesto has rich flavor and a garlicky bite, and the saut√©ed mushrooms are savory, meaty and absolutely¬†perfect! It’s a new favorite for the both of us, and I’m sure we’ll enjoy this one again soon. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

veggiepizza

Portobello and Pesto Pizza – adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Pizza Dough –

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Topping –

  • 12 ounces portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup kale pesto
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • grated parmesan cheese

Directions-

Pizza Dough –

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all of your ingredients, and stir until a loose dough forms. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and set the speed to 2, continue kneading adding more flour if necessary. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky, but a little tacky is good. Knead for 5-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

After kneading is finished, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently shape it into a ball. Place the ball in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled in volume – about an hour. Divide the dough into two pieces; you only need one ball for this recipe.

Mushroom Topping –

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Add onions and cook 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms to the pan. Continue cooking until the veg is evenly browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook down for a few more minutes until the pan is mostly dry. Set aside.

To Assemble –

Place a pizza stone on a rack on the lowest part of your oven. Heat to 475 – 500 degrees.

Flatten your dough into a disk ¬†until it’s as thin as you like it (I like mine around 1/4 inch, and about 12 -14 inches in diameter). Spread the pesto over the dough leaving about 1/2″ border uncovered. Sprinkle with cheese, then top with the mushroom ¬†and onion mixture, and then top generously with more cheese. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.

 

kalepesto

Kale Pesto – adapted from Little Leopard Book

    • 4 cups kale (chopped)
    • 4 – 6 cloves garlic (crushed)
    • 1/4 cup cashews
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/4 cup parmesan

Directions –

Add the kale, garlic and cashews to a blender or food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, olive oil and water. Blend until all ingredients have been incorporated (30-60 seconds). Add the parmesan cheese and pulse for 5-10 seconds. Serve with pizza, pasta or your favorite dish.

Simple Brownies

brownie3

Woo! These are rich ūüôā They are thin but so fudgy and perfect with homemade vanilla ice cream, (*I’ll share the ice cream recipe soon*). Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Simple Brownies – adapted from Baked Bree

  • 10 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 2 TBSP cocoa powder (*break out the good stuff for this!*)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

brownie2

Directions –

1¬†Preheat oven to 325¬įF with rack positioned in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the brownies out of the pan when they are done.
image

2 Combine the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir the butter cocoa mixture from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

3 Using a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring quickly after each one. When the batter looks shiny, thick, and well mixed, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon. Spread the batter evenly in the lined pan.

4 Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out just slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the foil or parchment paper liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Super Simple Chili

chili

I was hesitant to try this one because there are so few ingredients, but all the reviews reassured me that this would be worth making. I decided that it wouldn’t be seasoned enough for my taste so I added a few extras to bump up the flavor. I used one pound each of ground beef and pork, sauteed onion and garlic with the meat, added a six-ounce can of tomato paste along with the tomato sauce. I also had a couple of cups of homemade chicken stock that I didn’t want to waste, so I used that instead of water to loosen the chili up. I didn’t modify the spices (although I should have – there still wasn’t much flavor in this). This is not a “soupy”¬†chili at all but it would be perfect for hot dogs, hamburgers or nachos. Overall, this was as I had predicted – too bland for my tastes! Although, it’s a good jumping off point for those who like to tweak recipes anyway. Thanks for stopping by!

**Click the link for the original recipe.

Super Simple Chili – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • homemade chicken stock for thinning, or water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shredded Cheddar, for serving
  • Chopped onions, for serving

Directions –


Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water or stock at a time as needed. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar and chopped onions.

Pina Colada Popsicles

popsicle

I haven’t made popsicles since last Summer, but I have been so inspired by the pretty pictures floating all over Pinterest. The kids were excited about these – because you know I never make sweet things! But these are the kind of treats I don’t feel guilty about giving them and they’re quite healthy. These are so easy to make and I’m sure I will try out a few more popsicle recipes before school starts up again ūüôā Thanks for reading, enjoy!

**If you’re interested in making these “boozy”,¬†you could swap half the water with light rum**

Pina Colada Popsicles –

    • 8 ounces frozen, diced pineapple and mango
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
    • 1/2 hot water
    • 1 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions-

Simply mix ingredients together, by hand or in a blender/food processor, and pour into individual popsicles molds.  Add a popsicle stick in the center of the mold and place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Remove popsicles from freezer and run exterior of popsicle molds under hot water for a few seconds and then gently pull on popsicle stick to release from mold.