Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Easy Apple Crisp & Grandparents Day Celebration

September 7th was Grandparents Day. Honestly, I didn't know there was such thing until I had a child. Now, it's a day I make sure I am well prepared for. Avery has 6 very special grandparents in her life. I love that there is a day set aside to celebrate them. 

Since two sets of Avery's grandparents live in different states, I used Treat to make them a sweet card. I love how I can add pictures to the cards using Treat and also schedule the delivery so it arrived right before Grandparents Day. 

On Grandparent's Day we had a nice dinner with my parents and grandmother. Avery was very excited to hand her nana and papa their card, also thanks to Treat.




Hubs and I decided to cook a nice dinner for the family so my parents could have a night off. We grilled steaks with shrimp, devoured skillet red potatoes along with steamed broccoli. 

I was in charge of the dessert. A task I usually volunteer for and thoroughly enjoy. I decided to try my hand at apple crisp for the first time. I had all things fall on my mind and this seemed like the perfect sweet treat to kick off September and the start of fall (in my book.) 

I have to say, I can't believe I have never made this dessert before. It was so simple to prepare and was finished cooking right when we were through with dinner. It served the 5 of us perfectly with one serving left over. As tempting as it was so say "the baby wanted more" I held strong and resisted. Everyone gave the dessert their approval and requested it again. It was a wonderful Grandparents Day dinner! 


Easy Apple Crisp
Courtesy of Betty Crocker 


Ingredients: 

4
medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)
3/4
cup packed brown sugar
1/2
cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/2
cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3
cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4
teaspoon ground nutmeg
Serve with vanilla ice cream

Directions: 

  • 1Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.
  • 2Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except ice cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
  • 3Bake about 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with ice cream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

I have to admit I haven't been the best with meal planning lately. We're living with my parents while our house is being finished and I'm also 9 months pregnant. After chasing around my two year old all day, I don't really have the energy or desire to spend a lot of time on dinner. 

The other night my mom had taken chicken out for dinner. Everyone was on their way home from work and I wanted to have dinner ready when they got home. It was a rare day of extra energy and I took full advantage of it! Anyhow, I immediately turned to my Pinterest Recipe board and started searching for something quick that I could make with ingredients we already had. Did I mention grocery trips with a two year old who doesn't like to stay in the cart no matter how many cookies you bribe her with are no fun? 

My search ended with this recipe. I had all of the ingredients and not a lot of time to get dinner on the table. This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. The recipe took less than 10 minutes to prep and about 35 total to bake. The entire family was impressed with this chicken. My mom kept asking how I made it. We served it with baked red potatoes and broccoli. Enjoy! 


Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken
Adapted from All Recipes 

Ingredients: 

4 skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup bacon bits (more if desired)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
lemon pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, and drizzle evenly with honey and mustard. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
3.
Bake chicken 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Top each breast with bacon bits and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, bacon is crisp, and cheese is bubbly.

*The original recipe said to use chicken breast halves. I used regular breasts and they turned out great. They were cooked through in the amount of time listed above and were unbelievably juicy*

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{Crock Pot} Honey Parmesan Pork Loin

It's that time of the year. Not only is it football season and almost the start of fall, but it's crock pot season. Although I do use my crock pot all year long, I use it multiple times a week in the fall and winter months. 

Pork loins are one of my favorites to cook in the crock pot. I've had great success with most of the pork recipe's we've tried in the crock pot, they are always so tender, juicy and fabulous leftover. I made this recipe while at my parents this past week. They always have fresh grated parmesan cheese in their fridge and I was determined to use it in one of the meals I planned. I used a few different recipes for this dish and was happy with how it turned out. My favorite part of this recipe was the combination of honey with the parmesan cheese, it was full of flavor but not overpowering. The family (including my two year old!) gave this recipe an A+ and asked for it to be added to the rotation.   That I can make happen! 


Ingredients: 
1 boneless pork loin (mine was just over 1lb)
2/3 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup honey
1Tbs coconut oil (olive oil could be used as well) 
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs italian seasoning 
1 Tbs minced garlic 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Directions: 
1. Spray the crock pot with non stick cooking spray. We used Pam coconut oil spray. 
2. Add the pork to the crock pot and season it with the salt and pepper. 
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients (honey, cheese, oil, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce & garlic) together in a separate bowl. 
4. Once mixed together, pour it over the pork. 
5. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low. Make sure the temperature is 160 before you take it out. 
6. Pour some of the extra juices over it to serve. 

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{One Pot} Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet

I made this last night for the third time. It's a big hit with my family, a quick and easy weeknight meal. Perfect for back to school dinner planning. The entire meal takes 20 minutes, start to finish. Plus there are only five ingredients. It doesn't get much easier than that! The one thing I will probably do next time is lighten it a bit. I will use italian turkey sausage and whole wheat tortellini. I cut the cheeses in half, just sprinkling it lightly over the dish. 


Italian Sausage and Tortellini Skillet
Courtesy of  Yellow Bliss Road (with slight changes)

Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Italian Sausage
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 240-24 oz package of fresh cheese Tortellini
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce (1-24 oz jar)
  •  
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet. Crumble in sausage and cook through, until no longer pink.
  2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tortellini.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until tortellini is tender. 
  4. Remove from heat. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over tortellini.
  5. Place the lid back on and let the cheese melt for about 5 minutes. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

{eMeals} Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken & Tarragon Potato Salad


When I first signed up for eMeals clean eating recipes, I didn't think I would actually find any I would want to make. I thought that a lot of my favorites would go out the window and I'd be stuck making things that may be "clean" but not tasty. I was completely wrong and this recipe is one that proves it. Last weekend I wanted a summer meal for our Saturday dinner. Cold potato salad and crispy chicken sounded like the perfect summer meal. One that would be perfect for a BBQ or even a picnic. 

The chicken was so quick and easy to make. Besides boiling the potatoes, so was the potato salad. I honestly can't remember the last time I made potato salad. I forgot how easy it was and how much better it is then what you buy at the store. I added some small pieces of turkey bacon that was leftover from breakfast that morning, which hubs enjoyed.  Definitely a meal we'll make again and a potato salad I'll bring to our next BBQ.  Enjoy!


Crispy Oven- Baked Chicken 
Ingredients: 
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (8-oz) container reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons reduced-fat 2% milk (we used almond milk)
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F; sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Whisk together sour cream, milk, green onions and paprika in a shallow dish; place panko in a separate shallow dish. Dredge chicken in sour cream mixture then in panko, pressing gently to adhere. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook chicken, in batches, 2 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer chicken to a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until done. 


Tarragon Potato Salad 

Ingredients:
3 lb new potatoes
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1⁄4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Directions: 
Bring potatoes and salted water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; let cool, and cut into quarters. Whisk together vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper; gradually whisk in oil. Pour dressing over potatoes; add tarragon, and toss until well coated. 



** eMeals is a subscription service that sends weekly meal plans to your inbox based on information you provide. We've been very happy with the recipes so far! 

Sign up in just 4 simple steps:
1. Pick your meal plan (I have the clean eating plan)
2. Recipes for the WEEK along with sides will be emailed to you.  
3. They even give you a grocery list to take shopping.  

4. Enjoy an easy dinner that your husband will think took hours to make! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

{eMeals Recipe} Basil- Avocado BLT

There are many nights where I don't feel like cooking. Mostly on the weekends. Lately, we've been trying to watch our eating out spending, which means a lot more weekend meals at home. A few weeks ago, we decided to plan all of our weekend meals and not eat out once. Including Friday night. This was big for us. When I planned our weekend menu, I looked for recipes where I could reuse the ingredients. Since our Saturday morning meal was homemade breakfast sandwiches using bacon, I choose this dinner recipe for Sunday night. 

I'm not a huge fan of the original BLT. I need more in my sandwich. But, this. This is a sandwich I am a fan of. Plus it's a clean eating recipe! Cooking the bacon was the only thing that took time. The rest was simple to throw together. I think what did it for me was the basil-avocado combination with the bacon. So much flavor in every bite.  Serve with sweet potato fries and you're all set! We've made this meal twice since, it's one of our favorite at home lunches.


Ingredients:
12 slices natural, uncured bacon
12 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
6 tablespoons reduced-fat olive oil mayonnaise
2 ripe avocados, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
11⁄2 cups baby arugula
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves 

Directions: 
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp; drain on paper towels. Spread toasted bread slices with mayonnaise; top 6 slices with bacon, avocado, tomato, arugula and basil leaves; top with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise-side down. 



** eMeals is a subscription service that sends weekly meal plans to your inbox based on information you provide. We've been very happy with the recipes so far! 

Sign up in just 4 simple steps:
1. Pick your meal plan (I have the clean eating plan)
2. Recipes for the WEEK along with sides will be emailed to you.  
3. They even give you a grocery list to take shopping.  
4. Enjoy an easy dinner that your husband will think took hours to make! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Toddler Approved} Strawberry Pineapple Popsicles

One of the items on our Summer Bucket List was to make popsicles. 
The weather here in TX was well into the high 90's in May. 
The mini and myself were craving something cool to enjoy in the afternoon heat. 
For me, there's nothing better than homemade popsicles. 
Especially out on the deck while watching the mini splash around in her water table. 



Ingredients: 
10-12 large fresh strawberries (cleaned and cut)
1 cup of fresh pineapple 
1/4 cup of OJ

Directions: 

Put the strawberries, pineapple and OJ into a blender. I used my nutribullet. 

I blended it until it was completely smooth. Once that was done, I poured it into popsicle molds I found at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Freeze for at least 5 hours or overnight. Enjoy! 




Thursday, July 17, 2014

{Clean Eating} Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Today, I'm sharing one of our favorite new dinners. This meal takes about 25 minutes to make. It's one of the meals I will throw together when I am running late getting dinner started or am looking for a quick and healthy meal. It also makes a perfect lunch. Hubs adds chicken to his, I personally think this is filling just the way it is. Enjoy! 


Ingredients: 
1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa 
1 can of black beans
1 can of diced tomatoes (or a cup of fresh quartered)
1 can of corn or a cup of frozen
1 avocado, diced 
1 lime 

Directions: 
Cook quinoa according to the package directions
Once it's finished add it to a large skillet (turned to low heat)
Drain the black beans and corn 
Add them to the skillet, along with the tomatoes (undrained)
Mix ingredients and leave on the stove until everything is heated through. 
Once it's heated, add the juice of a freshly squeezed lime and the diced avocado
You can also add cilantro if your would like 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Avodado Tomato and Feta Dip

Guacamole is a weekly staple in our house. Hubs, the little one and myself all love it. Since hubs lived in New Mexico growing up, he has special ingredients that he uses to make his guac. I've tried to replicate his recipe many times, but I don't come close. It's famous among our friends and always a favorite at a party.

Since I did the menu planning and most all of the cooking for the 4th of July, I wanted to surprise him with a new guac recipe. Not to replace his, but something different. I found this recipe on Pinterest. As someone who loves feta cheese, I knew I would love it. I was a tad worried about what everyone else would think. 

Results: A welcomed change to the normal guac appetizer. Unbelievably fresh and full of flavor. Perfect for summer BBQ's! 




Avocado, Tomato and Feta Dip
Adapted from A Sunshiny Day

Ingredients

  • 2 hass avocados diced and slightly mashed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 3/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Directions

1.Combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
2.Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bacon and Pea Pasta Salad

I made this pasta salad for our 4th of July BBQ. My MIL doesn't like mayonnaise so I searched for a recipe that didn't include it.  Out of the few I found, I knew this one would be the people pleaser. 

Overall, the recipe was easy. The only thing that takes time is the bacon and cooking the pasta. Once those two ingredients are ready, the rest is easy to throw together. I personally prefer a pasta salad with a heavier dressing, but this is a great alternative and much lighter. My 2 year old ate this up.  She wasn't a huge fan of the corn but ate everything else. I definitely recommend making this a few hours before serving and refrigerated to let the flavors come together. You can also serve this salad warm.  Enjoy! 

Easy Bacon and Pea Pasta Salad 
Courtesy of Simply Stacie 

  • 1½ cups bow tie pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1⁄2 lb bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot on the stove. Add corn and peas and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Cook pasta and drain into the same colander as the corn and peas. Set aside.
Zest and squeeze juice from lemon into a large bowl. Add in garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Add pasta, corn and peas to the bowl. Then add in butter and bacon and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cinnamon Bun Baked Donuts

It had been a few months since we made baked donuts for breakfast. Hubs has been on a pancake kick lately, which is fine by me. For Father's Day I decided to take back the kitchen and make these donuts, along with eggs and bacon. Usually when I make donuts, I use a cake mix with a few added ingredients. While these took longer to make, they were much better than any of the cake mix baked donut recipes we've tried. They weren't as dense as cake mix donuts, much easier to handle and eat.  I also loved that it only made 6 donuts. I have a tendency to make an entire batch with the cake mix recipes and the extras end up sitting in the freezer until they're thrown out. 

Hubs and the little one both ate their fair share. It's safe to say this recipe will be around for a while! 


Cinnamon Bun Baked Donuts
Adapted from Averie Cooks 


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons almond milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tub of cream cheese icing plus an additional few dashes of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 and lightly grease donut pan. I use coconut oil spray. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Add milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix to combine. 
  4. Using a quart or gallon size plastic bag with a corner cut off, pipe the batter into a 6-donut pan.  After attempting many other ways of doing this, this is the easiest I've found. You could also use a pastry bag if you prefer, I like the clean up with the plastic bags better. 
  5. Bake 8 to 11 minutes, or until doughnuts spring back when touched, indicating they're set.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before you remove them to a cooling rack. 
  6. Make the glaze by melting the cream cheese icing for 10-20 seconds in a microwave safe dish.  Mix it to get a smooth consistency. I added a dash of cinnamon to the mixture before dipping. I also use a low bowl, which makes it easier for dipping the donuts. 
  7. Dip the donuts into the glaze once they've cooled. Immediately top with sprinkles if desired. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

{Toddler Recipe} Triple Hitter Muffins


A few months back, I hosted a coffee playdate for my moms group. Whenever I host playdates, I like to put out some snacks for the moms and kiddos. I love to bake and trying new recipes. I'm always looking to make things my toddler will eat, which is what brought me to this recipe. 

When Avery was younger, she would eat anything and everything. Around 19 months old that all changed. My child turned into a very picky eater, which I hear is typical around this age. Anyhow, it's difficult. Difficult to find things she will eat that are also good for her. I chose this recipe because there are veggies hidden in it. I made them the day before the playdate so I didn't have to run around like a mad woman the morning of.  There is a tad more prep time in this recipe than your typical muffin but it's worth it. Not only did our toddlers eat the muffins, the moms loved them too. Many asked for the recipe. I've made these again a few times since the playdate and love that there is more than enough to share with a friend and freeze for long lasting easy access. 

If you have a picky eater like I do, definitely try these muffins. They won't disappoint. 



Triple Hitter Muffins (Toddler Muffins) 
Courtesy of The Loftlands

Ingredients: 
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup all purpose whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat over to 400*
In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar. Beat in egg, then applesauce. Stir in carrots and zucchini. 
In another large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Fold dry ingredients into wet, until just mixed. Grease muffin tray and fill cups to the very top. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

{Healthy} Oatmeal Cookies

Every afternoon while Avery naps, I like to enjoy a sweet snack. Usually while enjoying the remainder of my morning coffee that ended up in the fridge because I didn't have time to finish it. I had been itching to bake and wanted to make something sweet and healthy. These cookies didn't disappoint. Not only did my house smell absolutely amazing, the cookies were sweet and delicious. They were a tad hard on the outside and soft on the inside. These are also hubby and toddler approved! 


Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Food Fanatic

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips 
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set this bowl aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs until well combined.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Stir in the oats and if using, the raisins or chocolate chips.
  6. I used a medium cookie scoop to form 1 1/2 inch balls and placed them 2" apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes or until the center of the cookies is set.
  8. Let the cookies cool for 3 minutes on the tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chicken Apple Sausage Skillet II



This recipe is very similar to one of our recent favorite summer dishes I posted about last week. All I did was change up the veggies I used. Another meal done in less than a half hour, using two pans and a cutting board. It gives us a good amount of leftovers and the toddler devours it. Can't think of a better, healthier summer recipe. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 
1 package of chicken apple sausage, sliced
1 red pepper cut into 1 inch pieces 
1 green pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
2 small sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces 
2 TBS coconut oil 
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 
All you have to do for this recipe is sautee all of the ingredients. I used a medium skillet for sautéing and then a larger skillet (more of a wok style) to combine all the ingredients   I did the sweet potatoes with a little coconut oil first because they take the longest. When they're finished I put them in the large skillet on low. Next, add a little more coconut oil  in the medium skillet and did the peppers. Once they're cooked through, I add them to the wok. Last is the sausage, it doesn't take long.  Once everything is cooked, I combine it all in the wok and season it. 

You can eat it as is or serve over brown rice or quinoa. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Quinoa Shrimp Bowl

I've bene doing a lot of cooking with quinoa lately. Mostly because I've been trying to eat more clean and also because everyone in my family enjoys it, especially the toddler. I usually make a bag each week and add it to as many meals as I can. 

This meal was thrown together on a whim. I had cooked shrimp already in the fridge, along with quinoa and black beans. I added some tomatoes and avocado to make it a new favorite healthy lunch. It's just what I needed for these HOT summer days. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
- 2 dozen cooked shrimp (medium size)
- 1 cup quinoa cooked according to package instructions
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 lime
- a little EVOO
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 
I decided to serve this meal cold. You could easily eat it warm as well. Since my shrimp, beans and quinoa were already cooked, I just added them to a large bowl. From there I added tomatoes and diced avocado. I squeezed lime juice over the top and added a touch of olive oil. I mixed all of the ingredients and added a little salt and pepper before serving.  

To serve warm, you could sauté or grill the shrimp. Cook the quinoa according to the package, warm the black beans and add the tomatoes and avocado. 

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