I am a HUGE fan of pasta salad… I could eat it all day.

Mediterranean Tortellini Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

*Pasta*
  • 1 lb tortellini
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 c. olives, sliced
  • 1/2 a can of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

**optional: handful sliced mushrooms, handful chopped pepperoni, chopped spinach

*Dressing*
  • 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the tortellini according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, place the onions in a bowl of cold water to get rid of some of the bite. Drain after 5 minutes.
  3. When the tortellini is done cooking, toss together the onion slices, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, other fillers, and tortellini.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, oregano, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the tortellini salad and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted from: Joanne eats well with others

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Weekly Menu #2

DAYS MEALS SOURCE
Monday Grilled Tilapia Bowls with Chipotle Avocado Crema Joyful Healthy Eats
Tuesday Lithuanian Cabbage Soup just another jane of all trades
Wednesday Pizza and Salad  our best bites
Thursday Chicken Sausage Penne a La Vodka and Salad mich’s menu menagerie
Friday Hamburgers and Sweet Potato Fries and Grilled Vegetable Mix  gimme some oven
Saturday Chipotle Burrito Bowl mich’s menu menagerie
Sunday Macaroni and Cheese and Broccoli mich’s menu menagerie

I LOVE Chipotle. Anyone else with me on this?

Everytime we go to Chipotle I get a burrito bowl. I’m not one of those girls who always gets a salad. I usually order a hamburger or steak or something else delicious and filling. Unexpected for someone so tiny? Maybe. But I am content with my large appetite and lack of desire to appear dainty while eating. Now I would normally get a giant burrito or chimi or something when going to a restaurant like this… But while I was on my “fertility diet” I had to go off of a lot A LOT of foods. White flour and lots of oil included. Incidentally I discovered the burrito bowl. I have no desire to try anything else now. So when my mother sent along this little recipe I obviously couldn’t wait to try it. I may decide to tweak a few things later to suit my tastes… But this is definitely going to end up on my list of favorite recipes. YUM.

p.s. Once again this is a hand-me-down recipe and I’m not entirely sure of the source. However I’m sure there are several different versions to be found across the internet.

Chipotle Style Burrito Bowls

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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*Cilantro Rice*

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry rice (this recipe calculated w/ white)
  • 1/2 diced jalapeno
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch chopped green onion (about a 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Add 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of rice, and salt to a sauce pan. Bring water to a boil. Throw in jalapeno cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Puree the cilantro, green onion and garlic together. When rice is  done, stir mixture into rice.

*Garlic Black Beans*

Ingredients

  • 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Add beans, crushed garlic, salt, bay leaves, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

*Guacamole*

Ingredients

  • 1 box grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 T lime juice

Directions

  1. Quarter grape tomatoes. Dice the avocado. Stir together with salt and lime juice.

*Chipotle Chicken Marinade*

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dried chipotle powder or 2 teaspoons dried ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4  boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)

Directions

  1. Add all marinade ingredients together, except chicken, to a food processor and puree until smooth.
  2. Rub the marinade into the chicken and marinate at least one hour, up to 4 hours.
  3. Season the chicken with salt to taste. Grill the chicken for about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Slice into strips.

*Assembly*

In a bowl put 1/4 cup prepared rice, 1/3 cup beans (use a slotted spoon to drain liquid), 3 oz meat of choice (this chicken or something else if you prefer OR no meat!), 4 T your favorite prepared salsas, pico de gallo, and/or hot sauce, and 1/4 of avocado mix. Toss together and enjoy!

Chicken Sausage, What’s That?

I have never used chicken sausage before when cooking. But since trying this recipe I have decided that it is TOTALLY awesome. Yes. It is. This is a very tasty pasta. Obviously you can use vodka instead of the apple juice/gingerale, but since we don’t drink alcohol, we don’t keep it in the house… which means we have to be creative when cooking. I think we’ve decided that our favorite non-alcoholic substitute is gingerale. It is slightly sweet but not overly so. I obviously have no idea what this dish is SUPPOSED to taste like, but if you choose to make the non-alcoholic version, gingerale is an excellent choice. Either way, this is yummy. Will be making again.

**Hand-me-down recipe, unsure of original source**

Chicken Sausage Penne al a Vodka

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  •  1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  1 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  •  1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
  •  1 jalapeno, chopped
  •  3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  •  1/2 cup roughly chopped green pepper
  •  1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil
  •  1/3 cup gingerale (or apple juice)
  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  1 pound ziti or rigatoni (can use gluten free to make this a gluten free meal!)
  •  1 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  •  3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. In a large saute pan over medium heat melt butter with oil. Add chicken sausage and brown, 3 to 4 minutes, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add onions, jalapenos and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add green pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 3 minutes more.
  4. Salt the pasta water and add the ziti or rigatoni. Cook until al dente.
  5. Meanwhile, add tomatoes to the sauce and bring to a simmer, for about 10 minutes. Add juice and cream and cook a few minutes more. Toss in cheese and chopped parsley.
  6. To serve, drain the pasta well and add to the sauce. Mix until pasta is nicely coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I make it a general rule to avoid Kale…

I do not like kale. I have given it a try several times and it. is. disgusting. It is bitter and very overpowering. When I was trying to be all healthy back in the day I decided to try putting baby kale in my daily green morning shake. Most disgusting shake EVER. Okay… I very possibly, maybe have made worse shakes than this one… But it was seriously nasty. Needless to say I tossed most of it out. Surprisingly I did try more than one sip in the hopes that the more you eat, the better it tastes kinda thing might happen… Nope. Most certainly did NOT. I genuinely tried to enjoy this giant bag of baby kale we bought at Costco… I failed. I found absolutely nothing that could make this taste better… And then, and THEN I had this soup. There is no way KALE is in this soup right?? It is. And it’s tasty. In fact, you can’t taste it at all. Surprisingly that makes it an acceptable addition to your meal. So when my mom was here helping right after the baby was born I didn’t COMPLETELY freak out when I found her chopping up kale for dinner. She was making a salad with the stuff. A salad? With that as the ONLY green thing? NOT OKAY. But I trusted her. Because I had indeed now had kale in ONE form that was acceptable, maybe it was possible there was another out there somewhere… This is it! This is at least one other delicious way to eat kale. Maybe it’s because the peanuts and sugar overpower the nauseating flavors found in kale… Who knows. All I know is this actually tastes good. So I fully intend to make it myself someday. Maybe even tonight.

**unsure of source**

Kale Salad with Peanut Sauce

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 head of Kale, chopped (spine discarded)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T water, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 c salted peanuts (2-3 T natural peanut butter)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • pinch of Cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare vegetables and place in a large bowl, set aside.
  2. In a blender mix together oil, vinegar, water, peanuts (or peanut butter), sugar, salt, and Cayenne. Add more water to dressing if needed. Should be the consistency of a creamy dressing.
  3. Pour sauce over vegetables and coat thoroughly. Enjoy!

Like Olive Garden? Try this.

Early on in my pregnancy (which is now thankfully over) I could eat about 2 things. Potatoes and hamburgers. Yes. All vegetables tasted like dirt. Bitter, nasty dirt. Chicken tasted like week old chicken that’s been sitting in fridge, even when it was freshly cooked. All other foods caused some level of gag reflex… Whether or not throwing up was involved didn’t matter, I couldn’t eat it. Couldn’t even GET most things down and many others refused to stay if I somehow tricked myself into swallowing them. Honestly, the more deep fried something was the easier it was to eat. Especially potatoes of course. And hamburgers or steak went down fairly well. I was deeply concerned I would gain twice as much weight as I needed to while pregnant, and I certainly gained more than the suggested amount, but thankfully not at disconcerting levels.

The point of all this is that when I was about 8 weeks along, feeling horrendous, unable to eat pretty much anything, I tried this soup. And OH MY GOSH was it delicious. So wonderful in fact, I ate several bowls full. My aunt made this without knowing my condition and was pleased by how much I LOVED her soup. Needless to say I begged her for the recipe. I would now be able to eat a slightly different dish that had at least a small amount of vegetables within. ALRIGHT. I was beyond excited. This stuff is delish. I haven’t tried the original Olive Garden version yet, but why spend 10-20 bucks on something I can just whip up in my own kitchen whenever I want?

p.s. I’m sure there are many versions of this recipe floating around the Internet… And I’m not entirely sure where my aunt found this particular one, but it is definitely a keeper!

Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 3 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half and then in ¼ inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 8 c water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 c kale or swiss chard chopped
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. In a pot brown sausage. Remove from pot and set aside. Add bacon to pan and cook until crisp. Remove from pot and set aside. Once bacon is cooled crumble it up into nice little pieces.
  2. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water and garlic in same pot and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  3. Add sausage and bacon to soup. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat.
  5. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

This will instill a love of pumpkin in those who have none…

I recently decided that I wanted to start a new tradition in our little family. Something pumpkin every week in the fall… Or at least in October. We started this tradition a few weeks ago and so far I have thoroughly enjoyed it! We have made pumpkin pancakes (Russell made this recipe and just added some pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices), pumpkin cheesecake (this recipe was good but we used to have a recipe that was phenomenal… Unfortunately I have since misplaced it…), pumpkin pie smoothies, and now pumpkin cookies. The BEST pumpkin cookies I have EVER had. These cookies are absolutely divine… I could totally eat the entire batch, by myself, in a matter of minutes and feel a minimal amount of guilt… Infinitely less than I should considering how unhealthy they really are…

Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies

  • Servings: 20-25 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (or light)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree**
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups total add-ins* (chocolate chips, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, pecans, white chocolate, or a combination)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together. Fold in the oats. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium size bowl.  Whisk in the molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Once combined, whisk in the egg.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla and whisk until thick and combined completely. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix. The dough will be very thick, heavy, and sticky. Keep mixing until just combined, no more. Fold in your add-ins.
  4. Scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets. About 2 or 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie. Slightly flatten the help the cookies spread in the oven. Do not flatten completely. See my photo above for a visual. If desired, press a few of your add-ins onto the top of the cookie dough balls for looks.
  5. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges, and still appearing soft in the centers.  My cookies took 14 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets. The cookies’ flavor is best on day 2. Cookies remain fresh and soft stored in an airtight container for 10 days. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months.

*Instead of the pumpkin pie spice, you may use 1/4 teaspoon each: ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground allspice.

**IMPORTANT: This recipe is tested with Libby’s pumpkin puree, which is much less “watery” than other brands (such as Trader Joe’s). More water in your pumpkin = cakey cookies. If you think your pumpkin puree is too moist, add a paper bowl to a bowl. Top with 3/4 cup pumpkin puree. Top with another paper towel and “blot” the pumpkin to remove some moisture.

*Make sure you use 1.5 cups total add-ins. For example, 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of pecans, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. 

source: Sally’s Baking Addiction