July 28, 2011

Spinach Gnocchi


Gnocchi is a potato pasta, similar to a dumpling.  You can find gnocchi at the grocery, usually with the pasta.  It is a great way to add something new to the table!  I always look for the whole wheat gnocchi made with sweet potatoes.  It has little to no sugar and a good amount of protein.  There are lots of great ways to prepare gnocchi.  I love this recipe because I love creamy spinach too!  The following recipe feeds 4-6 and can easily be doubled.    


Spinach Gnocchi

1 pkg. potato gnocchi ( I used whole wheat with sweet potatoes)

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 T. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 (9-10 oz) bag fresh spinach

2 oz. goat cheese

1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Place gnocchi in lightly greased 8×10 or 9×13 inch baking dish.  (I like to cut some of the gnocchi in half to make some smaller pieces)  Pour bag of spinach over the gnochhi.   In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the half and half, chicken broth,  flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk until heated through and smooth.  Pour mixture over spinach.  Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle evenly over top.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.  Bake at 400 until cheese is golden and bubbly. 

Let cool for a few minutes then its ready to serve. 

Enjoy it!   

July 26, 2011

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage and Tomatoes

This is a good one!!!!  I will definitely be making this dish again and again.  It has so much flavor and pairs well with a bottle of red wine!  It is fairly quick to prepare and would be excellent for serving a crowd.  I served it with a simple green salad and bread.     


Orecchiette with Italian Sausage and Tomatoes

1 tsp. + 1 T. olive oil

2 tsp. garlic

1 lb. (1 package) Italian sausage

1 lb. orecchiette pasta

8-10 Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut into strips

1 T. rosemary

2 T. thyme

1 tsp. sugar

1/3 c. parmesan cheese

chopped, fresh parsley


Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a saute pan with a lid over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Remove the casing from each link of sausage and add sausage to pan.  Sausage should be crumbly.  Continue to break sausage apart as it cooks.  Cook until browned, about 7-10 minutes.  Drain sausage and place in a bowl to the side. 

Return pan to medium heat and add 1 T. olive oil and 1 tsp. garlic.  Saute for 1 minute then add cut roma tomatoes and sliced roasted red bell peppers.  Season with 1 T. rosemary, 2 T. thyme and 1 tsp. sugar.  Cover pan and let cook for 10 minutes.  Return the sausage to the pan and mix with the tomato mixure, breaking up some of the tomatoes.  Let sit at low heat while pasta cooks.    

Cook the orecchiette pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add the sausage and tomato mixture to the pasta and toss.  Add parmesan cheese and toss as cheese melts. 

Serve each plate topped with chopped, fresh parsley. 

I hope you love it!  We did!

July 21, 2011

Creole Rice

This side dish is so, so easy and really good.  It is a very easy way to add spice and flavor to a meal.  All you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into the rice cooker and you are done.  I served it with baked trout.  It was a perfect combination of flavors.  The rice added the kick I was looking for with the trout. 


Creole Rice

1 box Zatarains low-sodium jambalaya mix

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

2 links turkey sausage, diced

1 onion, chopped

4-5 green onions, chopped


In rice cooker, combine the box of Zatarains low-sodium mix, can of diced tomatoes with liquid, 1 cup water, chopped onion, and diced sausage.  Cook until rice is done.  Stir the chopped green onions into the rice mixture, cover, and let sit.  Serve as a side dish with any meal where you want to add a bit of spice. 

I served the creole rice with baked trout.  I seasoned the trout on a pan with salt, pepper, cavenders, thyme, fresh lemon juice and olive oil.  Bake it at 350 for 20 minutes or until flakes when cut into. 

Serve the creole rice topped with the trout.  It’s good!

July 19, 2011

Greek Salsa


Salsa is a cool, refreshing, light, summer treat.  I decided to change up my regular version of fresh salsa into a Greek salsa.  It’s full of color and flavor.  Try it served with pita chips or even as a side dish to some chicken. 


Greek Salsa

1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes, about 2-3 tomatoes

1/3 cup kalamata black olives, seed removed and olive cut in half

1 cup purple onion, chopped

1/2 c. artichoke, cut into smaller pieces

1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled

1 (14.5 oz) can chickpeas, washed and drained

1 T. olive oil

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. garlic

1 1/2 T. oregano

2 T. fresh, chopped parsley


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently.  Serve the salsa with pita chips. 


July 14, 2011



I found this recipe in a recipe book I started making MANY years ago.  I would  collect recipes that I liked and that I knew worked.  I read through it recently and found some really good stuff!  This is a recipe that I remember my best friend’s mom making.  I tweaked it a little to make it slightly “healthier.”  But, it is still the same idea and they are delicious.  They are great for a party, a tailgate, or a snack at the lake (perfect for us a couple weeks ago!)  After the muffalettas are prepared, keep them wrapped in the foil until you are ready to serve.  That way, all you have to do is pop them in the oven to reheat. 



2 loaves of Hot and Crusty Bread (found in the freezer section-flavored is fine too-I used garlic bread)

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

2 tsp. garlic

3/4 cup diced salami (I buy a couple of thick slices from the deli)

3 Tablespoons mayo



Mix all of the ingredients together then spread onto the 2 loaves.  Wrap the loaves in foil then bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Let cool enough to touch then cut loaves into desired sizes.  I like to cut the loaves then keep them wrapped in the foil until ready to serve.  That makes it very easy to just pop a loaf back in the oven to reheat. 



July 12, 2011

Rosemary Chicken Breasts


We always love a new chicken recipe!  And we love to grill.  Chicken breasts are one of Brad’s favorites!  (That makes things easy.)  I always choose all-natural chicken with no added preservatives.  In this recipe, we marinated the chicken and then grilled it.  It was great!  While the chicken was finishing up on the grill, we threw on a few green onions.  The onions tasted great while also adding a litte extra color and  flavor.             


Rosemary Chicken Breasts

1/3 c. olive oil

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 T. honey

1/4 tsp. thyme

1 T. rosemary

2 T. lemon juice

1 T. dijon mustard


In large bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, thyme, rosemary, lemon juice and dijon mustard.  Add chicken breasts and coat with the marinade mixture.  Cover bowl, refrigerate, and let marinate at least 4-6 hours before cooking. 

When ready to cook, remove chicken from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature.  Heat grill to high heat.  Remove chicken from marinade and cook over direct heat on grill for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness.  Flip breasts and continue grilling for another 10-15 minutes.  Remove chicken when cooked thoroughly. 

I served the chicken breasts with grilled green onions.  Just throw the onions on the grill for about 5 minutes, flipping once.  The onions add color and a great touch of flavor when served alongside the chicken.



July 8, 2011

Turkey and Brie Sandwich



Oh my goodness!  This is a delicious combination! 

Turkey, brie, fig preserves and arugula-the perfect size on a 100% whole wheat english muffin.

It’s so pretty too.  It serves perfectly as a light lunch or even with an arugula salad for dinner. 




You can find the fig preserves at the grocery with the jellies.  When buying turkey, I always buy Boar’s head low-sodium turkey from the deli.  If your regular grocery does not carry Boar’s head, its worth finding one where you can pick some up.  Boar’s head meats and cheeses contain no artificial fillers, colors, gluten, or trans fat.  Once you try it, you will see the difference! 


Turkey and Brie Sandwich

(make as many as you want once you have the ingredients!)

100% whole wheat English muffins

Boar’s head low-sodium turkey, I prefer shaved

Fig preserves

Brie, cut away from the rind



Preheat oven to broil.  On baking sheet, lay English muffins open. Spread about 1 T. of the fig preserves on each side of the muffin.  On one side of muffin, put a good serving of turkey then top the turkey with the brie.  Broil in oven until cheese melts.  Remove from oven and fill with some arugula.  Serve it just like that!

Hope you enjoy as much as I do!!

July 5, 2011

Fourth of July Treats



Try these Fourth of July Treats anytime!! 

I always love to take advantage of a theme when it comes time to decide what to bake-red, white and blue!!  However, these sugar cookie pudding cakes would be a hit anytime.    





Fourth of July Treats

1 roll sugar cookie dough

1 (3.4 oz.) package of sugar-free vanilla instant pudding

1 (3.4 oz.) package of vanilla instant pudding

milk, according to pudding directions

12 tsp. light cool whip


strawberries, sliced



Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.  Slice the sugar cookie dough into about 1/2 inch slices and shape into muffin cups to form a crust.  (tip- keep your fingers damp to prevent sticking)  Divide the dough evenly among the 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove crust from oven and reshape, pressing gently back into the crust shape.  Return to oven and bake for about 5 more minutes.  Let cool completely.  

While crust are cooking, make pudding according to package directions.  Once crust are completely cool, use a knife to loosen crust from muffin tins.  Transfer the crust to a platter.  Fill each crust with the pudding.  Top the pudding with 1 tsp. of cool whip.  Decorate each with blueberries, sliced strawberries and a rasberry.       


Enjoy!!!  I hope you all had a happy Fourth!!!!!!!

June 30, 2011

Chicken Roll-Ups


This dish is quick, easy and delicious!  I used store bought thin sliced chicken breasts.  When buying chicken, I always choose the all-natural with no added preservatives.  By using the thin sliced breast, the chicken was so moist and so easy to roll up with a stuffing.  If you cannot find the already sliced chicken at the grocery, you can slice chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness.  I served the chicken with spaghetti squash and a salad. 


Chicken Roll-Ups  

2 lbs. thin sliced chicken breasts

1 lb. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 T. garlic

1 tsp. basil

2 T. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

1 cup marinara sauce, your choice (I used Bertoli)

Parmesan cheese, enough to sprinkle on top


Combine spinach, ricotta, salt, pepper, garlic, basil and sundried tomatoes.  Lay chicken flat.  Spoon about 1 T. of spinach  mixture onto each breast.  Spread mixture evenly onto breast.  Roll the chicken and place seam side down into baking dish.  Pour marinara over the top of the chicken rolls.  Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle parmesan cheese over chicken and bake for about 15 minutes.

Try serving it with spaghetti squash.  (read below)


Spaghetti Squash is such a great alternative to pasta.  And a much healthier choice!  Try it!  If you have never bought one before, look for the large, yellow, oval shaped squash.

Cut the squash lengthwise down the center.  Spoon out seeds and lay cut side down on a jelly roll pan.  Put water in the bottom of the pan just to cover the bottom.  Bake at 450 for 45-55 minutes.  Be sure the squash feels tender before removing it.  Let the squash cool.  Once cool, use a fork to scrape out the squash.  It will form spaghetti like strings.  Put those in a bowl and season with a little oregano, salt/pepper, olive oil, and  a sprinkle of parmesan. 

Serve along side of the chicken and enjoy!!






June 28, 2011

Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers


Roasted Red Bell Peppers are a treat!  They have a mildly sweet flavor and are a wonderful addition to sandwiches, salads, pastas, etc.  Once the peppers are roasted and the skin is removed, you can keep the peppers in a jar to use anytime.  In this case, I stuffed them with some goat cheese, pine nuts and raisins.  The flavor was delicious!  These stuffed red peppers can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer or side.     


How to roast of bell pepper

Place whole peppers on pan in oven and broil until all sides are blackened, turning after about 10 minutes.  Once all sides are blackened, remove from over and put into a brown paper bag or covered bowl.  The steam helps to loosen the skins and makes them easier to peel.  When peppers are cool enough to touch, cut off stem and squeeze gently to help remove seeds.   


Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Red Peppers

4 large red bell peppers, roasted, seeds removed and split down one side

1/4 lb. goat cheese

2 T. basil

2 T. pine nuts

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 T. bread crumbs

2 T. olive oil


Place the peppers peeled side down and flatten them slightly to keep open.  Spread the goat cheese evenly down the center of each pepper, forming it into a log shape.  Top the goat cheese with the basil, evenly distributed among the peppers, followed by the pine nuts and golden raisins.  Fold the peppers to close and press down slightly to hold shape.  Place the peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the bread crumbs and olive oil.  Bake at 450 for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread crumbs begin to brown.    Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. 

Serve as a main dish with some pasta or couscous.  Or, try them as an appetizer.  Either way, I hope you enjoy!!