Copycat Orzo Tabouli Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from Zoe’s Kitchen

A delicious copycat version of Zoe’s Orzo Tabouli salad. Easy to make and definitely addictive! Continue reading

Advertisements

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Rolls

Sorry for the dry spell, folks! I’ve been busy making a baby and nesting like a maniac. Three weeks until our due date, and my checklist is shrinking. All the showers are over. The nursery is almost done. My hospital bag is packed. We even traded in the hubby’s convertible for a mommy car!

These last few weeks, I’ve been focused on getting ready to be out of work on maternity leave, but I’ve also been trying to mentally prepare for life with Baby Peebles. I know we will be so happy and in love, but we will also be unsure, overwhelmed, stressed, confused, disgusted, sleep deprived … life will be both wonderful and chaotic.

Our priorities, our habits, our schedules – everything will change. How do you prepare for that?

Aside from lots of organizing and simplifying around the house, I have begun collecting easy, quick recipes like this little gem from Mom on Timeout. Finding time to cook will be hard, so simple and fast meals will be needed.

I only tweaked a few things, like using good deli chicken instead of roasting and slicing your own. The recipes has zero mixing, doesn’t dirty up pots or pans, and takes no time to prepare! You could even make them the night before and just pop them in the oven when you get home from work.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 6 slices Boar’s Head Black Forest Ham, cut thin
  • 3 slices Boar’s Head EverRoast Chicken, cut thick
  • Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

You could use whatever deli brand you prefer; I just love Boar’s Head.

Directions:

(1) Preheat oven to 375°F. While the oven is preheating, lay out the crescent rolls in one large rectangle on a cutting board and press the seams together.

(2) Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and a little salt and pepper. Layer the Swiss cheese, then ham, and finally the chicken. Roll it all up, starting with a long side, and cut into 8 rolls.

Just FYI, in the picture, the chicken slices are straight up and down, but you actually need to angle them so there’s an even amount of chicken in each roll.

Image

(4) Place the rolls in a 9-inch pan, evenly spaced, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

My hubby’s not big on sauces. Sadly, I am. Oh, the compromises of marriage! 😉 Instead of mixing up honey with Dijon mustard like the original recipe, I just bought some Honey Dijon Mustard at the grocery store. It’s nice the dip the rolls into, but they are equally as delicious without the sauce!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Rolls

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crescent Rolls

I’m a big fan of cooking to have leftovers for lunches, so I doubled up the recipe. Most packages of sliced cheese have 12 or more slices, so just get two cans of crescent rolls and ask the deli for 1/2 pound of chicken and 1/2 pound of ham.

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Chicken

Just a quickie post!

I’ve had this recipe from The Cheese Pusher pinned for a long time but haven’t gotten around to trying it. Well, I finally had the perfect opportunity last week: our semi-regular Sunday dinners with my husband’s brother, wife, and wonderful daughter!

I needed something easy and something cheesy because everyone loves cheese. 🙂 The original recipe is pretty much perfect; I didn’t change a thing, other than using fettuccine noodles and cooking up some cubed chicken in a skillet with butter, garlic, and poultry seasoning.

Obviously, it was delicious because I’ve made it again already!

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Chicken

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Chicken

 

Lasagna Roll Ups

When it comes to food, pregnancy makes you fickle. When I pinned a recipe for Chicken & Bacon Lasagna Roll Ups, I fully intended to make this dish as soon as possible and devour every last bite … until we were grocery shopping for the ingredients, and it suddenly sounded awful to me.

No biggie. I decided to just make regular lasagna instead. The problem is when I make lasagna, there are enough leftovers to feed a family of five for an entire week. And right now, we’re sitting pretty at two and a half Peebles, if you count the kiddo I’m making as we speak.

So, I improvised! What I liked about the original roll up recipe was the smaller portions, using only 8 lasagna noodles, instead of a whole box. I know there are plenty of recipes out there for lasagna roll ups, but I’m glad I worked from the SimplyGloria version because my new creation turned out so delicious!

Main Ingredients

  • 10 lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce (make it or buy it, as you prefer)

Filling

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

My Go-To Spaghetti Sauce

  • 15 oz organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup champagne
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start a large pot of water boiling and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Add the pasta noodles and cook for 8 minutes (about 2 minutes less than the directions).

(2) In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together for the filling. Easy-peasy. By the way, I really love how the sour cream pairs with the ricotta! Set aside.

(3) Start making your spaghetti sauce. For my recipe, you literally just dump everything in a saucepan and warm on medium heat for about 5 minutes. When the sauce is done, pour about half of it into the bottom of a baking dish.

(4) In a skillet, cook up the sweet Italian sausage, breaking into small pieces. Make sure to drain off the excess fat. I usually also take a paper towel and dab off as much residual grease as I can. Set aside.

(5) When the pasta is done, drain and lay flat onto cutting board. Use paper towels to dry off excess water. I found I could get 5 noodles on one board and get all the rolls done in two batches.

(6) Divide and spread the filling onto the cooked pasta evenly. Add the sweet Italian sausage onto each noodle. Roll the noodles jelly-roll style and add to the baking dish, seam side down. I make two columns with five noodles in each. It’s a tight fit, but try putting the rolls open-end to open-end so the filling doesn’t spill out.

Lasagna Roll Ups

The filling.

How to arrange your roll ups.

How to arrange your roll ups.

(7) Cover the rolls with the remaining sauce. Then sprinkle the entire thing with mozzarella cheese and throw it into the oven for about 30 minutes. Let the roll ups sit for about 5 minutes after they’re done.

Lasagna Roll Ups

Lasagna Roll Ups

I think these Lasagna Roll Ups are being added to the Big Red Cookbook as a family favorite. The hubby really loves this recipe, and I really love not having to eat lasagna for two weeks. Sometimes pregnancy symptoms work out in your favor! 🙂

Pork Carnitas

I teased all my Facebook friends with a post about my delicious meal on Monday. Time to repay them!

This recipe from The Novice Chef has become one of my all-time favorites for dinner. It’s really great for company because it makes a ton of food! Not ideal to make on a weekday, since there’s nearly a 3-hour time investment, but the steps are really pretty simple.

I’ve made a few small alterations, but here’s the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • corn tortillas
  • avocado, sliced
  • cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

1) In a large heavy bottomed pot, mix the pineapple juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, salt and water. I’m a sucker for fresh lime juice, but you can always use bottled. 🙂 Add the pork to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t stir! Just let the meat cook.

2) After two hours, bring the pot to medium-high heat. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated. Your house is going to smell delicious! Unfortunately, it may also smell like lime and cumin for several days …

3) Towards the end of the timer, you’ll start to hear the pork sizzle. After 45 minutes, let the meat cook some more in bits of fat, long enough to brown at the edges. The meat should be tender and just about shredded.

4) Once the meat is done, lightly fry the tortillas in a small bit of oil so they’re crispy. Then pile on the pork, sliced avocado, cilantro, and a few more squeezes of lime!

Pork carnitas with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

Pork carnitas with avocado, cilantro, and lime.

I’m sure there are tons of other toppings that would compliment this dish, but those are my preferences. 🙂

Bratwurst & Beer Cheese Soup

Sorry for the little break! We just got back from a lovely little trip to Chicago to visit my Dad’s family. We enjoyed brisk weather, changing leaves, and Bingo! Plus, my wonderful Grandma floated some new cookie recipes my way. Guess I’ll be making goodie boxes for Christmas presents this year! 😀

Now, this little gem of a recipe was just waiting for me in a Taste of Home magazine my mother gave me when we moved into our new home nearly a year ago. I tweaked it by replacing the Velveeta Cheese (ick!) with some Gouda, upping the Worcestershire (yum!), and subbing one of the cans of celery soup for a can of cheddar cheese soup.

Ingredients:

  • 6 bratwurst
  • 10 oz can cream of celery soup
  • 10 oz can cheddar soup
  • 12 oz beer, preferably a pale ale
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • ½ lb Gouda cheese
  • ½ lb shredded Cheddar cheese 

Directions:

  1. Cook the bratwurst in a large skillet until crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through. Cut into small pieces. Pat off the grease with a paper towel, and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot or crockpot, add both cans of soup, the beer, half & half, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, onion powder and Cheddar cheese.
  3. Remove the rind from the Gouda cheese. Slice thinly and then cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to soup and stir over medium-high heat until melted.
  4. Add the bratwurst. Cover and heat through.

And nothing goes better with beer cheese (or beer cheese soup) than a big, soft pretzel. AH-maaaaaaazing! 🙂 This is a thick, creamy, flavorful soup that is perfect for fall.

Bratwurst & Beer Cheese Soup

Bratwurst & Beer Cheese Soup

It was really the perfect end to an October Sunday of pumpkin picking and carving!

Love me some pumpkins!

Love me some pumpkins!

They want some Beer Cheese Soup, too!

They want some Beer Cheese Soup, too!

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

My husband really likes the Chicken & Gnocchi soup at Olive Garden. So, he was pretty excited when I found this copycat recipe on Pinterest!

I’ve tweaked it a little bit. For example: no carrots because I’m lazy and I just don’t feel like shredding carrots, or buying a bag of shredded carrots that I won’t use up. Also, canned shredded chicken is easier – and makes my cats very happy. Too bad they don’t like shredded carrots as much as they like chicken juice.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 quart half & half
  • 2 cans of minced chicken
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mince the onions, slice the celery, and mince the garlic.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until soft.
  3. Melt the butter, and then add the flour to form a roux. Stir and cook 1 minute until it becomes like a paste. Slowly incorporate the half & half.
  4. Add shredded chicken to the stockpot.
  5. While the soup thickens, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.
  6. Add the chicken broth, gnocchi, spinach and seasonings. Cover and heat through.
Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

This soup is pretty simple, and it goes great with a nice crusty bread or breadsticks!

And, bonus ! I made another copycat recipe to go along with the soup: Macaroni Grill’s Shrimp & Avocado Crostini. 🙂

Shrimp & Avocado Crostini

Shrimp & Avocado Crostini

This is probably my favorite appetizer of all time! So yummy! Here’s the recipe. It’s a bit time intensive, but so worth it!

ShrimpCrostiniRecipe