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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Minestrone Pasta Soup

Kid-friendly!  Griffin gobbles this right up because the veggies are hidden!!  Feel free to experiment with other vegetables or pasta types, or add leftover chicken or fresh herbs to this recipe. It freezes well, too.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (yellow or white), diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
(I threw all of the above ingredients in a food processor for minimal prep work!)
1 zucchini, diced (Mine was large so I only used half.)
15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
4 cups (32-ounce box) vegetable stock or chicken stock (Start with 4 cups, but maybe buy an extra cup just in case.  I had a cup of chicken broth laying around and ended up adding that at the very end because it wasn't soupy enough for me.) 
3/4 cup small pasta such as mini farfalle, elbows, or rotini
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs or mixed dried basil, oregano, thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1. In a saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic; saute for 5 minutes or until vegetables soften.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
*Catherine McCord's Cookbook, Weelicious Lunches 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Scalloped Potatoes


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2% low-fat milk.)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds (and peeled beforehand, if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, and saute for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in the flour until it is evenly combined and saute for an additional 1-minute.  Pour in the chicken stock, and whisk until combined.  Add in the milk, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme, and whisk until combined.  Continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes until the sauce comes to a simmer (not a boil) and thickens.  Then remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Then spread half of the sliced potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.  Top evenly with half of the cream sauce, the sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and all of the Parmesan cheese.  Top evenly with the remaining sliced potatoes, the remaining half of the cream sauce, and the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the potatoes are cooked through.
Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.  Serve warm.
(This original recipe serves 8-10.) 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Steakhouse Inspired Steak with Herbed Butter

1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1-1.5 pounds steak (The original recipe used top sirloin, but any cut of steak will work.)
1 tablespoon fresh cracked peppercorn
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir in oregano, parsley, and basil. Place in fridge to harden, about 3 hours. 
2. Spread salt and pepper on a plate. Roll steak in the mixture and shake off the excess. 
3. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. When the oil is super hot, sear steak(s) for 2 minutes on all sides. 
4. Remove from heat, spoon a tablespoon of the butter on each steak, and place in a 400 degree oven. Cook uncovered for 8-12 minutes (or more, if you have thick steaks) until desired temperature. For medium rare, cook for about for 8 minutes. Remove from the pan, place on a plate, cover with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Pork Loin

(The original recipe is posted, however I halved this recipe.  See my cooking time modifications.)
  • 4 pound pork loin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  2. In a bowl, stir to combine garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt, lemon zest, and pepper.
  3. Evenly spread the mixture over the pork loin (fat side up) and place in a large baking dish or roasting pan. (I made small 5-6 small slits on the top so the rub would sink into the pork while cooking.)
  4. Place it in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. (I roasted for 15 minutes.)  Reduce heat to 425°F and continue to roast for 1 hour (I continued to cook for 30-35 minutes) until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 155°F. 
  5. Allow to rest on a carving board for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 cup honey 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce 
  • 1/4 cup ketchup 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish 
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

  • In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, vegetable oil, and red pepper. 
  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken thighs into a slow cooker. Add honey mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 30 minutes. 
  • Remove chicken thighs from the slow cooker and shred the chicken before returning to the pot with the juices. Don't discard the juice!  Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes. 
  • Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.
  • *

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

  • Mustard Rub Ingredients: 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • Mustard Mixture Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • 3 tablespoon whole grain mustard 
  • 3 tablespoons honey, or more, to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock, or more, to taste 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 sprigs rosemary 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • To make the mustard rub, combine olive oil and whole grain mustard in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using your fingers or a brush, work the mustard rub onto both sides of the chicken. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey, and chicken stock. Add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached; set aside. 
  • Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Pour mustard mixture over the top of chicken and place rosemary sprigs in pan. 
  • Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • *

Cheesy Cauliflower Bake

I'm not exactly sure what I have to do to convince you to make this, so first, see how easy it is to make, 
and then...just take my word for it.  omg.

  • 2 medium size heads of cauliflower or 2 bags of frozen cauliflower florets
  • 1 - 8oz. block of cream cheese
  • ½ cup of butter (1 stick)
  • 1¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • chopped green onions
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a stock pot, cook cauliflower in salted water until fork tender.
  2. Cook bacon until crispy, drain on paper towels, let cool, and chop into small pieces.  
  3. Drain water from cauliflower and return to pot.
  4. Add cream cheese and butter and beat with hand mixer until creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Here's where I had to add a step.  After using the hand mixer, it was still "chunky."  I wanted a super smooth consistency, so I threw the mixture into my Vitamix.  Omg, what a world of a difference.  Do it!!
  5. Pour into a baking dish.
  6. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, and bacon.
  7. Bake in oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes.


Next time I make this (which will probably be tomorrow), I'm going to roast a small head of garlic while my cauliflower is cooking and add that to the blender too.  Yum.  (To roast a head of garlic, simply slice the top off of an entire head, place the head (cut side up) in a small piece of foil, and drizzle top with olive oil.  Loosely close the foil over the head, and place on baking sheet in oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Allow garlic to cool.  To retrieve the roasted garlic, turn upside down and squeeze the head from the base.  Garlic cloves will just fall right out!)