Super Bowl Recipe Roundup ~2014

How about a completely random post today?

For Super Bowl food ideas, you say? Heck yes!

The best foods for a day of munching in front of an awesome game with friends is always bite-sized. This way you can load up your plate with lots of yummy things to taste without feeling like you’re eating 10 meals. Oh, who are we kidding? It’s Super Bowl Sunday. We’re all going to be eating about 85,372 calories anyway…. Of course, there are also several other fabulous things to eat on game day, so if you’re going to pull out the crock pot (or 5) there’s plenty of hearty soups and deliciousness to be had.

Mini Pizza Muffins

mini pizza muffins

Meatball Poppers


Mini Crab Cakes with Old Bay Aioli


Chicken Enchilada Puffs

enchilada puffs

Mini Meaty Quiches

mini quiche1

Cheesy Pesto Bread


Sliders Roundup

sliders roundup

Mexcican Bruschetta


BBQ Chicken Pizza Pinwheels


Pizza Tarts

pizza tarts

Chicken and Rice Balls

rice balls

Cajun Chicken Fritters with Cajun Aioli


Fish Cakes with Cilantro Lime Dip

fish cakes

Zucchini Fritters with Chili Lime Aioli


Cheesy Rice Fritters


Potato Skins

Super Bowl Round-Up 2013

Hearty Taco Chili

taco chili

Meatball Minestrone

Meatball Minestrone

Meatball Minestrone

Italian Beef Sandwiches with Giardineira

Super Bowl Round-Up 2013

Creamy Chicken Tacos

crock pot chix tacos

Ultimate Baked Beans

ultimate pic

Banana Dabs


Cannoli Tarts


Chocolate Drizzled Cheesecake Cream Puffs

cream puff1

Baby Twice Baked Potatoes

I got the idea for this when I was doing research for great lunchbox ideas, and thought it would make a great lunch for Number Two. Of course, these little stuffed potatoes would make a good side for any meal, but for those who are packing lunches for older kids and/or adults, this is a yummy addition to any recipe list.

I totally winged this, so I don’t really have any measurements. But you can easily see that it’s not necesssary anyway. There’s really no way to mess this up. I used what I had on hand, but there are so many options as far as what you can put into your little stuffed potatoes, such as sour cream, chives, broccoli or other veggies.

baby bakers

Baby Twice Baked Potatoes

Small, yellow potatoes

Grated or shredded cheddar cheese*

Bacon Bits or crumbled (turkey) bacon

Salt & Pepper

1. Bake potaotes until tender and allow to cool slightly.

2. Cut of tops and scopp out potato, placing into a bowl.

3. Mash up the potato with a fork and combine with cheese (*any cheeses you like) and bacon crumbles. Salt & Pepper to taste.

4. Spoon filling gently back into potato skins and mound high.

5. Bake again until lightly browned on top and potatoes are set.

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Thanksgiving Roundup

Turkey is the standard fare for a Thanksgiving table, but whether you roast a bird or make something else the center of your meal, you’re going to need side dishes and desserts. Some people stick with the traditional dishes like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. But if you’re looking for some new ideas, check out this roundup.

side collage

1. Thyme and Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

2. Pesto Parmesan Green Beans

3. Carrot Mash Bake

4. Cheesy Pesto Bread

5. Parmesan Tomatoes

6. Spinach Squares

7. Oven Roasted Okra

8. Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

9. Bacon & Spinach Mashed Potatoes

10. Butternut Squash Pasta Bake

11. Caprese Quinoa Bake

dessert collage

1. Mini Apple Tart Tatins

2. Pots au Chocolate de Creme

3. Caramel Praline Tart

4. Butternut Cake

5. Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies with Pie Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

6. Apple Butterscotch Cake

7. Carrot Cake Roulade

8. Vanilla Coconut Rice Pudding

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October Menu ~ 2013

Oh, Fall, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…..

I cannot express enough how much I love this season for so many reasons.  I am essentially a cool weather kind of girl, and even though I do enjoy Summers off with the kiddos, I hate to sweat and I truly dislike the clothes. I like the jeans, layers of shirts and jackets, and trendy boots of the Fall season, not to mention the crisp air, apples, pumpkins, turning leaves crunching under your feet, and best of all Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Ah…………….

Okay, maybe the lattes aren’t the very best part of Fall but they come pretty close.

So this month I am jumping  head first into the baking season, full of deliciousness and comfort.  This is my time to snuggle down with a hot cup of spiced chai, read some good books, plan the holiday get-togethers (yeah, I have to start planning now) and cook some awesome food. Ready?

oct collage 2013

October Menu ~ 2013

Meatball Minestrone Soup

Italian Beef Sandwiches with Giardiniera

Crock Pot Meatloaf

Skillet Ratatouille

Crock Pot Swiss Chicken

Dijon Dill Salmon

Not Your Typical Rice & Beans

Quinoa, Black Bean & Corn Burritos

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Peasant Soup with Rosemary Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

GF Tex Mex Polenta Pizza

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Dumplings (Pot Stickers)

Pot Roast Sliders with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Crockpot Lasagna


Spinach Squares

Carrot Mash Bake

Savory Skillet Veggies

Asparagus Feta Tart

Cheesy Pesto Pull-Apart Bread


Pizza Tarts

Mini Meaty Cheesy Quiches

Corndog Muffins

Pizza Buns

 Chicken Enchilada Puffs


Zucchini Tomato Feta Frittata

No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

Breakfast Cookies


Crock Pot Blueberry Cobbler

 Cannoli Tarts

Pumpkin Pie Spice Whoopie Pies

Plum Crumble

Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

This was soooooo yummy.  Hubby and I like to eat meatless so this was actually great by itself for a meal, but it makes an awesome side dish as well for those who want a more rounded-out dinner.  The boys liked it, too, though they aren’t crazy about chunks of tomato.  A regular caprese uses fresh, delicious mozzarella, so by all means use it if you’ve got it.  However, I didn’t have any so I used goat cheese instead.  It was awesome!  This dish came out tasting like warm, comforting, creamy tomato soup with some chew.  Delicious.

caprese quinoa

Caprese Style Quinoa Bake

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup pasta sauce

2 T tomato paste

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1 cup Mozzarella (or 4 oz. goat cheese)

2/3 cup grape tomatoes, halved*

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons

salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Cook the quinoa- 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups chicken broth.

2. In a saucepan heat up the pasta sauce and tomato paste. Once warm, stir in the cream, parmesan, salt & pepper, half the tomatoes, half the basil, and half the mozzarella or goat cheese. Stir until heated through and everything is melted and smooth. *I didn’t have grape tomatoes so I diced up a large one.

3. Spray a baking dish (I used a 4×7 but you can go up to an 8×8 or 9×9). Pour in quinoa mixture and top with remaining tomato and mozz/goat cheese.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for an additional 2 or 3, until cheese is gold and bubbly.

5. Remove from oven and top with the remaining basil ribbons.  Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

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Oven-Roasted Okra

I love oven roasted veggies. It is my favorite way to enjoy all vegetables in a fresh and delicious way. I want to know that when I’m eating vegetables that I haven’t cooked all their nutrients away, and by roasting them in the oven you have limitless options for flavoring to boot.

My favorite veggies prepared this way are brussel sprouts and asparagus, but I’ve been known to enjoy fresh green beans and squash and zucchini as well. Now it’s time for okra to take a step in the spotlight. If you’ve only eaten it breaded and fried, or in a slimy soup, then you may not know how awesome okra really is.

Now, you can easily cut these babies length-wise for the same delicious flavor, but for more even cooking and the best taste results, I cut them into 1/2-inch bites sized pieces. Seasonings are truly limitless (think garlic powder, parmesan cheese, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika, the list goes on and on…) but my mainstay is to toss everything in EVOO and salt & pepper. It’s just that easy.

oven roasted okra

Oven-Roasted Okra

8 oz. fresh okra, washed and dried


Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400*

Cut tops and tips off the okra and discard. Slice okra into 1/2-inch bite-sized pieces.

Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place okra pieces on it.

Drizzle EVOO and salt and pepper over the okra and toss with your hands to get everything covered evenly.

(Wash hands) …then place sheet in oven for about 20 minutes, or until okra is done to your liking. You may want to use a spatula to stir things up (gently) a bit.

*Sometimes I crank the oven up to 450* depending on the veggie and the thickness of the pieces and how much oil I used. I like my asparagus tips almost crunchy, while the stalks of all the veggies should be tender and fresh but not mushy. You may have to experiment a few times to get it the way you like it. Just keep your eye on it so nothing overcooks and it’ll be fabulous.

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Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

This is one of those quick week night meals that tastes like you’ve put a bit more effort into it than you really did. If you’re crunched for time and want a hearty, quality meal, then keep this one on file. All you need are some basic staple ingredients in your freezer/pantry and you can make this in no time.

tuscan pasta

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream Sauce

1 (20 oz) pkg refrigerated or frozen *cheese ravioli

1 (15 oz) jar sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce

2 T white wine

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsp basil**

Parmesan cheese

Empty the sauce into a saucepan and use the wine to collect the rest of the sauce in the jar by covering the top and shaking.

Add in the drained tomatoes (or 2 fresh ones, diced) and the basil. **If you have fresh it’ll be about 1/2 cup. Also if you don’t like basil as much as I do and are using dried, you may want to start of with less than 2 tsp, but really, who doesn’t love basil??

Allow all of this to simmer for a bit, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Cook your pasta according to directions. *I bet mushroom ravioli would be divine in this! :)

Drain the ravioli from the pasta water and fold the tuscan sauce into the pasta. Plate it up and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and extra basil on top.


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Black Bean & Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Chipotle Aioli

On our last night of vacation on the Crystal Coast the boys and I had an awesome tapas dinner at a local restaurant. While everything was to. die. for. (I truly need to figure out how to make their entire menu) one thing that we tried that I had to replicate ASAP was the black bean quesadilla and chipotle sauce.

Now their version had Monterey Jack and havarti cheese but I didn’t have either of those. Plus I like stronger cheeses that don’t lose their flavor when melted. Since I had several cheeses to choose from we decided to mix and match, so while the goat cheese was my favorite and matched beautifully with the black beans and the aioli, there were three kinds in all: goat cheese, cheddar and feta, & cheddar and smoke gouda (this one was Hubby’s favorite.)

So you can see how simple it would be to swap out flavors and see what you like best. Just don’t forget the aioli!

blk bn quesadilla

Black Bean Quesadillas

1 can black beans (I use organic)

1/4 cup finely diced onion

1 T butter

1/4 tsp cumin

salt & pepper

2 or 3 T fresh chopped cilantro

flour tortillas, large or small

cheeses of your choice, diced or shredded

In small saucepan, heat over medium-high and melt butter. Add in chopped onion and let cook for several minutes.

Stir in the cumin and cook a few minutes more. It’ll smell awesome.

Pour in the can of black beans, juice and all. Salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain extra juices if there are any. Stir in the fresh cilantro.

Place some cheese on a tortilla and spoon some bean mixture over it. Add more or another cheese on the beans and top with tortilla. *I use a countertop Foreman grill to make my quesadillas. You can use a skillet on the stove(careful turning those tortillas) or the oven.

If you are using large tortillas you will have better luck filling them with more mixture because you will fold one half over the other, making a half cirlce-shaped quesadilla.

Chipotle Aioli

1/4 cup mayo

1 tsp sriracha

1/4 tsp chipotle seasoning

Combine and whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use (at least an hour if possible). Taste and adjust seasonings.

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Mexican Bruschetta

Ya’ll know me :) I love bruschetta and I love Mexican food, so what could possibly be better than this?? Nothing. Well, ok maybe not NOTHING but still….it’s pretty darn fantabulous and I think you’ll agree.


Mexican Bruschetta

2 avocados, diced

1 medium tomato, diced

1/3 cup finely diced onion (I used yellow and red)

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup feta cheese, diced


2 T lime juice

salt & pepper

Baguette or other hearty bread

Gently combine ingredients in a bowl (so that the avocado doesn’t get smushed) and taste to see if any seasonings need to be added.

Slice the bread and grill or lightly toast. *I very lightly butter the bread, especially the edges before toasting. It makes it sooooo good! Top bread with bruschetta and enjoy!

This is a meal. I won’t kid you. Unless you’ve got people to help you eat it (which would make it an awesome appetizer) then you may have to resign yourself to eating the entire bowl. I know, it’s like twisting a rubber arm. First of all, avocado doesn’t keep so well unless you can cover it that allows for no air at all. What you would do is use plain old saran wrap but push it down snugly on top of the avocado mixture before storing in the refrigerator. It should keep at least until the next day- unless you go in for a late night snack, of course.

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Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

I love a good bread salad. It is so easy to bump it up to a one-dish meal by adding some grilled chicken or tuna. Bread salads can have whatever you desire in them but they typically include tomato and cucumber as a base. This particular one was made up of what I had available in the house and it made a great side to my Grilled Marinated Salmon. The great thing about using grilled bread in place of croutons is that they absorb the juices of the salad without getting all mushy.

bread salad

Tomato Cucumber Bread Salad

1 cucumber, cut*

3 tomatoes, cut*

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut

1 baguette or ciabatta roll

EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar

salt and pepper

Extra Salad Ingredients you may like: red onion, sliced; black olives

1. Preheat grill to medium heat and split roll in half. Drizzle cut sides with EVOO and grill cut side down, covered, until crispy (about 5 minutes). Cut bread into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

2. Cut cucumber and tomatoes. *Slice into thick 1/2 inch slices and then cut into fourths, creating large 1-inch pieces.

3. Place cucumber, tomato, garbanzo, feta, and basil (and any other ingredients you choose) into a large bowl and toss with about 3 T EVOO and 1-2 T balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Fold in the bread pieces and serve.

4. Enjoy!

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