Archive | March, 2011

BBQ Pineapple Luau Pizza

31 Mar

Tonight’s dinner was AMAZING! I will definitely be making this pizza again and again. I had a little fresh pineapple (fresh pineapple… oh, how sweet!) left in the fridge and a hankering for Hawaiian Pizza. The only problem  was that I needed to make more pizza sauce and I wanted dinner to be quick tonight. No pizza sauce? No problem! I decided to use BBQ sauce instead.

I came across a recipe earlier this week that had me thinking. The recipe was for chicken and pineapple quesadillas and it looked divine. I will HAVE to try it soon.

But tonight, I wanted pizza. Fast. So I used this recipe as my inspiration and what I came up with was truly delicious. This is seriously a must try recipe!

Luau Pizza

Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6
Level: Easy

Pizza dough/crust
BBQ sauce
Ham, chopped
Pineapple, thinly sliced
Green bell pepper, diced
Onion, cut into thin rings
Jalapeños, diced
Cheese, shredded

Pre-heat oven and make/roll out dough according to pizza dough directions.

Pre-bake dough for 5 minutes. Top with BBQ sauce and remaining ingredients, ending with cheese.

Bake pizza for an additional 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown. Yum!

Tips
– Use a pre-made crust for a faster dinner.
– Top with a little crushed red pepper for more of a kick.
– I used a packaged dough mix that mixes with water. For 57¢ you can’t beat it if you like thin crust!
– Use as many or as little of the above ingredients. Tonight, I only put onions on 1/2 of the pizza. Jason LOVES them… Me? Not so much…
– Jason dipped his in a little ranch dressing. He’s obsessed with ranch.
– You can substitute the ham for Canadian bacon, bacon, turkey bacon, or even chicken.

Potato Soup

30 Mar

It’s another blustery day here in Memphis. Where, oh, where did Spring go? I thought, for a split second, it was here to stay…

The most amazing woman on the planet, my mother, of course, taught me how to make this soup when I was in college. She might not remember but I was home one Christmas break and she made it, just throwing things in the pot as she went along. Ever since watching her, I’ve been making and loving this soup.  Every time I make it, I am reminded of her and making/eating it makes me feel like I’m getting a big ole’ hug from momma!

And no matter who you are, there is NOTHING like a big hug from momma.

Potato Soup

Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

1 c. diced potatoes
1/4 c. carrots, chopped
2 tbsp. onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. pepper
2-3 c. whole milk
Dash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Yum!

Tips
– Try topping the soup with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and/or green onions right before serving.
– Add ham, smoked sausage, or bacon for all you meat eaters out there. I added ham to mine tonight.
– You can use 2% milk and add 1/2 c. sour cream if you don’t have whole milk.
– Don’t forget about stirring! If you walk away, cover the pot with a lid, or turn the heat up too high, you’re going to end up with a mixture that grossly resembles scrambled eggs.
– My dad, husband, and I add a TON of hot sauce, like Louisiana Hot Sauce, to our soup. The pinker the better! My mom doesn’t like it though…

Amazingly Easy Italian Shrimp

29 Mar

Italian dressing is a must to have in your pantry. It is full of flavor and super versatile. You can make pasta salad, various marinades, zesty green beans, and even use it as a base to boil frozen vegetables until tender crisp, which is one of my go to side dishes when I’m in a pinch. Seriously, you should try it.

Tonight I made Italian shrimp with vegetables and brown rice. I needed a little caloric redemption after last night’s burger bomb and it only took me about 15-20 minutes to get dinner on the table!

I hope you like it. It is extremely easy and can be translated to chicken or fish as well. I didn’t put ingredient quantities or cook times because you can just eye-ball it and make as much or as little as you want.

Italian Shrimp

Time: 10 minutes or so
Servings:  However much you want to make
Level: EASY!

Shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined
Italian dressing, fat-free will work as well
Juice or lemon slices from one lemon
Pepper
Butter, a few pads

Preheat oven to 350°. In a casserole dish lay shrimp flat and side by side so they don’t overlap. Pour Italian dressing over the shrimp until coated generously. Squeeze lemon of layer lemon slices over top of shrimp. Sprinkle pepper over entire dish, use more than you think… The more the better.

Dot with butter. Bake in the oven and watch closely for shrimp to turn pink. Yum!

Tips
– The shrimp will turn pink quickly but  depending on the quantity of shrimp used, the time will vary.
– You can use frozen shrimp but defrost them first by running them under cool water.
– Serve the shrimp and juice over brown rice. Bread is also delicious to soak up the leftover juice.
– The left over shrimp are great served cold. Try tossing them in a salad for a quick lunch.

John Wayne BBQ Burgers

28 Mar

Tonight was just one of those nights… you know the kind. The kind of night that’s rainy and cold and you walk in your door exhausted. All I could think about after a long day of work and a killer workout was a burger.

Thank goodness I worked out today because after eating this burger, I probably need another hour of TurboKick. Ugh, there’s always tomorrow… but tonight, I was comforted and it was just what I needed.

A traditional John Wayne Burger, or pizza for that matter, is usually topped with BBQ sauce, onion rings, cheddar cheese, and bacon. My take on the burger stemmed from leftover French fried onions from my Crispy Onion Baked Chicken recipe and a killer craving for the new Muenster cheese I just bought. Ahh, a perfect creation! I hope you like it.

Crispy Onion BBQ Burgers

Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2
Level: Easy

2 servings of ground beef (I always pre-portion my meat once I buy it…)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. onions, chopped
1/3 c. BBQ sauce, divided in half
2 whole wheat hamburger buns
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 slices Muenster cheese
1/4 c. French fried onions… they aren’t just for green bean casserole, ya know

Mix ground beef, pepper, onions, and half of the BBQ sauce. Form into 2 patties. Either outside on the grill or inside in a grill pan, grill burgers until no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes on each side.

Spread remaining BBQ sauce on one side of hamburger buns and spread mayo on the other side. Top buns with burgers, Muenster cheese, and French fried onions. Yum!

Tips
– Leave off the mayo if you want to… or use fat-free.
– You can use dried onions to mix in with the ground beef instead of diced fresh onions.
– Add bacon if you want to… I wanted to but alas, my waistline preferred I didn’t.

Thai One On… It’s Peanut Noodles Night!

27 Mar

Oh, how have I not written about this before now? I adapted this recipe a while back from an article I read on EatingWell.com. This recipe has quickly become one of our favorites. Since it can be served hot or cold, make extras and pack it for lunch the next day!

We LOVE peanut butter, so this recipe is perfect for us! Also, this dish is really good for you. If you boil the chicken, like I did in my Stir Fry recipe, and use all natural peanut butter, there are tons of health benefits. I don’t have kids yet, but I hope this type of recipe will get them to eat their veggies without a fuss.

The directions look long but don’t get scared away! They are super easy to follow. They were just a little lengthy to write up.

If you make this, please let me know what you think. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Thai Peanut Noodles

Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

1/2 lb. chicken
1/4 c. peanut butter
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sweet chili sauce, chili-garlic sauce,  or any Asian chili sauce you have
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cayenne, if desired
2/3 c. whole-wheat spaghetti noodles
1 c. Asian style stir fry veggies, from your grocers freezer section

Put on a pot of water and begin to boil for the noodles. While waiting for water to boil, cook chicken in a skillet or use the same method I used in my Stir Fry recipe. Shred cooked chicken and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic powder, chili sauce, ground ginger, and cayenne, if desired.

Cook noodles in the boiling water according to package directions. About 1-2 minute before the noodles are done, add vegetables to the boiling water. Drain noodles and vegetables, reserving 1/2 c of cooking liquid.

Stir the reserved cooking liquid into the peanut sauce, add noodles, veggies, and chicken and toss until well coated. Serve hot or cold. Yum!

Tips
– Top this dish with a drizzle of Sriracha, if you dare!


– You can substitute the ground ginger for fresh and the garlic powder for fresh; just mince very finely.
– This is a perfect opportunity to use that left over chicken breast you have in the fridge!

Loaded Hash Browns

26 Mar

We woke up this morning… well, nearly afternoon, and were STARVING! We wanted to go to brunch but had too much to do so I decided to make brunch at home.

Hash Browns are one of my favorites because they are crispy, salty, and compliment just about everything you could ever think of to have for breakfast or brunch. I FINALLY went to the grocery store so I had an abundance of deliciousness to work with.

This recipe is made with homemade hash browns. If you wanted to take some help from the store and buy your own in a bag, go for it! You will seriously cut down on your time in the kitchen and the outcome will be basically the same.

Also, I am not putting measurements next to some ingredients because you can just use what you have. Add more mushrooms if you love them and take off the onions if you don’t. I would also recommend adding diced tomatoes to this dish, but due to the crazy weather we’ve been having, tomatoes aren’t in abundance right now.

Loaded Hash Browns

Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2
Level: Medium

3 small potatoes, washed and peeled
jalapeños, diced
fresh mushrooms, sliced
onions, diced
green bell pepper, diced
ham, cubed or chopped
shredded cheese
2 eggs, fried sunny side up

Preheat oven to400°. Cube, slice, or dice potatoes into small pieces.

I used a mandolin slicer to shred the potatoes. Put potatoes on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook jalapeños, mushrooms, onions,  bell peppers, and ham until cooked throughout, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside. When potatoes are done, form loosely into patties and fry in a well oiled skillet over medium-high heat, turning once. Fry until browned on both sides. Top potato patties with veggie and ham mix, cheese, and sunny side up egg. Yum!

Tips
– You can substitute the ham for bacon, turkey, etc.
– This is a great way to use up any leftover veggies or meat you may have in the fridge.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas – Vegetarian, Gluten Free, and DELICIOUS!

23 Mar

My husband, as I’ve told you before, is a die-hard carnivore. DIE-HARD. Whenever I try to make a meatless or vegetarian meal, no matter how large and filling, he always starts the meal out with an attitude of  “This is rabbit food, not human food and I will starve to death if I eat like this…” He doesn’t actual say that but he does claim to be hungry after every vegetarian meal, even though he rarely ever is…it’s all mental. But, nonetheless, I’ll cook meat. Meat, meat, meat.

Until tonight. I have decided to reclaim my love of meatless meals.  I say meatless, not vegetarian, because I never really buy vegetable stock and crowders and black eyes are best boiled with a little ham or bacon. I can’t help it… But, regardless, I stuck to my guns and started cooking.

No meat? No problem! I am so out of everything in my pantry and fridge anyway that braving the “I’m gonna be hungry later” comments made me get creative. I needed a meatless meal with tons of fiber and protien to satisfy us. I mean, what was he gonna snack on after? There is nothing there. Gah, I gotta go to the store. Maybe tomorrow.

Tonight’s meal was not only vegetarian and gluten-free but it actually TRICKED my husband into thinking it was chock full of beef. Go figure! While I was cooking, I decided not to tell him it was vegetarian to see what he would say. At the end of the meal, I asked him to guess the ingredients. He guessed refried beans and ground beef. Ehhhnnnk, both wrong.

He wasn’t “hungry” afterwards either. Success!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 (but can easily be doubled)
Level: Easy-Medium

1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/4 c. onions, chopped (optional)
2 small sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
4 small corn tortillas
1/3 c. shredded cheese
1/2 c. salsa
sour cream to top, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°. Peel and cube sweet potatoes.

In a pot of water, boil sweet potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook garlic and onions until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, black beans, and spices. Cook until heated throughout, mashing the potatoes and beans a little as they cook along. Pour 1/2 of the salsa into a small casserole dish. Divide the potato and bean mixture into fourths. Fill each tortilla with a portion of the mixture, top with a little cheese, and roll. Place on top of salsa in casserole dish,  seam side down. Top with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top with sour cream if desired. Yum!

Tips
– This was my first attempt using sweet potatoes and black beans together. I think you could use salsa verde for a different flavor and it would work nicely.
– As my friend Katie pointed out, I LOVE cumin. If you don’t… then leave it out.  No biggie!

Ham and Cheese Tart with Homemade Honey Mustard

22 Mar

Woah gracious, I’m grabbing at straws and pulling from the bottom of the barrel on these next few. I am in DESPERATE need of my monthly trip to the grocery store. I haven’t been since February 2nd. Can you believe it? Granted, we were gone for Spring Break and February is a short month but STILL! It has almost been TWO months… I love it.

I’m sort of delaying the trip a little to see how long I can last and how cleaned out my fridge and pantry can get. My husband opened the fridge tonight to fix a drink and was shocked by how empty it was!

This recipe is truly a scroungers recipe. I am down to next to nothing so I grabbed what I could and went for it. Jason said it was delicious so I reckon it wasn’t too random!

Ham and Cheese Tart

Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2-4
Level: Easy

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
3 tbsp. honey mustard (see recipe below)
a few slices of ham
1/3 c. Italian Blend or Mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375°. On an ungreased cookie sheet, roll out crescent rolls. Smoosh creases together to make one big rectangle. Spread honey mustard all over dough.

Top with ham and then sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until dough is done in the middle. Slice and serve. Yum!

I didn’t have any honey mustard in the fridge or pantry so I whipped up my own. I’m not typically a fan, but had a random craving,  so I tweaked it for my taste. Any measurement will probably work. If you like it sweeter, add more honey. Spicier? Add more cayenne. Just taste it as you make it and add ingredients accordingly.

Honey Mustard

Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

3 tbsp. low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tbsp. honey
dash or two of cayenne

Mix all ingredients together. Yum!

Tips
– Use this dressing on sandwiches or wraps. It’s really good!
– I served this tart along side tomato soup. It made for a pretty decent meal.

Chicken, Pesto, and Peas Pasta – Super Easy Monday Dinner!

21 Mar

This is a recipe that is super quick… I took  A LOT of help from the store on this one. Mondays are just so busy in my house. Getting back into the swing of things is tough when you’ve been go, go, go all weekend. All I ever want to do is kick off my shoes and sit the heck down. Spending a TON of time in the kitchen is sometimes not an option so ideas like this one are great to have handy. I say “ideas” because the recipe is fairly arbitrary. Just throw in whatever you have on hand and it’s gonna taste good.

This recipe calls for store-bought pesto. The kind that comes in a little jar and stays in the fridge after you open it is my favorite.  This little jar is a miracle worker on a busy night. You can use it a million different ways. Here are a few of my favorites:
– Spread pesto instead of pizza sauce on a quick pizza
– Spread pesto on a tortilla with leftover chicken or lunch meat and other toppings for a quick wrap
– Roll out crescent roll triangles, top each with a little pesto, a tomato slice (seeded), and a little mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 8-10 minutes for a super quick appetizer or light lunch.

Chicken, Pesto, and Peas Pasta

Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Level: Easy

1 c. spaghetti noodles
1/3 c. frozen peas
2 – 3 tbsp. pesto
1/4 – 1/3 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
1/8 c. Italian style cheese blend (or use parmesan or mozzarella)

Boil noodles according to packaged directions. In the last two minutes of boiling, add peas.

Continue boiling until done. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 2 tbsp. of the cooking liquid. Stir in pesto and chicken. Add reserved cooking liquid if needed. Top with cheese and serve warm or cold. Yum!

Tips
– Leftovers are great so double the recipe and take some to work the next day!
– sun-dried tomatoes are a delicious addition.
– Use the same pot for boiling and mixing for less dishes.
– Use whole wheat pasta for added nutrients.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – Jerk Syle

20 Mar

When the weather is nice, grilling always seems to be the greatest and most enticing way to get dinner on the table. You can sit outside and hang out with friends and family all while dinner is cooking away. Not to mention how jealous it makes your neighbors when the wonderful smell of the grill goes wafting over the fence.

We decided to use Jamaican jerk seasoning on our chicken because my mother-in-law gave us some wonderful Mississippi sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes compliment jerk seasoning very well.

Needless to say, this was delicious. It was a perfect way to end our trip to Sarasota, Florida. If you ever feel like a Hawaiian vacation but would rather stay state side… check if out. Siesta Key is AMAZING!!  Thanks for everything mom and dad! We miss y’all already!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Time: 50  minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

4 chicken breasts
1/3 c. Jamaican jerk dry seasoning
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat both sides of the grill to medium high heat. Brush olive oil on both sides of chicken breasts. Sprinkle generously with jerk seasoning. Put chicken on the grill.

 Half way through grilling, turn off one side of the grill and move chicken over to that side. Continue grilling over indirect heat until no longer pink inside. Yum!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Level: Easy

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tbsp. Jamaican jerk seasoning
1 tsp. chili powder

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and cube sweet potatoes. In a zip-loc bag, combine potatoes, olive oil, and seasonings. Shake until potatoes are covered in oil and spice mixture. Pour potatoes onto a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning once. Yum!

Tips
– We used Capt. Rodney’s dipping sauce with our chicken. It tastes like a spicy version of honey.
– As a rule of thumb, I usually use one less potato than people I’m feeding, if they are a decent size.

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