Sunday, June 12, 2011

Turkey Meatballs

Dick & I have been married almost 5 years, and just recently made my first batch of meatballs.  And I mean very first, like never in all my life before this have I made meatballs.  It was so easy, and they were so good, that I'm sure this won't be my last time.  In fact, Miss Betty Crocker gives this bit of advice to make the whole process that much more simpl:  "To save time, instead of shaping mixture into balls, pat mixture into a 9 x 3-inch rectangle in ungreased rectangular pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches.  Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares; separate slightly.  Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.  You can also use an ice cream scoop to form meatballs."  Sadly I did neither of these things because I tend not to read directions fully until it's too late.  But next time, I'll be set.

Turkey Meatballs
From Betty Crocker's Cookbook: Bridal Edition

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 c.)
1 large egg


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients.  Shape mixture into twenty 1 1/2-inch meatballs.  Place in ungreased rectangular pan, 9 x 13 x 2 inches, or on a rack in broiler pan.
3. Bake uncovered 20-25 minutes or until no longer pink in center and juice is clear.

Serve with spaghetti, or as mini meatloaves.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

dream cheese-stuffed strawberries

my good friend mj is a whiz in the kitchen.  she really comes up with the most delicious recipes, and they are always a wonderous sight to behold, too!  this is one of the creations i've borrowed from her throughout our friendship, and i know that, like me, you won't be able to stop yourself from wolfing down about a million of them.  but we can justify all that cheese and sugar with the fact that we'll get all of our fruit servings in one sitting :)
i've already made these a few times this year, and they've been a HUGE hit with family & friends!

Dream Cheese-Stuffed Strawberries
From Michaela Johnson

24 large strawberries, washed & hulled
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1. mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl.  scrape it into a large ziplock bag & snip one of the corners off with scissors.
2. pipe the cream cheese mixture into the hulled strawberries.
3. refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

3, 2, 1 & Karen Eddy Pasta Salad

 I made this pasta salad last summer.  I started this countdown to Valentine's Day at the beginning of last month.  If there is a theme for my life (or at least a dominant character flaw that seems to rear its ugly head often in my life) its procrastination - or the putting off of things and then totally forgetting about them until its a joke that I even decide to finish them out.  This recipe and the Vtine's countdown are going on the list right under the "crafty" Christmas presents I started for mine and Dick's parents in 2009.  Started is the key word in that sentence.  Neither gift was finished - they're still in my closet where I can continue to ignore them. 

With barbeque season almost upon us, I wanted to share this delicious side dish in plenty of time for you to enjoy it at your shindigs.  It is super tasty, and it comes straight from one of my family's favorite ladies in the world, the one and only, Mrs. Karen Eddy.  In fact, my mom doesn't even like bell peppers, but she's the person who recommended this recipe to me.  I'm sure the only reason she gave this salad a chance in the first place is because Karen is the one who made it.  You'll all try it because I've already shared so many lip-smacking treats with you that you know this one is bound to be a hit, too.  Right?  Right.  Enjoy Spring, my friends!

Karen Eddy's Red & Spinach Pasta Salad
From Karen Eddy


8 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked
8 oz. rigatoni pasta, cooked
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
1/2 c. red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette


Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss to coat with the vinaigrette.

finishing the movie countdown...

#3 - My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Because when you're in a relationship with someone, its not just the two of you...its your families, too.  Its sweet & funny, and I love that its not perfect.

#2 - Benny & Joon.  Not every relationship can fit into a cookie-cutter, and that's because we are all individuals.  For better or worse, you're taking the wonderful and crazy parts of the love of your life.  Its a rollercoaster, but its totally worth it when its right.  Plus, Johnny Depp is so cute when he plays a "real" person, and Aiden Quinn is dreamy!

#1 - Australia.  Because who doesn't love an epic romance that includes perfect Nicole Kidman and heavenly Hugh Jackman?!  Its long, but its so worth it! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Penne with Spinach Sauce & #4: Message in a Bottle...better late than never!

 Don't you worry, there'll be no excuses coming from me about why I stopped my countdown to Valentine's Day.  Only because I didn't stop it - I just took a little hiatus.  Still been cooking, and watching some of my fave romantic comedies, so I'm gonna finish this thing even if it takes me 'til summer.  My fingers are crossed that it won't!  Better late than never, right?  I don't believe that saying is applicable in every situation, but this is my blog, and I say it fits perfectly here.

Actually, this recipe is one you should be glad I didn't share until after the lover's holiday.  Its mighty tasty, but it'll leave your breath wreaking of garlic for days!  At least ours did.  But after nearly five years of wedded bliss, you don't really let the breath thing get in your way anymore.  Which is exactly why I chose the honorable mention that I did for today.  This pasta really is delicious, and mighty healthy, so enjoy it with whomever will tolerate your breath after.  That's how you know its true love.

Penne with Spinach Sauce
From Giada De Laurentis via


1 pound whole wheat or multi grain penne
3 garlic cloves
2 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce reduced fat cream cheese
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the penne and cook until its tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.

Mince the garlic in a food processor.  Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and half of the spinach leaves.  Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Set the cheese and spinach mixture aside.

Meanwhile, place the remaining spinach leaves in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Spoon the pasta atop the spinach leaves in the bowl.  Scrape the cheese and spinach mixture over the pasta mixture and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle Parmesan over and serve.

#4: Message in a Bottle

There was no way I could leave a Nicholas Sparks selection off my list, so I'm sharing with you the most recent of my discoveries/favorites. I'm quite the fanatic of all things Nicholas Sparks (see this post on my personal blog to see just how serious I am), which makes it a joke that I just saw Message in a Bottle for the first time a couple of months ago.  I loved it, although I was a wreck by the end (romantic and emotionally draining, just like every other movie based on one of his novels).  But so worth it!  Kind of like the pasta, kids!  If you haven't seen it, you must.  Its on Instant Play if you've got Netflix (how is it possible for technology to be a godsend and life-ruiner at the same time?  I could seriously watch Netflix for days at a time!).

The Honorable Mention for the night is Couple's Retreat.  Its funny because its true.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

#5: French Kiss & Crock Pot Spinach Lasagna

Every two weeks I host a healthy taster table at work (a fun part of my job as the employee wellness coordinator), and I saw this recipe on one of fave cooking blogs last week: Gourmified.  It looked pretty darn good, and the guest host who posted it gave raving reviews of it.  I put it on my list of recipes to sample for my bi-weekly taster.  When I saw it on yet another of the blogs I follow: Just Cook Already, I bumped it right to the top of the list tout suite!  Today was the day, and it was quite the success.  It even rivals my current favorite lasagna (which is also super quick and healthy) which you can find the recipe to right here.  Anyway, I hope you and whoever you choose to treat with this dinner find it as fabulous as we all did!

Crock Pot Spinach Lasagna
From Jessica Seinfeld


1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 container (15 oz.) part skim ricotta cheese
1 ½ c. grated mozzarella cheese
¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
8-12 lasagna noodles (depending on the size of your crock pot; precooked noodles are not necessary!)
6 c. fresh baby spinach


1. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, black pepper and red pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, and parmesan.
2. In the bottom of a 5-6 quart slow cooker, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit, if necessary). Spread about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach. Dollop 1/3 of the cheese mixture evenly over the top. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce, and ½ cup of mozzarella.
3. Cook on low, covered until the noodles are tender – especially in the center of the lasagna – about 3 to 3 ½ hours.
#5 = French Kiss

Ok, so I know this is not the most romantic scene from the movie, but it is one of the funniest for sure!  This one is just one of those great, sweet romantic comedies.  Its classic Meg Ryan (pre plastic surgery nightmare), and if you don't already love Kevin Kline, you will after this movie.  He's offensive, and its fantastic. 

Speaking of offensive...the honorable mention for today is Pretty Woman.  If someone were to tell you that a story about a hooker would make a great romantic comedy, you might not believe them.  But then you see the movie and you admit that you were wrong-o!  I love this movie - again, its no oscar winner, but its classic.  My grandmother even loves this movie ha!  If you haven't seen it, it's time to just get it over with.  You'll be glad you did.  Promise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits, #6 = Romeo & Juliet

Due to the fact that I've been super out of touch, and out of cooking practice if I'm being quite honest, I'm posting this recipe which I actually baked back at the beginning of December.  Better late than never, no?  Yes.  I took these biscuits to dinner with some family/friends and they were a BIG, BIG hit.  Dick loved them, I loved them, our cousins/friends loved them, and they went surprisingly well with the delicious ribs that cousin John slaved over for dinner.  They are nice and sweet...just like Romeo.  Again with the bad transition, I know.  But I'm kinda flying by the seat of my briches here, so you'll just have to deal.
Enjoy this one, food lovers - its quick, easy, and might darn tasty!

Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
From Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours


2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
5 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 10 peices
1/2 cold sour cream
1/4 c. cold milk
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans, preferably toasted


1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line baking sheet w/ silicone paper.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl.  Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps.  Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour.  Quickly cut & rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.  You'll have pea-size pieces and smaller.
3. Stir the sour cream and milk together and pour over the dry ingredients.  Grab a fork and gently toss and turn the ingredients together until you've got a nice soft dough.  Now reach into the bowl with your hands and give the dough a quick, gentle kneading - 3 or 4 turns should be just enough to bring everything together.  Toss in the pecans and knead another 2-3 times to incorporate them.
4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough.  Dust the top of the dough very lightly with flour and pat the dough out with your hands or roll it with a pin until it is about 1/2 inch high.  Don't worry if the dough isn't completely even.
5. Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can.  Try to cut the biscuits close to one another so you get the most you can out of this first round.  By hand or with a small spatula, transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet.  Gather together the scraps, working them as little as possible, pat out to a 1/2 inch thickness and cut as many additional biscuits as you can; transfer these to the sheet (the biscuits can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept for up to 2 months.  Bake w/out defrosting - just add a couple ore minutes to the oven time.
6. Bake the biscuits for 14-18 minutes, or until they are tall, puffed and golden brown.  Transfer them to a serving basket.

#6: Romeo & Juliet

Clearly this is the longest clip ever, but it's my favorite part of the movie!  I was in the 6th grade when I first saw this movie, and totally swooning over Leo - after falling in love and crying my eyes out (7 times!) in Titanic ha!  Anyway, I still think this is one of the sweetest scenes ever.  The whole movie isn't the greatest, but this love story is probably the most famous love story in the world, so it makes my countdown this year.  Because of cutie-patutie DiCaprio, the honorable mention for tonight is Titanic.  Loved it then.  Love it still.  I'll never let go.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dinner & a Movie Countdown to Valentine's Day: Bewitching Potato-Carrot Pancakes & #7 Pride & Prejudice

I know I've been totally MIA forEVER, but I'm not gonna miss this opportunity to share some of the delicious recipes we've been enjoying and gush about some of my favorite romantic movies...just in time for the holiday of lovers!  See last year's countdown HERE.

Folks, this is a cooking/foodie blog, so let's get right to the heart of this post...the food!

The first time I tasted potato-carrot pancakes was in San Francisco at the Home Plate, where I fell in love with their breakfast menu.  I've tried to re-create some of the other dishes we tasted there, to some disappointment I must admit, but these little latkes were a delight!  Plus, they gave me an excuse to use my new-ish food processor that Grandma Shirl gave me for my birthday!  Not gonna lie, the power of food processors is a little frightening, but it was an adventure nonetheless. If you love breakfast for dinner as much as I do, and you're sick of resorting to pancakes/waffles/french toast every single time, then this is just the ticket, my friends.  I hope you are bewitched by these potato-carrot pancakes as Mr. Darcy is for E. Bennet!  Horrible transition, but just scroll down, will ya?

Potato-Carrot Pancakes
From Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast


3/4 lbs (about 3 medium) white potatoes, peeled
8 oz. (about 3 medium) carrots, peeled
1/2 c. thinly sliced scallions
coarse salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. matzo meal
1/4 c. vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 c. reduced fat sour cream, for serving
1/4 c. apple sauce (sweetened or not), for serving


1. In a food processor fitted with a fine-hole grating attachment (or on the small holes of a box grater), grate the potatoes and carrots.  Transfer to a large bowl; add the scallions and 1 1/2 tsp. salt.  Using your hands, mix thoroughly.  Mix in the egg and the matzo meal until combined.  Divide into 8 mounds of equal size.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat, swirling to coat bottom of pan.  Add half the potato mounds; flatten each to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cook until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per side.
3. Transfer to paper towels or parchment paper to drain.  Rpeat with the remaining mounds (reduce the temperature to medium if browning too quickly).  Sprinkle with salt, and serve with sour cream and apple sauce, if desired.

#7 - Pride & Prejudice (the newer one)

I just finished reading this book (yes, the book) for the first time ever today, and may I tell you that Mr. Darcy is just as horrible and wonderful on pages as he is on the silver screen?  He has bewitched ME body and soul, and I am now a die-hard Jane Austen fan.  For real.  Not just because I love the movies that are based on her books.  To tell you the truth, I actually hope that Sense and Sensibility is a much better book than movie because I don't like that movie at all
If you can get your man to watch this with you, then you have more lady powers than I do because Dick is so not a fan of this flick.  May have something to do with Kiera Nightly's underbite, but that can't be the only reason. 
Because I do love Jane Austen, I must also add this honorable mention:  Becoming Jane.  I do love Anne Hathaway, but this movie is just so romantic, and sweet, and tragic.  I love it.  And I love James McAvoy.  Enjoy, my lovely friends!

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