Saturday, August 28, 2010

Turkey Cacciatore Burgers on Portobello "Buns"

Last night Jay O. and I had date night at the house.  It felt weird actually being able to stay home on a weekend night, and not be on the go!  But, it was nice =)  I cooked dinner and we watched the movie "Unforgiven."  Westerns definitely aren't my first choice for movies, but this one was made in 1992 (more recent) and we both enjoyed it.  So, ladies, if your significant other is dying to watch a Western recommend this one =)  Not too shabby.  

Now, for the recipe...I'm sure you are wondering (just as I was) what in the world cacciatore means.  Well, it means it's prepared with tomato, onion, mushrooms, and herbs giving it Italian spice & flavor.  I HIGHLY recommend this recipe!  It looks like there are a lot of ingredients you would have to purchase, but most things you probably have in your pantry or are very inexpensive.  We served ours with baked fries.  Here goes:  

The recipe says 4 servings, but I made 5 patties because they would have been toooooo big with just 4.


·         1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
·         Salt and pepper
·         6 crimini mushrooms (baby portobellos) stems removed and finely chopped
·         1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
·         1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
·         2 cloves garlic, smashed away from skin and finely chopped
·         3 tablespoons tomato paste
·         1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
·         1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
·         1/2 cup grated Parmesan, a couple of handfuls
·         Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
·         Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
·         4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
·         Coarse salt and black pepper
·         2 cups arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
·         1/2 pound fresh mozzarella or fresh smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced  (I RECOMMEND SMOKED)
·         Sliced red onion and sliced plum tomatoes (only if you would like these to top it off)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Combine meat with salt and pepper, chopped crimini mushrooms, chopped bell pepper, chopped onion, garlic, tomato paste, Worcestershire, crushed red pepper flakes, cheese and parsley. Score and form meat into 4 large patties, 1 inch thick. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top the patties then fry 5 or 6 minutes on each side in a hot skillet.
Place portobello caps on a small baking sheet gill side up and brush extra-virgin olive oil on them. Roast the caps 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and season them with salt and pepper. Turn oven off. Top each cap with about 1/2 cup arugula and a burger. Cap burger with mozzarella and place back in still-warm oven. Melt the cheese 1 minute (I did it for 2). Transfer burgers on "bun" bottoms to plates. Top with onions and tomatoes and serve.

This will definitely be a staple in your recipe box!  

I hope you love it as much as we did =)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Playing Chef! - 3 great recipes

Jay O. & I went to the lake this weekend for probably the last time of the summer (sigh), and spent the weekend with my parents.  Since my Mom & Dad always work so hard to prepare the meals and get things together for the weekends at the lake, I decided to treat them to me going to the grocery store & Jay O. & I cooking all of the meals:)  We enjoyed trying new recipes, and I think my Mom & Dad enjoyed getting to kick back & relax!!!

For lunch on Saturday...

*Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad*


  • 1/2  pound  uncooked  whole wheat penne rigate
  • 2  cups shredded skinless, boneless Grilled Lemon-Herb Chick 
  • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  cup  sliced green onions
  • 1/2  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  chopped plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
  • 1/4  cup  fresh orange juice
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1  tablespoon  extravirgin olive oil
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (I substituted jalapeno for spice, because I find the chipotle chiles almost impossible to find!!!)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken and next 5 ingredients (through tomato); toss well to combine.
Combine orange juice and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill
I used a lemon-herb rotisserie chicken from Kroger, removed the skin and shredded the chicken for the pasta, and I also used an entire box of penne rigate pasta, and about 2 cups of corn so that the pasta would have leftovers for the following day:)
This recipe is courtesy of with a few minor changes.  They say any leftover grilled chicken, etc. would work perfectly.

If you would like to make your own chicken for the above recipe...


  • 1  (5-pound) roasting chicken
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray


Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water, and pat dry. Trim excess fat. Place chicken, breast side down, on a cutting surface. Cut chicken in half lengthwise along backbone (do not cut through breastbone). Turn chicken over. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.
Combine parsley, thyme, juice, salt, and pepper; rub mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Gently press skin to secure. Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Place chicken, skin side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 55 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 180°. Remove chicken from grill; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Remove and discard the skin.

Nutritional Information

9.9g (sat 3.6g,mono 3.8g,poly 1g)
*this nutrition info. is if you have 1 1/3 cup of the pasta.  If you have this big of a portion you would want it to be your entire meal, or you can use it as a side item.  
I served the pasta with fresh fruit, and also had sandwiches on a french loaf as an option, too.

For dinner we used Charlie & Ashley's chicken recipe that's a few entries down on the blog with the tomato, feta, and basil (amazing!), grilled pineapple (my favorite), and had the salad below which will be a definite go to for a fresh & healthy summer option! :

*Garden Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette*
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)


  • 3  tablespoons  fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons  extravirgin olive oil
  • 2  teaspoons  honey
  • 1  teaspoon  red wine vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

  • SALAD:
  • 1 1/2  cups  (1 x 1/4-inch) julienne-cut zucchini
  • 1 1/2  cups  (1 x 1/4-inch) julienne-cut yellow squash
  • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped red onion
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup low-fat feta cheese


To prepare vinaigrette, combine the first 7 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
To prepare salad, combine zucchini and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss well. Cover and chill.
Only 101 calories per serving!!!

For breakfast this morning I made a tasty sweet treat, French toast!  I know my recipes are usually more on the healthy side, but, come on...splurge on occasion!!!  I definitely think it was worth it:)


4 eggs
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sugar
powdered sugar
French Bread or Texas Toast


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk 4eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of salt in a shallow bowl. Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Working in batches, dip 6 thick slices bread into mixture, cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, adding more butter as needed. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until puffed, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in the same skillet until browned, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the French toast with the browned butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup. (we made homemade maple syrup, but if you prefer to buy it, that works too...just make sure to heat it up in the microwave!)
All of this made for a perfect weekend.  It was nice to finally have a few low key days, and not to be pressed for time:)  I love my family very much!  Missed you Hatley!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

*Chilled Corn Dip Recipe, Becca in town, & Wedding Festivites*

This weekend was a GREAT one.  We had the now Mr. & Mrs. Wes Mickel's wedding which was fabulous, and Mary made an absolutely gorgeous bride!  And, Becca got to make it to town for the weekend & wedding festivities as well.  She hadn't been home since Christmas!!!  I had a great weekend with Becca being in town, and it was a blast seeing all of our friends.  Saturday during the day I enjoyed acting like 12 year old's at the pool with Megan and Becca (judging their splash contest off the diving boards with the youngin's gave me quite a laugh), and having a dance party & slumber party that night!  It was also very nice having Jay O. be able to hang out with all of us now that the studying is over:)

Saturday evening before the wedding we had a few friends over for appetizers & wine, & corn dip is one of the things we prepared.  The recipe is below.  Becca, thanks for making such pretty mini caprese salad's on toothpicks and Megan thanks for the shrimp cocktail, yum! 

• 2 (11-ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained
• 1 cup Light Sour Cream
• 1 cup Light Mayonnaise
• 3 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
• 3 large fresh jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and minced
• 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning, or more to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

In medium bowl, combine corn, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, chilies and peppers; mix together well. Stir in seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning and black pepper; taste mixture, adding more if desired. Stir in cheese.

2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve with multi-grain tortilla chips, or if you're wanting to splurge go for Frito's :)

Nutrition Analysis
Calories 68 , Total Fat 6g , Saturated Fat 2g , Sodium 178mg , Carbohydrates 4g , Protein 1g , Calcium 30mg  


Sunday, August 8, 2010

*Spinach & Artichoke Dip*

 This dip is delicious, and very east to prepare.  It will be a hit at any party and has ingredients that everyone is sure to love.

Yield: 5 1/2 cups


  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 3  garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1  (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1  (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1  (13.5-ounce) package baked tortilla chips (about 16 cups)


Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Serve with tortilla chips.

picture from

Now, let your taste buds go wild! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

*Summer Squash Soup with Farfalle Pasta & Herbs*

Tonight Jay O. & I were wanting something light & healthy & decided that a summer soup would be perfect.  I absolutely loved this recipe and it's perfect for a low key night at home, & very easy to prepare!


  • 6  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3  cups  water
  • 2 1/4  cups  uncooked farfalle (about 6 ounces bow tie pasta)
  • 2  cups  finely chopped yellow squash
  • 2  cups  finely chopped zucchini
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh parsley
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  cup  thinly sliced fresh basil

I used fresh basil since that was the herb the recipe calls the most for, and I used dry parsley, thyme, and oregano.  I hate buying a whole thing of parsley, etc. just to use a 1/2 tsp...silly!  


Bring broth and water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add pasta, and cook 8 minutes or until almost tender. Add squash and the next 7 ingredients (through pepper). Reduce heat, and simmer 5-10 minutes or until pasta is done and squash is tender (the longer the more the flavor will soak in:)). Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Nutritional Information

269 (15% from fat)
4.6g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.2g,poly 0.5g)
I served it with rustic garlic bread.  Very yummy!!!

Grilled chicken stuffed with tomatoes, feta, & basil - Ashley & Charlie's Amazing Supper Club!

Last night we had our monthly supper club. This time it was at Ashley & Charlie's.  They did a FABULOUS job & I loved the chicken so much that I had to get the recipe!  Definitely recommend it :)

lemon pepper
fresh basil
feta cheese
you will need a mallet

Flatten out the chicken breast with a mallet
Marinate in worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with lemon pepper
Lay fresh basil, tomatoes, and feta cheese in the middle and roll up the breast. Hold together with skewers.
You may have to fold over breast like a taco instead of a burrito for cooking reasons.

We had a big group so they had to do a lot of chicken & ingredients, but just fill the chicken with as much of each thing as you'd like.

The cute soon to be wed couple!

Thanks Ashley & Charlie!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Recipes at the Lake

This year was another great time at the lake.  We had a bigger group than any other year, and it was an absolute blast.  Having great friends makes it easier on Jay O. & me with all of their help, & makes us want to continue to make it an annual trip.  We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!

Some of the recipes I cooked:

Grilled Fish Tacos with Tequila-Lime Aioli:


  • 3 limes, juiced 
  • 1 tablespoon tequila
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 ounces cod or firm white fish, cut in 1-inch pieces 
  • 16 (8-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded white cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup very thinly sliced red onion


In medium bowl, combine lime juice, tequila, cumin, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly. Add the fish and toss to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.
Grill your fish.  Depending on the size of the filet, it usually takes 3-4 min. on each side.

Warm tortillas on grill or pan. Cover with a towel to keep warm.(I just warmed mine in the microwave in between two damp paper towels).
Mix cabbage, cilantro and onion. Stack 2 tortillas; place 1/8th of fish on top of each, and top with cabbage mixture, Pico de Gallo, and Tequila Lime Aioli. Serve immediately.

Pico de Gallo:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper
In a bowl, mix all ingredients, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 1 hour for flavors to meld.

Tequila Lime Aioli:

  • 3 tablespoons premium tequila
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper
In small bowl, combine all ingredients and chill for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I also used shrimp.  I marinated the shrimp in the same marinade as the fish & cooked them in an iron skillet on the stove keeping them separate from the cod fish.  I also doubled the recipe of the fish tacos since we had a large group.  If you double the recipe of the aioli, do NOT double the amount of tequila because it tasted too strong so we had to add even more sour cream.  ENJOY!




  • 2 cups fresh or frozen whole kernel corn (I used 2 large cans Del Monte sweet corn & 2 cans mexicorn, & doubles the rest of the below ingredients)
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 scallions, chopped into 1/4-inch segments
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup salad oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Combine corn, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and scallions in salad bowl. In a separate bowl, blend sour cream with salt, pepper, vinegar, oil and chopped cilantro. Add sour cream mixture to corn and toss gently to coat. Chill and serve in large bowl, family style.  DELICIOUS! 


Chilled Seafood Pasta Salad

- 1 box shell, bow-tie or tri-colored pasta...your preference (use 2 if you have a large group & double remaining ingredients)
- 1/2 cup light mayo
-3/4 cup light Italian dressing
-1/2 cup chopped red onion
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-1 pkg. imitation crab
-1 lb. shrimp (you can buy already cooked, just make sure to remove the tails)
-salt & pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
Mix in mayo, Italian dressing, red onion, bell pepper, imitation crab (tear into small pieces), & shrimp.
Sprinkle salt & pepper to taste.
Chill for 2 hours minimum.  You can prepare this the day ahead. 

I served the chilled seafood pasta with 2 large submarine sandwiches on french loafs to make it easy for everyone to grab their food quickly & eat so we could get back to the lake!

With our dinner Saturday night we had a salad with our burgers & turkey dogs.  We also bought the baked potato salad from the Kroger market to go with our dinner...absolutely amazing!  A few people asked for the ingredients, so this is what I put in the salad:)

Yummy "go-to" Salad:

Salad Ingredients:
-1 bunch of romaine lettuce
- 1 head of lettuce, shredded
-1 bag turkey bacon
-1 avacado
-1 container feta cheese
-1/2 red onion, diced
-1 tomato, diced
-Light Italian Dressing
-Nature's Seasoning sprinkled across the top