Another family recipe!

As I have grown older, I have learned to appreciate the simple things in life. Looking back, I can definitely admit I took a lot for granted growing up. Now that I’m older, and living away from my family, I look forward to and truly cherish any time I get to spend with my family. Family recipes are just one way that I pay tribute to how grateful I am for my family!

For the recipe below, I have to given credit to my Aunt. I have always loved family get togethers and cookouts because I could almost always guarantee that my Aunt was going to make this! In the case of today, it was in honor of college football. Even though our local team had a home game, we stayed home to cookout and watch the Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma game that was playing at about the same time. And what a great decision that was!!!!!

Rotini (Macaroni) Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups short cut pasta, uncooked (I used Rotini because that’s what I had on hand)
1 cup light Miracle Whip
2 tbsp yellow mustard
3 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup Spelnda sugar blend
1/2 can fat free evaporated milk
Pinch of salt
Carrots, onions, celery, peppers, hard boiled eggs — to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine Miracle whip, mustard, vinegar, sugar, and evaporated milk. Stir until smooth.

Chop desired vegetables. I used shredded carrots and onion. I did not have celery on hand, but I normally would add that as well, and I never use peppers. Just do not like them in this salad.

In a large bowl, combine drained pasta, dressing mix, veggies. It will seem like too much, but as it sits the pasta absorbs the sauce. Place in refrigerator to cool. Stir in chopped egg just before serving.

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This would be a great addition to any get-together, cookout, or tailgate!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

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Taco Twist!

Even though we did not have a football game to go to, there is no reason why we can’t cook it up like a tailgate!

Our gameday meal was inspired by my parents. I had spoken to them the night before, and they had told me that two of my brothers were coming to their house that night for tacos. I really like tacos, but do not make them very often.

Ordinary tacos did not appeal to me on gameday. I really wanted burgers and hotdogs, but how could I make them different?? I took to Pinterest. No recipes stood out. So I just came up with something myself. This is so simple, and only requires 2 ingredients!!!

Taco Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

4 ready-made turkey burgers (or you can patty your own)
1 package low sodium taco seasoning

Directions:

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Grease with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of each burger with taco seasoning, being sure to rub it in so it sticks to the burgers.

Depending on the size of your pan, sautΓ© burgers 5-6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (I cooked 2 burgers at a time, and had my oven on low to keep first 2 burgers warm while I cooked the last 2).

Serve with all the fixings of you and your family’s choice. I set up an assembly line of sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, and shredded cheese. I also made my favorite black bean and corn salsa (minus the edamame) with tortilla chips.

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I was really unsure how this would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised! They were so good, and tasted just like a taco, but better!!!

Have fun, and make it to suit your family!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Very Inspiring Blogger!!

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I had ever intention of sharing this sooner, but my little guy had gotten so sick, and it was very difficult for me to take the time to sit down and focus on it.

At the end of last week I woke up to find out I had been nominated for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award by The Single Gourmet, who as you can tell, is also passionate about food!

There are a few rules that apply to this nomination, as you will see below.

The rules of the awards are:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.

3. Share 7 random things about yourself.

4. Select 15 blogs for the award.

5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

7 Random Facts About Me:

1. I spent most of my young childhood and teenage years in a ballet studio for more than 30 hours a week. In fact, I still keep in touch with my dance teacher on a regular basis (The Hanover School Of Ballet).

2. As a member of the dance company growing up, I had the opportunity to travel to 7 European countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria) and China as an ambassador of dance for the United States.

3. I am 1 of 4 children, with 3 brothers. Family is everything to me!

4. I LOVE college football!!! (As has been evident in some of my previous blog posts.) GO IRISH!!

5. My real job is working as a Speech-Language Pathologist at a local hospital. And, oddly enough, I have my former, childhood dentist to thank for introducing me to this profession! So rewarding, and I actually love going to work every day!

6. I am originally from Pennsylvania, and I miss all the restaurants and foods I can only get there!

7. I wish I had a green thumb! I attempted to grow my own vegetable and herb container garden, but I was not successful. I started with 4 herbs and 3 vegetable plants, and only 1 remains, my green pepper plant!

Nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:

Most of the blogs nominated are in some way related to food and/or cooking because that’s where my passion lies, but there are blogs with other interests mixed in. Please take time and check them out!

1. Eating Naturally

2. The Nutrition Doctor

3. Ranting Chef

4. Hiking Photography

5. Delicious Goodies Galore

6. Train Lean. Think Clean.

7. Simply Speech

8. The Southern Yankee

9. Weeknight Treats

10. Fitness Food and You

11. Running On Pumpkin

12. The Cook’s Life

13. Fitness and Feta

14. Balanced Fork, Healthy Life

15. Sweet and Crumby

Congrats to all those that were nominated, and I hope all my viewers enjoy looking to see what each of these bloggers have to offer!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Thai Takeout…..at home!!!

My husband and I love Thai food, but it can often be a bit pricey to get takeout and it is not usually very healthy. However, this should not stop us for enjoying Thai food at home!

I had a bunch of basil left over from a previous recipe (Greek Stuffed Pork Chops) that’s wanted to use before it went bad. So, as usual, I took to Pinterest to find something that looked good, was easy to make, and relatively healthy.

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Spicy Thai Chicken

Ingredients:

2 tsp canola oil
2 shallots, minced
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Splenda blend sugar
1 tsp sriracha sauce (depending how spicy you like it)
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add shallots to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken to the pan. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir often.

Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, sriracha, water, and cornstarch. Add the mixture to the chicken, and cook for 1 minute. Stir to coat chicken. Mixture will thicken.

Remove from heat then add the fresh basil. Serve immediately.

**Recipe credit: For The Love of Cooking

This was a delicious dish! I served it along with brown rice (for my husband) and whole wheat thin spaghetti (for me) as well as steamed broccoli. Because I am not a rice lover, I think next time I make this I will double or triple the quantity of all the ingredients that go into making the sauce. This way it would better coat and incorporate the whole wheat pasta.

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Rise and Shine!

This morning our sick little man had us up at 5:00AM!!! We tried so hard to get him to fall back asleep, but without success. After some time, we thought giving him a breathing treatment might do the trick. And we were right!! Within minutes he was fast asleep, and when the treatment ended, he continued to sleep as he was put back in his crib.

By now, it was 7:00AM, and I was already exhausted! I really wanted to go to sleep, but as a concerned mom, I just couldn’t make myself go to sleep. So what did I do instead???

I got on Pinterest, and began pinning away to find something to make my family for breakfast when they woke up. It needed to be something that included ingredients I already had on hand, and it needed to be easy!

Baked Egg and Hash Brown Cups

Ingredients:

20 oz package shredded potatoes, with extra liquid removed
Eggs (amount may vary, I needed 16)
1/3 cup shredded cheese, plus extra to melt on top
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine hash browns, oil, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide evenly among the cups in your muffin tin (again, for me this was 16).

Bake hash browns at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until edges are toasted.

Remove from the oven, and reduce to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, crack an egg into each of the cups on top of the hash browns (I used 10 eggs, and equivalent of 6 eggs in Egg Beaters).

Top with bacon and a sprinkle of extra cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes, or until eggs are to desired firmness.

Slide a knife along the edges to remove from pan once partially cooled.

**Recipe Inspiration: The Little Birdie

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ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Saturday is……

……GAMEDAY!!!!!

In honor of my love of college football, I made something very “tailgate-like” for dinner in my house. However, I also wanted it to be somewhat healthy since I am still trying to shed a few pounds (Just over 15 pounds lost since July…yay!).

I had some leftover fresh-frozen turkey burgers from our last tailgate. I really wanted to make those along with hotdogs, but how could I make them more than just regular premade grilled turkey burgers. I was craving buffalo wings, but knew that was not an option! One, I did not have any wings, and secondly, they are not always the healthiest.

For my son’s tailgate and sports first birthday party I had made buffalo wings for the first time. The recipe was so simply I thought maybe I could somehow use a version of it for dinner tonight. But a buffalo burger was not enough. I needed a sauce! Then, for our Super Bowl party, I made a buffalo chicken ring (thanks to a Pinterest search), and also thought there was a way to incorporate parts of that recipe too!

Here is what I came up with……

Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Ranch Sauce

Ingredients:

4 fresh turkey burgers (I used Jenny-O)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Ken’s)
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
Cooking spray
4 slices Swiss cheese

Line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly spray with cooking spray.

Combine flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt in a shallow bowl or plate.

Coat each of the turkey burgers in the flour mixture, being careful not to break them (mine were not completely thawed which helped keep them together). Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a shallow bowl, combine buffalo sauce and melted butter. Coat each of the burgers in buffalo sauce. Return to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the burgers.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, turning half way through. During last couple minutes of baking, top each burger with 1 slice of Swiss cheese. Return to oven until melted.

Sauce:

2 tbsp low fat cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp fat free sour cream
1 tsp dry ranch dressing mix
1 stalk celery, chopped small

While the burgers are cooking, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

**Recipe adapted from: All Recipes

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This was a perfect GAMEDAY dinner!! Even better that my team just won in overtime! GO IRISH!!!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Chicken Piccata(ish)!

There is no significant story behind tonight’s dinner. Other than the fact that I laid some chicken out to thaw before I left for work this morning. Initially I had planned to make plain baked chicken, but for some reason I was not content with that!

I took to Pinterest to find something delicious, and came across the recipe below. The original recipe was a typical chicken piccata, but I changed it up a bit

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Baked Chicken Piccata

Ingredients:

8 chicken pieces (I used 2 thighs and 6 drumsticks)
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 cup plain bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 cup Flour, Plus 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
2 whole Lemon, juiced
1 whole Lemon, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cup Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Butter, softened
Cooking Oil Spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray foil-lined baking sheet.

In non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat up 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour in both panko and plain bread crumbs and toast until golden brown. Stir often to avoid burning. Pour into shallow bowl or plate. Stir in 1 tbsp dried parsley. Let cool.

In two other separate bowls, place 1 cup flour and 1 whisked egg. Salt and pepper flour to taste (I just did a few turns of my salt and pepper mills).

Dredge each piece of chicken in flour, covering throughly. Then dip into egg wash, coating throughly. Then transfer and coat with toasted bread crumbs. Place onto prepared baking Sheet. Repeat with other chicken pieces.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside.

In large non-stick skillet heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and cook until about 30 seconds. Stir in chili pepper flakes, lemon juice, lemon slices, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Cook until reduced by half.

When the liquid is reduced, in small bowl stir together 1 1/2 tablespoon of flour and softened butter. This will create a thickening agent for the sauce. Whisk into reduced sauce pan and bring to a boil. Continue to stir until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

**Recipe adapted from: Country Cleaver

This was yet another simple weeknight meal. It would also be great to entertain guests!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

This is a first!

I am always cooking with chicken or fish, and posting those recipes! But……I love pork too! I just try not to eat too much of it. In fact, one of my all-time favorite dishes is pork and sauerkraut. My grandma says we have to eat it every New Year’s Day for good luck the Reston the year. My mouth is watering now just thinking about pork and sauerkraut! Hehe!! πŸ™‚

Tonight I tried something I had never done with pork chops. I stuffed them!

Greek Stuffed Pork Chops

Ingredients:

2 bone-in pork chops, thick cut (at least 1/2 inch)
2 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 reduced fat feta cheese crumbles
1 tbsp sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking spray (I used Cisco Olive Oil flavor.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray bottom of 8×8 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, feta, basil, and sundried tomatoes.

Using a knife, cut pocket in pork chop (like in stuffed chicken). Being sure not to cut through any sides of the pork chop.

Dividing the cheese mixture equally, stuff it into each of the pork chops. Seal with 1-2 toothpicks (dependent on the size of your pocket opening).

Season one side of pork chop with salt and pepper. Place seasoned side down in greased baking dish. Spray top of pork chops lightly with cooking spray. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes (depending on pork chop thickness). Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil and let it rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

**Recipe adapted from: Grilled Pork Chop

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Along with the stuffed pork chops I served a mixture of green beans and wax beans. I purchased one package of each from my produce section. They came in “ready to steam” packages.

Lemon Beans

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package “steam ready” green beans (fresh, not frozen)
1 8 oz package “steam ready” wax beans (fresh, not frozen)
1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Prepare beans according to package directions. Mine required cutting small slit in package, and then microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Once beans are cooked, place in a bowl. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

**Recipe Inspiration: Martha Stewart

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This was a delicious and simple meal. It would be a perfect weeknight meal for 2!!!

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚

Repeat Recipe!

Thanks to very little time and preparation this morning, dinner was mostly ready to serve when I got home from work.

This slow cooker chicken curry requires only a few ingredients, and is easy to throw together before you leave the house in the morning.

Last time whenI made this I used all boneless, skinless chicken breast. This time, I used a combination of chicken breast and thighs. ENJOY!!!

cookingwithatwist

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I have always been a fan of different cuisines. Since meeting my husband, I have fell in love with Indian food, although I wish I knew how to cook it really well. This recipe is a slight nod to my husband’s ethnicity and his family. It’s a novice cooks way to introduce a little cultural cuisine to their family.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-16 oz. jars chunky salsa
2 onions, chopped
4 tbsp curry powder
2 cups fat free sour cream

Directions:

Place chicken in slow cooker.

Combine salsa, onion, and curry powder in a bowl.

Pour over chicken. Cover with lid.

Cook on low 8 to 10 hours (or on high 5 hours).

Transfer chicken to a plate. Cover to keep warm.

Add sour cream to slow cooker, and stir until well incorporated.

Serve over chicken with rice or steamed vegetables. I also…

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A day late….

……it was well worth the wait!!!

The recipe below was supposed to be yesterday’s dinner, but I just ran out of steam! After going to a “moms’ night out” Thursday, dinner with friends Friday, tailgate and football game Saturday, and the aquarium yesterday, I was tapped out. But today, I was determined to get back to cooking!

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Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons egg whites or egg beaters, divided
5 oz frozen spinach, squeezed dry of any liquid
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese, divided
10 oz reduced fat shredded mozzarella, divided
olive oil non-stick spray
1 jar pasta sauce (about 16 oz)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut pocket in thick side of each chicken, being careful not to cut through the other side (like in the cordon-bleu chicken recipe).

In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheese (for coating).

In another bowl, 1/4 cup egg beaters or egg whites (for coating).

In a third bowl, combine spinach, 1/4 cup mozzarella, 2 tbsp egg substitute, and 1/2 cup ricotta cheese.

Divide cheese and spinach mixture evenly among the chicken breasts, and fill pockets. Seal chicken breasts with a toothpick. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Coat each chicken with egg, and then breadcrumb mixture. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of chicken. Place in greased baking dish. Spray top of chicken lightly with cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine pasta sauce and remaining ricotta cheese. Heat through.

Remove chicken from the oven, top with sauce and desired mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

**Recipe adapted from: Skinny Taste

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I served this along with steamed broccoli, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.

ENJOY!! πŸ™‚