Caprese Pasta Salad

 

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Caprese Pasta Salad is full of juicy and colorful heirloom tomatoes, Bocconcini mozzarella balls , and freshly hand picked basil. Use your favorite type of noodles for the pasta to make this a fun Summer time salad.

Went to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning before my gym class and picked up these beautiful heirloom tomatoes.

I also got some golden potatoes and made a hash with them which I should have taken a pic of but never did. That was delicious. Maybe next time.

I’ve got heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden, but those won’t be ready until probably Fall. The basil is ready but I noticed something or some tiny critter has been eating them. Don’t know if they’re bugs or rabbits. Stop eating my basil please! I couldn’t wait to make this salad until Fall, so bless those farmer’s markets for allowing me to make this early. If only they sold fresh mozzarella cheese. My farmer’s doesn’t, but maybe yours does?

Today was spent getting rid of clutter. I didn’t know how much kitchen crap I had until today. My closet in the dining room was chuck full of everything so I went through it all and got rid of stuff I’ve never used in a long time. There were lots of magazine cook books, tuperware containers, and jars that were tossed out or will eventually go to the boys ranch. There were a stack of plates in the closet that I never even knew were in there until today. Haven’t used them for a long time, and yes, I collect plates. Some people may collect other things like baseball cards, cds, legos, comic books, or action figures. Me, I collect plates. Pretty plates from all over place, and there’s quite a few of them. I could have a get together of about 40 people and each of them would have a different plate and napkin to go with it. I’m crazy I know.

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Caprese Pasta Salad
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 6oz Bowtie Pasta
  • 1 pint of heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ a package of boccini mozzarella balls
  • 6 large basil leaves, cut into strips
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta for 8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  2. In a bowl combine the the tomatoes, boccicini balls, basil, and salt and pepper.
  3. In a skillet, heat the two teaspoons of olive oil and garlic until fragrant.
  4. Add the olive oil and garlic into the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Then the cooked pasta. Enjoy.

 

Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

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This pizza is all my favorite ingredients combined into one. Buffalo chicken + bacon + ranch + and pizza!  I didn’t want to use buffalo wing sauce as the pizza sauce, so I used ranch dressing instead.  What a good idea that was, it made the perfect sauce. Buffalo wing sauce would have been way too spicy for me. I like a little heat, but not that much.

I’m not really sure where my love for buffalo chicken anything started. It could be all those nights spent at Buffalo Wild Wings watching hockey games on the tv during college.  The internet just seems to love Buffalo Chicken ANYTHING too. You can’t go wrong. Whenever there’s a buffalo chicken recipe on foodgawker or pinterest, I automatically pin it to try it out for later. If you love all the ingredients listed above I guarantee you will love this pizza. Some tomatoes would be good on this as well. Didn’t think of that until writing this post. Making a mental note for later.

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Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tube of Pillsbury Pizza Crust
  • 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup of Queso Shredded Cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup of buffalo wing sauce
  • ½ cup of ranch dressing
  • 3 strips of bacon, cut into small strips
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • Optional Ingredients
  • Tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place the pizza dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza pan.
  3. Spread the ranch dressing around, the pizza but leave enough room for the crust.
  4. In a bowl combine the shredded chicken and buffalo wing sauce.
  5. Layer the cheese on top of the ranch and then the buffalo chicken
  6. Top with the rest of the pizza toppings.
  7. Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes or until the crust starts turning golden brown.
  8. Garnish the pizza with diced green onions or tomatoes.

 

Grilled Shrimp Skewers – Bobby Flay

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I made these Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Bobby Flay that were on his Saturday episode and they were fantastic! I didn’t grill them, I roasted the shrimp in the oven to save on time from heating up the grill.  Only 7 minutes at 450 and the shrimp are already done. These shrimp on top of the Greek Orzo Salad is the perfect Summer time meal. They’re both really simple recipes to make. The shrimp are kind of spicy with the garlic chile oil, and the Orzo Salad helps cool your mouth down after the heat. Bobby Flay has some really awesome recipes and now I want to try making different flavored oils like this for marinades and try using different spices. I like that cooking technique.

Let’s talk about the Next Food Network Star. Emma is my favorite by far. Like her appearance and personality. Lenny and Loreal can just go home already. Not really a big fan. I do have to give these people props for doing something crazy like this. If I was asked to go in front of an audience as big as they had to on Saturday’s Show, I would flip out and probably start running home. Could never do that! Presenting in front of a large audience like that is scary and nerve racking. The girl who’s point of view is Coastal Cuisine cooked pork for her dish and that was rather odd. At least add some seafood to your skewers or kabobs,  like these shrimp.  ;)

 

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Grilled Shrimp Skewers - Bobby Flay
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, plus for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound extra-large (16 to 20 per pound) shrimp, shelled and deveined, tail-on
Instructions
  1. Special equipment: 10-inch skewers, soaked 30 minutes
  2. Put the olive oil, garlic and chile flakes in a small skillet. Turn the heat to low and let the mixture heat for about 10 minutes; the oil should just barely simmer around the garlic in the last few minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer to a blender, add the 1 tablespoon oregano and some salt and pepper, and blend until the garlic and oregano are finely chopped. Set aside half of the chile-garlic oil for serving.
  3. Heat the grill to high. Thread the shrimp onto skewers, about 4 or 5 shrimp per skewer, threading so that the skewers goes through the tail and thick end of each shrimp. Brush the shrimp with some of the chile-garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly golden brown on both sides and opaque, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a platter and immediately drizzle with some of the reserved chile-garlic oil (not the oil you used for brushing the raw shrimp). Garnish with oregano, and serve with more of the reserved oil

 

Burgers with Applewood Smoked Bacon and Bang Bang Sauce

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For lunch I like to go to the grocery store and usually I’ll get a salad. Hornbacher’s has some pretty awesome egg salad and I’m pretty certain that they put pickle juice in it. It’s so good. They have this egg salad sandwich on top of a pretzel bun and it is to die for. I never knew the store had homemade pretzel buns and homemade pretzel hot dog buns. I freaking seriously love pretzel buns! I was so happy when the lady at the deli counter told me that you could buy these pretzel buns at  the bakery so I automatically got some for some burgers tonight.

There was a little Bang Bang sauce left over from the shrimp that I made last week. Bang Bang sauce on anything will make it twice as good. It’s just mayo, sriracha sauce, and chili sauce. Super easy to throw together in a bowl. On my pretzel bun burgers, I put Applewood smoked bacon, sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Super tasty. It brought the bus to flavor town!

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Grilled Burgers with Applewood Smoked Bacon
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 tsp of garlic
  • 5 dashes of Sriracha Sauce
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 pretzel buns
  • 4 slices of Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • lettuce
  • Bang Bang Sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat Grill
  2. In a bowl combine the ground beef, garlic, Sriracha Sauce, and Worcestershire Sauce. Divide the ground beef evenly into 4 patties.
  3. Grill the burgers until done.
  4. Assemble the burgers. Top the burger with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and bacon and spread the bang bang sauce on top of the bun. Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan is a lighter version of the classic. I skip out on the noodles to avoid all those extra carbs and not use a ton of marinara sauce on top. Instead of frying the chicken you bake it in the oven.  Have a side of steamed broccoli or green beans as a side.

I am a fan of any type of  breaded chicken for dinner now. Now that I know how to get the bread crumbs to stick. I’ve tried other recipes before and the bread crumbs just wouldn’t stick to the chicken. It also helps to use a cooling rack on top of your pan while the chicken cooks in the oven to help both of the sides of chicken to turn brown. Also bake at a high temp like around 400 to 450 degrees to help the breadcrumbs turn brown.

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Baked Chicken Parmesan
 
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, split in half
  • ¾ cup of panko bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons of Marinara Sauce (store bought)
  • Basil for garnish
  • 4 Fresh Mozzarella Slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 450.
  2. Split each chicken breast in half. In a bowl combine the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese.
  3. Dip the chicken into the eggs and then into the bread crumb mixture and lay on a sheet pan with a cooling rack.
  4. Repeat this process 4 times.
  5. Spray the chicken with cooking spray, and cook the chicken at 450 for 20 minutes. Spoon 1 tablespoon of marinara sauce on each piece of chicken and some cheese and place the chicken back into the pan until the cheese is melted. Garnish with freshly chopped basil.
Notes
Weight Watcher Points: 5
Points Calculated without cheese
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 218 Fat: 8.31g Carbohydrates: 7.07g Fiber: 0.6g Protein: 27.3g

 

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Just look at all that cheesy taco-y goodness in a jumbo pasta shell!. Mexican stuffed shells are going to be your favorite dish to make for Taco night!

I was very tired today and really wanted to come home and take a nap. Instead, I ended up cooking and made three things. A frozen key lime pie, banana bread muffins, and this dish for Mexican stuffed shells. I am home alone this weekend and decided to make these Mexican stuffed shells since there was cheese on top and cream cheese in the middle. Boy let me tell you something, these Mexican Shells did not disappoint. I used lean ground beef and low fat cream cheese to keep these a tad on the lighter side. For garnish  used some tomatoes and parsley. One of the best pasta dishes I’ve made in a long time. Will definitely make this dish again.

 

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Recipe adapted from Like Mother Like Daughter

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mexican Stuffed Shells
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 TBS taco seasoning
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • about 8 oz jumbo pasta shells (some may break - I used 20 shells total but cooked 25)
  • 10 oz enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1¼ cup cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Boil your pasta shells for about 10 minutes until cooked al dente. Rinse shells when done cooking.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, cook up your ground beef and onions over medium high heat until cooked thoroughly.
  5. Drain the excess grease from the pan.
  6. Add in taco seasoning and stir to mix.
  7. Add in cream cheese and cook over medium heat until cheese is mixed in and melty throughout. Set aside.
  8. Combine your enchilada sauce and salsa in a small bowl.
  9. Pour about half of your enchilada sauce salsa mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread around.
  10. Fill each jumbo shell with a heaping 1 TBS of meat mixture and place into pan with sauce.
  11. Repeat until all shells or meat mixture is gone.
  12. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce salsa mixture over the tops of the shells.
  13. Wrap pan in aluminum foil.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Remove foil and top with cheeses.
  16. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Notes
8 PP per serving (3 shells for serving)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 Calories: 323 Fat: 11.21g Carbohydrates: 32.27g Fiber: 2.4g Protein: 23.36g

 

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp

I recently tried Bang Bang shrimp at the Ground Round. If you don’t have a Ground Round, it’s pretty much like a Ruby Tuesdays type restaurant. On their menu they had this appetizer called Boom Boom Shrimp. Boom Boom shrimp is similar to Bang Bang shrimp. And while we were eating the shrimp we pretty much made fun of the name the whole time. I know, talk about childish right? ha ha.  The shrimp was deep fried, and covered in this wonderful spicy hot sauce and underneath it was a bed of cole slaw that had a taco seasoning in it. The taco seasoning in the cole slaw was very different. I’ve never had any cole slaw like that before and it was super good. As Guy Fierri would say “It took me on the road to flavor town!”

I’m going to start keeping this sauce in my fridge at all times. It’d be good on burgers, or brushed on grilled corn.

My chives are in full bloom in my garden. They make for such a pretty garnish. Beats spending .89  at the grocery store for some green onions. :)

 

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp

 

Skinny Bang Bang Shrimp
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb shrimp (about 50 shrimp), cooked or uncooked. shelled or deveined.
  • 10 skewer sticks (optional)
  • 3 T chobani plain greek yogurt
  • 3 T chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
  • 1½ T sweet chili sauce (I used Franks brand)
  • ½-3/4 T sriracha sauce
Instructions
  1. (If you're grilling on a grill, be sure to soak wooded skewers a couple minutes in water to avoid burning)
  2. combine yogurt, onion, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha in a bowl and stir well. set aside. (if you want to make the sauce a bit thicker, do 2 T yogurt and 1 T light mayo)
  3. place 5 shrimp on each skewer
  4. If shrimp are raw:
  5. grill on each side for 5-8 minutes, until opaque and cooked through
  6. If shrimp are pre-cooked:
  7. Place shrimp skewers on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes
  8. Brush each hot skewer liberally with the sauce, on both sides
  9. serve immediately
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 Calories: 122 Fat: 5.65g Carbohydrates: 2.79g Sodium: 435mg Fiber: 0 Protein: 14.4g

Recipe adapted from The Cookie Rookie

Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken

 

Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast chicken is so moist and flavorful. It’s seasoned with some fresh lemon, thyme, and garlic.  I never would have thought that just stuffing some aromatics like this inside a chicken would make a chicken taste so good. I was wondering how these three ingredients would even begin to flavor the chicken if they’re just inside the cavity, but I could taste hints of lemon and thyme in there.  The only thing I wish I would have had was the head of garlic. I thought about rushing over to the grocery store to get some, but then there was garlic in the potatoes I made. Do not skimp out on the garlic, make sure that goes in there as well. I would not change a thing about this recipe.

You should make this chicken asap. What, you think I’m crazy for roasting a chicken during the Summer when it’s 80 degrees? Not when you have the air conditioner on. It’s ok to do it then. A long with the chicken, I made Ina Garten’s roasted potatoes. That recipe will be on this blog tomorrow. It has been a while since I’ve made any one of her recipes and they never seem to disappoint!

Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken

Recipe adapted from Food Network

 

Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
  3. Roast the chicken for 1½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.