Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

I know, this post lacks a photo but trust me, this soup is delicious. How can you go wrong with potatoes, cheese and bacon? It's easy to prepare the night before, stick in the fridge and then cook the following day. Feel free to add some kale or broccoli during the last hour of cooking.

5-6 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1inch cubes
6 cups of chicken broth
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup of half and half
4-6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped ( save a few tablespoons of bacon grease if possible)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese

Add potatoes, chicken broth, garlic and onion to the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Use a potato masher to gently mash the potatoes in the crockpot. It should be relatively smooth with a bit of texture. Then add cooked bacon, a few tablespoons of bacon grease, half and half, and salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt, as the bacon and chicken broth has a lot of salt. Cook for an additional 30-60 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chocolate Banana Trifle

I was introduced to trifles while I was student teaching in England. I lived with a host family and Rosa was an incredible cook. Sherry Trifle was a Sunday night staple. The trifle always looked beautiful and was absolutely delicious. Trifles are incredibly easy to make. I created this recipe because I had bananas on hand that I wanted to use. My taste testers said the Chocolate Banana Trifle was " pretty damn good." Feel free to substitute with any fruit of your choice. I used homemade whipped cream in this recipe but if you are pressed for time, Cool Whip does the trick! Enjoy!

1 package of Vanilla Oreos, crushed
1 jar of hot fudge sauce, at room temperature
3-4 bananas, sliced
1 Cup of whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of sugar


To crush the cookies, place half of the Oreos in a large plastic bag and smash, repeat with remaining cookies. To make whipped cream, beat cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.  Add sugar and beat for another 30 seconds. Stir the hot fudge sauce, you do not need to warm it up. To make the trifle- layer sliced bananas, cookies, hot fudge sauce and cream. Repeat and decorate top layer of cream with a few crushed cookies if desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lemon Spaghetti with Broccoli



I know, lemon and pasta sound like a weird combo but trust me, it is delicious! This recipe is based the Lemon Spaghetti recipe in my favorite cookbook of all time, Everyday Italian. Tonight, I didn't have fresh herbs but the pasta was still tasty. Basil, Italian Parsley or a combo of the two work well in this dish. This is a great light meal on its own or as a side with fish or chicken. I think it would be great to take to a picnic since it can be served warm or at room temp. Enjoy!

1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 pound penne or thin spaghetti
1/3 cup fresh basil or Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest ( from about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid from pasta
1 cup of broccoli florets, cooked and cut into small pieces


Zest the two lemons and then juice the lemons. Place the lemon juice in a large bowl, along with the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and whisk together. You will use the zest later in the recipe. Cook the pasta and the broccoli. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water to use when mixing the lemon sauce. Drain noodles and cut broccoli into small pieces if necessary. Add noodles to the large bowl with lemon sauce. Add lemon zest, basil, broccoli and 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Mix together and add additional pasta water if necessary. Top with additional Parmesan cheese.






Sunday, December 30, 2012

Salmon Wrapped in Foil

I love salmon and I'm always looking for a new way to prepare it. This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe that I changed up a bit. Wrapping the salmon in foil keeps it incredibly juicy. I used cajun seasoning and lemon because that's what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever you like.

2-4 Salmon filets
sliced lemons (2-3 per filet)
olive oil
salt and pepper
cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. You will need one piece of foil per filet. Place each filet on the foil, drizzle with oilve oil, seasonings and lemons. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape and seal each packet. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 min.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pasta Bolognese



This is by far one of the most delicious pasta dishes I have ever made. This is hearty and amazing! I started with Mario Batali's Ragu Bolognese recipe and changed it around a bit. You will need 2lbs of ground meat for this recipe and please, please, please don't use two pounds of 96-98% ground beef. Fat= flavor!!!  I use one pound of a meatloaf mix which is typically 85% lean and one pound of 96% lean organic ground beef.

2 Tbsp of butter
3 Tbsp of olive oil
2 stalks of celery
8-10 baby carrots
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
3/4 can of tomato paste
2 lbs of ground beef- at least one 1lb should be 85% lean
1 cup of milk
1 cup of red wine
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, shredded-1/4 cup for sauce plus additional for serving
pinch of red pepper flakes if desired
1 lb rigatoni
1/2 cup of reserved pasta water

Put the carrots, garlic, celery and onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. If you don't have a food processor, finely chop veggies with a knife. In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Then add the diced veggies and cook for 10-15 min or until veggies are tender. Turn heat to medium high and add 2 lbs of ground beef to the veggies. Cook the beef for 10-15 min or until brown. If there is alot of grease, drain beef. Then add wine, tomato paste, milk, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 1-1 1/2 hours. Taste the sauce and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Boil water for noodles and cook rigatoni. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooked pasta water and add 1/4-1/2 of the pasta water to the sauce to thin it out a bit. Drain the rigatoni and add to sauce. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Sliders


These are incredibly easy to make and perfect for football Sundays!

4 large chicken breasts
1 bottle of Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce
Hawaiian dinner rolls
1 cup of chicken broth
Ranch or blue cheese dressing
Celery

Add chicken, 1/2 bottle of wing sauce and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken breasts and shred chicken. In a bowl, combine chicken and remaining 1/2 bottle of sauce. Return chicken to the crockpot to warm or heat chicken in the microwave for a few minutes to warm. Serve on Hawaiian rolls with ranch or blue cheese.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

I recently had Baked Spaghetti at an Italian resturant in downtown Naperville and it was incredible. I've never had anything quite like it. This is my attempt to re-create it and it's pretty darn good!

1lb of thin spaghetti
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1lb of ground beef
2 cups of mozerella cheese
2 cups of Italian blend cheese
16oz of cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 Parmesan cheese
5 Tbsp of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Boil water and cook the pasta for 7-8 min. Drain noodles and place in a large mixing bowl. The noodles don't need to be fully cooked since the pasta will continue to bake in the oven. In a large pan, cook the ground beef, drain fat and add spaghetti sauce. Warm the sauce and set aside. Add eggs, Parmesan cheese and butter to the noodles and mix. Take tongs and place 1/2 of the noodles in the buttered 9x13 dish. Then layer with sauce, 8oz of cottage cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella and 1 cup of Italian blend. Repeat layers. Take a piece of aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray. Cover the dish and bake for 40 min. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 15-20 more minutes. Enjoy!