Friday, February 1, 2013

Spinach and Kale "Burgers"

Dieting is not normally a word I include in my vernacular.. BUT. I have decided to make a genuine effort to eat less bad calories. In that effort, I am searching out new recipes that allow me to still eat a good sized meal and feel healthy and satisfied but cut back on the calories.

That effort has lead me to.... Spinach and kale "burgers"!

I found a recipe at The Domestic Mama and The Village Cook for spinach burgers and decided to put my own twist on their recipe.

I didn't have enough spinach in the freezer, so I went half kale and the results were great.

I topped my "burgers" with sliced avocado, sans bun, but they would def. be tasty on a toasted roll should you so desire.

Spinach and Kale "Burgers"
Makes 6 burgers

1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 bag frozen kale, thawed and well drained
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t red pepper flakes
black pepper


  1. Heat 1 T olive oil (EVOO) in a skillet. Add chopped onion and cook over low heat until they begin to caramelize (about 15 min.) Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another few minutes until garlic begins to brown. 
  2. While that is cooking, squeeze as much water out of your thawed spinach and kale as possible. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix spinach and kale, your carmelized onion and garlic, 2 eggs, the panko breadcrumbs, shredded cheddar and spices (you can add any additional that you like, besides the peppers). 
  4. Form 6 patties, spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cook each patty for 4 min. on each side. 
  5. Serve with any topping of your choosing, "naked" or on a bun!

Spinach and Kale "Burgers" before cooking.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Making a hard-boiled egg seems like an easy task, but there is a bit of science behind making a perfect hard-boiled egg, and I hope this post breaks it down for you!

For my eggs, I follow Martha Stewart's advice for the timing.

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan (there should be enough room for them to have their own space, no overlapping eggs) and add enough water to cover the top of eggs with 1 inch of cool water. 
  2. Slowly bring water to a boil over medium-heat. 
  3. When the water has reached a full boil, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 12 minutes. 
  4. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. A tip I heard is to tap the egg on the bottom of the bowl to make them easier to peel. The water will get underneath the shell and help to separate it. If you don't intend to eat them the same day, leave out that last part. Martha says you can refrigerate eggs with shells on up to 3 days.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Simple Kid-Friendly Salt Dough Ornaments

Tonight was my first attempt at salt dough ornaments- I know this is a fairly common holiday practice, but I actually never did this when I was a kid!

My first try was not intended to be perfect, I actually planned this for the kiddos I was babysitting for and they both loved it! (Ages 2 and 7)

I used a simple recipe, 1 part salt, 2 parts AP flour, 1 part luke warm water, and some holiday cookie cutters. I found the recipe on and you can find it here.

The tops came out great, will look nice once we paint them, but the bottoms were a little messier. When I do this again the grown up way, I will def. cut them out on parchment paper so that I can just move that onto a baking sheet without moving them and they don't stick (they required a little prying with a spatula to get them flipped).

I will be toying around with this recipe and others, so keep an eye out for updated results!

Simple Kid-Friendly Salt Dough Ornaments
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup luke-warm water
  • Cookie cutters
  • Straw (for poking hole to hang ornament)
  • Parchment paper
  • Craft paint and/or glitter for decorating
  • Ribbon or twine for hanging
Mix together salt and flour in a large bowl. Slowly add water and mix. Then kneed dough with your hands for 5 min until you have a smooth consistency.
Roll out dough on parchment paper until it is an even 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in dough. Remove excess dough and move parchment paper onto baking sheet.
Bake in a 200F oven for 2 hours until ornaments are hard, flipping once halfway.

Once ornaments are dry and cool, decorate with craft paint and/or glitter. String ribbon or twine through the hole you made with a straw for hanging!

And there you have it- Simple salt dough ornaments! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

For Thanksgiving this year, I made one of my easiest entertaining staples ever: spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms! I started making these years ago for Christmas, and they are always a hit. An added bonus is that they only take 10 minutes or so to prep and 20 to cook so you can throw them together at the last minute! There is no meat in this recipe or flour, so they are both vegetarian and gluten-free; no one can turn them down! The inspiration for this recipe is one I found on the food network website by Paula Deen and have tweaked slightly to add a little more flavor.

You can find the original recipe here.

I forgot to take pictures while making them this year, so this tiny tiny picture you see is from the original recipe on :)

Easy Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes about 24 mushrooms

  • 24 good sized Baby Bella mushrooms (about 2 packages), stems removed and wiped clean with a damp paper towel
  • 1 (10 oz. package) frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  •  1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • Few dashes of crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 2 t lemon juice
  • Shredded 4 cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, and Fontina) for topping- you should be able to find this in the deli section of your supermarket near the grated Parmesan- if you can't find it you can substitute and of these cheeses by themselves.
Preheat oven to 350 F
Defrost the spinach and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.
Combine spinach, cream cheese, feta, parmesan, spices, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Combine well (I use my hands for this).
Lay mushroom caps out on a baking sheet and fill with spinach and cheese mixture.
Press the 4 cheese mix onto the tops of the mushrooms and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is slightly browned on top. 
Serve warm and enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Not Your Nonna's Pasta e Fagioli

My nan <3

A while back I tried (in vain) to recreate my Nan's pasta e fagioli.

For as long as I can remember, she made it on a weekly basis. When she stopped cooking as much, I waited too long to try to get her recipe. By the time I asked, she had started to get sick and couldn't remember it all.

I tried to work with what she could remember, and the first time I tried to make her pasta e fagioli I was so disappointed with the results (because it didn't taste like hers) I couldn't even stand to eat it, and I hate to admit it, but I threw the whole pot of it away.

I didn't attempt to make pasta e fagioli again for quite some time, and I decided right from the beginning of my second attempt that instead of trying to recreate my Nan's dish, I would start from scratch with my own version.

After reading a few recipes online, I decided what flavors and ingredients I wanted to use and came up with a simple, satisfying, pasta e fagioli that I could definitely eat once a week :)

Not Your Nonna's Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 4

2 dried bayleaves
A dash or two of thyme
1 onion
1-2 large carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 15oz. can small white beans (not drained)
4 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium, this dish doesn't need the extra salt)
1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano, but any variety will do)
2 cups elbow macaroni (or other pasta of your choice)
  • Add your olive oil to a large pot, about two turns around the pan is a good amount, and as that heats up chop your onions and carrots. 
  • Add the onion and carrot to the pan with your two bay leaves and a splash of thyme (about 1/2 t). Your going to let that cook for about 5 min. on medium-high heat.
  • While that's cooking I get my garlic chopped to a good mince. Once my veggies start to brown I add the garlic and salt and pepper and cook for another minute or two until the garlic begins to brown as well.
  • Add your chicken broth, beans, and tomatoes. I like to break the tomatoes up with my hands, but you can also do this with a potato masher if you don't want to risk getting squirted with tomato guts. 
  • Let this come to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add your pasta and cook until al dente, probably about seven minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves and let soup rest for a few minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve!
Start to finish you can have a meal ready for a crowd in less than a half-hour :)
This would be great served with a cold antipasto and Italian bread. Mangia!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Red-Coconut Curry Chicken

My first attempt at Thai food was a success! I adapted this recipe from Melissa D'Arabian's recipe for Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables. It was definitely a great place to start because it didn't require any ingredients that I wouldn't have had in the house normally aside from the red curry paste (I was able to find this in the Asian cooking isle at Shop Rite. A store like Whole Foods would probably have a larger selection).

My boyfriend and my friend Steph loved the tomatoes in this dish, but I think I would prefer it without the tomatoes and with more coconut milk and chicken stock instead. Also the addition of peanuts (one of my favorite ingredients in Thai food)! I served this over jasmine rice cooked in 1 part coconut milk to two parts water. This would also be a great recipe to serve over rice noodles!

Red-Coconut Curry Chicken

Serves 4 and takes about 45 minutes from start to finish.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (I used baby carrots)
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1/2 lime (I left this out because I forgot a lime!)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup chicken stock
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
Lime wedges, for squeezing

Cook 1 tablespoon of the oil, the curry paste and onions in a large saute pan over medium heat, stirring often and letting sizzle, 5 to 6 minutes. Pat the chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining oil to the pan. Cook the chicken in the onion-curry mixture until golden on all sides. Add the broccoli, carrots, basil, garlic and lime zest and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Let the chicken simmer until cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Squeeze with lime juice before serving.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie!

I think smoothies are delicious, but always seemed like too much work, either with the amount of ingredients you needed or the amount of clean-up time required. This smoothie is super-easy, super fast, and super delicious.

Just three ingredients: Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (I use Silk's refrigerated kind), Natural Peanut Butter (I'm still a Skippy girl), and a banana! And, of course, ice.

I use the glass I want to drink out of to measure in. I fill it slightly above half-way with ice (roughly 5 cubes), then fill it with Almond milk until there are about two inches left at the top. Then I toss that in the blender, blend until the ice is all chopped, then add a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter and blend until smooth! This should make enough smoothie to just fill the top of your glass.

It's delicious and not just in a "this is good for me" kind of way, it really tastes like a milkshake! :)