Archive of ‘Food’ category

Crispy Parmesan Cauliflower

The first of my Thanksgiving side dishes


Thanksgiving is my husbands favorite holiday and he happily takes charge of preparing the turkey, stuffing and gravy.


He does such an awesome job every year, which puts the pressure on me to whip up some tasty side dishes. I am usually a big fan of roasting vegetables, but its Thanksgiving and time to indulge and worry about calories another day. ūüėČ ¬†So for my next few blogs I’m going to share my favorite side dishes that I make every year.


First up: Cauliflower

I believe this side dish came from my father’s side of the family, but did not include the parmesan cheese. I love the¬†taste the cheese¬†gives to the cauliflower and is even more delicious when you use a piece to soak up some gravy.

Here is what you will need:


  • head of cauliflower
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Here is what you need to do:


Cut the head of cauliflower into good size pieces and steam for about 5 minutes.


While the cauliflower pieces are steaming and getting slightly tender, combine the flour, cheese and large pinch of salt and pepper in a large zip lock bag. Give a good shake and get to beating your eggs.


Time to get yourself set up for some dipping and a shaking. Just dip the cauliflower in the egg and then place it in the bag and shake till coated. I throw a couple of pieces in at a time and start frying while I continue on with coating the rest of the cauliflower. Remember to shake off the excess flour when removing the coated cauliflower from the bag.


Your oil needs to be hot before you start frying up the cauliflower. You want them to get golden brown on each side, so keep turning until they are all done.


Lay your golden brown pieces out on paper towels and give a good sprinkling of kosher salt. Continue on with frying up the rest.


They really are yummy and you won’t be able to resist eating a few while you are finishing up. ¬†I place them in an oven proof¬†shallow dish, so they don’t get mushy and then keep them in my warming draw until dinner time.


Thanksgiving 2014

I think my favorite way to prepare Brussel Sprouts  will be next, so make sure to check back in. :)



Jill ♥

Pizza Dough Fun

Making pizza dough is like a fun science experiment you get to eat. :)


I adore pizza and get a true kick out of making my own dough. I just love how you can take simple ingredients and make them into something that can be used for a meal that can be savory or sweet. Pizza is always a big hit in my house, so I’m going to share with you how I make my dough that works out every time.

Here is what you will need:


  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of hot tap water
  • 4 cups of bread flour ( maybe a little more if dough is sticky)
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Here is what you need to do:


First, mix 1 1/2 cups of hot tap water and a  teaspoon of sugar. Give a good stir and them mix in your packet of yeast and set aside to proof.


While the yeast is getting all bubbly, mix the flour, salt and olive oil.


Pour in the yeast mixture and then the honey and mix until the dough forms into a nice smooth ball.


If you see it sticking to the sides of the bowl, just add more flour until it is all formed and the sides of the bowl are clean. It will probably take about 10 minutes.


Coat a large bowl with olive oil and place dough inside.


Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm spot for 2-3 hours.


and…. ¬†Voila!!!

So Fun ūüėČ


Cut your huge dough ball into 4 pieces. I am just making lunch for the baby and me, so I packed up the rest for the freezer.


I rolled out my dough ball to fit my favorite cast iron pizza pan, which I always preheat and brush with olive oil before laying my dough on it. Then I brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. If I was making something sweet with my dough I would brush it with a little melted butter and add a light sprinkle of sugar. I like my dough crunchy, so I bake it at 500 degrees for a couple of minutes before adding any toppings.


I like to get the¬†most out of my pizza pie, so I divided it into thirds and made a fun lunch for ¬†us to…..




Jill ♥

Time-Out Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Curse you Fun-Size Snickers!!

Halloween came and I completely lost my mind. ¬†I don’t think I passed that bowl once without shoving two pieces of candy in my mouth. Oh well, time to get back on track ( until Thanksgiving of course ūüėČ ) and prepare something a little healthier.


This is such a great lettuce wrap that¬†is not only easy to make, it’s so¬†tasty and good for you.

Here is what you will need:


  • head of iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey
  • 1 yellow pepper – diced
  • 1 carrot – diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger – grated
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts – diced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • Chopped cilantro and siracha for toppings (optional)

Here is what you need to do:


Separate and clean your lettuce and store in the refrigerator. Chop up your pepper, carrot, water chestnuts, garlic, scallions and grate your ginger.


Next, cook ground turkey in the two tablespoons of vegetable oil until no longer pink and broken up into small pieces.


Add pepper, carrot, garlic and ginger and give a good stir. Cook for a few minutes.


While veggies are cooking, whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch. Add to turkey mixture along with water chestnuts. Give a good stir and cook on low heat until liquid is absorbed and evaporated.


Add scallions and mix it all up. Now your ready to plate :)


Lay out your lettuce leaf and fill it up with the yummy turkey veggie mix. I top mine with some fresh cilantro leaves and a few dabs of siracha.


Roll it up and dig in!!


I was lucky to have my favorite girlie in the whole world home with me today and she was happy to get her healthy grub on with me.

Hope you like it :)



Jill ♥

Apple Dumplings

Every year when fall comes around, I get in the mood for a nice hot piece of homemade apple pie.


The problem with this is that I am terrible at making apple pies. :(  My crust are yucky and my fillings are not sweet or thick enough. I end up spending a whole afternoon making a giant mess and nothing to show for it. That is until I learned about this yummy recipe that is not only quick and simple, but a success every time I make it.

Here is what you will need:


  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • package of crescent rolls
  • cinnamon sugar mixture – I just make this by filing a small jar half way full of sugar and then I add a 1/4 of cinnamon from there. The jar should be 3/4 full. Just enough room to give a good shake and mix it all together.
  • 3/4 cup of sprite

Here is what you need to do:


Peel, core and slice your apple into 8 pieces. Pop open your crescent rolls and lay out on a nice clean flat surface.


Separate  a triangle, place a piece of apple and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.


Roll the apple up in the crescent roll and place in a buttered baking dish. Continue on with preparing the rest.


In a small bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter.


Spoon mixture over each dumpling.


Next, pour sprite around the dumplings and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.


This recipe can be doubled for a larger crowd and would probably be even better with some fun add- ins.  I think I might try adding some chopped pecans inside the dumplings next time I make this.

Serve it up warm with vanilla ice cream or some homemade whip cream.




Jill ♥

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Tostadas

¬†Everyone in my family are¬†big fans of Tostadas. Back in the day when my husband and I didn’t have two nickels to rub together, ¬†we would go to Taco Bell and always order up a few. ¬†So when I recently saw a bunch of slow cooker recipes for chicken tacos on Pinterest, I thought that combining the two would make for an easy week night meal that everyone would love.


Here is what you will need:


  • 4 chicken breast
  • jar of medium salsa
  • pack of taco seasoning
  • fajita size flour tortillas
  • can of refried beans
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • sour cream & avocado for toppings

Here is what you need to do:


Place chicken breast, salsa and taco seasoning in slow cooker and give a good mix. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8. ¬†You can easily make this stove top if you don’t want to use a crockpot. ¬†Just brown chicken in a little olive oil and then mix in taco seasoning and salsa. Cover and cook on med-low heat until chicken is easily shredded.


When time is up, shred up cooked chicken and give a good mix. Keep on warm.


Next, brush your tortillas with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast up in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown. Now let’s get the toppings ready.


Heat up your refried beans. Shred up the cheese and lettuce and cut up the avocado. My daughter loves her some sour cream, so I am always sure to include it. Time to assemble!!


Spread a nice layer of refried beans over the crunchy tortilla and top with chicken taco mix. Sprinkle with lettuce and shredded cheese. Top off with avocado and sour cream or whatever other toppings you might enjoy. My big guy would definitely add some black olives, where I would love some diced up red onion.


The baby likes his heavy on the chicken and beans and light on everything else. This recipe is not only easy to make, but so simple to switch up for everyone to….

Enjoy :)




Untraditional Matzo Ball Soup

In my opinion, my special friend Rebecca makes the best Matzo Ball Soup I have ever tasted!!  Everyone in my family loves it and I was so excited when she agreed to come over and share it with me.


Here is what you will need:


  • 10 cups water
  • 4 packs of Goya chicken bouillon packets – I think its pretty safe to say this is where the untraditional part comes in ūüėČ
  • Pack of soup greens
  • 3 grilled chicken breast – This is where I would use one of those nicely cooked rotisserie chickens from the supermarket
  • 1 teaspoon of dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Now For the Matzo:


This is the brand Rebecca requested.

  • packet of Manischewitz mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • sprinkle of dill
  • Seltzer for your hands when you are rolling the matzo mix into balls – Rebecca was not sure if this was from her Grandmother or Aunt, but it helps make one yummy matzo ball :)

Here is what you need to do:


In a small bowl mix the Manischewitz mix, eggs, veggie oil and sprinkle of dill. Store in refrigerator and start working on the broth.


Next, mix water and chicken bouillon packets and bring to a boil.

Chop up your soup greens and add to the broth along with garlic powder and pepper.  Cover and simmer on med-low heat.


Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add to soup. Keep simmering on med-low heat. Rebecca informed me that her Grandmother would always cook the soup with a vented lid, so that is what we are going to do.  Meanwhile bring 10 cups of cold water to a boil and lets start working on our matzo balls.


Remove matzo ball mix from refrigerator and start rolling them into one inch balls. Remember to keep your hands wet with seltzer water to make your matzo balls nice and yummy!!! You should get 9-10 balls out of the mixture.


How cute is my Happy platter that Rebecca gave me for my birthday. :)


Add the matzo balls to the boiling water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.


When the 20 minutes are done, scoop out your balls and add to the soup.


Time to serve it up.


This soup can be easily doubled and freezes beautifully.


My beautiful friend Rebecca not only has a fabulous smile, but the most loving heart. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for having her in my life.

Love You Becs…




Pumpkin Donuts

It’s October, so its time for something pumpkin ūüėČ


A few years back, I came across a cookbook written by Jessica Seinfeld called¬†Deceptively¬†Delicious. ¬†My older two kiddies had turned into some really picky eaters and were driving me crazy with what they would and wouldn’t eat. ¬†If it was up to them, ¬†their diet would consist of nothing but sweets and carbs. This cookbook is so full of great ideas to secretly get the “good stuff” into your kids diets and I just started using it again for the baby who is beginning to turn his nose up at a vegetable. The pumpkin donut recipe is one of our favorites and even my husband is happy to have one with a cup of coffee in the morning without all the guilt.

Here is what you will need:


  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree ( you can use 1 cup of pumpkin puree if you don’t want to use the sweet potato. I’m still trying to get veggies into the baby, so I used his sweet potato baby food.)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon butter – melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Confectioners sugar for topping when cool

Here is what you will need to do:


Mix sugar, pumpkin, sweet potato, milk, egg white, butter and vanilla until nicely blended.


Next mix in the flour, baking soda and powder and cinnamon. This recipes makes about 12 donuts.


Grease up two donut pans and carefully spoon in batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are ready. Cool on a rack and then sprinkle with powder sugar.


Someone woke up from a nap and helped himself to a cooling donut.


Store in an airtight container and….

Enjoy :)




Skinny Chic Shrimp Salsa

Good-bye summer and the 5 lbs you gave me!!

I love a chip and a dip and find it hard to ever turn them down. Summers are full of them and I always enjoy every minute of it. So when its time to take care of the damage I have done, I love to turn to this recipe that satisfies my cravings with a much healthier alternative.


Here is what you will need:


  • 1 lb cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized red onion
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno – seeded and deveined
  • handful of cilantro
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 and a 1/2 ¬†limes
  • sprinkle of salt & pepper

Here is what you need to do:


Chop it all up and mix it all together ūüėČ ¬†I find it gets tastier the longer its sits.

Serve it with tortilla chips and enjoy!!!



Rolo Pretzel Turtles

A few years ago my daughter went over a friend’s house and her friends mom made them a bunch of yummy treats. She fell in love with these easy to make sweet treats and I have been making them ever since.


Here is what you will need:


  • Bag of small size pretzels ( I like to use pretzel snaps, but you are free to use any shape you like. It just has to fit the Rolo)
  • Bag of Rolo’s
  • Bag of pecan halves

Here is what you need to do:


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out pretzels. Top each pretzel with a Rolo and bake at 250 degrees for 5 minutes.


When 5 minutes are up and Rolo’s look firm but are really quite soft, press a pecan half down on each Rolo top. Be careful not to press to hard. Chill in fridge till nice and set. If you are not a fan of nuts, you can use M&M’s instead.

Hope you like them :)



Lightened Up Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I am a huge soup lover.


I love sitting down with a yummy bowl of soup, especially when there starts¬†to be¬†a¬†slight¬†chill in the air. Cheddar Broccoli soup is one of my favorite go to soup recipes, but I sometimes find it to be a little heavy with all the cream and cheese. So I tried to lighten it up a bit and was pleasantly surprised how good it turned out. My kids didn’t even notice the difference ūüėČ

Here is what you will need:


  • 1/2 of a medium size spanish onion – chopped
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 cups of fat free half & half
  • 2 cups of fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 not to large carrot – peeled and shredded
  • 8 ounce block of extra sharp cheddar cheese – shredded by hand ( Please never go fat free on cheese ) ūüėČ
  • teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Here is what you will need to do:


Cut off heads of broccoli and then separate into tiny broccoli heads. I like my soup chunky, but you don’t want big pieces of broccoli in the soup. I then take a handful of the tiny heads and chop them to bits. This will help with the broccoli flavor in your soup.


Next, sauté the 1/2 cup of chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent. Remove from pot and set aside.


Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot and add the 1/4 cup of flour.  Whisk together and cook for a few minutes.  When ready add the 2 1/4 cups of fat free half and half, whisking constantly to get it all blended together nicely.


 I then add the salt and pepper and 2 cups of low sodium fat free chicken broth. Stir all together and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Give a good stir, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remembering to give a good stir from time to time.


When 25 minutes are up, uncover and remove from heat. ¬†Add the shredded up cheddar cheese and stir until completely blended. Taste to see if any more salt or pepper is needed. And then…

Enjoy :)



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