Skirt Steak wrapped in Swiss Cheese and Spinach

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Besides chocolate my other addiction is Pinterest. If you ever look at my boards they are filled with crafts, food, clothes, gardening, and whatever else hits my fancy late at night. LOL

During one of my late night scrolling I saw this recipe with a flank steak and feta cheese. I hate feta cheese, to me it smells like stinky feet. I am not eating anything that smells like stinky feet. And flank steak can be expensive when trying to feed a family of five. So I changed something’s and I think it looks even better then the original. I swapped the flank steak for a cheaper cut, and then I swapped the feta cheese for swiss cheese.

The Swiss cheese has a mild, sweet and nut-like flavor that is not over powering and tastes great with the spinach and steak. Plus it melts so smoothly inside the roll.

Skirt Steak wrapped in Swiss Cheese and  Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb skirt steak, trimmed
  • 5 sliced of swiss cheese
  • 8oz of fresh spinach, wilted down
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Remove as much of the fat as you can from the meat. Be careful not to remove the meat. This takes some time but the end results is worth the extra time.
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steak.
  3. Layer the swiss cheese the entire length of the steak. Then layer the wilted spinach on top.
  4. Starting at the small end of the steak roll up the steak. Using tooth picks to keep the steak roll closed.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 375˚ F. Place in a baking dish. Wrap with foil and place in oven and cook 45 minutes or until the desired temperature as been reached.

Note: Adding a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top before you cook really helps give it that little extra something. But then again something this yummy really doesn’t need it.

I served mine with brussels sprouts and cheesy mashed potatoes. Even my picky eats had no complaints. Before I could take a picture of the inside to show the swirls of steak, spinach, and cheese it was gone! My husband even asked if we were eating it again tomorrow. I think this meal was a hit 🙂

Bruschetta

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This is probably the easiest thing I can make. Brings a little summer time inside during those cold winter months.

Don’t let the fancy name fool you. It doesn’t require a lot of prep time, simple to make and uses fresh herbs and vegetable. I am talking about bruschetta. Great on it’s own or as an appetizer to any meal. Make a little or a lot, this recipe could not be any simpler. You can serve it on top of crackers or my favorite way toasted baguettes with a little sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top. So yummy.

Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (yellow or red)
  • 2 Tbs basil, thinly chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 ts minced garlic
  • 1/4 ts salt
  • 1/4 ts pepper

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients in a medium size bowl until everything is well combined. Serve on with crackers or baguettes.

Tip: Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and make it even better. I use mozzarella or parmesan when I want to jazz it up!

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This is one easy dish to make that is sure to please. Make it for a group or keep it to yourself, cause honestly something this yummy, who is going to want to share? 🙂

Ultimate Pasta Salad

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We have all had pasta salad in some way shape and form. Mine usually consisted of  pasta, dressing, and cherry tomatoes. Most people have had it this was and I love this way, it makes for a great side dish at a cook out. But when trying to figure out what to feed kids, it lacks something. It needed more to make it a complete meal and had to be healthy too.

I took the basic idea and added some more veggies and thin slices of ham. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have some type of cheese in it. It needed to be a cheese that wouldn’t melt in the heat or have it’s flavor get lost with all the other flavors. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated was my answer. Cost just as much as the pre-shredded but doing it yourself gives it a better flavor. 🙂

Ultimate Pasta Salad

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced ham
  • 1 box pasta,  I used rotini
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
  2. Cut the zucchini and squash into 1/2 inch chunks and quarter them.
  3. Place tomatoes, zucchini, squash on a cookie sheet. Add the ham strips. Pour 2 tbs of Italian dressing over and mix until everything is coated.
  4. Cook over the grill or in the oven on 350˚ until the veggies are slightly tender but still have a crunch to them. You don’t want to over cook and have it become mush.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the pasta and cooked veggies. Add the Italian dressing and mix until everything is coated again.
  6. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over and give a quick toss. Serve warm or chilled.

This makes for a great summer time meal that won’t wear you down or heat your kitchen. 🙂 My favorite part is that you can make it a head of time and have an easy afternoon playing with the kids instead of worrying about cooking dinner. Summer time = fun time 😀

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo Dinner

A few days ago I made chicken alfredo with my homemade spinach pasta and it was a hit. And of course I was not expecting it to be such a great success I didn’t write down what I did. I do that a lot. 🙂

My husband asked for it again and this time I wrote it down. GO ME! 😀 Even my non-pasta loving child was asking for second and thirds. I think this is going to be on our menu for a while.

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Spinach pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Alfredo has this expensive Italian sounding name but it is so easy to make, don’t be afraid. I have seen other recipes that call for cream cheese and I just couldn’t do that. To me cream cheese belongs on a bagel or for the base of a great tasting 7 layer dip. My Aunt Karen use to make this 7 layer dip all the time, and I can remember just eating the shredded cheese on top. But I digress. I wanted the sauce to be simple yet still have a ton of flavor and this is perfect.

Spinach Pasta & Chicken Alfredo

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 5 oz parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 lb spinach pasta, fettuccine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBS parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBS garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. In a large deep frying pan, fill about 3/4 way of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add spinach pasta. Cook until tender: about 3-4 if using homemade pasta or 8-11 minutes using store bought pasta. <- See mine is faster cooking time 🙂
  2. Once pasta is done drain. Set to the side.
  3. Put pot back on the stove and drizzle a little olive oil in the center. Added garlic, cook until fragrant. Add chicken. Cook until done. About 10 minutes. Once done remove chicken.
  4. In the same frying add 1 cup a chicken stock and deglaze the pan. We don’t want all that yummy chicken flavor to go to waste.
  5. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour and the last 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Once combined add to frying pan. Cook over medium-low until sauce thickens.
  6. Once sauce is thick add the heavy cream and stir. Slowly add in the parmesan cheese in small batches, stirring after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add back in the chicken and let warm up in the sauce. Finally toss the pasta back into the sauce. Sprinkle in the parsley and serve.

This whole meal will take about 30 minutes to make and you only used 1 pot to make it. No, I am not kidding you. Easy to make and easy to clean up. For a busy family I don’t know what more you can ask for. This is where buying things like meat in bulk helps save money. Now let’s take a look at the break down.

$5 for the chicken + $0.45 for the chicken stock + $0.50 for the pasta + $0.05 parsley + $1.50 for the heavy cream + $0.05 for flour +$1.25 for parmesan cheese + $.05 for garlic = total $8.85. Now I feed 5 people, but since the average family is 4 we will base the serving price off of 4 people. That breaks down to $2.22 per serving. You can not go out and buy a meal for one person for that price.

Food for Your Soul

Growing up in New England I had the joy of having four real seasons. I had a spring, summer, fall and a winter. But my seasons didn’t follow the calendar. I have more cold months then warm months, that just means I got to enjoy those warm good for your soul comfort foods longer.

There is something to be said about comfort foods that can bring a smile your face just by the mention of it like creamy mashed potatoes, hot chicken noodle soup, beef stew from the slow cooker, and nothing beats creamy cheesy macaroni and cheese straight from the oven. I might not have cold months any more living in the south but I do have wet, rainy days that nothing warms my family’s wet bones more then comfort food for dinner.

I grew up with the box version of the mac & cheese, as did my kids. But my husband has issues when it comes to powder cheese so I went to find the best tasting mac & cheesy. Best part is it is still really cheese even after putting in the oven.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

 

Macaroni & Cheese

  • 8oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz gouda cheese
  • 1/2 ts paprika
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 lb elbow noodles

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan start to heat up the chicken stock.
  2. In a measuring cup mix together the flour and water with a whisk. ( I find doing it this way take the clumps out that you sometimes gets when mixing flour and wet ingredients.)
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the chicken stock. Cook until slightly think.
  4. Slowly add the cheeses in the stock. Make sure to stir after each addition. This helps melt the cheese and keeps everything creamy. Add in the paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine.
  5. Add cooked elbow noodles to the mixture. Mix everything together. Now you can eat it like this or you can transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees with a foil cover.

Hint: To make it a complete meal by mixing in bacon or ham and broccoli. Or a fresh side salad.

 

 

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

There is this restaurant near us that serves this loaded potato soup that everyone in the family but me loves. I swear they eat just about every time we go. I’m sorry there is just something wrong about eating a soup that has french fries. French fries needs either ketchup or honey mustard do dip it.

I wanted to make a soup that was healthier and that had a lot a veggies in it but still tasted like the soup that they love. After looking at a few dozen recipes and finding nothing that I liked. So I took pieces of recipes that I like and just combined them to make this soup and added cheese. The trick to making this soup healthier is not using flour to thicken it, you are just pureeing potatoes and that does the thickening for you. Add you can even use fat free cheese to make it even healthier, the texture of the soup does change just a little but it is still amazing.

If you put this great soup in a bread bowl you get a filling and satisfying meal, with no dishes to clean up afterwards. That is a win win!  I better you never though that eating your vegetable could taste so good.

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

Potato Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 3 potatoes, medium to large size
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 ts Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 c milk

Directions:

  1. Dice up carrots, onion, and celery. Place in medium pot. Cook until the onions are tanslucent.
  2. Add potatoes, 3/4 cup broccoli, and water. Cover, cooking until potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Using a hand blender smooth potatoes and broccoli. Once smooth cooke for another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the broccoli and Worcestershire sauce, cook until tender.
  4. Add milk. Slowly add cheese in, make sure to stir after each addition. Salt and pepper to taste.

**If desired serve in a toasted bread bowl topped with bacon and extra cheese.

Easy Italy

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About ten years ago I had a chance of a life time. In my senior year in high school my school went to Italy. I fell in love the art, culture, people, and the food. Seeing everything in person beats looking in a book any day. And the food. Nothing beats a freshly made pizza from a brick oven brought to your table on a warm spring afternoon.

I can get 36 raviolis from one batch, you could save half for another day or for lunch one day. But then again it is so good you may not want to stop eating it. This is a great make a head meal for those cold winter nights when you want something warm to eat but don’t really want to cook. Enjoy.

Ravioli with Pasta Sauce

  • 2 1/3 cup flours
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Mix the first five ingredients together until a ball is formed.
  2. On a floured surface knead dough for about 8-10minutes until soft and elastic. Let rest for 10minutes.
  3. Mix cheese together and set aside.
  4. Split dough in half and work in batches. Roll dough out to very thin (1/8 inch). Cut dough into shapes, using a biscuit cutter works great. fill each piece with 1/2 tbs of cheese filling.
  5. Make sure to seal the edges completely.
  6. From there you can either cook right away for 8-9minutes or you can freeze them. Place ravioli on cookie sheet and place in freezer. Once completely frozen place in an airtight container.

Note: After you fill the ravioli and to not but the fresh ravioli on top of each other, they will stick and be gross. Trust me I have done that before. You should get about 36 raviolis.

Pasta Sauce

  • 6 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 onions, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. Saute onions ans garlic together until fragrant.
  2. Add tomatoes.
  3. Cook until very hot.
  4. Add salt and pepper and Italian seasoning to taste.

Note: I have learned that I want my sauce to taste like sauce and not tomatoes with a ton of extra stuff in it that is not healthy. Freeze any left over sauce and enjoy for another day, if you can.