BLT Pasta Salad

I have had this recipe in my folder of “Recipe’s To Eventually Try” for some time now. And that time has finally come. Huge and I mean huge hit with the family. It really tastes like a BLT and is so easy to throw together. It’s even filling enough to eat as the main course for a meal.

BLT Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 pound fusilli pasta
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk or milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, preferably heirloom, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 lightly packed cups sliced romaine or other crispy lettuce

Cook fusilli according to package directions until just tender; drain, cool under cold running water and drain again.

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Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, garlic and salt. Add pasta and toss until coated. Add bacon, tomatoes, onion and lettuce and toss again.

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Serve immediately.

This recipe was found on the Whole Foods website.
I did make a few adjustments to ours by using bacon pieces,organic fat free milk and only using half the garlic called for.
It is delicious, give it a try.

Crunchy Ground Turkey Pockets or Lettuce Wraps

Quick and easy is the key to this recipe. A little goes a long way, so it’s great for a group.

Crunchy Ground Turkey Pockets

1 lb. ground turkey

package of fresh mushroom slices(as big or small as you wish)

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

14 oz package of shredded coleslaw mix

In a nonstick pan brown your ground turkey along with your sliced mushrooms until it’s no longer pink. Add the entire bag of coleslaw cabbage and 1/2 cup hoisin sauce.

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Saute this, mixing it together well, for about 8-10 minutes. Or until the cabbage is to your desired tenderness.

Take your pita pockets and hold them open and stuff them with this mixture. This also works wonderful to fill butter lettuce leaves with.

Fast, easy, cheap and delicious:)

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A Drink Recipe to Take the Winter Chill Off

With the temperatures here in the single digits, I thought this would be a perfect way to warm up.

A few years ago my husband came across this recipe that was concocted by Canadian back country skiers.We thought we would give it a try and ever since, we have been hooked. This is a wonderful warming drink after a winter activity.

For myself, just standing in the window of my home looking out at the snow falling makes this drink all the more delightful. Who says you actually have to go out and enjoy the snow to enjoy this treat?

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Cougars Milk

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2 TBSP  sweetened condensed milk

1 oz. of rum (spiced and coconut are our favorite)

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of cinnamon

8 oz. of boiling water(more or less depending on your sweet tooth)

Add the milk, rum and spices to your cup and then add the boiling water. Mix and enjoy.

This could be the only good thing about winter that I can possibly think of….

Brie with Carmelized Onions

While my son was home for Thanksgiving I asked him for a suggestion on what to do with the Trader Joe’s brie that I had purchased. Knowing his love for cheese, I knew he would come up with something fairly quickly. He suggested caramelizing some onions, adding some bacon and putting this on a baguette covered in brie goat cheese. Which is exactly what we did.

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Brie with Caramelized Onions

1  crusty baguette cut into 1 inch slices

one round of brie

two medium onions thinly sliced

1 tbsp. smart balance butter spread

1/2 package real bacon salad toppings

balsamic glaze

Cut your baguette and lay the slices on a baking pan. Spread a small amount of brie on each slice.

Preheat your oven to 425. Saute your onions in a pan with the butter spread. Add your bacon pieces when the onions are about half done.

Keep your onions over low heat to keep them warm and place your brie covered slices into the oven to melt. Watch them closely, this will only take 3-5 minutes.

Remove the slices and place a small amount of the onion topping onto each slice of bread.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and enjoy.

Calzones

We have a local grocery store that will occasionally have a sale on their homemade pizza dough. I know, why don’t I just make my own, right? Well, I don’t enjoy baking as much as I enjoy cooking. So this is my way of cheating.

Anyway, so I always take advantage of this sale and instead of making pizza, I make calzones. I am not really going to even call this a recipe, because honestly you could stuff them with just about anything.

On this particular night, it was just veggies and cheese. I cut up some onions, mushrooms, spinach and sauteed them until soft. I also added black olives at the end, and let all this cool while I rolled out the dough.

I rolled out the dough to about the size of a personal pizza, and added some pizza sauce. Topped it with my cooked veggies.

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And finally, I added some mozzarella cheese. Keep in mind, I did not measure any of the toppings because it really depends on how big you roll out your dough. You want a good amount of space between the topping and the edge of your dough as in the picture.

Next, you want to run your finger under water and outline the entire edge of the dough. (This will be like your glue to hold it together.) Then fold over the top part of the dough and align it as close to possible with the side holding your toppings. Roll over the edge and press firmly with a fork to seal the edges all together.

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Lastly,  brush the entire calzone with a little beaten egg white. (This will make your calzone brown nicely) Cover your pan with parchment paper, for easy removable and just in case your sealed edge leaks a little melted cheese.

Bake at 400 for about 20 -30 minutes. Watch carefully, because again it will depend how big or small you made each calzone.

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Let them cool 5-10 minutes before serving, they will be very hot inside.

Another favorite filling of ours is alfredo sauce, cooked chicken, mushrooms, onions, garlic, cooked spinach and cheese.

Give this a try and be creative.

ENJOY!

Celabrating Two Decades Together

This past week we officially celebrated our 20th Anniversary together. Even though our real gift to each other was our trip to Zion National Park, we still went out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and I was surprised by two dozen roses from my husband.

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We decided on a nice quiet place called 1951 West in Green Bay,WI.

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They have some of the best meals we have ever tasted in the Green Bay area. They are featured yearly at the Feast with the Beast event and also have the best brunch in town, in our opinion.

We arrived and decided to splurge and have an appetizer first. We love mushrooms and decided to be different and give the wild mushroom flatbread a try. I was a little scared when I saw bacon jam as one of the ingredients listed on the menu, but sometimes you just have to be brave, right?

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It was served on a cedar plank, and was drizzled with balsamic glaze that can make any dish wonderful. It was very tasty and the goat cheese really made the dish quite the culinary experience. I told my husband that I really want to buy some and experiment with some recipes of my own. We normally don’t eat goat cheese at our home. I do think we would order this again. Although, if I ever made it at home I would just use a few bacon pieces and not the jam, it was a little strong tasting.

Next, came the crock of french onion soup for us both. One of our family favorites. We even serve this to my entire family on Christmas at our home. So yummy:)

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Then the star of the show…..my grilled portabella sandwich. This is my favorite menu item here. I order it every time we come.

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It has a huge grilled mushroom, artichokes, pesto, cheese, pine nuts, roasted pepper, grilled onions all served on a wonderful roll. It’s like a party in your mouth.

Our night ended with a nice walk together, after a great meal. It’s odd to think 20 years ago I married my best friend. It seems so long to say 20 years… yet I remember that day like it was just yesterday.

Many would say communication is the key to a successful marriage, which I agree helps make it more enjoyable. My secret to a successful marriage would be HONESTY. Without honesty, you really have nothing!

*What would be your secret to your successful marriage?

Meatless Tortilla Stack

In my quest to try and have one meatless dish every week, and not have my husband go through severe meat withdrawl, I have become creative.

This I made one day after searching through the pantry for anything that caught my eye. My husband would truly eat tacos every single night. So I thought, maybe I could get this past him and he may not notice there was no meat in it. The best part was that I used mainly all canned ingredients that are commonly found in most pantries.

Here is what I started with:

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Here is what I did:

I prepared one cup of rice according to the directions. To the cooked rice I added one can of fire roasted tomatoes, and half the packet of taco seasoning. I left this simmer for about 10 minutes to combine the flavors.

Next, I took an 8×8 baking dish, sprayed it with non stick cooking spray and layered a thin  layer of the rice mixture on the bottom. I then took 4 small tortillas and layered them on top. Then I put about half the rice mixture over the tortillas, sprinkled half the can of black beans, half the can of corn and half the package of cheddar cheese.

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I then repeated the same layer, but before I put the remaining cheddar cheese on the top, I poured one can of enchilada sauce over the entire dish. Topped with cheese and baked covered at 400 for 20 minutes and then uncovered and baked an additional 10 minutes.

I served it with a side of shredded lettuce and sour cream.

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The results were quite wonderful. Although, the first words out of the hubby’s mouth were,”It could use some ground turkey!!!!” I should have known he would notice there was no meat, but he did say it was tasty and I could prepare this again. That is enough for me to claim success on this meatless meal.