Friday, July 29, 2016

Pepperoni Lasagna Roll ups

Meal planning used to be a no brainer for me.   Lately, changes to our schedules, weather, and general lack of inspiration have all been affecting my ability to plan.   My usual MO is to check out what I've got pinned or in my "On-Deck" folder, then I think about what I've got on hand, or if a trip to the store is needed.    Sometimes, I get my kick in the pants based on the "Food Holidays" calendar.   

A glance at today showed it is National Lasagna Day.   I had this recipe pinned, and a quick check of the fridge showed I had all the ingredients on hand.    I knew I'd swap shredded mozzarella for the swiss.   I got sidetracked when I went to grab the chives, and ended up omitting them.   I added some Italian seasoning to the sauce, and I think next time it could use a little garlic somewhere along the way.    I doubled everything to get 6 rolls.

I've made a few versions of lasagna roll ups, and I think this one is my favorite so far.   Thank you Jennifer J for sharing the recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Pepperoni Lasagna Roll-Ups

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  6                     lasagna noodles
     1 1/2           cup  ricotta cheese
    1     teaspoon  dried oregano
     1     teaspoon  dried basil
  48            slices  pepperoni
1 handful of shredded mozzarella
  2                cup  meatless spaghetti sauce
2t Italian seasoning (added to sauce- my addition)
     1/2           cup  shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, oregano and basil; spread 1/4 cup over each noodle to within 1/2 in. of edges. Top with pepperoni and carefully roll up.

Place seam side down in a greased shallow 1-qt. baking dish; top with spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

adapted from   ""

Bourbon Brats

About halfway through summer, and the guys have been getting bored with my usual hotdog/brat/kielbasa presentations.    I've had some Jack Daniels in the fridge for a while, so I decided to give this recipe a try.  

My skewers have gone missing, so I knew that I'd be doing this as a skillet meal.   I also planned to serve it over rice, so I wanted the veggies smaller than 1".   Neither of them eat vegetables, and I don't do mushrooms.   I had yellow, orange and red bell peppers, so I cut half of each into large dice, as well as half an onion.  I upped the sugar slightly, to 4T, they like marinades on the sweeter side.    I used Johnsonville Beef Brats, which are fully cooked, and it made this meal super fast to cook.    Everything went into a ziptop bag and then the fridge for 1 hour.

I heated a skillet to medium and then added the brats/veggies to it.  I kept it moving so that things browned, but did not burn.  I added about 1 to 2T of the marinade and made sure everything was well coated.     It only took about 10 minutes for the brats to be browned and the veggies crisp/tender.   

Totally complaint free dinner, which is rare around here.   I loved the sweetness of the veggies balanced against the marinade.  It went perfectly with rice.   It would also be fantastic in rolls.   Thank you Mary L for this fantastic recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                           Bourbon Brats

     1/2           cup  reduced-sodium soy sauce
     1/2           cup  bourbon (used Jack Daniels)
 4        tablespoons  brown sugar
  1           teaspoon  seasoned salt
     1/4      teaspoon  cayenne pepper
 1/2            red bell pepper -- cut into large dice
  1/2           yellow bell pepper -- cut into large dice
1/2       orange bell pepper-- cut into large dice
  1/2            medium  onion -- cut into large dice
  12oz package  Johnsonville beef bratwurst fully cooked links -- cut into 1-inch slices
1 pkg Uncle Ben's Ready Rice- Creamy Four Cheese

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first five ingredients. Add the vegetables and brats; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Drain and reserve marinade. Heat a skillet to medium, add brats and veggies.   Cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1 to 2 T of reserved marinade.   Repeat, until brats are browned and veggies are crisp/tender, about 10 minutes.  

Serve over rice, if desired.

Adapted from  ""

Linked to The Weekend Potluck #233

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thin Mint Zucchini Bread- thanks Carol!

My husband doesn't like zucchini.  He tells me so all the time.   My son at one time also did not like zucchini.   Did I let this stop me from trying a variety of amazing zucchini recipes? Nope.   I just got sneaky with it.  I peel the zucchini and shred it on the smaller hole side of the grater.    A few years ago, my son caught me folding the zucchini into the batter of one of his favorite desserts, and he became my co-conspirator.

I was fortunate enough to "meet" Carol through an online community.   The woman is a wizard when it comes to zucchini bread flavors.   We've loved every one we've tried.    This recipe for Thin Mint Zucchini Bread is hers and I can't thank her enough for sharing it.  

My only change was to use Nestle Delightfulls Dark Morsels with Mint Filling.   I'd picked up a few bags and stashed them in the freezer.   They are rather large, and I think next time I'd chop them up a bit so they distribute better.   Jake said this is his new favorite, and Tim, the zucchini hater, had 2 slices.     :)

I also love Carol's recipes because they make 2 9x5 loaves.   We enjoy one right away, and I double wrap the other, seal it in a ziptop bag and freeze it.   

* Exported from MasterCook *

                         Thin Mint Zucchini Bread

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  3              large  eggs
  1 1/2             c.  granulated sugar
  1                 c.  vegetable oil
  2               tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  1               tsp.  chocolate extract (optional)- (I used it)
  1               tsp.  peppermint extract
  2                 c.  shredded unpeeled zucchini-  (I peeled it)
  3                 c.  all-purpose flour
  1               pkg.  dark chocolate OR chocolate instant pudding mix -- (4 serving size)
  1               tsp.  baking soda
     1/2          tsp.  baking powder
  1               tsp.  salt
  10oz pkg.  creme de menthe baking chips -- I used Nestle Delightfulls Dark Chocolate/Mint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (2) 9x5-inch OR (5) 5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside.

Shred the zucchini using the large whole side of a box grater. Place the shredded zucchini in a mesh strainer to drain. Set aside while assembling the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, chocolate and peppermint extracts until well blended. Gently squeeze any excess moisture out of the shredded zucchini, then stir it into egg mixture.

In a medium bowl. whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg/zucchini mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in the creme de menthe chips.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake @ 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes for the large loaves and 35-45 minutes for the smaller loaves, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let breads cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen, then remove the breads from the pans to a wire rack and cool completely. Makes 2 large or 5 small loaves.

Source:  Carol1229

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Blueberry Zucchini Squares

It's blueberry time here in New Hampshire, one of my favorite times of the year.   It's also one of the hottest times of the year!  We've been on either side of 90 degrees for what seems like weeks now.   Usually I don't run the oven in the summer, but I had a large pile of zucchini and this recipe printed and calling to me.   I cranked the AC and got to work.

I peeled my zucchini, just a family preference.   My berries were huge and heavy, and sunk to the bottom despite being tossed with the flour.  The recipe calls for a jelly roll pan, but I don't have one.  I baked mine in a 13x9 pan for 55 minutes.   I put on the glaze while it was still warm.   I let them cool completely, then cut them into squares.  I wrapped about half the batch individually in Glad Press and Seal.   I popped them into a ziptop bag and then into the freezer.  

I love the tang of the buttermilk, and the combination of the lemon and blueberry.    Thank you to Shelly B for sharing her recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Blueberry Zucchini Squares

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  shredded zucchini (do not pack)
     1/2           cup  buttermilk
  1         tablespoon  grated lemon peel
  3        tablespoons  lemon juice
  1                cup  butter -- softened
  2 1/2           cups  sugar
  2              large  eggs
  3 1/4           cups  plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour -- divided
  1           teaspoon  baking soda
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
  2               cups  fresh or frozen blueberries
  2               cups  confectioners' sugar
     1/4           cup  buttermilk
  1         tablespoon  grated lemon peel
  2          teaspoons  lemon juice
     1/8      teaspoon  salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 15x10x1-in. baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine zucchini, buttermilk, lemon peel and lemon juice; toss to combine. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In another bowl, whisk 3-1/4 cups flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with zucchini mixture, mixing well after each addition. Toss blueberries with remaining flour; fold into batter.

Transfer batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly (pan will be full). Bake 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth; spread over top. Let stand until set. Yield: 2 dozen.


Shared to The Weekend Potluck #232

Strawberry Lemon Blossoms

My cake mix and Jello addictions are well documented.   I just can't resist a new fun flavor.   As a result, my pantry runneth over and I've been trying to clear them out.   I normally don't bake much when it's hot, but today I decided to crank the AC and churn out some goodies. 

I saved this recipe when I realized that I'd accumulated 4 strawberry cake mixes. The only change I made was to only dunk the tops, not the entire thing.   My son was eyeing them before the glaze was even set.    It makes a boatload, I got over 5 dozen using a Pampered Chef mini muffin pan and a 1 teaspoon cooke scoop.    I'm going to try freezing half the batch and see how they defrost, if they last that long.

Thank you to Jaren and Julie for sharing the recipe! 

* Exported from MasterCook *

                        Strawberry Lemon Blossoms

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1                box  strawberry cake mix (used 18.25 Duncan Hines)
  1             3.5 oz  instant lemon pudding mix
  4              large  eggs
     3/4           cup  vegetable oil
  4               cups  powdered sugar
     1/3           cup  fresh lemon juice
                        zest of 1 lemon
  3               tbsp  vegetable oil
  3               tbsp  water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.  Set a cooling rack over a half sheet pan (line the pan with foil or parchment for easier clean up). 

Beat together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, and oil with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.   Use 1 teaspoon cookie scoop to fill the muffin tins.    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Make the glaze- whisk together sifted powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vegetable oil and water.

Let the blossoms cool slightly, 1 to 2 minutes,. then turn out of muffin tin onto a tea towel.   Dunk each one into glaze and place on baking rack to set.   

  ""  Guest post by Jaren, Diary of a Recipe Collector.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

While tidying up some of my kitchen equipment, I ran across my Pampered Chef Ice Cream Sandwich maker.    Since it was National Ice Cream day, I thought I'd whip together a fast, fun treat.   I polled the guys on whether they wanted cookies or brownies, and the winner was Chocolate Chip Cookies.    This time I cheated and used bagged Betty Crocker mix, but you definitely could use your favorite from-scratch recipe.   I mixed the cookies as directed, and portioned them out with a cookie scoop.    This ensured nice, consistent rounds that fit perfectly in the ice cream sandwich maker. 

Once the cookies were cooled, I softened some vanilla ice cream in the microwave.   I layered in the first cookie, about 1/4c of ice cream and then topped it with the second cookie.  I flipped it over onto a cutting board, pressed the sandwich out and then quickly wrapped it in plastic wrap.   I popped the finished sandwiches into the freezer to reharden the ice cream for about 20 minutes.   

I wish I’d had some sprinkles to roll the cookie in before I refroze it, that would have made them even more fun.  Next time!     The possibilities are endless- different flavors of brownies, cake, cookies, plus whatever ice cream flavor you desire.      

*This is not a sponsored post, and it doesn't look like PC offers the Ice Cream Sandwich Maker any longer.   They are available on ebay as well as 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Fresh Green Bean Salad

Ah, summer.   Trips to the farm and long days by the pool.   Temps have been hovering around the 90s here in New England for a few days.  I went searching for side dishes that could be prepared ahead and wouldn't heat up the house a ton.  I found this recipe in Taste of Home's 2016 Grilling magazine.   So many great recipes to try! 

I substituted rice wine vinegar for the white wine vinegar, it was what I had on hand.   Dried parsley for the fresh.   I found the vinaigrette a little tart, so I added about a teaspoon of honey.      It went perfectly with some grilled chicken.    Crunchy, bright and refreshing.   Thank you so much to Allison B for sharing the recipe! 

* Exported from MasterCook *

                          Fresh Green Bean Salad

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  4               cups  fresh green beans -- trimmed and halved
  2               cups  cherry tomatoes -- halved
  1              large  English cucumber -- seeded and chopped
  1                cup  fresh baby carrots -- cut in half lengthwise (used matchstick)
  1                cup  coarsely chopped fresh parsley (used 1T dried)
     1/2           cup  olive oil
  2        tablespoons  lemon juice
  1         tablespoon  white wine vinegar (used rice wine vinegar)
  1         tablespoon  grated lemon peel
  1           teaspoon  Dijon mustard
  1                     garlic clove -- minced
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
     1/2      teaspoon  ground mustard
     1/4      teaspoon  pepper
1t local honey (my addition)

In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add beans; cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place beans in ice water. Drain and pat dry.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Refrigerate until serving. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).

Taste of Home Grilling 2016- Orange Edition

Linked to the Weekend Potluck #231

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Challenge accepted! Watermelon Salsa

When life hands you melons, make salsa!  Wait, that's not how it goes.    :)   This week, melons were handed to me as a challenge ingredient.  None of us are huge fans here, except for watermelon.   I buy it, cut it up in chunks. stick it in the fridge and we snack on it.   I found this recipe on the Taste of Home site, and it sounded perfect for some holiday weekend snacking.

Change #1- I don't do cilantro.  I am in the "tastes like soap" camp.   I used parsley instead.   The other two changes were minor- yellow bell pepper for the red, and little baby cucumbers that I left the peels on.   

Easy, delicious and a wonderful change from traditional salsa, thank you so much to Carolyn B for sharing the recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                     Contest-Winning Watermelon Salsa

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  seeded finely chopped watermelon
     1/2           cup  finely chopped peeled cucumber (used baby cucumbers, didn't peel)
     1/4           cup  finely chopped red onion
     1/4           cup  finely chopped sweet red pepper (used yellow)
  1                     jalapeno pepper -- seeded and minced
     1/4           cup  minced fresh cilantro- used dried parsley
  1         tablespoon  minced fresh basil
  1         tablespoon  minced fresh mint
  2        tablespoons  honey
  1           teaspoon  lime juice
                        Baked tortilla chip scoops

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber, onion, peppers and herbs. Drizzle with honey and lime juice; gently toss to coat.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with chips. Yield: 3 cups.

Source ""


Shared on the Weekend Potluck #230

Friday, July 1, 2016

Basil BLTs

My guys are away on a camping trip, and I'm practically giddy with the idea that I can eat whatever I want for the next few days.   While both eat bacon, neither likes lettuce or tomato, and both would rather forego the bread.    They can easily put away an entire pound of bacon by themselves, and still be looking for a snack afterwards.   

Since technically this is my "vacation",  I decided I'd make meals easy.  I used Oscar Mayer Fully cooked bacon, something I hadn't tried before.   It was ok, but next time I'd opt for cooking it myself.  I topped it with romaine lettuce, roma tomato, and that fantastic greek yogurt spread.   I held back a little of the chopped basil for photography purposes, and sprinkled it on top (I've yet to master taking pics of white foods).  Thank you to Alisa L for sharing this recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                                Basil BLTs

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/4           cup  mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt- used greek yogurt
  2        tablespoons  minced fresh basil
  1           teaspoon  lemon juice
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/8      teaspoon  garlic powder
  8       thick slices  French bread (diagonally cut) -- toasted
  4                     lettuce leaves
  2             medium  tomatoes -- each cut into four slices
  8                     cooked bacon strips- used Oscar Myer Fully Cooked Bacon

In a small bowl, mix the first five ingredients. Spread over four slices of bread; top with lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and remaining bread. Yield: 4 servings.


Breaded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

I am a fan of spicy foods, but my guys aren't.  I love recipes that I can make that still give me my heat fix, but that they can eat also.    I used thin sliced chicken breast, panko instead of regular breadcrumbs and sriracha.  I held back the salt until after the chicken had been pan fried.  The guys enjoyed theirs with just cheese, and I had mine without.   Watch the butter mixture, it can burn quickly.   Thanks to Tracy B for sharing the recipe!

* Exported from MasterCook *

                    Breaded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2                     boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
     1/8      teaspoon  garlic powder
     1/8      teaspoon  pepper
     1/4           cup  seasoned bread crumbs (used panko)
  2        tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  1         tablespoon  vegetable oil
  2             slices  mozzarella cheese
  3        tablespoons  butter
  1           teaspoon  cornstarch
     1/4      teaspoon  hot pepper sauce -- (1/4 to 1/2)
  2                     sandwich buns -- split
                        Blue cheese or ranch salad dressing

Sprinkle chicken with salt, garlic powder and pepper. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine bread crumbs and flour. Add chicken and shake to coat. In a skillet over medium heat, brown chicken in oil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until juices run clear.

Place cheese over chicken; cover and cook for 1 minute or until cheese is melted. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter; whisk in cornstarch and hot pepper sauce until smooth. Bring to a gentle boil, whisking constantly for 1 minute or until thickened. Drizzle over chicken. Serve on buns with blue cheese or ranch dressing. Yield: 2 servings.


Shared at the Weekend Potluck #229