Tag Archives: Recipe

Pinterest Inspired Menu Plan

I’m not sure about all of you but I am a pinterest addict. If I am sitting at home, I’m probably playing on pinterest. I have several different food boards from breakfast ideas to breads to desserts and sweets. The biggest problem with being a pinterest fiend? I have all these great meal ideas that I rarely use. Because of this, I made a goal for myself. Make at least 3 pinterest inspired meals next week.

I usually spend my weekend meal planning and then go shopping on Monday but with working full time I have been finding this difficult. At least the shopping on Monday part. I’ve started going on Sunday afternoons instead. The crowds aren’t terrible and I’m able to stock up on food for the family for the week. Mom comes with me some weeks but I like grocery shopping. I find it therapeutic. Anyone else like this? Let me tell you though. This therapeutic feeling is only at certain stores. My grocery store in St. Louis? Made my blood pressure rise as soon as I stepped in. My Jewel here at home? Blissful calm.

Anyway, here is what my meal plan looked like this week as inspired by pinterest. Some criteria for the meals: include vegetables and protein, low fat when possible, whole grains and plenty of fiber.

Mon: I made Crockpot Greek Chicken over quinoa. Recipe here

20130225_173453Tues: Warm Butternut Squash Salad. Recipe Here


Wed: Out-Chik Fil A after tap

Thurs: Leftovers

Fri: Stewed Spinach, Tomato and Goat Cheese Risotto to which I’ll add some grilled chicken breast to round it out. Recipe here


Sat: Leftovers or Out

Saturday is bowling with my church and we usually go out afterwards but I may go see a friend instead so this meal is up in the air right now.

These three meals from pinterest were pretty tasty. I think my favorite was tonight’s spinach, tomato, goat cheese rice dish. I swapped out white rice and used brown rice. It was delicious but took a little long to make for an after work day. Totally worth the wait.

What recipes have you tried from Pinterest? Any favorites?

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Veggie and Shell Pasta Soup

Hello from Oklahoma! I’m visiting Alex this weekend and am taking advantage of the time with him cooking lots of tasty food. Since I got here I have made this baked eggs with cheese (no fontina in Stillwater, OK so I used a sharp white cheddar instead) and this creamy chicken penne. Both were from the blog How Sweet It Is. I love the recipes on this blog. Check it out for really tasty dinners, dips, and desserts. Yummy food right there.

Tonight for dinner I had planned on making this Minestrone soup  from Eat Yourself Skinny but I made too many changes to the recipe to really say I made it. The recipe was my inspiration for the soup though. I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe and therefore do not have any photos except the end product. But, hey, that’s the one that counts right? Right. Excuse the horrible lighting in this photo because well the lighting was horrible and I haven’t figured out how to edit my photos yet.  This soup was a taste of Mexican and Italian thanks to the green chili diced tomatoes and the Italian spices. We had our  bowls with some Ciabatta bread to soak up the tasty broth of the soup.


There are only the two of us and this makes 6 servings. I am planning to put the rest into baggies and freeze it to make sure Alex eats his veggies the last four months of school.  The soup is very filling and packed with nutrition from healthy fats to a nice serving of vegetables. See the end of the post for nutrition facts.

Veggie and Shell Pasta Soup (serves 6)


1 1/4 cup medium shell pasta

1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into discs (sliced I guess)

3 celery stalks diced, same size as carrots

1/2 large onion, diced

2.5 Tbsp canola oil

4 cups chicken broth

1 can red kidney beans (I used light red, you can use whatever you prefer)

1 tsp Italian blend spices

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper


1. In a large soup pot, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Let warm up for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add in carrots, celery, and onion.  Sprinkle on Italian spices, garlic salt and pepper. Cook 5 mins stirring often

3. Add in kidney beans, broth, diced tomatoes. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let soup simmer for 15 minutes. If it looks like the liquid is getting too low add some water. I ended up adding about 2 cups of water before adding the shells because it was looking too thick.

4. Add in pasta shells and cook for another 15-20 minutes. The pasta should be cooked through and the veggies soft. Add more seasoning as needed.

5. Serve in a nice big bowl with a slice of crusty bread to soak up all that tasty broth.

Nutrition Facts: 1/6 of recipe (about 1.5 cups): 202 calories, 8 gram protein, 7 grams of fat, 3.4 grams monounsaturated fat, 7 grams fiber, 77% daily vitamin A, 10% vitamin C, 4% DV calcium, 11% DV iron

Alteration ideas: to make it vegetarian use vegetable broth, add more beans for more protein, add shredded chicken, double the veggies. On a low carb kick? Take out the pasta and add more beans and veggies.

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Babi’s Dumplings

I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post about dumplings. This is my great-grandmother’s recipe and possibly goes back further than that. When my grandmother was in her 90s she would still make these. They take a lot of arm muscle and it always enthralled me that my frail looking Babi could beat things up whenever we wanted them. Now when we make them, we pass the bowl around as we beat to take breaks. It is a really easy recipe only calling for 4 ingredients.

Set 6 slices of white bread, yes white bread, on a wire rack or cutting board to dry overnight. We call this stale-ing the bread. You want it dried out when you make the dumpling.

The next day take a large pot and fill it with water then set to boil on the stove. You need a very large pot such as a stock pot or large dutch oven. Next, pick your bowl to make your dumplings.You take 2 heaping cups of flour and put them into a bowl. The heaping part is necessary. Don’t pack the flour in but I like to use our flour scoop to fill up a 1-cup measuring cup then heap on some more.

Then you make a well in the middle of the flour. Put in 2 eggs and and whisk with a fork. Begin to start incorporating some of the flour as you go. Once the eggs are mixed, add in 1/2 cup of milk slowly. Stirring and incorporating more of the flour until all the milk and flour are one big sticky mess.


Now the fun part! Time to beat. My utensil of choice?  A round wooden spoon. You are going to beat the dough to 1. get the gluten going and make it elastic and 2. incorporate air. To beat: push spoon under the dough and lift up and away from you. Go at your own pace. For our family it takes about 15-20 minutes to beat the dumplings to the correct consistency. You’ll know it’s ready for the next step when  it is smooth, elastic and has air bubbles in it.

Next, cut your bread into cubes. You want them to be small, maybe just under 1/2 inch dice. Add the bread to your dough and fold them in until coated and wet.

Wet your hands in water and using your hands cut the dough in half. Scoop it out and form the dumpling loaf into a football shape. Re-wet your hands as necessary. Once formed, gently tip the dumpling loaf into the boiling water.


Repeat with the other half. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Once the timer goes off, flip the dumpling and let it boil for another 15 minutes. Then you put them on a platter to cool slightly. Cut into slices and there you go. Dumplings!

We make ours a day or two before and put them in the fridge. To reheat, steam until warmed through. I have to say this is one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods and we always make more than we need because we make eggs and dumplings the weekend after. Yum yum yum.

Babi’s Dumplings (makes about 16 dumplings)


2 heaping cups of all-purpose flour

6 slices of white bread

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1. Let bread stale overnight by putting on a cutting board, flip in the morning to allow the other side to dry

2. Measure flour into large mixing bowl

3. Make a well into the flour and crack in the eggs. Beat eggs incorporating a little flour

4. Add milk slowly, incorporating flour as you go

5. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, elastic and bubbly

6. Cut bread into cubes and fold into dough

7. Using wet hands, cut dough in half and form into a football shape

8. Place dumpling into boiling water and repeat with other half of dough

9. Boil for 10 minutes, flip then another 15 minutes

10. Remove from water and place on a plate or platter

11. Cut into 7-8  slices

Do you have a family recipe you make for holidays?




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Fall Inspired Pasta

Last night I made an awesome dinner. It was probably the best of my creations all fall. For the past two weeks, I have had a 2 lb butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter. I just could not figure out what I wanted to make with it yet. Then, I bought Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage from Costco. And just like that the inspiration hit. I would make a pasta with roasted butternut squash and the Chicken Sausage. It worked even better than I could have imagined.

I sliced the sausage on an angle and the creamy Gouda melted down to create an amazingly creamy sauce. It was voted a winner in my house. And, it tasted just as awesome this afternoon for lunch. The recipe is as follows:Image

Chicken Apple Sausage, Butternut Squash Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Parmesan Sauce

Serves 4-6


1 2lb Butternut Squash

1 package (6 links) Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage

2 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 box your choice Penne pasta (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste because my family doesn’t like the whole wheat variety)

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Peel and cube your butternut squash into bite size pieces.

3. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. I used about 1/5-1 Tbsp for the entire sheet. Salt and pepper the squash and give it a good mix. Stick it in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring at 20 mins. You want it to get a little caramelized so it’ll bake a little longer than what other recipes call for.

4. After you’ve stirred the squash. Start your water in a pot to boil. I used a medium saucepan for mine. Start the next steps while waiting for it to boil.

5. Slice the chicken sausage on an angle getting 7-8 pieces per link. Then dice your tomatoes.

6. Start a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Let warm for 2-3 minutes then add in your chicken sausage and tomatoes. The Gouda and tomatoes at this point will start making the sauce. Mine got a little dry and I added another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan to keep things moving.

7. At this point your water should be boiling so cook your pasta according to the box. Before you drain, reserve a quarter cup of pasta water or so to help make the sauce.

8. Now its just an add everything to the sausage and tomatoes as they finish sort of deal. My order was butternut squash then I added in half the Parmesan to make stirring a little easier. Then I added in my drained pasta and the reserved pasta water. Mixed it all up and mixed in the last of the Parmesan.

There it is! My new favorite pasta dish. Feel free to play around with it. Add more tomatoes or leave them out if you don’t like them. Add more pasta if you want. Cooking is all about feel and what you want. Make it yours.

What has been your favorite dish you have made so far this fall? I’d love to hear about it!


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