Thursday, March 15, 2018

Creamy Tortellini Toscana

This was super good. And super easy (1 pan). It has similar flavors to zuppa toscana (one of our fave soups). It's a pretty heavy dish, but oh so delish.

  • 16 oz. hot Italian bulk sausage  (I used hot and it wasn't too spicy)
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato (about 3/4 - 1 pound) peeled and cut into 1/2-1-inch cubes  (I will substitute another [nonstarchy] veg here next time)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp EACH EACH dried parsley, dried rosemary, salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half  (fat free worked fine)
  • 1 20 oz. bag quality refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 heaping cups baby spinach torn into pieces (I used way more ... like a whole bag)

  • 4-6 bacon strip cooked and crumbled  (I didn't put this in it)
  • chopped parsley  (nor this...)
  • freshly grated Parmesan

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large skillet with tall sides, to medium high heat. Add sausage, onions, and sweet potatoes and cook until sausage is cooked through. Drain grease.
  2. Add garlic, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in 1 cup chicken broth and cover. Let cook 2-3 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked through. 
  3. Remove lid and add tortellini and remaining chicken broth. Whisk half and half with cornstarch and stir into skillet. Simmer until tortellini is cooked, approximately 6-8 minutes, stirring often so it cooks evenly. 
  4. Stir in Parmesan until melted. Stir in spinach a handful at a time until it wilts, then stir in more. Stir in milk or half a little at time if needed to reach desired consistency. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with bacon, fresh parsley and additional Parmesan if desired.

    There is no mention of corn starch in her ingredients, but it calls for it in the directions. I added a couple small spoon fulls with the half and half and it was a good thickness. Next time I will use carrots instead of sweet potatoes. It was just starch on starch. Pile the spinach in bc it wilts to nothing. We had broccoli on the side, but could just add it into the mixture.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Hasselbeck Sweet Potatoes

Yum, to the yum, to the yum yum yum. These are so fatty, and greasy, and yummy. Surprisingly sooo much flavor. A pretty simple and pretty dish if you have a mandolin. Just plan on a decent amount of cooking time (90 min!)

I would plan on 3-4 sweet potatoes. I bought 5 or 6, sliced them all up, and only used like half. I froze the other half for mashed potatoes sometime ???? I don't know if they will even freeze well. Anyway...

I love how pretty they are. Don't be afraid to get your hands messy (cause they will). I filled the cream mix up to half way up the pan, so mine had more liquid than her picture shows...

  • 3 oz. finely grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese
  • 3 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5- 6 medium sweet potatoes*
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • butter for greasing the pan

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Using a microplane or whatever else works for you, slice the potatoes to ⅛ inch thick. Soak in water until ready to use.
  3. Combine the cheeses. Take about ⅓ out and set aside. To the rest of the cheese add the cream, garlic, rosemary, salt & pepper. Whisk together.
  4. Drain & dry the potatoes and add them to the cheese/cream mixture. Make sure that each slice gets coated, using your hands to separate them.
  5. Use the butter to grease a 9-inch skillet or other 2-3 quart sized pan. Grab a stack of the potato slices and arrange them vertically around the perimeter of the pan.
  6. Continue, arranging the potatoes in the pan and then continuing onto the inside as well. Pour the remaining cream mixture over the potatoes, filling it about halfway up the side of the pan.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes uncovered. Finally, add the remaining cheese all over the top and bake for a final 30 minutes, or until super golden brown with the cheese crisp.


I got a new laptop for Christmas, so I might be blogging again! That's my hope. I will start with a recipe.  Ive tried a few ham recipes, and actually liked them all, but this one beats them all. The crust was on point. Glaze, bake, glaze bake. I actually broiled it the last time to get the crust extra crisp.

I just use a spiral cut ham, so I obviously didn't do any trimming of the rind or diamond cut patterns...

  • 8-10 pound (4-5 kg) bone-in fully cooked ham,
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, reduce fat or full fat
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F | 150°C and arrange a rack in the lower third. Remove any plastic packaging or netting from the ham. Trim away the rind and discard. Set the ham aside to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  2. Line a baking tray or dish with several sheets of aluminium foil or parchment paper if you prefer (it will make cleanup a lot easier). 
  3. Remove the rind or skin of the ham (refer to steps in post), ensuring you leave the fat on. Using a sharp knife score a 1-inch-wide diamond pattern (don’t cut more than 1/4 inch deep) over the entire ham. Place the ham in the baking tray; pour 1/3 cup of water into the base of the pan and cover the ham with two pieces of foil or parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat until golden browned. Add in the brown sugar, honey, mustard, cinnamon and cloves, stirring to mix together well until the brown sugar has completely dissolved, (about 2 minutes). 
  5. Reduce heat to low and add in the garlic. Allow it to become fragrant, cooking for a further minute or two until the glaze just begins to simmer, then set it aside and let cool to lukewarm (the glaze should be the consistency of room-temperature honey).
  6. After 30 minutes baking time, carefully remove the ham from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425°F | 220°C. Discard the foil or parchment paper and pour 1/3 of the glaze all over the ham, brushing in between the cuts to evenly cover. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, brush with another third of the glaze and some of the pan juices, and repeat again after 15 minutes more minutes of baking until a dark golden-brown crust has formed, (about 30 minutes total). For added depth of flavour, mix some of the ham pan juices together with the glaze in the pot which will help keep it runny enough for brushing. If your crust is still pink after there suggested baking time, turn on your broiler (or oven grill), and allow it to broil for 2-5 minutes, while keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn from the sugar. 
  8. Let the ham rest 10-20 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hulk Muffins

I think this recipe is originally from Mels.

In a bowl mix dry ingredients:
2 1/2 cups wheat flour (or I do 2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup of flax/chia super seed blend)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In blender, blend wet ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 cup honey or syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk or greek yogurt)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
heaping cup or two of spinach
2 ripe bananas

Mix together. Put in muffin tins.
350 15-18 minutes.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Greek Chicken Wraps

We loved these. I'm trying to simplify my menu planning, and this was perfect. It was quick and delicious. Perfectly light for summer, but still had flavor. I don't usually love Greek stuff like this, but I couldn't get enough. You MUST pickle the onion. It tones down the strong flavor. Even Annie was eating them like candy. So good.




  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup thinly sliced red onion


  • 1 medium English/seedless cucumber, shredded (I use the large holes of my box grater)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt I forgot to buy this, I used sour cream and it worked great.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed through garlic press
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 flatbreads, wraps or tortillas (we bought Oroweat multigrain pocket thins and they were soooo good. Moist and delicious)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • Crumbled Feta cheese


  1. For the quick pickled onions, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat until the sugar and salt mostly dissolve, about a minute or so. Add the onions, turning them to coat in the mixture. Set aside. I forgot to microwave. Oops.
  2. For the tzatziki, lightly squeeze any excess water out of the cucumber over the sink (with your hands or with the cucumber wrapped up in a towel). In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the drained cucumber, and stir to combine. Drizzle with a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. For the chicken, in a small bowl, stir together the oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the chicken pieces dry and rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the chicken.
  5. Preheat a grill (or grill pan, broiler or skillet) to medium-high. Grill/cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side (exact time will depend on the thickness of the chicken) until cooked through; an instant-read thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (I just used my cast iron skillet on the stove with the lid on. )
  6. Lightly tent the chicken with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  7. To assemble, heat the flatbread/wraps/tortillas until just warm (in a skillet or I sometimes throw them into a ziploc bag and microwave with the bag opened for 30-45 seconds).
  8. Cut the chicken into cubes or slices. Arrange the chicken down the center of each flatbread. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, pickled onions, tzatziki and feta cheese. Roll up, cut in half, if desired, and serve immediately.


Each of the components for this recipe can be made ahead of time. The pickled onions can be refrigerated for several days – same with the tzatziki sauce. 
If you have the time, try rubbing the spice mixture on the chicken and letting it rest/marinade for up to 12 hours. After being grilled, the chicken can also be refrigerated and used for leftover wraps (or for quick lunches). It was just as good or better leftover

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cafe Rio Pork

This is the best homemade Cafe Rio I've had.  The recipe I used to use was just cooking it in a crock pot with brown sugar and soda I think. This one is marinated, then cooked in coke and water, and finished with more of a "sauce" I guess you could say. 

Recipe from here:

  • 2 pounds pork (we use boneless pork rib meat)  --- I used like 4lb sirloin roast.
  • 3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • dash garlic salt
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness but any will work)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. (I used a bigger roast, so I put it in a bowl and poured Coke in until it was covered.)
  • Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.
  • Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!

We made salads and tacos.  I discovered uncooked CORN tortillas last year and use them all the time.  I don't usually like dry, fall apart easily regular ones, but these are to die for! So much better than even the flour ones. 

I use this recipe for dressing: 
This last time I didn't have green salsa on hand, so I left it out and it's still a decent version.