Apple Turnovers

Once again I LOVE puff pastries!! I made these for my future brother-in-law’s birthday, because I knew he liked apple/pecan desserts. They turned out so well that I made more for a family dinner we had last weekend! These little turnovers are the perfect balance of sweetness to pastry. I love delicately sweet desserts so these were right up my alley BUT you can make them more decadent by adding a caramel drizzle across the top of them.a2

 

APPLE TURNOVERS           Makes: 18

1 pkg frozen puff pastry (2 sheets inside)

2 c. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (2-3 medium apples)

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1/3 c. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. flour

1 egg

1 tbsp. almond milk

sparkling sugar for sprinkling on top

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl stir apples, sugar, cinnamon and flour .
  2. cut the prepared puff pastry into three pieces length wise each and cut three ways width wise each.  Making 18 squares.
  3. Spoon a little bit of the apple mixture into the middle of a square. Fold half of the square over making a triangle. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with all squares and place on the baking sheet. Mix the egg and milk together and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.a3

That’s it! Enjoy ❤

Spice up your Spaghetti!

Ok…so it’s kind of silly to make a post about spaghetti. I mean spaghetti is pretty basic, its the meal you cook because you don’t want to think about it and you want something cheap that doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, lol. Well, I am not going to take that away from you. There are subtle add-ins and changes you can make to doctor up your spaghetti. Making it more awesome and flavorful while still being a cheap, filling option for your family!! Also HEALTHY, the changes that I make in this spaghetti recipe makes it even better for you!!!! Pair it with an easy side salad made up of a spring mix and some cherry tomatoes. Add some bread if you like!

INGREDIENTS:     MAKES: 5-6 servings

1 pkg. Whole Wheat spaghetti

1 16oz jar of Spaghetti sauce (your choice)

1 Shallot, minced

1 lb Ground Turkey

lightly dried Parsley ( you can find in your produce section)

lightly dried Basil  (you can find in your produce section)

Red pepper flakes, minced onion flakes, Italian seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions
  2. Saute the shallot and then add the ground turkey to brown. If you get 98% lean turkey there wont be any grease to drain. Add some parsley, basil, salt and pepper to meat.s1
  3. Drain pasta and add sauce to the pot. Simmer sauce and add the remaining seasonings to taste. Add the meat and spaghetti to the pot and combine. s2

 

That’s it!! Switch the pasta to whole wheat and the meat to ground turkey to make your basic spaghetti healthier. Add some sauteed onion or shallots to your meat for extra flavor. Doctor up your store bought sauce with extra seasonings that you probably already have on hand. It’s still basic, yes, but its tastier 🙂

 

Enjoy ❤

Chicken Pot Pie (veggie packed)

When you tell someone you made homemade chicken pot pie it always sounds impressive. Pot pie has become a bit underrated nowadays, but it can be so yummy and a great way to eat tons of vegetables. This recipe is fairly healthy and fairly easy. Also don’t be afraid to switch it up, vegetable wise,  maybe you don’t like mushrooms but you love squash? Really whatever combination of vegetables sounds good to you!

 

What I learned: I used broccoli in this recipe, after making it I realized that I like it much better without.

INGREDIENTS:  MAKES: 2 full size pies

2 tbsp oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 large carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed for thickness

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup vegetable/chicken broth

2 cups Almond milk

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

2 store-bought frozen pie crust packages (should each have two pie crusts in them) Thaw only slightly!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large pot over med heat, heat oil. Add onion and carrots-cook for 5 min or until onions are translucent. cp2
  2. Add garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Cook another 5 min or until tender. cp3
  3. Add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and flour. Stir to combine.
  4. Add lemon juice, broth, milk, broccoli, and chicken. Stir to combine. Add more flour, if needed until the mixture is to your desired thickness. Remove from heat and allow to cool.cp4
  5. Preheat oven to pie crust package directions. Place one pie crust into an un-greased pie dish. Fill with vegetable mixture and then top with another pie crust, folding under any excess crust and crimp edges to desired design. Brush evenly with beaten egg. Cut slits in the middle of top crust. cp6
  6. Bake according to pie crust directions.

TIP: I let my pie crust thaw too much and it was quite hard to handle. Only let your crust thaw slightly so it is pliable but still holds it shape and doesn’t adhere to the aluminum pan it comes in. cp7

That’s it! Slice and serve warm 🙂 ❤

Egg-free Potato Salad

I LOVE potato salad. It is one of my favorite things about summer actually, lol. Barbecue’s, cookout’s, Independence Day get togethers! Potato salad is a frequent and familiar visitor at events like these. One of the biggest things that usually turn people off about potato salad is the fact that it has boiled eggs mixed in it. I know that is the case for my husband. He can NOT stand boiled eggs, so when I said I would bring potato salad to a life group cookout I knew I would have to make the salad from scratch so I could leave out the eggs. It was delicious! I ended up bringing home an empty bowl, which warms my heart beyond words 🙂 SO, if boiled eggs are keeping you from enjoying the mustardy, starchy goodness that is potato salad, let me introduce you to egg-free potato salad. This is a mustard version, but you could do a redskin potato/mayo version if you like 🙂

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup mayo

2 tsp mustard (add more for taste preference)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup celery, chopped or minced

3 tbsp chopped parsley (I use loosely dried parsley that you find in the produce section)

6-7 dill pickle slices, minced (I use burger pickles)

Paprika for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine the potatoes and salt together in a pot of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set the potatoes aside in large bowl to cool.
  2. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the paprika.
  3. Once potatoes have cooled add the wet mixture to the potatoes until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then top with paprika.
  4. Put in fridge to chill before serving. Add some extra parsley right before serving. p1

That is it! Think of it as a summery loaded mashed potato!! Make it for your next summer get together or in the cooler months to reminisce over the warmer weather that was 🙂

TIP: If you want it to be more creamy you can use an electric mixer on the potatoes as they are cooling. I prefer chunky so I just combine, gently with a spoon.

Enjoy ❤

 

 

Nutella Puff Pastry

So…I can’t consider these homemade. I didn’t make the puff pastry from scratch. I didn’t make the chocolate spread from scratch and furthermore, in my humble opinion, it’s not worth the time and effort to make puff pastries from scratch. Just buy the frozen puff pastries at your grocery store and call it good! BUT I did assemble and bake them 🙂

What I love about puff pastry desserts is the versatility in how they can be designed. All the different shapes and styles and added touches make puff pastries a fun, easy and truly beautiful dessert. I picked a basic shape for these pastries but if you look up different puff pastry shapes you will find some really pretty ones that are fairly easy to replicate. I lOVE nutella!!! but you can fill these with anything! I, personally would leave fruit for the outside as a finishing touch, but that’s because I don’t like the texture of cooked fruit in pastries.

These come out as a flaky, buttery, chocolaty treat!

 

INGREDIENTS:                    SERVES: 8

1 frozen puff pastry sheet (package will probably have two)

Small container of Nutella/Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

1 tbsp melted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Allow your puff pastry to thaw in fridge for a bit then lay out on cutting board. Preheat oven to 375. Nead the seams together to make one big square.
  2. Spread nutella evenly across the pastry and then use pizza cutter to cut pastry into 8 triangles (or cut whatever way is needed to create the shape desired) n2
  3. Roll your triangle and place on a baking sheet that has been covered in parchment paper. Brush each pastry with melted butter. n3
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes or untill the pastry looks flaky and golden brown! Cool completely. n1

Tip: Puff pastries can be deceiving. You will think they are done when they are not. Trust me, wait until you see it rise and become flaky otherwise it will NOT taste as wonderful as it has the potential to taste.

 

That’s it! Enjoy ❤

 

Mini Pigs in a Blanket

This recipe needs no introduction. Its simple, its easy and its a crowd pleaser! This is a great appetizer to make for any get together. So if you like contributing yummy treats for gatherings but don’t have a lot of time to prep, chop, saute… then these little guys are for you!!

*Also these are so cute for a Halloween get-together. You can wrap the dough like a mummy, leaving some space to dot with mustard for eyes and your Mini Pigs in a Blanket become Mini Mummies in Wrappings 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

SERVINGS: Makes 32

1 pkg. Lit’l Smokies (flavor and style of choice)(I use regular and sometimes cheese filled smokies)

1 can of Crescent Rolls

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. un-roll the dough, pressing the perforated edges of two triangles together make a total of 4 rectangles. Then cut 8 lengthwise strips of dough from each rectangle. (Pizza cutter works great!) You should have roughly 32 strips when finished.
  3. Take a smoky and start rolling in one of the strips. Continue until all the dough is used.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. p1

Serve with dipping sauces. I just do mustard, but ketchup, BBQ sauce, maybe even cheese, ranch. Sky’s the limit when it comes to dipping sauces for these guys.

Thats it!! It’s that simple and quick!!

Enjoy ❤

 

 

Whole Wheat Bruschetta

Oh my word, you guys!!! This bruschetta recipe is da bomb, if I do say so myself 🙂 Granted I love tomatoes, garlic,olive oil, bread and my passion for basil runs deeper than words can express. There is nothing more fragrant than the sweet smell of basil. I seriously love it so much!! This recipe creates a perfect tomato to garlic to basil ratio. Also this is a great healthy appetizer! I enjoy eating this with some Kalamata olives and cubed cheese. Makes a great Italian spread. Pair this with a medium dry Riesling for a perfect night in. So turn on some acoustic music, pour yourself a glass of that aforementioned wine and get started on this bruschetta!

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf of whole wheat Italian bread (I purchased mine already sliced)

approx. 20 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch of basil leaves, minced (approx. 1/2 cup)

1 cloved of garlic, minced (I did a tsp of minced garlic from a jar)

Olive oil

Butter (Optional)

salt

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Slice 6 slices of your whole wheat Italian bread and place on a cookie sheet or in a toaster. Preheat oven to 450 (unless using toaster method). Toast bread on both sides.
  2. In a bowl mix together your chopped tomatoes, minced garlic and minced basil. Drizzle just enough olive oil to coat the tomatoe mixture. Add salt to taste.
  3. Once bread is toasted, spread with a bit of butter OR olive oil and spoon tomato mixture over the bruschetta slice. (TIP: to ensure your bread doesn’t get soggy, you may want to spoon the tomato mixture one slice at a time instead of all at once.) b2

That’s it! It is so wonderful and fresh. Perfect for a summer night. Serve with olives and cheese on toothpicks, if so desired. You could also do rotisserie chicken suated with some sun-dried tomatoes and add it to your Italian spread.

Enjoy ❤

 

Pesto Tortellini

“There’s linguine, rigatoni, fettuccine, cannelloni I will master every pasta till it’s right
Tagliatelle, lumaconi, vermicelli, macaroni for the cognoscenti there is plenty every night” Lyrics from a song in Love Story the Musical. OK, OK…so it doesn’t actually mention the pasta we are working with today…but its fun nonetheless! Tortellini, my friends, that’s what brings us here today; the best cheese filled pasta out there, in my humble opinion. A little bit of tortellini goes a long way when it comes to making you full. Everything in this recipe is healthy, except the tortellini. I didn’t use whole wheat tortellini…not sure if that is even a thing…if you have seen whole wheat tortellini please, oh please let me know!! Anywho, this dish is a wonderful rendition of Italian cuisine that doesn’t break the bank or the back! It’s easy and all the ingredients are quite accessible. The most work is spent on pulling apart the rotisserie chicken. I pull all the meat off and get rid of the bones and the skin, and by I, I mean my husband, ha! 🙂

INGREDIENTS: MAKES: about 3-4 servings

Drizzle of Olive oil for sauteing

1-2 cups Rotisserie Chicken, de-boned and skinned

1/3 cup Sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 Package of frozen asparagus (I used a steamable one)

1/4 cup Basil pesto

1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved

1 Package of tortellini your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and 1/2 of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes until heated through. Transfer to plate.
  2. Add asparagus and remaining sun-dried tomatoes to same skillet and saute until asparagus is heated through. (I cut mine with cooking scissors as it was sauteing in the skillet) Transfer to plate.
  3. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain pasta water and add the chicken and asparagus mixture to pasta pot. Add the pesto and cherry tomatoes and mix to incorporate. Add the tortellini back in and toss. You can add more pesto if you desire. T1

That’s it! Enjoy ❤

 

 

Brownie Dip

We had a girls night a few weeks ago and I wanted to make something classic with a twist. What goes with a girls night better than chocolate?? This recipe is very easy and pairs well with lots of things. Fruit, wafers, pretzels, marshmellows, more chocolate ha! It tastes just like brownie batter!! It was a hit and is a cute treat to make for any party!!

 

Brownie Dip

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, room temp.

1/4 cup butter, room temp.

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 Tbsp almond milk

5 Tbsp all-purpose flour

5 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Chocolate chips for garnish (optional) (I used mini chips)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, or mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk until creamy. Add in the flour, cocoa, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat until creamy and smooth or until it reaches your desired consistency. (add more milk if need be)
  3. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with chocolate chips. I served mine with strawberries, vanilla wafers, pretzels and marshmellows. brownie1

That’s it!! Enjoy ❤

Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Zoodles

Zucchini noodles have become quite the craze nowadays! These spiralized vegetables are allowing those who love pasta to have a low carb option every now and then! Zucchini is a great summer vegetable that is so versatile and should be utilized as much as possible in this season because when you buy it, you will most likely be buying it fresh, in season. This meal has a light flavor profile,  perfect for summer, chalked full of good nutrition and low carb!! Oh, also, its pretty easy to make, the only “unusual” kitchen tool that you will need will be a spiralizer, these are easy to find and pretty cheap! Here ya go 🙂

 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Zoodles

Makes: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

2 12oz bags of peeled, deveined, uncooked shrimp (I did tail off)

4 medium zucchini, spiralized

2 tbsp Olive Oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp butter or butter substitute

1 lemon, juice and zest

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped parsley

pinch of Red Pepper flakes

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the ends off the zucchini. Use the spiralizer to make pasta. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute without stirring. Add garlic, then stir the shrimp for another minute or so. Once the shrimp is cooked use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the shrimp to a plate.
  3. Add butter, lemon juice, zest, red pepper flakes and broth to the skillet and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the parsley  and then add the zucchini to the skillet and toss to warm it up.z1
  5. Add the shrimp and stir another minute until the flavors are incorporated. z3

 

That’s it! Serve immediately for best results. NOTE: you can keep in refrigerator and reheat. Just be aware that because zucchini is mostly water, when you reheat, it might make the zoodles a bit watery. They will still be flavorful and al dente in texture!!

z2

Enjoy ❤