April 3, 2011

Top 11 Recipes...Ever

Well, maybe not EVER.

But how about the top 11 recipes on Sunshine and Jellybeans?

In case you were wondering, 11 is my favorite number.

That's why it isn't the top 10.

Click on the name of each recipe to go to the post (and don't forget that at the bottom of each post, there is a link to the printable recipe for your convenience!)...

Try them all!

Let the drumroll begin...

11. Ham and Swiss Cheese Mini Frittatas

Or Canadian Bacon and Pepper-jack Cheese Mini Frittatas, or Bacon, Cheddar and Jalapeno, or red pepper, mushroom, and onion, or...the possibilities are endless!

This one kind of surprised me...not that I don't think that these are little bites of delightfulness - because I do. They are a great twist on your every-day deviled eggs! It's just that they never seemed to get much attention when I first posted the recipe. But it has slowly climbed it's way up into the top 10!

Sorry for the crappy picture...next time I make these I will post new pics. This is a recipe that I keep going back to over and over again. Another one that is pretty customizable, and very, very good.

I made this recipe again last night for the kids. It's definitely a keeper. Gooey, cheesy, creamy deliciousness. And did I mention it is kid friendly? Score. (Thanks Steph!)

7. Finger Lickin' BBQ Chicken

This is a classic. What else can I say? Who doesn't like BBQ chicken on the grill???

YUM. I want this right now. The key to this recipe is the crushed up croutons...and a great marinara sauce... which is still a work in progress for me. Steve and I made and canned some this winter that was amazing...but of course I didn't measure anything or write anything down. I'm working on it. But anyway - this Chicken is fabulous and is definitely one of my favorite recipes.

5. Chicken Noodle Soup

The ultimate comfort food. However, the key to this recipe is this:

4. Homemade Chicken Stock

Trust me: homemade chicken stock is the key ingredient to taking your homemade soup to the next level. It's just better. And better for you. I know that it is time consuming, but try to make it in large batches, so that you can freeze a bunch to use later. Mmmmmm Mmmmmm good.

Are you starting to get excited for the top 3??? ME TOO!

Where is that drum roll???

3. Spicy Chicken Tostadas

I pulled this recipe out of my ass. Steve kept going on and on about this Tostada Ensalada that he had at a restaurant and loved. And Steve doesn't get very excited about food...not the way I do, anyway. So I asked him to describe it to me, and I got a relatively vague answer (because people who aren't obsessed with food don't mentally deconstruct every meal that they eat away from their own kitchen). But the idea of tostadas got stuck in my head, and when I finally went to make them, this is what I came up with. DELICIOUS. Keep reading for the key ingredient...(hint: it's the #1 recipe)

This one is kinda unfair, because it's two really good recipes in one post. I don't know why people keep coming back to it - if it's the Pulled Pork or if it is the coleslaw...but I hope it is for both. Because the Pulled Pork isn't complete without a big spoonful of coleslaw on top...trust me. And don't forget the pickles! This is a go-to crowd pleasing lip smacking belly satisfying recipe for any season. Family friendly. And the crockpot does a majority of the work. How can you beat that??? 

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for!

The number one recipe in the world in the country of all time on this blog...

1. Spicy Shredded Chicken

Awwwwww yeah. It really shouldn't surprise you. There have already been two recipes on this countdown that have this as the key ingredient (#9 Chicken Enchiladas and #3 Spicy Chicken Tostadas). And don't forget that you can also use this chicken to make tacos, quesadillas, nachos, or my Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup! How versatile is that??? Go ahead, double or triple the recipe. Make a huge batch and freeze the rest for later use. And - if you don't feel like grilling it, make it in the oven. Of course the grill is the best way to do it because of the lovely flavor it imparts, but if you are in a bind, just cook it in the oven at about 375 degrees, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.

Thanks everyone! Try one or all of these recipes very soon, and don't forget to ENJOY!!!

March 30, 2011

Printable Recipes

This is a public service announcement to remind you that at the bottom of virtually every recipe on this blog, there is a link that says "Printable Recipe".

This link (when clicked) will take you to a special page that is void of my ranting, raving, and shitty photography.

It only contains the recipe...no extra words or pics.

It is here that you should go to print the recipe.

Unless you love to burn ink in your printer.

Or unless you like copying and pasting parts of my blog posts on to separate Word documents.

Or if you like to make fun of me by showing your friends my scatter-brained posts.

Otherwise, this is a convenient way to...you guessed it....print the recipe.

Again, the link is at the bottom of the post.

Leave a comment here with any questions.

Thank you and have a nice day!

March 29, 2011

Recipe Revamp: Chicken Stir Fry

Happy Spring Everyone!

Steve and I spent a lovely weekend with my family up at the cabin last weekend.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

I actually got sunburned.


It was the last hurrah before the ice starts to melt.

The next time we go there, it will be by boat.

I'm ready!

But in the meantime, how about a yummy recipe for Chicken Stir Fry?!?!

If you need any further proof that I am a nut job, read the original post here.


As a note: You can sub in whatever vegetables you have on hand - asparagus, zucchini, water chestnuts are all good substitutions. Also - to switch things up, instead of using hoisen sauce (which is a like a sweet asian bbq sauce), you can sub Thai sweet red chili sauce. It will give it a totally different (but delicious) flavor.

Also - 1 cup equals 16 tablespoons. 1/2 cup equals 8 tablespoons. Just so you know!

Here is the recipe without all the crazy talk.

Yay - can you tell that the days are getting longer here in the frozen tundra? I actually have some natural light to take pictures in!

Chicken Stir Fry  (serves 6)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cubed
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, divided plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup hoisen sauce, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to make it spicy!(optional)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 5 cups mixed vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used onion, bell peppers, pea pods, carrots and broccoli)
  • 3 - 4 cups cooked white rice (or brown rice, if that floats your boat)
Marinade the chicken in the ginger, garlic, 4 tablespooons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of hoisen, the crushed red pepper, and the sesame oil. Let it marinade for at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours).

While the chicken is marinading, wash and cut your vegetables and make your rice according to package directions.

Mix the remaining soy sauce (4 tablespoons), the chicken broth, and the corn starch in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and stir fry for a few minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Remove to a separate bowl.

Heat another tablespoon of oil (if necessary) and throw in the veggies, stir fry until crisp-tender.

Add the soy/broth/corn starch mixture and the chicken to the veggies. Turn the heat down to medium low and stir around to coat until the sauce gets thick. Yum.

Serve over rice (make sure to spoon some yummy sauce to put over the top too) with extra soy sauce as needed.


Printable Recipe

March 21, 2011

Recipe Revamp: Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Come to mama.

This is one of my all time favorite dishes.

The flavors are just amazing and it is a great change from traditional Italian pasta salad.

But don't get me wrong, I love traditional Italian pasta salad too.

Just wanted to clear that up so there weren't any hard feelings.

I made this last week for the 100th time, and I realized that the original post about it was confusing and disjointed (why doesn't that surprise me???), so I thought I'd post a new, organized recipe.

As mentioned in the original post, this recipe was an Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe, which was revamped by the Pioneer Woman. I chose to use less olive oil and more vinegar than PW though (surprise!). I also sometimes add rotisserie chicken.

It's a "Must Try" recipe if you love sun-dried tomatoes.

Yum - these are a few of my favorite things...tomatoes, fresh basil, and kalmata olives. Look at those colors! During the winter, you may have a hard time finding yummy cherry tomatoes, but don't fret - you can leave them out if you have to.

Making the sun-dried tomato dressing in the blender...

Major YUM.

This one doesn't have cherry tomatoes, but has the addition of rotisserie chicken to make it a delicious one-dish meal.

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad (serves 8)
  • 1 package of rotini pasta
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) basil, chiffonaded 
  • 4 ounces pitted kalmata olives, drained and chopped (you can  use more or less to taste)
  • 10 ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of rotisserie chicken, chopped (optional)
For the dressing:

Put the sun-dried tomatoes and the oil they came in to a blender or food processor. Add the garlic, red wine vinegar and black pepper.

Puree, adding more olive oil as necessary (up to 1/2 cup).

I would recommend putting this in a jar in the fridge for a couple hours to let the flavors combine, but you don't have to.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine the pasta, tomatoes, basil, olives and dressing in a large bowl - stirring to combine. Add half of the Parmesan cheese, stir to combine.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, serve and ENJOY!

Please note: If the leftovers become dry, you can add more red wine vinegar and olive oil to moisten.

Printable Recipe

March 20, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Blackened Seasoning and Gilled Asparagus

Happy Spring!

How ironic that I woke up to 2 - 3 inches of fresh snow this morning...

In an effort to eat healthier (have a mentioned that I am in 2 weddings this summer?), I bought a big, fat, red, wild-caught salmon fillet and some perfectly ripe, in season asparagus at the grocery store a week or so ago (yes, I am behind in my blogging).

You can't get much healthier than that, right?

The weather has been pretty gorgeous (until last night), which means that the grill has been calling my name...but first I had to overcome a challenge.

Steve doesn't like salmon.

Let me rephrase that.

Steve doesn't like COOKED salmon.

He loves the raw salmon that we eat at the sushi bar...but he thinks that cooked salmon is yucky.

I agree with him that some fish gets stronger and more fishy tasting the more that you cook it - like salmon and tuna...which  is why when we cook tuna, we buy high grade tuna, sear it and eat it rare.

But salmon? I wasn't sure if it was safe to undercook salmon.

Plus, I was craving the full flavor of a grilled piece of fish.

The compromise?

Blackened seasoning.

Click HERE for a delicious, basic recipe for blackened seasoning (and some other delicious marinades and rubs - perfect in time for grill season), or you can buy the premade stuff (I would recommend Chef Paul's - he is the pioneer of Blackening fish).

Traditionally blackening includes dipping the meat in butter, then the blackened seasoning, and then pan frying the meat in hot butter in a cast iron skillet...delicious, but not quite as healthy as I was going for...plus it can stink up your house.

My recipe is more heart-healthy, but still gives an excellent flavor that even fish snobs will love.

The verdict? Steve really enjoyed the fish and said it was by far the best way he had ever eaten salmon.

End of story.

What are you waiting for?

And don't forget the humble (yet delicious and nutritious) asparagus recipe at the bottom.

Grilled Salmon with Blackened Seasoning (serves 4)
  • 2 lb wild-caught salmon fillet, skin still on the bottom
  • 1/2 lemon, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of blackened seasoning (homemade or store bought)
Rinse salmon fillet and pat dry. Place skin side down on a plate or in a baking dish.

Squeeze the lemon evenly over the top of the fillet, then drizzle the fillet evenly with olive oil.

Rub blackened seasoning all over the parts of the fish that do not have skin (the top and sides).

Let the fish rest while you preheat the grill to 400 degrees.

Put the fish skin-side down on the hot grill, and cook about 6 - 8 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and the top is starting to get flaky.

Please note: keep a close eye on the fish while it's cooking. If you have smaller pieces, or a hotter grill it will take less time

If desired, remove skin before serving (skin should easily peel off once fish is cooked).

Serve with lemon wedges.


Printable Recipe

Grilled Asparagus (serves 4)
  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus, washed and woody ends removed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees

Place asparagus in a grill pan and grill for 4 - 6 minutes, or until crisp tender.

Please note: you can also roast these in a 400 degree oven for 4 - 6 minutes instead.


Printable Recipe

March 13, 2011

Canadian Bacon and Pepperjack Cheese Mini Frittatas

These were even better than the Ham and Swiss Cheese Mini Frittatas

I used the same recipe (click on the link above for the recipe post), except that I subbed Canadian Bacon for Ham, and Pepperjack cheese for Swiss. I also added some crushed red pepper and it gave it a nice little bite. 

These are so easy and good, and they keep in the fridge for a few days so you can reheat them and eat them as a super fast weekday breakfast. 

The worst part about these is trying to clean the pan. I greased these muffin cups with butter and they still stuck. Any suggestions?

Dear Kempton

I miss you so much.

The house is so empty and quiet, and I think about you 1,000 times a day.

It's so hard to break the 9 year habit of taking care of you and worrying about you...

Did I remember to feed Kempton?

Where is he?

Is he getting into something?

What time do I have to be home to let him out to pee?

Can we bring him with if we go overnight?

Did he take his medication?

And sometimes I forget that you are gone. I left a piece of rotisserie chicken on the floor for 15 minutes the other day before I stepped on it and then realized that you weren't there to clean it up.

Mornings when I wake up and you are not there, and coming home from work are the worst, but night times are hard too and I would give anything to bury my face in your fur, kiss you on your muzzle, or to snuggle with you on the couch.

I am so, so sorry that I couldn't make you better. And that I put you through so much in order to selfishly keep you with me.

You and I went through so much together, and I am so grateful that I had you around to make me laugh, keep me company, talk to (though I still talk to you all the time without thinking...pretty soon I'll just have to admit that I am crazy and talk to myself), snuggle with, protect me, follow me around and keep me from feeling alone.

You took care of me just as much (and probably more) as I took care of you. Do you remember when Grandma Grow was dying and Jim couldn't understand why I wanted to take you up north with me? He thought that it would just be one more thing for me to worry about. But then half way up to Falls, you stood behind me on the back seat and put your head on my shoulder, and made sure I knew that I wasn't alone.

Or when Jim and I were going through the divorce, and I spent the afternoon crying on the couch. As soon as I left to go to the bathroom, you ate the entire pile of wet kleenex...like you were hiding the evidence so no one would know I was crying.

There were so many times like this...like when Steve had surgery to remove his cancer and you laid next to him on the couch with your head across his lap and wouldn't let anyone else get close to him. Or when another dog would run towards me and you would throw yourself in between us or ram them with your chest to protect me...even if I didn't need protecting.

...but there were also funny times, and frustrating times (like when you ate Cal's hacky-sack and then puked it up one week later; or when you chewed up my eyeglasses; or when you accidentally locked yourself in the bathroom and then destroyed it trying to get out).

You were unlike any dog I've ever met.

Maybe it was your breeding.

Maybe it was because you were a rescued dog.

Maybe because I am dysfunctional and needy, so you became dysfunctional and needy too.

I'm not sure, but I appreciated the fact that you were stubborn and naughty.

Your howl never failed to make me laugh, even when you were doing it scold me or talk back when I yelled at you.

You had such a strong and unique personality, and even the vet said that they had never seen a character like yours. Dr.Bouchard sobbed when you died, and two of the technicians and one of the front desk girls bawled as well.

I am not the only one who misses you either. You wouldn't believe the number of cards and emails and phone calls I've recieved. And last weekend, when I went up to the cabin, Grandpa lit off a firework display in your honor.

Your friends miss you too. Steph, Chad and Koho came up this weekend to visit, and Koho wandered around the house and the yard searching for you. He seemed down and out of sorts all night on Friday night. Aly was the same way when Lyndi brought her over last Thursday. She searched for you high and low, and then just went and laid down and gave me dirty looks, like she knew that it was my fault that you weren't here.

I know that you are having fun wherever you are now. I know that Grandma Grow is feeding you milk bones and Bailey and Kody are letting you beat them to the ball (though I'm certain that Bailey still isn't letting you hump her). I hope that you have a big couch to sleep on, and someone to spoon you and listen to you snore.

When we get your ashes back, we are going to sprinkle some in the back yard (and on the other side of the fence, where the deer are and where you always wanted to be); some on Park Point where we used to park the boat and have fires and walk down the beach; on Rainy Lake at the cabin where you loved to be; and in Kempton channel where we got your name. Grandpa said he would like to put some of your ashes with some of Bailey's ashes, so you could be together. Auntie Steph said she would like to have some too, so that someday when Koho dies, you can be with your best friend again. And lastly, I am going to keep some for myself. Because I know that your favorite place to be was right by me. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

You were so much more than just a dog to me, Kempton. You were my best friend. I will always miss you and never, ever forget you.

I love you,


A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  ~Josh Billings
 You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson
 There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog.  ~Konrad Lorenz
 In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland
 The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.  ~Mark Twain, letter to W.D. Howells, 2 April 1899
 We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.  ~George Eliot
 I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.  ~Gilda Radner
 A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such.  ~John Holmes

 "Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices.  This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Kempton, a Dog."

March 5, 2011


Hey guys...

Sorry I haven't been posting - I lost my best friend last week, and I just haven't been able to write about it yet.

I'll try again next week.

Thanks for being patient.



February 25, 2011


For those of you keeping track, Steve had another surveillance checkup this week.

I am happy to report that the results came back clean!

We are so thankful.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Sent from my iPhone

February 23, 2011

Snowshoeing in Park Point

During our blessed warm spell, Steve and I grabbed our snowshoes and headed out to Park Point...the spot that we spent most of our summer months grilling, walking the beach, swimming (when Lake Superior permitted it) and sitting around a fire.

The winter looked a little different on The Point...

 Hi handsome.

With all of Kempton's surgeries and the restrictions on his exercise, plus the physical therapy 3+ times per day we haven't had a chance to get away much this winter. It was nice to get outside in the fresh air (even if it was only for a couple of hours) on a gorgeous day.

February 20, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches and Kempton Update

Kempton had his second surgery last Wednesday.

I picked him up from the vet on Friday at noon.

Much like his 1st surgery, he was really whiny and obviously in pain.

This time seems to be worse than the first time though.

The whining has lasted a lot longer (or at least it seems that way), his incision looks scarier, has more bruising around it, and seems more swollen.

The surgeon said that we need to take things even slower this time around because he will take longer to heal.

The good news is that I have managed to keep his cone on this time, so hopefully his incision will heal a lot faster, with less scarring.

Hopefully he will start feeling better soon - I will keep you posted!

I mentioned in my last post that last week we were blessed with some warm, sunny, spring-like days.

One of the nights we had a fire on the deck and ate BBQ chicken and coleslaw.

It was wonderful and made me anxious for spring.

Today it is freezing cold, with 40 mile per hour winds and snow.

Mother nature is such a tease.


I had one leftover chicken breast, and a little bit of coleslaw, so I made this sandwich.

It is modeled after my Pulled Pork sandwiches, with the addition of pepperjack cheese.

Holy delicious, Batman.

Here's the food porn:

If you don't already have a grilled BBQ chicken breast, you could substitute rotisserie chicken or just regular chicken breast instead.

As usual - check out the printable recipe at the very bottom of the post for a photo-and-rant-free version.

Yeah, baby.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (makes 2 sandwiches)
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled
  • 2 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 2/3 cup of creamy coleslaw
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ Sauce
  • 2 ounces pepperjack cheese, sliced
  • 2 medium sized dill pickles, sliced thinly
Cut each bun in half, place cut side up on piece of aluminum foil on rack in oven. Turn the broiler on low and leave the oven door cracked. Check frequently (don't walk away). When buns start to get crispy, add pepper jack cheese to the bottom halves of the buns. Continue to broil with the door cracked until the cheese is starting to melt and the buns are getting slightly brown.

Slice the chicken breast thinly (warm it up if it's not warm already). Divide the chicken in half between the 2 buns.

Top each with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce, 1 pickle and 1/3 cup of coleslaw.


Printable Recipe

Recipe Revamp: Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Grilled Chicken

Last week, we were given a gift in the middle of a long, cold, snowy winter - 5 days of warm, spring-like temperatures.

It was even sunny a couple of the days.

We just had to break out the grill.

I had a craving for this light, lemony pasta with grilled chicken. I hadn't made it since last summer.

There were three of us.

I made enough for 6.

There were no leftovers.

Enough said.

Here is the link to the original recipe post from last August:

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Grilled Chicken

I added cherry tomatoes that I had on hand that needed to get used.

I also noticed that this time the lemons made a lot more juice...they must have been perfectly ripe. This just means that I had more sauce this time and was able to use just over a half of a package of pasta.

I added some salt and pepper, and a little more basil and white wine to the dish as well.

It was so good and absolutely perfect to break up the winter blahs.

Take a look:


Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Grilled Chicken (serves 6)

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a zip top bag and let marinade for at least one hour.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.

Cook chicken indirectly until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Once cool, cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

For the pasta:

  • 1/2 package of angel hair pasta (about .5 pounds)
  • 4 lemons, juiced (remove any seeds that fall into the juice)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed, then cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of basil, julienned
  • 2/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter in the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat, saute garlic and asparagus until asparagus is crisp-tender.

Add wine and tomatoes, cook for another minute.

Stir in  lemon juice, olive oil and basil.

Add cooked pasta (half at a time, to make sure you have enough sauce...I had more than enough), cooked chicken, and Parm cheese. Toss to combine.

Garnish with extra basil leaves and Parm cheese.


Printable Recipe

February 15, 2011

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Artichokes, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Red Pepper

For superbowl this year, I made these appetizers:

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

One of the parties we went to had a theme of "Food on a Stick", and I immediately thought of these delightful little skewers that I saw a while back.

I made a double batch because we had two parties to go to, and well, obviously.

Fortunately, I had over a dozen skewers left over (no room for antipasto skewers when there is Buffalo Chicken Dip at the party!!!), and my friend Gina recommended that I use them to make pasta.


The pasta turned out delightful, and the flavors were amazing.

Steve bought the Italian sausage links from the meat counter at my favorite grocery store, and we grilled them before cutting them into bite sized pieces. It gave the meat a wonderful smokey flavor and I would highly recommend grilling them, although you could get away with cooking them in a pan as well.

I used red wine because that's what I had open, but you could use white instead.

This was super easy because I already had everything cut up and prepped, but I wrote the recipe as if you were starting from the beginning - it is a lot of prep work, but would totally be worth it.

Try this, soon.

That's an order.

Please excuse the pictures...it's very dark in Northern Minnesota in February...

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Artichokes, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers (serves 6)

  • 8 oz Italian Sausage links, grilled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups of artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups of roasted red peppers, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of fresh basil
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz)
  • 1 cup of dry wine (white or red)
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 12 ounces of your favorite pasta (I would recommend short pasta like penne)
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

In a large pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic until tender.

Deglaze the pan with wine, cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add sausage, artichokes, tomatoes with all the juices, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers and basil. Heat through.

Toss in the pasta, top with the Parmesan cheese.


Printable Recipe

February 11, 2011

Holy Crap

I'm sorry!

I have been an absent, neglectful, terrible blog parent.

I started a new job last week (which I don't have to wear business suits to everyday, by the way...I originally thought I would have to, but thankfully I don't).

It is going really well, but my brain feels like it could possibly leak out of my ears.


I am working 5 days a week now (as opposed to 4), and even though working Fridays is highly overrated, they do bring us donuts and make us popcorn every Friday, so that is some consolation.

And another reason that my ass is growing wider. But that is a story for another time!

I haven't been cooking a ton, but I do have a few recipes to post as soon as I can get the pics uploaded and string together a coherent thought.

In the meantime, I am drinking a beer and pleading with you to forgive my absence.

I promise I will do better.

Forgive me?

Not yet?

Well, then in other news...

Kempton has to have another surgery.

Our vet (the surgeon that did his first surgery) thinks that he tore some of the filament that she put in his knee.

This sucks for several reasons:

1. He has been in pain for a very long time, and it was suppose to be fixed by now, but it is not.

2. It is expensive.

3. I will have to start over with his physical therapy. This means icing the knee and doing massage and range-of-motion exercises up to 5 times a day.

4. It is expensive.

5. This winter has already been a total bust because Kempton has been so limited that we haven't been able to do the outdoor activities that we like to do. And he hasn't been able to have any of his doggy friends over. And now it looks like it will be another 2 - 3 months before we can do anything fun with him.

6. Steve doesn't think we should do it. He won't say the words "put him to sleep", but I know that is what he is thinking. He has only had kennel dogs (aka - dogs that don't get their own stocking at Christmas, get to sleep on the furniture, have their run of the house or have thousands of dollars worth of vet bills), so  he doesn't quite understand. I mostly just cry every time we talk about it, and he just tells me that it is my decision and he will support me regardless.

7. It is expensive.

Now do you forgive me for not posting in almost 2 weeks?

Thank you.

January 31, 2011

Ham and Swiss Cheese Mini Frittatas

Individual little savory muffin delights, these frittatas are easy and convenient. They can be made ahead and taken as a quick weekday breakfast, or used as part of a more elaborate weekend brunch.

They are also highly customizable. I used ham and swiss cheese, but you could use bacon and cheddar cheese, you could leave out the meat to make it vegetarian, add vegetables, onions, herbs - the possibilities are endless!

Make sure that you grease the muffin tin really well - I used butter and the frittatas still stuck on the bottom a little. 

Reheat by throwing the microwave for a minute!


 This is the muffin tin I used - it makes six large muffins. If you have one with smaller cups, this recipe would make more than six frittatas.

Ham and Swiss Cheese Mini Frittatas (serves 6)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup of diced ham
  • 3/4 cup of shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup of milk, half-n-half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Generously grease a muffin tin with butter, set aside.

Beat the eggs with the milk in a large bowl.

Divide the ham and cheese equally between the muffin cups, then pour the egg mixture equally over top of the ham and cheese. Top with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes or until the top is starting to brown. Note: cooking time will vary depending on the size/number of the muffin cups you use.


Printable Recipe

January 27, 2011

Red Curry Coconut Noodles

This is a delicious change from our regular weeknight meal rotation.

Actually, I don't have a weeknight meal rotation. I just cook whatever sounds good to me, and try to mix it up a couple times a week so that I have some new material to post here.

But this curry was a delicious change from the things we had been eating.

Steve was a little skeptical when I showed him the recipe, but he ended up loving it.

He ate most of the leftovers himself. 

It makes a TON. You could easily cut the recipe in half.

He even tried feeding it to his kids...not so much. They've come a long way since they started eating with me, but they aren't big on the Thai cuisine yet.

But that's ok! Because eventually I will turn them to the dark side.

This is also one of those recipes that is really adaptable, which I love because I rarely make the same thing twice.

Did I mention that once the initial prep work was done, it was super easy and fast?

Although if you don't cook Thai very often, some of these ingredients might be a bit foreign to you.

Don't panic - you can find most of them at your regular grocery store in the Asian aisle.

As always, feel free to ask questions in the comments section (at the very end of the post), and I will get back to you. 

I loved that we use the solid "fat" from the coconut milk to cook the chicken in...it imparts flavor as well as removes the need for any other "fat" such as butter or oil. 

This is another Tasty Kitchen recipe...I adapted it from Nika

Below is the recipe as I made it (yes, I changed things). I wanted more spicy, coconut-y broth so I added more liquid. I also added more ginger, cilantro and curry paste (because I love it) and more Thai Chili Sauce, because I love that too and I like lots of flavor!

Give it a try!

Red Curry Coconut Noodles (serves 8 - 10) adapted from Nika on Tasty Kitchen
  • 6 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 32 oz fat free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz) package of rice noodles 
  • 1 yellow onion, julienned 
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 2 cups of broccoli slaw
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
Open the cans of coconut milk, scoop out the "solids" and place them in a large dutch oven over medium heat (reserve the rest of the liquid). Once the pan is hot, add the curry paste and ginger. Saute for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and saute until cooked through. Add the remaining coconut milk, the Thai chili sauce and the chicken broth. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

Add onion, peppers, broccoli slaw and rice noodles. Return to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until the rice noodles are cooked through.

Add the cilantro and remove the pot from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes and then serve, adding some yummy broth to each bowl.


Printable Recipe