Kale and Bacon

So I tried to jump on the kale bandwagon, but failed miserably.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  I tried it in place of lettuce in a salad…..annnnnnd I’d rather just eat lettuce in my salad.  Anyone else agree?  Or am I alone?

Sooooo…I asked my cousin (yeah, we talk about food a lot) how else she makes kale and she said to just saute’ it with bacon!  Sounded easy enough!  I waited until Joe was away on business (because I knew he wouldn’t eat it) and my girls were already fed and in bed and started on this recipe…that I was kinda dreading, but wanted to try!   I was pleasantly surprised.   I don’t think I’ll make it again any time soon, but it wasn’t horrible……it was very flavorful and very simple!   Maybe for a side dish…..or if I’m feeling healthy (but not too healthy….since I love bacon!)

I didn’t have an actual recipe. Here’s what I did:

Kale and Bacon

olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

4 slices of bacon — chopped

1 bag of kale (I used almost the whole thing…it shrinks down A LOT!

fresh lemon juice

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In a pan saute’ oil and garlic.

Add chopped bacon and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until bacon is cooked and a bit crispy.

Add kale and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until it’s cooked thru and tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Squeeze fresh lemon on top.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is my go to potato recipe for any meal that I need/want a starch.  It’s simple and delicious and takes no time to prepare, but they take an hour to cook, so if you want something quick and easy, but don’t have to leave the house…or need time to do other food prep….this is your recipe!  You can really use any potato cut into bite sized pieces, you don’t have to use red potatoes and with most potato recipe feel free to experiment with other spices/seasonings!

Garlic Roasted Red Potatoes 

(Barefoot Contessa)

3 lbs. of small red potatoes

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 TBSP minced garlic (about 6 cloves)

Parsley (optional)

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Preheat oven to 400° F. 

Cut clean potatoes in halves or quarters, leaving skins on. Place them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic; toss until potatoes are well-coated. 

Spray a large baking sheet well with cooking spray.

Dump potatoes onto baking sheet and spread into one layer.

Roast for at least an hour, until brown and crisp, TURNING them twice with a spatula during cooking so they will brown evenly.

Toss with a little parsley before serving.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Lentil Soup

I got this recipe from my cousin, Rachele when I was looking for a yummy soup recipe!  I had a feeling my kids nor Joe would like it (and I was right) BUT I LOVED it!  Lentils are something my Mom and Nana used to make often and something I always looked forward to eating.  I’ve also made them before for my family and my girls used to eat them….but not like this, because of the spinach.   It was OK..more for me!  🙂 This recipe was very good and I highly recommend it!  I like my lentils a little more on the mushy side so I cooked them awhile longer than the recipe told me to!  I also like my lentils with grated parmesan cheese……the recipe and my cousin called for a dollop of plain yogurt.  I tried it both ways, but liked the cheese better!  OBVIOUSLY!

Lentil Soup

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 large vidalia onion

2 cloves of garlic

1  3/4 quarts chicken broth

olive oil

piece of ginger root (approx 2 inches) — peeled and sliced

grape or cherry tomatoes (halved)

2 cups lentils

5 cups fresh spinach

 salt and pepper

1 cup plain yogurt

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Peel slice the carrots.

Slice the celery.

Peel and chop onions.

Peel and slice and garlic.

Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat.

Add all vegetables and garlic to pot.

Cook until  vegetables are soft, but not mushy.

Peel and finely slice the ginger. 

Add broth to pan with lentils, ginger and tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer  (with the lid on),  until the lentils are cooked…approx 20 minutes.

Add  spinach and  cook for another minute or two.

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Top with a dollop of plain yogurt or sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese (YUM).

ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Smashed Potatoes

Here is a very simple way to make potatoes!  Another Pinterest recipe that I’ve added to my usual recipes that I make often, and that we all like!  It’s also great because you can add any seasoning to them……garlic, onion, old bay, ranch seasoning, italian seasoning….the possibilities are endless!  And you can top them with any kind of garnish…..bacon, cheese, chives…again..use your imagination!   Simple, delicious and customized to how you like it…..all equal a winning recipe in my book!  I think you’ll agree when you try these little potatoes out!

Smashed Red Potatoes

Small red potatoes (or any small potato)

Olive Oil

Spices — I used garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme

Garnish —  have fun with it!

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Preheat oven to 425°

Boil potatoes in water a fork goes in easily

Drain and let cook for 15 minutes

Coat a cookie sheet with olive oil

Place potatoes on cookie sheet and using the bottom of a cup, gently smash the potato until flat.  

Drizzle with olive oil and season with whatever spices you’d like.

Place in preheated oven and cook for 25-35 minutes or until nice and crispy and golden brown!

ENJOY!

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******the potatoes sometimes fall apart a bit when you smash them, but you can easily smash them back together  or just leave them in pieces….they are still delicious!****

~gianna~

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of my most favorite foods.  It has every component for a complete meal too and uses ingredients I always have on hand!  My family doesn’t love them as much as I do…but they will eat them.  The girls like the filling, so it works!  They are very, very simple and so delicious.  I LOVE red peppers and don’t love green….so I usually opt for the red, but will use green too.  It’s really just a personal preference!

This is one recipe, I have other recipes too for stuffed peppers….stay tuned for more!

Stuffed Peppers

4 large red or green peppers (cut tops off and clean inside seeds out)

2 cups of rice (cooked)

1 lb. ground turkey

Diced Vadalia Onion (about 1/2 c)

2 gloves of garlic (minced)

Oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small can of tomato sauce 

Breadcrumbs

Shredded Cheese — I used cheddar but you can use anything.

8×8 (or 9×9) Baking dish

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In a large pan heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add turkey and cook until browned. Add drained can of tomoatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add to the mixture. Add handful of cheese and mix well. Stuff the peppers with mixture.  You can either half the peppers (like I did this time) or keep them whole and standing in the pan.  

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Top the peppers with a little more cheese and breadcrumbs.

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Cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Enjoy!

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~gianna~

Balsamic Glazed Carrots

An old faithful…..this recipe is one I have made many times….many, many times because baby carrots are something I always have on hand!  So it’s such an easy side dish to make….my girls and I LOVE them…Joe on the other hand does not.  As I’ve said before, Joe’s “allergic” to carrots……I think it’s a mental allergy, but he promises it’s real!    This recipe works perfect as a side dish to really anything!    It’s super simple, uses very little ingredients and takes hardly any time!

Balsamic Glazed Carrots 

3 cups baby carrots

1 TBSP olive oil

1 ½ TBSP balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP brown sugar

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Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté carrots in oil for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, mix to coat and serve. 

EASY PEASY….and YUMMY!!!

carrots

~gianna~

Sundried Tomato Risotto

I stole today’s post from my old blog……this was from 2011, but it’s still delicious and a recipe you must try!

OH….SOOOOO…..GOOD!!  This maybe one of the most delicious risottos I have had in a long time!  While risotto is a bit time consuming, the end result is very worth it!   After a 14 day cruise and an empty fridge on their return home….my parents came over for dinner and I decided to make this risotto.  I got it from my friend, Kelly’s blog, and she originally got it from The Pioneer Woman (a blog that I visit often).  Everyone really loved it….My parents, my husband and even my children!

If you have a little extra cooking time in your schedule this is a not to miss recipe!

I served this with a parmesan crusted tilapia (recipe coming soon) and roasted cauliflower.

Sundried Tomato Risotto
from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
½ whole Large Yellow Onion, Diced  (I USED VIDALIA)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cups Arborio Rice, Uncooked
8 whole Sundried Tomatoes Packed In Oil, Drained And Minced
1 cup Dry White Wine (optional)
7 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth 
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 cup Parmesan, Freshly Grated
¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Fresh Basil, Chiffonade (I used dried basil)

Preparation Instructions

Heat broth (note: it’s important the broth be low sodium) in a saucepan or in a microwave safe pitcher. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add dry rice. Stir to coat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring gently. 

Pour in wine. Stir and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add in minced sundried tomatoes and stir. 

Then begin adding broth, one cup at a time, stirring gently while the rice absorbs the liquid each time. Repeat this until the rice is done—it usually takes between 6 and 8 cups of broth. The rice should have a slight bite to it, but not be crunchy at all. 

Remove from heat, then stir in Parmesan and heavy cream. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!!

risotto

~gianna~

Mac N Cheese

I’m not usually a huge fan of homemade mac n cheese…only because a lot of the ones I’ve had are pretty bland and I like a lot of seasoning and flavor in my cooking.    Normally I’d just make a box of KRAFT or Aunt Annies and call it….well..mac n cheese!    I have made it before myself and again….I didn’t love it.   So last night I decided to give it another shot and decided to try things a little differently…….kinda winged it and it turned out pretty good!

Olivia who has told me multiple times “I HATE MAC N CHEESE” (yup even boxed…..whose kid is she???) also told me last night, “I’m not eating it!”  Wellllllll guess who ate a huge serving of it?   It was actually Ava (who normally does like it) that didn’t eat it…she liked it, didn’t love it.

I found a recipe on  pinterest that said to use sour cream in the mac n cheese to make it creamier, but I didn’t follow the recipe, I made my own recipe and then added sour cream to it.  Couldn’t hurt, right?  It was great!!!

Mac N Cheese

1 box of small pasta (elbows, small shells, penne)

1 stick of salted butter

1/3 C  flour (adding more for consistency)

4 C whole milk 

1 TBSP Dry Mustard 

2 1/2 C cheddar cheese shredded (I like to shred my own from a block, I think it makes it taste better)

1/2 sour cream

Salt & Pepper

1 C shredded cheddar (to top)

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Preheat Oven to 350°

Cook pasta al dente according to box.

In a large pot on the stove, melt butter.

Slowly add flour and stir continuously to make a roux.

Add milk slowly, until you get a good consistency — You don’t want it too thick or too runny.

Add dry mustard (this could add a little kick too it, so don’t go overboard)

Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups cheese until melted.

Add sour cream until incorporated.

Add pasta and mix well, until it’s coated really well in sauce.  

Add salt and pepper.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 baking dish.

Top with 1 C cheese.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes until cheese on top is melted.

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ENJOY!

I wanted you to see the melted cheese and the creaminess of this mac n cheese!  

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~gianna~

Roasted Cauliflower

I know my kids and my husband pretty well and cauliflower isn’t on the “LIKE” list for any of them!    I knew my cousin, Amanda,  was coming for dinner before our weekly dodgeball game and she was eating here….so I shot her a text asking if she liked cauliflower, she said yes….and it worked out beautifully!

The recipe I received was from Lisa and it’s Roasted Cauliflower  (from Simply Recipes) and it was delicious!  I followed the recipe exactly (only omitted the salt and pepper — I never use it) because I hardly make cauliflower and I didn’t want to mess it up!
Ava was eating raw cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing as I was cutting the cauliflower up!  So much for thinking my kids don’t eat it!  ((SHRUG))

Everyone tried it and BOTH of my girls ate it.  Joe tried 1 piece and thought it was OK……but that’s to be expected since he doesn’t love veggies!  My cousin Amanda thought it was delicious, and we had a surprise dinner guest (my best friend who came over to get ready for dodgeball) and she thought it was delicious too!   It’s a keeper in this house!!!  Thanks Lisa!!!  Because it was a dodgeball night I had to make something quick and easy so  I made chicken cutlets and biscuits with it!

cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower 

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced

Lemon juice from half a lemon

Olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish.

Toss in the garlic.

Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

If the oven hasn’t reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has. 

Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown.

Test with a fork for desired doneness.

Fork should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower.

Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
ENJOY!

~gianna~

Fried Potatoes

Fried Potatoes are one of those foods that take me back to my childhood.  Both my Mom and my Nana used to make them……for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If it was for breakfast, they were served with eggs and bacon, for lunch maybe peppers and onions (eggs sometimes too) and for dinner as a side dish.    These potatoes are like a comfort food to me……french fries, bread and butter and grilled cheese are my top 3 comfort foods…but this is up on the list!

Do you have any comfort foods?

Or foods that bring you back to your childhood?

What are they?

Fried Potatoes

Russet Potatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper (or any other seasoning you may like on potatoes..old bay, garlic, ketchup)

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Fill a large pan with oil.  You want to make sure you have enough oil, but not too much.  I fill mine up about half.

Wash and peel potatoes

Slice potatoes THIN.

Heat oil up in pan.

Place potatoes into hot oil in a thin layer. And sprinkle with salt all over.

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Cook for about 5-10 minutes and then flip them and cook another 5-10 minutes….you want to make sure they are soft and brown.

Crispy are OK too…..they’ll be more like potato chips.

Season how you’d like.  More salt, pepper or Old Bay are what we usually use….but any  other seasoning works well too!!

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Enjoy!

~gianna~

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