Monday, March 9, 2015

BLT Pasta salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

courtesy of

I have been hooked on's site! She has GREAT recipes! Every twist on a swig cookie you could imagine and delicious main dishes, etc. I have never been disappointed in her stuff! I follow fer daughter (mintarrow) on instagram and found her mom (abountifulkitchen) through her! And for all you folks that miss Naturally Fresh ranch dressing...TRY THIS!!! Delicious!

1/2 lb bacon
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried (yield about 16 cups of loosely packed lettuce)
1 lb Grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes
1-1 1/2 lb cheese-filled ravioli  (I used tortellini b/c its what I had on hand)
1-2  tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing mix
( I also added about two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
adapted from The Huffington Post 

1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon chopped fresh: tarragon, dill, parsley, chives (all or a combo of these)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
two dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare dressing:
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake until blended well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you have an immersion blender place all of the ingredients in a jar and pulse until the herbs are chopped fine.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Pat any remaining grease off of bacon. Place on a cutting board and chop. Set aside.Cook chicken and shred and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse with cold water, drain. Toss the pasta with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons prepared dry ranch dressing mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.  Let the pasta cool completely before adding to the salad, or the pasta will wilt the lettuce.
Cut the lettuce into bite size pieces.
Slice the grape tomatoes in half, or if using Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks.
Arrange the lettuce in a large bowl. Place the tomatoes over top of the lettuce and top with cooled pasta. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, toss the salad a bit,  sprinkle with bacon and drizzle with fresh ranch. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side.
Serves12 as a side dish

PF Chang's Copycat Monglian Beef

courtesy of

I found this recipe on pinterest and made it for Sunday dinner. It was AMAZING! Pinterest win for sure (and you never know how pinterest can go). It was easy and delicious. My hubby even took some to his friends at school and then they called for the recipe.

  • 2 lb flank steak
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
For sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 or 3 green onions chopped
  • I added cornstarch (about 2 T) to thicken the sauce...I was probably just not patient enough for it to reduce.

  1. Slice the steak into small thin pieces against the grain. In a large ziploc bag add the starch and add the beef to it. Close the ziploc bag and shake really well until each pieces is coated with cornstarch. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a small sauce pan add the oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and water. Stir and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. It took me about 20 minutes until the sauce thickened and reduced. Set aside. (Or if you are impatient like me, add cornstarch :) )
  3. In a non stick skillet heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add beef and cook until browned. I had to do in a 2 batches. Also if you need more oil after the batch feel free to add more. Remove beef from skillet to a bowl and empty the oil from the skillet. Return beef to skillet and pour sauce over the beef. Stir and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

This soup was seriously amazing.  I made it for dinner tonight and couldn't wait to post it...its that good.  The flavor is so, so good.  I don't even like sweet potatoes, but the soup is spicy, so it gives the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the heat.  It really is perfect, very filling and super healthy.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, quartered and chopped
1 celery stalk, quartered and chopped
2 chipotle chilis (canned), seeded and chopped (use 3 for more heat and 1 for extra mild heat)
1 medium poblano (pasilla chili), seeded and chopped small
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
3 cans black beans, drained (or 1 ½ cups dried black beans that have been soaked over night in water that is filled 3 inches above the beans (do this in a sealed container); drained)
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. salt
¼ tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
ground black pepper to taste
1 medium – large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

Heat the olive or grapeseed oil in a soup pot and add the first seven ingredients. Saute on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. 
 Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender to your liking (about 15-20 min). If you start to lose too much liquid, turn down the heat and put on the lid and add more chicken stock if needed.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Veggie Chili

We loved this recipe...super hearty, but meatless, with both a vegan (no cheese or sour cream for toppings) and a vegetarian option.  Its super healthy, packed with veggies, and really satisfying.  Its delicious!

Veggie Chili
From the Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 2 whole Carrots, Peeled And Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth (can Sub Chicken Or Beef Broth If You Prefer)
  • 1 can (12 To 14 Ounces) Plain Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can (10 Ounce) Ro-tel (diced Tomatoes And Chiles)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 can (14 Ounces) Kidney Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can (14-ounce) Pinto Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 whole Large Zucchini (or 2 Medium Zucchini), Diced

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, 3 colors of bell pepper, carrots, celery, and jalapeno, then cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Pour in the broth, tomato sauce, and Ro-tel. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans and zucchini, stir, then cover and simmer for 30-45 more minutes, depending on how soft you like your beans.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pizza Dip

I know this sounds fatty and disgusting and it probably is really fatty but it is SOOO yummy. A friend of mine made it for a super bowl party and I was gushing over it as was everyone else. Just think of a more creative name for it :) Use french bread or pita to dip in it.

Pizza Dip

Mix together:

8 oz cream cheese softened
3/4 c light mayo
1 c shredded mozzarella
6 oz sliced pepperoni
2 plum tomatoes chopped
8 black olives chopped

Bake at 350 for 30 min

serve with sliced crusty bread or heated pita

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Browned Butter Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Hazlenuts

If you couldn't tell I am loving everything from Two Peas and their Pod website right now. This pasta only added to my love. Super simple and easy but the funnest combination of flavors. I couldn't find hazelnuts at the local store so I just used Almonds but I bet Pine nuts would be really good in it as well.


6 tablespoons butter
8 ounces whole wheat pasta (we used DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Orecchiette)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts, stems removed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. First, brown the butter. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown, Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add a little salt, then add the pasta. Cook pasta to al dente, cooked through but still a little firm. When the pasta is done cooking, drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until they become lightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. (You can also toast the hazelnuts in the oven at 350 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes — watch closely to prevent burning.) Place the toasted hazelnuts on a towel and rub together to remove the skin. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.
4. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the pasta and hazelnuts. Pour browned butter over the pasta and sprouts. Stir well. Cook until pasta is heated. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Garden Chowder Soup

It is SUPER cold weather in Dallas right now.  Time for some soup!  This was delicious- definitely not the lightest soup, but we all really enjoyed it.  I even added some kale and asparagus to it.  I'm sure you could also add any veggies you'd like.
Garden Chowder Soup

2 Medium Zucchinis
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 T Fresh Parsley, Minced
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/3 c Butter
1/3 c Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
3 c Vegetable Broth
1 tsp lemon juice
2-3 Tomatoes, Diced
1 12oz can Evaporated Milk
1 can Corn
1/2 cup chopped kale, optional
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 c Cheddar Cheese

Over medium heat saute the onion, zucchini, parsley, and basil in butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in vegetable broth. Add lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes. Add tomatoes, milk, and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for five minutes or until corn is tender. Just before serving, stir in cheese just until melted. Serve.