Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

Last week we had a super cold, rainy, snowy day and I just needed to make something nice and hearty for dinner. Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini is so yummy! It did take at least an hour to make, so be forewarned. It requires a food processor or blender to blend the soup. I just used my Magic Bullet and it took three batches to get all of the soup blended.

Today, is my youngest son's 2nd Birthday! We are celebrating with his little friends this Saturday. But tonight we had family presents and a large cupcake to celebrate! These past two years went by way too fast and I just love watching Palmer grow. He is talking in 2-3 word sentences, is completely potty trained, and is learning how to play with others (sometimes he blows raspberries and hits...). Oh boys! Palmer is interested in counting, loves to dance, and he likes squiggling a "P" for Palmer on anything he is coloring. He is obsessed with "Hot Dog" (Mickey Mouse) and "Paw-trol" (Paw Patrol). He loves to snuggle and is the first to say "sorry" and "yuv uuuuu." I love being his mommy and he truly is a joy. I can't wait to share his "Little Blue Truck" themed birthday party with you!

Palmer blowing out his candles on his cupcake!

Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 cup celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. basil
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 3 x 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable broth
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 package cheese tortellini (mine were cheese and spinach)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

1. In a stock pot, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, and basil until tender - about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in carrots, celery, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Cook until everything is heated through.
3. Add your chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add your diced tomatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the bay leaf from your pot and use your blender/food processor to blend your soup. Mine took three batches in a Magic Bullet and I used a separate bowl to place it in after I blended. Then I put everything back in my stock pot.
6. In a small bowl, heat your cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds.
7. Add your heavy whipping cream and mix together until smooth. Pour into your soup.
8. Add your 1/3 cup parmesan cheese to your soup. Mix well.
9. Add your tortellinis and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes with the lid on.
10. Serve hot and sprinkle extra parmesan cheese on top.

 Soup before tomatoes added

 Soup with tomatoes added

 Blending soup

 Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

Served with garlic bread!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish Beef Stew with Celtic Trinity Knots

St. Patty's Day is tomorrow! I made a corned beef last week and made a delicious orange-zested Irish Soda Bread yesterday. So, I decided to try a new recipe this year and it was amazing. Irish Beef Stew with simple Celtic Trinity Knot bread sticks. Although, the stew took a good 3 hours to make, our house smelled incredible. The breadsticks were made from Pillsbury Pizza Dough, and didn't take very long to make at all! I do recommend pinching your dough together well once you form your Trinity Knot, so they don't come apart in the oven and look like bow ties! Hope you all have some green beer and Irish Stew to celebrate tomorrow!

Speaking of celebrating, my husband and I worked super hard to get our house ready to be put on the market to sell. We had photographs taken last Wednesday and the listing went live Friday night. We had 7 showings on Saturday and 4 showings on Sunday. TWO offers and a SOLD sign later - we are ready for our journey to Pennsylvania this Summer! What a crazy weekend! I must say I am happy we are done with 'showings' because living in a perfectly staged house with all the kids toys in the garage is not fun. But we kept busy this weekend with an early hike, St. Patty's Day parade, outlet shopping, and a visit to the Children's Museum.

Irish Beef Stew

- 8 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup barley
- 2 cans of Guinness beer
- 2 lbs. beef cubes for beef stew
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 12 carrots, diced
- 12 potatoes, small
- 4 leeks
- 2 potatoes, mashed (did not use)
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup parsley (accidentally forgot!)

1. In a stock pot, bring your beef broth and beer to a simmer. Add your barley.
2. In a large skillet, heat your vegetable oil.
3. In a freezer bag, coat your beef cubes with the 1/4 cup of flour. Brown 1/3 of your beef at a time in the vegetable oil. Place your beef in the beef broth.
4. Add your onion to the beef skillet and cook until transparent. Add to your beef broth.
5. Deglaze your skillet with the wine and scrape everything off the bottom of the pan. Add to the beef broth.
6. Bring to a simmer and cover for 2 hours. Check and stir stew every 20 minutes.
7. Add your carrots, leeks, and potatoes. Allow to simmer for another 40 minutes.
8. Add your tbsp. of flour and mashed potatoes with 1 tbsp. of butter. This will thicken your stew.
9. Stir for another 5-10 minutes.
10. Serve hot with parsley on top to garnish.

 Simmering Stew

Irish Beef Stew with Celtic Trinity Knot breadstick 

Celtic Trinity Knots

- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Pillsbury Pizza dough, rolled out

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Foil line and grease 2 baking sheets.
2. Cut your pizza dough into strips length wise.
3. Form into a 'Celtic Trinity Knot' and pinch your ends together. (see picture)
4. Brush on your melted butter and top with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Celtic Trinity Knots

Bittersweet to sell our home.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sausage and Spinach Shells

Looking for a quick dinner that is easy and fresh? Look no further than this hearty pasta dish! It has spinach hidden with sausage that your kids will actually eat! This was so easy to throw together and allow to cook in the oven. I made side salads for my husband and I as well.

We are super busy decluttering and getting our house ready to be photographed to be put on the market to sell. Making easy dishes like this one has been a saving grace. It has been utter chaos here and we even had to rent a storage unit to make our house look bigger in each room by not having all the surfaces and closets filled. What a task! *Fingers crossed* our house sells fast!


- 24 jumbo noodle shells, cooked according to package
- 1 lb. sausage
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- dash nutmeg
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
- 1 large egg
- 26 oz. marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large baking dish, coat the bottom with marinara sauce.
3. In a skillet, brown your sausage.
4. In a large bowl, mix your sausage, ricotta, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and spinach together.
5. Fill your cooked jumbo shells and place in a row in your baking dish.
6. Top your shells with the remainder of the sauce and place mozzarella cheese on top of each one.
7. Bake for 35 minutes covered with foil, and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

Sausage and Spinach Shells


Monday, March 2, 2015

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

A friend posted these on Facebook and I had to make them the very next day. We enjoyed these Friday morning since we had another "snow day" and there was no school! I made and baked the cinnamon rolls the day before and made the lemon cream cheese frosting as well, and just stored it in the fridge over night. We reheated the cinnamon rolls in the morning and the frosting melted nicely on top! These cinnamon rolls did not require much time, since you do not have to allow the dough to rise for x amount of hours, only 10 minutes! I hope you try these out - you will love them!

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

- 3 1/4 cups flour (extra 1/4 cup at high altitude)
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup butter, softened


- 21 oz. Strawberry Pie Filling, I used Lucky Leaf
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. sugar

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.
2. In a saucepan, heat your milk and butter until butter has melted completely. Allow to come to luke warm temperature.
3. In your Kitchenaid mixer, add 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Combine.
4. Using your dough hook, mix in your egg and water.
5. Slowly add the remaining cup of flour and your milk mixture to the dough.
6. Let the dough rest of 10 minutes.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to be 9"x15" rectangle.
8. Add your filling.
9. Roll up your dough on the 15" side and pinch the log closed.
10. Cut 9-12 cinnamon rolls depending on how thick you want them. Place them in your greased baking dish.
11. Cover your cinnamon rolls with a damp cloth, and allow them to rise for 30 minutes.
12. Bake them for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
13. For Frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add half and half, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.

 Dough resting for 10 minutes

 Cinnamon Roll Filling (I added extra cinnamon!)

 Baked Cinnamon Rolls

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Kid Pizza Waffles

Pizza and waffles combined equals some pretty happy kiddos! I saw this idea on Pinterest, only you give your kids a side of pizza sauce to dip their pizza waffle in... I saw disaster. So, I altered the recipe by putting a dollop of sauce, 3 pepperonis, and a chunk of mozzarella cheese inside the "waffle" (biscuit) instead. These did not take long to make and it was the perfect solution for lunch last week when we were snowed in and school was cancelled! Looks like we will be having some more snow days in the near future, so I will be heading to the grocery store for some more biscuits!

Pizza Waffles

- Pilsbury Grand biscuits
- pepperonis
- pizza sauce
- mozzarella cheese
- waffle maker

1. Take one biscuit and open it up and place your sauce, 3 pepperonis, chunk of mozzarella inside. Close and press the biscuit sides back together to keep everything inside. Repeat for all biscuits.
2. Using your waffle iron, place 4 biscuits in each waffle place and allow to cook until ready.
3. Dip with extra sauce if you can trust your kids!

Biscuit with sauce, pepperonis, and cheese inside

 Pizza Waffles!

 Delicious and mess free!



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Caprese Stuffed Chicken with Red Roasted Peppers

I love how fresh caprese salad/chicken/pizza tastes. I saw this recipe for stuffed chicken breasts with all the caprese fixings and had to try it out! I served it on a bed of brown rice and it was delicious! Love all the melted mozzarella cheese on top...

Caprese Stuffed Chicken with Red Roasted Peppers

- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 slices
- 1 x 12 oz. jar of red roasted bell peppers
- 1 bunch of basil, whole leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning, I did not use this

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking dish.
2. Butterfly cut your chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.
3. Stuff each chicken with red roasted peppers, a slice of mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves.
4. Optional: I could not get stuffings to stay in my chicken - so I used toothpicks to keep my chicken closed.
5. Bake chicken for 30-40 minutes.
6. Add remaining mozzarella slices on top of your chicken and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
7. Broil chicken for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

 Stuffed Chicken

 Toothpick shot

Melted cheese on top... yummy!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Red Velvet Pancakes

You. Must. Try. These. You will not regret a single bite! They are moist and delicious and the cream cheese icing is amazing! Perfect for Saturday morning Valentine's Day breakfast! Now I used two recipes from Pinterest that I found. One recipe I used the pancake batter only, and the other recipe I used the cream cheese icing recipe only. Feel free to check them both out though and see what you prefer to make. We even made the batter the night before and just kept it in the fridge overnight so we could start making pancakes right away. I also took a heart shaped metal cookie cutter and placed it on my skillet to make 'heart shaped' pancakes.

Happy (Almost) Valentine's Day Morning!

Pancake Batter

- 2 cups flour (plus 2 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tbsp. red food coloring
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1. In a mixing bowl mix your flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda together.
2. Measure milk in a measuring cup and whisk in vinegar. Allow to rest for 2 minutes.
3. Pour milk into a separate mixing bowl and add eggs, sugar, food coloring, vanilla, and butter.
4. Slowly whisk together and add flour mixture to milk mixture.
5. Make pancakes on medium heat griddle with 1/4 cup mixture per pancake.

Cream Cheese Icing

- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp. milk
- splash of vanilla extract

1. In a stand mixer, whisk your cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
2. Add your powdered sugar until smooth.
3. Add milk and vanilla until you reach desired consistency. My icing was pretty thick, so add more milk if you prefer to drizzle your icing.

 My Spelunker mixing the milk mixture together

 Red Velvet Batter

 Flapjack making

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing