Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cantaloupe Fruit Salad

Our local U-pick farm had the most amazing melons this year. (Thank you Old Airport Gardens) We must have gone a hundred times to pick up more. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon (yellow, orange, and red). 
The cantaloupe though. 
Oh my. So juicy and sweet. I totally became a cantaloupe addict this summer. 
I decided to make the cantaloupe the centerpiece of this lovely fruit salad to celebrate its deliciousness. This is still a super easy fruit salad recipe to whip up, it just looks a little fancier served on a serving plate. Don't want to get all fancy? It's okay... you can just put all the ingredients in a bowl instead. 

Cantaloupe Fruit Salad
(Slightly adapted from Alive Magazine, Issue 418, Aug 2017)

Orange syrup
1 Tbsp honey
juice of 1/2 an orange (about 1/4 cup)

1 cantaloupe
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup blackberries
1 banana, sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
pinch salt

1/4 cup vanilla flavored, 0 fat Greek yogurt 
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring honey and orange juice to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temp (can be placed in freezer to speed process while you continue making salad). 

Slice cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds. 

Cut into thin slices and remove the rind from each slice. Place equally on 2 serving serving plates.
Spoon the orange syrup equally over the melon on both plates. 

Top each of the plates with 1/2 of the pineapple chunks, blackberries, and banana. Place the sliced strawberry at the front of the salad for decoration (or you can also place the slices over the melon). 
Drizzle each salad with yogurt and then sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Serve immediately. 

So pretty. And tasty. And a fruit salad that is a little different than the usual. The orange and honey syrup adds a lot of flavor to the dish so don't leave it out. If you don't have vanilla yogurt you can use plain yogurt - simply add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla to the yogurt before drizzling. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Dinner

We loved stuffed peppers around our house. We eat a lot of them and are always on the lookout for new ways to make them. We've made Stuffed Pepper Soup (Link HERE), Omelet Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE), Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE), and Indian Inspired Stuffed Peppers (Link HERE) which happen to be vegan. 
Today we are sharing our recipe for a quick and easy, one pot version of stuffed peppers that should please even the pickiest of eaters. It is hearty, tasty, filling, healthy, and, as a plus, is pretty too. You can sub out the lean ground beef for ground turkey to cut a few more calories without losing too much flavor. 
From start to finish in about 30 - 45 minutes, which makes it perfect for those days you don't have a lot of energy but still want a lovely dinner! 

One Pot Stuffed Pepper Dinner

 lb lean ground beef
3 green peppers, chopped (about 3 or so cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a medium onion, diced
2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded 
1 cup uncooked, instant rice (minute rice)

Parmesan cheese, shredded

Prep your ingredients.

In a large pot, cook and crumble the ground beef, green peppers, garlic, and onion over medium heat until the beef is browned and peppers are tender. 
Stir in tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Bring to a boil. Stir in the instant rice (minute rice). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (stirring at the 5 minute mark). 
If desired, sprinkle with a little more shredded Parmesan. 

Serve hot. 
This make 5 very generous servings. According to MyFitnessPal the nutritional counts are (per servings/recipe makes 5 servings): 332 calories, 8 fat, 41 carbs, 4 fiber, 24 protein. 
A one pot, 30 minute meal that should please the whole family. I'd call that a win! 

We're sharing over at Carole's Chatter. Stop by and say hi! 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Old Fashioned Peach Pie

If I had to pick one fruit as a favorite in a pie, it would have to be peaches. And peach crumble......don't even get me started...... soooooo good. We have made a few variations of Peach Pies: Our Bourbon Peach Pie with Bacon Streusel is always a good choice (See HERE for link), or for something even more different, our Peach Cream Pie is a brilliant choice (See HERE for link), or even some adorable Individual Peach Pies make for an impressive dessert (See HERE for link). 
But sometimes what you want is a good, old fashioned, peach pie. Our never fail pie crust is a great crust to use for this pie but feel free to use your own recipe if you prefer. This makes a giant 10 inch, deep dish pie as well so is perfect for a bigger dinner party. 

Pair it with a little Peach Ice Cream (See recipe HERE) and *voila* best dessert in the universe. 

Old Fashioned Peach Pie


1 egg, beaten
7 cups sliced peaches
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400. 
Roll out half of the pie crust to fit the bottom of a 10 inch, deep dish pie pan. Brush the bottom of the shell with some of the beaten egg. Set aside. 

Peel and slice your peaches into a large bowl.

Drizzle with the lemon juice and then add in the flour, cornstarch, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 

Toss gently until well combined. Pour into the prepared pie shell. Dot the top of the pie with the butter. Set aside. 

Roll out the other half of the dough. You can either place on top whole OR cut into strips to make a lattice crust. Pinch the edges to seal the crusts together. If you did a solid crust then cut slits for venting. Brush the crust with the rest of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with a spoonful of sugar. 

Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. (NOTE - Place a cookie sheet under the pie to catch drips!!) Turn heat down to 350 and cook until crust is golden brown and peaches are tender and filling is bubbly - about 45 - 60 minutes. If your edges are getting too dark then cover with a pie shield or strips of tinfoil. 
Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack. 
Let pie cool completely before cutting so it can set, at least 3 hours. 

Slice and serve!

Or, even better, pile on some ice cream!

This is best served the day it is made but will last a day in the fridge without going too soggy. You can also cook it and then freeze it, and then when you want to eat it simply put it, frozen, into a 350 oven for about 40 minutes - until thawed and warmed through. 
Nothing beats an old fashioned pie as a comfort food, am I right? 

Want to see some more fun foodie links? Stop by Carole's Chatter

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Halloween Rat Loaf

Halloween is gross food time. If you follow our blog then you know we always go a little crazy at Halloween with spooky, gross, sometimes cute but always Halloweeny dishes. Check out the tab at the top of the blog labelled "Holidays" to see all our creations!
Last year Sue created this monster meatloaf rat to completely freak everyone out. He is stuffed with cheese and french fried onions and tastes super delicious. 
As it is getting close to October again I figured I better share this guy so you can add him to your spooky dinner list for this year. 
Good luck getting anyone to eat him though. He's pretty nasty looking. 
Delicious... but gross. The Halloween conundrum. 

Halloween Rat Loaf

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt & pepper 

1 cup shredded, aged cheddar
1/2 cup French's fried onions

2 pickled white onions (eyes)
6 strands of raw spaghetti (whiskers)
2 slices of potato (ears) 
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (for color) 
1/2 cup French's Fried Onions (hair) + 1/2 cup shredded, aged cheddar (hair) 
1 black olive (nose)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the meatloaf ingredients until well combined. (I find using your hands works best.) 
Shape half of the meat mixture into a large teardrop shape on the prepared cookie sheet. In another mixing bowl, mix together the cheese and 1/2 cup of French's Fried Onions. Spread the mixture onto the teardrop of meatloaf, leaving at last an inch around the edge. Place remaining meat mixture on top of the filling and again, shape the meat into a large teardrop. Make sure you press the edges together around the filling. 
This will be the body and head of the rat. (See photo below for clarification.)

Gently but firmly press the potato slices into the top of the rat's head for the ears. Press the onions in for eyes, and the spaghetti for whiskers. (See photo below for clarification.)

Brush the body of the rat with the BBQ sauce. Carefully brush the head and nose area with BBQ sauce as well. (See photo below.)

Mix the 1/2 cup French's Fried Onions and 1/2 cup shredded cheese and firmly press onto the rat's body. (See photo below.)

Bake the meatloaf at 350 until meatloaf is completely cooked: approximately one to one and a half hours. (To be sure, use a meat thermometer!) 
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Use a knife to cut a small hole at the nose of the rat and press the black olive on. Carefully transfer to a serving platter (we used a cutting board as our platter). (See photo below for clarification.) 

Serve hot! 
For even more Halloween fun we bought a giant rat trap from the local hardware store as a prop for our meatloaf. 

It's hard to tell because of the lighting in this photo but the inside is a little gooey from the cheese. The onions on the outside add a little crunch and even more flavor to this tasty little critter. 
A few notes: The spaghetti becomes quite brittle as it cooks in the meatloaf. Don't worry if any break off. You can use uncooked spaghetti for whiskers if this happens. 
If you find your meatloaf is getting too dark but still not cooked through, tent with tinfoil and continue to cook until done. (Just watch the whiskers!) 
We didn't do a tail on our rat but, if you wanted too, you could make a bread stick tail with bread dough. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lentil And Walnut Lettuce Tacos

This is one of those dishes that you are going to want to write down, or at least pin to a favorite Pinterest board for future reference. It's super tasty, the texture is amazing..... and, trust me, you won't miss your "usual" taco filling at all. 
If you are looking for an inexpensive, healthy meal that only takes about 15 minutes to make then look no further. I put it in a lettuce "shell" but you could put it in a regular taco shell too! 
It is also easy to customize - make it spicier, crunchier, use whatever topping you like! 

Lentil and Walnut Lettuce Tacos 

1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (540 ml) cans lentils
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
sprinkle cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Iceberg or Romaine lettuce leaves

Drizzle oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, add onions and cook until translucent. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Add in remaining ingredients except for tomato sauce. Cook and stir gently for about 5 or so minutes, until heated through and dries up a little. 
Stir in the tomato sauce and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. 
Remove from heat and serve.

I love mine as lettuce tacos.(But you could use regular tacos or even on a bun for a "sloppy Joe" type sandwich!) 

Then you just throw on your favorite toppings! I did a little more onion, tomatoes, and cheese. 

So much healthiness and tastiness going on..... it's a beautiful thing.  

Try it on your next Meatless Monday or just for something different. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!  FYI - This goes quite a long way. This amount of filling probably does a head and a half to 2 heads of lettuce tacos. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Swiss Chard Rolls

I'll be the first one to admit I'm not a huge lover of Swiss chard. I can't put my finger on exactly why it's not my favorite BUT, that being said, when you use it instead of cabbage to make cabbage rolls, it is heavenly. I find it sooo much more tender than cabbage. 
I've made it a couple of times not blanching the leaves and a couple of time blanching the leaves and I have to say - it takes a few more minutes but you should definitely blanch the leaves. It makes things even more simple. 
I use lean ground beef but you can also make these with ground turkey or ground pork. 

Swiss Chard Rolls

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
sprinkle cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
20 Swiss chard leaves
1 (15oz) can tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch pan with cooking spray. Cover the bottom with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of tomato sauce and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, rice, garlic, onion, and spices. 

Mix well and set aside. 
Bring a pot of water to boil. Quickly blanch each Swiss chard leaf in the boiling water for 30 seconds and then place the leaves briefly in ice water to stop the cooking. Pat dry. 

When all the leaves have been blanched and patted dry, carefully trim the large, middle vein in each leaf. 
To prepare the rolls - Lay a leaf on a flat work surface. Place a generous scoop of the meat mixture (amount will depend on the size of your leaves) at the larger end of the leaf and carefully roll it up, tucking in the sides as you go.

Place the roll, seam side down, in the prepared pan. Repeat until all the leaves and meat have been used up.

I was able to get 15 rolls using medium sized leaves. I had a space left in my pan so I just stuffed some extra Swiss chard leaves in there to fill the space. 
Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. 

Lastly, place a few more Swiss chard leaves on top of the sauce. This is optional but I find it helps prevent things from drying out.

Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for another 15 or so minutes, until everything is bubbling. Remove from heat, remove the top leaves, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve hot.

Not only are these very filling, they are also fairly healthy, and are a complete meal on their own.  

How about a close up of all that tastiness?

If you are not serving anything else with these then I would say this makes 3 servings. If you are using these as a side dish then I would say it would be more like 5 servings. 
FYI - These also freeze great after being cooked and can just be reheated in the microwave or oven. 
We're sharing at Carole's Chatter. Be sure to stop by and say hi.