Food!!

Back to School Healthy Lunches

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Classes are back in session. Now it’s time to get the lunch situation back on track. Packing healthy lunches is key. I want to make sure my kids are getting healthy options, but I also want to make lunch fun for them so they don’t get bored of the sandwich in the plastic baggie. I think this helps the kids eat their lunches at school.

I was excited to partner up with one of my favorite food stores WHOLE FOODS MARKET. They offer so many amazing back to school options. Some of you may not know but WHOLE FOODS has their own brand called 365 Everyday.

The 365 Everyday Value products can fill your pantry without emptying your wallet. With value prices every day of the year, the products are formulated to meet all of their quality standards, come in both natural and organic selections, and will change the way you shop at WHOLE FOODS MARKET. That’s because they have it all — from whole grain flours and shade-grown coffee to organic milk and frozen veggies. They make it easy to stock up on the best products for the best price.

My kids love lunch meat roll ups. I added a little pretzel stick to keep the roll up together. WHOLE FOODS lunch meats are now 25% off Sliced In-house Deli Meat Sale from 9/7 until 9/13.

365 Everyday Value® Organic Sliced Cheese has the benefits of organic including that it’s made from the milk of cows not given synthetic hormones (rBST) and Lunchmeat that doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives such as added synthetic nitrates or nitrites.

Below you will find 3 fun ideas to pack for the kids. I hope everyone has a fun and safe school year.

Here we have Peanut butter & Jelly rolls, pretzel stick, carrots and water 

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Quaker crackers, Ham & Cheese kabobs, water and some mandarin oranges 

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Peanut butter apple sandwiches, carrots, quacker crackers and water

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

Devour: Embrace Your Inner Kid with 5 Fun Flips on Pizza
The Lemon Bowl: Skillet Mexican Street Corn
Homemade Delish: Healthy Back-to-School Lunches
Creative Culinary: Peanut Butter and Apple Oatmeal Cookies
The Fed Up Foodie: Spiced Pumpkin Donuts
A Mind “Full” Mom: 2-Ingredient Homemade Gogurts
The Mom 100: Tomato-Orzo Dill Soup
Healthy Eats: 7 Back-to-School Dishes That Kids Can Help Make
Taste with the Eyes: Black Bean Spaghetti Caterpillar For Kids
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Kale Sushi Rice Bowls
Swing Eats: Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich Cookies (Gluten-Free & Flourless)
FN Dish: Our Favorite A+ Afterschool Snacks

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Food!!

Roasted Tomato and Poblano Salsa

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We have an abundance of tomatoes right from our garden.  They’ve provided a great amount of homemade sauce and tomato jam; not to mention their juicy goodness on a salad.  Another great option to add to this list is salsa. Instead of just chopping it up and putting it in the blender I went ahead and roasted my ingredients. I had poblano peppers from the garden and added them to the mix. There is nothing like fresh homemade salsa. You can control the salt and spice intake, and it’s so much more refreshing. I ended up with 2 mason jars of homemade salsa.  These will store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Ingredients:

15 tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large onion, cut into quarters
2 large poblano peppers, cut in half
Salt & pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste 1/2 cup evoo
3 garlic cloves
1 cup cilantro

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees

Add tomatoes, onions and poblanos to a baking sheet and drizzle some evoo and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes set the tomatoes, onions and poblanos aside to cool a bit. Now add them to the blender with the cilantro, garlic, evoo and crushed red pepper flakes. Blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #summersoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Steamed Clams with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Kale
The Mediterranean Dish: 10 Fresh Tomato Recipes with a Mediterranean Twist
The Mom 100: Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Homemade Delish: Roasted Tomato and Poblano Salsa
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Easy Summer Tomato Tart with Artichoke Spread
The Heritage Cook: Tomato and Cucumber Summer Salad (Gluten-Free)
Devour: Praise Caprese with 6 Twists on Tomato Salad
Healthy Eats: How to Use Up Your Last Batch of Fresh Tomatoes
Creative Culinary: Fresh Tomato Summer Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Classic Caprese Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato, Peach & Melon Salad
Taste with the Eyes: For Tomato Lovers Only
FN Dish: The Best Fresh Tomato Recipes You to Make, Like, Right Now

Food!!

Sweet corn ice cream

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It’s been so hot here in Philadelphia lately.  All we have been craving is something cold. I love making homemade ice cream, but I currently do not have an ice cream maker, so it takes a little longer to make. This recipe will take up to 8-24 hours to set nice and firm, but it’s totally worth the wait. Since corn is another staple crop of summer I wanted to incorporate it into an ice cream. This recipe will not disappoint with its sweetness from the kernels.  Stay cool!

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen 
1 can condensed milk
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Preparation:
In a medium saucepan bring the heavy cream and kernels to a simmer. Pour the mixer through a sieve into a bowl. Set aside to cool and then place in the refrigerator with a plastic wrap on it.

Take the kernels from the sieve and pour it into a blender or food processor to get a creamy texture. Next place in the refrigerator to cool.

After 1 hour remove the corn mixture and cream from the refrigerator. Pour the cream into a mixing bowl. Now pour in the can of condensed milk. Take electric mixer and mix for one minute on medium speed. Next pour in the corn mixture. Mix for another minute.

Finally take a piece of plastic wrap and place inside a loaf pan. Making sure all sides are covered with plastic wrap. Pour the ice cream mixture inside loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight. Enjoy!

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #summersoiree below:

The Lemon Bowl: Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Corn
Devour: Fire Up the Grill for a Mexican Grilled Corn Fiesta
Feed Me Phoebe: Sweet and Spicy Gluten-Free Corn Pasta with Ricotta and Chives
Creative Culinary: Grilled Corn Salsa with Poblano Chiles, Cilantro and Honey
TasteBook: Esquites (Mexican-Style Corn Salad)
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Corn, Pluot and Grape Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: A Cornucopia of Corn Recipes For Summer
Healthy Eats: 7 Summer Salads That Put a New Spin on Corn
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Easy Homemade Creamed Corn
FN Dish: If You Cook Any Corn This Summer, Make It One of These 5-Star Recipes

Food!!

Asparagus crostini fun

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Asparagus is in season so it’s time to breakout those delicious recipes. I’m always looking for different ideas to entertain family and friends. This asparagus pesto is great for crostinis, where the toppings can be endless.

Leftovers of the pesto were used to toss with pasta. This recipe will be sure to please all those asparagus lovers.

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cooked and blanched in cold water.
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup raw almonds
1-2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cups evoo
1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
Parmesan Reggiano, garnish optional
Baked Prosciutto slices, garnish optional
Ricotta, garnish optional
Baby arugula, garnish optional

Preparation:

Slice the French baguette and place on a baking sheet. Take 1/4 cup of evoo and brush it over the slices of bread. Sprinkle a little salt over the slices. Once toasted set aside.

In a food processor add, asparagus, almonds, parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic and s&p. Pulse and slowly add evoo until desired consistency.

Spread over slices of bread and top with desired toppings.

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #sensationalsides below:

Creative Culinary: Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic and Parsley

Homemade Delish: Asparagus Crostini

Devour: 25 Ways to Use Asparagus

Feed Me Phoebe: Spring Quinoa Mujadara with Asparagus

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Asparagus & Arugula Panzanella

Healthy Eats: 5 Fresher Ways to Prepare Asparagus

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Asparagus, Onion & Pesto Pizza

Red or Green: Roasted Asparagus with Spicy Thousand Island Dressing

The Mom 100: Millet Greens Salad

Taste with the Eyes: Modern Asparagus Spring Rolls – Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond

FN Dish: 6 Ways to Bundle Up Asparagus This Spring

Food!!

Italian Cioppino Soup

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It’s officially winter, and soup is in full effect in our house. I grew up with my dad making soups all the time, and this was one of them. It’s called cioppino, an Italian American seafood soup or stew. It’s a one pot delight. Enjoy and hope your keeping warm. 

Ingredients: 

1 lb cod, cut into chunks 

1 lb mussels, scrubbed 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 

1/4 cup tomato paste 

2 piece celery, chopped

1 1/2 cups dry white wine 

5 cups vegetable stock 

1 bay leave 

5 garlic cloves, minced 

1 28oz can diced tomato 

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more or less to taste 

Salt & pepper, to taste 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Preparation: 

In a large pot on medium heat add olive oil. Add onions, celery and sauté for about 5 to 6 minutes until translucent. Next add garlic, salt, pepper flakes and tomato paste and diced tomato, cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Now add the stock, wine and bay leaf. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes so flavors combined. 

Next add mussels to broth and cook for about 5 minutes until mussels begin to open. Finally add shrimp and fish cook for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, stir. 

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a slice of Italian bread. 

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #comfortfoodfeast below:

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Posole Rojo
Creative Culinary: Split Pea Soup with Carrots and Ham
Homemade Delish: Italian Cioppino Soup
Taste with the Eyes: Wintery French Lentil Soup with Beef, Carrots, Sherry Vinegar
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Tomato Soup
Dishing with Divya: Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Creamy Vegetable Soup
From My Corner of Saratoga: Pressure Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup (in a slow cooker)
Red or Green: New Mexican Green Chile, Turkey & Posole Soup
The Heritage Cook: Creamy Cheesy Potato Soup (Gluten-Free)
In Jennie’s Kitchen: 14 Sensational Soups
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Winter Squash & Chickpea Ribollita
The Mediterranean Dish: Mediterranean Spicy Spinach Lentil Soup
The Mom 100: Spicy Thai Chicken and Rice Noodle Soup
Healthy Eats: 5 No-Brainers for Improving Chicken Soup
FN Dish: Soup’s On! 5 Warming Must-Make Bowls

 

Food!!

Fennel and potato gratin

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Most people know about a traditional potato au gratin dish, but I wanted to give this classic a twist and add some fennel.  The results were delicious. If you’re planning on bringing a side dish to a party or just making it for a weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes sliced into 1/4 inch slices or using a mandolin slicer
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 large garlic clove
1 fennel bulb, sliced into 1/3 inch thick slices or using a mandolin slicer
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 1/4 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped almonds, optional for garnish

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Smear butter in a 1 quart casserole dish.

In a food processor add flour, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning, milk, garlic and butter. Pulse for 30 seconds, add the cheese and stir together and set aside.

Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the 1/2 of the fennel slices, Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1/2 milk mixture on to potatoes and fennel. Repeat.

Next add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Top with almonds and serve.

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Butternut Squash Gratin with Gruyere and Pistachios
The Lemon Bowl: Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Homemade Delish: Fennel and Potato Gratin
The Mom 100: Broccoli Rabe with Preserved Lemon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Rye & Roasted Butternut Squash Dressing
Red or Green: Green Beans with Chipotle Butter
The Mediterranean Dish: Shrimp Bruschetta
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Fail-Proof Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Lobster, Artichoke and Spinach Bake
Creative Culinary: Baked Mushrooms in a Parmesan Cream Sauce
Healthy Eats: 7 Holiday Sides That Won’t Spoil Dessert
FN Dish: 5 Indulgent Side Dishes to Deck Your Holiday Table

Food!!

Brussels Sprout and Bacon Pizza

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We love to eat Brussels sprouts in our home pretty much any time of the year. I wasn’t a big fan as a child but I’m obsessed now or maybe it’s because I use bacon fat to cook my Brussels sprouts in. Whatever the case may be we love to eat it and why not combined that with another favorite… Pizza?  I decided to grill my pizza since it was a beautiful day. I grill year around if it’s nice out. I hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Ingredients: 

Brussels sprouts, chopped finely 

Salt & pepper, to taste 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

12 pieces bacon, cut in pieces 

Olive oil, for brushing on to pizza dough

3 cups Italian fontina cheese, shredded 

Pizza dough, store bought is fine

Truffle oil, topping 

Pecorino Romano, shavings for garnish 

Preparation: 

In a large skillet on medium to high heat add a couple slices of bacon. Cook until golden and crispy about 5 minted per side. Remove and place on paper towel to remove excess oil. Repeat process until all of the bacon is cooked (try not to eat any haha). Set aside 

Next add the Brussels into the skillet with the bacon drippings. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder sauté for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Get grill nice and hot. Brush some olive oil on to the pizza. Place on the grill once it starts to bubble flip the pizza.  It should only take about 2-3 minutes per side. 

Once flipped add fountain cheese, remove after cheese has melted. Next top with Brussels and bacon. Garnish with pecorino and truffle oil. 

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Quinoa Brussels Sprout Gratin with Smoked Cheddar
Homemade Delish: Brussels Sprout and Bacon Pizza
Creative Culinary: Fried Brussels Sprouts with a Sriracha and Honey Glaze
Napa Farmhouse 1885:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pesto Pizza
Red or Green: Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad With Avocado & Pomegranate Seeds
Taste with the Eyes: Brussels, Bacon, Balsamic
TasteBook: Lemony Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Healthy Eats: 6 Ways to Never Get Bored of Brussels Sprouts
The Mom 100: White Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Spread with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: The Only 5 Brussels Sprouts Dishes You’ll Need This Season

Food!!

Cauliflower Au Gratin

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Creating different sides for a meal can be fun. You can be very creative with different vegetables and toppings. Luckily my kids love pretty much anything, so it makes my life easier when creating a side. Cauliflower was the vegetable of choice this week, and I wanted it to be creamy like a potato au gratin. This is a super easy side that you can add to any dinner or dinner party. For one of the toppings I had to use bacon, and you can never go wrong with bacon. Enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, or cheese of choice
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon, optional

Preparation:

Preheat oven 375 F degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets to water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, remove and place in ice cold bowl of water (this will stop the cooking process). Set aside.

In another large bowl whisk together heavy cream, cheese, S&P and flour until well incorporated. Next drain cauliflower from cold water and place into the cream mixer. Toss everything together. Pour into baking dish. Top with Panko. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven, top with bacon and server.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Paleo Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Pumpkin Seed Scallion Pesto
The Heritage Cook: Easy Roasted Whole Cauliflower with Sriracha Butter (Gluten-Free)
Dishin & Dishes: Cauliflower Steaks with Curried Coconut Puree
Homemade Delish: Cauliflower Au Gratin
Healthy Eats: 6 Classic Comfort Foods with a Cauliflower Twist
Creative Culinary: Roasted Cauliflower with a Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese Frosting
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Six Recipes To Make You Fall In Love With Cauliflower
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cauliflower Patties
Taste with the Eyes: Grilled Eggplant Pizza with Low-Carb Cauliflower Crust
FN Dish: 6 Ways Cauliflower Can Stand In for Other Favorite Foods

Food!!

Warm Pumpkin Salad

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Pumpkins are a staple for fall decor and food. I love everything pumpkin.  I’m that person that will have everything pumpkin as soon as October hits. I love to incorporate it in my cooking. I’m lucky enough that my store carries per cut and peeled pieces.  I like to make warm salads during the cooler months.  I figured this would be the perfect one to share. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pancetta, cubed
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 whole Artichoke hearts, cut into wedges
2 lbs pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into desired pieces
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a baking dish add pumpkins and Artichoke hearts. Season salt, pepper and 1/4 cup olive oil. Place in the oven for 1 hour or until pumpkin is tender. Set aside.

In a medium skillet on medium heat add pancetta, cook until crispy. remove and place on paper towel to absorb any oils. In the same skillet add the fennel into pancetta oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside in large bowl. Add the pumpkin, artichokes and parsley. Toss together.

Dressing:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced

Preparation:
In a medium bowl add apple cider begin to whisk in olive oil. Whisk consistently. Season salt and pepper. Add garlic, lemon juice and molasses. Keeping whisking for another 2 minutes. Pour over pumpkin and veggie mix. Toss everything together. Top with crispy pancetta. Place in serving dish and enjoy.

P.S. This is a perfect dish for thanksgiving.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

The Hungry Traveler: Pumpkin Brown Butter Madeleines
Bacon and Souffle: Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage, Kale and Parmesan
Homemade Delish: Warm Pumpkin Salad
Creative Culinary: Pumpkin Butter
The Lemon Bowl: 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Weelicious: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
TasteBook: Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Red or Green: Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
The Heritage Cook: Roasted Pumpkin, Potato, and Sage (Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Taste with the Eyes: Sultry Pumpkin Soup – Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill
FN Dish: 8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long

Food!!

Jacked sweet potato quesadilla

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Sweet potatoes are such a great alternative to potatoes and have so many health benefits. I love making French fries and burgers with sweet potatoes, but since my family loves a good Mexican meal I went ahead and made a sweet potato quesadilla. It was a hit we all loved it. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed. It’s super easy and great for a weeknight dinner. This is totally optional but you can microwave the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them.

Ingredients:
3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons, unsalted butter
Flour or whole wheat tortillas
2 slices pepper jack, per quesadilla
2 slices pancetta, per quesadilla, optional
Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation:
Fill the pot about half full (you will need just enough water to cover the sweet potatoes) and add a dash of salt. Bring to boiling. Add sweet potatoes. Cover the pan and cook sweet potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender on the outside but resistant in the center when pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool. Remove the skin of the sweet potatoes. Mash the potatoes, add butter, salt & pepper.

Take tortilla and spread the sweet potatoes. Top with cheese and pancetta. Fold tortilla over and place on a hot skillet. Press down and brown quesadilla for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #fallfest below:

Creative Culinary: Twice-Baked Jalapeno Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Streusel Topping
Homemade Delish: Jacked Sweet Potato Quesadilla
Healthy Eats: How Sweet It Is: 7 Sweet Potato Dishes for Every Palate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Sweet Potato, Green Onion & Herb Pommes Anna
Red or Green: Sweet Potato “Nacho” Dip
Taste with the Eyes: Caramelized Upside-Down French Sweet Potato Pie {Tarte Tatin}
Dishin & Dishes: Bacon Poblano Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash
The Mom 100: Sweet Potato Pie
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
FN Dish: Five 5-Star Ways to Get Your Sweet Potato Fix