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!!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

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I’m not sure about you but we have lots of BBQ parties to go to this summer; including some of our own.  A staple at a lot of BBQs are potato salads.  Some people have recipes that have been passed down and some are very traditional.  For this potato salad I wanted to turn it up a bit.  I have seen lots of loaded baked potato salads out there, but it seemed like something was just missing so with this recipe I added broccoli florets. It can be served warm or cold, and is so delicious it will not disappoint.  I hope everyone is having a great summer.

Ingredients:

8-10 red skin potatoes
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
12 pieces cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 cups cooked broccoli florets, chopped
Dash of EVOO, optional

Preparation:

Place the potatoes into a large pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat cook for about 20-25 minutes, until tender. Drain the potatoes, and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into cubes and place into a large bowl.

Next add all of the remaining ingredients and toss together until well incorporated. Place in a serving dish and serve.

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

The Mom 100: Classic Potato Salad with Celery and Fresh Thyme
Feed Me Phoebe: Creamy Red Potato Salad with Capers, Radishes and Chives
Homemade Delish: Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Creative Culinary: French Potato Salad
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Italian String Bean & Potato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Salmon and Potato Salad
The Heritage Cook: Potato, Spring Vegetable and Bacon Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Taste with the Eyes: Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing
Healthy Eats: 5 Potato Salads for a Lighter Picnic
FN Dish: The New Age of Potato Salad: 7 Ways to Do It Up Right

 

Food!!

BBQ jalapeño poppers

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I can’t believe the 4th of July weekend is already here. It’s time to celebrate our Independence with lots of delicious foods. I’m sure many of you will be hosting a BBQ or going to one. These barbecue jalapeño poppers are the perfect addition to any get together and will leave the crowd wanting more. I hope everyone has a safe weekend.

Ingredients:
12 jalapeños, cut in half and remove membranes and seeds
8oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, homemade or favorite store brand
24 slices turkey bacon or regular bacon

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl add cream cheese and barbecue sauce and whisk until smooth. Next take jalapeños that have been sliced and seeds removed, add about 1/2 to teaspoon of the bbq cream cheese mix to the center. Now wrap a slice of bacon around the jalapeño and set on a baking sheet.

Place poppers in the oven for 25-30 minutes until bacon is nice and crispy.  (You can also grill these instead of baking.)

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

Devour: Add Asian Flair to Grilled Ribs with These 4 Recipes
The Lemon Bowl: 20 Healthy Marinades for Grilling Season
Homemade Delish: BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
Napa Farmhouse 1885: BBQ Beef on Toast
TasteBook: Skewered Grilled Prawns with Spicy Peach Glaze
Domesticate Me: 37 Foolproof Recipes for Your Fourth of July BBQ
Creative Culinary: Apple Cider and Brown Sugar Pulled Pork Barbecue
Healthy Eats: 6 Lighter Alternatives to Classic Slow-Cooked Barbecue
Taste with the Eyes: BBQ Shrimp and Grits with Lobster Butter
The Mom 100: Farro Arugula Salad with Orange Herb Vinaigrette
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Best BBQ Ribs + 19 Recipes for 4th of July
FN Dish: Food Network’s Top Recipes for Barbecue Favorites: Ribs, Pulled Pork and More

Food!!

Spring Orzo salad

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Memorial Day weekend is almost here. This weather in Philadelphia needs to start getting warmer so we can start to enjoy BBQs. In our house we grill all year around. I love to create different sides for our BBQ dishes. This one I think is by far one of my favorites. It’s a super easy and delicious orzo pasta with sweet corn and asparagus. The dressing is light and fresh. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 package Orzo pasta, follow cooking instructions on package
2 cups cooked corn kernels
Stalk of asparagus, chopped and blanched
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chives, chopped optional

Dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup EVOO

Preparation:

In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, salt & pepper and EVOO until well incorporated.

Now in the same bowl as the dressing add orzo, asparagus, corn and chives toss everything together. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Serve in a large bowl.

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

The Mom 100: Pasta Salad with Chicken, Picholine Olives and Ramp Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spring Orzo Salad
Devour: Pasta Salads That Go Beyond Mayonnaise
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Pasta Salad with Arugula, Bell Pepper & Spring Onion
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Pasta Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing
Taste with the Eyes: Refreshing Rice Noodle Salad, Lime Ginger Dressing
FN Dish: Picnic-Ready Pasta Salads with Hundreds of Sky-High Reviews

 

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!!

Napa cabbage, Mango and Bacon Salad

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Even though it’s still a little cold out there it doesn’t stop us from having a delicious salad.  Salads are so versatile you can add pretty much anything you desire.  This one is super easy and refreshing with a hint of sweetness from the mangos and orange juice dressing.  I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 head Napa cabbage, finely chopped
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup bacon
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Dressing ingredients:
2/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preparation:

In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until well incorporated.

Next in the same large bowl add the Napa, bacon, mangos and cilantro.  Toss everything together until dressing is well distributed.  Serve and enjoy!

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

Devour: 6 Protein-Heavy Salads to Make Your Desk Lunch Less Sad
Homemade Delish: 
Napa Cabbage, Mango and Bacon Salad
Dishin & Dishes: 
Buddha Power Bowl
Creative Culinary: 
Iceberg Wedge Salad with Bacon, Croutons and Buttermilk Herb Dressing
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Green Salad With Emerald Green Vinaigrette
Red or Green: 
Southwest Salad With Ranch Salsa Dressing
Healthy Eats: 
Balance Spring Meals with These Leafy Green Side Salads
TasteBook: 
The Ultimate Green Salad
Taste with the Eyes: 
Blackened Barramundi Salad, Blackberry Vinaigrette
The Mom 100: 
Pea Shoot Salad with Shrimp, Goat Cheese and Citrus Vinaigrette
FN Dish: 
How to Eat Salad for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (and Not Be Mad About It)

Food!!

No Bake Mascarpone cheesecake in a cup

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This is the perfect quick fix if you’re craving a delicious piece of cheesecake. I love a no bake dessert because it’s super simple clean up and a no waiting game. This particular one is perfect for entertaining as well because they are individual servings.

In a traditional cheesecake of course you use cream cheese but I wanted to make this double the fun and added marscarpone as well (an Italian cream cheese). I also added a scoop of apricot preserve and let’s just say there was a party in my mouth.

Ingredients:

2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
8oz  package cream cheese, room temperature
8oz package marscarpone, room temperature
6-8 scoops apricot preserve
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:
In a mixing bowl add cream cheese, marscarpone, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Mix for about 2 minutes until everything is well incorporate and smooth.

Take serving cups or bowls and layer some graham crackers then cream cheese filling and a scoop of apricot preserve. Repeat until desired amount.

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

Homemade Delish: No-Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake in a Cup

Creative Culinary: St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Three Cake Recipes To Get You Through Till Spring

Red or Green: Spiced Gingerbread Cake

Healthy Eats: 5 Cupcakes That Are Secretly Lighter

In Jennie’s Kitchen: Dark Chocolate Brownies

The Mom 100: Raspberry Streusel Coffee Cake with Sweet Vanilla Drizzle

FN Dish: 5 Stunning Cakes with Sky-High Fan Reviews

 

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