in a rush – quick and easy recipes

mini pasta frittatas

What do you do with all of the leftover spaghetti noodles from dinner last night? Here’s a great way to use those noodles and create a great lunch box item or a great after school snack for the little ones. I actually got the idea from an episode of Rachael Ray but I changed the ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need

  • leftover spaghetti noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese, your favorite or a blend
  • fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • lunchmeat ham, chopped
  • salt, pepper and any  family favorite seasoning ( I love Spike Seasoning in eggs)

*Some different options could be cherry tomatoes, small broccoli florets, mushrooms, etc.

Place spaghetti noodles in paper lined or baking cup sprayed with non- stick vegetable spray. Add in a sprinkle of ham, spinach and cheese. Whisk together eggs, milk and seasoning. Pour or ladle egg mixture into muffin cup to fill almost to the top. Bake at 375° for 15 -18 minutes or until set and lightly golden.
You can make this a fun event with the kids… let them help fill the cups with their favorite items. You can use whatever kinds of veggies, cheese, meat that your kids like. They are always more willing to eat the fun foods that they have helped to create! For re-heating, simply microwave  about 30 seconds.  What a great way to send a healthy, fun lunch to school for your kids!

 

pizza night

photoPizza night. No, not takeout pizza night. A new and better pizza night. This falls into so many categories on my blog. Things for mothers and daughters to do together; quality time; kid friendly foods and in a rush – quick and easy recipes! There’s something great about  family spending time together in the kitchen. It can be as grand as you like spending all day preparing a holiday meal or a theme night with lots of new recipes. It can also be as simple as hanging out around the bar putting your favorite toppings on your own personal pizza!

For the crust, I just purchase naan bread which as an Indian flatbread. This should be available at most grocery stores, I get mine at Walmart supercenter. If you can’t find naan bread or if you just prefer, you can use pita bread (not the pocket kind). I just prepare a platter with all of our favorite toppings. Get the whole family involved in washing the vegetables, slicing and placing on the platter. The toppings are endless. Instead of tomato sauce, I like to use  chopped fresh tomatoes…all varieties, orange sunburst cherry tomatoes are excellent used here. You can use grape tomatoes, roma, whatever you like…mix them up!  I get pepperoni sliced fresh at the deli, super thin. You only need 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound for 4-6 people. Some other favorite toppings at our house…fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, basil and red bell pepper.

When all of the toppings are sliced, diced and ready, have everyone start by brushing a little olive oil on their naan bread and let the toppings begin! Place all of the prepared pizzas on baking sheets or a pizza stone really works nice if you have one. Place in a preheated oven at 400°. Bake till cheese is melted and bubbly…this only takes about six minutes. Quick, easy, fun and delicious for the whole family. What night is gonna be your “new” pizza night?photophoto

lemon waffles with lemon curd and macerated strawberries

IMG_8237This is one of those great Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast items, but it is easy enough for the weekday! To make it a time friendly and simple breakfast use your favorite waffle mix. Prepare as the package directs. Add the zest of 1 lemon stirred into batter. To macerate the strawberries…(This can be done the night before or at least 30 minutes before serving.) slice enough strawberries to top number of waffles you’ll be making. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and fresh lemon juice. Stir and set aside.(you could also add a little fresh chopped mint if you like)  If doing this the night before place in refrigerator. Cook waffle in waffle iron as directed. Top with some store bought lemon curd, macerated strawberries and dust with powdered sugar. Careful, you just might become addicted! Enjoy!

50 thumbs up!

As you can probably tell from the lack of posts and activity on my blogsite…it’s been a pretty busy couple of months. That being said, either Kenny has been cooking dinner or I’m doing something very quick and easy. Tonight I made my own combination of a classic french dip and another classic… a philly cheesesteak. I’ll call it a Philly French Dip! We all agreed it was delicious. Ariel said “If I had 50 thumbs, they would all be thumbs up!” If you want to try them out at home…it’s really simple…here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. thin sliced roast beef from the deli
  • 4 fresh deli sub rolls
  • 1 package Au Jus seasoning mix ( I like Mccormicks )
  • provolone or mozzarella cheese ( both if you like it super cheesy! )
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 green bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1/2 onion cut into slices and halved
  • italian seasoning
  • black pepper
  • dash crushed red pepper, optional

Prepare Au Jus as directed on package, add roast beef and simmer on low 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet saute’ peppers and onions in olive oil til browned and tender. 3-5 minutes. Add black pepper, crushed red pepper and italian seasoning to taste during the saute’ time. Toast sub rolls on a griddle or in the oven. To make the sandwich, pile high with roast beef top with peppers and onions and cheese. Serve with a small bowl of Au Jus for dipping! Delicious…50 thumbs up!

roasted potato and spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

rpssEver have leftover roasted potatoes in the fridge and you don’t know what to do with them? Well, the leftover potatoes were the inspiration for this recipe. A couple weeks ago I was going to have a small salad for lunch. I had about a handful of leftover roasted potatoes from dinner the night before. For some crazy reason I decide to warm them and throw them on my salad. Now, the salad was just a basic iceberg salad, carrot, onion, tomato. I just happened to have a little  bottled spinach salad dressing in the fridge. It didn’t taste bad! Nothing to knock your socks off but it got my mind thinking…Hot German potato salad…hot bacon spinach salad…You see where I’m going with this? So a week later I decided to try it out. Only this time I made my own salad dressing. I also tried the salad two different ways. First my take on breakfast for dinner…salad style! This version has hard boiled eggs. Get it… bacon, eggs, potatoes! The second was done with chopped red (fuji) apples instead of egg. This ones a little lighter and a little healthier version. They were both delicious…you choose! Here’s what you’ll need:

For the dressing:

  • 8 slices bacon (I prefer the thick sliced…yes, you can never have too much bacon!)
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (this is what I used, but I am going to try it again with cider vinegar…I think it would work just as well)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • fresh cracked black pepper  and salt to taste…don’t be afraid to use a good bit of pepper
  • a pinch or two of fresh thyme leaves or just a dash of dried thyme

Cook bacon. I like it to be a little crispy, we will reserve this to add to the salad. In a small sauce pan heat 2-3 Tbsp. of the bacon grease, add onions to soften. Wisk in remaining ingredients and simmer just for a minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the salad:

  • 1 large bag of fresh spinach  (about 6-8 cups), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of roasted potatoes. You can roast them fresh, toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. Or reheat leftovers!
  • red onion, sliced into rings, enough for 3 or 4  rings per serving * the onion really balances the sweet of the dressing
  • reserved bacon, crumbled
  • Your choice…3 hard boiled eggs, halved. OR  1 fuji apple, cored and chopped
  • croutons if desired

To assemble the salad place spinach in a large bowl, add potatoes, onion, bacon and if using apples, the apples. Heat the dressing just until it boils, pour over salad and toss gently. If using eggs, you may add eggs at this point. Add another dash of fresh black pepper and croutons if desired to serve. Garnish with another pinch of fresh thyme leaves if you have them. This is definitely  a winner. I had company for dinner and served this as a main dish after a bowl of butternut squash and apple soup. ( recipe coming soon) A great fall salad to serve as a meal or a smaller serving as a starter course for a dinner party. If you’d like to have a glass of wine with this I’d suggest a nice Pinot Noir. Enjoy!rpssa

pasta salad with shrimp and lemon lavender vinaigrette

lemon-lavender-shrimp-pastaDuring the summer on Wednesday evenings here in Park City, we always go to Deer Valley for the mountain town stages free concert. Everyone is there… all of the kids play and dance and hula hoop and the older kids bring a picnic basket filled with great food and a bottle of wine, or two! So I’m faced with a challenge every week…what to make for the picnic. Do you ever just get tired of the same old thing? I know, we’ve all been there. So, I’m standing in the kitchen thinking …what to make?  I swear I get these crazy recipes that just pop into my head. All of the ingredients just start running through my mind. Actually I kinda like it when this happens, it usually produces a really good recipe! So here is my crazy “pop up” recipe!

  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp ( I like 26-30 count size or larger)
  • 1 12-16 oz. box of penne pasta
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1/2 lb. fresh aspapagus spears, bottoms trimmed
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 recipe lemon lavender vinaigrette ( to follow )

Lemon Lavender Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Wisk together all ingredients. *This dressing would also be great on a salad of mixed greens.

Cook pasta according to package directions*( Make sure to cook al dente’, you don’t want overcooked pasta for this dish! Drain, rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl. Toss with a dash of olive oil to prevent sticking. Wrap the asparagus in damp paper towels and microwave about one minute, just to slightly steam it. Asparagus should still be crisp. Cut into two inch pieces. Add to the pasta along with tomatoes, shrimp, feta, and basil. Toss with vinaigrette. Chill well.

I hope you’ll try this dish…(don’t be afraid of the lavender) It was a great hit at the concert a couple of weeks ago!. This one is a great dish for a hot summer afternoon. Excellent for a simple garden get together! Serve with a great baguette and a nice sauvignon blanc. Enjoy!

best ever chicken casserole

I first had this casserole at a potluck dinner at church. Being in a Methodist church in the deep south we had potlucks all the time! Methodists and southerners like to eat a lot so any occasion to have one, and well, you’re cooking! My family really liked this, turns out the pastor made it so I had to get the recipe from him. It’s pretty simple and I have added a couple of things to the original recipe, which probably started on the back of a Campbell’s soup can!

As I mentioned my family loves this. My husband will eat until I take it away and tell him…You can’t have any more! This is probably not (well, I’m sure it’s not) one of the healthiest things to eat, but it really is hard to stop! My  daughter loves it too, this is one of her most requested dinners. I sent a casserole over to my neighbors and they said the same thing … they debated whether or not to keep eating or save some for lunch the next day!

One last thing, try not to think about the health consequences of eating this, you don’t want to take the joy out of it! (unless you have serious health issues, then you might reconsider) I’m just sayin’ there’s a lot of calories here (I don’t know how many and I don’t want to know) but on occasion, worth every bite. Here’s what you need:

  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/2  c. chopped onion
  • 2  10 oz. cans white meat chicken, drained
  • 2  cans Campbell’s cream of chicken soup ( I like “with herbs” )
  • 8 oz. reduced fat sour cream (I know what you’re thinking, “Will this really matter?” Probably not but it makes me feel better!)
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 3 c. prepared white rice
  • 1-2 cans english peas, heated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot saute’ onions in 1 Tbsp. butter til softened. Add chicken, soup, milk and half cup of the cheese, heat over medium until mixed well, season with black pepper if desired. Spoon Rice into a greased 9×13 casserole dish, top with chicken mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 Tbsp. butter and mix into crushed ritz crackers until coated well, set aside. Remove casserole from oven, top with remaining half cup of cheese and buttered crackers, bake an additional 5 minutes, until crackers are golden brown.

Serve this with the english peas spooned right over the top. OMG! Yummy…Enjoy!

pumped-up tomato soup

soup-1

So if you’re like me… busy mom, wife, shopper, chauffer, housekeeper, secretary, etc. … the list goes on, then there are days that you really don’t have time or energy to really cook a meal for your  family. We all know, it happens. So what do we do?  We open a couple of cans of soup for dinner!  Well all we need to do is add a few simple touches and we can create a meal that looks like we went to a lot more trouble than opening a couple of cans while in the meantime, making it healthier and tastier. And with that comes a litlle less of that guilt that we mothers get when we feel we’ve dropped the “dinner ball” and served our family something from a can. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cans of your favorite tomato soup
  • 2 tsp. italian seasoning or dried basil
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • fresh spinach leaves, chiffonade ( cut into thin strips )
  • fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • packaged or homemade croutons

Prepare soup as directed, add dried italian seasoning. To serve, ladle into bowl, top with a generous portion of spinach, some chopped parsley, parmesan cheese and croutons. The parsley adds a really nice fresh taste, while the cheese just makes it delicious! Is there really anything better than cheese? I say, the more cheese the merrier! Oh, by the way, if you like things spicy like I do, just add some crushed red pepper flakes to your bowl after serving to spice it up. Serve this with a pre-packaged salad mix and there you go… guiltless but quick and easy dinner. Enjoy!