Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cilantro lime flank steak

I bet you were wondering where your flank steak recipe for the week was??  Never fear, I would never leave you beef-less for the week. This one was a little different, as you are supposed to liquify the marinade, so I thought I would give it a shot.

1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1.5 t olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 serrano chile (you can seed the chile if you want to avoid any heat)
1 t sea salt
1 lb flank steak

Put all your ingredients besides the steak into a food processor and make a smooth, saucy marinade for your meat. Process it all and pour it on top of the thawed flank steak to soak up the love overnight before grilling. Remember what we've talked about with grilling the flank steak when we did the flank steak with chimichurri sauce and the carne asada tacos and don't overcook it. Flank steak gets very tough when cooked over a MR, so about 5-7 minutes each side on the grill should be plenty.

I didn't get a pic of this one before I devoured it...does that say something? Although a little more work than the normal marinades because you have to use the food processor, I really enjoyed the flavor profile with this one. Never fear, I will continue to try the world's flank steak marinades one at a time to bring you the best of the best each week. I do believe my favorite so far is probably the cuban flank steak or Butch's carne asada marinade, but I haven't had a bad one yet, if you were wondering....

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pesto cheese stuffed chicken

What a long and eventful holiday weekend we had! Sorry for the lack of posts but it's nice to get a blogging break every once in a while and just unplug from the world. We headed to the lake for the weekend, and I packed up quite a few things to take along, most everything made beforehand so I didn't have to do much cooking there...which worked out perfectly if you ask me! All I had to do was set food out, and throw meat at Justin to grill, and we were in business for some great meals. I'll be posting a lot of the things I made, and some recipes for the contributions that friends brought throughout this week and next...and if you know me, you know there was no shortage of food.  This chicken was made last week for dinner, so I thought I would share it with you to get us back on a normal week's schedule. Hope you're all enjoying your short week!

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 T basil pesto
4 T fat free sour cream
4 T grated mozzerella cheese (I used Fontina and Gruyere since I had some in the fridge and they are very mild and good melters just like Mozz)
4 T grated parmesan cheese
4 T plain breadcrumbs
cracked black pepper to taste

Mix up the pesto, sour cream, and shredded cheese to concoct your lovely filling for these chicken breasts. Set aside.

Pound the chicken breasts out as thinly as humanly (or chickenly) possible, and spread them with filling before rolling them up. I cut my chicken breasts in half becuase they were so thick, so each breast I had made two chicken rollups.

Mix the parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and bread crumbs on a plate. Roll your filled chicken breasts in the mixture to coat all sides and lay them into a greased baking dish. I froze some of these and also put some in the fridge to cook for dinner last week.

Bake for 25-35 minutes at 375 degrees and serve. This chicken was very tasty, although I was expecting it to be a little cheesier inside. I think next time I make it, I will use it as sort of a chicken parmesan and put it on a bed of spagetti with some sauce and a little cheese on top....I imagine that will be pure perfection. I'll let you know how it turns out :)

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day tummy fillers

I always look at Memorial Day as the kickoff of Summer, it's one of my favorite holidays for that reason. The beginning of boating, pool time, yard games, summer parties, yummy bbq and potluck food, and ice cold toddies sipped on patios. It always seems like the perfect time of year...looking down the pipeline of Spring, Summer, and Fall. Winter isn't coming back for a loooong time!

Sometimes I forget the real reason for the holiday, it's not the margaritas and the grillouts, you know. Memorial Day is supposed to be used to honor our fallen soldiers, those who have given their lives in our nation's service. Of course, these people gave up their lives for us have the right to enjoy the freedoms we have here in America and they would most certainly promote the celebration of down time with family that a lot of us will enjoy this weekend. This does not have to be a somber holiday, but respect should be paid for the sacrifice these men and women have made in each of our names, in my opinion. So this weekend, while you sit around the picnic table with your family, enjoying each other's company and the kickoff of the Summer, remember that there are a lot of families who have an empty chair at their table in order to give you the freedoms you possess as an American.  Think about them for a moment, and count your blessings.  I know I will....

I had a friend email me asking for suggestions of appetizers to bring to a holiday bbq this weekend so I though I would share some solid Summertime recipes with you all in case you're drawing a blank on what to make. If you're attending a get-together or hosting one of your own, here is a list of tested and approved, Summer-worthy munchies so that you can enjoy the holiday as it was meant to be enjoyed...

caprese skewers
tortilla rollups
feta dip
taco salad
strawberry poppyseed salad
creamy pesto pasta salad
pesto and cream cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes
bacon wrapped shrimp
jalapeno corn dip
Mama K's pasta salad
BLT pasta salad
tomato cucumber salad
bacon ranch potato salad
Winning pasta salad
italian pasta salad
best ever deviled eggs
bacon wrapped teriyaki water chestnuts
grilled veggie salad
corn and zucchini orzo salad
bacon ranch grilled potatoes
refrigerator cucumbers

Here are some main meats that won't leave you looking for anything else to nibble on....

baked pork ribs (you can do them on the grill wrapped in foil instead of baking, they're wonderful that way)
crockpot pulled pork sandwiches
my famous stuffed burgers (I will be making a HUGE batch of these for the weekend along with some new salads I will be posting about afterwards)
best ribs ever
swordfish and steak kebabs
flank steak 3 ways (there are links in this link to 2 other great flank steak recipes....flank steak is my new fave on the grill!)

If you're interested in inbibing, here are a couple of drinks you don't want to miss out on....

champagne punch
pomegranite margaritas
beer margaritas

I know I shared the margaritas again recently on Cinco de Mayo, so it should be a clue that I'm sharing them again so soon. Get after them! :) 

If you're the type who has a sweet tooth in the warm Summer months, check these out:

strawberry icebox cake
lemon bars
smores bars
cheesecake stuffed strawberries
skinny minnie cheesecakes (these are my fave even though the pic doesn't do them justice!)
strawberry sour cream ice cream
angel food with greek yogurt

I hope everyone enjoys their long holiday weekend...let me know if you have anything interesting planned to eat or make!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Candy's skillet wings

I never get to go to Buffalo Wild Wings because Main Man's work friends make him go there for lunches and it's not one of his faves. This is me trying to get you to feel bad for me. It's probably better for my waistline but I just looooove me some chicken wings (bone in of course)! I won't tell you how many I can take down if I were trying to win a contest or don't need to know things like that about me.

I had forgotten about these, until Candy sent me the recipe last week. I think I literally begged for this recipe at Easter....these things are perfect! We spent quite some time trying to get a great picture of them to show how yumtastical they really were and Im not sure we succeeded. I've never made a sauce like this for wings at home before, I usually go with the spicy crockpot wings rather than the sweet kind, but these gave me a change of heart. So sticky with flava! And after seeing the recipe....they're easy too! Give these a shot for your Memorial Day plans and you will not be disappointed, I pinky swear.

2 pkg wings
1/3 c, soy sauce
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c water

Pour over wings in skillet, cover w/vent open.
Simmer on medium-low about 3 hrs, turn occasionally.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crockpot pulled pork sandwiches

Sometimes a recipe is good enough where it deserves to cut in line in front of the other recipes that are waiting to be posted to the blog. This was one of them! I headed to the Nobiling home last night to hang with their little bundle of love, Keltyn, and meet up with the Hofers and their little lover, Greyson.  Both mamas asked for the recipe after dinner, and I pretty much almost ate the plate while inhaling the sandwich, so I had to bump this recipe right up to the top of the queue.

I usually think of Winter food when I think of the crockpot ranch roasts or crockpot beef stroganoff, but what screams Summer more than BBQ sauce!?  This was a Weight Watchers approved recipe too, so it's basically a home run before it's even hit out of the park. Easier than pie and yummy to boot, plus very portable to bring to a friend's house to have baby time and a nice dinner that tastes like a lot of work but really only needed a few ingredients thrown in a crockpot all day.

2.5 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 t red wine vinegar
2 t Hickory liquid smoke (I didn't have any of this so I used Worchestershire sauce)
1 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
1 cup your fave BBQ sauce (I usually like Famous Dave's Devil's Spit sauce but I know some people can't stand the heat so I went with the Rich and Sassy this time)

Mix all your ingredients up in a bowl, put the pork loin roast into a lined crockpot, and pour the sauce on top. Cook on low for 6 hours (shred the meat after 4 hours) so you have to smell the stuff while it cooks in your office all day and makes your tummy rumble.

Throw it on some wheat sandwich rolls, and you're in business! The crockpot was literally scraped clean...and it people weren't watching me clean up, I may have licked it. Don't look at me like that, you know you've thought of doing it before...oh, you haven't? Me either.

In other, cuter news....the reason for this dinner was to get a little baby boy fix from Keltyn and Greyson. Look how grown up and mature Keltyn's facial features are, he looks like a flipping adorable!

Greyson getting a little love from the bottle so mommy could have a couple beers with the ladies :) His eyes are going to make girls melt one day!

Don't judge the slimy hair, I came straight from Kosama plyo day...and then I had to go play softball after that! Mondays really rock my energy level, I'll tell you. Keltyn likes to be snuggled all up into your body...pretty comfy to be hugged up to that little man, I'll tell you! We have to plan another night like this again soon, ladies....

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Grilled BTC

I tell you what, when I get on a kick, there's no stopping it.  After making the pizza paninis last week, I've been wanting to continue grilling sandwiches each and every chance I get.  I still had some yummy italian bread in the fridge, just waiting to get those perdy grill marks on them, so I dug around to make another fresh sammy for lunch this weekend. From there, the grilled BTC was born...

I wanted to do a mix between a grilled cheese and a BLT, and I knew I had some freaky cheese (from the freaky cheese section in the grocery know, the stuff you're always scared to try) in the fridge that would melt amazingly as a grilled cheese. Fontina and Gruyere are both very mild and melt I piled on some turkey bacon and roma tomatoes to give the grilled cheeses a little BT action. Main Man has had a thing with cooked tomatoes lately, he just loves them, so I figured this would be right up his alley.

Here's what you need:
Turkey bacon
Roma tomatoes, sliced
Gruyere and Fontina cheese (or any other melty and mild cheese)
italian bread
Griddler or grill pan
spray butter to make sure the sandwiches don't stick to the grill

Cook your bacon up and slice your cheeses...

Throw them on the Griddler and give them about 15 minutes to meld and become one...

Take them off and admire your perfectly grilled marks on the bread (and the yummy cheese seeping out the sides)...

Cut them in half and dig. on. in.

I have a small obsession with turkey bacon, I love that it's not greasy and gives me a bacon fix without all the artery clogging grease that comes with normal bacon. Not that I don't have love for the real thing...I just want to fit in my wedding dress this Fall :)

I guess Main Man liked these, considering he took down 2.5 of them and needed a small nap afterwards...

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Balsamic herb chicken kabobs

I know I've told you this before, but I never listen on the first time, so why would you? These Lawry's marinades are sent-from-the-heavens-amazing and it's my sole mission in life to try every single one that they make. My favorite is the Steak and Chop flavor that I talked about HERE, but I'm also a big fan of the Chipotle one I talked about HERE. The balsamic herb was a new one for us, but I thought it would be perfect for chicken...and I'm not wrong very often :)

I just skewered some chicken breasts, whatever veggies I could find in the fridge (cherry tomatoes, onion, green pepper this go around), and a couple red potatoes sliced very thin....and then threw them all in a dish to pour the loveliness that is Lawry's all over my sticks to marinate overnight.

Do notice that from my previous grilling experiences with kebabs, I have started to separate veggies from taters from meat. They all cook at different lengths of time so I would end up with crispy veggies, dry meat, and not done taters....nobody likes that. So I've begun splitting them so the taters can be on longer and the rest on shorter periods of time so that everything is done perfectly at the same time. It's the little things that make me happy :)

"I always forget how fun kebabs are...shove a stick in and it makes dinner sweeter than shit!" A little knowledge bomb from the Main Man there...words to the wise.  Next time you're bored with your normal grilling routine, just shove a stick in and all is right with the world. Oh, and use the Lawry's marinades!!  Carry on with your Friday :)

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pizza paninis

Have you ever had a pizza sub from Subway?  Don't do it. Let me clarify...I'm a huge Subway fan, but their pizza sub is nothing to write home about. Main Man and I stopped in the other day when we were on the road, and discovered that the new pizziola sub is their special this month.

MM: "Why does it take you so long to order? Just get the special, if it's the special, it means it's good."
Me: Reading the entire menu before getting the same thing I always get.
MM: "You would never survive in the real world."
Me: "I feel like I'm doing a decent job of it??"
MM: "In the real world, you have 10 minutes to grab something for lunch and stuff it in your face before getting back to work. So you get the special, because it's the best that day."
Me: "That sounds like a horrible existence if you ask me...."
**Pay and walk to the car**
MM: "This pizza sauce tastes like Spagettios"
Me: "So I guess the special isn't always so special, then is it..."

We have fun, that's what we do. But his logic was proved wrong that day in that Subway...I love being right! :) Anyway, I tasted his sandwich, and his description was correct...on a pizza sub, the sauce is the star of the show and they sure didn't have an A-list cast for their pizza show.  Which leads us paninis! I love the idea of anything pizza, if you can't tell by "pizza" having it's own category on the blog (go check out pizza casserole for my fave)....and I just KNEW I could do a pizza sandwich better than Subway.  Girls night, here we come!

It's super simple, just grab whatever pizza toppings you fancy and start building.  These mushrooms made my sammy sing if you ask me! I just tossed fresh mushrooms in garlic powder and italian seasoning to cook a little before adding to the sandwiches and they gave the sandwiches a great, authentic taste (unless the texture is an issue for you with mushrooms like it is some of my girlfriends).

turkey pepperonis (can't even tell the difference and sooo much better for you)
canadian bacon
mushrooms prepared above
diced green peppers
your fave pizza sauce
italian bread (good bread is a big deal)
fresh mozzarella cheese (gaaahhhhhh, how did I not eat the whole block before dinner was done!?)

Spray your outsides with buttah (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray works well and has no calories) so it doesn't stick and let these suckers hang out on the Griddler a little together. You can see when the cheese starts oozing out, and you open it up to the pretty grill marks on your bread, that your sandwich is complete.

Look at that cheeeeeeese! These were fantastic, if you ask me....and Main Man tackled 3 of them when he got home so he must've enjoyed the special that day a little better than he did at Subway the other day. I win! :)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Taco cups

I'm a little obsessed with cupcake shaped anything...I just think it's so cute to have individual sized lasagna cups, taco stuffed shells, or english muffin pizzas.  Cute=fun in my book, folks! So, obviously I've had these taco cups pinned to try for quite some time with some leftover wonton wrappers I had from making cheese ravioli a while ago, and this just happened to be the week to do it.

wonton wrappers
1 lb ground turkey/lean hamb/chicken
1 package taco seasoning
1 can black beans
shredded Mexican cheese
tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce for toppings

Brown the meat and add the taco seasoning as you would normally do to make tacos. Rinse the black beans and add them to the skillet as well.

Spray your muffin tin so the wontons don't stick and layer a wonton wrapper in the bottom of each, a spoonfull of the meat mixture, a spoonfull of salsa, a sprinkle of Mexican cheese, and then another wonton wrapper. Repeat the layers a second time and end with the cheese on top.

Toss them in the preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes depending if you're going from warm to hot or from cold to hot (if you put them in the fridge to cook later in the week like I do). Keep an eye as some ovens cook quicker than others and remember these little buggers cook a lot quicker than a full casserole would...

Not too much work, tasted great, and isn't everything just inherently better when it's done in cupcake form??? These would be great to lay out for guests at a party, and not so messy as a normal taco would be...hostess with the mostest award, hands down! Wishing I would've had a little sour cream to plop on top but alas, they were yummy without the extra calories...

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4 per cupcake (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on
Nutrition Information per serving from 164 calories, 12 g carbs, 7 g fat, 12 g protein, 1 g fiber

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Save the Dates

Since everyone should have gotten them by now...I figured I would show you all our awesome save the dates that we sent out last month for our wedding later this year! I found so many neat ideas on Pinterest, but the scratch offs we just HAD to know, since Main Man loves his scratch tickets so much :)

So I had very loose ideas on what I wanted, and went to my cousin Emma for her help. Emma has a graphic design degree and offered to design anything I needed for the wedding...and as you can see, she is a talented little lady :) I told her I wanted the wedding colors (grey and yellow) incorporated, wanted the date to be scratched off, and gave her a couple photos to choose from (the one pictured is from the cruise we took last February).  From there...she had all the creative license to do whatever she wanted and I couldn't have been happier with her results!

I used a small, raised, circular sticker to affix a penny to each card for people to scratch the dates off with...and when I asked Main Man for his extra change he cringed at the thought of me needing 200 pennies to send with them...until he realized that was only $2. It literally made my week :)

If anyone needs anything designed or printed in the future, you can contact Emma at and I'm sure she will make you just as happy a camper as I am! I can't wait to see what she comes up with for the programs....oh, October is coming at me very quickly....

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Flank steak with chimichurri sauce

This recipe was from Kalyn's Kitchen, and I have tried and loved everything I've ever made from this blog. Do yourself a favor and give her a read next time you're looking for something phenom for dinner....

This was our Mother's day meal at the lake, well, it was Justin and I's, we had ribeyes and filets and chicken brats for the others ...perfect weather for a nice grillout after getting some work done and then heading on a boat ride to cap the day off. I think Mama Stensland had fun, I know if I was a mom, you couldn't really beat a day like that for me! Wishing Mama K could've joined us, but she is in the throes of a study sesh the next few weeks so I wasn't allowed to distract her...we will celebrate Mom day another weekend with her soon :)

I had the steak marinating for a day before grilling, and made the sauce early to just bring along and throw on as well. I have never done a chimichurri sauce, but am trying to expand my horizens with sauces and such so I gave it a go. I think I was actually the only person who used it, we had so much food going on that I don't know if anyone knew what it was. Chimichurri sauce is a South American condiment for beef based on fresh spices, so it really seemed like a no brainer that I would enjoy it. It had a very fresh taste to it...a lot of cilantro flava too if you like that sorta thing!

1 piece Flat Iron Steak, 1 1/2 - 2 pounds
1 T Steak Rub (the recipe called for Montreal steak seasoning but I used my boot camp instructor's steak marinade called can use your favorite steak marniade instead)
Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
2 T minced garlic
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil

Grill the flank steak just like we have in the past few don't want to overdo it or it becomes tough. About 5-7 minutes on each side usually does it for me, and then give it 5 more minutes to rest a should be good to go!

Spoon the sauce onto the steak and the yumminess spread all over your will want to lick it clean with your potatoes when the meat is gone!  I would say this amount of sauce will feed 6 people with steaks...

Oh, and just a little piece of advice from me to you...I will now be refraining from cutting/eating steak with plastic utensils. It was a little concerning to lose a tine off my fork, and never find it in the process of the meal. I'm pretty sure the steak was so good, I must've inhaled it and not noticed...yikes!!!

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken ricotta stuffed shells

I know I saw something similar to this somewhere, which is how the idea came about, I just can't remember where. Props to whoever came up with this recipe, because obviously it stuck in my head to make with my leftover shells I had boiled for the taco stuffed shells. I also happened to have some leftover pesto burning a hole in my fridge so only really had to pick up the ricotta! One ingredient for the grocery list...I'm on this :) 

It would have been wonderful to add some spinach or some mushrooms to this as well...I like to pack my pasta with flava flavs...but it was a great meal without those additions.

Half box of already cooked shells
3 chicken breasts
italian seasoning to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 container ricotta cheese (I use light because fat free tastes like nothing)
2 T prepared pesto
crushed red pepper to taste
1 jar your favorite pasta/marinara sauce

Season the chicken breasts with garlic powder and italian seasoning before baking at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (or until there's no pink inside). The chicken on the left is seasoned for this recipe but the chicken on the right, I baked with it to make fajitas that night.

Mix ricotta with crushed red pepper and pesto, and then add the cooked and diced chicken to the mixture.

Stuff your shells with the cheese and chicken mixture, and cover with your favorite pasta sauce. I happened to use Laura's authentic italian spagetti sauce, which I have canned and lining my basement walls....I ADORE being able to walk downstairs and grab a jar of this stuff whenever I need it! I think if I were to do this again, I would use a simple, meatless marinara sauce though so the pasta sauce doesn't outshine the more subtle flavor of the ricotta, chicken, and pesto. This was great either way though, as proven by the fork that is left in the container of leftovers so a certain someone can get a bite on the fly whenever he walks by the fridge....

Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, uncovering and sprinkling with mozzerella cheese (or layer a wank of fresh mozz on top of each shell like I did) with 10 minutes left in the oven. Last step: let me know how you like it!

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