I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

'Cause Who Doesn't Like Their Veggies Hidden In Cheese?!

This one's an new twist on the classic Spinach Artichoke Dip, and who doesn't love that stuff?!

I'm totally that mom who sneaks vegetables into my kids (and husband's) food, usually without any of them knowing, and this is no exception. It's spinach, artichokes, zucchini and mushrooms (and sometimes kale and tomatoes!) hidden in gooey, yummers cheese.

I usually make mine is a 9x13 baking dish, but you could easily put it into a couple of bread bowls (or make individual ones with pretzel rolls.... gasp!!)

Leftovers are also fantastic as a spread for a turkey BLT sandwich, or on baked potatoes!

Oh man, now I'm hungry!

Hot Veggie Dip

1 Small Onion, diced small

4 Cloves Garlic, pressed

3 Tbsp. Butter

1 tsp. each Salt and Pepper (more or less to taste)

1 Medium-Large Zucchini, diced

1 8oz. pkg. Mushrooms, diced

1 10oz. pkg. Frozen Spinach, defrosted and WELL drained ( when it's defrosted, I put it all in a tea
towel, and squeeze it to death)

1 Can Artichoke Hearts in Water, well drained and chopped

1-2 cups Fat Free Half and Half

1-2 pkgs. Cream Cheese

2 cups Shredded Jack Cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

1 Roma Tomato, diced small

In a large pot/Dutch oven, saute the onions with the salt and pepper. When they are soft and translucent and on the verge of caramelizing, add the garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms. After these veggies are tender and the water has cooked out of them and reduced, add the drained spinach, artichokes, half and half, cream cheese, jack cheese, and 2/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until melted and well combined. Spread evenly in a 9x13 baking dish, and top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until top is melted and browned a bit.

Top with the diced tomato.

Serve with french bread or pita chips.


Chocolate Chip Brownies with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting... Because "Shark Week"

Sometimes the only cure for certain... monthly ailments... is chocolate overload.
And oh boy, do these super easy brownies do it for me!
I use the $.98 family size box of Market Pantry brownie mix from Target. These are seriously THE BEST brownies from a mix. And for less than a buck, you can't beat 'em!
Add chocolate chips, chocolate frosting, and peanut butter, and you're in business!
I don't know what else to say about these, other than they're easy and delicious, and will bring world peace.
Well, at least they're the first two things...
Chocolate Chip Brownies with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting
1 family size (9x13) box brownie mix.
1/2 cup oil
1/4 water
2 eggs
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 can Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy chocolate frosting
1/2-3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use chunky if you want...)
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine brownie mix, oil, water, eggs, and chocolate chips until well incorporated, but don't over mix.
Bake for 24-26 minutes.
While those are baking, remove the foil cover from the can of frosting. Pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds or so. When it's a nice, warm, melted consistency, add the peanut butter right into the can, and stir until combined.
It should be melted enough to just pour out, so when the brownies are done and still hot, pour it over the top, and spread it around evenly. Pop it back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes, until the top is set.
Remove, and let cool at least 15-20 (if you can... so you don't burn your mouth!)



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Quinoa For One, Please!

As a stay at home mom, sometimes hot dogs or peanut butter and jelly just don't cut it at lunch time!

And since I'm trying to eat healthier AND save money, eating out isn't really an option...

So, this was a pretty quick and easy meal to throw together! And it's a good source of protein**, veggies, and fiber.

And it's delicious!

Avocado Tomato Quinoa for One

1/4 cup Quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 cup Water
A Sprinkle of Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Onion Flakes
1 Small Roma Tomato, diced
1/4 Avocado, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan or Romano
Fresh Ground Pepper
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar

In a small saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa, water, garlic salt, and onion flake. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa is translucent and soft, and the water is absorbed.

Stir in diced tomatoes. Transfer to your bowl or plate of choice. Add the cheeses and avocado, and top with fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Ta-da!! It's that easy...

**Quinoa is the only plant-based complete protein, or so I've heard...

(Note: Quinoa is much like rice... always use 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid ratio. And always make sure it's rinsed well first. I don't know why. That's just part of the "quinoa cooking rules".)