One Pot Pasta

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was very intrigued! A ONE POT pasta dish – with ALL ingredients cooked AT THE SAME TIME and IN THE SAME POT?!?! I just HAD to try it out!

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Let me just say: EASIEST AND FASTEST recipe I think I’ve ever made. And tasted great too!

WHAT YOU NEED:
-12 0z linguine
-1 Onion, thinly sliced
-1 Cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-4 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
-2 Sprigs of basil
-4 1/2 Cups of water
-Pinch of salt
-Pinch of pepper
-Parmesan cheese to top after cooked

Combine all ingredients except parmesan cheese in one large skillet or pot. Bring to a boil and keep at a boil for 9- 10 minutes, flipping/stirring the pasta every so often. It’s important to keep the pasta at a boil so all the water evaporates!!  At the end of 9-10 minutes the water should be pretty much evaporated. And TADAA! You’re done! Dig in and top with the parmesan cheese!

This is also an easy dish to add any kind of protein too, such as chicken, steak, pork chops…etc!

This is such a simple recipe with the added bonus of easy clean up! I hope you enjoy!! 🙂

Cookie Dough Frosting

I. LOVE. COOKIE DOUGH.

So when I found this recipe for cookie dough frosting/filling for cake I just HAD to give it a test run!

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And my verdict: DELICIOUS!

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Stick butter, softened
-3/4 Cup brown sugar
-1 1/4 Cup flour
-1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 Teaspoon salt
-1 Cup mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar well. Add vanilla.  Add flour and salt, mix well. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

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Add as the middle layer of cake for a filling like I did.

Or you can use it as icing on top of the cake. It’s up to you 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Check out this awesome recipe I used to make the cake in this post…HALF THE CALORIES of a normal cake!

Healthy Cake??!!

Well, sort of.

Have you guys seen this on Pinterest or around the web?

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Well, my birthday was coming up so I figured I’d give it a try!

I had my doubts, but it actually turned out pretty good and tasted like normal cake, if not better-WITH NEARLY HALF THE CALORIES/FAT!

For one serving of cake: 180 Calories!!! (Normal way is 280 Calories)

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Box Devil’s Food cake mix
-1 Container fat free greek yogurt
-1 Cup water

Instead of following the box instructions, simply mix all of the above ingredients together (no oil or eggs). It will be a very thick batter, and nothing like a normal cake batter.

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It almost has the consistency of mouse.  Just make sure you mix very well. Then transfer to your cake pan. You MUST  spread this with a spatula or spoon and sort of pat it down into the dish. It WILL NOT spread on its own, even while being baked…SO SPREAD!

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Follow the baking instructions and WALA-Your cake is ready!

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I hope you like it! 🙂

If you want the recipe for the amazing eggless cookie dough frosting I put as a filling for my cake CLICK HERE!

Southwestern Chicken Salad

This is probably the BEST southwest salad I have ever eaten!!! And it’s so healthy and so easy to make!! Of course I found this recipe on Pinterest! 🙂

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WHAT YOU NEED:

For Salad:
-2 Cups shredded chicken
-1 Green pepper, chopped
-1 Can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 Can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
-2 Roma tomatoes, diced
-2 Haas avocados, diced
-1 Head of lettuce, chopped
-1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped
-4 Green onions, chopped
-1 Cup crushed tortilla chips-Try my homemade tortilla chip recipe!

For Dressing:
-2/3 Cup plain greek yogurt
-1/2 Cup  mayonnaise
-1 Tablespoon ranch seasoning
-1 Tablespoon taco seasoning

Combine chicken, green pepper, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, cilantro and onions in a large bowl. For the dressing: combine the greek yogurt, mayonnaise, and seasonings. Mix well. Add the dressing to the salad (start by adding a little bit of the dressing and add more until desired dressing amount for salad is obtained). Mix everything well, so the salad is coated with the dressing. Top with the crushed tortilla chips and enjoy!

This makes a ton of salad that can feed a large group of people! Next time, I might try to cut the recipe in half.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Baking Cookies?

Have you ever started to make a batch of cookies, but realized half way through that you don’t have the main ingredient…like the chocolate chips or M&Ms?

Yeah, I just did that.

I decided to bake a batch of M&M cookies today. I only realized after starting the batter that it was not a bag of M&Ms in my cabinet, but a bag of Hershey’s kisses. **I always buy a few extra bags of the “seasonal” candies (M&Ms, Hershey’s kisses…etc) from Christmas time, Easter, Valentine’s day…etc (it’s all the same, just different colors or packaging!)**

But no need to worry, the baking must go on! So I changed my plan to chocolate chip cookies.

From Hershey’s kisses you ask?? BUT HOW?!

Just chop them up! Or, even easier, but them in the food processor for about 10 seconds. Works like a charm. If you want more chunky-like chips, put in for less time.

Simple as that.

So never feel like you need to run to the store because you thought you had one kind of candy, but instead you had another….crisis can be averted! 🙂

Homemade Carmel Popcorn!!

GUYS! You NEED to try this one! SOOO easy and SOOO delicious. Andddd, no carmel melting required! This is definitely my guilty pleasure for the week…Sweeeeeeeet Sister!!

I’ll give you the original recipe measurements, but if you’re like me and aren’t feeding an army, just half it!

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Homemade Carmel Popcorn

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1/2 Cup Butter
-1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
-9-10 (Large) Marshmallows
-12 Cups Popcorn

Pop the popcorn, pour into a bowl set aside. Place butter and brown sugar in a different bowl. Melt the butter and brown sugar in the microwave, then stir. Add the marshmallows to the butter and brown sugar mixture and cook for 45-60 seconds, then stir well. Quickly pour over the popped popcorn. Continuously and gently fold the popcorn over and over to coat. The mixture will probably collect at the bottom, so maneuver the bowl if you need to in order to coat the popcorn. I used a rubber spatula to help collect the mixture from the bottom of the bowl and fold it into the popcorn. I folded for a bout 2 minutes. You can eat it right then in there or let it sit for a few minutes to stiffen. I would say this is probably good to go for the day. Not sure it will taste as good the next day…Mine was gone within 10 minutes 😉

Black Bean Tacos: Take 2

You guys remember a week or so ago when I made Black Bean Tacos and I was contemplating how to make these even healthier AKA not frying them up. I had thought about baking them on a cookie sheet and placing another cookie sheet on top until they were able to hold the “taco” shape.

Well……IT WORKED! I grabbed a cookie sheet and sprayed it with cooking spray. I plopped on 6 corn tortillas and put them in the oven while it pre-heated to 350 degrees. In the mean time I made the black bean part of the recipe. Then, after the tortillas had been in for about 5 minutes, I took them out, placed the black bean mixture on one side of each tortilla then folded the other half of the tortillas over. For the most part, they stayed, but a few I had to hold down while I placed the other cookie tray on top. Plop them in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Then take the tray(s) out. You can now take off the top tray. Flip the tacos and bake for another 10 minutes. And there you have it, baked black bean tacos!

Again, you can eat plain or top with your favorite taco item, such as salsa, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce….whatever you’d like!

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Peppermint Patties

My sweet tooth craving kicked in today and I was desperately craving something with chocolate. So, on to Pinterest I scrolled and scrolled until I found this recipe that looked delicious and fairly easy/simple to make! It also had ingredients that are usually in your pantry!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Pound Confectioner’s sugar (1 box)
-4 Ounces cream cheese, softened
-1/4 Teaspoon peppermint extract
-1-2 Cups chocolate chips, melted

Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size of patties you make.

*I halved the recipe because I only had 1/2 a box of confectioner’s sugar* (It made 18 one inch patties)

In your Kitchen Aid, mix the softened cream cheese an slowly add the confectioner’s sugar little by little allowing it to completely mix with the cream cheese before adding more. You may need to add a little more or a little less confectioner’s sugar than the recipe calls for. You want the mixture to be well mixed, smooth, but not sticky. It may take a while for it to mix completely. I tested it out by spooning a bit out and rolling it into a ball. If it was sticking all over my fingers then I threw it back in and mixed it more and added more confectioner’s sugar. Total mixing time for me was about 10 minutes. I added the sugar in 1/4 cup increments and found that to be a good amount to allow to mix all the way until the mixture reached the correct consistency.

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This part you need to do quickly. The mixture will start to harden if you take your time. If you can have someone help you, that is even better! Spoon out a spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet (line with wax paper if you want). Then use your finger or the back of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon to create a “crater” in the ball. I found that spraying some cooking spray on the back of the measuring spoon allowed for quick crater-making. Once all the balls are made, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours.

When those few hours have passed take the cookie sheet out of the fridge and place it on your counter.  You are now ready to melt your chocolate. There are different ways to melt chocolate, but I did the easy microwave version. The trick is to use a mixing bowl (microwave safe) that doesn’t get scorching hot to the touch after 1 minute of microwaving (My bowl was a large pyrex glass bowl, so I’m not sure how other plastic or ceramic bowls would work). Pour in 1 cup or so of chocolate chips. Set the microwave for 1 minute and pop them in. After 20 seconds have passed, stop it and stir (not much to stir but just do it to circulate the heated chips). Start the microwave again and after another 20 seconds have passed, stop it and stir. You should start to see some melted chips. Put it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Then stir again. At this point your chocolate may be completely melted once stirred. If not, then just pop it back in for another 20 seconds, stir, and that should do the trick. Just don’t over heat them or they will burn and become lumpy and unusable.

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Quickly shovel in the melted chocolate into a plastic zip lock bag. Seal and then cut the corner off to use as a piping bag. (Or you can spoon the melted chocolate straight from the bowl to the peppermint patties?) Pipe the chocolate into the craters of the peppermint patties (mine are NOT perfectly piped!) and place back in the fridge. It should only take 20 minutes or less for the chocolate to harden for those who can’t wait to dive in! If you want to wait, you can even pop them in the freezer so they are extra firm.

These need to remain refrigerated because of the cream cheese component. I’m sure if you are setting these out for a party, they’ll be fine for a few hours though! 🙂

Hope you all enjoy this recipe! I found it quite easy to make and hope you do too!

Black Bean Tacos

OMG. This meal is absolutely de-freaking-licious! And pretty simple to make as well!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-Corn tortillas
-1 Can black beans
-1 Teaspoon cumin
-1 Teaspoon paprika
-2 Tablespoons cilantro
-1/2 Cup chopped onion
-Cooking spray or cooking oil
-1 Cup shredded cheese

Start by draining and rinsing the black beans, then cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and spices then mix up and mash the mixture lightly. Heat up a tablespoon or two of oil (or a spray of Pam) in a large skillet. Place 1 corn tortilla in the hot skillet. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of the black bean mixture on 1 side of the tortilla and top the mixture with a sprinkle of cheese. Use a spatula to fold over the empty side of the tortilla to form a taco! Hold that side there with the spatula until the taco is able to  hold its form on its own. after a few minutes, flip the taco so the other side can cook. *Try to flip the taco over on the unopened side to keep all the contents in* Once you have the folded taco, you should be able to start another one in the skillet as well!
You can serve these tacos with salsa, avocado, sour cream…whatever you like! I ate mine with avocado slices and salsa, delish!

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Some thoughts: The first round of tacos, I used cooking oil, like the original recipe called for. But I thought they looked pretty oily/greasy and wanted to try to be a little healthier. The next round I used cooking spray but found that the tacos didn’t get as crispy as the oil ones did. Anyone have any thoughts on how to avoid the oil? I thought about baking them but you’d have to place a pan or something on top of all the tacos for the tortilla to hold its shape and then also flip them…. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! 🙂 Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

It’s been a busy weekend for me and I’m just now recovering. A wedding, baby shower, and family event can really ware a girl down! When I am bum-rushed with so many things to do, I tend to forget about home cooking and opt for easy-to-grab meals or snacks.

One of my go-to snacks is homemade tortilla chips with whatever dip I have in the house! They are so easy to make and way healthier than store bought chips!

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Package corn tortillas
-Salt
-Cooking spray

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Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Spray cooking spray on a cookie sheet. Take a small stack of the corn tortillas and cut them in half, then cut each of those halves in half, and then each of those quarters in half (kind of a brain teaser, I know) – basically like you are cutting a pizza. Or….you can do strips instead, your choice! Place them on the cookie sheet and spray the cut tortillas with cooking spray, then sprinkle your desired amount of salt on top. Pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, let cool, and there you have it! Homemade tortilla chips- simple and easy!