Author Archives: Jennifer

Greek Meatloaf

October 19, 2016

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In the fall, meatloaf becomes a staple in our house.  Something about it just feels warm and cozy like a hug, and I find myself adding it to the menu almost every week.  In relatively little time, the prep work is done, and the house begins to fill with a comforting aroma that almost takes me back in time.  BUT, as much as everyone in this house LOVES meatloaf (the littlest one, included!) I get tired of the same meatloaf over and over.  So tonight, I brought something new to the table with a Greek twist on a family fall favorite.  The 2 parts lean turkey to 1 part lamb makes this a guilt-free, satisfying dinner that’s sure to please one and all.

Greek Meatloaf

1lb lean ground turkey (I use 90/10)
1/2 lb ground lamb
1 egg
1/2 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
2 cups wilted baby spinach
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP onion powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt
Pepper
Ketchup (to coat the top)

The beauty of meatloaf prep:
Toss all of the ingredients into a bowl and combine with your God given tools- your hands!  Squish and mix!

I actually took my meatloaf mixture and formed it into two loaves of equal size on a baking sheet.
Then, each was coated with ketchup before being popped into a 375 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.

I have to tell you- this was the most moist and flavorful meatloaf that I have made in a while.  It’s definitely a keeper in our book, and I hope it will be in yours, too!

What’s your favorite fall comfort food?

Roasted Potato Salad

August 25, 2016

There’s not much that I love more in the summer than a barbecue- steaks on the grill, corn on the cob, and my absolute favorite, potato salad.  With all of the gatherings that summer can bring, I was really looking for a new twist on an old classic; something that packed a little more punch, while still retaining all of the qualities of a potato salad that make it a summer staple.  This one brings a twist with tangy honey mustard and caramelized shallots.  Today, for me, it’s roasted potato salad.

Roasted Potato Salad

1 1/2 pounds petite fingerling potatoes
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
2/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup honey mustard
about 10 sprigs worth of fresh thyme, pulled from stems
3 to 4 shallots, finely sliced
1 tsp paprika
1 to 2 tbsp butter
salt
pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Quarter or half all potatoes, depending upon size, and spread evenly onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika and then drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Roast for 45 minutes at 375, and allow to cool slightly before adding to dressing mixture.

While the potatoes are roasting, you can pull everything else together.  Thinly slice 3 to 4 shallots, and saute in a pan with 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat until slightly translucent and browned in color.  Allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine mayo, mustard, and thyme.  Once cooled, add in the shallots and roasted potatoes.  Toss to fully coat- perfect served as it at room temperature, or chilled prior to your picnic!  Enjoy!

Stuffed Summer Squash

August 5, 2016

 

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Wow.  It’s been a little while, hasn’t it?  Life over here has been BUSY busy, and we’ve all been enjoying our summer days.  There’s a certain relaxed feel to the day when you truly have nothing to DO and nowhere to be.  The little guy and I have been soaking up some sun, and lately, cruising around to some local farmers’ markets. (Since I kill everything I plant. It’s really sad.)

Last week, we picked up some summer squash and zucchini to turn into a delicious summer supper.  This recipe doubled as a “2 for 1” meal because it made so much filling that I was able to repurpose it later in the week for a pasta dish!  Husband and toddler approved, healthy but delicious, and on the table in 30- Now that’s MY kind of summer supper!

Stuffed Summer Squash Boats

4 zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise
1 cup tri-colored bell peppers, diced fine
1 cup baby Bella mushrooms, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped frozen spinach
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup grated manchego cheese
1 tbsp adobo seasoning

In a medium skillet, saute peppers and mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes until adding spinach.  Saute an additional 3 minutes and add garlic along with Dijon mustard.  Stir and saute over low for an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, in a large, high-sided skillet, sprinkle ground turkey with adobo seasoning, and brown the meat.  Drain and mix with vegetable mixture.

Hollow out your centers of your zucchini or squash and spoon turkey mixture into the boats.
Combine the panko with grated manchego cheese and enough olive oil to make the texture of wet sand.   Sprinkle atop squash boats and roast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Happy Eating!
J

**BONUS PASTA**
In a high-sided pan, melt 3 tbsp butter and mix in 3 tbsp flour, stirring and cooking down for 2-3 minutes until slightly golden brown.  add in 1/2 cup milk and 2/3 cup grated cheese until a creamy sauce forms.  (if it seems runny, add cheese…too thick, add milk.)  Add in your left over turkey mixture and stir.  Toss with pasta!

Citrus-Kissed Crab Cakes

March 6, 2016

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Every year when the Lenten season rolls around, I hear my gramma’s voice in my head telling me to be a good Catholic and skip meat on Fridays.  I fail at this a thousand times over, because while I love Jesus, I also really love steak.  That being said, I always embark on the Lent season with the best of intentions.  This always excites my husband because he knows it boils down to one thing- revamping our seafood repertoire!  This week’s lent special is brought to you from inspiration taken from a stacked crab salad- fresh and bright.  I’m  makin’ gramma proud today by whipping up my Citrus-Kissed Crab Cakes, and it couldn’t be easier!

1 lb lump crab meat
10 crushed ritz crackers
1 TBSP whipped chive cream cheese
1/4 cup finely diced mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 avocado- 1/2 mashed, 1/2 finely diced
1 tsp old bay seasoning
1/4 tsp teriyaki sauce
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, folding gently with fingers.
Loosely form into patties.
Bake 20 minutes @ 425 degrees, then Broil for 3 minutes

Serve with bay chips, bay fries, or a peppery arugula salad.

On friends I’ll never meet

February 9, 2016

Taking a break from all of the food posts today, to get a little raw and real with all of you.

I’m not sure why, but it seems like recently CF’ers being around other CF’ers has hit a bit of buzz.  In recent years, it’s a topic that has made appearances on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Red Band Society, along with others, I’m sure, but no one really noticed then.  Perhaps it’s the social media outbreak and hype over a child being removed from a classroom where there was another child with CF.

Whatever the reason for the recent worldly revelations, it stunned a lot of friends and family to learn that this was a truth in my life: People with Cystic Fibrosis really can’t and shouldn’t be around other people with Cystic Fibrosis.  (unless you are in the same family, because you build immunity to each other).  Long story short, we have specific bacteria and infections that are incredibly harmful to each other.  In some cases, being together could be deadly.  It’s a hard reality that is heavy on my heart lately.

The magnitude and weight of that reality didn’t hit me when I was diagnosed- at 16, a fresh diagnosis wasn’t something I wanted to discuss with anyone, let alone friends or someone that had the same thing as me.  I guess the mindset at the time was more of a ‘if I ignore this, and don’t mention it, I can pretend to be normal.”  After all, isn’t that what every teenager craves?  To just blend in and be normal?  And besides, I felt that I had plenty of supportive people in my life already.

It wasn’t until my adulthood that I really felt the weight of it.  I often found myself searching for someone like myself- someone that really ‘got it’ because as much as you try to explain the dark days, fears, and doubts to the people in your life that know you- no one can really truly know.. unless you’re experiencing it, too.  I needed women in my life that had my fears and my struggles, and more than anything, I needed someone who had once stood in these deep, vast waters and had made it to the other side.

I needed clarity, and I needed hope, and so the internet became my salvation.  Through social media, blogs, and forums, I’ve made acquaintances that continue to grow into amazing friendships.  We cheer each other on, we support each other…and most of all, we get it.  These strangers know me better than some of the dearest people in my life.

And here’s where that gets hard- I’ll quite possibly never meet the beautiful souls that touch my heart and get me through some of my hardest moments.  We can’t chat about life over a glass of wine, or go check out the latest flick that we’ll (inevitably) cough through.  I can’t be that shoulder to cry on, even though it’s not that far of a drive.  I’ll never meet the young mom with CF whose blog inspired me to keep holding on to hope.

They don’t tell you that part about CF.  They don’t mention that with your diagnosis comes a painful loneliness; that your greatest support system can be your greatest downfall if you were to exist together.

Some day soon, I know we’re going to cure this thing, and when we do, I’m having a huge party for all of us.

Until then, I’m hugging you from here.
J

AHDN: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

February 2, 2016

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

1- 9oz bag of shaved Brussels sprouts
4 tbsp butter; divided
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated parmesan; divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, high- sided skillet and add shaved brussels sprouts.  Saute about 3 minutes over medium until brussels sprouts are a vibrant green color.  Remove from the skillet.  Add the additional 2 tbsp of butter to the pan and melt.  Stir in 2 tbsp of flour.  Gradually whisk in 1 cup of half and half until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan, along with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Add salt, pepper. and paprika and combine.  Return the brussels sprouts to the skillet and fold into the cheese sauce mixture.   Pour into an 8 or 9 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of breadcrumbs with remaining 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and enough olive oil (approx. 2 tbsp) until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand.  Sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts.

Bake for 40 minutes @ 375.

This side dish was a perfect compliment to the chicken, and the left overs heated up nicely to go with some broiled flounder.  Whip up a double or triple batch with a bit of pancetta, and you have a GREAT holiday side dish!

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AHDN: At Home Date Night

February 2, 2016

When you have a life with littles, sometimes “date night” can be few and far between.  With baby sitters and broken routines, cries for mama and good night kisses…well, sometimes is it just plain hard!  To help alleviate some of the pressure, but also keep our time as just us, Mr. Twice Around and I have started implementing AT HOME DATE NIGHT, or AHDN as we call it.  The thought is that once munka is in bed, we have the rest of the evening to ourselves and can enjoy a “date” together.  No phones, no distractions – just time shared together.

The only real RULES that we have for AHDN are as follows:
1) Real clothes (with the occasional exception for PJ’s- when appropriate)
2) No cell phones
3) It has to be more than a Netflix binge on the couch

This past week was my turn to plan, so I decided on a kicked up version of dinner and a movie.

Act 1- Dinner.  Stone ground Mustard Chicken Thighs with a Brussel Sprout Gratin and White Wine

Act 2- Cozy Movie Time with snacks,  Tomato Cheese Crackers, prosciutto, grapes, brownie bites, and of course, champagne.

Now, the thing that really makes this ‘not your average movie night’ for us is the location of our movie.  Typically, we only have 1 TV in our home, and that is in our main living area.  We like it that way.  We prefer it that way. BUT- it makes it fun to bring out our second TV from storage and create a new ambiance for movie watching.  I decided that for date night, I’d set up our TV and Apple TV in our bedroom, and that we’d watch the movie from the comfort of our cozy bed, stacked high with extra pillows and cushions.  Add a tray for our snacks, and we were all set!

Stay tuned for more AHDN ideas!