Not Your Traditional Spaghetti.

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Spaghetti.

So often, I hear people claiming that spaghetti is their go to family meal when in a crunch for time.  I am in no way knocking good old fashioned spaghetti…while plain spaghetti is good and one of the quickest hot meals to prepare for your family from a box, I feel it is often overlooked as a meal with variations and multiple options to create a dish that won’t just be liked, but truly loved by your family.

By adding just a few more minutes to your spaghetti dinner routine or by adding just a couple new ingredients that are probably already in your fridge or pantry, you can create a dish that will be enjoyed by your family and even special enough to serve up when company comes over.

Spaghetti pizza?! Sounds strangely delicious.

Not spaghetti pizza, but pizza spaghetti!

 

My children would have loved this when they were little. I guess I will practice for the grandkids…

 

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Picture: www.food.com

Not your typical marinara spaghetti – this dish is flavored with walnuts and broccoli! Yum.

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Chocolate Cures a Mid-Week Slump!

Well, it is Wednesday.

Nothing is worse than Wednesday, except maybe Monday. Wednesday is the day I hit a slump. Wednesdays always feel like the week just started, but it is just teasing us to see ahead to the weekend – the weekend that just can’t come fast enough.

Chocolate is always the best pick-me-up to get me out of the mid-week slump. So, today I wanted to share some amazing recipes that will hopefully help you make it to the weekend!

 

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Image: bhg.com

Chocolate Cannoli. Yum! These make the best dessert after a nice Italian style meal – or just serving salad for dinner and filling up on these is more my style! Buy your cannoli shells at the supermarket if you are looking to make these quickly, or follow their instructions for a delicious from-scratch recipe.

 

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Source: bakerita.com

Sure, it is summer time, but there is no reason why we can’t still enjoy the taste of a nice cup of cocoa on a hot summer night! Try these beautifully made cupcakes that have a s’mores look to them and make me drool just looking at them.

 

As much as I love chocolate, I have never really been a fan of straight up chocolate. That is why I am sharing this blonde recipe. It is the perfect balance of light and dark sweetness, really hitting the spot. This bar is so soft and gooey delicious.

 

My all-time favorite candy bar is an Almond Joy. So imagine how excited I got when I found this recipe for Almond Chocolate Coconut Cups. It looks absolutely, perfectly delicious!

If you don’t think you can handle this swiss roll recipe, check out the directions first. They are extremely easy to understand and you will quickly be on your way to an amazing dessert. If you can’t get the rolling just right, do what I do and quickly make up a new recipe name and serve it as is, just like you made it that way on purpose. With these amazing ingredients you can’t go wrong if it all ends up in a mushed up pile on dessert plates with the ganache on top! Don’t be intimidated – give this a try, it is worth the effort.

Best Avocado Recipes!

It is summer time and that always means one thing: cheap avocados!

Avocados can be extremely pricey – I can never justify paying two dollars for one tiny piece of produce. So when summer time rolls around, I am first in line for the summer pricing! And in celebration of the low prices, here are a few recipes I have found that will surely hit the spot!

My daughter is a huge fan of sushi and wraps. While I have never been one to attempt raw fish, these seems like a great vegetarian substitute! These cucumber and avocado rolls seem especially refreshing for all the heat we have had. Click the link above for this great recipe.

I never used to like avocados. I guess I had only tried them when served to me plain on a sandwich. It was not until I met my husband, a huge fan of guacamole, that I began to like them. Something about all that salt and spices that really makes a food taste great ;) . With that being said, I can not wait to attempt these avocado fries. Yup, that is right – fries! Bread crumbs, spices, oil – all my favorites. Check out the link above for the recipe.

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Image: BeyondTheFlavor.com

Eggs in an avocado sounds like the perfect weekend breakfast treat for my husband. I know he will flavor it in his own special style by adding a scoop of salsa on the top!This looks delicious! Click above to get to the recipe.

Lastly, I wanted to share some information on how to choose avocados at the market.

If you are like me, you probably have done the mush test to check for ripeness – you know the one – squeeze it a little and see if it mushes inside a little bit. But 50% of the time, I would get home and realize the whole dang thing is rotten inside! That is, until I came across a website that told me exactly how to tell if the avocado is fresh inside. I have not bought a bad avocado since! Check out those great tips in the image link above.

Hot Dog Buns…HomeMade?!

On my list of inabilities in life is my inability to keep bread out of my system. Especially warm, delicious, melt in your mouth homemade bread.

So imagine my excitement when I came across this recipe from Joy the Baker for homemade hot dog buns. My mouth is already drooling thinking of a weekend BBQ complete with these buns served with our fire pit roasted hot dogs.

I also wanted to mention that one of the ingredients sprinkled on top is Sea Salt. I have heard so many people substituting this for regular salt because they just don’t think there is much difference. Trust me, when you head to the store to purchase items for this recipe do Not leave without Sea Salt! I truly believe it is the key ingredient in spicing so many recipes, especially a good and homemade bread.

Let me know how you like these hot dog buns! I can’t wait to try them!

Penne Spinaci

When we were in Italy, we came across an Amazing hole in the wall family Trattoria restaurant.

Each of us ordered something different from each other making for one very delicious shared family-style meal. One of those dishes, our favorite, was called Penne Spinaci. Basically, a cream spinach sauce with parmesan cheese served over a giant plate of penne pasta.

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Picture from MadeInKitchen.tv

Since our trip, I have tried several different recipes to re-create that taste. All have failed miserably! I was beginning to wonder if we would ever taste that heavenly pasta again – until this morning when I began searching for recipes YET AGAIN and came across two that may hit the spot.

Both of these recipes are in Italian. If you speak or read Italian and can translate it, I would Love for you to contact me. In the mean time, I am giving you the pictures / links of this amazing dish in hopes of finding a translator ASAP.

As soon as I have the translation and have tested these recipes myself, I will give an update!

Have any of you tried this pasta sauce before?

Last Minute 4th of July Ideas

So you are preparing for the 4th of July and realize you need some quick food ideas to serve your guests or bring to a potluck… never fear, that is why I am here!

Here are a couple quick recipe ideas to quickly make your day a success! If all else fails, a simple batch of hot dogs and potato chips will always do the trick ;)

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Fruit Flag from PartyCity.com

Pop on over to Party City for your American Flag decor. While you are there, grab some skewers and a disposable tray to make this adorable flag with banana slices, strawberry wedges and blueberries! If you are in need of more skewers than this, just add another matching layer on top! Quick and easy.

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Trifle from MarthaStewart.com

I honestly do not believe I have Ever gone wrong with a Martha Stewart recipe. Not only is this trifle extremely beautiful and patriotic, but the simple and minimal amount of ingredients make this recipe a quicky. What a way to impress your guests! Grab a few sparkler candles and you are set for party time!

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Cookies from TheChicLife.com

You can never go wrong with sugar cookies. I absolutely love the look of the frosting on these festive little desserts. See TheChicLife for directions on making the frosting for these. I can also picture them on little sticks as cookie pops!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday weekend and stay safe!

Margaritas for the Weekend!

Well the weekend is here and it couldn’t come fast enough this week.

I am very much loving this warm, summer weather and am looking forward to spending some nice time with my family. Now that the kids are grown, I look forward to them visiting. And when it is summer, I always prepare a nice batch of margaritas for us. I am not a big drinker, but an ice cold margarita is Always welcome on a hot summer night!

So in honor of the weekend, here are a couple Great out- of- the- ordinary margarita ideas to loosen things up a bit!

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One of my favorites is this Blackberry Margarita from Tide and Thyme. If you are looking for a quick and easy margarita, this is not your recipe – it does require a bit of effort. But if you are looking for something that really, truly hits the spot this will turn in to one of your go-to recipes! Delicious!

 

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This Mango Pineapple margarita found at Awesome Cuisine is another recipe that requires looking at in advance. Fruit should be frozen the night before, and cooking is also involved. But mango and pineapple are two flavors that create a dreamy vacation- like drink, so it is worth the effort!

 

 

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Cherry Margarita? Yes, please. This is a simple shake and pour recipe with a beautiful color. If you are looking for a quick way to impress your guests, this recipe found at My Honeys Place will be sure to win them over!

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Just 3 ingredients are needed for this Sauza Raspberry Margarita that I came across on AllRecipes.com. To be honest, I haven’t tried it just yet but I had to throw it in because it is simple, looks delicious and has a 5 star rating on the site. Let me know if you try it. I would love to hear an opinion!

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Lastly, but certainly not least is my chosen drink for this weekend. This Pink Margarita by Style My Pretty is flavored with Pink Lemonade! Now if that doesn’t sound like the perfect drink for my weekend, then I don’t know what does! I can’t wait to try it. Check out the quick and easy recipe here!

I am off to the market  to buy some pink lemonade, chips and salsa. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Salisbury Steak

Because I am a vegetarian, cooking can sometimes be a challenge finding meals that are quick and easy. When I cook meat for my family, I look to crock pot recipes so I am prepared when dinner time rolls around.

So when a friend recently emailed me a recipe for Salisbury Steak by The Crockin’ Girls that has Rave Reviews all over the internet…so I just had to try the crock pot recipe for my family!

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Image: www.crockingirls.com

While I obviously did not eat this beauty myself, my family was Very Excited to say the least. The reviews are well-deserved and I recommend this to anyone looking for a new simple and affordable family meal.

One of my kids absolutely hates mushrooms and did not even notice they were there!

 

How to Cook Garlic

 

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Image from www.Costco.com

I have always been a fan of garlic. I can put that stuff in every meal I eat and not give a care in the world what my breathe smells like later. Actually, I hope it smells like garlic. Because the smell is heaven!

Many people cook with garlic. You may add it in to dough or pasta sauce or a plethora of other recipes. But how many of you know how to COOK garlic? Sure, you may buy it minced in a jar, but that does NOT mean that it is ready to eat. Raw garlic has a bitter sort of taste. It needs to be cooked for a short amount before  using to benefit your recipe in the most optimum way.

So how do you go about cooking garlic? While there are probably many ways, if feel that the best way is to pre-heat a small frying pan on medium-low to medium heat with just a bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add garlic and stir with a spatula for about 30 seconds. You want to see the garlic turn a yellow-golden color, but be careful not to burn it!

I buy my garlic in super duper Costco size. They sell 48 ounce containers of Spice World Minced Garlic for about five dollars. You can’t beat that – it saves your fingers from smelling because it comes already minced!

Something sweet without the Guilt

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Image from TurVS.net

I have a sweet tooth like no other. I can reach for cookies, candies and all sorts of homemade snacks without stopping to consider the health consequences. Until later when I realize I am up a few pounds and my clothes aren’t fitting the way they should. That is always the time I know I need to give it a rest.

When that time comes, I turn to cinnamon apples. Sweet, all natural apple sugars and warm from the microwave, this “dessert” always hits the stop. Almost always!

For simple instructions on how to make quick and easy cinnamon apples, visit this link to TurVs.

Enjoy!