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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Green Bean & Peach Salad in a Maple Pecan Vinaigrette

I know I'm a little late with this one as August was National Peach Month, but at least I made it under the wire. Besides, you can still get fresh, juicy peaches through the end of September. I really enjoyed this salad as it had the perfect mix of crunchy and sweet.

Green Bean & Peach Salad in a Maple Pecan Vinaigrette
Total Time:  20 minutes  Servings: 4
For the Green Bean & Peach Salad
  • 1 lb. Fresh Green Beans
  • 1 Peach, pitted and chopped
  • Prepared Maple Pecan Vinaigrette
For the Maple Pecan Vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 c. Canola Oil
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 c. Chopped Pecans
For the Green Bean & Peach Salad
  1. Trim the ends of the green beans, then place in a steamer pot. Fill the bottom portion of the pot with about 3" of water, cover pot and bring to a boil. Allow to steam until the beans are cooked, but still slightly crisp. Remove from the pot and rinse under cold water. 
  2. Add the beans, peaches and Maple Pecan Vinaigrette to a bowl and mix well. 
For the Maple Pecan Vinaigrette
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in bowl. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 250, Carbs 20.1g, Fat 19g, Protein 2.9g, Fiber 4.9, Sugar 11.4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Green Bean & Peach Salad Shopping List

On another note...
I'll be taking the next week off from the blog to spend the last week of summer with my family and get the kids ready for back to school. I'll still be around posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so follow along to see what I'm up to. I'll be back with a new blog post September 9th as well as a new and improved Monthly Newsletter.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blueberry, Pecan & Goat Cheese Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps

I know. It's a mouthful to say. But I had to find some way to describe all of the goodness stuffed in these Portobello mushroom caps! I'm usually so busy running around during the day I don't have much time to eat lunch. I'm a "grab and go" type of person. However, this also tends to get me in trouble if I haven't had time to plan ahead. So one or two days a week, I'll make something that I can reheat for lunch for when those hunger pangs come calling.

While shopping, I had purchased some mushroom caps and knew I wanted to make something with those, but wasn't quite sure what until I went rummaging through the pantry and refrigerator to see what I could find. I came up with this mixture and let me tell you, not only was one mushroom cap filling, the texture and flavor were fantastic. These made a perfect light lunch, but would also make a fabulous appetizer for family and friends.

Blueberry, Pecan & Goat Cheese Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps
Prep Time:  15 minutes             Yield: 4
Cook Time: 15 minutes             Serving: 1 mushroom cap
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 4 Portobello Mushroom Caps
  • 1 c. Water
  • 1/2 c. Quinoa
  • 1/4 c. Pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Mariani Wild Blueberries
  • 2 oz. Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
  1. Add the water to a pot and bring to a boil; then stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer approximately 10 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Drain the quinoa and  rinse with cold water. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  3. Next, add the quinoa to a bowl and mix in the pecans, blueberries, cheese and parsley. Mix well. 
  4. Top each mushroom cap with the quinoa mixture, place on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 267, Carbs 35.1g, Fat 10g, Protein 9g, Fiber 3.2g, Sugar 15.3g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

Blueberry, Pecan & Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps Shopping List

Monday, August 26, 2013

Top 10 Zucchini Recipes

Since the Top 10 Mustard Recipe Roundup went over so well, I decided to do a Top 10 Zucchini Recipe Roundup. Especially since every time I turn around, I'm getting more and more zucchini from family and friends who have an abundance of them in their gardens. Here are the top ten most viewed zucchini recipes on the blog to date, which doesn't include my most recent post for Triple Chocolate Zucchini Muffins as it was only posted last week. It's kind of fun to look back at some of my earlier work and reminds me that I should really make some of these again. Enjoy!

And the #1 Most Viewed Zucchini Recipe was...

What is your favorite way to eat zucchini? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Chinet Bakeware Winner

TGIF! Seafood Frenzy Friday will be taking a 2 week hiatus due to the upcoming holiday weekend. If you missed any of last weeks' entries you can catch them all hereThank you to everyone that linked up this past week. If you missed any posts, you can also stop by my Seafood Frenzy Friday Pinterest Board where you can share and pin your own favorites.  Congratulations to Laurie Bakke's Kitchen for having the most viewed recipe for her Horseradish Crusted Salmon Salad last week. 

And now for our winner...

Congratulations to Susan Devaux! She will be winning a sample case of Chinet Disposable Bakeware to make their own family favorites. Thank you to everyone that entered and tweeted about the giveaway. I loved your recipe ideas, they all sound like hits to me! I wish I could give each of you a sample case to try for yourself. They're fabulous to take with you to a bbq. However, I can tell you how to get a coupon. Just LIKE Chinet on Facebook and download a $1.00 off any product coupon.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Recipe ReRun: Hot Creamed Spinach Dip

Welcome to another edition of Recipe ReRun, where I give new life to some of my favorite recipes! 

Today I'm sharing one of my family's favorite dips. This Hot Creamed Spinach Dip was first created back in March 2012 when I was experimenting with another recipe for Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs and wanted to have a back up plan just in case the figs weren't a hit. Turns out, everyone loved them, but they also LOVED this 5 ingredient, quick hot dip as well. We served them with tortilla chips, but some nice toast rounds or crackers would work well also. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

WARNING! The following recipe is NOT healthy in any way, shape or form, but it taste darn good!

Sometimes a girl just needs a chocolate fix. And being there are three of us under one roof, it's bound to happen from time to time. I don't usually keep sweets like cookies and candy in the house so when the chocolate craving monster rears it's ugly head, we have to think twice before getting in the car to go to the store to satisfy our cravings.

This time my oldest needed a chocolate fix the night before I made these and of course, we had nothing she wanted. So the next day while surfing Google+, I saw that Christie from Food Done Light made some Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. Her muffins looked incredible; however, they were made "healthier" with flax seed, yogurt, and egg whites which I LOVED, but my kids, not so much. Every time I try to give them a healthier version of a dessert/sweet type item they cringe. So I used my own zucchini bread recipe (which is in my cookbook!) and tweaked it a little to make it extra chocolatey.

I have to say that I was shocked that they were only 205 calories each considering what went into these beauties, so even I indulged in a muffin or two over the course of their existence. Which by the way, only lasted three days since I sent them into work for my nieces to enjoy as well and then the younger one and her friend devoured most of what was left during a sleepover.

Triple Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Prep Time:  15 minutes              Yield: 30
Cook Time: 20 minutes             Serving: 1 muffin
Total Time: 35 minutes

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Canola Oil
  • 3 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 c. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 1/2 c. Grated Zucchini
  • 1/2 c. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 oz. Dark Chocolate, chopped 
  • Cooking Spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth. 
  3. Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder and mix well. 
  4. Next, add in your grated zucchini and both kinds of chocolate. Mix well
  5. Spray standard size muffin tins with the cooking spray and fill them 3/4 of the way to the top with the batter. You should get approximately 30-32 muffins depending on the actual size of your pans. (I got 30 with mine). 
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Remove from oven and cool. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 205, Carbs 29.1g, Fat 9.6g, Protein 3g, Fiber 1.5g, Sugar 15.9g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 


Triple Chocolate Zucchini Muffins Shopping List

Monday, August 19, 2013

Linda's Portuguese Baked Beans & Chinet Bakeware Giveaway!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

If you've been following CEK for a while, it should be no surprise that I love this new disposable bakeware from Chinet.  I even entered one of my recipes, Sausage and Spinach Lasagna with Parmigiano Reggiano Cream Sauce showcasing their product into a contest where the winner had their recipe posted in a 2 page spread in Martha Stewart Living Magazine (November 2012 issue). And guess what? I WON! 
So when Chinet asked me if I would be interested in creating another recipe this summer I was thrilled and I knew exactly what I would make. The infamous end of summer Labor Day BBQ is almost here and for our family, as with many others, it also means the kids go back to school shortly thereafter. And for as long as I've been married (19 years this coming Spring), every family picnic with my in laws has always included my  mother in laws' Portuguese Baked Beans. Everyone loves them!

I realized I had never made them myself so I finally got her recipe. Have you ever heard of the term 'Doctor it up'? It's when you take a food item that is already in essence done, but add your own unique flavor and spices to make it your own. Well, that's what she's been doing all of these years with Campbell's Pork & Beans.  At first I thought about doing the same thing, but then when I looked at the ingredients and all of the added sodium, sugar and preservatives, I knew I could make it a little healthier on my own.  So after I made my version of her Portuguese Baked Beans, we gathered together for the official taste testing and I got a huge thumbs up from all six participants! They really were very good; however, her version includes extra bacon and mine doesn't have any. Again, if you've been following along on this blog adventure I don't eat bacon so I left it out. If you like bacon, by all means throw some of that in here too.

I'll be bringing these Portuguese Baked Beans in my disposable Chinet Bakeware® to our family Labor Day picnic so I don't have to worry about getting my dish back (not that there's going to be any beans left anyway!). The bakeware goes right into the oven (minus the plastic lid). It heats the food beautifully. can take it with you! 

Linda's Portuguese Baked Beans
Prep Time: 20 minutes                     Yield: 16
Cook Time: 1 hour                           Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Green Pepper, small dice
  • 1 c. Onion, small dice
  • 1 lb. Portuguese Chorizo, skin removed, small dice
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 12-ounce Can Tomato Paste (I used Hunts)
  • 2 c. Water
  • 3 tbsp. White Vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 4 16-ounce Cans Navy Beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oil then add in the peppers, onions and chorizo. Saute over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften and the chorizo starts to brown.
  3. Next, add in the garlic and saute for another minute; then add in the tomato paste, water, vinegar, paprika, sugar and salt.  Mix well then add in the beans. 
  4. Bring mixture to a boil on top of the stove then turn off the heat. 
  5. Transfer beans to an oven safe baking dish like Chinet Bakeware® and bake for 1 hour; stirring every 20 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts
Calories 268, Carbs 37.3g, Fat 9.5g, Protein 12g, Fiber 7.8g, Sugar 20.1g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate as different brands yield different nutritional information. 

Linda's Portuguese Baked Beans Shopping List
And now for the Giveaway...
Chinet Bakeware® is the first disposable baking dishes that let you take your food from oven to table to freezer to microwave, all in one attractive, non-stick pan. And because it's from the Chinet brand, strength and stability are built in. Bakeware is designed to be sturdy and dependable no matter what you've got cooked up. Not only does it look good, but you can leave it behind without worrying about losing your favorite permanent pan. And, it's made in the USA of 90% recycled material! 

The bakeware comes in four convenient sizes in sets of two including the pan and clear plastic lids: Square 8"x8", Rectangular 9"x13", Oval 7"x11" and Oval 7 1/4" x 9 1/4". Chinet has offered to give one lucky winner a chance to receive their own set of Chinet Bakeware by entering the contest below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Seafood Frenzy Friday #58

TGIF and Welcome to Seafood Frenzy Friday! If you missed any of last weeks' entries you can catch them all here. Thank you to everyone that linked up last week and don't forget to check back for new entries each day. You can also stop by my Seafood Frenzy Friday Pinterest Board where you can share and pin your own favorites.  Congratulations to Lisa's Dinnertime Dish for having the most viewed recipe recipe last week!

And now for this week's party...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Back to School: The Most Common Food Allergies

Photo courtesy of Paper & Pigtails.
For Free Printables for Kids with Allergies, click HERE
For many kids, summer fun is over and children are gradually starting to make their way back to the classroom. For some, being in school can be life threatening; especially if surrounded by foods that can make them sick.

According to a recent article in Family Circle, about 90% of food allergies involve just eight foods. I've heard many parents complain over the years about not being able to bring in cupcakes or a specific treat for their child's birthday. But is it really worth another child getting sick over? I am one of the fortunate ones who have children without any food allergy issues, but many of my children's friends do. It's important that everyone be aware and to seek alternatives so as not to alienate a child in class. No one wants to feel like they don't belong.

Though not a complete list, here are the most common food allergies...
  • Peanuts .6%
  • Fish .6%
  • Soy .6%
  • Eggs 1%
  • Shellfish 1.2%
  • Wheat 1.3%
  • Milk 3%
  • Tree Nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts) 4.1%
Helpful Tips
  1. Before bringing in a snack, ask your childs' teacher if anyone in the class has a specific allergy. 
  2. Check labels! Even if a product doesn't contain the ingredient, it may be produced in a factory that does and cross contamination may occur. Every allergy sufferer has a different level of tolerance from mild (slight nausea or rash) to extreme (anaphylaxis shock). 
  3. If your child does have a food allergy, provide a suggested list of acceptable items. The teacher can then distribute the list to other parents so that they know what is/isn't safe. 
  4. Some good choices are snacks that are healthier like fruit, popcorn, vegetables with hummus or low/no sugar popsicles. 
A Little Inspiration

(contains dairy)

(contains wheat)

(contains dairy)

(contains wheat and eggs)

(contains tree nuts)

(contains tree nuts)

And one of our favorites....

Have a great school year! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Michael Psilakis' Ladolemono (Copycat)

Before I share today's recipe, I had to show all of you this picture I received over the weekend. The picture is of a 10 year old girl making a recipe from my cookbook. I know there are many of you that stop by Carrie's Experimental Kitchen on a regular basis and I'm so glad I can encourage you to try new recipes in your own kitchen. It especially made me glad that I've inspired someone so young to form a new passion. Her mom is a friend of mine and has told me she flips through the book all of the time looking for something new to make, but her favorite recipe is Bruschetta. SEE, if my recipes are easy enough for a 10 year old, you can do it too! Thank you all for reading and following along on my daily kitchen experiments, I truly appreciate each and every one of you. <3

Ok and now for today's recipe, which technically isn't one of my own, but rather one I found while reading through one of my food magazines recently. I loved the simplicity of it so much, that I had to share it with all of you as well. I came across this recipe for Ladolemono created by Michael Psilakis; which is a citrusy Greek sauce that is traditionally served with lamb, chicken or fish.

Since I love the flavors of fresh squeezed lemon juice, oregano, Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive, I decided to use it as a marinade instead of a dipping sauce for grilled chicken. The Ladolmeno was deliciously light and really made the grilled chicken extremely moist.

For my version, I used fresh oregano instead of the dry Greek oregano the recipe called for since that is what I happened to have on hand. Click here for the recipe: Michael Psilakis' Ladolemono


Monday, August 12, 2013

Eggplant Fritters

About two years ago, I had my first fritter while vacationing in Greece. They were made with zucchini and I loved them so much, I even made my own version upon my return and added the recipe to my cookbook. Before leaving for vacation, I was trying to clean out my refrigerator and realized I had an eggplant in there that I never got a chance to use. I do that all the time. I go to the farmers market. Purchase so many fruits and vegetables that I can't possibly eat in one week, then go on a cooking frenzy trying to use them all up in different ways before they go bad!

So I decided to make these Eggplant Fritters. I really liked them, but the kids...not so much. Though they didn't eat them right out of the frying pan; which really wasn't a fair assessment as these do taste much better when eaten right after frying. You could also bake these if you wanted to save some of the calories and fat, but you wouldn't get that crispiness that comes from frying them.

Eggplant Fritters
Prep Time: 15 minutes                Yield: 8
Cook Time:  8 minutes                Serving: 1 each
Total Time:  23 minutes
  • 1 Medium Eggplant (approx. 1 1/2 c grated)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Plum Tomato, small dice
  • 1 Scallion, chopped
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse eggplant under cold water, remove the top and bottom and grate the eggplant using a hand grater or food processor with the grater attachment. 
  2. Place the grated eggplant in a clean dishtowel and squeeze out any extra liquid; then add to a bowl. 
  3. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, scallions, egg, flour, and baking powder to the eggplant and mix well. If the mixture is still a little too wet and won't form a small ball without falling apart, gradually add a little more flour. 
  4. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. 
  5. Using a kitchen soup spoon, scoop out the eggplant mixture and place in the hot oil. Repeat for all fritters and flatten them down using the back of a spoon or spatula. 
  6. Cook 3-4 minutes per side until they are lightly brown and have fluffed up a bit. 
Nutrition Facts
Calories 158, Carbs 13.7g, Fat 10.6g, Protein 2.7g, Fiber 2.9g, Sugar 1.8g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.