Recipe: Green Goddess Grilled Cheese

My sis-in-law showed me this recipe from Pinterest and I had to have it in my stomach ASAP.  And I made it twice in a week. haha!  It’s really yummy, fast, and easy.  We had some homemade bread to use up, so it was extra tasty!  Plus, the pesto makes a lot, so leftovers are easy to do in a few days.  If you are in a time crunch, but still want something yummy and healthy, give this a try.

Green Goddess Grilled Cheese (original recipe from tastespotting.com)

 

Ingredients for 1 Sandwich

  • 2 slices bread (we used a white bread, but one filled with lots of different whole grains and seeds would be *awesome*)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Green Goddess Herb Pesto (recipe below)
  • 2 slices mild white melty cheese like mozzarella
  • handful fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
  • olive oil (and butter if you’re so inclined)

Directions

Spread about 1 tablespoon of Green Goddess Herb Pesto onto each slice of bread (2 tablespoons total, but if you’re sensitive, go light, the pesto is STRONG).

On one slice of bread, add 1 slice of cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled goat cheese, spinach, second slice of cheese, then top it with second slice of bread. Press together gently.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium low heat. (If you want to use butter, add it to the oil and let it melt). Add the sandwich to the oil and cook until bread is golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip the sandwich over and cook until second side is golden brown.

Green Goddess Herb Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 (or 2 if you’re ballsy) anchovy fillet (in oil) – I actually left these out and it was still very tasty.
  • ½ small shallot, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • handful chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • handful chopped kale
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Pulse garlic, anchovy, and shallot in food processor until chopped. With the food processor running, add lemon juice, parsley, kale, tarragon and chives. Very slowly drizzle in olive oil until kale and herbs get sufficiently chopped and everything is the consistency of a pesto. You may need more or less of the olive oil depending on how big a “handful” of herbs is to you. You can also turn off the food processor and push herbs down the side of the bowl with a spatula every once in a while.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (You probably won’t need too much salt if you used 2 anchovies).

Consensus:

SOOOOO Delicious!  The flavor combination is unreal.  It was definitely very tasty, and the boys ate it!  I mean, The Wild One peeled some spinach off, but he ate the rest so I was happy!

 

Time Saver: Confetti Couscous Salad

How amazing does it sound to make a yummy nutritious meal done start to finish in ten minutes?  I had literally a craaaaaaazy day last week and the thought of making dinner for the kids was completely daunting.  I was really close to whipping up some grilled cheese, but then remembered I’d seen this recipe the other day.  Ten minutes later, BOOM the kiddos are gobbling up couscous!

Confetti Couscous Salad (original recipe found here)

(serves 4-6)
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous; cover and remove from the heat. Let sand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; cool.

“Tastes so nice, they named it twice!”  Says my father-in-law. 🙂

 

NY Does It Best Recipe: Bruschetta

We made it safe and sound and fairly hassle free!  We’re all settled in and I made our first classic NY dish tonight.  Nothing gets you more in the New York spirit than a good plate of Bruschetta.  I used to hate tomatoes, and this is one of the appetizers that helped me start to like them.  I’m still not totally there (I can’t eat a whole tomato by itself with salt and pepper), but I am getting much better.

This literally took 15 minutes to make, start to finish, and that includes washing the basil, grating the garlic, etc.  Easy easy, and the best part is that most of these ingredients are usually in the pantry, so it makes a fast, easy, last minutes meal.

Caprese Bruschetta (original recipe from For the Love of Cooking).

  • whole wheat baguette
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, diced (this is FRESH mozzarella…different than regular mozarella you buy in a block.  It is softer and usually sold in a ball in the cheese section of the deli)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet and place sliced bread in the pan.  Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom is a nice golden color.  Flip and repeat on the other side.  Remove bread from the skillet and place on a platter.

Mix the diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and diced mozzarella together in a bowl; add the minced garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Mix until evenly combined.

Place spoonfuls of the caprese salad on each slice of baguette. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Consensus:

The Mr.:  Raved about it.  He loves this tomatoes, basil, and mozarella together.  He ate about 5 slices.

Me:  YUM

Tornado:  He ate it, just not all of it.

The Wild One:  Liked it, but thought the tomatoes were “spicy.”

What’s For Dinner Wednesday: Time Saver Edition

I didn’t really do that much today, now that I think of it, but for some reason it just felt like a crazy day.  If your house is anything like mine, 5:00pm is the “bewitching hour” where the kids are bored and tired after a long day and mom is not in the mood to deal with it, and is trying to get dinner going (right? I’m not the only one, right??).  So luckily this meal is pretty easy to throw together with what you have lying around, and it is quick start to finish.  I made a few changes to this original recipe – I didn’t have sausage so I left it out, I used a white onion instead of red, I doubled the broccoli amount, and I added a bit of ricotta cheese at the end (because I had to use it up!).

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Turkey Italian Sausage (original recipe from For the Love of Cooking)

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 turkey Italian Sausages, removed from casings
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thickly
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes
  • 1 dash (or more) of crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta, cooked per instructions
  • 3-4 tbsp reserved pasta liquid
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, drizzled
  • 2-3 tsp butter
  • 3-4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the penne pasta per instructions in salted boiling water.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, removed from casings, along with the red onion. Cook the sausage and onion for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, making sure to break up the sausage into crumbles as it cooks. Add the broccoli florets, the grape tomatoes, and crushed red pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic then cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Add the cooked and drained pasta and the reserved pasta liquid to the pan then drizzle some olive oil on to the pasta as well as the butter, Parmesan cheese, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Gently mix until evenly coated. Taste and re-season if necessary. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Consensus

Me:  I really liked it a lot.  Sometimes marinara sauce can get a little mundane so it’s nice to switch up the flavors.  The vegetables added a nice crunch.

The Mr.:  Missed out on this one!  He’ll have to have it for lunch tomorrow.

The Wild One:  He ate it but wasn’t super interested.  He’s not a huge pasta lover (and that’s ok).

Tornado:  Ate it all!  And tried to steal broccoli off my plate.

What’s for breakfast? Steel Cut Oats – Crock Pot Edition

I know I’ve posted a lot of breakfast recipes lately, but what can I say?  It’s my favorite meal.  I saw this video on weelicious a long time ago, but just barely tried it.  It was awesome!

Crock Pot Oatmeal

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pour it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.

Consensus:

Me and The Mr.:  Love

The Wild One:  Actually ate a few spoonfuls, which is difficult to get him to do with oatmeal.

Tornado:  Ate it by the fist full.

It’s been cold and dreary here so this really hit the spot, and it smells wonderful to wake up to!

What’s For Dinner Wednesday – Crock Pot Edition

Before you judge me…just hear me out.  I know what you are thinking.  It looks like barf in a bowl right?  But have you ever HAD split pea soup?  It’s pretty darn delicious.  I tried it for the first time when we were newlyweds and wondered if I had suddenly put our marriage in jeopardy, but The Mr. took a bite and loved it.  He will randomly ask me to make it for him so I had to surprise him on a cold day like today.  It felt and tasted so good.

Here’s a trick I use sometimes with getting my little ones to try new foods, especially soup.  I break up some bread and pour a big ladle of soup over the top.  I tell them it is soup bread and they usually don’t bat an eye.  They both almost cleaned their plates tonight.  Wahoo for vegetables!!

Split Pea Soup (recipe from “Saving Dinner” by Leanne Ely)

  • 1 lb. split peas, rinsed
  • 1 ham bone, optional (I opted out)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 quarts water (or chicken broth if not using ham bone)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients except the salt and pepper into a crock-pot.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours, or until peas are soft.  Before serving, remove bone and bay leaf.   Salt and pepper to taste.

We ate this with yummy homemade bread and some DELICIOUS fresh pineapple.  Yum.

Thumbs up all around.

Refried Beans: Crock-Pot Edition

Do you know what makes canned refried beans so delicious?  Lard.  Not even kidding.  Next time you are at the grocery store check it out.  It really sets the good brands above the generic ones as far as taste is concerned.  But…lard?? I have a hard time buying it now.  Luckily, I found a super easy and pretty declicious recipe (from here) for refried beans in the crock-pot.  Check it out.

Crock-Pot Refried Beans

  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • ½ fresh jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • One big pinch of cumin
  • 6 cups water
  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours or overnight while you are sleeping.
  3. Remove the bigger onion chunks and drain the excess liquid. If desired, save excess liquid until the final product is desired consistency.
  4. Mash remaining beans with a potato masher and voila! You have homemade refried beans.

Can’t get easier than that, right?  They tasted pretty good too.  We ate them by themselves with cheese, dipped chips in them, and put them in burritos with veggies. They lasted about four days!   We usually have beans about twice a week around here, because it is a money saver, and packs in the protein we are lacking in the meat department.  I bought a 25 pound bag of beans in JULY and have only used about 1/4 of it.  Talk about getting your money’s worth.  It’s a good investment and a versatile food.  I am slowly building a relationship with these little babies.  Right now we are in the “good friends” stage, but things are heating up and I think I might be ready to take this to the next level!  I’ll keep you posted.