Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tomato, Olive, Spinach and Feta Pasta

I had some leftover ingredients from the pasta salad I recently made and I wanted to use them up. It came out great. This is a quick meatless dinner for a busy weeknight.


8 ounces pasta
1 can tomato sauce
1 can garlic and basil petite diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped fresh spinach, loosely packed
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
feta cheese, crumbled


Combine your canned tomatoes, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook on medium for 10 minutes, and turn down to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering start cooking the pasta.

Add the spinach, olives and lemon juice to your sauce. Cook another 5 minutes so that the spinach wilts and olives are heated through.

Serve sauce over pasta and top with feta cheese.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pimento Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I made this in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month. I took the concept of pimento cheese spread and turned it into a grilled cheese sandwich. This was fantastic!


sourdough bread
white cheddar cheese, shredded
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
roasted red pepper, sliced and patted dry


Lightly spread one side of each piece of bread with butter. Then lightly spread mayonnaise on the other side. Sprinkle a little pepper over each side that has the mayonnaise on it.

Take one slice, buttered side down, and layer on the white cheddar, roasted red peppers and sharp cheddar. Top with another slice so that the buttered side is on the outside.

Cook on the stove top on medium until golden and flip until the other side is golden. Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting.

It will be messy....but it will be good!

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

This is another recipe from my Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook by Ina Garten.


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 tablespoons mild honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finishing mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife through the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then turn out and place on a baking rack to allow it to cool completely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mediterranean Style Pasta Salad

I came across a recipe for Pasta with Lemon, Feta and Arugula and it really got me thinking about my own creation. This is serisouly the most amazing pasta salad EVER. It has the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I only made a half batch because I didn't know how it would turn out, but I wish I had made a full batch, it was so good.


pasta, cooked and drained
spinach, chopped
chickpeas, drained and rinsed
grape tomatoes, cut in half
black olives, cut in half
feta cheese, crumbled

extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice
Dijon mustard
white pepper, black pepper and salt to taste


Combine the top 6 ingredients in a bowl.

Whisk together your dressing ingredients and pour over your pasta mixture. Toss thoroughly.

Honestly, this is good warm or cold. Serve however you would like =) !

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Melissa's Homemade Mac n Cheese

I have been making this recipe for a few years...before I even knew how to cook. This was my first original recipe, and I must say it is pretty foolproof. Normally a macaroni and cheese dish has a cheese sauce mixed in with the pasta. I personally like to layer the pasta and cheese because it gives if more texture and cheesy goodness. Besides, can you really go wrong with 1 pound of pasta, 2 pounds of cheese and a stick of butter?!?


1 16 ounce box of pasta (cooked)
16 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into small pieces
16 ounces Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 stick (or more) Butter/margarine, separate into quarters, cut into small pieces
Milk (about a cup)
Salt and pepper (to your taste)


In the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish spread a quarter of your butter.

Layer down half your pasta, a quarter of butter pieces, salt and pepper, half the Monterey jack add half the Velveeta.

Repeat above step.

Top with the last quarter of your butter pieces and evenly pour milk over the top.

Bake on 325 for about an hour. It will be nice and bubbly and little brown in some spots.

If you dig right in you may see some milk at the bottom of the pan. Once it sets for a few the milk will absorb.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brownie Pudding

Here is another recipe from my Back to Basics Cookbook by Ina Garten. This is was incredibly rich. I halved the original recipe and used vanilla extract in place of a vanilla bean. It was so good and great for company.

Adapted from Ina Garten


1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cup good cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional (I did not use)
Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 1.5-quart baking dish. Melt the 1/4 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream

Laughing Cow Cheese + Crescent Rolls = YUM!

I had some Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb Cheese that needed to be used up so I came up this idea. Not that you probably need in instructions, here they are anyways.


1 tube of crescent rolls
4 wedges of Laughing Cow Cheese, cut in half


Preheat oven to temperature on crescent roll package.

On a lined cookie sheet roll out your 8 crescent rolls. Place one half wedge on each roll at the larger end and press down to even out the cheese. Roll up crescent rolls and cook to the directions on the package.

Serve warm.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I WON! See's Candy Giveaway

I can't believe it, but I won another giveaway. This one was from Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats. I won a $25 See's Candy gift card. With my gift card I got 2 boxes of "Awesome Nut and Chew Bars" and a chocolate bunny. Thank you Jaime!

I WON! Banana Nut Cheerios Giveaway

I won again! I was lucky enough to win a Blog Giveaway from Carrie's Sweet Life. The prize was Banana Nut Cheerios giveaway. It included a box of Banana Nut Cheerios, banana tree with fruit basket, two cereal bowls and a bread pan. Thank you Carrie for hosting this giveaway!

Canadian Bacon and Cheese Quiche

I had too many eggs and my mom just bought me the cutest ramekins so I decided to make some quiche. Honestly, I had never made quiche before, but I knew the concept and put this together with what I had on hand. It was really good.


6 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
splash of water (I usually use milk, but I was out)
3 ounces Canadian bacon, chopped
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
1/2 teaspoon dill
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350.

Combine eggs, sour cream and water and whisk together. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together.

Pour the egg mixture into four 4 ounce ramekins that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve warm.