Tomato Mozzarella Bites

September 10, 2009 at 12:45 am | Posted in appetizer, Yummy Veggies | 1 Comment

We recently had a “welcome home/birthday/going away” party at our house for my little brother who is back in Iraq.  We invited some of his friends, some of our friends – it was such a fun time!  I of course made too much food but I had so much fun preparing the food and drinks!  I did appetizer and dessert foods and this was an easy, yummy, great appetizer – everyone raved about it.  I could eat a million of these!!

Recipe from www.allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 20 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 small balls fresh mozzarella cheese (often labeled bocconcini)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 toothpicks

Directions

  • Using a toothpick, spear a half of a tomato, a piece of basil, a mozzarella ball (I halved the mozzarella balls so they better fit on the toothpics), and another half of a tomato. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce (I used this as more of a dressing and drizzled it over all of the bites once on the platter).
  • Mrs. Pig Rating:  I will make these again and again.  Fairly easy to make and oh so yummy!  Use all fresh ingredients if you can – that makes it so much better!!

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    Grilled Corn on the Cob

    May 31, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Grilling, Yummy Veggies | 4 Comments

    I’m back!  Did you miss me?  I haven’t blogged in such a long time.  It seems like I go through spurts of trying new things out and blogging a ton then I go through a dry spell.  I am inspired though now that it’s summertime and I”m ready to make all sorts of yummy new things!

    Last night Tommy and I decided to chill out and grill out at home instead of going out.  It was a perfect night for it and everything was so yummy!  I grilled chicken for me, sausage for him, AND I decided to try grilling out corn on the cob.  It seemed like it would be pretty easy and would be super easy since I was already standing at the grill anyway  🙂  I really didn’t have a clue how to even go about it but turns out it’s even easier than I thought!  Here is how I did it even though I think there are about a million ways it can be done:

    Cut the excess tassles off the end of the cob and took off the loose husks.  I submerged completely the ears in a sink full of water for about 20 minutes.  Shake off excess water.  I then peeled back the husks and put butter, some garlic, and salt and pepper on the corn and pulled the husks back up.  I wrapped the ears tightly in foil.  Place them on a grill heated to medium high heat (I have a gas grill) for about 30-35 mintues.  You have to turn the ears about every 3-5 minutes so that it doesn’t char.  When you take the ears out of the foil the husks will most likely look charred somewhat and that is how they are supposed to look.  It will be HOT so make sure you use a dish towel or potholder to peel the husks off to eat.  Butter it up and eat it!  YUM! 

    Pig Rating:  The Pig really liked this!  I only grilled it for about 30 minutes.  It could have been on for 35 so it was a little tough, but almost perfect.  🙂

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  YUM!  I’m definitely going to start doing this more.  So easy and yummy and perfect for a summer time grill out!

    Bonefish Grill Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

    January 2, 2009 at 1:04 am | Posted in Dressings, salads, Seasonings & Sauces, Yummy Veggies | 10 Comments

    I am majorly slacking on this blog – so much is happening right now! Busy with the holidays, busy with my brother deploying to Iraq, etc., etc.  I am going to start slowly but surely trying to get back into the swing of things here though. 

    My favorite salad dressings to use are the spray dressings – 1 calorie per squirt – can’t beat that!  And they actually taste good so double score!  However, sometimes I want something different and I’ll make my own dressing.  I always forget to post them, but this one is definitely worth posting.  One of our favorite chain restaurants in town is Bonefish Grill.  Yeah, I’m allergic to seafood but I still like other things on their menu (good wine list doesn’t hurt either!).  We love their salads that they serve and adore the dressing so I searched the net to see if I could find it and alas!  I did!  Thank you once again recipezaar!  🙂

    If you want to make it exactly like the salad served at Bonefish then make this salad with fresh lettuce greens, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, pine nuts and tomato and olives if you choose.  I kind of threw together what I had in the house today.  Disclaimer – this dressing is NOT healthy but it’s oh so good for a special treat sometimes!!!  🙂

    Copied directly from recipezaar.com:

    Ingredients

    Directions

    Whisk everything in a bowl.

    Microwave on high for one minute or until the mixture bubbles rapidly around the edge of the bowl.

    Whisk for one minute until mixture forms an emulsion.

    Cover and chill for one hour before serving.

    This makes 1 and 1/4 cups following this exact recipe which is a lot because it doesn’t take much of this dressing (at least for me).

    Pig Rating:  The Pig likes this dressing a lot – he said it tasted just like Bonefish’s.  YAY!

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  I love this dressing!  Again, not healthy the way it’s made in this recipe so I only make it once every few months but it’s yummy when I do make it!  🙂

    Cream of Broccoli Soup

    December 16, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Posted in soup, Yummy Veggies | 3 Comments

    Our winters are cold.  I absolutely hate them.  The bad thing is that it’s just now getting to the cold point.  Ugh.  I am constantly in the mood for a bowl of steaming hot soup on these dark, windy, cold nights and I hadn’t made this one in a long time so I decided to have it last week.  This is something that 10 years ago you couldn’t have paid me to eat it -you still cant’ pay anyone in my house to eat it besides me so this is definitely a “me” recipe.  🙂  I’m the only broccoli lover in my house.  I got this recipe from a friend’s mom in college but I’m not sure the original source.  Anyway…here you go!

    Ingredients

    – Broccoli (fresh tastes best but I used frozen this time)

    – Butter (8oz or 16 tablespoons) (WOW!!!)

    – 1 cup of flour

    -4 cups of chicken broth

    -1 pint of half and half

    -1 tsp salt

    – 1/4 tsp white pepper

    – 1.5 cups of skim milk

    Directions

    Cut broccoli into 1/2 inch pieces removing the stems (unless you like them  if you do, you can throw them in).  Steam until tender.  Do not drain – set aside

    -Melt butter in pot over medium heat.  Add flour to make a roux.  Cook for 2-4 minutes stirring constantly as to not burn.  Add broth while sitrring with a wire whisk and bring to a boil. 

    -Turn heat to low.  Add broccoli, half and half, salt, and pepper.  Heat but do not boil 

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  This soup was just as yummy as I remembered it!!  I love broccoli so I love this one.  It’s so creamy and yummy on a cold winter night!  🙂

    Kids Night: Healthy(ish) chicken strips and fries

    October 23, 2008 at 12:51 am | Posted in Chicken, kids, potatoes, Yummy Veggies | 1 Comment

    I admit it.  When I was a kid, I was super picky when it came to food.  If you ask my mom, she will tell you that I ate nothing but Chef Boyardee pizzas (does anyone make those anymore?!), spaghettios, and maybe the occasional hot dog.  So I really shouldn’t be surprised that our kids are picky either- they are (almost)5 and 8 after all. 

    I really try hard to make sure that the kids have healthy eating habits while at our house.  We eat healthy most of the time so I want to pass that on to them.  When they want snacks, the things available are apple slices, bananas, nuts, healthy granola bars, and for a real treat, a 100 calorie pack or something like Chips Ahoy.  Brutal?  Nah.  They are so used to it that they like the healthy snacks.  I just don’t keep other things in the house.  When it comes to dinners, it’s more of a challenge.  Most of the things that Tommy and I eat, the kids wouldn’t really like.  I have managed to find some favorites that we use in our rotation though that everyone likes and I’ve even managed to make them as healthy as possible.  Our favorites include Baked Ziti (I use whole wheat pasta & ground turkey), tacos (I use ground turkey, my homemade seasoning, and lots of veggies), breakfast for dinner (put lots of egg whites in the scrambled eggs, low sodium bacon, and whole grain bread), and homemade chicken strips and fries, which is the recipe I am about to post. Kids love chicken strips and fries, plain and simple.  And you know what?  So do I!  I tried to find a way to make them healthier than just buying them frozen.  I rarely buy anything frozen so I definitely didnt’ want to start with these.  I finally found a recipe that made them much healthier than other options and everyone loves them!

    Recipe from www.aplaceofourown.org

    Ingredients

    1/4 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon paprika
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise
    1 cup egg substitute
    Non-stick cooking spray

    Directions

    Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
    Combine 1/4 cup of seasoned fine bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder into a shallow dish.
    Dip each chicken strip in 1 cup of egg substitute and then roll the chicken strip in the bread crumb mixture.
    Arrange the chicken strips on a sheet pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
    Bake the chicken strips for 35 to 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve and enjoy.

    I cook these up and serve them with a side of fries (I cut up potatoes into strips, put a little olive oil and a dash of salt on them and bake them to make them healthier), and fruit (usually apple slices).

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  This is a yummy quick workweek meal for when the kids are here.  I like those kind!  And I like that I can find ways to make foods healthier for my family. 

    Pig Rating:  The pig really likes this meal as well!  He loves potatoes so his favorite part is the fries even though they aren’t fried, he still loves them.

    Little Pigs Rating:  The little pigs like this one a lot!  Well, sometimes Will decides he doesn’t like it and wants a bowl of salad instead (yes, he would pretty much rather have salad than anything right now).  Sheridan really likes this though!

    Sweet Potato Garlic Fries

    September 15, 2008 at 1:34 am | Posted in potatoes, Yummy Veggies | 3 Comments

    You have probably wondered what I have been feeding my family since I haven’t blogged in so long.  Don’t worry – they haven’t been out scouring for berries in the woods, nor have they been eating fast food every night.  I have just been so busy that I’ve been cooking the same things over and over.  Until now.  Last weekend Tommy and I went to New York to visit my good friends Kat and Andrea and Kat happens to be a personal trainer and nutritionist.  We sat down with her and found many new awesome ideas for things to eat and routines to start trying as far as food and exercise.  This really made me want to get back into cooking new things every week, especially healthy things!  I found this great recipe on one of my go-to blogs, Good Things Catered.  Kat had mentioned that sweet potatoes would be something good to throw in every now and again so here we go.  Neither Tommy or I are HUGE sweet potato fans but I wanted to try them just for something different.

    Yes, my camera sucks.  We are on the lookout for a new one currently.  Ugh.  Ignore the ugly pic.  I figure an ugly pic is better than NO pic.  : )

    This recipe is from Good Things Catered:

    Ingredients:
    5 large red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 Tbsp kosher salt
    5 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    1/8 c. flat leaf parsley, minced

    Directions:
    -Preheat oven to 500 degrees and line 2 baking sheets.
    -Wash and dry sweet potatoes (leaving skin on) and slice into 1/8 inch thick wedges.
    -Place into large bowl and combine with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
    -Lay out sweet potato wedges on baking sheets, dividing evenly between them, and place in oven.
    -Bake for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, or until edges begin to brown and wedges are tender.
    -Remove from oven, sprinkle evenly with salt, garlic, parsley, and serve immediately.

    Pig Rating:  The pig was not a huge fan of these.  He didn’t like the sweet/salty combo. 

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  These were just okay for me.  I think it’s because I am not a huge sweet potato fan.  If you are, then these are good though!

    Angel Hair Pasta Salad

    August 25, 2008 at 11:54 pm | Posted in pasta, salads, Yummy Veggies | 2 Comments

    I cannot tell you how much I adore the blog of My Kitchen Cafe.  She always has such great, tried and true recipes and she has kids which helps me out a lot as I’m always looking for variety for my little picky ones.  : )  However, tonight, my husband is traveling and I am home alone so I picked something that no one in the house would like other than me!  Fun to do that every now and again!

    Copied from My Kitchen Cafe (I halved this since it is just me – that is enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow just to give you an idea of how much this one makes)

    Ingredients

    1 pound angel hair pasta (I used wheat angel hair)
    1/2 cup olive oil
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (I used light)
    2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
    handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
    1 4 oz. package pine nuts, lightly toasted (you can do this over medium-low heat in a non-stick skillet) (I omitted these…just forgot to buy them)
    Coarse salt

    Directions

    Boil water for pasta. When water starts boiling, add a handful of rock salt (i.e. ice cream salt). Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and place in serving bowl. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in olive oil until sizzling and lightly browned (don’t burn the garlic or it will taste bitter). Pour garlic and olive oil over warm pasta and toss. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so (to taste) of coarse salt over the noodles and add 1 cup of the parmesan cheese. Toss again. Let noodles cool slightly. Right before serving, top noodles with diced tomatoes, pine nuts, torn basil and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Very lightly toss, being careful not to let all the toppings go to the bottom. Serve.

    Mrs. Pig Rating:  I am pretty sure that I could eat this until I was sick.  Oh wait.  I think I just did.  Seriously, this is really easy and really great.  I halved the recipe for just me but I think I would put in the full amount of tomatoes, but that is just me.  I love tomatoes.  I used on the vine for the recipe.  I will be making this one over and over again.  Make this.  NOW.

    Summertime!

    July 30, 2008 at 12:13 am | Posted in Yummy Veggies | 4 Comments

    I adore the summertime for so many reasons – it stays light longer, dining/bar-ing outside, lightning bugs, flowers, swimming, etc.  One of my favorite things about the summer though is fresh fruit and vegetables from people’s garden’s and farmer’s stands.  Where I live, I can’t get fresh produce year round.  So during the summer, I absolutely take full advantage of it.  I am such a fruit and veggie person that it is heaven for me.

    This past weekend we went to Tommy’s parents house.  They live in Kentucky and basically in the middle of nowhere.  The good thing about this is that when we drive from our city/town to their house, there are about 15 fresh fruit and veggie signs along the way.  Also, nearly everyone has a huge garden that they grow every year.  When we arrived at my in-law’s house they had not only veggies from their garden, but a friend had brought things over as well.  Score!!!  So my mother in law was trying to get rid of stuff and she knows I love veggies so I raked it all in.  Check out some of my goods!!

    Aren’t they pretty?  However, they quickly became something that looked more like this:

    People often ask me how I stay so healthy – well, it’s things like this.  Every week I buy fresh fruits and veggies and immediately when I get home from the store, I wash them all, and chop them up into containers so that they are easy to grab for snacks and lunches.  My mom does the same thing and it’s a habit that I inherited from her – a good one! 

    Another one of my favorite summer snacks is fresh watermelon.  So good!!!  The county next to mine is famous for their melons and they just happen to set up a little stand in the CVS parking lot next to my house (how city is that statement?  I am from the country so even typing that statement is odd to me!).  I would much rather give my money directly to the farmer than to the store so I typically get my watermelon from them.  So fresh and good! 

    Again, I bring it home, chop it up, and throw it in a container so that we can have it for our lunches and snacks that week:

    My other favorite to buy fresh is sweet corn.  I would have taken a picture except we ate it tonight and I didn’t think about it.  : )  Oops! 

    Enjoy your summer and buy some fresh fruit and veggies!  Nothing like it!  : )

    Zesty Red Potatoes

    October 9, 2007 at 12:12 am | Posted in potatoes, side dishes, Yummy Veggies | Leave a comment

    Tonight I was looking for a side to go with our pork chops and I found this awesome red potato recipe. These are super yummy!! We love anything spicy and “zesty” so I knew this would be a winner and I was right! I seriously think I could eat potatoes all of the time.

    Ingredients
    4 medium red potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
    2/3 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
    1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    salt to taste

    Directions

    Arrange potatoes and onion in an ungreased 9-in. square baking dish. Combine butter, pepper flakes and salt; drizzle over potatoes and onion. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

    *Note – Next time I will use more red pepper flakes than this recipe called for as we like our food pretty “zesty”. It is good as the recipe reads, but if you want a little more “zest” add a little more.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com, picture from my kitchen : )

    Easy Mashed Potatoes

    September 28, 2007 at 1:07 am | Posted in potatoes, side dishes, Yummy Veggies | Leave a comment

    I love mashed potatoes – I love any potatoes really, but mashed are so comforting and yummy. : ) Tonight I made mashed potatoes from an easy recipe that I found online and they turned out perfect!

    (Insert Picture Here)

    Ingredients

    4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    1/3 cup warm milk
    2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons butter or margarine
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Dash pepper

    Directions

    Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil; cook for 20-25 minutes or until very tender. Drain well. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper; mash until light and fluffy. Finish up by mixing with a mixer on low if they are not creamy enough.

    NOTE: You can add more butter and more milk if needed for your taste. I added 4 tablespoons of butter to mine. I like buttery goodness : )

    Recipe from http://www.allrecipes.com/
    Makes 4 servings.

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