Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Carne Asada

Quick Carne Asada


2 pound flank steak, rubbed
3 tablespoons all-purpose rub
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
Black Bean Salad:
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, rinsed
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, diced
2 limes, juice only
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Salt and pepper

Cooking The Steak

Crank your grill up to high heat and let it get very hot. Then toss on the flank steak and let it cook, untouched, for about 5-6 minutes per side.

5-6 minutes will give you a nice medium rare steak. Feel free to go longer if you want it medium. Personally, I don’t recommend cooking flank steak beyond medium because it starts to get tough.
When the steak comes off the grill, let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into it.
Then slice it pretty thinly against the grain of the meat. 
Pile a few slices of the steak on a big bed of the black bean salad and serve it with some warm tortillas.
Review : The steak was great, I added minced onion and garlic to the marinated and let it marinade for a few hours. I cut back on the pepper flakes as my husband does not like it hot. We served ours decided and over homemade flour tortillas!

Black Bean Salad

For the canned ingredients, drain them and rinse them well. 

Dice up all the veggies and herbs and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Review : These ingredietns are amazing together! What a wonderful blend of flavors! 

Mini Lasagna Cups

Mini Lasagna Cups

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 1/2 - 2 cups marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
24 square wonton wrappers
1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh basil 


Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into pan and saute until cooked through. Drain fat from pan and add marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, dried oregano and dried basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and just over 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Line each cup with 1 wonton wrapper, pressing firmly in the bottom of the cup and up the sides. Using half of the cheese mixture, divide it evenly into each of the muffin cups. Do the same with the meat sauce. Gently press another wonton wrapper, in the opposite direction of the first wrapper. Repeat layers with remaining cheese mixture and meat sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and wonton wrappers are golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle fresh basil over the top of each one. Allow to cool in pan 5-10 minutes before serving.

Review: This is a great fun way to serve lasagna to the kids. This dish also has great flavor and I loved the crispy won tons! 


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).
Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.
Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it's golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.


*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.
*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it's best when it's similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don't try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.
*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don't flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!

REVIEW: delicious! 

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Baked Shrimp Scampi
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.

Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Arrange the shrimp in shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of a disposable foil baking dish or better yet, a Glad Ovenware dish (which is what I used). Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread or scatter clumps of the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Cover (with a double sheet of foil if using a disposable foil dish or use the lid of the Glad Ovenware dish.) Label and freeze. To prepare, remove from freezer and allow to thaw. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Review: This was a great recipe. Mine however took a little longer then I expected to cook. Overall a great dish..served mine with pasta! 

Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

1 (16-ounce) package penne or elbow macaroni
2 (10-ounce) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.  Stir together all ingredients except mozzarella cheese.  Spread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Review: Cheesy, yummy, and the kids loved it! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches

Here is another great dinner idea. I love this one as well because it can be easily adapted to a 30 minute meal by shredding  pre cooked chicken and adding the increadings over the stove top! 

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwiches
Source: Sweet Treats and More

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite Caesar dressing (I like Cardini's and Brianna's Asiago Caesar)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (if you don't have fresh use around 2 teaspoons of dried parsley)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
12 slider buns or 4-6 regular sized hamburger buns

1. Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 1-2 cups of water, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

2. Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon and drain the water from the slow cooker. Place chicken on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds, discarding any fat.

3. Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top. I really make sure that I discard any fat pieces so by the time I was done I only used about 1/2 cup of dressing but you make need more if you have more chicken. Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot. 

4. Spoon 1/4 cup mixture onto each slider bun if you are making sliders or more for regular sized buns. Top with extra shredded Parmesan cheese and lettuce to serve.
This was simple to put together and it tasted great. It is also easily adapted to a 30 minute meal! 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
(recipe courtesy of Hellmann's/Best Foods)

1/2 cup Hellmann's or Best Food's Real Mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/4 lbs. total weight or about 5 ounces per breast
4 teaspoons Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Place mayo and cheese in a small bowl and mix.  
 Lay chicken breasts on baking sheet (I line my baking sheet with parchment paper to make clean up easy) and spread mayo mixture evenly atop each.

Next evenly sprinkle bread crumbs atop each. 

Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and juices run clear. Tops will be browned and chicken will be incredibly juicy. Season with \a dash of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, if desired.

Review: This was supper simple to put together and tasted good. Great for a busy weeknight dinner!  

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 8 small red potatoes, quarte
  • 4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds
  • red


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices. Add the potatoes to the same olive-oil mixture and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the potatoes along the inside edge of the dish or skillet on top of the green beans. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
  3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.


After reading the reviews on the website I used half the lemon slices on the bottom as not to over power the dish. This was yet another successful dish by all means! The kids loved he vegetables and it had great flavor

Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Creole

Another mommy favorite because you simply add everything into the crockpot and let it cook the day away and just in time for dinner you add the shrimp and cook up some rice! This was also a kid pleasing dish in our household!

Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Creole

Type: dinner
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooke Time: 9 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 10 mins
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thights
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 Clove garlic minced
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled, Deveined and cleaned
  • 1TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce to taste
  • Hot cooked rice
  1. Place chicken in crock pot.
  2. Add Bell pepper, onion, celery , tomatoes, garlic, sugar, paprika, Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 3-4 hours
  3. Add shrimp, lemon juice and hot sauce. Cover an cook 45 minutes to 1 hour or until shrimp are done. Serve over hot rice.
Review: This recipe had great flavor. My husband does not like his food spicy so this had the perfect amount of heat in it for us. It also tasted great the next day!

Hash Brown Nests

Another amazing pintrest find. I loved this recipe because not only is it easy to prepare but you can also prepare a large batch over the weekend and have breakfast on the go for the weekdays!  It's a busy moms dream dish :) 

Hash brown Nests

  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup shredded potatoes, Simply Potatoes
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup egg whites or egg beaters, beaten
  • 2 tbsp diced onions
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 0.8 oz reduced fat swiss, chopped
  • 1 oz turkey ham, diced
  • dash of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown and edges are crispy.

While nests are baking, combine the egg whites with remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.  

Remove nests from the oven when golden brown.

Fill each cup with about 3 tbsp of egg mixture. Return to the oven and bake an additional 17-20 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked.

Review: This recipe was perfect just the way it is! I also love that you can add your favorite vegetables. We added mushrooms to our version!