20 4 / 2014

I found this recipe on Pinterest and really wanted to try it because it was great for a weeknight meal. Pasta, cheese, and super easy:
-cook gnocchi according to package
-spray oven-safe dish
-add gnocchi to dish
-coat with 1/2 cup Progresso Recipe Starter Cooking Sauce - Fire Roasted Tomato
-add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
-bake dish for 10 minutes

In reality, it IS that easy. However, I used what I had on hand instead: a very bland sauce and shredded Mexican four cheese. NOT THAT GREAT. Not that bad, mind you, but not that great. Go ahead and be a little more traditional with this recipe. Definitely a good idea.

Fun tip! I don’t have any of those nice oven-safe baking dishes, so my cute new pie dish did the job. Works the same in a pinch!


11 4 / 2014

I found a slew of recipes online for baking broccoli. Mostly: coat with olive oil, salt, pepper. Mince garlic. Bake.

Simple enough. I grabbed my go-to bag of greens and got to work.

I opted for a little balsamic vinegar instead, set for 350 degrees and baked for what felt like an eternity. The garlic really baked, while the broccoli… not enough for my liking. I need to master really crisping these greens. All things considered, it was easy and delicious! I just need to play with the bake time and the sauce. image

10 4 / 2014

My first REAL cooking adventure! Sure, vegetables like my most recent posts have been feeding me for weeks (more Brussels sprouts and green beans than I can tell you). But, I’d bought a brand-spanking-new slow cooker in January, and it was time to give it a shot.

I can’t say no to a good sweet potato, and though I don’t exactly like chili, this recipe from Real Simple was something I was willing to try.

-1 chopped medium red onion
-1 chopped green bell pepper
-4 chopped garlic cloves (I used dehydrated because my store was out of regular. Bad idea! Not enough flavor!)
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 tablespoon ground cumin
-2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-kosher salt and black pepper
-1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
-1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
-1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
-1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut into pieces

- In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
-Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours  or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Serve the chili with tortilla chips.


I have to admit, I liked it better when I reheated it. The recipe said you can freeze for up to 3 months, so I froze about half and I’m looking forward to trying it after that.

23 2 / 2014

All right! After the sprouts success, I went for green beans.


I used this recipe and followed it to the best of my knowledge, sans pepper.

Instead of delicious fresh green beans, I used a bag of Green Giant steam-in-bag beans.


I mixed these ingredients for the seasoning in a bowl.
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used Progresso plain)
1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt

Then I beat two eggs in a second bowl. At that time I smoothed a thin layer of olive oil to cover a baking sheet. Next, heat oven to 425 degrees.

I tried two ways of coating the beans. The first: using a fork, individually submerging each green bean into the egg bowl, and then submerging the bean into the seasoning bowl and using a second fork to push onto the baking sheet. The second: dumping the remaining half of the bag of green beans into the egg bowl, being sure to coat them as best as possible, then adding the mass of beans to the seasoning bowl, mixing around, and dumping it all onto a baking sheet.

[Results: First method turned out much crispier and the coating stayed on better. Definitely worth the extra time, although a larger bowl or perhaps zip-lock bag might also work for better coating in mass quantities.]

Slide pan onto top rack and bake for 8 minutes, pull out, shake the pan, and bake for another 2-3 minutes.

While baking, I mixed some Miracle Whip, a crushed glove of garlic, dried red onion and remaining bread crumbs into a ramekin for a quick potent dip.

They were fabulous straight out of the oven and got a little soft after they sat out for a while. I guess we’ll see how they reheat! I’m thinking of adding feta and almonds.

REHEAT STATUS: Yes! 10 minutes on 425. Two days later, still good!