Meatball Lasagna

This is the easiest lasagna I think I’ve ever made. I used jar sauce, some fresh herbs, roasted vegetables, frozen beef meatballs and no bake lasagna noodles. Yum yum yum! The boys at the table had two helpings!

Meatball Lasagna
1 box no boil lasagna noodles
2 cups frozen beef meatballs
1 bunch fresh Italian leaf parsley
2 tablespoons basil
1 green pepper
1 sweet onion
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by coarsely chopping the pepper, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425° for about 20 minutes.

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Mix together in a small bowl the ricotta, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, parsley and basil. Set aside.

Place a third of the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 glass dish. Add the roasted vegetables on top and then a double layer of the pasta noodles. Use another third of the sauce, the meatballs and the cheese mixture. Finish off by laying the remaining noodles, sauce and the last 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Cover and bake at 425° for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.

 

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Summer Broccoli Salad

Tonight is pizza night! I always like a good salad to compliment the cheesy “za”. Salad on the side helps to not overindulge in those slices! As usual, I wasn’t feeling anything too basic. With what I had in the pantry and fridge this is what resulted!

Broccoli Chickpea Salad

4 cups broccoli florets
1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 TB
2 TB lemon juice
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Blanche the broccoli and set aside. In a large saucepan heat two tablespoons of olive oil adding the sweet onion and cooking until translucent. Stir in garlic and pine nuts. Toss in the cooked broccoli, lemon juice, chickpeas and diced pepper. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Pour over the salad and chill.

I decided to add one chopped romaine heart to the chilled salad before serving.

The above vinaigrette is my go-to for all cold summer bean salads!
Red wine vinegar works great in the dressing as well.

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Gender Reveal Cake

Thanks to Pinterest, we’re now all under tremendous pressure to make every life event that much more unique and notable.  One of these new “must haves” is the gender reveal for expecting parents.  I was asked to help out a girlfriend when it came time to share the sex of her baby to loved ones and of course I jumped right in.

Duncan Hines has made this very easy with their own line of “summer velvet cakes.”  I think they’ve been following Pinterest trends! I took the easy way out with this one, using a boxed cake.  I did use my favorite buttercream recipe, courtesy of my girl Martha Stewart!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) of  unsalted butter, softened

6 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

In an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, begin to cream the butter.  Add in the vanilla while slowing mixing in the sugar.  Add milk bits at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Of course no Pinterest project is finished without a catchy phrase.  I chose to pipe “Waddle it Be” and finished it off with sugared duck icing decorations by Wilton. Once cut, the cake reveals with pink color, it’s a …. GIRL!

Gender Reveal Cake

Gender Reveal Cake

Gender Reveal Cake

It’s a …. GIRL!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

These are by far the easiest and tastiest lettuce wraps I’ve ever made. Well, I’ll admit, they’re the first I’ve ever made. I’ll go ahead and stick with this recipe; that’s a fact!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps
1 pound ground turkey
1 head bib lettuce
1 frozen package of Trader Joe’s Asian vegetables with sauce packet
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
3 TB Asian seasoning
Olive oil

Use enough oil to coat the bottom of a skillet to brown the turkey, onion, garlic and 2 tablespoons of Asian seasoning. Cook the meat through. Roughly chop the vegetables to stir in the turkey mixture. Add the sauce packet, soy sauce, sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon of Asian seasoning. Simmer to combine.

Serve immediately with bib lettuce.

 

#FoodieFail! I didn’t take a picture of the process, ingredients or the final product! As you know, I’ve taken a blogging hiatus.  I realize I’d had this stored and decided to run with it to get myself back in the groove.  You’ll forgive me this once 🙂

Try this recipe for something light and fresh for summer.  I served this with a side of farro to add a little heartiness on the side.

Super Bowl Treats

I was amazed to see that the Super Bowl is the second biggest food consumption day of the year (just behind Thanksgiving)! As you know, I love to entertain and had some success with football themed treats for last year’s event.  They might be making a comeback for 2014!

Brownie TouchdownsTouchdown Brownies

  • Green Frosting
  • White frosting
  • Star and fine point icing tip
  • Chocolate covered almonds
  • Brownies

Bake your favorite brownies.  I personally love the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate mix from Costco.  For super fudgey brownies, use two mixes for one batch. Let the brownies cool completely and cut into squares.  Generously pipe the green frosting over the tops of the brownie with the star tip.  Place a “football” onto each field and pipe on football laces with white frosting.

Football Deviled EggsDeviled Egg Footballs

  • 6 hardboiled eggs
  • 3 tb mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp horseradish
  • 1 tb chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika
  • Chives

Cut eggs in half.  Scoop yolks into a bowl.  Mash yolks.  Beat in remaining ingredients until smith.  Replace yolk mixture in whites after seasoning to taste.  After eggs are prepared and dusted with paprika, place chives over the tops to create the football lacing effect.

What velveeta shortage?

A Super Bowl essential

A Super Bowl essential

Super Bowl Treats

Engagement Gift Basket

Your friend just got engaged, what do you get the couple? What is a good engagement gift? There aren’t many do’s and dont’s for presents to the newly engaged. This is something I’ve come up with that’s a nice gesture, but nothing too overdone!

Working on these engagement baskets a few times, I have varied the ‘sweet treat’ inside. Most recently, I opted for bride groom cake pops.  Cake pops seem to be nipping at the heels of the popular 2013 cronut. In the past, I have also made bride groom chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels. What makes the treat ‘bride groom’? Half are dipped in white chocolate and pearlized sprinkles (bride) while the other half are dipped in milk or dark chocolate with some tuxedo like adornments.  These groom cake pops were jazzed up with mustache sugars from Target.

Engagement Cake Pops

Engagement Gift Basket

  • White basket and tissue paper
  • Engagement card
  • Bridal magazines
  • The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman
  • Champagne, sparkling wine, wedding themed vodka
  • Bride groom themed sweets

Engagement Gift Basket

Pop Fizz Clink!Engagement Gift Basket

Vegas Survival Kits

Two years ago to the day, I helped to plan a joint bachelor & bachelorette weekend for 30 20somethings in, what other place but, Las Vegas. Looking back, I’m amazed we pulled it off. Coordinating with that many people and having a successful weekend is one I’ll never forget! 

In order to be sure the ladies were treated to favors, I had to ship an extra box down to meet me in Vegas. The boys were wholeheartedly disappointed to find out the favor bags were for the girls only. Here’s what they contained…

Vegas Survival Kit

VEGAS Survival Tote

  • Sunglasses
  • ‘Vegas’ sleep mask
  • Bling ring
  • Flip flops
  • Excedrine
  • Vitamins
  • Band aids
  • Lip gloss
  • Mini tiara
  • Gum
  • Kleenex
  • Loofa
  • Banana hair clip
  • Disinfecting hand wipes
  • Granola bar
  • Candy
  • Weekend agenda/itinerary

 

You’ll also need:

  • Tote bags (I ordered online from Oriental Trading)
  • Felt, glitter pen, scissors, ribbon
Bachelorette Weekend

Bachelorette Weekend