Greek Stuffed Tomatoes, SRC September

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

So.. excuse me but I’m a little busy getting MARRIED RIGHT NOW! Like, not even kidding, as this is posting at midnight on 9/1, my wedding will be just wrapping up (and the after party will be starting of course). Isn’t that crazy?!  I SOMEHOW still found time this week to not only cook a fun recipe but to blog about it for you for the Secret Recipe Club!  Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures on facebook and instagram this coming week 🙂

For those of you who are new to the blog (shoutout to the new work friends!), The Secret Recipe Club is an awesome program I’m in where every month, I’m assigned a new blogger in the program.  I get to visit their site and check out some new recipes.  Then, I have to make one of their recipes and blog about it!  We all do the same thing and post on the same day.  It is awesome to try new things and read about everyone else’s experiences!

This month, I was assigned to check out Francesca’s blog, Della Cucina Povera.  She is amazing!  I could not decide what to make because all of her recipes sounded so yummy and also her photography is GORGEOUS.  Francesca has such an interesting background which I’m sure attributes to her creative recipes… she is an Italian-Iranian-American living in Amsterdam.  WOW.  I’m also super jealous of all of her travels!  Due to my serious decision making issues… I also tried her Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese Pasta… holy cow it was so good!   I’m also making these Lamb Meatballs next… omg.

just AWESOME blue cheese pasta recipe.  So simple but so good.

just AWESOME caramelized onions & blue cheese pasta recipe. So simple but so good.

For now though, let me share with you these crazy good Greek Stuffed Tomatoes!

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4-6 Large Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon + 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, grated

bunch of Fresh Mint, chopped

1/2 cup Brown Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it ahead of time if you can!)

Salt & Pepper

a few Red Potatoes, chopped

1/2lb Ground Turkey (I would so use lamb but I didn’t have any!)

Directions:

1.  Rinse tomatoes and cut off the tops.  Using a spoon, take the insides out making sure not to scoop all the way to the skin.  Place the tomato pulp into a foodprocessor or blender and pulse.  Place hollowed-out tomatoes in a baking dish and surround with potatoes.

2.  Saute the grated onion in the first Tablespoon of EVOO.   Add the ground meat (whatever you use) and saute, chopping.  Continue until the meat is almost cooked through.  Add the tomato pulp, mint, and cooked rice to the pan.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until the meat is done. 

3.  Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.  Fill each tomato and replace the “lid”.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes and add salt and pepper to the potatoes.

4.  Bake for about 45 min – 60 min, or until the “lids” start to brown.

Recipe from:  Della Cucina Povera, Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffin' ingredients ready to do work!

Stuffin’ ingredients ready to do work!

Tom's surrounded by Po's... not too bad!

Tom’s surrounded by Po’s… not too bad!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola – SRC August

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Can you believe this is my second chocolate recipe in a row?!  This treat comes to you today as this month’s Secret Recipe Club pick.  The Secret Recipe Club is the awesome blogging group I’m in, let me tell you all about it!  Each month, a group of bloggers is assigned another blogger to try out one of their recipes.  We can pick whatever we want too!  On the same day, we all post about our recipes and get to see and try a ton of new things.

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with My Hobbie Lobbie, who is a wonderful blogger who bakes, cooks yummy food, and even does crafts.  I don’t know how she has time to do everything!  After going through a ton of her recipes, I found myself CRAVING her Nutty Chocolate Granola.  I just had to have it.  I changed it around to match what I already had in our pantry, and it was delish.  I can’t wait to share with my friends from my new job! (YES, I got a new job!!!  AHHHHH!  I am so super excited, had to throw that in there)

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, until completely combined.

2. Spread the mix onto a foil lined, cooking-spray coated baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring/flipping the granola every 15.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Adapted from:  Nutty Chocolate Granola

Ready to stir!

Ready to stir!

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Halfway done

Halfway done

The finished product... yum!

The finished product… yum!

This granola was a fabulous snack for after dinner, but it would be amazing as a topping to cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or berries and whipped cream!  I could not believe how easy it was to make my own granola, I am excited to do it again and try new varieties too.

Click below to see all of the other recipes that were made this month in the SRC!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – SRC July

Crockpot Coconut Curry w/ Eggplant & Zucchini – for the SRC July

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I know that typically people whip out their good ol’ slow cookers in the dead of winter, but I am super happy I decided to try this out despite the fact that it’s (OMG… already?!?) July!  There’s absolutely something to be said about a recipe that takes zero effort to prepare and no time standing over a hot grill, oven, or stovetop.  And I just love having a “Meatless Monday” to start my week of right.

What I love so much about cooking -and blogging- is that I can find so many different recipes from different places.  This recipe happened because of a really awesome blogging club that I participate in, called The Secret Recipe Club.  Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the adorable vegetarian blogger, Amanda and her blog Dancing Veggies.  Despite being the opposite of a vegetarian, I totally fell in foodie-love with Amanda’s blog.  Her veggie dishes are super flavorful and complex, it was so hard to pick just one.  Amanda loves spicy food, like us, so this Crockpot Coconut Curry won out.  It was amazing!

Crockpot Coconut Curry – Eggplant & Zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, large
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 2 Thai Chilies, minced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 6oz can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Marsala
  • 1lb Zucchini, cubed
  • 1lb Eggplant, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the onion, bell pepper, and thai chilies into a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add garlic, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices and process until smooth. 
  2. Place the veggies and sauce into the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 4 hours.  Serve over rice with delicious naan bread.  Top with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh parsley if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Slow Cooker Coconut Curry

Ready to whirl!

Ready to whirl!

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Sauce is complete and ready to go.

Veggies chopped... so good!

Veggies chopped… so good!

The finished product!  yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

The finished product! yummy vegetarian curry over brown basmati rice

Dave and I were just dying over this curry!  The veggies become completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the curry sauce is thick and packed with spice and flavor.  I served the curry over some brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s and skipped the Naan this time.  This healthy dish should definitely make it into your weeknight repertoire!  ENJOY, and don’t forget to check out the other posts written below by the fabulous bloggers in the SRC!

Watermelon & Feta Salad, SRC June

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Hi friends!

I can’t wait to share today’s recipe with you- it’s delicious, healthy, and full of juicy summer flavor.  I just love a watermelon salad!

The recipe today comes from another talented blogger, “The Tasty Gardener“, my pairing for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined a little while back.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Ingredients:

2 cups Spring Mix Lettuce

1 cup Watermelon, chopped into small chunks

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Feta Cheese, chopped or crumbled

2 slices Sweet Onion, chopped

1/4 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Mint Leaves

Cilantro Leaves

Olives, Sunflower Seeds, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Place lettuce in a bowl or tupperware container.  Add chopped ingredients and top with mint and cilantro.  Add with other salad toppings such as sunflower seeds and olives and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add 1-2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar and ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from:  The Tasty Gardener

The original recipe was more like a side salad, but I wanted to turn that recipe into a lunch appropriate salad with fresh lettuce and more veggies.  The flavors are just fantastic and the juicy watermelon is such a nice addition to my lunchtime salad.  It gives not only a sweetness but a crunchy texture bursting with flavor.  I loved it!

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Now take a moment to check out these other fab recipes from this month’s SRC Reveal:

Amazingly Easy Yeast Rolls, SRC May

My sister and i are obsessed with this scene.

Oh, hello again.

It’s me… remember me?  It’s been quite a while, I know.

Life somethings just has a way of taking everything you know and are comfortable with… and flipping it upside down.  The first quarter of 2014 has been an extremely difficult one for Dave and I and our families (yes, despite the fact that we’re GETTING MARRIED!!!  OMGGGGG) and my dear little wonderful food blog has taken quite a hit.  Well… it’s freakin’ May and I’m over it!  Here I am and I am back for good.

its-gonna-be-may_0

I am pretty excited to share my first recipe in two months with you… while it may seem simple, this “amazingly easy” recipe was a big deal for me!  I have ALWAYS been too nervous to try to bake my own breads or pretzels or challah or anything that used yeast.  I am not the best at following directions and I always feared that I would totally botch whatever yeast project I started.  Well, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I decided to go “all in” and give it a shot.

Secret Recipe Club

The Secret Recipe Club is an amazing group of bloggers where every month, we are assigned a new blogger to replicate.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious recipes were made!  The “SRC” has been an awesome resource for me and a place where I come to try new things… in this case… yeast bread!

This month, I was assigned to work on Micha’s Blog called “Cookin’ Mimi”.  I spent quite a few days browsing her site and it was SUCH a hard decision to make!  I can’t wait to try a few more recipes from her blog… (like Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Jam… omg … and now that I can bake rolls, maybe even her Onoin Cheddar Rolls)

But my decision was made… I just had to try her “amazingly easy” yeast rolls.  I was up for the challenge.  I WILL follow the directions and not mess this up.

photo 1 (2)

Well, my friends… they turned out perfectly.  I could not believe it.  And would ya guess what???  They were RIDICULOUSLY amazingly easy to make.  Success!  Now I just need to make some kind of fancy compound butter to slather them with…. nommmmmmm

Amazingly Easy Yeast Rolls (Perfect for Beginners!!!)

Recipe from:  Cooking Mimi

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

 Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 5 teaspoons Yeast
  • 5 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Butter, Melted

Instructions

  1. Heat milk, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan over low heat until warm (about 120 degrees), remove from heat and mix in the eggs and yeast.
  2. Place 5 cups of flour in a large lidded bowl (I listened to Micha and used my crockpot since it was big enough and had a lid). Make a well in the center and pour in the warm liquid and yeast mixture. Do not stir.
  3. Cover with the lid and let sit 20-30 minutes. Pour in the melted butter and mix well. Add flour if sticky until a soft but no longer sticky dough is formed. Knead several times (i almost missed this part!). Place back into bowl and cover again with lid. Let the dough sit for another 20-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide dough into 12-16 pieces depending on how large you want your final roll. Shape into balls and place on baking sheet(s) cover with a damp tea towel or a greased piece of plastic wrap and let rise 20-30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.
Just poured the hot yeast mixture into the flour.

Just poured the hot yeast mixture into the flour.

This is after the second time you let the dough sit.  (After first stirring, and after adding melted butter and extra flour)... now it's on to making rolls!

This is after the second time you let the dough sit. (After first stirring, and after adding melted butter and extra flour)… now it’s on to making rolls!

Rolls are made and ready to sit (again... !!!)

Rolls are made and ready to sit (again… !!!)

Rolls are a little bigger now and ready to bake!

Rolls are a little bigger now and ready to bake!

PERFECT!!!!!!!!

PERFECT!!!!!!!!

I cannot even tell you how happy I was that these turned out just right.  I sat in front of the oven staring at them as they slowly rose and then browned ontop.  I just couldn’t believe it!  You guys HAVE to try to make these.

A few notes:  

– I used my regular cookie sheets with nothing on them and had ZERO sticking problems.  The rolls popped right off.

-My first batch was browning quite fast, so I removed from oven at around maybe 11 minutes.  They were a little too gooey on the inside, so the next batch I let cook for about 13 minutes and they turned out much better and did not burn- but were a little more brown ontop

-Use a REALLY big bowl if you don’t have a crock.  It filled up most of the crock as it rested.

Add some butter and call it a day.

Add some butter and call it a day.

Well, now that I have come back to you and conquered the basic yeast roll… I will shut up and let you take a gander at what everyone else has made for this month’s SRC!  ENJOY!

-Marshmallow Crispy- Oreo Rice Krispy Treats, SRC March

Krispy Treats.jpg

For my first post back in over two weeks, I thought I might as well start off with a bang.  Or, you know… what I like to call a cannibalistic treat.  I’m going to try hard to only use one Hannibal Lecter quote in here.

I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner.

I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.

Obviously I’m not in the business of cooking up people.  I’m talking about some delicious Krispy-on-Krispy action here.

Did anyone get a chance to go out and try the new Oreos yet?!  I hope you did, because they are so darn hard to find!  Oreo came out with a ridiculous line of special edition (so rude… just like the Disney Vault… now they’re GONE!) flavors:  Cookie Dough, Lemon, and MARSHMALLOW CRISPY.  They are amazing!  I have only tried the flavors with vanilla cookie- since Dave doesn’t like regular Oreos (WTF, right?!!) and they are bomb.com.  <List of the top Oreo Flavors!>

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Besides eating an entire sleeve of these babies this month… I bought another package to do something special.  Yes, remember where I”m going with this?  Something cannibalistic.  I had to try to make Marshmallow Crispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats.  WOW.

You might wonder why the sudden sweet tooth?!  The inspiration for this outrageous dessert came from my awesome Secret Recipe Club partner, Katrina from the blog Baking and Boys.  Katrina does it all- she is a wife and a mother of FOUR boys… she cooks amazing food and even bakes (I could NEVER! So Impressed).

Secret Recipe Club

Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!  This month was so difficult since Katrina is so creative!  I had to pick her Oreo-Krispy-M&M mashup.  It just sounded too good to be true.

Krispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 (10oz) bag Mini Marshmallows

15 Marshmallow Crispy Oreos

1/2 cup spring M&Ms 

Directions:

1.  Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil, hanging over the edges and prepare with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2.  Chop the Oreos.  Combine oreos and cereal in a large bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In a non-stick saucepan, melt the butter, then add the marshmallows.  Stir over low heat until marshmallows have melted and are combined with the butter.  Dump the marshmallow mixture over the cereal and stir quickly with a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Add M&Ms.  

4.  Dump the Krispy mixture into the foil-lined baking dish and either use your hands or a potato masher to spread and smooth out.  Let sit for an hour, then remove using the foil, peel off the foil, and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Recipe <seasonally> adapted from:  Baking and Boys!

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YUM!  I had wayyyy too many of these!  They are awesome!  I never had Krispy Treats with oreos AND M&Ms… the opportunities are endless!  I am dying to try to make these with the Peppermint Oreos when they are in season like Katrina made- yum!

Take a second to check out the rest of the bloggers in my group… these recipes sound awesome this month!

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread : Feb SRC

I’m hoping you’re reading the title of this post and having the same reaction I did… WHATTTTT?!??!!  When I read about this recipe on my SRC partner’s blog… I was just amazed.  I don’t think I can personally ever be so creative.  What an awesome recipe.  Whoa.  I just had to try it.

After a month off, I’m back on with the Secret Recipe Club.  For those of you who haven’t checked it out before, please do!  The Secret Recipe Club (or the SRC) has been a really fun way to encourage me to try new recipes and connect with new bloggers.  Each month, everyone in the club gets an assignment to check out another blogger’s page.  We then pick ANY of their existing recipes and make them ourselves!  Then, on reveal day (today), we all post about our findings and experiences.  I have made some of my favorite recipes EVER from some of my paired blogs (check out THIS one… omg).

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the blog:  Easily Good Eats.  It was so hard to pick just one recipe to make from this blog.  Like I said- she is so creative!  There are so many interesting recipes from different cuisines and countries around the world.  Very impressive.  I was automatically drawn to this recipe once I saw the word “Caramelized”…. I was practically drooling (as I am sure you are now too!)…  I won’t waste any more time, here is what I made:

it's as good as it looks.

it’s as good as it looks.

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Makes:  1 Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
½ cup Sugar, divided into 1/4’s 
1½ cups Carrots, peeled and grated
½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
2 Eggs, large
just under 1/4 cup Milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
 
Directions
  1. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook on high heat until the sugar turns dark red. It will happen- I promise.  (I used a rubber spatula) Stir and don’t let it burn!
  3. Add carrots and butter.  Cook over low heat until the carrots becomes soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Puree the mixture (optional). Let the mixture cool completely.  *Optional to puree the mixture in a food processor- I did not*
  4. In a bowl beat ¼ cup sugar and eggs until the sugar dissolves. Add to the carrot mixture together with milk and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F until done, about 30-40 minutes. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Butterscotch (Caramelized) Carrot Cake

At first, this recipe was a little more labor-intensive than what I’m used to.  First of all, I don’t really bake that much.  I also rolled my eyes when I saw how much carrot I’d have to grate.  But then I remembered, OMG, I have a food processor!  I finally was able to use our engagement gift from Dave’s parents in a new way- the grating tool!  Once I got it set up and peeled my carrots, it took literally 45 seconds.  It was the easiest thing ever, I totally recommend doing this- it will save you so much time!  Once the carrots were grated, the rest was simple.  Cook up the sugar, add the butter, carrots, and make the bread.

Lots of shredded carrots!  Thank goodness for our new food processor :)

Lots of shredded carrots! Thank goodness for our new food processor 🙂

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like...

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like…

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

I should also tell you that you should make DOUBLE this recipe.  You’re going to want to eat the whole loaf yourself, but also share one- it is one hell of an impressive recipe… show off your skills!  Next time, I’m going to double AND make a little bit of cream cheese glaze to drizzle overtop.

Finished product!  YUM!

Finished product! YUM!

Now that I’ve probably made you hungry for something sweet…

check out some of the other blogger’s recipes from this month’s SRC!