Tortellini Skewers

I love bright cheerful food. I especially love it when it is easy bright cheerful food and this little appetizer is all that plus full of flavor! It’s a kind of see it and do it recipe…very uncomplicated if just a tad time consuming to assemble.

Totally worth it though, I promise.

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What you’ll need:
one package tortellini, prepared according to package directions and cooled
fresh spinach
grape tomatoes
bell peppers, chopped
skewers (we used the minis)
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How fun would they be if you could use a purple pepper?!
What you’ll do:
Assemble by placing one of each ingredient on the skewer.
Chill until ready to serve.
With their bright fresh colors these are delightful little appetizers able to grace any
table.
Sharing with Melt In Your Mouth Monday.
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Cilantro Lime Rice

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What can I say about this recipe other than it is super flavorful? The lime and cilantro take an ordinary dish of rice and make it altogether something else. Something really wonderful. It has quickly become a family favorite around our house. And since I am new to the whole rice making game I definitely wanted to share it here. If you haven’t seen it already you can go here and read about a few tips and tricks for cooking rice that I have learned.

 

What You’ll Need:

2 TBS butter

1 1/4 cup Basmati rice

2 1/4 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped*

zest and juice of one lime*

1/2 tsp cumin

salt to taste

What You’ll Do:

Toast the butter and rice for 2 to 3 minutes in a pan on medium to high heat.

Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

*I typically use two limes and really loosely eyeball the amount of cilantro.

Our favorite way to enjoy this dish is to place either a pork chop or slice of pork tenderloin on a bed of the rice and then top with some fresh pico de gallo. It is probably the most foolproof meal I can whip up. Not only is it tasty but the presentation is particularly lovely and colorful.

Total win win.

Sharing with Melt In Your Mouth Monday 

 

Lemoncello Vodka Collins

Y’all. I am not a big drinker of alcoholic beverages but I am so enjoying this lemoncello cocktail! My beloved is on an all things lemon kick lately and he found the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe a couple of weeks ago and we have enjoyed it a few times since then.

It is so light and refreshing…perfect at the end of a summer day! Rob said he follows her recipe with a few tweaks. When I pushed on the tweaks he said he basically adds a little bit more of everything…a little more vodka, a little more lemoncello, a little more simple syrup and lemon juice. So I will share the original recipe here and just tell you to adjust and tweak to suit your own taste.

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What You’ll Need:

1 1/2 cups vodka

1/4 lemoncello liqueur

6 TBS simple syrup

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cups club soda, cold

ice cubes

lemon slices

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What You’ll DO:

Combine all ingredients except club soda in a pitcher and chill.

When it is time to serve add the club soda, pour over ice and garnish with a lemon slice.

Cheers!

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Sharing this deliciousness with The Happy Now Blog Party

Texas Sheet Cookie

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What could be more delicious than a fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookie? A giant fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookie approximately the size of Texas, that’s what.

 

 

 

You know how there are people who love the middle of a pan of brownies? And then you have the people who are all edges all the time? Well, this sheet cookie gives you the best of both worlds in cookie form. The middle section stays nice and gooey while you get these crispy edges that oh, my goodness, make you so happy this is made in a large jellyroll pan.

(Kitchen confession time: It took me forever to figure out that a jelly roll pan is simply a cookie sheet with a lip around the edges. So ridiculous, right?)

This cookie is very rich and sweet. And also very delicious with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. It makes plenty so it’s great for a crowd and quite the crowd pleaser.

What You’ll Need:

2 cups of all purpose flour

4 cups brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

2 TBS vanilla

Chocolate chips (I have used every kind of chips there are depending on what I had in the pantry so choose your favorite and go with it.)

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What You’ll Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream together sugar and butter.

Add eggs one at a time.

Add vanilla.

Add flour mixture and continue to mix until well blended.

Spread into a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

You want to be careful to not over bake these because the center needs to just be set when you take it out. But if you aren’t careful you end up in the ooze zone instead of the gooey stage so just keep an eye on it and bake it as long as you need to get it to the level of gooey-ness you prefer.

Also, second kitchen confession: I cream the butter and sugar together but then basically I just toss everything (including the chocolate chips) in the mixer and let it do it’s thing.

It really is the perfect balance of sweet crispy chewiness.

Enjoy!

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A Simple Summer Dinner

This is probably one of my family’s favorite meals during the summer and it is pretty simple. Basically we do a giant salad bar so it is simple even though there are a lot of parts. But the cutting and chopping of vegetables is a fun and basic skill that can be done by even the youngest of children and so everyone can be a part of the prep.

We usually grill a few chicken breast to chop up so that the salad is rather hearty. We have a large bowl of mixed salad greens and then all kinds of things we each like to toss on our plates. The list is pretty long and we don’t always have all of these things but a mix and mash up so there is variety each time.

Some of our usual items include hard boiled eggs, pickled or fresh roasted beets, chopped onion, cucumber, olives, radishes, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, garbanzo beans, croutons, craisins, and sunflower seeds.

It really is a delightful dinner that everyone seems to enjoy because they can get it exactly like they like it. I’d love to hear what kinds of things you enjoy on a salad.

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Chicken Spaghetti Squash

For the most part I will follow a recipe, at least the very first time, but I am known to tweak a thing or two. I kind of view a recipe as a source for inspiration or a general guideline. I’m a pinch of this and a smidge of that kinda cook. Which typically works out okay…until it doesn’t 😉

Thankfully this is one of the recipes that I used for inspiration right off and it worked out. I didn’t set out to not follow the recipe but I didn’t have one or two things it called for, I knew my love did not care for sun dried tomatoes so I left them out, and why not throw in some bacon?

What You’ll Need:

Two medium to large spaghetti squashes, cooked* and  shredded

Bacon, cooked and chopped

Two chicken breast, cooked and shredded

Feta Cheese

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What You’ll Do:

Basically you take all the things you prepared (the chicken, bacon, and squash) and toss it with feta cheese.

Seriously simple, right? Adjust the amounts to suit the size of your family. There are six of us that eat this and there is usually a little left over for lunch the next day.

*Overcooked spaghetti squash is gross. It gets soggy if it’s overdone and so figuring out exactly how long to cook your squash can be tricky. It took me a few times to figure it out between the size of the squash and how my oven works. I’ve never tried it in the microwave but by far my favorite way to cook it is to use my Instant Pot. I literally set it for one minute and do a forced release and it comes out perfect every time.

Go ahead and add in the sun dried tomatoes. I also think adding in sautéed onions would be delicious too!

I’d love to know your favorite way to prepare squash or other summer vegetables so don’t be shy in the comments if this recipe brings something to mind.

Sharing at Melt In Your Mouth Mondays and Inspire Me Monday

Strawberry and Cucumber Salad

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Having a balsamic glaze with cucumbers is nothing new but I wasn’t sure how it would go with strawberries. I was intrigued though, when I came across this recipe for a strawberry cucumber salad with a honey balsamic glaze a few years ago. I remember trying it that very day since we were having friends over and of course it makes since to try a brand new and somewhat odd recipe out on an unsuspecting group of people. Most of us really liked it but a couple of friends couldn’t move past the mixing of the veggie and the fruit in the same dish.

Personally I loved the way the cucumbers and strawberries complimented each other and the glaze was the perfect tangy touch. Definitely a keeper recipe!

What you’ll need:
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced (I left thin streaks of peel to add some color and texture.)
1 pint of strawberries, sliced in circles
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS honey
What you’ll do:
Mix together the balsamic vinegar and honey, set aside.
Alternate layers of cucumbers and strawberries along the salad bowl, moving in a circular pattern.
(You’ll be filling the bowl from the outside in, not bottom to top.)
Pour the balsamic vinegar and honey over the cucumbers and strawberries.
You can eat it right away or let it chill in the refrigerator while the flavors have a chance to mingle and get to know each other.
If you try it please let me know how you like it!