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The Quarantine 15!! Time for Salad!

Yep…the quarantine 15 is a thing… I think I’ve been on that ‘SEE FOOD DIET’…you know the one where you see food and eat it….all of it…

So here’s a little poem for fun as I deal with my newly gained weight…

This pandemic has taken a toll!

I’m beginning to feel like a big old tootsie roll.

We been so long stuck inside,

I’m shocked that my leggings stretch so wide!

With so much comfort food around,

I can’t believe I am so round!

So here’s a way to make us thinner,

Try this delicious salad for dinner!

So, once again, Steve and I decided to start eating more salads…I sense this has been a recurring theme for my blog as I revisit some past posts!

This one from Cuisine at Home is a keeper! The dressing is amazing! Remember to toss the cooked shrimp with the vinaigrette for at least an hour for great flavor! This would be a great addition to your Memorial Day cookout (with under 10 people staying 6 feet apart of course)!

SHRIMP COCKTAIL SALAD

with Lemon Horseradish Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK:

  • 1/3 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. no-salt-added ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp.Worcestershiresauce
  • 1/4 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper

FOR THE SALAD, HEAT:

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 onion,quartered
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, halved and juiced
  • 1 ¬†Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 ¬†tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  1. In a large pot of water over high; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Add¬†1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30) and¬†cook until pink and opaque, 2‚Äď3 minutes.
  3. Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water; drain.
  4. Toss shrimp in vinaigrette, cover, and chill at least 1 hour or overnight, stirring occasionally.

TOSS IN JUST BEFORE SERVING!

  • 12 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce (about 11/2 heads)
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes (about 4 medium)

 

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by!

I know that the upcoming months will be the ultimate test of my willpower! ¬†But, the harsh reality of this is knowing that so many are without food and the ability to remain socially distant from one another to avoid the spread of this monster. I try to make light of our trivial ‘problems’ as we tread down this path. In a small way, we are donating non¬†perishables and clothing to try to help.¬†

So, until next time….

¬†Cheers, stay safe and help others when you can….

ūüė∑¬†Laura

PS…Here are some fun finds if you feel like shopping!

Felt Fabric Bag in Bag Purse Organizer with Zipper Inner Pocket $26.88 with free shipping

Simple Houseware Closet Underwear Organizer Drawer Divider 4 Set, Gray $15.87 with free 1 day shipping

6 Pieces Summer UV Protection Face Mask $30.99 with free 2 day shipping!

High Waist Yoga Leggings with 3 Pockets,Tummy Control Workout Running 4 Way Stretch Yoga Pants $23.98 with free 2 day shipping!

Racerback Workout Tank Tops $14.99 – $18.99 with free 2 day delivery

 

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Staying Home + My Rotisserie Chicken Challenge

Hey fellow quarantiners! I wonder if you are being as resourceful as I am trying to be….and surprising myself! Doing my own nails, highlighting my own hair, and yes……cutting my own hair….are my most recent activities.

This cutting my own hair thing is a daily event. Watching you tube videos of people cutting their own hair and other people’s hair has been entertaining but hasn’t helped, and I definitely don’t recommend it. My hair dresser, Devin, is going to shit herself when she see’s what I’ve done to my hair. I’m not quite sure what I’ve done either…

I did cut Steve’s hair the other evening after cocktails and every morning check to see which side needs evening up. He’s been super patient. Yesterday he told me that he thought his hairline was receding….I told him that it was probably his new haircut and maybe we should let it grow a little….What I really meant to say is that maybe we should do haircuts before cocktails?

My son and new daughter-in-law, who just got married in their home last weekend, have been our personal shoppers. I worry about them… As nursing home administrators, Jeffrey & Mackenzie are both on the front lines so I’d like to keep my grocery list short giving me a new challenge….which is also keeping me away from haircutting for a bit…..

MEALS CAN YOU MAKE WITH ONE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN

There is nothing more delicious than a fresh, hot, store bought grocery store rotisserie chicken…Even smelling it in the car on your way home makes my mouth water…

Meal 1. I pull the thigh/leg off and serve it with any side. No magic, but delicious. Cut up the leftover chicken and tuck it in the fridge for the next creation..

More recipes:

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

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Super easy and delicious…add fresh or frozen spinach & corn if you like…

Ingredients:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (14.5 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil1 ¬†Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¬†Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz.)
  • 1/2¬†cup diced onion
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar, divided
  • 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)

Directions:

Preheat¬†oven to 350¬į.

For the sauce, purée tomatoes in juice, chopped onion, and garlic in a food processor.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Stir in flour, chili powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute.
 
Whisk in puréed tomato mixture and broth; bring to a boil.
 
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer sauce until thickened, 15‚Äď20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 
Season sauce with salt and pepper and let cool. 

For the filling, combine chicken, drained tomatoes, diced onion, and 1 cup Cheddar with 1/2 cup sauce to coat.

Spread¬†1/2¬†cup sauce in bottom¬†of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place
1 tortilla into dish, spread on 1 Tbsp. sauce, and flip.

Scoop 2 Tbsp. filling onto tortilla, and roll to enclose.

Place tortilla, seam side down, in the dish.

Repeat saucing, filling, and rolling with remaining tortillas.

Top enchiladas with remaining sauce and 1 cup Cheddar.

Bake enchiladas until Cheddar melts and sauce is bubbly, 30 minutes; let cool slightly before serving.

CHICKEN POT PIE WITH PHYLO CRUST

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So easy and delicious! Substitute the phyla with refrigerated pie crust  for an easy alternative.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz.cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flouR
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¬†cup whole milk
  • 2 ¬†tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, black pepper, and dry
  • sherry to taste
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (rotisserie)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables,¬†thawed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
  • 4 Tbsp. each unsalted butter and olive oil
  • 16 sheets phyllo dough, thawed to room temperatureMAKE IT!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400¬į. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cook mushrooms and thyme in 6 Tbsp. butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until browned and liquid nearly evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
  3. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup sherry; cook until nearly evaporated. Whisk in broth and milk; cook until thickened to desired consistency, 10‚Äď12 minutes.
  4. Add lemon juice; season with salt, pepper, and sherry.
  5. Transfer mushroom mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, mixed vegetables, and onions.
  6. Divide mixture among four  baking dishes arranged on prepared baking sheet.
  7. Heat 4 Tbsp. butter with oil in microwave until butter melts. Place a phyllo sheet on a flat surface; cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
  8. Lightly brush phyllo sheet with butter-oil mixture; roll into a loose tube. Repeat brushing and rolling with 3 more phyllo sheets, then starting at outer edge, place 4 phyllo tubes end to end in a spiral pattern on top of filling. Repeat phyllo steps for each pot pie. Drizzle any remaining butter- oil mixture over phyllo or coat with nonstick spray.
  9. Bake pies until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about
    20 minutes. Let pies cool¬†5‚Äď10 minutes before serving.

Depending upon the width of your dishes, the number of phyllo sheets needed may vary by one or two.

Creamy Pesto Lasagna with rotisserie chicken

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Serves 12

Use no-boil lasagna sheets or regular sheets (cook them 5 minutes before assembling) Also, add spinach for added nutrition.

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE B√ČCHAMEL

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

FOR THE LASAGNA

  • 1 pkg. whole-milk ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • 12 dry, flat, no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 3 ¬†cups diced rotisserie chicken, divided
  • 4 ¬†cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided

Preheat oven to 350¬į.
For the béchamel, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg, bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes more.

Off heat, stir in 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

For the lasagna, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup pesto; season with salt and pepper.

Spread 2/3 cup béchamel in bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Lay 3 lasagna sheets side by side, top with 1/2 cup ricotta mixture,
3/4 cup chicken, 2/3 cup béchamel, and 3/4 cup mozzarella.

Repeat layering three more times, topping the final layer with 11/2 cups mozzarella.

Cover lasagna with foil. Bake lasagna until bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove foil and¬†bake lasagna 15 minutes more, then broil on high until golden, 2‚Äď3 minutes.

Let lasagna rest 15 minutes before serving.

Dear Friends,

Staying home and staying safe have become part of our new normal.

Making a list of things to accomplish each day has helped relieve¬†boredom and frustration and gives me a sense of accomplishment. ¬†Organizing those boxes of pictures into labeled baggies or photo albums, making boxes of clothing and other items to be donated (there will be a huge need), and finding delicious recipes with items shoved into the back of the pantry are this week’s list.

Cheers to hoping that this will get better. If we all do our part in keeping our distance and staying home, we hope this will pass.

If you have any easy and delicious recipes to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, Laura

PS: Here are some finds to shop for!

Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, Oven-Ready Lasagne, 10 Ounce $2.19Barilla Gluten Free Pasta, Oven-Ready Lasagne, 10 Ounce

Le Regalo HW1236 Glass Casserole with Insulated Bag, Ideal for Picnic, Potluck, Hiking & Beach Trip-Retains Hot and Cold Temperature of Food, 14″x8.5″x2.75″, Red $16.23

I love this one so that I can bring a warm lasagna to my kids or my parents.

Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Hair Color Creme, 8.5A Medium Champagne Blonde, 1 Count by Clairol $14.23

I’m not advocating coloring your own hair, but I did try this and liked it. Easy and not stinky…It comes in a variety of colors to match your hair.¬†

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little Food for Thought

I spent most of last week scrambling from store to store engaging in my own version of “Say Yes to the Dress” hoping to find the perfect dress for my son’s upcoming wedding. Little did I know that I was successfully exposing myself (and my family) to God knows what and hoping this invisible enemy would just disappear. The good news….I found the dress…The bad news….The wedding is off, or postponed for now.

My husband, Steve is happy because all of the ‘say no to the dresses’ have been successfully returned and the credit card is tucked away….for now.

What is the take away? Stay positive, worry about what we can control, and turn off the tv after the Today Show.

For me, self quarantining is a great time to search out recipes to share! Technically, I should be offering immune boosting recipes, but today, since our restaurant choices are limited, I found some great ‘restaurant quality’ recipes to share. Check this twist on chicken Parm from Cuisine Magazine!

Chicken Parmesan Roulades 

with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Caesar Salad

For the¬†roulades‚ÄĒ

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves pounded thin (6 oz. each)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella sticks cut into eight, 2″ long pieces

For the coating—

  • 1 C. panic bread crumbs (I use Italian blend)
  • 1 C. Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 T. minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C. olive oil

For the¬†sauce‚ÄĒ

  • 1 C. chopped onions
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 3 C. cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
  • Salt to taste

serve WiTh:

Caesar Salad, 
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400* & coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  • Halve the chicken for the roulades.
  • Season & roll each with a piece of mozzarella.
  • Combine panko, Parmesan cheese & parsley
  • Dredge roulades in flour, dip in egg and coat in panko mixture.
  • Roast in the oven 10 min.
  • Saut√©s in skillet with 2T olive oil

FOR THE SAUCE:

Saute onions and pepper flakes in a sauce pan 2-3 min.

Stir in tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened 8-10 min.

Season with basal and salt.

TO SERVE:

Place roulade on top of Caesar salad, spoon tomato sauce on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

CAESAR SALAD

Makes 10 cups; Total time: 15 minutes

Mash TogeTher:

11/2 t. garlic, minced
1/4 t. kosher salt

Whisk in:
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated 2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. mayonnaise
1 t. anchovy paste
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Toss WiTh:
10 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

Mash garlic and salt together with the flat side of a knife blade until it forms a paste,  Whisk remaining ingredients together with the garlic paste until combined. Toss the romaine with the dressing just before serving.

Dear Friends,

I hope you enjoy today’s recipe. Shortcuts work….use jar sauce and store bought dressing…it’s all good.

Every day my daughter FaceTimes me with our 18 month old grandson doing everything from dying spaghetti noodles to finger-painting cards and mailing them to family members. Working full time from home and being so resourceful, I marvel at her positive outlook and commitment.

It’s a lesson. Without being preachy and trite….cheers to health and watching out for each other while doing the right thing…..Stay home….Stay healthy.

ūüć∑Laura

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Turkey Burgers with a (huge) Splash of Teriyaki

My search to spice up everyday meals have two requirements….they have to be super quick and super flavorful. This great recipe for a juicy and delicious turkey burger tickled my fancy.

I loved the combo with the pineapple, but it turned the bun into huge mess. My Steve wasn‚Äôt a huge fan of the pineapple, so he ate it on the side wrapped in a lettuce bun. I also went a little crazy with the Soy Vey Very Teriyaki, actually a lot crazy….the whole bottle at the end. LOVED IT!

TERIYAKI TURKEY BURGERS with GRILLED PINEAPPLE

Makes 4 burgers


COMBINE: 

  • 1 egg¬†
  • 1/2 ¬†cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 ¬†cup diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic¬†
  • 4 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, divided¬†
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder¬†
  • 1 lb. ground turkey¬†

GRILL: 

  • 8 oz. sliced fresh pineapple or 1 can (8 oz.), drained¬†
  • 4 hamburger buns, split, buttered, and toasted¬†(I recommend wrapping in lettuce)
  • Green leaf lettuce¬†
  • Teriyaki sauce, (Soy Vey Very Teriyaki)¬†
  • Preheat grill to medium.
  • Combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce, and onion powder in a bowl. Add turkey and mix until combined; shape¬†
  • Baste patties with remaining 2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (or the rest of the bottle) during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Grill pineapple slices until grill marks appear, 3‚Äď4 minutes per side. Assemble burgers on buns with lettuce, or wrap in lettuce, pineapple, and additional teriyaki sauce.¬†

Dear Friends,

As summer draws toooo quickly to a close, I hope to keep my grill running as long as I can, filling my days with family, friends and yummy cocktails!

I saw a cute saying for this time of year….”Keep your pumpkin spice away from my margarita!” I like it and am happy to wait for cool fall nights….so until then….

ūüćĻCheers! Laura

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Sheet Pan Eggplant Parm?? Easy and Cheezy? Oh yea!

Salad…..my favorite comfort food of summer, but anything fresh from the garden and smothered in cheese….now we’re talking! Summer’s bounty of eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes give rise to delicious and healthy twists on most loved recipes….like one of my faves, eggplant Parmesan!

This sheet pan eggplant parm is a super easy and flavorful without all the fuss and fat of the original version. Give it a try…..

SHEET PAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil or spray olive oil
  • 3 C. marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or fresh
  • julienned fresh basil, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the sliced eggplant in a single layer onto paper towels. Lightly salt the eggplant and let it sit for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant, salt the other side, and let sit for another 15 minutes.  Rince the eggplant with water and pat dry with clean paper towels. (This step is optional)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  
  3. Combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder in a shallow dish.  In a separate dish, lightly beat the eggs with the water.
  4. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg and then the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcumbs onto the eggplant to evenly coat both sides.
  5. Spray a foil-lined sheet pan with the olive oil.
  6. Place the breaded eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip the slices, then bake for an additional 10 minutes on the other side. Spoon sauce onto each slice and top with shredded or fresh mozzorella cheese.  
  8. Return to the oven and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Top with fresh basil right before serving.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! I know it’s been awhile, but I hope to share more regularly!

Enjoy this delicious dish!

Cheers to celebrating summer!

ūüć∑Laura

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Brown Bananas Again? Try this Delicious Banana Cookie Recipe!

Banana Cookies

When the kids come to visit, we always have leftover bananas. Try this delicious twist on the usual banana bread or cupcakes…..Banana Cookies! Soft, chewy and delicious. You may make them before the kids arrive!

Banana Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ripe smashed banana 
  • 3.4 oz package banana cream instant pudding mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350*F
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.
  • Combine butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer.  Add banana, dry pudding mix and the eggs, then mix together until smooth.
  • Combine dry ingredients into the mixing bowl with banana mixture.
  • Add the white chocolate chips.
  • Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking pan.
  • Bake at 350*F for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
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Oakes Farms Meets Naples Home Cooks: From Seed to Our Table

The next time you find yourself standing in a grocery store, and some guy with a camera loudly asks if there are any home cooks around, and you are the only person there, I say, GO FOR IT!

This happened, and my dream of becoming a Food Network Star was at my fingertips…well, sort of.

What started as a plan to cook a quiet dinner, soon blossomed into an incredible cocktail party with our amazing friends pitching in, all the while our PR guy, Larry from TellYourVision.Net, filmed us from start to finish!

Check out our commercial here!

And, here is the recipe you have all been waiting for!

STEVE’S PAN FRIED FLORIDA GROUPER BITESfullsizeoutput_13cae

INGREDIENTS:

‚ÄĘ1 lb fresh Wild Florida Grouper Fillets, washed & patted dry

‚ÄĘ2 organic eggs, beaten

‚ÄĘ2 C. Cheez-it crackers ground fine

‚ÄĘ2 C. Parmesan cheese grated

‚ÄĘ1/2 C. Organic Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:

‚ÄĘIn a food processor, blend Cheez-it crackers with the parmesan cheese.

‚ÄĘCut the grouper into 1‚ÄĚ bite size pieces.

‚ÄĘHeat the oil over medium high heat.

‚ÄĘDip each fillet in egg and toss in the cracker/cheese mixture to coat.

‚ÄĘPlace each fillet into the hot oil taking care not to over crowd the fish.

‚ÄĘCook for 3-4 min. per side until golden brown.

‚ÄĘRemove and serve immediately with your favorite tarter sauce, cocktail sauce or mustard sauce.

Dear Friends,
Thanks for swinging by! Stay tuned in the next few weeks for more great recipes and entertaining ideas from our Naples friends.
Cheers to sharing celebrations with love.
Laura

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Heirloom or Clutter…+ A New Twist on an Old Favorite…Chicken Parmesan as a muffin!

Happy New Year, everyone!! I have a new dilemma to share!

I know it’s really great that there are things so special to you that you want to pass them along to your children and grandchildren‚Ķ.but seriously‚Ķ..you have to think, ‚ÄúWill they want this shit?‚ÄĚ

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Take, for example, the Lenox bird collection, that I know was an expensive bite out of the budget that my husband provided for his mom….I just spent an entire afternoon, matching each bird to the corresponding certificate of authenticity, photographing, and listing them on Ebay. I sold one, but by the time I packed it and shipped it, I lost money.

Kathy, a very close friend of mine offered me $25.00 for all of them so that her husband can use them as target practice for a gun he purchased recently. Tempting. I can’t help but thinking that someone out there appreciates these dust collecting birdies.

Moving Steve‚Äôs mom into an assisted living facility was quite the undertaking, especially as her daughter-in-law….I was given the dubious job of sorting through countless pairs of stockings, some still in the original package, hair ties and bows, denture boxes, and an assortment of long forgotten treasures packed away for safe keeping. Year after year, I would go to the dollar store for holiday bags and have Salina pack up these treasures as gifts, but she didn’t want to part with anything. You really have no idea‚Ķ.So for now, I’m stuck with these birds…lots of them.

My parents, at 89 and 91, have kept those special to them in a super organized way. When I visit, I love how my mom is always trying to give me her things. Although they take great pleasure in sharing, I want my mom and dad to keep and enjoy the memories they bring, rather than taking them away. I also know that the beautiful and valuable belongings of my parents are far from junk and someday will value and cherish the sentiment and memories.

On a return flight from Cancun,¬†I vividly recall the pilot saying, “I hope you enjoyed your vacation and have carefully packed all of your souvenirs that will be at your garage sale someday.” So….note to self….Only buy and keep what gives you pleasure and let it go when it no longer has meaning.

Speaking of giving pleasure, I found this twist on an old favorite. Get ready for this delicious and EASY twist on your favorite Chicken Parmesan recipe!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ¬Ĺ lbs raw ground chicken breast or turkey.processor and run until ground)
  • 2 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons¬†panko or breadcrumbs
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†dried basil
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†dried thyme
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¬Ĺ a small finely chopped onion
  • ¬ĺ teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon¬†black pepper
  • ¬ĺ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¬ĺ cup pasta sauce
  • ¬ĺ cup reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Optional: dried parsley, oregano or basil for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, egg whites, breadcrumbs, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and lightly mix together. Do not over handle.
  3. Form the meat mixture evenly into the 12 cups of your prepared muffin tin. Spread the pasta sauce evenly over the tops of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. Top each muffin with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish if desired.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by! Whether you are stuck indoors watching the snow, or reading this poolside, I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and these great finds!

Until next time…

Cheers to cherished memories, both old and new!

ūü•āLaura

CELEBRATION + SUNSETS SHOPPING

Those of you who know me know that I am OBSESSED with anything NINJA! Check out the latest!…

Ninja Foodi 1400-Watt Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker, Steamer & Air Fryer w/ TenderCrisp Technology, Pressure & Crisping Lid, 6.5 Qt Pot (OP301), Black/Gray by Ninja $229.00 + FREE SHIPPING!

Ninja Foodi Complete Cookbook For Beginners: 150 Amazingly Easy and Delicious Recipes to Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Dehydrate, and More with Your Ninja Foodi. 2019 Paperback ‚Äď November 20, 2018 $13.49 or for your Kindle $4.99

ninja cookbook

4 PC Instant Pot Accessories Pressure Cooker Ninja Accessories with Egg Bite Mold, and Trivet $25.95 + FREE SHIPPING!

ninja instant pot accessories

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Gifts from the Garden…Yes Please!

I¬†have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..

So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.

My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are ūüėė and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.

ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS

Makes 4 servings 

SHRED:

  • 4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
  • 1/2¬†C.¬†shredded onion
  • 1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

WHISK:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning¬†
  • 1/2¬†tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)

HEAT:

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

ASSEMBLE:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced¬†1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe‚Äôs‚Ķcheap + fresh)
  • Basil sprigs

Shred zucchini and onion

Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco. 

Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella. 

Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

Assemble Napoleons by layering

  • fresh mozzarella slice
  • a tomato slice
  • 2 T. pesto¬†
  • ¬†Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig;¬†serve immediately¬†

Dear Friends,

Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.

Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals¬†in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.

Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…

ūüćłLaura

PS..Check out my latest obsessions…

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My Comfort Food Falling Out

For some reason, we are convinced that with the onset of fall and winter, we should be eating comfort food…delicious, stick to the ribs (and everywhere else)…filling, satisfying, fattening food. Then comes spring and we wonder why our shorts don’t fit and our feet have gone up a half size.¬†

Try a bowl of shepherds pie laced with buttery mashed potatoes or how about a nice slice of mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf? These are truly amazing. 

So, my question is this: Is it comfort food season, or are we stress eating because it will soon be snowy and cloudy for the next six months??

If I sound like a bah humbug about fall and winter, it’s no accident. That being the case, I have made a diligent attempt to find seasonal recipes that limit the fat but keep the comfort.

And by the way, shortcuts of all kinds in my recipes are more than acceptable. Trader Joe’s is stocked with affordable and organic choices for meal prep goodies. Costco is another great place if you are feeding a large crowd.¬†

PS…I will absolutely post those amazing comfort food recipes as well. No reason not to…

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH PORT VINAIGRETTE

FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • 1 Butternut Squash, cut in small pieces
  • 8 shallots, peeled, halved
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Sprinkle of onion salt (I like the Trader Joe’s)

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

FOR THE SALADS

BUILD EACH SALAD WITH

  1. 1 cup spring mix salad greens
  2. Roasted butternut squash and shallots
  3. 2 T. Port Vinaigrette
  4. 2 T. crumbled blue cheese
  5. 2 T. toasted walnut pieces

 

Preheat the oven to 450¬į.

Toss the butternut squash and shallots in olive oil in a large roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with onion salt (or sea salt).

Roast in the lower oven for 15 minutes.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

Combine vinegar, honey, port, ginger, and rosemary. Pour this syrup over the roasting squash and return the pan to the oven; roast for 10 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer squash and shallots to a bowl.

Pour syrup into a measuring cup and whisk in enough oil to make 11/4 cups vinaigrette, season, and set aside.

 

Build each salad starting with greens.

Top with squash and shallots, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

*If you aren’t a fan of butternut squash, try using pears for a delicious twist. Roast them or use them sliced raw.

Dear Friends,

Sorry it has been so long. Summer has taken me away from my computer but I am back to share.

Always on a search for delicious EASY winners and I am happy to search for ones you are looking for. Email or send a txt.

Cheers to celebrating simple things every day and cherishing friends and loved ones.

ūüć∑¬†Laura

PS…Check out my latest Trader Joe’s obsessions! Just one click away!

 

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Cook with it, mix it with your peanut butter, or use it on your skin! I can’t get enough of this!

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This is a staple if you entertain! Mix it with cream cheese + serve with crackers for an easy and delicious appetizer!

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Keep this by your sink and wear it every day to help keep those wrinkles away!

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Gallery

Get in the Swim!

Have a pool close by? Looking for a great low impact workout? Water jog! Grab some water weights, a few friends, and pump those weights while you run back and forth to your favorite tunes!

It’s all good….get some vitamin D, burn calories and tone those muscles. These low impact moves keep your muscles toned without putting stress on your joints.¬†

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If you are looking for some aqua fitness videos…..

Check out this Aqua Fit Workout with your new gear!!

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Dear Friends,

Thanks for swinging by and I hope you grab some of these ideas and head to the pool.

Cheers to summer, sunshine and staying healthy!

ūüć∑Laura

 

Gallery

This BLT Salad will be a Mother’s Day Favorite!

If you are looking for a great salad to add to your picnic for Mom’s Day, graduation, or just a get-together, try this BLT Salad…..all the flavors of that favorite ¬†bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a bowl! Simple and delicious!

BLT PASTA SALAD

with

Creamy Bacon Dressing

 

To keep the dressing from curdling, be sure to cool the bacon drippings to room temperature before adding to the mayonnaise.

Makes 20 servings 

COOK:

1 lb. dry campanelle pasta
1 lb. thick-sliced bacon, diced

WHISK:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp.sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

STIR IN:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce 4 cups halved grape tomatoes

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Transfer pasta to a bowl of ice water; drain well.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper- towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 Tbsp. drippings; set aside to cool.Whisk together mayonnaise, reserved drippings, shallots, basil, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Stir in pasta, romaine, tomatoes, and bacon; toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Dear Friends! I hope you enjoy this delicious salad! This year, I used medium sized ball jars for individual servings….they looked super cute on the table, and made serving easy (the best!).

This year will be my daughter, Jodi’s, first “Almost A Mom’s Day!” They are deciding what to name the baby, and I’m trying to decide what the baby will call Steve and I.¬†

Check out some of my fun finds! As always, thanks for swinging by and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Cheers! Laura

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Gallery

To Cook or Not to Cook….That is the ???

Well, as they say, “When in Rome…,” but in Naples…….Florida, it’s great fun to do as the Naples’ Floridians do….enjoy¬†dining out on Fifth Avenue South! The epicurean choices are so incredible that dining in doesn’t always cut it. I try to justify it to myself, and Steve, by convincingly insisting that amazing meal ideas can be born from amazing restaurants.¬†

Actually, it’s devastating…..(slightly dramatic, I know) to eat a mediocre meal in a restaurant and know that you can have a much better dinner at home. Dining out is a treat and I’m committed to duplicating and sharing some of my faves from my recent travels to Naples, Florida.

Sea Salt is one of our favorites and the chef  nailed it on creativity and taste with his Caesar Salad Sushi Bites.

CAESAR SALAD SUSHI BITES

The first time I made these, I over filled them. Less is more, so that they are able to roll up and sit on the plate for a delicious presentation.

Caesar Salad Sushi Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 romaine leaves
  • Caesar Dressing (store bought or home made)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Small jar of red lumpfish caviar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash, dry and lay each romaine leaf flat.
  2. Spread 1 T on each leaf.
  3. Sprinkle 2 T Parmesan cheese on each leaf.
  4. Carefully and tightly roll each romaine leaf up lengthwise.
  5. Cut off loose ends and and slice evenly down the middle. (Each leaf makes 2 rolls)
  6. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  7. Turn each ‘sushi roll’ flat and top with 1/2 t. dressing and a sprinkle of caviar.
  8. Serve with chopsticks!

CAESAR SALAD DRESSING

Combine + Serve
  • 6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced.
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • Lemon juice, for seasoning.
  • Minced anchovy fillets, optional.

One of the new kids on the block in downtown Naples is The Bevy; a delightful, open air restaurant featuring a living wall, beautiful bar and a retractable skylight ceiling. The food and drinks here insight the senses with every sip and bite.

Steve was more than delighted with his appetizer of Deviled Oysters which include yellow conrmeal oysters, deviled eggs and candied bacon. fullsizeoutput_4113

Our friend, Bob, loved his craft cocktail, The Cedar Fire Old Fashioned which features bastille 1789 whiskey, orange bitters, maples syrup, smoked glass and candied bacon.

 

DEVILED EGGS

DEVILED EGGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot¬†or¬†onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil the eggs in water 10-12 min.
  2. Peal the eggs, cut the in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.
  3. Mash yolks with mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Tabasco, salt, pepper. (For finer consistency, place in a food processor.
  4. 4 Pipe or spoon mixture into egg white halves: Pipe through a piping bag (star tip) or simply use a spoon to put the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. 
  5. Serve as is, or top with your favorite toppings: candied bacon, smoked salmon, caviar, jalape√Īo

CANDIED BACON

CANDIED BACON

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Mix brown sugar, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place bacon slices on cooling rack set over a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn slices, and bake another 5 minutes.

 

 

CORNMEAL FRIED OYSTERS

  • Heat deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Combine cornmeal, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, black pepper and seasoned salt in a large plastic bag.
  • Place oysters in bag and shake until well coated.
  • Cook oysters¬†3 or 4 at a time in hot oil.

 

Dear Friends,

Recently I read a great article on happiness……stating simply that: if your happiness depends on just one thing, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. So, for example, if your happiness depends on sunshine and warm weather, and you live in Northeast Ohio, many of your days will be unhappy. In sunny Naples, Florida, even when it’s chilly, the sunshines which is a blessing.

Walking in sunshine and sharing delicious recipes are two of my favorite things, so thank you for swinging by and I hope you enjoy these nuggets of yum! Be sure to check out some of my fun finds in The Sunshine Shop!

Until¬†next time…

ūüćĻCheers!¬†Laura

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Gallery

WHAT??? Our Dogs are ingesting remains of euthanized dogs????

I could not believe my eyes when I recently read, with horror, that the FOOD and TREATS we give our dogs from certain companies, JL Smucker to be exact, are contaminated with the remains of euthanized dogs….

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?? We place so much trust in companies who supply food and nutrients to our babies, our pets,¬† and ourselves that something like this is incomprehensible! What astounds me more, is the passing off of responsibility, or actually, the irresponsibility of these companies. I’m not sure how the purchase of products used in these foods don’t have additional quality control by these manufacturers…..oh yea….more overhead and less profit…

Gone are the days when we had Ralph Nader and his “Nader’s Raiders,” would expose these kinds of atrocities. Have we resigned to take for granted that companies protect our interests and actually care about the quality of the goods and services they provide?

The J.M. Smucker Company, famous for Smuckers Jam, has responded to this report by issuing a voluntary recall of the tainted pet foods. Pet food with the labels Gravy Train, Ol’Roy, Kibbles N’ Bits, or Skippy Premium, can be returned to the store for a full refund. The FDA asked pet stores to stop selling these brands immediately. The same goes for the dog food brand Against the Grain, which also issued a recall last week for the same concern.

For a complete list of Smucker’s products, CLICK HERE.

For those of us who love to cook AND consider our pets family members, I think that preparing homemade meals for them is a great idea!

My dear friend, Gina, has a 16-year-old doggie named Jackie who is soon to be 17! Her secret to Jackie’s long and happy life is her private chef….her mommy, Gina! Here is Gina’s recipe for Jackie’s delicious 16th birthday cake and a few other nutritious doggie recipes…homemade, delicious and vet approved. Homemade doggie meals must contain protein, fiber and carbohydrates. It is always a good idea to ask your vet about necessary supplements¬†as well.¬† Enjoy!

GINA’S DOGGY BIRTHDAY CAKE¬†

CELEBRATIONS AND SUNSETS DOGGIE CAKE

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots¬† I used 1 cup applesauce instead
  • 1 cup whole wheat or white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Add all ingredients to list

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 6 cup ring mold.
  2. Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil, vanilla, and honey, if desired, in a large bowl; blend well. Stir in the carrots and mix thoroughly. Sift together the flour and baking soda and fold into the carrot mixture. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes; then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

SCOOBY’S ORGANIC FOOD FOR DOGS¬†(Pinterest)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into 6 pieces each
  • 2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, carrots)

Instructions

  1. Place ingredients in slow cooker in order listed, covering chicken completely with vegetables
  2. Cook 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low
  3. Remove from slow cooker, shred chicken and stir into rice and veggie mixture until evenly distributed.
  4. Store covered in fridge for up to three days or freeze in single-serve portions.

DOGGIE STEW(From Damn Delicious)

“This recipe has a balance of 50% protein, 25% veggies and 25% grains, but the ratios can easily be adjusted to suit your pup‚Äôs breed and/or needs.”

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large saucepan of 3 cups water, cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the turkey as it cooks.
  3. Stir in spinach, carrots, zucchini, peas and brown rice until the spinach has wilted and the mixture is heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely.

Dear Friends,

As always, thanks for swinging by! I wanted to share this important information with all of my pet loving friends. I have been so fortunate to have had 16 years with my dog, Britty, but after this recall, I wonder just how long our pups can live with real food…

IMG_0048

 

 

Cheers to the pets who give us so much unconditional happiness and love.

ūüíēLaura

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