Category Archives: Uncategorized

Epic dinner fail for the win!

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So it’s been a couple years since I last blogged. Well, I’m baaaack! Quite honestly I missed it. So you ask, why did I stop? I got caught up in the what if it’s not perfect? I don’t have time to make it perfect! No one reads them anyway, right?! This is what stops so many writers from living their dream (I know I’m not alone here).

I don’t necessarily want to be a writer but blogging brings me joy, food brings me joy, and sharing those things makes me happy. So here I am, doing what I makes me happy.
So, the title… I had planned on making Balsamic Chicken tonight, and making that my returning blog post. Well, guess who forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer? Guilty as charged! I don’t like defrosting chicken in the microwave; it’s a personal preference. And the warm water thing was taking too long.

So I needed an alternative….and a fast one as it was already 6:15 pm! I thought about the good ole standby, breakfast for dinner. Yeah, been there, done that. I needed something quick and filling as I have a hungry crew. 💡 Frittata!! That’s it, I’m going to make a frittata! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve made one.  Oh, but what to put in it?

Since it’s been so long I needed a little help. So, I found a basic recipe here. For my veggies I decided on onion, baby bella’s and spinach. My son asked if there was going to be meat in it so I used a package of sausage I had in the freezer.

Here’s how I made it. I put about 3 Tbsp. olive oil in my skillet over med/high heat. After it began to warm I added the diced onion and bella’s.

While they were sautéing I cooked the sausage in the microwave (all 6 from the package) and then diced them in large pieces.  I also cracked 8 eggs, added salt and pepper and lightly beat them as per the recipe.

Once the onion/bella’s were soft I added the spinach; I just added a couple handfuls.  After that had cooked down I added the sausage, dried parsley and garlic powder. I gave the group a quick stir so everyone got to know each other.
Next, I poured the egg in, and as per the recipe directions gave it a stir then waited for it to pull away from the sides of the pan. After that it was into my 350 * oven for 15 minutes. Then voilá (sort of) dinner was ready!

Yes, I have to put the oven mitt on the hot handle or I forget that it’s hot. Yes, I learned this the hard way.

So that’s it! I hope you decide to make a frittata soon as it was a big hit here. If so, please share what ingredients you used.

One last note: the recipe calls for milk. Since I’m dairy free I just left it out. So, what’s for dinner at your house?

 

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Sometimes a dinner blog….isn’t

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Everyone loves dinner for breakfast every once in a while. So here’s a guest post from my sis on a really yummy Paleo pancake! Enjoy!
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Hi everyone!  It’s Marissa, guest blogger and Penni’s sister.

My husband has been on a pancake and waffle spree, but I’m not much into either made with regular flour.  Today I decided to go for a Paleo Pancake, and since I simply can never make a recipe exact, I’ll tell you what I was basing my recipe on, and what I did!

Here’s the original recipe and instructions, courtesy of Civilized Caveman Cooking:

http://civilizedcavemancooking.com/breakfast/perfect-paleo-pancakes/

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup nut butter, I prefer almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat a skillet to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Combine all of your ingredients in your blendtech, blender, or food processor and mix well until you have a batter
  3. Grease your skillet with coconut oil and pour your batter making 3-4 inch pancakes
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes per side and then flip for 2-3 minutes
  5. Serve topped with some grass fed butter or topping of your choice
  6. Enjoy

I’m currently doing The 21 Day Fix (more info below) so I wanted the recipe to work for my food needs for the day.  Here’s what I did:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp almond butter
  • About ½ teaspoon cinnamon, could’ve used more

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I was thinking this would be for breakfast today and save the extras for another breakfast, and (FYI 21 Day Fixers) that it would be 1 red, 1 purple, 2 tsp.

I used my food processor to mix it, and a griddle on my stove top.

It ended up making 9 pancakes!!  I had 3 this morning, plain, nothing on them.  I have 2 sets for future breakfasts.

They were awesome!!

Next time I make them, when I’m not doing the 21 Day Fix, I will likely try the Civilized Caveman recipe and see how they compare.  I’d love to try my recipe with more nut butter, too!

enjoy!!

FYI:  The 21 Day Fix is a health and fitness program, 21 Days, 30 minute workouts, portion controlled healthy eating.  For more info, please feel free to email me at marissaq@icloud.com.

My Favorite Tuna Melt of ALL TIME!

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tuna meltOK, so the title might be an exaggeration.  I do love tuna melts, always have.  So does my son, he asks for them at least once a week.  No, not my daughter, she wouldn’t eat a tuna melt if it was the last meal available!

He would ask for it more often if we could figure out a way to bring it to school for lunch; keeping it warm and intact, of course.  Sadly, I thought I would have to give up this fantastic taste combination when I went gluten and grain free.

This summer I found a way to enjoy them, and it includes one of summers best treats (at least here in PA and NJ)…. tomatoes! It struck me, why can’t I put the tomato UNDER the tuna, instead of on top!  Genius! (OK, I know there’s someone out there that has probably already thought of this, but let me pretend to be a genius, at least for this blog post).

One day after my in-laws dropped off some tomatoes fresh from their garden, I tried it, and oh how yummy it was! Simply place your dollop of tuna on top of a tomato slice, then top with Swiss cheese.  I heat mine in the toaster oven set at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

If I ever had leftover bacon from breakfast I would put that under the cheese.  But, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, there is never any leftover bacon after breakfast!

I”m getting hungry just thinking about it! But sadly since tomato season is over, I will have to wait until next summer to enjoy.  If you are lucky enough to live in a climate that produces fresh tomatoes year round I am truly jealous.  Please eat one for me!

What’s for dinner (or lunch) at your house?

Dessert and A Guest Blogger!

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apple cakeHi everyone!  I’m Penni’s sister, Marissa, and am happy to contribute a recipe that we adapted to be gluten free/grain free.

Here’s the original recipe and instructions (which was recently being shared on FB):

One Bowl Apple Cake – This cake is so moist and rich and just perfect for this time of year. (and easy to make!)

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil 6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil. Peel and slice the apples and add to mixture in bowl (coating as you go to keep apples from turning brown.) Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl. Mix well (best with a fork) until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients. Pour mixture into a greased one 9×13 or two 9″ round pans. Bake for approximately 55 minutes.

I simply can’t make a recipe exactly following directions anyway, so it was fun to convert this.  And I couldn’t imagine making this without using some brown sugar, so that was one of our changes.  Here’s our new gluten free/grain free recipe:

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup  sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil (we used olive oil)
6 medium Gala or Fuji or Honey Crisp apples (we used some Honey Crisp, some ???)
2 cups all almond flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

We followed the rest of the directions (but added some small chunks of butter to the top), baking ours in a 9×13 pyrex pan.   The ‘cake’ tasted great!! Definitely didn’t have a cake consistency though, maybe more of a wet crisp?  Perhaps next time we’ll use a thickener and maybe some more almond flour.  It was definitely worth making, and worth making again!  Hope you like it!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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WW chix dinIf you’re like me you’re always looking for a new way to prepare chicken. Let’s face it, chicken is a great lean protein, but after a while it can get really boring to eat. As a matter of fact I went through a period of almost 5 years where I didn’t eat chicken at all! I was that sick and tired of eating it. So earlier this week I was trying to decide what to prepare for dinner. I had some chicken breast tenders in the fridge (Nature’s Promise tenders were on sale when we were shopping). I started looking through my cabinets and decided to concoct a one pan meal made with the chicken, artichoke hearts, sliced black olives and diced tomatoes.

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Well, it turned out delicious! Luckily there was some leftover and believe it or not I ate it for breakfast…..yum! I decided to go with a more Mexican flavor and used Adobo in place of typical Italian herbs. This is an easy, quick, one pan meal, here’s how I did it.

WW Chicken Dinner

1 lb. chicken tenders (or diced chicken)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 small can sliced jalapeno infused black olives, drained
2 cans of diced tomatoes (I prefer Hunt’s no salt added)
Adobo seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and sauté in a pan with coconut oil (or olive oil). Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and simmer until hot. Adjust seasoning to taste.

I ate this with a side of smashed cauliflower and it was delicious! Let me know if you like it. What’s for dinner at your house?

I never liked meatballs until…..

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Raw meatballsI never liked meatballs. For as long as I can remember I don’t have any recollection of saying “I’d really love a meatball!” My son, of course, loves meatballs. So one day a few years ago I decided to make them myself. I asked family members, looked up recipes on the internet, and decided to “Go for the Gold”. It wasn’t until I made my own that I realized I like them. I’m guessing this is because I control the ingredients and amounts of these ingredients. I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite food, but the ones I make are quite delicious. First of all they are gluten free so I don’t use any bread or bread crumbs. You may be questioning “how do they stay together?” Simple, eggs. Secondly, I add vegetables to them, specifically portabella mushrooms and spinach. This is for two reasons: one, it forces my family to eat vegetables; two, it keeps the meatballs moist and tasty.

So tonight I made meatballs. With what you ask? Well, since pasta is one of the only 3 things my daugher likes to eat, and I can’t eat gluten and didn’t feel like having gluten free pasta, here’s how I served up tonights dinner to satisfy everyone’s tastes. I sauteed sliced portabella mushrooms, green and red peppers, sliced red onion (each slice cut in 4), a crushed clove of garlic and half of a diced hot pepper in olive oil. After it was a little tender I added some tomato sauce and lowered the heat until we were ready to eat. I make my own tomato sauce and freeze it in quart bags. I made capellini pasta for my kids and husband. They ate the meatballs with pasta, sauce and fresh grated parmesan cheese. I ate the meatballs with the sautee’d vegetables, sauce and fresh grated parmesan cheese. It was delicious.

I decided since I was going to the trouble of making them to begin with I should make a lot. I used 2 lbs. of meat and it made 68 meatballs. I’m hoping there’s some left to freeze for a night next week but I doubt it after the way my son tore into them. Anyway, if you’re looking for a gluten free meatball recipe, here’s the one I suggest:

Gluten Free Yummy Meatballs
■2 lbs. ground meat (I used 1 lb grass fed beef and 1 lb venison/pork)
■1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
■3/4 cup finely diced portabella mushrooms
■1/2 c. diced red onion
■2 tsp. dried parsley
■2 tsp. dried basil
■1 tsp. dried oregano
■4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely diced
■2 eggs
■1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
■salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. You can use your hands or a fork to combine them. Form into small balls and place on a cookie sheet (I prefer to use a baking stone/bar pan). Cook for 15 minutes. Makes approximately 68.

Note: To make them Paleo, eliminate the parmesan cheese.

Snowstorm? No French Toast Here!

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Homemade ChiliSo there’s a snow storm coming and I have to go to the store for…..limes. Yes, limes, for my Friday and Saturday night homemade skinny margaritas. While at the store I start thinking about dinner. What was I going to make? I’m racking my brain and I have no clue (I’ll blame the memory loss on a busy week). So while I’m walking around trying to find an onion dip without MSG I decide I want to make chili. Easy enough. I realize there is only one ingredient I don’t have….beans. Luckily I’m still at the store and I buy 2 cans of organic chili beans. I get home and have soup for lunch and decide shortly thereafter I need to start the chili. I put the dried chipolte’s in hot water and start dinner. I’ll post the recipe under the recipe tab. I taste tested it and it was good, but as with all chili it needed some time for the flavors to meld/blend/whatever you call it. Needless to say by the time my kids came home from school the house smelled REALLY good! Upon entering the house Mark (my son) said “MMMMM it smells good, what’s that?”. Before I could answer I heard him lift the lid to the pot. A couple hours later he was wolfing down his 2nd bowl……

Note: About the onion dip comment; I wanted to treat myself to potato chips and onion dip. I can’t eat regular onion dip because the ingredients either make me sick or make my son itchy. I usually buy Simply Organic French Onion Dip (it’s in a packet) but I couldn’t find it. So I proceeded to check every packet and container of onion dip in the store. They all either contained wheat, MSG, and/or a corn sweetener. Big bummer! I settled on Kettle Brand Sweet Onion Potato chips. And yes, they were delicious!

Sunday Shopping and WINGS!!!

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Mmmmm wings :p

We have this little tradition, every Sunday we shop together as a family.  Yes, you read that correctly “together as a family”.  When we first moved in together we would sit down on Sunday’s, plan out the weeks meals, write our list (with the weekly circular in front of us) then shop together.  That was 1997! Now I plan the meals with input from my husband, our twins, the weekly circular and our weekly calendar (I affectionately refer to our calendar as our “Life”. If it isn’t on there, it isn’t happening!).  I’m also a huge fan of coupon matching.  If you’re not familiar with it it’s quite simple. In a nutshell, I go to a website (www.livefabuless.com) and go to the Coupons tab. I click the Coupon Matchups and viola!  there’s a list of stores with what’s on sale and where to find a coupon for it.  Pretty cool, huh!  I love this website for more than just coupon stuff, Jodi Furman is the brain child behind it and she is brilliant … check it out!  After the list is finished with everything else we need, I go to a coupon database (on the same website as above) and search for coupons on other items I need.  Check out her section on Un-clipping coupons, genius! 

So, now on to dinner. When I asked my family what they wanted to eat this week my daughter said “breakfast for dinner”, my son said “buffalo wings”.  I said “yes”.  I love wings (as does my husband and son) so I decided that tonight would be wings; I really didn’t feel like cooking and they’re easy enough.  Sadly, I can no longer order wings from the local (and convenient) pizza shop.  Since they cook them in the same oil as the breaded mushrooms/mozzarella sticks/food with gluten, they are not gluten free.  I found this out the hard way 😦  So homemade buffalo wings and homemade blue cheese for dipping was dinner tonight.  Luckily there’s just enough left for me to have for lunch tomorrow! Stay tuned to see what’s on the menu for the rest of the week.  What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

Breakfast for Dinner?!

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Breakfast for Dinner!

So Thursday’s activities leave very little time for dinner. I’m sure you have a day like this too.  Kids come home from school, do their homework and there’s barely over an hour to prepare and eat a meal.  In the past I have forgotten that the kids need time to eat their food. I would prepare a delicious dinner (of course they’re all delicious) and then realize that we have to leave, RIGHT NOW to be at practice/Cheernastics/a meeting/insert activity here.  Right now my daugher is taking Cheernastics at the Y.  It starts at 6. This is a VERY inconvenient time for me. We don’t usually eat dinner until around 6:30. If I waited until we were back from Cheernastics I wouldn’t start dinner until after 7. That does not work well with my kids 8pm bedtime.  So, my solution, breakfast for dinner!!! They love this, especially because they get to pick out what they want to eat.  My daughter almost always has cereal (and a yogurt/fruit/cottage cheese) and my son has an egg and cheese sandwich (actually 2 as one is not enough for my growing boy).  The picture above is before they gobbled up their dinner (sorry the quality isn’t quite up to par).  One problem, I can’t eat this early.  I’m just not hungry; mainly because I eat lunch around 2.  Tonights solution, leftovers! I’m going to have the leftover lemon chicken from the other night (lemon chicken will be another blog day, I promise).  Oh, I almost forgot about my husband (just kidding, he’s the easy one).  He really doesn’t care what he eats as long as there’s food to eat.  So tonight, if he doesn’t want lemon chicken, he’ll have his favorite….a peanut butter on toast sandwich! Jealous, aren’t you?!  What’s for dinner at your house?

The best laid plans……sometimes work!

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MMMMM!

MMMMM!

I usually plan my dinners around what’s on sale, or what I have in the freezer. This along with what we’re doing in the evening is how I come up with “what’s for dinner”. Today, the kids had haircuts at 4:15pm, which meant we’d be back around 5:30. We don’t usually eat until 6:30 but I still needed something easy and delicious. Luckily, eye roasts were on sale this week, so, tonights dinner was eye roast.

I usually season it with salt, pepper and sometimes garlic powder. Today I used a seasoning mix my husband received from a co-worker for Christmas. I could start cooking it right before we left, and it would be ready by 6ish. I put the roast in the oven at 3:55pm and set the timer for it to cook for 14 minutes (7 minutes per pound). The recipe I use has it sit for 2 hours (for a smaller roast). Perfect timing! I served it with sugar snap peas (thank you Birds Eye Steamfresh 🙂 ) and Barilla elbows (which, if you read my About page is one of the few things my daughter eats). She, and my son enjoyed them with sour cream. But that’s another blog post. What’s for dinner at your house?