Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tomato Caprese Turkey- Meatloaf

The idea for this post originally started as a burger.  Then I remembered I'm the worst griller ever and I switched to an easy bake option!  (If anyone tries this as a burger, please let me know, I'm sure it'll be delicious!!!)

Many of you have probably figured out that tomato caprese salad/ingredients are a staple in my house. I always have fresh basil, tomatoes and mozzarella on hand because this is so simple, quick, versatile and delicious to serve as the original or to turn into something new. 

Tomato Caprese Turkey- Meatloaf

1.25 lb lean ground turkey breast
1 egg
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup 
1/4 cup raw red onion
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS balsamic vinegar

8-10 basil leaves, grape tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls

Preheat oven to 350/ spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray

In a large bowl combine turkey breast, egg, bread crumbs, ketchup, onion, garlic and vinegar.  Using your hands combine all the ingredients until well incorporated. Take half the mixture and press into a loaf pan.

(Wash your hands) and arrange the caprese ingredients (I went tomato, cheese then basil) in a layer in the middle of the loaf.  
Using the remaining meat mixture cover the caprese and press, lightly, to make sure the entire loaf is sealed. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes (until meat thermometer registers 165 internal temp) and let set for 5 minutes before cooling. 

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and... 


Saturday, July 6, 2013


Growing up, the best summer days consisted of long days at the pool, a slushie from the snack shack, a glass of Mom's sun tea and a cold bowl of gazpacho for dinner. 

We always knew when gazpacho day was coming as the gigantic glass jar would make an appearance and when Dad got home from work he'd start chopping vegetables.  We always had to wait a day or two for it to "cook" (or marinate) but the wait was always worth it.

The only difference between my gazpacho and my dad's is that mine tends to always be the same where as dad can not make the same recipe twice (which is ok as I've never been disappointed by what he made!) You can also serve this with grilled chicken or a steak to make it a more balanced/heartier meal. 

(serves 6)
(based off my Dad's... kinda)

1 bottle (46 oz) V8 juice

1/2 small red onion

1/2 English cucumber
10 baby carrots
1 large bell pepper
4 stalks celery
1 clove garlic 

1 T worcestershire sauce
1 T white vinegar 
1 tsp lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste

Optional balsamic vinegar and croutons 

In a large bowl (with cover) pour in the entire bottle of V8 and add seasonings.  Chop vegetables into small bite size pieces and mince garlic (you could also use pre-minced garlic, 1 tsp) and add to the bowl.  Stir to combine, cover and set in the fridge for at least 8hours.  

When you serve add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and croutons. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kale Salad

As well all know, I like to eat and bake a lot of cookies.  I do cook a lot but I've yet to give someone a plate of cookies and hear "well, these taste good BUT I'd rather have some eggplant parm

The first time I tried kale, it was roasted and I wasn't impressed.  The second time, I held my reservations but wanted to be polite so I took a small helping.  And I'm glad I did!  

This salad is super easy, quick and more importantly delicious!  

Kale Salad
(original recipe shared by Julie and Kate) 
(serves 4)

1 bag pre-washed Kale (easily found at Trader Joe's)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 fresh lemon
1 avocado, chopped
1/4 raw red onion, chopped

(optional: chopped raw walnuts)


Wash kale and seperate the thicker stem pieces from the leaves.  Discard stems.

Put into large serving bowl. Massage olive oil into leaves kale, this is to taste but there shouldn't be any EVOO in the bottom of the bowl; a little oil goes a LONG way.  Add avocado and onion and mix together.  Squeeze lemon juice over salad 


(right now, Stella & Dot (/Julie) is offering a huge promotion with rewards cash good towards a July purchase.  Offer ends in June so HURRY and check it out :))

Monday, June 10, 2013

Frosted Sugar Cookies

You know those frosted sugar cookies you can find in the grocery store? The super soft ones that always have thematic frosting and sprinkles?

Those cookies are my favorite store brought cookie.  In true Megan fashion, I OF COURSE, had to make my own version.  Maria is the queen of cookies and I always check out her cookie recipes when I can't sleep, working hard to avoid being productive or, you know, at least once a week! 

Sally and I made these for her birthday a few weeks back and we were NOT disappointed.  

We third-Ed the original recipe and still managed to make almost two dozen ( perfect for a birthday treat!) I will definitely be makings here again (specifically because I want to use my dean and deluca sprinkles!) 

Soft "LoftHouse" Style Sugar Cookies
(From Maria (Two Peas)
Makes 2 dozen  

3C all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temperature)

1C sugar
1 large egg
1 t vanilla 
3/4C sour cream

For the Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Food coloring, optional

Sprinkles, optional

 In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Divide dough into two sections. Flatten into rectangles about 1½ inches thick, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats; set aside.
Lightly flour the countertop and the top of the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 minutes, until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Cook cookies completely before frosting.
While cookies cool, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, then beat at medium-high speed for a minute or two until light and fluffy. Add food coloring, if desired, and beat until combined.
Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles, if desired. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Roasted Chick Peas

Or... my accidental dinner. 

Seriously, I made these on a whim and while watching a movie, accidentally ate the entire pan!  

This recipe may be one of the easiest ones I have ever seen, made and posted.  I did take the extra time to peel all my chickpeas but it's a great small motor activity! 

(makes 2 cups/ from How Sweet Eats)

1 can chick peas (drained/rinsed)
Olive Oil Spray
Seasoning (I eyeballed sweet paprika, pepper and garlic salt)

Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Drain, rinse and shell chick peas. Dry thoroughly.  In a single layer arrange chick peas.  Spray with olive oil and sprinkle, evenly, with seasoning.

Bake 10 minutes, flip and bake an additional 10 minutes.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

I'm not a big fan of fish.  The scales, skin, eyes, smell usually gives me the heebie-jeebies.

That being said, I love tilapia.  Tilapia has a mild taste and you can usually find "clean" (ie minus all the things that freak me out!)  tilapia at the grocery store.  Because of the mild flavor, marinades/crusts for tilapia can easily be interchanged with chicken.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
(serves 6; recipe found on Pinterest)

1 cup parmasean (I used a mix of shave and powdered) 
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs parsley
dash red pepper flakes 
Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 400
Mix cheese and spices in a small bowl.  Once mixed, pour into a large plate. Coat fish with olive oil and cover in cheese mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes until fish is white in middle


Monday, April 22, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Pizza.  I've made my fair share of combinations and have tasted many others BUT sometimes, you get bored. Sometimes you need to switch it up the presentation and voila, this is what this is.

I first found this recipe on Pinterest and, of course, had to try it.  

It could not have been an easier recipe to follow and my four taste testers managed to eat an entire 9x11 dish in one sitting! (If that's not a positive review, I don't know what is!)

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole 

1 package uncooked spaghetti
1lb ground turkey burger (plus 1 TBS olive oil)
1 (26oz) jar tomato sauce
1/2 package pepperoni
1 (8oz) bag shredded cheese (I used an Italian 6 blend)

Preheat oven to 350* and spray a 9x11 casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and place in casserole dish.

In a large skillet brown the turkey burger in the olive oil.  Once cooked, pour on top of noodles in the casserole dish. Pour jar of sauce over the noodles and ground turkey.

In the same skillet used for the ground turkey, heat pepperoni for three to five minutes.  Place half of the pepperoni on top of sauce.  Cover the noodles, ground turkey, sauce and pepperoni with the cheese and sprinkle remaining pepperoni on top.  Spray one side of aluminum foil and cover casserole dish (spray side down)

Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Serve immediately.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Roasted Green Beans

Confession time, I do not like green beans.  

I'll eat a little bit if they're baked in mushroom soup and topped with fried onions.

But really, nope. Not a fan.

Enter these lovelies.

I first made these a few months back when I made a gourmet dinner for my brother and sister-in-law (they are fans of the "greenie- beanies") and I was shocked when I couldn't keep my hands off of them.

I have since made them three more times and every time I'm shocked by how good they are.


1 package "Haricots Verts" /french style green beans
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper and freshly crushed garlic
(other seasonings you prefer work too!)

Preheat oven to 400*.  Rinse green beans. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Toss green beans in olive oil and seasonings and arrange on baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until crisp.


**(In my experience I've found 1 package from Trader Joe's feeds 3 people)**
***(You MUST use the thinner French style bean, the other types contain too much water and do not crisp/roast) ***

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rum and Coke Gummies

This is for the adults (21+) who are really kids at heart.

The classic gummy colas are one of the candies that screams childhood, summer vacation and instantly brings back memories of VH1 music videos and MTV shows with drunken bikini clad girls and (equally drunk) boys with spiked bleached hair (oh late 90's/early 2000's... I miss you sooooo)

Sorry, distracted.

These gummies are a great mashup of childhood slamming into adulthood and it couldn't be any easier

Rum and Coke Gummies

1 bag Haribo gummy cola
1 pint of rum

In a large container, 9x 13 would be best, arrange gummies in a single layer.  Pour rum over gummies until completely submerged. (Depending on size of container, amount of gummies the amount of rum you need will vary)  

Let soak for 3-5 days and enjoy!

(**Gummies will swell as they soak up the rum**)

(I'd say these are perfect for Spring Break or a summer trip at the beach!)

(ALWAYS drink responsibly!)


Monday, March 18, 2013

Easter Cupcake Toppers

These are the cupcakes that make me the most proud!

I made them for Easter 2012 and I actually drew a picture outline of my idea!  
Talk about taking baking seriously!

Since my brother, sister-in-law and I all live in Chicago, my parents come to us to celebrate.  However, since we are no... old.. and there is a 6hr trip involved, we no longer get Easter baskets.  These cupcakes were the perfect compromise (and I don't think anyone realized the baskets were missing!!!!)

These cupcakes can be, easily, copied and I will  make them again in the future.

Cupcakes: I used a yellow mix from Elinor Kilvan's book: Cupcakes! (but you could use a box mix!)

Frosting: I did a vanilla cream cheese frosting because it is less sweet than butter cream.  

Bake the cupcakes and let the cupcakes cool COMPLETELY before frosting.  Refrigerate cupcakes for an hour or so to allow frosting to firm up.  This will make the decorating process much easier.

With a toothpick make a small hole in the cupcake and lightly push the Twizzler into the cupcake (only about a quarter of the way down) and then repeat on the other side.  It should look like a handle to a basket.  

Next, sprinkle colored sprinkles to the frosting.  

Add a couple of jelly beans (I used JellyBellies!) and add a chocolate egg (I had mini Resee's eggs and mini Cadbury eggs) 

And voila..  a perfect Easter Basket Cupcake


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chips Pancakes

I have a problem.

A pancake problem.

I LOVE pancakes.

I love to add fun things to my pancakes, like bananas, Nutella, peanutbutter, blueberries, and chocolate.

And I never top with maple syrup.  

I typically opt for peanutbutter or Nutella or even jelly. 

And fresh whipped cream. 

My recipe is simple enough
(Bisquick with unmeasured add ins)

And while this is delicious, sometimes you want to up the ante. 

And that's what I did here.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(makes about 12 pancakes)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 ground cloves
1/8 ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 egg
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  In a measuring cup measure out the buttermilk. Add the egg and lightly beat. Next, mix in the pumpkin puree until completely blended. Pour in the slightly cooled melted butter and mix some more.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should be a little lumpy.

Heat up your griddle (spray with nonstick spray OR melt a little butter on it) then pour batter on the warm griddle. (I use either a ¼ measuring cup OR a laddle to make even pancakes). 
Top each pancake with desired amount of chocolate chips.

Cook until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancake and then flip. Cook on opposite side for about 40 seconds, or until golden brown.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal

A few weeks ago while I was spending hours and hours on Pinterest, I came across a recipe for homemade granola bars.

The recipe sounded good, but, I figured treating it more like oatmeal would be absolutely delicious.  

I also realized I had cinnamon chips and raisins left over from another baking adventure and I really wanted to put the two together.  

You can of course substitute anything you'd like for the mix-ins: chocolate chips and dried fruit or just chocolate chips, go ahead.

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal
(inspired by Sugar Free Mom)
(makes 18-24 muffins)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 mashed banana
1/4 cup honey
5 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup chia seeds (or flax meal or skip this all together!)
1/2 TBS ground cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
1/2 cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350. Use two cupcake tins and line with liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana and honey. Add oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well to combine. Gradually add milk then add cinnamon chips and raisins, mix to combine.

Evenly pour mixture into muffin liners (about 2/3 full). And bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy now or refrigerate or freeze for later use.

*you can also pour into a pie tin and cut into wedges to serve*

**I sprinkled Trader Joe's Coffee, Cinnamon, Sugar and Chocolate grinder over the tops**

***to make this gluten free, make sure your oats are gluten free!***


Monday, February 18, 2013

Raspberry and Coconut Scones

Raspberry and Coconut.  I know it sounds strange but trust me. 

I originally got the idea from a blog I read that called for strawberries and strawberry glaze.  But being that I'm allergic to strawberries and I like to eat what I make, I opted for the raspberries I found at the grocery store (on sale!).

The coconut flavor isn't very strong in these which is why I went for a coconut glaze/frosting.  The coconut and flakes definitely helped the flavor pop!

Raspberry Coconut Scones
(makes 16 scones; adapted from Jessica)

1 pint raspberries, rinsed
3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter

1/4 cup (solid) coconut oil
1 tablespoon shredded coconut flakes
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place raspberries in  food processor and blend until smoooth and pureed. Pour into a large bowl and combine vanilla and coconut milk
In large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in coconut milk, raspberry puree and vanilla extract. Stir with a spoon until a dough forms, using your hands to bring it together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
Divide in half and pat into two 7-inch round circles. Brush each dough with melted butter. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges, or use a biscuit cutter to make rounds. Bake for 12-14 minutes (wedges) or 9-11 minutes (rounds). 
While scones are baking, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add coconut flakes stirring until well combined.  Add in powdered sugar and whisk until combined. 
Remove scones, let cool slightly, then dollop glaze on top of scones. 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies

I don't know how anyone could turn down cookie dough that looks like this:

That's right, there's chocolate dough, chocolate chips and two kinds of marshmallow.

And a slight hint of peppermint.

Hurry and make these, before the weather turns warm! 

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Cookies 
(slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats)
(makes 2 dozen cookies)

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Stir in marshmallow fluff.
Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Cover dough refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove, and roll into 1 1/2-inch balls.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Make sure cookies are fully cooked, because they will be very sticky from the marshmallows. Allow cookies to cool completely, even sticking them in the fridge for 15 minutes before removing from the baking sheet with a spatula. Gently remove cookies. Let cool another 30 minutes.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Toffee Blondies

Whoa!  Two posts in one week.  I know. I know.

I mentioned earlier that blondies are being heralded as a 2013 Food Trend (thanks Bon Appetite!) and I don't want you to feel left out of the trend!

These Toffee Blondies are delicious and reminded me of the Starbuck's Toffee Bars 

Toffee Blondies
(slightly adapted from my Funfetti Blondies)
(makes 9 bars)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup  Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds.  Allow butter to cool slightly. To the melted butter add the egg, sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine. 
Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined. Fold in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips (or a combination of your favorite kinds of chips) and toffee bits. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

Bake for 18 to 24 minutes, or until center is set and golden or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan, or a toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow blondies to cool completely in pan before slicing and serving, at least one hour.