Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bacon & Egg Crescent Wreath

Recently, I threw a winter-themed bridal shower brunch for my sister. I was looking for cute, but tasty foods to round out the menu and stumbled across this idea on Pinterest. While good for any season, the wreath shape fit my theme perfectly, was simple to make, and was a delicious hit with the guests.

1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls 
8 slices bacon, cooked
5 eggs, scrambled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scramble eggs on the stovetop.

On a cookie sheet or pizza pan, lay out the crescent rolls in a circle, with the thicker ends slightly overlapping (like a sunburst). Place a strip of bacon on each roll. (Tip: Though I am a crispy bacon-lover, when cooking your bacon, don't allow it to get too crisp to maintain flexibility.) Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese around the circular ring, on top of the bacon. Add scrambled eggs and top with another 1/3 of cheese. Fold over the ends of the crescents so that they meet in the middle, creating a wreath shape. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 17 minutes or until crescent is golden brown. Serve hot.

30 Fun Elf on the Shelf Ideas

If you haven’t discovered the popular Elf on the Shelf tradition yet, you are missing out! Mini elves are sent from the North Pole to keep an eye on little boys and girls during the holiday season, reporting back to Santa about behavior. Each night, the elf (named by your child) travels back to the North Pole to deliver his messages and sometimes gets into a little mischief upon his/her return. While there is some debate over whether or not the elves should cause mischief, do good deeds, or simply just move around, the choice is really yours.

Our elf, Jingles, was a huge hit this year and our kiddo is counting down the days to his return. He arrived the day after Thanksgiving and kept us entertained until Santa arrived on Christmas Eve night. If you’ve never experienced an Elf on the Shelf or just need some new schemes, here are 30 ideas to get you started.

1. Welcome letter with book
2. TP the Christmas tree
3. Caught in the cookie jar
4. Hang gliding
5. Hijack child's stocking
6. Pulling the topper off the Christmas tree

7. Gather food for a food drive 
8. Take a ride in a Barbie car
9. Movie night with a friend (don't forget the popcorn!)
10. Fishing for goldfish
11. Fill stocking with undies

12. Fill the advent calendar
13. Dress up in Mom's jewelry
14. Make a naughty/nice list
15. Leave a special gift (ours left a travel game the night before a trip)
16. Play video game

17. Fly in on a balloon 
18. Make a snow angel in sugar
19. Snack on a bowl of cereal
20. Read a Christmas book
21. Draw a picture on Mom's iPad

22. Sit on the Barbie toilet
23. Take a bubble bath
24. Clean the windows
25. Write a message in M&Ms
26. Drink syrup with a straw

27. Play dress-up with Barbie clothes 
28. Send a PNP video from Santa
29. Play a board game with friends
30. Wrap the toilet

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tuscan White Bean & Sausage Soup

While my family was fortunate not to sustain any major damage from Hurricane Sandy this week, we did lose power for three days. Luckily, we have a gas range, so I was still able to cook on my stove top  This soup was bursting with flavor and was the perfect dish to ride out the storm.

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage 
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt. chicken broth or stock
1 can (15-oz) diced tomatoes (with garlic and oregano)
1 can (15-oz) cannellini beans
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 lb. shell pasta
1 handful fresh baby spinach leaves
Parmesan cheese for topping

In a large saucepan, brown sausage over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add carrots, onion, and garlic. Sauté for about 7 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add broth, tomatoes, and beans. Stir in basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, cover, and simmer for 7-8 minutes, until pasta is cooked. Remove from heat and stir in spinach just until wilted. Serve hot and top with shredded Parmesan.

*Adapted from Feast on the Cheap

Perfect Pot Roast

I’ll admit it. I’m not the biggest roast fan. It’s always been a little dry and flavorless for my taste. Until now. This roast made me a believer.

2-4 lb. roast or round steak 
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup catsup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 tsp instant coffee
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika

Place roast in the bottom of a large crock pot. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low, 6-8 hours. Thinly slice and serve with remaining sauce.

*Adapted from and

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo and Grilled Chicken

Spice up a classic Alfredo dish with a hint of fall!

1 package cheese tortellini, prepared per package instructions
1 T butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

Prepare tortellini per package instructions, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Drain pasta and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in pumpkin, nutmeg, and onion powder. Cook for 1 minute. Stir in cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes (stirring frequently), until sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add sauce and reserved cooking water to cooked tortellini and toss. Top with grilled chicken.

*Adapted from Family Fresh Meals

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Cream Cheese Chili Dip

One of my fellow pregnant friends from high school pinned this recipe on Facebook the other day and it looked so good, I just had to try it out. It is definitely not the healthiest dish but perfect for Sunday Football. 

2 frozen chicken breasts
1 28 oz. container organic diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted green chilies
1 can fiesta corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
8 oz. cream cheese

Mexican cheese, for topping 

1. Place frozen chicken breasts in crockpot. Cover with tomatoes, green chilies, corn, black beans, ranch dressing and spices. Stir to combine. Add in cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, stirring twice.

2. Shred chicken using two forks. Return to crockpot. Serve dip in bowls with tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese.

Recipe adapted from Rita's Recipes

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thai Chicken Wrap

You’re on the roadtrip from you-know-where, looking for a gas stop, and desperately seeking a meal option that is NOT a McDonalds. You pull into one of the many greasy options along the convenient tollway, expecting a gastrointestinal nightmare...

Been there? Yep, that’s right. This recipe was actually inspired by a rest area menu. And it was good. Really good. Enjoy.

Large whole wheat wrap 
1 scoop of cooked white (or Jasmine) rice
1 scoop cooked, diced chicken breast (for a quick fix, brown diced chicken with a bit of soy sauce)
1 scoop diced fresh mango
2-4 T peanut sauce (as much or as little as you like)
(optional) 1 palmful Asian slaw

Add all fillers to the center of the wrap, being careful not to overfill. Fold in the top and bottom and roll to create a burrito.