Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Ideas - Veggies

You've probably got your main dishes all figured out, but what about the sides? Today is all about the veggies...a necessary evil in my opinion. There is always the traditional green bean casserole, but here are a few other recipes that make eating your vegetables much easier...

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction - if I have to eat them, this is how I want to do it!


Cauliflower Au Gratin - low carb and surprisingly good (coming from someone who doesn't like vegetables cauliflower very much!)


Bacon Wrapped Green Beans - because e'rything is better with bacon


Bacon Green Beans for a Crowd - a super easy variation of the above bacon wrapped green beans. Delicious.

What's your favorite vegetable dish? Do you have to cover yours in sugar or bacon to eat them or is that just me!?

Yesterday's post - Thanksgiving Ideas for the kids


 I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from Above,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage ChicLady Behind the Curtain (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Ideas - for the kids

Over the next few days I'm going to post some different Thanksgiving ideas since turkey day is almost here! Today is all about making the kiddies happy (and keeping them busy!)

Harvest Blessing Mix - fun for the kids to make, and to give as gifts. Each ingredients represents something..

'Cornucopias' can be made out of store-bought ice cream cones, then filled with treats. I've done these on a few occasions, and tried a couple of different ways. They are kind of a pain, but super cute in the end. If you have a steamer/rice cooker, that is the easiest way to do it IMO, however, this method also works. This definitely requires an adult (but the kids can fill them!)
These are filled with Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix.


"Acorn" Cookies - no bake, just assemble and eat!


More edible cornucopias! No recipe, just Bugles chips with the ends dipped in white chocolate, then dipped in sprinkles and colored candy pieces (these are Sixlets). I made a Thanksgiving Snack Mix with them one year.

What do you do to keep the kids occupied while the turkey is cooking?!

   I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from Above,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage ChicLady Behind the Curtain (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lasagna with Italian Sausage {#sponsored}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sargento. All opinions are 100% mine.

With the holidays upon us, lots of people are probably thinking of ham, turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. At least that is the traditional fare in my house. However, over the years I have heard several people say that their traditional meal includes lasagna. I have a friend who will visit her parents and her in-laws on Thanksgiving, so she has turkey, ham, etc at lunch, but for dinner, her mother-in-law prepares lasagna and some different dishes that incorporates their family's heritage. I think that is a pretty neat idea.

Since I've been thinking about lasagna non-stop, I decided it was time to make it. I had homemade Italian turkey sausage in the freezer, so I decided to use that for the meat sauce, but you could use ground beef, ground turkey, or skip the meat all together. You could use roasted vegetables, as well. I added a little kale in with the meat, but just a little, and chopped very fine because my kids can spot something green in their food a mile away. When they asked what the flecks of green were, I told them they were herbs. No, I don't advocate lying to your children, but, well, I will lie to mine if it means getting some vegetables in them. (And technically, there are herbs in there.) Of course, the most important component of lasagna, in my opinion, is the CHEESE. Mo' cheese is mo'betta in my house.

My plan was to pick up mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan but then I saw the Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 6 Cheese Italian and I thought, YES! It's a blend of Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and Asiago. Why limit myself?! I also used sliced Provolone and shredded Parmesan. What can I say, I really like cheese.

Lasagna takes some time and isn't exactly 'quick and easy', but it is definitely worth it. I would also say this was Holiday worthy as well!

Lasagna with Italian Sausage 

  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (I used homemade Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kale, stem removed, finely chopped (desired amount, optional)
  • 1 jar (approx 24 oz.) or 2 1/2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese if you prefer)
  • 1 cup Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9-12 lasagna noodles (depending on pan size, mine held 9)
  • 8 oz. Sargento Chef Blends Shredded 6 Italian Cheese
  • 6 slices of Sargento Provolone (or 12 if using the Ultra Thin sliced)
  • olive oil (for drizzling bottom of pan)
  1. Prepare meat sauce by browning ground meat on medium high heat (if not using Italian sausage, then season meat with salt and pepper, to taste) with the onion, garlic, and kale (if using). Once meat is cooked through and onions are tender, drain any fat and add the spaghetti sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning and salt. Set aside.
  3. Boil lasagna noodles per instructions on box for al dente. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. 
  5. Arrange 3 to 4 lasagna noodles in bottom of pan, side by side (mine held 3).
  6. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture over noodles.
  7. Top cheese mixture with 1/3 of the meat sauce.
  8. Top meat sauce with 1/4 of the Shredded 6 Cheese Italian cheese.
  9. Repeat steps 5-8 two more times. 
  10. After the last layer is complete, place the 6 slices of Provolone cheese on top along with remaining Parmesan. 
  11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly (40-45 minutes). Then remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbling. 
  12. Let lasagna cool for 15-20 minutes before serving (if you can wait that long, we couldn't!)
Recipe adapted from South Your Mouth


Look at all that cheese! Can you see why I'm a fan of Sargento Shredded Cheese? Well, not just the shredded, we use the sliced all the time too. We love Swiss, Provolone, and Cheddar on our sandwiches. If you love cheese too, then check out Sargento on Pinterest. There are lots of recipes available!

Also, Sargento currently has a recipe contest going on. Head to Sargento on Facebook to find out all the details and enter to win! You have to submit an original recipe and photo of a dish featuring a Sargento Shredded Natural Cheese variety, plus an explanation of why using real, fresh-tasting ingredients like Sargento Shredded Natural Cheese matters to you. The Facebook recipe contest winner will receive $2,000 toward kitchen supplies and ingredients for the perfect holiday meal, plus a year’s supply of Sargento Shredded Natural Cheese. Sounds good to me!

I'm curious, what do your traditional Holiday meals include?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Homemade Hummus, Lunchbox ideas & Mason Jar Salads Cookbook Review

I'm a Southern girl, and I'll admit, we do love our mason jars! But for something that was mainly used for canning (and moonshine!), mason jars are seen everywhere and used for everything nowadays. Just hit up Pinterest and you will see what I mean. What many have come to realize, and we Southern women have known for decades *grin*, is that glass mason jars are great for storing things...especially food because you don't have to worry about any weird chemicals leaching out. Making salads ahead of time and storing them in the fridge for a weeks worth of healthy lunches/dinners has been all the rage recently, and everyone I've seen is stored in a mason jar. So, when given the opportunity to review the cookbook Mason Jar Salads and More by Julia Mirabella,  I was more than eager to check it out, as were my Pinterest loving daughters.
First I have to say that the photography in this book is AMAZING. Almost every recipe comes with a gorgeous color photo. The other thing that I loved about the book is it is not just salads in a mason jar, even though everyone in it looks delicious. It gave me ideas on storing other foods, and lunchbox ideas!! This is huge since I have 3 kids who all carry their lunches to school almost everyday. That's a lot of lunches in a year, and ideas run out quick. So, when my 11 year old saw the Spicy Hummus and vegetables recipe, she asked could she make it and take it for her lunch. Absolutely! I was pleased that we had everything to make it, and she was able to do it almost entirely by herself. I loved the way the hummus and veggies were packaged in a small mason jar. It is such a handy and unique way to carry hummus to school. AND it's healthy, homemade, and my daughter loved it! I'm thinking I could send my dessert hummus to school for snack the same way....maybe stick apple slices in it?

Spicy Hummus and Vegetables

reprinted with permission from Mason Jar Salads and More

There’s no better midday snack than veggies with hummus — and the great thing about this snack is that you don’t need separate containers for the dip and the vegetables. All you have to do is plant your veggies upright in the dip, close the Mason jar, and voilĂ , you have something to see you through the afternoon at work.

Makes 4 servings

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, as needed

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons tahini
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
celery and carrots, for dipping
4 half-pint Mason jars
  •  Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor along with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic, tahini, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Process to blend the ingredients together. If needed to achieve the desired smooth consistency, add another tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cut the celery and carrots into strips that will fit into the Mason jar with the top closed. Scoop 1⁄2 cup of hummus into the bottom of the jar and then set the vegetable strips upright in the hummus. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
This is just one of many recipes that I have bookmarked. Next on my list is a Blueberry Vinaigrette that sounds amazing, along with a Citrus-Soy Vinaigrette, I want to make ahead some salads for my own lunches as well. The Orzo Pasta Salad, the Cobb Salad, and the Asian Greens Salad all sound really good. I also want to get back to my overnight oats, which I always prepare in a mason jar. There are several smoothie recipes in the book as well. So, if you are part of the mason jar fandom (my kids taught me this word) then you should enjoy this cookbook!

   I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from Above,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage ChicLady Behind the Curtain (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

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