Creamy Tomato Farfalle Pasta

April is a month of birthday’s for very special ladies in my life.  My mom and my daughters, actually, my daughters were born on my mothers birthday.

This year marked a “Big” one for my mom, so I decided to throw a birthday luncheon with all of my mom’s closest friends.

I knew I wanted to make all of her favorites foods starting with her favorite pasta, creamy tomato farfalle pasta.  It’s a perfect pasta for a crowd, the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.

Creamy Tomato Farfalle Pasta, bow tie pasta, spinach tomato tortellini,

4.8 from 6 reviews
Creamy Tomato Farfalle Pasta
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb box of Farfalle (bow tie) Pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons salt for pasta water
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup spinach (packed), chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 dashes of tabasco
  • ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus some for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. In a large pot bring water to a rolling boil, add salt. Cook pasta 3 minutes less than instructions. drain and set aside (Do not rinse pasta).
  2. In a large deep skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add flour, stirring constantly for a few minutes to cook out the flour taste.
  4. While whisking, pour in the milk and half & half. Continue whisking until all lumps are gone.
  5. Once mixture begins to lightly simmer add tomatoes, spinach, and basil.
  6. Stir in onion powder, oregano, and tabasco.
  7. Cook until spinach has wilted and sauce has thickened.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Stir in cheese.
  10. Salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Add the cooked pasta
Recipe was adapted from here.

Funfetti Biscotti

What type of dessert do you make for someone who doesn’t like birthday cake?

Funfetti Biscotti, of course!

Funfetti Biscotti. sprinkles biscotti

I know a lot, I mean a lot of people who don’t like cake! Pie, ice cream, and cookies are all good, they just don’t like cake.  So, each year when their birthday comes around I try to change up the dessert a little.  This year?  Birthday Funfetti Biscotti!

Funfetti Biscotti, Sprinkles Biscotti

5.0 from 4 reviews
Funfetti Biscotti
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3¼ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup of colored sprinkles or jimmies, divided
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a mixer combine the oil, eggs, and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl combine baking powder and flour, sift together.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture until completely combine.
  5. Add ½ cup sprinkles to the dough.
  6. Divide dough in half, place both halves on the cookie sheet and form each dough into long rectangles.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining sprinkles over rectangles of dough and press down slightly.
  8. Place cookie sheet in oven for 25 minutes and then remove from oven.
  9. When cool enough to handle, cut each rectangle into ½ inch slices.
  10. Place cookies sliced side down and bake for an additional 12 minutes until lightly brown.

Sprinkles Biscotti

Aren’t this biscotti cute?

Funfetti Biscotti, Sprinkles Biscotti

Enjoy!

Meatball Italiano

When a friend told me about the Healthy Solutions Spice Blends 2015 Blogger Recipe Challenge, I knew I had to do it.  Healthy Solutions has so many wonderful spice blends for meat and seafood, it was hard to choose just one Spice Blends I would work with.

Meatballs Italiano, Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

I wanted to be true to my italian heritage, so I decided to use the Italian Meatball Spice Blends.   There is nothing like eating a great meatball.  I remember as a child, I loved when we had meatballs and sucu (sauce) for dinner with a salad.

Meatballs Italiano, Healthy Solutions

Combine All ingredients together just until combined.  Do not over work mixture or your meatballs will not be tender.

Meatballs Italiano, Healthy Solutions

4.9 from 8 reviews
Meatball Italiano
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons Healthy Solutions Spice Blends Italian Meatballs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients.
  3. Mix with hands until ingredients just come together.
  4. Shape mixture into walnut size balls
  5. Place meatballs on a baking sheet, do not let meatballs touch or they will not brown properly.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with your favorite Marinara sauce.
  8. To Freeze~
  9. Let meatballs cool.
  10. Using a spoon remove all of the fat that has harden.
  11. Wipe the baking sheet clean.
  12. Place the cooled meatballs back on the baking sheet, again, making sure the meatballs do not touch.
  13. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hours until they are completely frozen.
  14. Remove from freezer and place meatballs into a freezer ziplock bag, seal and return bag to the freezer.

Meatballs Italiano, Healthy Solutions

 Once you have made your meatballs there are several recipes you can use them in.  The classic spaghetti and meatballs with my favorite marinara, meatball sub sandwich, and you can add them to soup and salads.

Enjoy!

Meatball Italiano Healthy Solutions Spice Blends

**I received a complimentary Spice Blend packet from Healthy Solutions Spice Blends.  Please know that all opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way for this post.

 

What you can make in a Avalon Bay AirFryer? The perfect Grilled Cheese

There is nothing that satisfies a craving more than a ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich of goodness!  I love the way the cheese gets all melty on a perfectly toasted slice of bread.

Normally,  I would get out my cast iron grill pan, slather the bread with gobs of butter, add the ingredients (whatever I have in my fridge), today it’s bacon, tomato, & peach preserves for my grilled cheese and I am on my way to making my perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

After I make this delectable grilled cheese sandwich which I, or someone in my family has since devoured, there is the clean up.  I love cooking, but clean up is the absolute worst!  The grill pan is so hard to clean, with cheese and greasy butter everywhere, not to mention the ridges that a grill pan has, plus it’s heavy!  A delicate flower like me should not have to clean a pan with the weight of a baby!  Yet, here I am, cleaning away having all of the great memories of the grilled cheese fading from my mind.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Avalon Bay, who so kindly gave me a Avalon Bay AirFryer to use.  I don’t have to lug that grill pan out any longer!

Avalon Bay Airfryer

So you may be asking yourself, what is an AirFryer?  It is a very cool counter top appliance that basically does it all.  The Avalon Bay AirFryer can fry, bake, grill and even roast! The Avalon Bay AirFryer uses a high speed fan that causes the hot air to circulate at a high speed which cooks and browns the food. The fat and oils drip through the drip basket.  And, it does it with almost no oil.  Most of the time no oil is needed at all, no oil, no fat equals less calories!  And the best part, (besides the no oil cooking) clean up is a breeze, often I just wipe it out.  I have tried several recipes out in my new AirFryer besides this awesome grilled cheese, like…tortilla chips, meatballs, mozzarella sticks, egg rolls, donuts, fresh cut fries (sweet & russet), and frozen mini pizza’s just to name a few.

And now for the scrumptious bacon, tomato, peach preserves, and jack cheese grilled cheese…

Avalon Bay AirFryer grilled cheese sandwich

So this is how I made my delicious grilled cheese…

I cooked the bacon in the AirFryer first.  Did I mention you can “fry” bacon?   Well you can, and it comes out perfect!

Avalon Bay AirFryer making bacon

I then put half a teaspoon of olive oil on 1 side only, of 2 pieces of bread.  Then layer your ingredients, starting with peach preserves, spread it on each side of the non-oiled side of bread, then jack cheese, tomatoes, and the cooked bacon.  Place the second piece of bread, peach side down and press slightly.  Now place in the basket of your AirFryer st the degrees at 392 for 12 minutes.

Avalon Bay AirFryer grilled cheese sandwich

There is nothing left to do besides enjoy your ooey gooey grilled cheese sandwich, made in your calorie saving AirFryer!

Avalon Bay AirFryer Grilled Cheese cut

I’ve been using my AirFryer for over a month now, and I love it!  It is now the most used small appliance in my home.

 This Avalon AirFryer is the perfect gift for a collage student!

**Thank you to Air and Water & Avalon Bay for providing the AirFryer for review.

* AirFryer photo provided by Avalon Bay

Valentine’s Day Desserts

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  And what a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with those you love than with yummy dessert.

Here are 14 of delightfuly delicious mouthwatering desserts from some of my favorite food bloggers!

Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day Desserts!

Valentine's Day Desserts

Red velvet whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting by Roxana’s Home Baking
 
Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Pops by A Spicy Perspective
 
Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies by two twenty one
 
Valentines Day Desserts
 
Red Velvet Poke Cake by The Country Cook
 
Cherry Cheesecake Shooters by The Pioneer Woman
 
Slice n’ Bake Valentine Heart Cookies by Lauren’s Latest
 
Valentine's Day Desserts
 
Wine Fruit Snacks – Gummy Wine Hearts – Not For Kids – Great for Your Body! by Thrive Style
 
Chocolate Covered Peeps Hearts by Buns In My Oven
 
be mine brownies by the BAKER upstairs
 
Valentine's Day Desserts 4
 
Red Velvet Chocolate-swirled Brownie Bars by Averie Cooks
 
Ding Dong Valentines Chocolate Hearts by OMG Chocolate Desserts
 
Red Velvet and Strawberry Trifle by Taste and Tell
 
Valentine's Day Desserts 5
 
Easy Marshmallow Valentine Treats by The Sweet Life
 
Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos by Tidy Mom
 
 
 
 I hope these wonderful Valentine’s Day desserts help you decide which one (or five) desserts you will be making for your loved ones…or yourself.
 
 

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

 
 
 
 

 

 
This entry was posted in Dessert.

Nutella Espresso Biscotti

Making Biscotti reminds me of my Nonna.  When I want a little of my Nonna around me I make Biscotti.

Nutella Espresso Biscotti

So in honor of her, I made Nutella Espresso Biscotti!

I remember the delicious fragrance of the twice baked cookie wafting through her neighborhood.  Even the neighborhood police officers would stop over her house for an espresso and a biscotti or two.  My Nonna’s home seemed to be the hub of action, whether it was a holiday where all the family gathered (and there was a lot of us), or it was just the neighbors catching up, it was at my Nonna’s home.  There was always freshly made espresso that she would drink out of a demitasse cup, it was the perfect dunk size cup my Nonna would say.  In her home there was always laughter and of course loud talking, we are Italians of course!

Nonna only made anise biscotti unless it was Christmas where she would only make 1 batch of pistachio and cranberry biscotti.  I would love to know what she would have thought of my Nutella espresso biscotti.

Nutella Espresso Biscotti 2

5.0 from 5 reviews
Nutella Espresso Biscotti
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegetable oil + ¼ cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee double espresso
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • 3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat
  3. Using a mixer beat ½ cup oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla and espresso until combine
  4. add in Nutella and combine
  5. In a medium bowl whisk together flour and baking powder
  6. Add the flour mixture to the espresso mixture a little at a time to form a heavy dough
  7. **if dough is too crumbley to form add, a tablespoon of oil at a time until the dough forms ball
  8. Divide bough in to 2 pieces
  9. Place on your lined cookie sheet and form each piece into a roll as long a your cookie sheet
  10. Press down on to the roll to form a ½ inch thickness
  11. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes depending on your oven
  12. Once cool enough to handle, slice each flattened roll into ½ in slices
  13. Place slices back onto cookie sheet cut side up
  14. Bake for an additional 8 minutes

Nutella Espresso Biscotti 1

Enjoy

This entry was posted in Cookies.

Rosemary Oyster Crackers

 

Rosemary Oyster Crackers

My family loves snack foods whether we are reading or watching T.V.   We love something yummy to snack on.

We also love the flavor of Rosemary.  So I thought…why not combine the two flavors!

Rosemary Oyster Crackers

 Rosemary Oyster Crackers

You must give theses little oyster crackers a try.

 

5.0 from 5 reviews
Rosemary Oyster Crackers
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 12 oz bag of oyster crackers
  • ¼ cup olive oil (any cooking oil is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary (I used the dried, but fresh wold also work)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • baking spray
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Empty bag of crackers into a medium bowl.
  3. Pour the oil into the crackers and sprinkle the rosemary and salt into the bowl.
  4. Stir to combine and crackers are coated evenly.
  5. Place crackers in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and enjoy!
  8. To store, place in an airtight container.

 

Sweet Potato Bake

I love Sweet Potatoes, Handsome…not so much.  On my last trip to Costco I ended up buying one of their massive bags of sweet potatoes.  So, in my effort to get them all cooked before they go bad and sprout a small forrest, I knew I had to come up with a dish Handsome would eat.

So here’s what I did to make this Sweet Potato Bake…

Sweet Potato Bake on roasting pan

I peeled, cut, and chopped, the sweet potatoes.  Tossed them with olive oil and placed them on a baking sheet to roast in the oven.

Sweet Potato Bake bacon

While the potatoes were roasting, I chopped and fried a half pound of bacon until crisp and placed on a paper towel to drain off the excess fat.  I then added a chopped onion to the bacon drippings and cooked until slightly brown.  Then, I added some flour, milk and seasonings to make a roux.

Sweet Potato Bake with blue cheese

I then placed half of the roasted sweet potatoes into a 11×7 baking dish and topped that with half of the bacon and the crumbled blue cheese, then I topped it all with half of the sauce mixture.  I then started another layer with the sweet potatoes, bacon, and onion sauce mixture.  Placed it in the oven until it became all warm and bubbly.

Sweet Potato Bake plate

And then, I served my Handsome up a plate of the yummy ingredients.  And he LOVED it!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet Potato Bake
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Medium Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • ½ lb Bacon, chopped
  • ¾ Cup Blue Cheese Chunks
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Cooking Spray
Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, coat sweet potato chunks with enough olive oil to lightly coat all sides. Place in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender and slightly golden.
  3. Lower oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a frying pan, fry chopped bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan to a paper towel lined dish.
  5. Add chopped onion to the frying pan with bacon drippings and cooking until slightly golden brown.
  6. Make a roux by adding flour to the cook onions over medium heat. Let the flour cook for about 2 minutes to remove the flour taste and the ingredients become a paste. Add milk to the paste, and then add the Nutmeg, Salt, and Black Pepper. The mixture will begin to thicken. Turn burner to low and continue to stir.
  7. Spray a medium size baking dish with cooking spray. Place ½ of the roasted sweet potatoes in the baking dish. Top potatoes with ½ of the bacon and all of the Blue Cheese then top with ½ of the onion sauce mixture. Place the remaining sweet potatoes on top to form another layer, then continue with the bacon and the remaining sauce mixture.
  8. Place baking dish in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

10 Most Popular Recipes of 2014

What a wonderful year it has been!  It’s that time of year for lists of the most popular things.  I want to share with you my 10 most popular recipes of 2014.  These delicious recipes were my most viewed recipes over the past year.  Come take a look at what you picked!

Counting down from #10

10. Restaurant Style Salsa

This delicious salsa comes together in minutes with just a few ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen!  It’s delicious and tastes just like you are at a Mexican cantina all you need to add is a margarita. Restaurant Style Salsa

9. Baked French Toast

This a perfect recipe when company is staying over and you don’t want a lot of fuss making breakfast in the morning.  You assemble all the ingredients the evening before and just pop it in the oven in the morning.

Baked French Toast

8. Amaretto Biscotti

Have you ever eaten a cookie right out of the freezer?  That is my favorite way to eat this Italian cookie.  Give it a try, you won’t want to eat them any other way!

Amaretto Biscotti with chocolate

7. Hummus

It seems you all could not get enough of this deliciously healthy snack. It is one of my favorites too!

Hummus

6. Fried Zucchini

The outside of this fried zucchini is crispy perfection while the inside is tender.  The perfect snack.

Fried Zucchini Rounds with dip

5. Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese

This is not your ordinary grilled cheese. This is my Mama’s Grilled Cheese!

Not Your mamas Grilled Cheese

4. Beef Empanadas

These Beef Empanadas were a huge hit.  They certainly are a favorite of mine and I make them often.  A perfect dish to bring to a pot luck or a great Super Bowl finger food!

Empanadas

3. Speculoos Ice Cream

Ever since I made this ice cream, it has become a family favorite. Between the Speculoos Crunchy Cookie Butter and the Speculoos Cookie chunks, it’s no wonder it is my third most popular recipe of 2014!

Speculoos Ice Cream

2. Chicken Quinoa

This is one of my favorite meals too!  I make this recipe more that any other that is posted.  It is so light and refreshing and good for you too.  A winning combination!

Quinoa Chicken Salad 1 recipe

Drum Roll, Please!…

My #1 most popular recipe of 2014 is…

Mason Jar Mud Pie

This recipe has become a favorite birthday celebration dessert in my home.  I’m not surprised by this at all. I have made it too many times to count.  I’m happy you all love it too!

Mason Jar Mud Pie with Oreos

Thanks for stopping by to see the

10 Most Popular Recipes of 2014

I would like to take this time to thank each and everyone of you who read my blog.  It means the world to me and I appreciate every view!  I love sharing these moments with you and I look forward to our friendship in 2015!

 Happy New Year!

This entry was posted in Home.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

From our goodies to yours.

Merry Christmas snowmen cookiesMay you and your family have a Christmas holiday filled with love and peace!  

This entry was posted in Home.