Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby Showers & Italian Pasta Salad

It's baby shower season in my life right now! It comes in waves, I think. Today was a baby shower for my dear friend Sarah who is having a baby boy named Nathaniel in August! I am so happy for her! Wish I had taken a picture today but I was so busy I forgot to! My friend Kristin and I threw the shower at Kristin's home. It was beautiful and we had TONS of food! Here's a breakdown of what we had:

Quite a spread, don't you think? We had a blast. Our theme was "meal time" so we pretty much had the food covered! ;) Sarah got lots of very nice gifts and ones she can use for feeding her new baby very soon. Congrats Sarah!

Here's the recipe, which is an adaptation from my friend Carla! You can make this a thousand different ways with any and all ingredients you want. Just have fun with it! This isn't even a recipe, just a method. Here's what I did today:

Italian Pasta Salad

  • 2 lbs pasta (I use the bowtie pasta)
  • Lots of olive oil
  • 1-2 jars prepared pesto - I used two but I like a lot of flavor, just use it to taste(or make your own if you're ambitious!)
  • Lots of parmesan cheese - I bought a container of shaved parmesan cheese!
  • Almonds - again, to taste - but you need it for the crunchy factor
  • 1/2 jar of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I love the chewy, tangy flavor of these but if you don't, leave them out!)

Boil pasta according to the box directions, or until al dente. Drain. Pour olive oil liberally over pasta and stir to combine. Pour in the pesto and combine to your taste. Add parmesan cheese & almonds but reserve some for the top when you are finished. Add sun-dried tomatoes & combine. Before serving, drizzle some more olive oil to avoid dryness, then top with remaining parmesan & almonds. Serve warm, room temp or cold! Enjoy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Pork

This dish was a winner at my house. It takes a little more prep than some of the other recipes I make but it was worth it. I love stuffing but never seem to eat it till Thanksgiving. This is a nice recipe to get your stuffing fix. The sauce goes beautifully with this - it's so tangy and keeps the pork nice and moist. This recipe was inspired by another recipe my friend Kathy gave me. Enjoy!

P.S. My daughter ate it all so it's kid-approved! :)

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Pork
  • Toothpicks
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Jimmy Dean pork sausage (I bought one of those "logs" of sausage & cut it in half & saved the rest for something else)
  • 1 apple, finely chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 box Stove Top stuffing mix
  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 C chicken stock
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 2 T coarse ground mustard

First, pound out your pork chops till they are pretty thin, but can still hold stuffing. Set aside.

Melt butter in a large saute pan. Throw in the apple, celery, onions and sausage and saute till everything is cooked through and soft. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Cook stuffing according to directions on box. When done, combine the stuffing with the sausage and apple mixture.

With a spoon, measure about a tablespoon worth of the stuffing and place in the middle of the pounded out pork. Roll up and stick in toothpicks to close it up. Repeat until you have stuffed each pork chop. You will have left over stuffing - serve it with your meal.

In the same large saute pan that you cooked the sausage & apple mixture in, melt 1 T butter and 2 T olive oil over medium high heat. Place the rolled up pork chops in the pan when the oil is hot and brown each side for a few minutes. Pour in 1/2 C chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the amazing bits stuck on the bottom of the pan - that's the flavor! Add the dijon mustard and the coarse ground mustard. Stir to combine and roll around the pork so it has the sauce on it. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. Liquid will be reduced and thick and yummy! Pork will be cooked through.

Take out the pork and remove the toothpicks. You can pour the sauce over the top or have it on the side as a gravy. Serve with the stuffing and your favorite veggies!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yogurt Smoothies!

I'm excited about this. My 19 month old daughter suddenly refused to drink milk from any cup besides her bottle about 4 months ago, which we had dropped and graduated to only using her sippy cup. Since then, we have been trying to get dairy & milk in her diet as much as possible. One way to do this is to make a yummy smoothie! She LOVES to have her own cup and her own straw. She'll drink almost anything if she has that - EXCEPT MILK...!

Anyway, I had seen this advertised on The Biggest Loser and thought I'd give it a try. It's awesome and super easy! I bought it at Target but I'm sure you can get it at any grocery store.

It was super simple: just pour the contents of the bag into your blender with some milk and BLEND! It turned out a little on the thicker side so I just added a touch more milk and then it was the perfect, straw-sipping consistency.

My daughter loved it and probably had 1/2 cup of it (we gave it to her after dinner which I probably won't do again...I'm sure she was full). My hubby and I drank the rest and it was great! We had the Triple Berry flavor. We will definitely be buying this from now on!