Salted Caramel Pear Bread With Streusel Topping

Salted Caramel Pear Bread with Steusel Topping

Salted Caramel Pear Bread with Steusel Topping

They say necessity is the mother of all inventions.  Not that I invented pear breads but I did however have to come up with something easy, delicious and “pear involve” since my pear tree was overflowing.  I do not have the time nor the patience at this point to can or freeze 30 some pounds of pears.  So I shared with friends and kept a good amount to use up for my peeps.

My friend Chris was telling me she made Spice Pear Bread before.  That sounded so good.  I love Spice Bread, but I also love caramelized pears and I adore a streusel topping and salted caramel…oh my!….I thought let’s do best of all worlds, hoping I wasn’t creating a mosh pit of a bread!

I think I might be OK with this one!

I think I might be OK with this one!

Ingredients:

For the Salted Caramel Pears:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups pears, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon heavy cream

For the Bread:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon all spice

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

2/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1 egg

1/3 cup brown sugar

For the Streusel Topping:

1/3 cup oats (not quick oats)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

How to:

For the Salted Caramel Pears:

In a large pan melt your butter, add your pears and toss lightly.  Add your brown sugar, salt and heavy cream.  Stir gently until everything is well combined.  Let this cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until reduced lightly golden.  Do not leave this alone or rush this with high heat.  It would burn your pears and they would be bitter.  Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the bread.

already smells amazing in my kitchen!

already smells amazing in my kitchen!

For the Bread:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or spray a loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ginger.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix your melted butter, milk, egg and brown sugar.  Add your flour mixture at once and mix until just combined (do not overmix).  Using a spatula gently fold in your salted caramel pears.  Pour your mixture into your prepared pan.  Set aside.

For the Streusel Topping:

In a medium bowl combine your flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Cut your butter into small pieces and add to your oat mixture.  Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix everything until you have a crumbly mixture.  Sprinkle your mixture over your bread batter.  Put your bread into your preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.

oven ready

oven ready

letting this cool is going to be torture!

letting this cool is going to be torture!

is it me or this bread is utterly gorgeous?

is it me or this bread is utterly gorgeous?

Let cool completely before slicing….and ENJOY!

Have a slice of deliciousness!

Have a slice of deliciousness!

I love this bread and my house smells like Heaven wrapped in Salted Caramel Pears….it’s a good perfume I must say!  The taste is so perfect, a touch of salted caramel, soft pears and a moist spice bread….it really works!

and take a closer look at the inside....oh so pretty!

and take a closer look at the inside….oh so pretty!

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Peace and Mosh Pits Are Scary!

Isabelle

 

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Kale and Meatball Soup

Kale and Meatballs Soup

Kale and Meatball Soup

I am at the end of my rope with my kale.  Matt keeps mentioning blanching, freezing, saving for the end of the world…. I have enough in my freezer at this point to last us until we have grand children…WHICH WON’T BE ANYTIME SOON!  So, what’s a resourceful girl like me to do?  Make soup.  In August.  This happens a lot at our house, seasons don’t dictate our menu.  Need and what I crave usually do.

About this soup.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Isn’t it interesting that I have to set the tone for a soup…in august…about kale!?  That being said feel free to substitute, switch, add to your liking or mood, freelance, go with the flow…. cool?  Great!  Knew I could count on you guys!

who says you can't eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

who says you can’t eat soup this delicious in August?!!!

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

1 lb ground beef (or chicken, turkey, pork or sausage)

1/3 cup Panko

1 egg

1 tablespoon each: fresh basil, thyme and parsley

salt and pepper

For the soup:

1 medium onion, chopped

1 1/2 cup diced carrots

1 15.5-ounce can great northern beans

8 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 lb)

8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)

1 cup orzo (or any small pasta)

1 tablespoon each: fresh thyme, basil and parsley

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl combine all your ingredients: ground meat, Panko, egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper.  Combine well and form into small to medium size meatballs.  Set aside.

cute little meatballs!

cute little meatballs!

browning in all its glory!

browning in all its glory!

For the soup:

In a large dutch oven heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil.  Working in batches brown your meatballs on all sides.  Set aside on a baking sheet.  (you do not have to cook your meatballs completely, they will finish cooking in your broth).

Do not clean your dutch oven from browning the meatballs (this is full of flavor!) add a bit of olive oil if needed or simply use what is left.  Sautee your onion and carrots until soft and fragrant, 4-5 minutes.  Add your beans and broth, bring to a boil.  Add your kale and orzo, cook for another 7-8 minutes until pasta is al dente.

that's a big pot of scrumptious soup!

that’s a big pot of scrumptious soup!

Ladle your soup into your serving bowl topped with some Parmesan cheese.

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

bright, healthy and superbly delicious!

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Note: this is somewhat similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, but out of respect for the “real” deal I don’t think mine is exactly that.  Which is why I call my soup: Kale and Meatballs Soup.

time to fill my belly!

time to fill my belly!

Peace and Dictate Your Menu,

Isabelle

Banana Zucchini Bread

Banana Zucchini Bread

Banana Zucchini Bread

I haven’t made a “new” bread at my house in quite sometime.  I have to be honest I have been playing with/obsessing over new essential oils for my peeps….yup going all earthy on you guys!  😉  Well, I am only half kidding.  I mean this whole idea of less chemicals and less medicine is really something I am aiming for.  Nothing against it but I am not a big fan of popping a pill for every little ache and pain….but this isn’t about me hugging trees and making magic potions….although a good quick bread could be considered a magic potion that would heal many many ailments if you ask me.  Then again I think food is love so what do I know?

Let’s not waste anymore of our valuable time and let’s see what this magical bread is all about!

DELICIOUS!

DELICIOUS!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup oats (regular not quick)

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup butter melted

2 bananas, mashed

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup (or more depending on how crazy your day has been going, see note) semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan, set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves and oats.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix your melted butter and your sugar.  Add your eggs and combine well. Add your mashed bananas.  Add your flour mixture at once and mix until just combined.  Using a spatula fold in your shredded zucchini.  Finally add your chocolate chips (if using).  Pour your batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake in your preheated oven for 60-70 minutes.  Let cool completely.

before....

before….

after!   <3

after! ❤

Note: I was going to say the chocolate chips were optional but by 6am I was dealing with: broken TV, an over-flowing toilet, two cranky teenagers, one crazy dog and spilled coffee….then by 10am: went for a run, fell at mile 1, broke skin on hands and right leg, kept on running (and bleeding…gross) to 5 miles, broke my favorite water bottle, 3 phone calls from the Canadian Passport office (as if I am applying to be the Prime Minister!)…this day needed CHOCOLATE!

AND THEN….I got stuck on the phone with the TV guy for what seems like an eternity and he told me his life story…I wish I was kidding: he has a wife named Miracle and a daughter named Isabelle….what are the chances?!

this may not have fixed my day but it sure helped  ;)

this may not have fixed my day but it sure helped 😉

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Peace and This Day Needed Some Magic,

Isabelle

Grilled Nectarines & Goat Cheese Crostinis

Grilled Nectarines and Goat Cheese Crostinis

Grilled Nectarines and Goat Cheese Crostinis

I love Goat Cheese.  Really any and all goat cheeses rock my world!  It’s creaminess, it’s the fact that it’s cheese, it’s from a goat (such cuties), it’s easy to use, it’s versatile and it’s healthy.  All around a win-win situation!

I almost called these bruschettas and I actually had to go figure out what’s the difference between a bruschetta and a crostini….don’t laugh at me.  I can’t pretend to know everything, but the internet is a marvelous place filled with an infinite amount of useless info….I mean really who truly cares if it’s a crostini or a bruschetta?  (Don’t send me hate mail…it’s just my view of it!)  The world won’t end because I called something a crostini versus a bruschetta…well I sure as heck hope not!

If you want to know more about the differences between a crostini and a bruschetta you can go here or here

it's a crostini...it's a bruschetta....nope crostini...

it’s a crostini…it’s a bruschetta….nope crostini…

Let’s get to the recipe shall we…..(because after my research it’s quite OK for me to call it a crostini….just sayin’)

Ingredients:

For the Goat Cheese:

1 5-ounce plain goat cheese (container or packet, whatever your grocery carries)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Nectarines:

2 nectarines (firm preferably), quartered and pitted

1 small onion, cut into fairly thick slices

olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Grilled bread slices for serving (baguette, country bread, italian rustic bread…what ever floats your boat!)

How to:

For the Goat Cheese:

In a medium bowl combine your goat cheese with your fresh herbs, add a touch of salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Keep in your fridge until ready to serve.

delicious herb goat cheese

delicious herb goat cheese

For the Nectarines:

Heat your grill.  Drizzle a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on your nectarines and onion slices.  Grill your nectarines and onion slices on all sides.  Keep an eye on this so you don’t have burnt pieces…which would result in bitter pieces!  Let cool slightly.  Roughly chop and put in a bowl.  Add your fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  You are done!  Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

lovely grilled nectarine salsa

lovely grilled nectarine salsa

To serve:

I like to keep it simple and put the goat cheese, nectarines and bread on the table and let people help themselves but you could be nice and make it for them…your choice!  Bottom line: piece of grilled bread, a good schmear of goat cheese and a nice dollop of grilled nectarines makes for an amazing bite!

the perfect bite!

the perfect bite!

Note: you can substitute any fresh herbs you like, I would only suggest if you change it for the goat cheese then go ahead and change the same one for the nectarines…just to carry the flavor through.

Another note: you could easily use peaches for this dish.  I am a lover of nectarines so that is usually my go-to.  But I know it would still be super delicious with peaches!

light flavorful and such an easy summer appetizer

light flavorful and such an easy summer appetizer

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Peace and No World Ending Today.

Isabelle

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Grilled Maque Choux and Shrimp

Maque choux /’ma:kju:/ is a traditional dish of southern Louisinana.  It is thought to be an amalgam of Acadian French (Cajun) and American Indian cultural influence, and the name is likely to derive from the French interpretation of the Native American name.

Thank you Wikipedia

This dish is often a side dish but I’ve had it as a main course and it was a perfectly satisfying dish!  It is not something that you see often here in Indiana…although with the abundance of corn surrounding us it should be part of everyone’s menu!  Got to use that corn in many ways otherwise the peeps might get bored!  😉

I decided to add some more flavors to my version by grilling the ingredients and adding some grilled shrimp to round up this mouth-watering dish!  It was spectacular!  I love this dish, to the moon and back!

this is simply ammmuuuuuuziiiiing!

this is simply ammmmaaaaaaziiiiing!

Ingredients:

5 ears corn

1 green bell pepper (I didn’t have a big bell pepper from my garden so I did one small and one poblano)

1 jalapeno (optional…but oh so delicious!)

2 cups cherry tomatoes (I had a variety of cherry tomatoes)

1 onion, cut into thick slices

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned

Zest and Juice 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grilled slices of Tuscan bread (for serving, optional)

How to:

First you must cook your corn: 10 minutes or so in boiling water.  Set aside while you get everything ready.

In a large bowl combine your shrimp, zest and juice of lemon, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper (approx. 1 teaspoon each).  Cover and put in your fridge until ready to use.

good little shrimp marinating....good job!

good little shrimp marinating….good job!

Skewer your cherry tomatoes onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.  Put on a large baking sheet.  Lay out your pepper, jalapeno, cooked corn, and sliced onion, drizzle everything with a little bit of olive oil, add a touch of salt and pepper.  Time to start the grill.  Once nice and hot add your vegetables and DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Make sure everything gets beautiful grill marks.  Have a clean baking sheet ready and depending on time and heat, remove the vegetables once ready.  You need to pay attention because most likely the tomatoes will be ready first and start bursting.  Turn each veggie around so they get color all over.  When all done, set aside to cool for a few minutes (too hot to handle!).

grill shot...always a shot in the dark...hahaha I kill myself!  ;)

grill shot…always a shot in the dark…hahaha I kill myself! 😉

yum! yum! all grilled up!

yum! yum! all grilled up!

Meanwhile back at the shrimp!  Skewer your shrimp for the grill.  Set aside.

When your veggies are touch cooler, time to chop everything.  Chop your onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomatoes (KEEP ALL THE JUICES), cut corn off the cobs.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large pan.  Add all your vegetables (and juices) and toss everything together.  Let this cook on medium-low for about 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon butter.  Mix everything well and cook for another 5 minutes, on low.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

almost there....still missing the creaminess factor!

almost there….still missing the creaminess factor!

now...that's what I am talking about! YUMMO!

now…that’s what I am talking about! YUMMO!

Heat up your grill again.  Time to grill your shrimp.  Stay put…these should only take about 5 minutes.  Do not overcook your shrimp or you may as well eat rubber!  😉

shrimp shot!  ;)

shrimp shot!

Put your Maque Choux into your serving bowl, top with shrimp and a nice thick piece of grilled bread.  Dig in!

first bite...it's love...oh wait I forgot something!

first bite…it’s love…oh wait I forgot something!

now I am ready to dig in!

now I am ready to dig in!

Note: this serves 4 as a main course, or 6ish as a side dish or one hungry Isabelle…you pick!  So delicious, so fresh and so unexpected in the middle of summer, a welcome change to corn on the cob!

so simply pretty delicously good (I don't even make sense anymore!)

simply pretty delicously good (I don’t even make sense anymore!)

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Peace and I am never bored,

Isabelle

Dulce De Leche Frozen Yogurt

Dulce De Leche Frizen Yogurt

Dulce De Leche Frozen Yogurt

I decided to make this delicious combination because the other night my lovely husband treated me to a yummy dinner at Zydeco’s and then a frozen treat at Sub Zero.  First off  Zydeco’s Cajun Restaurant : DELICIOUS, FUN AND GREAT SERVICE!  Win!  It was featured on  Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a few years back and I see the owner quite often at my part-time job (not the substitute one…the cooking demo one).  Debbie  is a lovely lady and I love to support local joints!  The End.

About the Sub Zero Ice Cream  place.  It was more an experience rather than kick butt frozen treats….in my humble opinion.  The concept is liquid based (ice cream, frozen yogurt, soy milk, coconut milk…etc…).  They add a flavoring and mix-ins and wham hit it with liquid nitrogen.  Cool concept but overall flavor was so so.  I mean don’t take this the wrong way but Ben and Jerry’s still tastes better than that to me.  But it’s fun and you’ve got to try it at least once in your lifetime.  Check.  Done.  Now I want real flavor.

My selection at Sub Zero place: frozen yogurt with Dulce De Leche (as my flavor) and Reese’s peanut butter cup as my mix-ins (yes I am predictable).  Matt picked ice cream with caramel flavoring and toffee mix-in (my suggestion!).

Mine was good but I couldn’t really taste the Dulce De Leche.  Total bummer.  Matt says that it’s because I had too much Reese’s ….sorry but when you add Reese’s you’ve got to go for that extra scoop!   😉

So today, I decided the best way to get this flavor to really hit home was to make it myself.  As my mom always told me: if you want something done right do it yourself!

For some reason I saw a lot of recipes online that  included heavy cream.  I opted for a healthier version…mind you I wouldn’t consider Dulce De Leche healthy but no cream might help a little!

take a close look at this mouth watering frozen yogurt

take a close look at this mouth watering frozen yogurt

Ingredients:

1 13.4-ounce can Dulce De Leche

2 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey if you prefer)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)

3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

How to:

In a large bowl combine your Dulce De Leche, Greek yogurt, agave syrup, vanilla and sea salt.  Using a whisk combine everything well.  Pour your mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instruction.  When the madness has run its course gently add your mini chocolate chips while machine is still running.  When everything looks dandy put your frozen yogurt into a tightly sealed container and put in your freezer until ready to serve.

the mixture...already 100% better than my Sub Zero frozen treat!

the mixture…already 100% better than my Sub Zero frozen treat!

I <3 my ice cream maker! It makes magic!

I ❤ my ice cream maker. It makes magic!

 

In the container it goes....after quite a few taste tests  ;)

In the container it goes….after quite a few taste tests 😉

Or dig in right away!  I did!   🙂

Note: if you do not serve the frozen yogurt within the next few hours it may harden but let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and all will be good.

My after dinner treat! Simply Perfect if you ask me!

My after dinner treat! Simply perfect!

This is super creamy, a little tart and filled with amazing Dulce De Leche flavors….bursting with flavor…lots…tons….a multitude of flavors…OK OK I’ll stop…but it’s really really really good if you ask me  😉

homemade frozen treat truly are DA BESTEST!

homemade frozen treats truly are DA BESTEST!

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Peace and Add Flavoring To Your Life,

Isabelle

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Sauce

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Cheese Sauce

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Manchego Cheese Sauce

This year when we planned our pepper garden I had one goal in mind: poblano peppers to make this recipe with my own poblanos… I didn’t want to use store bought, I wanted the freshest most delicious peppers I could get.

I love this recipe.  In fact everyone at my house loves this recipe.  I found the original idea on one of  Rachael Ray‘s shows back in ’08.  The only reason I changed it up a little is because hers is somewhat time consuming and I wanted it to be a recipe I could throw together pretty quickly, especially on a week night (even in the summer our week nights seem to be super busy!)

Rachael Ray gives directions for a side of black beans with roasted garlic.  Honestly they are very good black beans but at the end of the day serve it with what ever beans, salad or even guacamole and chips your heart desires.  It’s that simple: pick a side!   The magic really is the amazing filling and the mind blowing manchego cheese sauce.

Note: the Poblano peppers are delicious in this recipe but don’t get stuck on them,  just change to any peppers you like.  Poblanos are slightly spicy so I always use a couple bell peppers for my kids or anyone who doesn’t like spicy food.  I also had to improvise since I didn’t have that many Poblanos ready when I could no longer wait and HAD to make this recipe.  😉

perfectly delicious!

perfectly delicious!

Ingredients:

8 large poblano peppers (you may need more depending on size or kind you select)
2 pounds ground beef (or chicken or pork)
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1 tablespoon cumin
1 can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)
1 1/2 cup cilantro roughly chopped, plus more for serving
4-5 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon each)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided (1/4 cup is for peppers)
1 3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups grated manchego* cheese
Hot sauce, to taste

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Set aside.

To prepare the peppers for stuffing, lay them down on their sides (move them around to find the best way to lay them) and take a thin slice off one of the sides leaving both the stem end and the bottom of the pepper intact.  Finely chop up the removed slices and reserve in a large mixing bowl.  With a small spoon, scrape out and remove the seeds and guts from each pepper and discard.

peppers with their tops off....oh my! ;)

peppers with their tops off….oh my! 😉

To the bowl with the reserved chopped pieces of pepper, add your ground beef/meat, rice, cumin, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, salt and pepper.  With your hands or a spoon, combine all the ingredients thoroughly.

Using a spoon or your hands, stuff each of your pepper boats with the meat mixture.  Once they’re filled, arrange the peppers in your prepared casserole dish, alternating stem end and bottom end so that they all fit snugly in the pan.  Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to the pan and cover with tin foil.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake 45-50 minutes.  Remove foil and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until nicely brown and cooked through.

Stuffed!

Stuffed!

Baked!

Baked!

About 10 or 15 minutes before the peppers come out of the oven, make your cheese sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and cook for one minute.  Whisk in 1 1/4 cup of chicken stock and the milk, and bring up to a bubble.  Cook until thickened.  Season with some salt and pepper, turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese until melted.  Reserve until ready to serve.

the lovely cheese sauce....which may or may not be totally awesome with bread sticks....just sayin'

the lovely cheese sauce….which may or may not be totally awesome with bread sticks….just sayin’

Remove your peppers from the oven.  To serve, cover the bottom of four serving plates with a little of the cheese sauce, then place one or two of the roasted peppers in the middle of the plate.  Top with some more cheese sauce and cilantro.

I wish you could have been here with me to enjoy this awesome dish! YUMMY!

I wish you could have been here with me to enjoy this awesome dish! YUMMY!

*Note: Manchego cheese is quite expensive, you could substitute with extra sharp white cheddar or half cheddar/half manchego.

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Peace and Mind Blowing,

Isabelle

Roasted Tomatillos Salsa

Roasted Tomatillos Salsa

Roasted Tomatillos Salsa

It took a big leap of faith on my part to not make my usual Salsa Verde .  It’s Matt and I’s absolute favorite salsa.  I use it for so much more than just chips and dip.  I won’t bore you with all the details (go see recipes: here and here and here )….my brain can only handle so much information so let’s just talk about why a new tomatillos salsa?

It’s ROASTED which means it will take flavors to the next level.

I like the hands free everything in the oven idea.

It’s easy to change up the heat lever and add other interesting ingredients, perhaps a couple green tomatoes or red onions.

I don’t want to be in a salsa rut….where ever that is!

I want to be in salsa heaven…where ever that is!

Gorgeous salsa....this is where I want to be!

Gorgeous salsa….this is where I want to be!

Ingredients:

2 lbs tomatillos (about 10-14 depending on size) peeled and rinsed

1 onion roughly chopped

2-3 jalapenos (or less if you don’t like spicy or you could use a combination of peppers, I did: 1 inferno, 1 italico spanish spice and 1 anaheim)

6 garlic cloves peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup cilantro roughly chopped

Juice one lime

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

Put all your tomatillos (peeled and rinsed…kind of important), chopped onion, peppers and garlic in a large bowl, drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle your salt and pepper.  Toss everything together well.  Lay everything in your prepared pan.  Put in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Stir everything again at the halfway point….smell the amazing flavor while you are at it!

look at these marvelous ingredients! OH MY!

look at these marvelous ingredients! OH MY!

roasting is simply THE BEST....end of story!

roasting is simply THE BEST….end of story!

After 30 minutes, let cool for about 10 minutes.  Put everything (any juices as well) in your food processor.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup cilantro and lime juice.  Pulse until desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

for some reason this picture makes me smile...everything about it is YUM!

for some reason this picture makes me smile…everything about it is: YUM!

there you have it: over 4 cups of deliciously flavorful salsa...HOMEMADE SALSA!

there you have it: over 4 cups of deliciously flavorful salsa…HOMEMADE SALSA!

time to serve up some knock your socks off salsa!

time to serve up some knock your socks off salsa!

Enjoy!

this is where I grow my peppers: around the chicken coop! I have over 5 kinds of peppers... I <3 it!

this is where I grow my peppers: around the chicken coop! I have over 9 kinds of peppers… I ❤ it!

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Peace and Leap of Faith,

Isabelle

You could make this with this delicious salsa:

My Mom's Mexican Dip

My Mom’s Mexican Dip

My Mom’s Mexican Dip

OR this:

Green Enchiladas

Green Enchiladas

Green Enchiladas

 

Summertime Salads

Here’s a little compilation of my favorite summertime salads.

I was talking to the lovely and gorgeous Beth the other day at my cousin McKenna’s open house (yay!  done with high school…on to more schooling!  HA!  Life…).  We talked about the “famous” Wild Rice Salad.  To which my friend Jenny (from Jenny’s Famous Chicken Salad ) said she was very much expecting me to show up with this particular salad for the open house…alas I made Laura’s Mac and Cheese .

Why?  Because I worked all day Thursday, spent Friday at BFF’s Aislinn’s yard sale without Aislinn (because her kids are jinxed and always end up at the emergency room on yard sale day…!) and finally at a Lacrosse Tournament on Saturday from 8am till 4pm for 4 games….so I made a quadruple batch of mac and cheese in 40 minutes (I am not kidding you!) so it could be ready for the open house at 6pm.

And this is why I didn’t show up with the perfectly lovely summer Wild Rice Salad.

And this is why I am sharing with you delicious wonderful ideas for your summertime feeding frenzy!  Also because Beth and Jenny told me to make this little compilation and I aim to please!

Wild Rice Salad

The "famous" Wild Rice Salad. Trust me once you make it you will fall in love!

The “famous” Wild Rice Salad. Trust me once you make and taste it you will fall in love!

Southwest Chicken Salad

Mr. Man's amazing chicken salad....love a man that can cook!

Mr. Man’s amazing chicken salad….love a man that can cook!

Grilled Potato Pesto Salad

a perfect change for the old mayo potato salad! Scrumptious!

a perfect change from the old mayo potato salad! Scrumptious!

Best Caesar Salad EVER!!!!!

I make this waaaaay too much but it is beyond incredible, it's more than perfect!  I think it's magical (yup! magical!)

I make this way too much but it is beyond incredible, it’s more than perfect! I think it’s magical (yup! magical!)

Kale Salad

I have to be honest...I have made this salad about 5 times so far this summer! I adore it!

I have to be honest…I have made this salad about 5 times so far this summer! I adore it!

Angie’s Summer Salad

Healthy, fresh, and so easy to make!

Healthy and Fresh, the addition of crisp apples is perfect!

Chicken Ramen Salad

the infamous potluck Ramen Salad! If it's good why change it, right?

The infamous potluck Ramen Salad! If it’s good why change it, right?

Asparagus and Parmesan Salad

this salad is my old stand-by salad...been making this since the girls were tiny babies!

this salad is my old stand-by salad…been making this since the girls were tiny babies!

Shaved Asparagus Salad

I know 2 asparagus salads...yes...they are equally amazing!  DELISH!

I know…2 asparagus salads…yes…they are equally amazing! DELISH!

Cauliflower Salad

I think the capes might be what makes this so wonderful

I think the capers might be what makes this so wonderful

Nicole’s Fresh Strawberry and Spinach Salad

so in love with this fresh colorful salad

So in love with this fresh colorful salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

Orzo Tuna Salad

Who wants a heavy tuna casserole when you can make this fresh and gorgeous salad! YUM!

Fruit Salad with Orange and Agave Sauce

 

Some days you need something a little fruity!

Some days you need something a little fruity!

Jenny’s Delicious Chicken Salad

I couldn't leave out this mind blowing mouth watering salad!

I couldn’t leave out this mind blowing mouth watering salad!

Hope this gives you a little taste of summer!  Let’s get cooking!

Oh and before I go….

Cheers to you Beth! I know it's one of your favorite!

Cheers to you Beth! I know it’s one of your favorites!

A Lemontini makes everyone happy!

Peace and Let’s Have a Salad,

Isabelle

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

It’s the same old story: PASTA.  I love pasta.  There is no other way to say it.  I think I have only heard maybe once or twice in my lifetime someone say they didn’t like pasta.  Honestly my first thought was: “we can’t be friends, who doesn’t like pasta?!!!”.  Sad but true….that’s me making friends through food since 1969!  :/

So here I am making more pasta and trying to incorporate what I love most: roasted vegetables.  It’s my easy out on weeknights when I am hurrying to make dinner: cut all the veggies, put them in a large bowl, drizzle olive oil, a few good grinds of fresh pepper and a generous amount of kosher salt.  In the oven it goes at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until all my other dishes come together…if we are being honest here!)  It truly is a no-brainer.  My kids absolutely love roasted vegetables, really any will work or a combination of a few or many…. a great clean your fridge type of dish.

I am sure you could substitute the broccoli but I think the flavor and color just makes a gorgeous anytime dish.  The finishing touch with the toasted breadcrumbs is absolutely fantastic.  I guess you could use store-bought breadcrumbs but you would be cheating yourself….trust me…the extra little step is worth it!  AND you can do it ahead of time!  🙂

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

This totally rocked my pasta socks!

Ingredients:

3 broccoli heads (one package usually has 2-3)

1 onion minced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like spicy)

1 cup dry white wine (or chicken/vegetable broth if you prefer)

1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped

1 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs (see below on how to)

1 lb pasta (I like rigatoni for this dish but I think any short “fat” noodles will work)

Parmesan Cheese for serving

How to:

For the toasted breadcrumbs:

In your food processor pulse 2-3 pieces of country bread to make about 1 cup (this is not an exact science but it’s just delicious madness).  In a medium size pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add your fresh breadcrumbs and gently toast while stirring…I suggest you keep an eye on them…they tend to burn rather quickly!  Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  When nicely toasted set them aside until ready to use.

fresh breadcrumbs

fresh breadcrumbs

toasted breadcrumbs...oh the logic!

toasted breadcrumbs…oh the logic!

For your roasted broccoli: 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Set aside.

Cut your broccoli, including the stem (I cut about 1-2 inches off the bottom but I always use the stem).  It is DELICIOUS!  Taste the same as the florets and loaded with vitamins!  No waste!  Put in a large bowl, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper.  Toss everything well and put in your prepared baking sheet.  Put in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.  When done set aside until ready to use.

gorgeous broccoli!

gorgeous broccoli!

perfect!

perfect!

For the pasta and sauce:

Cook pasta according to package directions, but I would suggest you cook them very “al dente”.  They will continue to cook for a minute or so in the pan.  Keep 1 cup of your cooking water.

In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Add your pepper flake and gently heat while stirring (so nothing burns and gets bitter) for about 1-2 minutes.  Add your onions and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until soft and fragrant.  Add you garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add your wine and gently simmer until reduced by about half.  Add your broccoli, chopped basil, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of your pasta water.  Toss everything together well and let this cook for 1-2 minutes more.

this smells so amazing!!!!

this smells so amazing!!!!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

now this is what pasta should always look like!

Time to serve; put your pasta and broccoli in a serving plate (no really….) top with parmesan cheese and a big ol’ amount of toasted breadcrumbs.  Dive it!  So fabulous!  I could eat this everyday!

ready for action!

ready for action!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite....magnificent!

you know how I feel about the perfect first bite….magnificent!

Printer Friendly: Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Toasted Breadcrumbs

Peace and We Have To Be Friends,

Isabelle