Sunday, December 27, 2015

Holiday food detox.

   Are you as full of holiday food as me? I never thought I will say it, but I don't think I can eat one more piece of pierogi... at least not in the next few hours! After all this indulgent and festive food, we were craving something "easy" and on the lighter side. You don't necessarily have to eat only lettuce or sacrifice flavor and comfort for the next few days, but lighter food and smart choices might be a good idea. How about light, low carb tacos? Not only are they light and delicious, but also they are super quick... who would want to slave in the kitchen after all this cooking for the past few days?


* Romain lettuce
* 2 lbs ground turkey
* salsa
* 1 tomato, chopped
* shredded cheese
* plain Greek yogurt
* 2 packets McCormick taco seasoning
* tortilla strips 
* 1 tbsp olive oil


1. In a skillet heat the olive oil and saute ground turkey for 5 minutes. Add McCormick seasoning, 1 cup of water and cook everything until meat is fully cooked and most of the liquid evaporates.

2. Separate leaves from the lettuce, and fill them in with meat, salsa, tomatoes, cheese and yogurt. Garnish with tortilla strips if you like.

   You probably know what I'm going to say now. Yes, you are right, those are quick, easy and delicious! And it really is a good option after all the crazy holiday foods.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Simple yet innovative!

   My husband asked me to make some kind of pasta salad for quick and easy lunches, but I didn't want to just make something I always make, I wanted to "doctor it up" a little, so I used basil pesto and mixed it up with the mayo. One simple change, one simple ingredient and it transformed the ordinary macaroni salad into something new and exciting. Highly recommended!

   Oh, and the funny story behind the salad too: ... so Christopher was watching me make the salad and keep "stealing" the bites here and there. Then when I was taking pictures for this post, he kept walking around the table, eyeballing the glass with the salad in it and finally the hunger took over and he just grabbed it and started eating. I was so proud of the dish... until the lunch time when I tried to feed it to him, he would spit every single bite and didn't have any of it. So I gave up, fed him something else and Justin and I enjoyed the salad for the next couple of days (Christopher refused to eat it ever again, eww). And then one day when I was finishing the very last bite of the salad, Christopher walks by, looks at me and says: I wanna! ... uhmmm good! More pasta, mama! Needless to say, there was no more pasta, because mama ate it all... and he kept saying: more pasta, mama! I want more pasta!!! I still keep hearing his voice in my head, the sad voice of a child that was denied his favorite pasta! I want more pasta, mama!
Clearly, the pasta salad wasn't so "eww" after all, so just try it!


* 0.5lb small pasta, cooked
* 1 cup diced ham
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
* 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
* 1 cup diced pickles
* 1 cup mayo
* 4 tbsp basil pesto


1. In a large bowl combine all the veggies together.

2. Combine mayo with pesto, mix until well blended together.

3. Add mayo to the veggies, mix well to combine, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

   As the title says, it's pretty simple, yet different and exciting. I always liked pesto, so I knew I will like this "twist", but if you are on the fence, this might be a good way to give pesto another chance!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

The prelude!

   I am back in business - kitchen is finished, cleaned and organized (actually it was done few weeks ago, but I was being lazy with posting). Not that I needed any encouragement to cook before, but now I love it even more! And what better way to break in the new kitchen than to host family Thanksgiving dinner (for the first time, may I add!)? It turned out great - we had family, we had some great friends and we had lots of fun (and food). But that was long time ago and now we are ready for Christmas. With that in mind today's post will be about "pre-feast" dish - an appetizer! Everybody always focuses on main dishes, but to me, appetizers are equally important and I always struggle to find the right one. It has to be something that will be satisfying, but not too filling, so you still have room to enjoy the dinner. So here is one that was a hit recently - a veggie pizza, but not the one you would buy in the pizza joint, very different and very delicious! Check it out.

* 2 ready (pre-cooked) pizza crusts
* 16oz cream cheese, room temp.
* 0.5 cup ranch dressing
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped
* 8 radishes, sliced
* 1.5 cups broccoli cut into small pieces


1. In a bowl, combine softened cream cheese, ranch dressing and garlic. Mix until combined and smooth.

2. Spread half of the mixture on each pizza crust, sprinkle with vegetables and cut into small (about 2-bites) pieces.

   Fresh, light, crunchy and delicious - the perfect appetizer! You can get creative with toppings and you can use any veggies you like: carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower... endless possibilities. I cut it into small squares that were easy to manage and didn't require plates or utensils, finger food is always fun!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Great Friends!

   We still have no kitchen, so I can't cook anything at home, but we have one very important "thing"... we have great friends in the neighborhood! Obviously, I would not show up in their kitchen to cook the entire three course meal, but I did ask if I could boil some eggs. Not only it's an easy "grab and go" breakfast during the week, but also it allowed me to make an egg salad and break up the freezer meals a little. To make it a little different and add some healthy fats and creaminess, I used avocados. Yes, you guessed it, it's green so Christopher loves it as well!
   It's a perfect dish for "no kitchen" conditions - quick, easy and the most important thing - you don't need to dirty any dishes (paper plate to hold your sandwich is just enough). Did I mention it was easy? Just look at the directions section, it says it all!


* 10 eggs, hard-boiled, chopped
* 2 avocados, diced
* 2 large pickles, diced
* 2 tbsp sweet relish
*  2 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup mayo
* 1 tbsp yellow mustard
* salt and pepper


1.  Combine all the ingredients, mix together, season with salt and pepper and it's ready!

   I really love eggs! A day without an egg is a sad day for me - I need to have it in some form or shape. My men are not as crazy about the eggs as I am, so I always look for creative ways to use them and make them "exciting" and this avocado-egg salad definitely did the trick! They loved it.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Freezer friendly!

   So last week I promised you an explanation of why my life is crazy busy recently. Well, here it is: we have no kitchen due to the renovation! Actually we have no kitchen (because we are getting a new one), no family room (because contractors are using it as their storage) and no dining room (because we store our kitchen and family room in it). No kitchen and a toddler - deadly combination, but I keep telling myself it's all going to be worth it at the end when I get my dream kitchen. So since our new sink is in the family room and the stove is in the dining room, there is no cooking happening for the next couple of weeks, but it is not a problem because we still have a big freezer! I was prepping for this renovation for a while, so I made bunch of freezer friendly dishes, portioned them into lunch/dinner sizes and I'm ready!
   First dish out of the freezer - cashew chicken with broccoli and raisins. It may not be the most photogenic dish, but it just came out of the freezer, so let's give it a break!


* 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces 
* 12oz frozen chopped broccoli
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 8oz cashews
* 1 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper 


1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown chicken thighs for 2-3 minutes.

2. Add onions and raisins, season with a little bit of salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and cook for 15 minutes.

3. In a food processor, combine cashews and crushed tomatoes and blend until it forms a smooth paste.

4. Add to the chicken and cook for additional 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. If the chicken is tender, add frozen broccoli, adjust seasoning to your liking and cook for additional 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

   Delicious! Tender chicken, sweet raisins and creamy cashew sauce. You can freeze it by itself, you can freeze it together with the rice, or you can just not freeze it at all!


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mixing cheeses!

   It is going to be a super short post - unfortunately life is crazy busy in the last few days (stay tuned for details next week) and I just can't focus on writing an elaborate post, but I at least owe you a recipe! And it's a good one too... two cheese Alfredo pasta with broccoli and peas! Traditional Alfredo sauce has Parmesan cheese only, but why not add some extra creaminess from the cream cheese - I think it's a great idea!


* 1 lb whole grain pasta of your choice
* 4 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all purpose flour
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 2 cups milk
* 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 8oz cream cheese
* 2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
* 1 cup frozen peas
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt


1. In a deep skillet, melt butter, add flour and cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly. Slowly add heavy whipping cream and milk, whisking to get rid of any clumps. Season with salt and nutmeg.

2. Add cream cheese and mix everything until it melts into the sauce.

3. Add shredded Parmesan, mix until it melts (2-3 minutes) and add frozen peas.

4. In the meantime cook pasta until al dente and blanch broccoli in boiling water (about 1 minute).

5. Mix pasta, broccoli and cheese together and it's ready to serve!

   Green, creamy and cheesy... perfect combination. It's our family on the plate: broccoli and peas - Christopher's favorite, cheese - Justin's favorite, and of course pasta- mommy's favorite! Well, actually, we all love every ingredient of this dish!


Saturday, October 24, 2015


   Green is the first color Christopher learned and it's his absolutely favorite so far. He loves green veggies, green foods, green crayons, green trucks, and everything else that is green! We got a little bit tired of eating broccoli and asparagus (his favorite veggies) all the time, so I came up with a new green dish that hit the spot - pasta with a creamy spinach/kale sauce. Have you heard of a kid that loves spinach and kale? Well, mine does and I'm very happy about it! I blended them into a sauce since leafy veggies might be tricky to eat for a two year old, but he ate it all and demanded more! Here is the recipe:


* 12 oz frozen chopped kale
* 6 oz fresh spinach
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 tbsp butter
* 1cup 2% milk
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt and pepper
* 1 13oz box of whole wheat pasta


1. In a large skillet, melt butter and saute onions with a little bit of salt until translucent (4-5 minutes).

2. Add minced garlic, fresh spinach and frozen kale, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and saute everything together for 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the mixture to the blender, add 1 cup of milk and blend until think and smooth. You might need to add a little bit more milk, depending on how thick you like the sauce to be.

4. Return to the skillet, bring to boil, add cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce.

   How pretty is that? Creamy and saucy pasta with a hint of umami - a real treat that couldn't be healthier. One recommendation - don't wear white shirt while eating it... just trust me on that!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cream without the cream!

   Yet, another soup on my blog! Well, I can't help it that we (Christopher and I) eat a lot of soups, but with the weather getting "Autumn-y", I know many of you will make more and more soups as well. So just in case you are looking for a new recipe, I have one! It was kind of an experiment, especially the addition of the cheese, but it worked out perfectly. I don't really know how to call it, it could be cream of cauliflower with potatoes, or cream of potatoes with a cauliflower, but however you call it, it is creamy and delicious without the need for any cream or butter. Yes, it does have cheese, but it's pure protein anyways, right? Here is the recipe:


* 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
* 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
* 1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
* 3 carrots, peeled and cubed
* 4 cups chicken or veggetable (for vegetarian option) broth
* 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* salt and pepper

Optional garnish:
* green onions

* turkey bacon


1. In a large pot, combine all the veggies, add chicken (or vegetable) broth and if necessary, add some water to make sure that all the veggies are covered.

2. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

3. Remove pot from heat and blend everything with the immersion blender until smooth.

4. Return the pot to the heat, add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and serve garnished with crisped turkey bacon and green onions.

   The garnish is really optional and can be changed for something else. I just happened to have green onions in my fridge and I thought they would look really pretty on the top of a yellow soup and as for the turkey bacon...  I needed to put something in the dish that would "seduce" Justin and bacon definitely did the job!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Old Fashioned Guest!

   Yes, that's right, today's post is written by a special guest blogger, who tends to be a little bit old fashioned and who likes an old fashioned drink! Ladies and gentlemen, meet my husband Justin, who will tell you all about his favorite drink - Old Fashioned! 

   Few drinks exemplify "Classical" like the "Old Fashioned".  I recall reading in Jan Swafford's "The Vintage Guide to Classical Music", a very handy definition of what "Classical" is:

"something that endures as a model because its elements are so poised as to represent the miraculous illusion of perfection"

The "Old Fashioned" does bear some similarities to the works of Haydn and Mozart in that the beauty is in its simplicity and that the performance or crafting of that simplicity can make or break its enjoyment. In short, the "Old Fashioned" is a Cocktail that everyone should find cause to enjoy and is truly a "Classic".

My preferred recipe for this drink is as follows:

* 2 dashes of Bitters
 * 1/4oz Simple Syrup
 * 2oz Rye Whiskey

 1.  Stir with ice
 2.  Strain over a large ice cube
 3.  Garnish with an Orange Twist

 2 Dashes of Bitters - Bitters are in some ways the "salt and pepper" of cocktails.  They are characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor.  A dash is a fairly imprecise culinary measure (e.g. pinch or smidgen), but a dash is generally considered to be 1/8 tsp.  Most bottles have a restricted cap which automatically will dispense a dash when tilted into the glass.

1/4oz Simple Syrup - Traditionally the Old Fashioned is made using a sugar cube which is muddled (i.e. mashed and mixed) with the bitters and a few dashes of water.  I use syrup for added convenience when mixing and it also reduces the need for additional utensils such as a Cocktail Muddler.  Using simple syrup also ensures that you won't have an unsweetened drink with a shot of sweet gritty sugar waiting at the bottom of the glass.  Muddling the sugar by hand does allow for certain artistic variations such as using brown sugar, as some people prefer, as finding brown sugar syrup is somewhat difficult.

2oz Rye Whiskey - This Cocktail can be made with a various types of alcohol including Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Cognac, and Rum.  However, the common practice 200 years ago when the Cocktail came to prominence was to use either Bourbon or Rye Whiskey.  I prefer to use Rye Whiskey because it has a milder and smoother taste than bourbon, but both are great to use in this drink.

Stir with ice - Often a few dashes of water is explicitly prescribed in an Old Fashioned recipe, but the water picked up from the ice when stirring the bitters, syrup, and rye accomplishes this.

Strain over a Large Ice Cube - I recommend using a single large ice cube with this cocktail.  This helps to ensure that the drink remains cold, but does not become watered down towards the end of its consumption.

Garnish with an Orange Twist - Using a peeler, remove a strip of peel from an orange.  Next twist the peel to extract the oils from the rind and place the twisted peel in the drink with the colored side facing outward.

Note: If you make this Cocktail with Bourbon a Lemon Twist is traditionally used

   Those of you who have had occasion to order this drink when at a bar may have had the unfortunate experience of receiving the cocktail with mashed fruit.  This is a modification that came about in the early 1900's  and sometimes if you order an Old Fashioned at a bar you will get this.  The only way to avoid this is to tell the bartender "No Muddled Fruit" when ordering the drink and hope that they make the drink simply using bitters, syrup, rye, and a twist.  You probably won't have this problem if you are at a fine restaurant or a place that makes Craft Cocktails (i.e meaning every element of the drink is handmade or tailored specifically to the drink).  The specific origin of this practice is somewhat nebulous.  However, one theory I have heard is that during prohibition a lot of traditions fell by the wayside and people started to apply different variations to many different cocktails.  Unfortunately, some of these Cocktail variations such as this have gained traction over time.

   In any event, this is a drink that is sure to impress your friends when hosting parties with its simplicity and presentation.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Like mother, like son.

   Christopher might look like my husband, but he definitely inherited my palate. He is a very good eater (me!), he is willing to try everything (me!), and his favorite things to eat include meat, pickles, olives, fruit and soups (me, me, and me!!!). Oh and coo-coos (aka cookies), too. But seriously, ask my husband - Christopher and I could eat soups 24/7! We love Polish soups, American, Italian, Indian... you name it, we will eat it and it makes me super happy that now I have somebody to share my soup obsession with! With the weather getting colder (and with the rain we had for the last 8 days) we needed something warming, comforting and delicious, so what could be better than Indian-inspired red lentil soup. Full of spices, flavor and comfort. Here is the recipe:


* 2 cups red lentils
* 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 large carrots, grated
* 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
* 3 tbsp butter
* 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
* 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
* 2 tbsp turmeric powder
* 1 tbsp garam masala
* 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 1 chicken bullion cube (optional)
* salt

* oyster crackers (optional)


1. Wash the lentils at least 4-5 times, cover with excess water and let them soak for at least 2 hours.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil until almost smoking, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute, covered (to avoid all the oil splashing).

3. Add onions, garlic, carrots and cilantro and cook with a little bit of salt for 2-3 minutes (stirring). Add butter, turmeric powder, garam masala, smoked paprika, cinnamon,  bullion cube and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Add around 6-7 cups of water, canned tomatoes (juice included), reduce heat and cook covered for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. Add lemon juice, adjust seasoning to your liking, cook for 2 more minutes and it's ready to serve. If you want to be rebellious you can serve it with oyster crackers!

   The recipe makes a huge pot of soup, but believe it or not, I wish I had more! Yes, it's that good! You don't really need the oyster crackers on the top, but my husband loves them and since he already "sacrificed" himself  and ate a soup for dinner, I wanted to reward him a little bit. It actually turned out pretty good and Christopher and I also put some crackers in our soup!


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fancy name.

   Every Polish person has eaten tomato soup at least once in their life (it's probably more like 100 times, but you get the point!). After "rosol" (Polish version of a chicken soup), it's safe to say that tomato soup is the next most popular soup of Poland. It definitely earned the spot - it's quick, easy and delicious, so why wouldn't it be so popular? You can eat it with noodles, or rice, or I even saw some variations with different veggies. I make it very often myself, because I can have it done and on the table within 15-20 minutes, but this time I decided to go for something more "sophisticated" - a tomato bisque. It's a little bit denser than our soup, it has a little bit more ingredients and it has a French name, so if you want to impress somebody, just tell them you are serving a "bisque". They will think you are the next Julia Child!


* 2 28oz can of whole tomatoes, with juice
* 1 large onion
* 2 garlic cloves
* 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
* 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
* 4 tbsp butter
* 1 chicken bullion cube
* 3 tbsp chopped basil
* 1 tbsp chopped parsley
* 1 cup milk
* salt and pepper 


1. In a large pot, melt butter and saute onions with a little bit of salt for 5 minutes. Add garlic and constantly stirring, cook for additional minute.

2. Add chopped carrots, celery, basil and parsley. Cook for 5-6 minutes.

3. Add canned tomatoes with juice and a bullion cube and cook everything on low-to-medium heat for 40 minutes until all the veggies are tender. You can add a cup of water if necessary (if it's way too dense).

4. Take the soup off the heat and blend with the immersion blender until smooth. Add milk, season with salt and pepper if needed and cook for additional 2-3 minutes.

5. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.

   You can see in that picture how dense and creamy the soup is. It has some sweet and acidic notes and the fresh herbs are just delicious. For my husband, the obvious missing thing was a grilled cheese sandwich, but I enjoyed the soup, I mean the bisque ;-), by itself and it was awesome.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Accidently vegan!

   I am not a vegan and I was not planning on making a vegan dish, it just happened that all the ingredients I chose for this dish fall into this category. Besides, we are not really "scared" of vegan food like some people, I think it's delicious and nutritious and I wouldn't mind eating more of it. I am not willing to give up my eggs and cheese, but I have nothing against vegan food! And looking at  Justin and Christopher finishing the vegan burgers I made, it seems that they like it too. Recipe makes about 10 large patties.


* 1 cup quinoa
* 2 15oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
* 8oz baby portabello mushrooms, chopped
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1/2 cup chia seeds
* 1/2 ground flax seeds
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* salt and pepper


1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool down.

2. In a skillet heat the olive oil and saute onions and mushrooms for about 5-6 minutes until softened. Set aside.

3. Place drained and rinsed black beans in the large bowl and mash them using a potato masher. Add cooled quinoa, mushroom/onion mix and all remaining ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

4. Form burger patties and place on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

   You can use whatever you want to build the burger, I chose pickles (of course), tomatoes, spinach and horseradish spread. The patty is really good, but I feel like it needs a little bit of  a "kick" and horseradish and pickles take care of it perfectly.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

No-butter cake!

   Yes, that's right, not every cake needs to have butter in it (not that there is anything wrong with butter!) and it still can be delicious! I was mostly curious about it and wanted to try something different. Even though the cake is super easy and doesn't require any electric mixers, I did have some help making it from my sous chef. He is almost 20 months old, full of energy and enthusiasm for cooking, and is great with stirring the pot, especially a pot of flour! We tried to follow the recipe, but to be honest I'm not sure how much flour went into the cake itself, because I saw some on the counter, some on the floor and some in my shoes, but the cake turned out awesome so clearly you don't need to be too precise!
Here is the recipe for a blueberry-lemon yogurt cake:


* 3.5 cups all purpose flour
* 3 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 2/3 cup vegetable oil
* 4 large eggs, room temp.
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, room temp. 
* 3 tsp vanilla extract
* juice and zest from two lemons
* 1.5 cups frozen blueberries (do not thaw)


* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* juice from half a lemon


1. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In a separate bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk everything together until smooth.

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix with a spoon. Gently fold in frozen blueberries (leave few for the top) and transfer into the rectangular baking dish lined up with buttered foil.

4. Sprinkle with remaining blueberries and bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes (until toothpick comes our clean).

5. When the cake cools a little, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and drizzle over the cake.

   Moist, lemony, fruity and flavorful! The glaze is optional, but I really recommend adding it because it makes this cake out-of-this-world delicious! Christopher was so impressed with his own work that he actually learned two new words: "cake" and "CAAAKE" - when I gave him too small of a piece!


Saturday, September 5, 2015


   There are two types of people in the word... actually there are many more types, but for the purpose of this post let's just all agree that there are people who either love quinoa, or people who don't understand what the big deal is all about! Our family happens to love it, even little Christopher enjoys a little side of quinoa (as long as it's accompanied by some meat)! I like the texture, I like the taste and I like how healthy and guilt-free it is! I use it often as a substitute for rice or couscous and it's always good! This time  I loaded it with zucchini and mushrooms, so I kind of killed two birds with one stone here - starch and veggies in one dish! Couldn't be easier!


* 1.5 cup quinoa (I used the tri-colored one)
* 2 cups shredded zucchini (~2 medium)
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 8oz white mushrooms, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 2 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp fresh basil
* 1/2 tsp marjoram powder
* 1 tsp dry dill
* salt and pepper


1. Cook quinoa in about 6 cups of salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt butter and saute onions with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until translucent.

3. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Gently squeeze shredded zucchini to remove excess water and add it the skillet.

4. Add herbs, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

5. Combine with quinoa, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve as a side dish.

   Delicious! And so versatile too! It can be a side dish, a meal on its own, or even a stuffing for different veggies, or anything really! I used it as a side dish for baked chicken and it was awesome!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Justin's kind of salad!

   I don't think there are a lot of dishes I make that my husband doesn't like. He is game for anything and will try any food I cook (as long as it doesn't contain liver), but once in a while I make a dish that he is super impressed with and wants to eat all the time. He is not really a "veggie person", so you can imagine how surprised I was when he fell in love with a salad! Obviously, not just a regular lettuce-tomatoes kind of salad, but a burger salad! Still healthy and nutritious as any salad would be, but with an amazing burger taste! What was even more surprising is that Christopher got really hooked on pickles (one of the salad ingredients), or as he would say "pee-oh" (it took me a while to figure out that pee-oh was a pickle) and that's all he wanted to eat for dinner that night. Like mother, like son... his Polish side is definitely getting stronger and stronger!
I used ground turkey, only because we prefer it over the beef, but you are more than welcome to use any kind of ground meat you like!


* 2 lb ground turkey
* 1 tbsp burger seasoning (I used Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning)
* 1 tsp olive oil
* romain lettuce, shredded
* hamburger pickles, slices
* white onion, sliced or shaved
* cherry tomatoes, halved
* turkey bacon
* thousand island dressing


You may notice that I didn't really list the amounts of some of the ingredients. It's because it's really up to you how much you add to your salad - some like more pickles, some like more onions and some like more tomatoes. Customize it to your liking.

1.  Place turkey bacon on the baking sheet and broil in the oven until crispy and browned (turning once).

2. In a non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and cook the meat with burger seasoning for 10 minutes. Set aside.

3. Assemble your salad: lettuce, meat, tomatoes, pickles, onions,  bacon and dressing... add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.

   Everything I love in a good burger: delicious meat, pickles, crispy onions... I mean I love every single ingredient of this salad. It works so well together and you can't stop eating it. If you are not a fan of bacon, or don't have it in your fridge, you can skip it - it will still be delicious!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Changing things up.

   We love spaghetti! No, seriously... we probably eat it every other week! So to keep it interesting I always keep changing things up - different types of meat, different types of pasta, different types of seasoning, or just some extra ingredients. This time I made zucchini-tomato sauce with ground chicken. Light, healthy, delicious... and if paired with the right pasta, absolutely guilt free! Extra bonus - hidden veggies, just in case my boys wouldn't want to eat any! I shredded the zucchini, so they had absolutely no idea what they are eating and how healthy it is (just in case they didn't feel like eating "healthy"). Here is the recipe:


* 1 lb ground chicken
* 1 large zucchini, finely shredded
* 1 24oz can crushed tomatoes
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
* 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
* 1 tbs dry oregano
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper


1. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and saute onions with a little bit of salt for 5 minutes.

2. Add ground chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes until no longer pink.

3. Add shredded zucchini, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, dry oregano, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes stirring from time to time. Add fresh basil and parsley, and serve with pasta.

   Fresh basil and parsley really elevates this dish! Justin's first question was: what did you add to the sauce, zucchini? So that was it for "hiding" the veggies, but he cleaned his plate anyways, so the plan worked!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Almost traditional!

   Here is another post about the dish that I love to eat, but somehow never made it myself before! Chicken Marsala... delicious Italian dish featuring one of my favorite ingredients - mushrooms! I was craving Italian food for a while, so when we invited our friends for dinner the other day, I knew I would be making something Italian (and it just happens that my friend loves Italian food as well). I kind of wanted to stick to the traditional recipe and not change it too much, but I had to make one small adjustment... I didn't dredge the chicken breast in flour. Why add extra carbs and also, Christopher is not a fan of breaded meat, so I didn't want to risk him not wanting to eat it. Well, it turned out that he preferred mushrooms over the meat anyways, so I would probably get away with it! Maybe next time!
Here is the recipe:


* 4 thin chicken breasts
* 16oz crimini mushroom, sliced
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 cup Marsala wine (dry)
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 3 tbsp butter
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
* salt and pepper 


1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter and sear the meat for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add onions  and mushrooms to the remaining oil and butter in the pan, season with salt and pepper and saute for 6-7 minutes until all the moisture evaporates.

3. Add Marsala wine to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes to cook out all the alcohol. Add chicken stock and simmer for 5-6 minutes to reduce the sauce.

4. Returned chicken breast to the pan, cover it with the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add fresh parsley, season with salt and pepper if necessary and it's ready to serve. 

   Such a simple, but flavorful dish! Marsala wine gives it a little bit of a tang, mushrooms give it some comfort (at least to me) and earthiness... I could probably just drink the sauce by a glass, no kidding! Christopher was at the same page, because he skipped the meat all together and just ate mushrooms and the sauce... like mother like son!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Busy weekend fix.

   It's one of those weekends when we might have overcommited to things! We have quite few activities planned and it looks like the entire weekend we will be "on the go", with just a little bit time to sit down and eat lunch or dinner.  That's why I had to come up with a dish that won't require a lot of time commitment...either preparing or serving. I thought fast, easy and delicious tuna salad would be a perfect solution! You make a big bowl of it, you keep it in the fridge and it's ready to be served whenever you are ready to eat! Great dish for a busy weekend.


* 2 12oz cans of tuna in water
* 6 eggs, cooked and chopped
* red pepper, finely chopped
* 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
* 1 cup sweet relish
* 1 cup mayo
* 1 tbs mustard
* 1 cup chopped parsley


1. Drain the tuna.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until everything is evenly distributed.

3. Refrigerate! The end!

   I think it is the easiest and fastest recipe I've ever posted. I actually had to try really hard to come up with three steps rather than just one! This salad is amazing, it doesn't need any extra seasoning, it just comes out right after you combine everything. How easy is that? You can eat it on a sandwich, or on a cracker or just by itself. You could even use it as a veggie dip (which I do all the time).


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cheese of cake

   Cheesecake is probably one of my favorite desserts. Rich, creamy and indulgent, how can you not like it? But for somebody who loves cheesecake so much, I have a dark secret - I NEVER made one by myself! Can you believe that? I mean, never until now! I always thought that it was tricky, required some supernatural powers and took hours! Well, it does take some time, not the prep or cook time, but rather a "cooling time", but other than that it is super easy! I can not believe I was so scared to make it. As a proof, here is the recipe:


* 24oz cream cheese (3 bricks), room temp.
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 lemon, juice and zest
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 eggs, room temp.
* 5-6 tbsp strawberry preserve, recipe can be found here
* 10 graham crackers
* 5 tbsp melted butter


1. Break the graham crackers into a food processor and process until they form fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

2. Press the crust into the foil-lined 8x8 pan and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool while making the filling.

3. Decrease the oven temperature to 325F.

4. In a standing mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, slowly add sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat everything for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.

4. Pour cheese mix onto the cooled crust, randomly distribute the strawberry preserve on the top and using a knife swirl the preserve to create a "marble pattern".

5. Bake at 325F for 45-50 minutes. Gently remove the cake from the oven (it will still be "jiggly" and wet, but it's OK), let it cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into it.

   Doesn't it look pretty? And it tastes pretty good as well! Perfect balance of sweet with some salty and acidic notes. Lemon juice and zest is really a key here, it just makes it so fresh and vibrant. You could use any kind of fruit preserve, or you could just skip it all together, I'm sure it would be delicious no matter what!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer soup.

   Yes, it's a soup recipe in the middle of summer, that's right! I can't help it that I love soups so much and I absolutely do not consider it to be a "winter dish"! Justin is not really a fan of soups, he just doesn't consider it as a "meal", so to encourage him to have a bowl, I need to find one that is full of meat and his favorite flavors! Tortilla soup - chunky, full of tender chicken and Mexican flavors, I knew he won't be able to resist and I was right! Here is the recipe:


* 2 large chicken breasts
* 1 15oz can of black beans,  drained and rinsed
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 cup frozen corn
* 1 cup fresh cilantro
* 1 15oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
* 1 cup tomato sauce

* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 0.5 - 1 tsp chili powder (depending on how spice you want it to be)
* 1 tsp paprika
* salt and pepper

* tortilla strips
* sour cream


1. In a large pot, cook chicken breast in salted water until soft - 45-60 minutes.

2. Take the chicken out of the water, let it cool for few minutes and shred it.

3. In the meantime, to the remaining water add onions, garlic, corn, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and add spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper).

4. Cook everything for 15 minutes, add shredded chicken and cilantro and cook for additional 15 minutes.

5. Serve garnished with sour cream and tortilla strips.

   Delicious! You can adjust spiciness to your liking, since I am not a fan of spicy food I just added a little bit of chili powder, but feel free to "spice things up"!


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Urban Farmhouse Inspired...

   The Urban Farmhouse Market and Cafe is a chain of restaurants that I consider to be a little bit "hipster", with a cool vibe and a good food. I was told that one of their biggest hits is a "three lentil chili" soup and I absolutely agree with that opinion. So flavorful and delicious... and so "hipster" too. So I knew that I will be making it sooner or later... and the time has come! I have no idea what they used in their recipe, I didn't really ask, I just took the inspiration and created my own version. It turned out pretty tasty, so I think I did a good job! Here is the recipe:


* 1 cup green lentils
* 1 cup black lentils
* 1 cup split red lentils
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 2 packets McCormick TexMex Chili Seasoning
* 2 15oz can diced tomatoes

* salt if needed


1. Combine all the lentils, wash 2-3 times in cold water, transfer into a large pot, cover with cold water (at least 3 inches of water above the lentils) and soak for 4-5 hours, preferably overnight.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the onions for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.

3. Add drained lentils, diced tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Cook for 45 minutes.

4. Add TexMex Chili Seasoning and a little bit of water (if needed) and cook for additional 1 hour, stirring from time to time (the spices tend to stick to the bottom a little bit). Depending on how dense you like your chilli, you can add some more water.

5. Adjust seasoning with salt to your liking (if needed) and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

   Sour cream is a must with this dish! If you are not a fan of sour cream, try Greek yogurt, but trust me when I tell you that you will love it this way!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Brown or blond?

   That is the question! If it comes to cakes or sweets in general, it's always "blond" for me! Yes, that's right, I do not like brownies, I do not like chocolate cake, I do not like anything chocolate! This is why I was very excited when I found the recipe for these delicious "blondies". I was even more excited about the fact that they are Banana Blondies, because I am so tired of making banana bread every single time I have leftover overripe bananas! And it happens a lot with my two boys who demand that I buy a lot of bananas because they will for sure eat them all! Yeah, right!
   Anyways, the "cake" is really delicious, dense and moist (like a brownie would be), very flavorful and has a nice crunch from the nuts. Quick and easy recipe using the ingredients that can by found in the average pantry.


* 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
* 1.5 cup packed brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 3 bananas, mashed
* 2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup walnuts, chopped


1. In a bowl combine sugar and salt, add melted butter and mix together.

2. Mix in eggs, vanilla, bananas and baking powder. Slowly add flour and mix everything together.

3. Stir in walnuts and transfer into a rectangular baking pan. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

   If you don't have walnuts, you could also use pecans, macadamia nuts, or even hazelnuts. You could even skip nuts all together if you wanted, but I think they add a lot and make the cake way better. I also tried it with different dried fruits and decided that walnuts and cranberries was my favorite combination.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

The mother of invention...

   What happens when you buy too much margarita for the Girls Night In? Probably most of you would say there is never too much margarita for anything that involves bunch of girls... but we really had too much and nobody wanted to finish it (I think we are getting older or wiser... probably just older). Anyways, I had at least half a bottle of a ready-to-drink margarita left and I was wondering what I could do with it... so naturally I decided to use it for cooking some pork! Isn't it what you would do? Oh well... I might just be "different"! Besides margarita is not really my drink of choice anyways... so I had to come up with a creative use of the leftovers. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so I "invented" Margarita Braised Pork Loin recipe and here it is:


* large pork loin (3-4lbs)
* 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 2 cups margarita drink
* 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tsp rosemary
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper


1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Season pork loin with salt and pepper on both sides and transfer into the Dutch oven - cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until browned.

2. Slowly add margarita and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until all the alcohol cooks out. Be very careful adding the alcohol as it may over-boil.

3. Add Worcestershire sauce and water until it comes up to half of the loin.

4. Cover the meat with onions and garlic, sprinkle with the rosemary, close the lid and transfer into the 330F oven. Braise for 3 hours and let it rest for 15-20 minutes outside of the oven before serving

   Yum, yum! Rich, savory meat with a tiny hint of sweetness, soaked in luscious sauce. Super tender pork, that can be cut into slices or just shredded depending on your preference. I think it was a very successful use of the leftover margarita!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

You could've fooled me!

   If you know me, you know how much I love potatoes. Not French fries, not chips.... the REAL potatoes, mashed, baked, cooked or roasted, I love them all! But unfortunately, plate full of potatoes is not your friend when you are trying to lose baby weight (and some of the pre-baby weight that stuck around, too). I kept hearing about the mashed cauliflower tasting almost the same as mashed potatoes, but I didn't even bother to try it... because let's be honest, I did not believe that anything can be as delicious as mashed potatoes. But after much consideration, I decided to "sacrifice" myself for the blog readers and give it a try... Wow, what a delicious dish! No, seriously, you need to try it! Don't wait as long as I did, you will love it!


* 2 medium cauliflowers, cut into florets
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* 1 tbsp coconut oil
* 2 tbsp milk
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* salt


1. Cook cauliflower in salted water until fork tender (for about 25 minutes). Drain.

2. Transfer hot cauliflower into food processor, add all remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Depending on the size of the food processor, you might have to divide everything in half and then combine.

   So creamy, so cheesy, so flavorful! There is no bigger potato snob than myself, but I will be honest with you ... you could've fooled me into thinking that I'm eating potatoes here... maybe!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pick a side.

   Ever wondered what makes the steakhouse spinach so good? The answer is: cream and butter! Yes, I said cream and butter! Were you expecting me to say "love" they put into making it? No! If you want creamy, decadent, velvety creamed spinach, you need to invest in a "few" calories! Just skip the baked potato or have a smaller piece of meat and just enjoy this delicious spinach dish! Actually, the title should say "Pick THIS side", because it really is one of the best side dishes you can have. And if you worry about all the fat, just think about how much fiber, iron and vitamins you will get with it! It's worth it!


* 20oz fresh spinach
* 1.5 cups cream
* 5 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all purpose flour
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt and pepper


1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for 2 minutes. Drain on the colander and squeeze all the excess water.

2. Make bechamel sauce: in a saucepan melt butter, add flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for 5-6 minutes until sauce is really thick.

3. Transfer drained spinach into the food processor and pulse until almost pureed.

4. Add spinach to the bechamel sauce, mix until combined, cook for additional 1 minute. Serve warm.

   My husband's first reaction: man, it's so cheeeeeesy and delicious! No, there is no cheese in it... just the love, I mean butter and cream! Just go for it, splurge a little.


Saturday, June 6, 2015


   I've been craving Indian food for a while now but somehow every time we go out we end up anywhere but an Indian restaurant. So I got tired of waiting and decided to take matters in my own hands and make my own chicken korma (favorite Indian dish ever). Delicious and tender chicken, creamy and flavorful sauce (made out of my favorite nuts - cashews) and wonderful aroma of all the spices. It's a serious dish and it's very hard to stick to only one serving! It really was a hit in our house, my husband loved it (and probably ate half of it by the time I was done taking pictures for the blog) and Christopher devoured his first Indian dish like a pro!
   Recipe makes ... probably anything from 4 to 8 portions, depending on how much you love Indian food.


* 4 chicken breasts
* 1 large onion
* 2 garlic cloves
* 5oz cashew nuts
* 1 cup milk
* 15oz tomato puree
* 6oz plain Greek yogurt
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* cilantro for garnish

*1 tsp of each:
   - turmeric powder
   - garam masala
   - coriander powder
   - cardamom powder
   - ground ginger
   - curry powder
   - salt
* pinch of cinnamon


1. Place coarsely chopped onion and garlic in the food processor and blend until pureed. Transfer into non-stick pan and cook for 5-6 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine all the spices in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add cubed chicken breast and toss everything until every piece of chicken is coated with spices.
3. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and add spiced chicken. Cook everything for 3-4 minutes. There will be some almost burned looking crust on the bottom of the pot, but it's all good. Add 1 cup of water and cook for a minute or so until water evaporates.
4. Add cooked onions and tomato puree and mix to combine. Scrape bottom of the dish to remove all the "burned" spices and mix them into the sauce.
5. Place cashew nuts and milk in the food processor and blend until it forms very smooth paste. If it's too dense, you can add a little bit more milk. Add cashew paste to the chicken and cook everything on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
6. Add Greek yogurt, cook for 1 more minute, garnish with cilantro and enjoy with Basmati rice!

   I could eat this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner.... no kidding! Sometimes I make it with chicken tights rather than the breast - it's really good as well. To be honest, you could probably put a piece of shoe lether in this sauce and it would be delicious!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rebellious lasagna.

   No meat, no tomato sauce, lots of mushrooms and roasted bell peppers - not your usual lasagna! I created this recipe for two reasons: 1) I needed a vegetarian version of a dish that Christopher loves (since he already eats a lot of meat) and 2) I needed to create something different than my previous lasagna (that can be found here). So I used some old (ricotta and spinach) and new (mushroom and roasted bell peppers) tricks and it turned out great. Both of my boys loved it. Actually, all three of my boys loved it, because Christoper decided to share it with Spikey - our dog. He seemed to really enjoy it! The recipe makes a large (and I mean large and deep) baking dish. I shared it with few of my friends, but you can also freeze it and enjoy it later.


* 16oz oven ready lasagna pasta
* 2lb ricotta cheese
* 1lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
* 1 16oz jar of roasted bell peppers
* 1 egg
* 32oz mushrooms, chopped
* 1tbsp olive oil
* 3 cups whole milk
* 2 tbsp butter
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 8oz mozzarella cheese
* salt and pepper


1. Mushroom sauce:
     - In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute mushrooms with a little bit of salt until soft and tender (10 minutes). Transfer mushroom into the strainer to drain.
     - In the same skillet, melt butter, add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes constantly mixing.  Slowly add milk (whisking!) and cook the sauce for 5-6 minutes until thick (whisking!).
     - Add drained mushroom, season with salt and pepper.
2. Ricotta mix:
     - In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, drained spinach and chopped roasted bell peppers.
     - Add 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix everything together.
     - Add egg and mix to combine.
3. Assemble lasagna by layering:
     - 1 spoon of a mushroom sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
     - layer of pasta
     - half of the ricotta cheese
     - pasta
     - half of mushroom sauce (reserve a spoon of sauce), a little bit of mozzarella cheese on the top
     - pasta
     - ricotta mix
     - pasta
     - mushroom sauce
     - pasta
     - top the last layer of pasta with the reserved mushroom sauce (to keep it moist) and cover with mozzarella cheese
4. Bake covered with foil at 400F for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

   It's really creamy and flavorful. Lots of veggies, lots of mushrooms, lots of cheese - what not to like?


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bacon is a veggie...

   ...right? No? How about cheese? OK, I get the point, but who said that it can't be a part of a salad?
Recently I am on the mission to create dishes that I can make in bigger quantities and portion for at least two lunches or dinners. It saves time, money and if you are starving right after work, it's there waiting for you when you get home. But it only works if the dish stores well and if it tastes delicious - otherwise who would want to eat it more than once! With that in mind,  I finally made a salad that my husband not only ate, but actually had seconds! What's the trick you ask? Well, I filled the "spaces" between the broccoli with bacon, cheese and almonds.... and yes, I still called it a salad! And guess what, for the first time in a very long time I used a REAL bacon, not the turkey one. You just need to do it once in a while, it's not going to kill you and it will make this dish out of this world delicious! Trust me, I'm a doctor! Here is the recipe:


* 4-5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
* 4oz of sliced almonds
* 8oz white aged cheddar, finely cubed
* 10oz of bacon
* 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped


* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tbs honey
* 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


1. Chop the bacon in small pieces, place it in the non-stick skillet and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Transfer onto paper towel and let it cool and drain.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine broccoli, cubed cheese, almonds, red onion and cooled bacon.
3. Mix together all ingredients of the dressing and combine with the "salad". Let is cool for 30 minutes before serving.

   It doesn't require any seasoning - bacon, cheese, honey and vinegar are all you need to give this dish its heavenly taste. Salty and sweet, tangy and creamy, with tones of different textures... I am telling you, this is one mean salad! At least we love it!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hiding veggies!

   If you are thinking that this post will be about hiding veggies so your kid will eat them, you are wrong! My son loves his veggies, especially broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower - no need to hide anything. But I do have to hide them if I want my husband to eat them! Yes, that's right, I trick a thirty something year old man to eat veggies! He usually knows that they are hidden somewhere in the dish, but because I make it impossible to pick them out or leave out on the plate... all the veggies end up being eaten! Hey, there could be worse things I could be tricking my husband to do, so I absolutely don't feel guilty about this one!
This time I hid broccoli and bunch of herbs in the sauce that covered Justin's beloved chicken, served it over his favorite Basmati rice (to give him some incentive to eat it) and ... he loved it! Winning!


* 2 large chicken breast, cubed
* 1 large onion
* 0.5 bunch of cilantro, large stems removed
* 1 small bunch of fresh dill, large stems removed
* 2 cups of broccoli florets 
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 lime, juice
* 2 tbsp butter
* salt and pepper

* Basmati  rice, cooked


1. In a large skillet, melt butter and sear chicken breast until lightly browned.
2. In the meantime, in the food processor, combine broccoli, onion, garlic, cilantro and dill. Run the processor adding a little bit of water (2-3 tbsp) until the sauce is smooth.
3. Add the sauce to the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add lime juice to your liking. Serve over Basmati rice.

   What a vibrant color and an amazing aroma!
   Depending on the amount of water you add, the sauce might be more or less thick, but if you don't like the consistency, either add some more water or cook it for longer to reduce it. If you go overboard with water, add a little bit of cornstarch  and it will nicely thicken it(I know, it's cheating, but sometimes it's unavoidable!).


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Non-Mac and Cheese.

   I kept hearing about the cauliflower "mac & cheese" for years and somehow I felt that it had a bad rep. Every time I would hear/read about it, it was more of a "punishment" or something you had to do when you are on a diet, trying to lose weight. I couldn't really understand why people were so disappointed when they heard that there is no macaroni in the dish. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love all kinds of pasta too, but I also like the cauliflower and I don't see anything wrong with a cauliflower smothered with a creamy, cheese sauce... with some more cheese on the top! Does that sounds like a "punishment" food to you? Exactly!
   So I decided to make my own and see what this whining was all about! Here is the recipe that makes about 6 servings (depending on if you use it as a main dish or a side):


* 2 cauliflower heads, cut into small florets
* 4 cups whole milk
* 4 tbs unsalted butter
* 4 tbs flour
* 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
* 1 cup fresh parsley
* pinch of nutmeg
* 0.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
* salt and pepper


1. Boil the cauliflower until al dente - no more than 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and add flour - cook for a minute, constantly whisking (very important).
3. Slowly keep adding milk, whisking constantly and cook everything for 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add parsley, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick, add 2 cups of shredded cheese and mix until melted and combined.
4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and mix gently to combine.
5. Pour everything into the baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs and bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

   Holly smokes, that is delicious! Obviously, if you don't want to use a whole milk you can substitute it with skim, or part-fat, it just happens that thanks to my son I have a fridge full of whole milk - so why not use it!
   I made mine very "saucy", so if you don't like a lot of sauce (that is creamy, gooey, cheese and delicious!!!) you may want to reduce the milk/butter/flour amount by 1 measurement.

Enjoy and Happy Mother's Day to all Mamas out there!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Row row row your boat...

   ... oh, how many times did I hear this song? So, when I was planning my meals the other day, thinking about what I want to make that all of us could have for dinner, I heard that song playing again! I looked at the screen, that Christopher was hypnotized by, and the girl in a "cartoon video" was rowing a zucchini boat (the things they come up with to entertain kids these days!!!). So that's how I decided on our dinner: stuffed zucchini! Normally I would probably stuff it with rice and meat, but in order to make it not only different, but also much healthier I substituted rice with quinoa. Here is the recipe, serves 4:


* 4 large zucchinis
* 1 lb lean ground beef
* 1 large onion
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 15oz can of fired roasted diced tomatoes, drained
* 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1.5 cup dry quinoa
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper

Marinara sauce:

* 2 tbsp olive oil
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 15oz can tomato sauce
* 1 tbsp dry oregano
* 1 tbsp dry basil
* 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp ketchup
* salt


1. Cook quinoa in salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until translucent - 6-7 minutes. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 10 minutes.
3. When the meat is browned, add drained tomatoes, cook for additional 5-7 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, meat and half of the Parmesan cheese. Mix well together until combined and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
5. Cut zucchinis in half lengthwise, scoop out the flash (seeds only) and arrange on a large baking sheet. Fill the halves with the meat/quinoa stuffing, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake at 380F for 45-50 minutes until zucchini is tender.
6. The marinara sauce: in a saucepan heat the olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add tomato sauce, herbs, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce, season with salt and cook for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

   We really like a cold marinara with this dish. Maybe because we love ketchup and it kind of reminds us of it. It's really delicious and healthy dish. Not only it contains about 10 grams of fiber per serving, but it also has 45 grams (!!!) of protein! It can't get any better than that!


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Green Eggs and Ham!

   Breakfast time! And I hope you are as excited about it as I am. I love, love, love breakfast food - especially if it involves eggs and ham. Usually (actually, almost always) weekend breakfasts in the Morgan's household are prepared by Daddy while Mommy is drinking her coffee and Christopher is watching his cartoons, but this time that wasn't a case! I decided to switch things up, took over the kitchen on Sunday morning and made a dish that fits my culinary point-of-view: quick, easy and delicious! Eggs in a basket and the basket is made out of juicy, delicious, salty ham. Add some green chives on the top and you end up with the Green Eggs and Ham! The recipe makes 6 "baskets" and serves 3.


* 12 medium slices of ham
* 6 eggs
* 6 tsp shredded cheddar cheese
* chives
* salt


1.  Line up each cup of a muffin tin with two slices of ham.
2. Add 1 tsp of shredded cheese into each cup, crack an egg, sprinkle with chives and a little bit of salt.
3. Bake at 400F for 13-18 minutes depending on the yolk consistency you like.

I baked mine for 15 minutes, and this is how they turned out on the inside:

   If I was the only one eating this dish, I would probably take it out of the oven a couple of minutes earlier to have the yolk a little bit runnier, but Justin is not a fan of a runny yolk, so I compromised!
Not only is it delicious when freshly made, but it also stores well and can be eaten the next day... that is if there is anything left for the next day.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pork and salsa!

   Yeah, that's right... pork and salsa! Being more specific, a meat sauce with salsa used in stead of tomato puree/sauce. And, if salsa wasn't exciting enough, I also added fennel and mushrooms. Different textures and flavors all come together to create a hearty, meaty, and delicious sauce.
   You want to know a secret? I actually use salsa very often to make my tomato based sauces, and I use all different kinds: original, mango, peach, corn... you name it! It adds this light, "exotic" and fun taste to the sauce, and makes it different and exciting each time. No need to buy multiple ingredients to create an interesting flavor profile and everything comes in one jar! I'm sure this won't be the only time you see me using it in a recipe... it's kind of my new obsession.
   Anyways, here is the recipe for the salsa pork sauce:


* 1 lb ground pork
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* 1 fennel bulb, chopped
* 8oz baby portabella mushroom, chopped
* 16oz jar chunky salsa (spiciness of your liking)
* 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
* 2 tbsp ketchup
* 2 tbsp olive oil
* salt and pepper
* Parmesan cheese for garnish

* egg noodles


1. In a deep pan, heat up the olive oil and saute onions, garlic and fennel until soft and translucent.
2. Add pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for additional 5 minutes.
3. Add salsa, ketchup, and parsley, stir everything together and cook for 10-15 minutes.
4. Serve over egg noodles, garnished with Parmesan cheese.

   You can serve it with any kind of pasta you like, but I really think that egg noodles add some extra "bite" and texture to the dish. I guess another good option could be tagliatelle pasta which I like as well.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Guess who's back, back again...

Magda’s back, tell a friend...

   Can you believe that it’s been 16 months (!!!) since my last blog post? Life got really busy in the Morgan family, a little boy named Christopher came and changed everything!

   Yes, that's right... I couldn't resist to show off my beautiful boy(s)! Christopher not only changed the way we see the world or the way love, but he also changed the way we live, sleep or eat! Basically, we don’t sleep and we eat whatever is easier, faster, more convenient and whatever Christopher doesn’t want to eat himself! And I think it’s time to change it (I’m talking about our eating habits). He is big enough (almost 15 months) that he doesn’t need non-stop attention and mommy has some free time to relax in the kitchen and do what she loves – cook! Extra bonus – Christopher gets to taste all different things, develop his palate to hopefully become an adventures eater in the future.

   So to get everybody’s attention back, I’m starting with a delicious fruit crumble bars that are not only perfect with mommy’s and daddy’s coffee, but are also healthy enough for the little munchkins to eat! Not too much sugar and lots of fruit! Here is the recipe:


* 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 0.5 cup slivered almonds
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 2.5 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
* 2 large egg yolks
* 2-3 tbsp ice-cold water
* pinch of salt

Berry Filling:
* 2 cups frozen blueberries
* 2 cups frozen raspberries
* 4 tbsp lemon juice
* 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 0.5 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 2 tbsp vanilla extract


   1. Crust: whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter,  slowly mix in egg yolks and cold water. The dough should be really crumbly. 
   2.  Take half of the crumble and press into the prepared pan (13x9). 
   3. Filling: stir together fruit (no need to defrost), lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until combined. 
   4. Evenly distribute the fruit on the top of the crust. 
   5. Add almonds to the remaining crust and sprinkle over the fruit. 
   6.  Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown

   I am not a fan of very sweet desserts, so I really cut down on sugar in this recipe, but if you like your desserts to be coma-inducing sweet, feel free to add more.

I’m glad to be back and I can’t wait to post recipes regularly again.

See you soon,