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!