Saturday, October 29, 2011

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

Perfect for a gloomy fall day!
Or when you aren't feeling particularly well... I've been fighting off a cold for what seems like two weeks now. Started with a sore throat which is now gone but it's turned into a full on head cold. Think congestion, runny nose, pounding head... oh yeah, don't forget the body aches. Bleh. This hit the spot though!! I'm suprised I had the energy to make it.

Original recipe can be found here.


  • 2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste, for seasoning tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.
Landon likes to watch things cook in the oven :)
In a large stockpot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and vegetable broth.
Stir in the oven roasted tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or transfer soup to a food processor or blender to blend. The soup should be smooth, with a few tomato chunks.
Tomato soup needs it's other half... :)
So grab your favorite bread.
And some butter...
And your favorite cheese... you know where I'm going with this one :)
And flip!
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm. YUM!

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, fresh basil, and vegetable broth. Stir in the oven roasted tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stockpot, or transfer soup to a food processor or blender to blend. The soup should be smooth, with a few tomato chunks. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve warm.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Discovery Village - Review?! or Rave?!

Today I took Landon to Discovery Village in Gig Harbor!

Despite the whopping $8.50 addmission fee {plus $2.11 apple juice because he saw some other kid with the apple shaped goodness} we had a pretty good time! We moved over here almost four months ago now and I'm just making it here despite people constantly telling me it was the place to take your toddler. Honestly, it's because I'm anti-social... mostly because other people's children really give me anxiety. No joke. But I owe it to Landon since we are so fortunate to stay home together.


This is the “sand and surf” zone… Landon spent a lot of time here. Think mildly wet sand. Messy. But that’s just the OCD in me – at least it’s not my house to clean up right? He loved it.

I didn't take very many pictures because there were so many other kids there that I didn't want to snap anyone else's kid in the background out of respect. But some other "zones" included:

The Pacific Northwest play area - think soft floor, soft climing toys, soft slide bridge, a boat, a car and big ol' soft climb through tree! Soft. No shoes allowed. Play area for all ages. My favorite area by far... Landon of course only spent like 10 minutes running around here.

The Market - a grocery store equipped with shopping carts and all, a flower shop, a pet store, a doctors office with dress up items, a train station, and even a little art station with crayons and markers. Landon kept trying to eat the crayons and markers. Ugh - or screaming when I tried to take them away.

The Geo Zone - Rocks, a little trickle of water. Landon LOVED this zone. He loves rocks. But there were no step stools like in the sand zone for him to be tall enough to really enjoy this one. And I could only hold him up for so long :)

They also have a full cafe and offer what looked like fun classes or activity/pre-school groups {for an additional fee!}.

One thing I do really want to highlight is the staff - were they nice. And oh so good with the little kiddies. Not only did they welcome us and give us a whole tour but they checked on us the entire time we were there and I just watched them constantly pick up after the kids so that all of the toys didn't look like they were thrown all over the place! {I kind of got a glimpse of what I must look like cleaning up after Landon all day?!!? Again... OCD.}
And also, the best staff member of the day {I wish I would have gotten her name} is the girl in the parking lot who was just coming on her shift as I was attempting failing to get Landon into his carseat as we were leaving. He was throwing the biggest tantrum I've ever heard {the kind where he straightens out like a board... yeah fun} and this girl came over to say hi and distract him... I'm thinking this must happen often. LOL.

My only gripe - which would probably be my gripe at any place of the sorts is the parents. Seriously. Watch your kids - interact with your kids. If you want to drop them off at daycare or the babysitter to go have a girls chat or an afternoon away then do so. This is not the place. Its fun interacting with other parents who are actually playing with their kids and helping them learn but the ones gossiping at the tables while your kid is grabbing toys from Landon's hands annoy the heck out of me.

::stepping off my soapbox:: :)

We'll definitely go back here again as Landon obviously had a blast although at $8.50 a pop when he's only good for a few hours before needing a nap or at the very least a stimulation break, the visits won't be all that often!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Artichoke & Mushroom Linguine

Last weeks meal plan included Linguine with Artichokes but I changed it up a little. The original seemed like it would be kind of bland...

So here's my version... with mushrooms and bacon. I also halved the recipe so if you are serving more than 2 or 3 people. :)


1/2 lb bacon
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons flour
1 cups chicken broth
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon italian seasoning

5-6 mushrooms, sliced
1 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts; drained
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
8oz linguini

Chop and sautee the bacon.

Melt the oil, butter and flour until mixed

Pour in chicken broth

Add lemon juice, garlic, and spices

Drain and quarter artichokes. Slice Mushrooms.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.

Add mushrooms and artichokes to sauce mixture.

Mmmmm.... saucy!

Toss in bacon and parmesan.

Mix and take a lil' break.

Enjoy a new kind of IPA :) Or beverage of your choice!

YUM! Cheers!!!!!
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add flour and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Slowly stir in chicken broth; increase heat and cook for 1 minute.

Add garlic, lemon juice and italian seasoning. Cook uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

If you haven’t already done so, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 9 minutes, or according to package directions.

Drain and quarter artichokes & slice mushrooms then add them to your sauce. Baste for about 8 minutes in the sauce.

Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce. Top with extra Parmesan cheese.



Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wow. The Pioneer Woman never ceases to amaze me with her recipes.

I made her Chicken Tortilla Soup last night and decided with all the fun colors it would be nice take some pictures and post the recipe. I've been having some big busts in the recipes I've chosen lately so I'm really happy it turned out so well. :)

Without further ado {as I sip on leftovers}....

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup!


2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Diced Onion
1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
4 cups Hot Water
2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa

5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches

Sour Cream
Diced Avocado
Diced Red Onion
Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Mmmmm... shredded chicken!

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Saucy! :)
Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meal Plan 21!

October 24th - 30th

Well folks, last week there were a few BUSTS and a few to-die-for recipes! The Lonestar Chicken Enchiladas from last week are going to be a new staple in our home. They were GOOD! A little messier to put together than my old enchilada recipe but they are worth it. Next time I'll snap a picture - I never expected them to be so good so we dove right in!
The Baked Potato Soup however... yuck! I messed something up somewhere. We ended up actually throwing it away :( Such a sad waste.


I'm venturing out onto some new blogs this week for my recipes. I usually search through my old standby but I've just been growing bored lately with their content. Hopefully I'll have better luck this week with my cooking!
Another goal this week: Smaller portions! Even if my recipe turns out delish, it seems we always have too many leftovers. I have a thing about them too... if they don't get eaten like the very next day, I toss them. Such a waste. I need to get over that.

Day 1: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup & Grilled Cheese
Day 2: I'm planning on getting a really good steak this week. Steak just sounds delish with this Bacon Blue Cheese Butter to top! And Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes will be on the side. :::drool:::
Day 3: Chicken Tortilla Soup - I know, I already made a soup... but it's fall. And I've been dying to try a Tortilla Soup for a long time!
Day 4: Steakhouse Pizza
Day 5: This one is kind of "out there" for us but I've been hearing a lot about this little thing called a Spaghetti Squash?! So we have Spaghetti Squash with Garlic & Butter... stay tuned!

My grocery list is already so long {why is my grocery list so long?!?!} but I'm finding all kinds of yummy things on these new blogs!

Appetizer Bonus... Adam loves Coconut Shrimp but I've never made them. I came across this one and decided to post it, if anything at least I'll have blogged about it to try later if we can't get to it :)  Baked Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Honey Drizzle

I'm full of random this week... A dessert! From Spoon Fork Bacon, just might be my new favorite blog. I mean Salted Caramel and Candied Bacon Ice Cream?! I might just be in love... or gain 500lbs?! I don't care - I'm picking up the ingredients for this as well!

The Grocery List:
Artesian Sandwich Bread
Smoked Gouda
Cheddar Cheese
2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes
Olive Oil
2 medium onion
Fresh Basil
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth)
Steak... cut TBD.
1 strip bacon
1/4 cup blue cheese

Parchment paper
2 whole Golden Potatoes
1 piece (about 2 Inches Long) Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 cups Heavy Cream
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
Chicken Stock
Tomato Paste
2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans
5 whole Corn Tortillas
Red Onion
Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
1 whole Recipe Pizza Crust {Recipe for this is within the recipe:) }
1 Skirt Steak Or Flank Steak
2 whole Red Onions, Sliced Thin
4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups Marinara Sauce
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese {slices}
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Good Steak Sauce {A-1}

1 small spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
¼ cup parsley

12 tiger shrimp
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons fresh chili sauce

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tablespoon light corn syrup


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meal Plan 20!

October 17th - 23rd

Last week was pretty good! I posted the Turkey & Bacon Panini recipe here - omg, so good. The General's chicken wasn't to die for... it wasn't spicy enough for my taste and if I do it again I'll definitely be making some major adjustments.
Philly Cheesesteak Sammies --> Adam's absolute fav!
Baked Potato Soup
Lonestar Chicken Enchiladas --> I never got to these a few weeks ago.
The Grocery List:
1-12 ounce package rice noodles
peanut oil
boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (x3 recipes)
6 cloves of garlic
7 green onions
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
2 cups bean sprouts
¼ cup crushed peanuts
1 lime
shredded carrot
purple cabbage
½ cup olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced parsley
2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts
4 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1 lb linguini
2 fresh Italian sandwich rolls or Kaiser buns
1 white onion
1/2 large green bell pepper
1/2 pound rib-eye steak
1/3 pound thinly sliced white American or Provolone cheese
12 slices bacon
4 large baked potatoes

1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 1 cup sour cream
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
3/4 cup salsa verde
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilie
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives
2-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded pepper Jack cheese


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Turkey & Bacon Panini with Chipotle Mayo

I had to share this recipe from last week's meal plan because it was OH.SO.GOOD!

I actually did it for lunch yesterday instead of dinner! I ate half... and then had the other half for a snack later :) :::DROOL!::::

I found this at my go-to recipe site and the only thing that varied from the original was that I don't have a panini press so I just browned it in my cast iron skillet after I put it all together.

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
  • 8 (4 inch) pieces focaccia bread
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/2 pound sliced deli turkey meat
  1. Preheat a panini press according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic and onion until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes more.
  3. While the onions and spinach are cooking, stir together the mayonnaise, minced chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce in a small bowl. Spread the mayonnaise over 4 slices of focaccia bread. Place a slice of cheese onto the 4 slices, then divide the turkey among the sandwiches. Place 2 strips of bacon onto each sandwich and top with the spinach mixture. Place the remaining slices of bread onto the sandwiches.
  4. Cook the sandwiches in the preheated panini grill according to manufacturer's directions until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Meal Plan 19!

Back in the game baby! We did all our meals last week! For the most part they were really good too. My Aussie Chicken was a liiittle  dry, but still good. And let me tell you... if you like spicy - try the Chili! So good!

Ok, onward and upward! I've got a few "comfort" recipes this week because it's supposed to be all gloom and doom weatherwise. And a few new things that just sound oh so yummy! :)

October 10th - 17th

Baked Ziti
Chicken Pot Pie - I linked to where I think I originally found this recipe but we always add our own flavor which includes potatoes, onion and various other seasonings :) This is a good one to freeze too - I usually get 2-3 pies out of one recipe.
Turkey and Bacon Panini with Chipotle Mayo ... um, YUM!
General Tsao's Chicken - We all know how much I love my Orange Chicken recipe but ironically if I'm at a restaurant I'll order this little spicy number :) So I thought I'd give it a try {I'll be omitting the MSG}.
Crockpot Buffalo Chicken - Adam's going to hate this... but I love me some Frank's Red Hot sauce and any time I find a recipe with it I have to try it. :)

The Grocery List:
Ziti pasta
Ground beef
Spaghetti sauce
Provolone cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Sour cream
Parmesan cheese
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (x3 recipes)
Pie Crusts
Canned or Frozen Corn
Bagged Veggie mix
Family sized can Cream of Chicken Soup
Chicken Broth
Red Onion
Fresh Spinach Leaves
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Focaccia Bread
Provolone Cheese
Sliced Deli Turkey
Ginger Root
Soy Sauce
Green Onions
Chile peppers, sun-dried
Franks Red Hot Sauce
Ranch Dip mix


Monday, October 3, 2011

Meal Plan 18!

MMMMmmmmmm, last week went well. We didn't get to the meatloaf cause we just weren't feeling it but everything else turned out so yummy! The pot roast was to die for and the leftovers were just as good! Pioneer woman... you rock!

Ok, ok to week 18 :) Look at me go.. two weeks in a row!

October 3rd - 9th

Homestyle Chicken & Mushroom Casserole
Tator Tot Casserole - I linked to my "base" recipe but I don't follow it exactly. I use broccoli instead of spinach?!
Aussie Chicken
Fish Tacos - Yet again, linked to a recipe but I only use it for the Chipotle Mayo :)
Turkey Chili & Cornbread

The Grocery List
1 pkg. McCormick® Seasoning Mix
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1 can sliced mushrooms
½ cup frozen peas
2 lb ground beef (we'll use venison)
Bag of Tator Tots
Mushrooms (x2)
Swiss (or other white) chese
Cream of (something) soup
Onion (x2)
Boneless skinless chicken breasts (x2)
Colby Jack cheese
Corn Tortillas
Chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce
Coleslaw blend
2 small green bell peppers
1 habanero pepper
2 pounds lean ground turkey
Dried oregano
Envelope instant hot chocolate mix
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
Cornbread Mix