Cooking for a family, while making family time

Month: March 2018

Feta Guacamole

Feta Guacamole

This dip is an all time favorite in my household. It’s by far my most requested recipe and is a staple at every single get together, football game or birthday party we host. It’s also something I bring to pot lucks and barbecues a lot […]

Keto Diet 101

Keto Diet 101

Alright guys, so I get A LOT of questions about Keto. What it is, how it works, but mostly just a bunch of compliments of how awesome my hubby looks after losing over 50 pounds in 9 months! I am no doctor, nor a scientist, […]

Sweet Greek Pasta Salad

Sweet Greek Pasta Salad

I love a good pasta salad! Even when it’s not BBQ season, I find pasta salad to be one of my favorite lunches. The endless combinations of pasta shapes, veggies and flavors are a foodie’s dream. This greek pasta salad gets its name “sweet greek” due to the fact that I left out the traditional cherry tomatoes and instead added red bell pepper in their place. You still get the same vibrant red color, however you now have a really nice sweetness that wasn’t there before. I toyed around with the dressing quite a bit on this one and found that the perfect combination is a mix of greek yogurt and greek dressing. It adds just enough creaminess to make sure your dressing sticks to your pasta but not so much that it feels heavy like some mayonnaise based pasta salads can.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 box of pasta, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/2-3/4 cup greek dressing
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-1 1/2 cup chopped veggies (I used a combo of red bell pepper, black olives, red onion and cucumber)

 

Method:

Cook your pasta of choice, in salted water until al dente, then set aside to cool. Next up combine your greek yogurt and greek dressing. I used store bought greek dressing to save some time, however if you’d like to make your own, go for it! Combine cooled pasta with dressing and mix well to combine and coat each pasta piece. Then chop all your veggies, you can either try and keep them all the same size or mix up size and shape, the choice is yours. I really love to use this pipette shape pasta, it’s like an elbow and shell noodle combined. I like how it’s clamped at one end to trap yummy dressing or minced up veggies inside. I usually mince the red onion and black olives, then small dice the red pepper and leave the cucumbers a little bigger for a nice variety or shapes and good eye appeal. This is one of those eat the rainbow dishes I love so much! Once all pasta and veggies are mixed with the dressing, top with feta cheese and stir once more. Seal in an air tight container and place in the fridge.

 

  

 

I find that most pasta salads get better the longer they set. I usually strive for at least overnight to let everything marinate together really well. However an hour or two will do in a pinch. My tip for this one, is to never rinse your pasta! Even if you’re in a hurry to cool down your pasta. You will lose all natural flavor the pasta has and rinse off all the starch in the pasta which is what helps the sauce or in this case dressing stick to it.

     

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Nutella Energy Bites

Nutella Energy Bites

Anyone else feeling low on energy? Most kids are on spring break this week and are off from school.  I don’t know about you guys, but I need all the help I can get in the energy department! These little bites are the perfect snack […]

Everything Spice Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce

Everything Spice Chicken with Cream Cheese Sauce

I love a good everything bagel, it’s one of my favorite breakfast items. When I saw this everything bagel seasoning I just knew it was a match made in heaven. The possibilities are endless! This easy chicken dinner is perfect for a weeknight, yet will […]

Carrot Patch Brownies

Carrot Patch Brownies

Get ready for the cutest Easter dessert ever! These have become a really cute tradition in our house, the kids love to help decorate them too. To keep things easy just use your favorite brownie mix and cook it according to package instructions. These brownies are really all about the toppings anyway!

 

Just so you know, I’ve linked some products and or ingredients I believe in and use myself, however I could collect a percentage of sales. At Mommy Spice we’re all a team in making meals and staying on budget and I hope you love the things I recommend as much as I do.

 

Ingredients:

1 box of your favorite brownie mix, cooked per package instructions in a 9×13 pan. Then cooled completely.
5-10 strawberries, with greens removed
1 cup White chocolate chips, melted, divided
Orange food coloring
Green food coloring
3 honey graham crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
Jelly beans, multi-colored
1/2 cup Semi sweet chocolate, melted

Method:

Now bare with me guys this one does take a little time to all come together. Once your brownies are cooked and cooled, set them aside. Wash strawberries and remove the greens at the top, then dry them. Start by melting half of your white chocolate in the microwave, or double broiler, until smooth. Add in your green food coloring and stir to combine. Combine green chocolate with coconut in a separate glass bowl, use a spatula to combine. This is going to be your “grass” it will appear more marbled than completely green, that’s ok. Set aside your bowl of green coconut and melt remaining white chocolate, this time adding in your orange food coloring when smooth. Now it’s time to make our carrots. Taking your strawberries one at a time, dip them into the orange chocolate, you may need to swirl them around to coat them completely. While the chocolate has not yet set, take a pinch of your “grass” and top your “carrot” you may need to apply a little pressure to get the coconut to stick. Now if you really want to overachieve, take a metal fork or toothpick and scrap the prongs along the sides of the strawberries gently, to make lines on your carrots. Once all of your carrots are complete set them aside, on wax paper to set. This next part is my kids favorite, put your graham crackers into a zip top bag and crush them up. You can use a rolling pin if you’d like, however my kids love to smash them with their hands. Using graham cracker crumbs is another option, but that takes out any smashing fun to be had. This will be your “dirt”. Now we’re almost there guys! Last step is to melt your semi sweet chocolate, this is going to act as your glue so that your carrot patch stays all together. I like to start from the outskirts and move my way in. That being said, spread a small layer of melted semi sweet chocolate on the perimeter of your brownies, working quickly, sprinkle on some dirt and some grass. I like to dip the back side of my carrots, and “Easter eggs” (jellybeans) in the melted semi sweet chocolate then place them around the center of the brownies. Add just enough melted semi sweet chocolate to make everything stick, if you have any left over after decorating feel free to spread that to any empty spaces you may have and add extra dirt or grass. These do take a good bit of time and have quite a few steps, however, it’s also an activity for the kids which is nice. Plus if you have a family get together, church or Easter pot luck these will be a total hit. Almost too cute to cut into, except they’re too yummy not to!

I have a few little tips for these brownies, 1 keep them in your glass baking dish! You could line it with parchments paper and take the brownies out to decorate however you will then need more coconut to decorate the sides of the brownies. If you leave them in the baking dish everything is a little more contained and easier to transport too! Tip number 2, when it comes time to make your orange carrot coating I suggest using the gel food coloring, they actually have an orange so you won’t be trying to make an orange color yourself with your traditional 4 food color droppers, talk about a time saver! Tip number 3, go wild with these! You could add a chocolate bunny or two or some peeps, have fun with this one, the easer bunny will approve!

 
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Chicken Fried Keto Rice

Chicken Fried Keto Rice

This dinner came together quick, perfect for a weeknight. A crowd pleaser that has the option for lots of short cuts to make it come together even faster. Also lots of additions can be made to suit your own tastes, endless possibilities. Having one person […]

Kids Snack Box

Kids Snack Box

Does everyone else’s kids ask for snacks every 2 minutes or is that just mine? ? I came up with this idea last summer when the kids were on break and snack crazy. Just so you know, I’ve linked some products and or ingredients I […]

Easy Beef Bolognese

Easy Beef Bolognese

I love this sauce! It requires a little more time and a few more ingredients than your traditional meat sauce, however the loads of veggies (and flavor) makes me feel less guilty about how much of it I eat. Also it’s close enough to spaghetti to please even the pickiest of eaters. The real key to this recipe is very simple, time, you want to let this sauce cook low and slow and magical things will happen. Now the easy part of the title comes from my use of jarred marinara sauce, if you have a favorite go to jar, this is the perfect way to bulk that up but keep with the base flavor you already have come to know and love.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. hamburger, browned and broken up small
1 jar marinara sauce
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped

1 box, pasta of your choice, cooked al dente.
1/4 cup pasta water

Method:

Brown your hamburger meat with a healthy pinch of salt and crushed red pepper, breaking it up finely.

While your hamburger is cooking, chop up all of your veggies. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium, medium high heat. Add onions, celery and carrots, sprinkle with salt and sauté 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stir until fragrant, one minute should do. Pour your cooked hamburger meat into the pot and stir to combine. Next add the jar of marinara and bring the sauce mixture to a low boil, reduce to a simmer and let it cook uncovered 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

During that time cook your pasta to al dente reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water. Pasta water is one of those ingredients that you don’t even realize you have. It’s so starchy and can be used to either thicken or loosen a sauce. I do this with all of my sauces, it’s a great little trick for home cooks to have. Now in this case you may not need the full 1/4 cup of pasta water, it’s really a matter of how you like your bolognese. If you prefer more of a ragu consistency you can skip this step all together. I usually like to thin ours out a little bit, however add a splash at a time to see what works best for you.

Now it’s time to top your warm pasta with your oh so yummy bolognese and garnish with lots of fresh parmesan and parsley.

This one is always a hit around my house, all 3 kids eat it up and ask for seconds or even leftovers the next day. Plus it’s loaded with veggies and I just love sneaking extras into things they love. Adding all the veggies also means you don’t have to use as much meat which is budget friendly! My tip for this one is if you are a vegetarian you can use one head of cauliflower finely chopped in a food processor in place of the hamburger meat. You would just add the cauliflower in with the other vegetables in the recipe.

 
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Zucchini 101

Zucchini 101

Let’s talk zucchini. I know a lot of you guys are interested in the keto recipes I’ve made for my husband. Zucchini is a huge staple in keeping his meals streamlined with what I’m already making the family. Just so you know, I’ve linked some […]