Cooking for a family, while making family time

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Trader Joe’s Favorites

Trader Joe’s Favorites

I’m some what new to the Trader Joe’s obsession. However, over this past year it has become a staple in our household. So much so that we don’t even have a store locally, I drive 45 minutes out of town to get our fix. I […]

Mexican Street Corn Dip

Mexican Street Corn Dip

Alright loyal followers, we know my obsession with Mexican street corn is nothing new at this point. We have the classic corn on the cob, the tacos and now a dip! I love a good party dip, it’s one of the most agreeable dishes you […]

Pancetta & Peas

Pancetta & Peas

I admittedly knew very little about pancetta when I first got into cooking. If you’re anything like I was then I’m here to help! Pancetta is an Italian pork belly bacon that’s been salt cured. It can be shaved thin and eaten raw, like in an antipasto platter or it can be diced and cooked. Once cooked like in this recipe it becomes crunchy, much like the traditional bacon you’re used to.

Ingredients:

12 ounces or 3/4 of a 1 lb. box of pasta (I used linguine)
1/2 cup pasta water
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup parmesan
4 ounces pancetta
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Mascarpone cheese, for topping

Method:

Crisp pancetta over medium, medium high heat in a shallow pot or cast iron skillet, the same way you would bacon. While your pancetta is cooking, boil your pasta in salted water until al dente. Be sure and save 1/2 cup of pasta water (the liquid your pasta just cooked in), set aside. Once desired crunchiness is reached for your pancetta, drain it on a paper towel. To the pancetta pot melt 2 tablespoons butter, with a pinch of Italian seasoning and minced garlic cloves, saute until fragrant (about a minute). Add to your butter and garlic mixture the milk and pasta water, I start with only a 1/4 cup of pasta water to see how the consistency is. If you’re happy with it, don’t add any more pasta water, if you want a thinner sauce, feel free to add more. Stir your sauce occasionally until everything is combined and warmed through, about 3-5 minutes should do. Next take your sauce off of the heat and stir in your parmesan cheese. While your sauce is coming together warm your peas. To finish off, toss your pasta in the sauce with the peas, then top each bowl with pancetta, a tablespoon of mascarpone and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


I absolutely love the pre-packaged diced pancetta from Trader Joe’s. Talk about a short cut, it makes this dish one easy, delicious, weeknight dinner. Now when cooking this, the sauce doesn’t look like much, but all of the flavors are there. The saltiness and crunch of the pancetta, sweetness from the peas, lemon juice brings the acid while butter and mascarpone add richness, it’s just perfect.

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, look for pancetta in the deli or specialty meat section of your grocery store and be sure to dice it fine before cooking. Same goes when looking for the mascarpone, it’s usually by other soft specialty cheeses such as brie and feta. If you cannot find either pancetta or mascarpone you could make an american version of this dish using bacon and cream cheese. I’m happy to report all 3 of my kids ate this up! I’ve made it a few times now and bowls are cleaned every time.

4 Ingredient Peach Sangria

4 Ingredient Peach Sangria

Summer might be winding down but the warm weather sure isn’t. This EASY adult beverage is a delicious way to stay cool and is perfect for any end of summer parties or gatherings. Requiring only 4 ingredients and minutes to make it doesn’t get much […]

Basil Balsamic Pizza

Basil Balsamic Pizza

We love homemade pizza night in our family. It’s a fun way to get the kids cooking, but also an easy, affordable, agreeable dinner for the whole family. However, a lot of kids, mine included, have very limited palates, so it’s usually just cheese pizza […]

Antipasto Skewers

Antipasto Skewers

It’s not very often I get invited to adult only events, so when I do I want to be sure to bring adult food. Enter my antipasto skewers, a portable version of the always favorite antipasto platters. These platters are always such a hit and involve little to no actual cooking. They can also be made the night before to keep things even easier on yourself. For anyone not familiar, antipasto platters are a popular appetizer in Italian cuisines and consist of an assortment of Italian cured meats, cheeses and olives.

Ingredients:

1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/3 lb pepperoni, sliced medium from the deli counter of your grocery store
1/3 lb salami, sliced medium from the deli counter of your grocery store
1 jar pitted black olives
1 jar green olives
1 jar roasted red peppers
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Additional supplies needed:
Small wooden skewers or plastic cocktail stirrers

Makes 30 skewers

Method:

Start by cutting your mozzarella ball into 1/2 inch chunks. To make things easier on yourself, count as you go to get the exact 30 mozzarella chunks you need. Next, place your mozzarella chunks into a small shallow glass dish, pour over your Italian dressing, stir to coat and then place into the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes. While the cheese marinates it’s time to prep all of your other skewer ingredients. Drain both cans/jars of olives and set aside. Wash and pat dry your fresh basil, cutting any large leaves in half, again needing 30 pieces. Open your jar of roasted red peppers, taking out a few peppers at a time, cut into 1/2” size chunks, similar to the size of the olives or mozzarella. Once you’ve got your 30 pieces, set aside. Now it’s time to cut the cured meats. Take 15 slices of pepperoni and 15 slices of salami, cut them all directly in half. They will end up looking like semi circles. By this time your mozzarella should be done marinating and it’s time to set up your assembly line to make the skewering process go by quicker. This was the pattern I followed: green olive-salami-pepper-mozzarella-basil-pepperoni-black olive. I recommend using the plastic cocktail skewers, they’re a little more expensive but make for a nicer presentation, and easier eating, not to mention they’re colorful! Now working in the pattern it’s time to assemble your skewers. When you add the salami and pepperoni you’ll want to fold the semi circle 3 times, it’ll look like a little ribbon once on the skewer. By doing this you make the meats fit in line with all the other ingredients but not shorting anyone on the portions. Once done cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

 

These are a little tedious to make, however, with that being said, they require zero cooking. They were a total hit at the party I brought them to and I left with an empty dish. Not to mention these are low carb and Keto friendly! Feel free to get creative with these skewers, you can make them to adjust to your personal flavor preferences. Other possibilities to put on the skewers include; cherry tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, parmesan, asiago, prosciutto or capicola.

Grape Structures

Grape Structures

I like to plan a few home activities for the kids when they’re with me all summer. We had done structures like this at a family school event before but with marshmallows. The kids and I both loved building them together so I was eager […]

Easy Burger Seasoning

Easy Burger Seasoning

I love a good hamburger! They are hands down one of my favorite things to get out at restaurants. I like to get them out, because admittedly they are not one of my favorite things to make. However, I do sometimes make them at home, […]

Patriotic Parfait

Patriotic Parfait

Alright so parfait is a stretch, but the title was too cute to resist. However, you could layer this like a parfait and it would ring true to its title. Now that we got our food terminology out of the way we can get to the recipe. This little cute breakfast came about almost as an accident. My kids enjoy yogurt a few mornings a week and we’re always switching up our flavors, toppings and fruit combinations. They have so many varieties of yogurt on the market that the possibles are endless.

Ingredients:

Yogurt (white in color)
Strawberries
Blueberries
Puffs, baby snack cereal

Method:

Pour yogurt into a bowl, then top with chopped strawberries, blueberries and puffs cereal. That’s it! This one is a literal dump and done.

I got a little fancy by using our yogurt covered frozen blueberries but fresh or frozen regular blueberries will also work. Some of you may be a few years removed from the baby stage and I’m not far behind you, however, these puffs have remained a favorite in our household for kids of all ages. Also their star shape brings the whole patriotic theme home, not to mention they come in all sorts of flavors to compliment your yogurt and fruit.

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

Frozen Yogurt Blueberries

I had quickly written about these before but never in a formal post. Summer snack fest is upon us Mom’s now that it’s summer break. I like to have some extra healthy options around the house for the kids when they’re bugging for ANOTHER snack. […]