Tag Archives: easy

easy cauliflower puree

Easy Cauliflower Puree

This recipe comes from a few years ago when my family wasn’t eating grains, dairy, sugar and many other delicious things. (This post explains why we were doing that.) Thankfully those days are behind us! But the best thing that happened from that experience was some new and different recipes that I never would have cooked before that time. My kids learned to eat some new things and it opened them up to some new foods I hadn’t really thought about or even attempted to cook.

Easy Cauliflower Puree is my favorite thing to make when I’m scrambling to put dinner on the table. Its about 20 minutes from start to finish. Also, it can be put on subbed by replacing the sweet potatoes on top of the Cottage Pie. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

I will say this: I don’t pretend this is potatoes. We call it cauliflower and they still eat it! Haha! It has a different flavor but it can be seasoned as such.

Sometimes I add other ingredients if we want to mix it up:

1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 TBL butter and 1/2 cup milk

3 chopped slices of bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

Easy Cauliflower Puree

World’s best and easy cauliflower puree. I promise. Of all the recipes I make on a regular basis, I use this one the most.

You will need:

1 large pot to cook in

an immersion blender like this one (or traditional blender)

Ingredients:

cauliflower head (mine was about 9-10 inches across)
1 TBL olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn’t count here!

easy cauliflower pureeIMG_3615

 

Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.

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Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.

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When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.)

easy cauliflower pureeeasy cauliflower puree

Taste for seasoning.

 

This is what my kids look like after dinner:

easy cauliflower puree easy cauliflower puree

Told ya 😉

Easy Cauliflower Puree
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Easy Cauliflower Puree is a versatile and easy side dish to complement any meal.
Ingredients
  • cauliflower head (about 9-10 inches diameter)
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn't count here!
  2. Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.
  4. When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.) Taste for seasoning.
  5. Additional stir-in for extra flavor:1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and ½ cup shredded cheese OR 2TBL butter and ½ cup milk OR 3chopped slices of cooked bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Easy Cauliflower Puree! I would love to hear from you!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

Now that my kids are getting older, I find them playing together as peers more and more often. Especially since my 5 year old can read to my 3 year old, they really do seem like best buds together! Not that they don’t get into sibling spats and brawls but I often find them like this:

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And this is bedtime the other night. Of course.

dress-up

And before a run last week. Those rain boots usually make an appearance, even when the sun is brightly shining!

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Anyways, enough about the kids!

Over here at my house, we are always looking for a different (but easy!) way to flavor meat.  However, this is the recipe we use when we DON’T do something interesting and new. Its the old stand-by, the easy no-brainer and simple as anything! It gives the meat moisture and a delicious seasoned flavor. Now, I’ve only been using the homemade version for a short time. The other way was a bottle of something store bought but this tastes better, and there’s nothing mystery (or hard-to-pronounce) about it!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

This could be used for steaks, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, burgers, pork tenderloins or pork chops or whatever you like to cook! We usually throw it on the grill after marinading but it can be baked, sautéed or whatever kind of cooking method floats your boat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional) I don’t usually use this but it just adds that little something extra.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

 

We like to have our marinaded steaks with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. It always gets gobbled up every time!

everything marinadeeverything marinade

The Everything Marinade
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 recipes
 
This marinade is great for any and everything!
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously.
  2. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

Please let me know what you thought of the Everything Marinade! I would love to hear from you!

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Since school is now starting back up and we are getting into a good routine, I have a little more time on my hands! As any parent knows, summer is a blessing with the long days and excitement of vacations and endless ice cream popsicles. However, good things must always come to an end and school is back in session. (Thank Goodness!)

I was thinking that these cookies would be a good teacher gift, but really they are great for anytime of year. When you feel there’s a need to bring a gift to someone, maybe a family member or a friend that’s having a hard time, these cookies are wonderful. They take minimal time and a mixer does all the work for you. Plus my kids love to help with this since everything is just dump it in and scrape the bowl sides every one in a while.

Plus it makes a whole bunch so you can really spread the wealth very easily! And with oats and coconut in these, they could almost be breakfast, right?!

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened. If using sweetened, reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup raisins and/or dried cranberries (I like to mix them half and half)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the electric mixer bowl, cream the butter by mixing on medium speed for 15-20 seconds. Add the sugars, baking powder and soda.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Beat until combined and scrape down side to incorporate all ingredients. Add in egg and vanilla and beat again, scraping sides if needed.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Turn mixer on lowest speed and add flour in 1/4 cup at a time to incorporate slowly. Add in oats, coconut, dried fruit and chocolate chips.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Drop cookies with a scoop 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (I use a scoop like this one.) Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are set throughout and edges have browned slightly. Transfer off sheet to let cool.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goodies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies are a delicious, easy-to-make drop cookie with a hearty bite of raisins, dried cranberries and a sweet surprise of chocolate chips.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened. If using sweetened, reduce sugar to ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup raisins and/or dried cranberries (I like to mix them half and half)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the electric mixer bowl, cream the butter by mixing on medium speed for 15-20 seconds. Add the sugars, baking powder and soda.
  2. Beat until combined and scrape down side to incorporate all ingredients. Add in egg and vanilla and beat again, scraping sides if needed.
  3. Turn mixer on lowest speed and add flour in ¼ cup at a time to incorporate slowly. Add in oats, coconut, dried fruit and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop cookies with a scoop 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are set throughout and edges have browned slightly. Transfer off sheet to let cool.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies! I would love to hear from you!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Time just keeps getting away from me and I can only hold on for the ride! We just sailed through Thanksgiving (from when I started this post!) and Christmas (we traveled) and New Years (friends came in town) and now broaching on March!

This cauliflower pizza recipe is one I’ve made a handful of times. I like to add some herbs and seasonings to the crust, which otherwise is bland. Also, we haven’t topped our pizzas the same way twice. It’s very versatile and easily accommodates a variety of flavors. We like the more traditional toppings, usually some vegetable like bell peppers or mushrooms and a meat like sausage or pepperoni. Although, you could get really creative and change it up to your heart’s desire!

The kids and I ate this cauliflower pizza quite a few times with my husband gone and it was always super easy. The kids love to help pick out the toppings, prepare it, and then eat it! It would be a little too light if all 4 of us were to eat it but I bet it would be perfect with a lot of toppings and a big side salad.

I first got the idea from a friend who used Rachel Ray’s cauliflower pizza recipe. I made just a few changes based on my experiences with making this a handful of times.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 lb cauliflower head
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
salt & pepper

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

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Cut up cauliflower into florets about 1 inch in size. Using a food processor, chop cauliflower until chopped evenly and finely.

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Pour cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, and cook for five minutes or until tender. Allow to cool and place cauliflower in a paper towel then wrap in towel, and ring out all the excess water so it is completely dry. (Also this towel might have some lingering scents, so do yourself a favor and throw it in the wash, just experience talking here!)

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Back in the bowl, mix egg, spices and cauliflower until well-combined.   On a parchment-lined baking sheet, press out and shape cauliflower dough until it resembles a pizza round. Your hands are really the best tool here. My kids love this part!

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Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and top with desired toppings and bake in oven for 7 minutes or until cheese and toppings have cooked and melted.

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We have used a variety of kinds of toppings: bell peppers, pepperoni, sausage, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Anything goes here!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Cauliflower is transformed into a yummy pizza crust for a light, easy dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cauliflower head
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut up cauliflower into florets about 1 inch in size. Using a food processor, chop cauliflower until chopped evenly and finely.
  3. Pour cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, and cook for five minutes or until tender. Allow to cool and place cauliflower in a paper towel then wrap in towel, and ring out all the excess water so it is completely dry.
  4. Back in the bowl, mix egg, spices and cauliflower until well-combined. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, press out cauliflower dough until it resembles a pizza round. Your hands are really the best tool here.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and top with desired toppings and bake in oven for 7 minutes or until cheese and toppings have cooked and melted.


Please let me know what you thought of the Cauliflower Pizza Crust! I would love to hear from you!

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce Ricotta

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Fall is around the corner. Summer is over pretty much for most of the country. But when you live in Florida, it’s still hot as ever with no real end in sight! September is just as hot as June, and just as humid! As much as I wish it was fall weather, it for sure, is not. So I’m not really ready to turn to hot stews and tall boots and jeans and the like. I might keel over with heat stroke! At Target, I don’t know who is ordering those giant, piping-hot pumpkin spice lattes! Its not me, for sure!

So the other night, I was wanting something fresh, light and easy (since it was just myself and the kids). Plus I wanted to use those few extra tomatoes left over from my neighbor. (So sweet of her!)

I got the idea of the fresh zucchini & tomato sauce with ricotta recipe from a skillet lasagna recipe where the sauce is made in the pan similar to this. I loved the fresh taste of the tomato and the creamy ricotta on top. The sauce has a little more texture than a typical jarred sauce but its delicious and super easy! We had some extra cooked chicken so I chopped that up, threw it in the bowl and dinner was ready!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped basil and/or parsley to finish

Directions:

Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan.

Now, technically the sauce could be done but the ricotta topping just make its so much scrumptious! Mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper. I put a big spoonful of the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta
Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta

My little people finished their plates as well!

Fresh Zucchini and Tomato Sauce and Ricotta
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
This vegetarian, garden fresh sauce pairs with any pasta for a quick easy meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-7 medium Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large or 2 medium zucchini, diced small
  • 2 T each basil, parsley, chopped (plus 1 T more for finishing)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Warm the oil in a medium pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, zucchini and herbs (not including the reserved ones for afterwards). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and cook until starting to break down, 6-7 minutes. Remove half of the sauce to a separate bowl.
  5. Using an immersion blender or just a masher, puree/mash the mixture a few times so it starts to become smooth. Add it back to the pan and stir in 1 T the parmesan. Spoon over cooked pasta.
  6. While cooking the sauce, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and the remaining 1 T of parmesan and a dash of salt and pepper.
  7. Spoon the ricotta on top of this (or any tomato sauce!). Scatter the chopped basil and parsley to finish!

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Fresh Zucchini & Tomato Sauce with Ricotta! I would love to hear from you!

Easy Pasta with Sausage

Here in Pensacola, we have had a rough week the past 7 days. We had a lot of heavy rain and thunderstorms, the last of which on Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. I heard between 20 and 25 inches of rain in a 24 hour period! There were many city streets that had total washouts and many people, including some friends had water come into their houses. We were fortunate enough only to have water in our backyard. Our house is on a sloped lot so the porch (shown) is 5-6 feet off the ground.

backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post backyard-flooded in easy pasta with sausage post

The water had gone back down past the fence by the time the day had ended. It was crazy! I just feel terrible for all those that are still dealing with water damage, insurance companies and heartache over losing so much. I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

Anyways, I will get on with the recipe.

Easy pasta with sausage is something I make when I need a quick dinner and it’s just me and kids eating. Not that my husband wouldn’t like it, but I like to keep it simple and easy on the nights I’m cooking for just us. Everything is throw it in a pan and serve from there.

I feel like I make a lot of these type of ‘versatile’ dishes like this, but it’s so easy and yummy, why not? So, use what you have in this basic formula and feel better about using fresh food that doesn’t get dumped out later because it went bad sitting in the fridge! (I hate that!)

What’s really great too, is it’s so easy to sneak some extra vegetables in that don’t always get eaten. I like to throw finely chopped up fresh spinach or diced, de-seeded fresh tomato as well. A finish of herbs are also nice as well. Whatever you have in the fridge will work!

sausage-for-easy-pasta

Easy Pasta with Sausage

Ingredients:

  • I used 3/4 of one of these, all natural pork sausage (the whole thing pictured). I know its not organic but its better than others, right?
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I usually grate some off the block/wedge)

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.

Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

brown sausage and vegetables for easy pasta and sausage

Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.

add browth and simmer - easy pasta with sausage

Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.

add cooked pasta to easy pasta with sausage

Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.

add sprinkled cheese to easy pasta and sausage

Doesn’t really get much easier than that!

Easy Pasta with Sausage
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 9-12 oz natural pork sausage
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 carrot or handful of baby carrots, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 lb. whole wheat pasta (rotini in this case)
  • salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Make sure to keep the starchy cooking water aside.
  2. Brown the sausage with the vegetables in a large skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook until everything is softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced.
  4. Add cooked pasta and taste for any additional seasoning.
  5. Add sprinkled cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Serve with more cheese on the table to top.

 

Please let me know if you are able to make Easy Pasta with Sausage and what you thought of it!

 

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

After searching for a quick easy cookie, I finally found one! These cookies are super easy and have a great texture and taste! I love the addition of the almond extract as it adds a little something extra. I usually always have these ingredients around so they are really quick to bring together.

Make sure the cream cheese and butter are really soft since it makes creaming them with the sugar so much easier. The best part about making these cookies??? No eggs in the dough, feel free to lick the spatula clean!

Calvin watched as I made these and got very excited when they came out of the oven! There was no mistaking what he wanted, with all his pointing and yelling, haha!

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Add vanilla, flour and almond extract, if using.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Stir together until incorporated. Toast (5 min in 350 degree oven) and chop pecans.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Stir in pecans to batter.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Using 2 spoons or medium sized scoop, place dough on parchement lined cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Watch and wait patiently while cookies bake for 14-17 minutes.

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies

Edges should be slightly browned. Cool off of pan and devour!

cream-cheese-pecan-cookies-brown-edges

Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
 
These egg-free cookies are easy to put together and simply delicious, despite the few ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla, flour and almond extract, if using.
  3. Stir together until incorporated. Toast (5 min in 350 degree oven) and chop pecans.
  4. Stir pecans into batter.
  5. Using 2 spoons or medium size scoop, place dough on parchment-lined cookie sheet, at least 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 14-17 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Cool off of pan.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Cream Cheese Pecan Cookies! I would love to hear from you!