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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

{Strawberry Dumplings}

**This recipe was originally posted last year around the 4th of July!  Re-sharing today as these Strawberry Dumplings make the perfect dessert for your 4th of July gathering!  They are a Wolfe family favorite!  Whip up some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with, and you will have one drool worthy 4th of July Dessert (though store bought ice cream works just as well, you will still get the drool factor)!  Enjoy!!!

Hard to believe that the weekend and Monday have come and gone!    But, I guess that is to be expected when you have a jam packed weekend, and a long to do list on Monday!  This past weekend I moved (the move isn't over yet), I baked, I ran  and most importantly celebrated my little sisters birthday!  It was a fun yet exhausting weekend, but I wouldn't have changed any of it!

You know what else I feel like is over in the blink of an eye?  June!!  Tomorrow is July 1st and the 4th of July is right around the corner!  Summer is moving at the speed of light and I feel as though Fall might be here before I know it.  Life slow down!

Well, with the 4th of July being a few short days away I thought I would share with you a few celebration worthy recipes this week, starting off with a good old family favorite... Strawberry dumplings!  Now I have to say that Strawberry Dumplings are not just a Wolfe family 4th of July tradition, Strawberry Dumplings are a summer tradition!  It just wouldn't be summer without making a few batches (or multiple batches) of Strawberry Dumplings!  You better believe that once fresh strawberry stands start popping up alongside the road that my mom will be there picking out the best Strawberries, to put into her delicious little dumplings!  There is nothing light or healthy about these dumplings, but there is no way I am going to mess with this  family recipe!   Sometimes you just don't mess with a recipe that is perfection and sometimes you just have to feed your soul, and these strawberry dumplings will do just that!  I love that this recipe was hand written by my Grandma and placed in a recipe book that she then gave to my mom.  At the bottom of my mom's hand written recipe my grandma has written that the recipe has been passed down from her mother my great grandma Beulah Ford, from Lafallete Tennessee,  it really is the little things in life that can be such a joy!  These dumplings are perfect warm or even at room temperature!  My family prefers them warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!  The vanilla ice cream melts around the dumpling and gets coated in the sweet syrup, pure perfection!  So with that, enjoy from my family to yours!  Whip these up as a part of your 4th of July Holiday dessert spread, you won't be sorry! 

Strawberry Dumplings
Family Recipe 
Makes 16 Dumplings 

Prepared pie crust for a 2 crust pie, use this recipe or Pillsbury refrigerated dough
1 Quart Strawberries hulled and sliced 

2 Cups Sugar 
1 Cup Water 
1/2 Cup Butter 

1- If not using prepared pie crust then role pie crust out thin.  If using prepared pie crust lay flat on surface and move to step #2
2- Cut pie crust into 16 equal squares. 
3- Taking one square of pie crust at a time, fill the center of the square with 4-5 strawberries.  Fold the corners of the square into the center (covering the strawberries).  Lightly pinch the corners together and set "dumpling" in a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining pie crust squares. 
4- Now combine sugar, water and butter in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, and let mixture boil for 5 minutes.  
5- Pour sauce evenly over dumplings and place dumplings in a 375 degree oven to bake.  Bake dumplings for 30 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, we like homemade!  


For more delicious 4th of July inspired recipes check out Raise.Com (link to homepage)- they have put together a compilation of 4th of July recipes from bloggers around the country!  Link, Here!  Check it out! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

{Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes}

These twice baked sweet potatoes are the bomb, and one of my new favorite dinners.  I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately, but seriously I am smitten over these flavorful spuds!   

I mean who does not love a sweet potato that is loaded with veggies, cheese and spicy Italian turkey sausage... YUM!!!  Plus they are oh so easy to make, especially if you microwave the sweet potatoes!  These got two thumbs up from Derek, he even ate the leftovers (which rarely happens with Derek)!  These little beauties make a great week night dinner, or could even be a fun spin on hash browns for brunch!  Make them tonight, you won't be sorry! 

Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 

5 Oz. Mild Italian Turkey Sausage - I used Jenni-O's 
1/4 Cup +4 Tablespoons Finely Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 
2 Sweet Potatoes 
1/2 Green Bell Pepper - Chopped
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste

1-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and prick each sweet potato and bake in oven until tender (about an hour) or microwave each potato for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Once potatoes are cooked set aside and let cool. 
2- In a skillet coated with cooking spray saute peppers and onions until tender.  Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes).  Add turkey sausage, and spices to skillet, cook until turkey is cooked through.  Slowly add spinach to skillet and cook until wilted.   Remove skillet from heat and set aside.  
3 - Once sweet potatoes have cooled, slice down the middle (the long ways).  Gently scoop out the potato and place in a large bowl.  Set potato skins aside until ready to stuff.  Combine the scooped out sweet potato with Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Add sausage and veggie mixture to bowl with sweet potato and stir until well combined. 
4- Now, carefully stuff each sweet potato skin with equal parts of the filling.  Place filled sweet potato skins on baking sheet, or casserole dish.  Sprinkle each stuffed sweet potato with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese.  
5- Bake sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are warm and cheese is melted and slightly browned. 

Serve with Greek Yogurt and Sriracha if you like!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

{Weekly Menu and Shopping Guide - June 28th - July 3rd}

Hi All!  
Everyone have a good weekend (yes, I know its not over yet)!!  Derek headed up to Canada on Friday to do some fishing with the guys, so Friday the sis and I drove home to Rochester to be with our parents over the weekend and of course celebrate her birthday!  Yesterday my mom and I whipped up a million of these little guys! 

Strawberry Dumplings, a family favorite and my sisters b-day treat!  Find the recipe here!  They would be a perfect 4th of July Treat!  And Holy Moly, can you believe that the 4th of July is this next weekend!  I seriously cannot believe it! I love the 4th of July though, I think it might be one of my favorites!  I love the pride it brings out in our country, the food, the fireworks and well, pretty much everything the 4th of July stands for!  Ah, Summer!  

But, lets start talking about this weeks menu and shopping guide!  This week I have a few easy recipes that can be whipped up in a pinch (one of which would be perfect for your 4th of July Celebration) and a yummy breakfast casserole that you can serve for dinner, or over the weekend as a yummy brunch addition!  I will also share a 4th of July recipe round up with you later in the week with some of my favorite Pot Luck items!  You won't want to miss that post.  But for now let's focus on this weeks menu!  Starting with these, 

Twice Baked Breakfast Style Sweet Potatoes
Link goes live Monday

Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing and Pine Nuts 
Link Goes Live Wednesday

Overnight French Toast Casserole with Berries
Link Goes Live Friday

Look for a special recipe round up on Thursday Featuring all my favorite pot luck foods!  And now on to the shopping guide!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

{BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps}

I love me a good Sloppy Joe!  Sloppy Joe's were always one of my favorite meals growing up!  I remember eating Sloppy Joe's as a kid and being a complete mess once I was done eating.  I would literally have Sloppy Joe sauce (sounds weird!) all the way up my arm and all over my face once I was finished!! Yes, I was a messy kid at times!  

 Nowadays I make my Sloppy Joe's with ground chicken (or turkey) and sneak in a few veggies for added texture and a nutritional punch!  However I took these BBQ Sloppy Joe's to a whole new level and turned them into... Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps!! Seriously, ever since making these Fish Taco's I have been obsessed with lettuce wraps!    

I know it seems a bit out there, but trust me you won't miss the bun once you bite into these crunchy BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe's!  They have all the flavors you love about traditional Sloppy Joe's and trust me they are darn delicious and just as messy!

BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Lb Lean Ground Chicken (or Turkey if you prefer) 
1 Red Pepper Roughly Chopped 
1 Small Onion Roughly Chopped 
2 Clovers Garlic Minced
1 Cup Black Beans 
1 - 15 Oz. Can Tomato Sauce 
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste 
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce 
2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar 
1 Tablespoon Hot Pepper Jelly 
1 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder, Paprika and Cumin 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
8-12 Large Romaine Lettuce Leaves (or 4-6 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns for Serving)

1- In a large skillet coated with cooking spray saute pepper and onion until tender.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant. 
2- Add ground chicken (make sure to break up with a wooden spoon or spatula), chili power, paprika and cumin to skillet with vegetables.  Cook until chicken is cooked through. 
3- While chicken is cooking combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and hot pepper jelly in a small bowl.  Whisk until well combined, set aside. 
4-  Once chicken is cooked through pour BBQ sauce over skillet and cook on medium heat until sauce thickens (5-8 minutes). 
5- Once Sauce thickens stir in beans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasoning as desired. 

Serve the BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe's in romaine lettuce leaves with feta and sriracha.  If you prefer serve on hamburger buns instead of in the romaine leaves.  For a complete meal serve with baked sweet potato fries (great recipe here, Cooking Light) or with crudites. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

{Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole}

Life is ever changing, and I love it!  

I recently returned back to work, and I am super excited to be back in an office environment working in an area that I love!   Returning back to work has made me become super organized when it comes to grocery shopping and meal prep, especially since I now have a 40 minute commute (both ways)! Lately, with all life's changes I have been all about simple, delicious meals that can easily be made ahead of time! 

Queue this wonderful Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole.  This one pot casserole is full of flavor thanks to garlic, onion and fresh rosemary and is so easy to prepare.  You can easily chop the veggies ahead of time (think Sunday meal prep), and then quickly and easily assemble the casserole the night before you would like to serve it or even the day of!  Then all you have to do is toss the casserole dish in the oven and wait (thats the hardest part).  Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand in your fridge!  

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4-6 

1 Lb Chicken Tenders 
1 Zucchini - Cut into 1 Inch Chunks 
1 Summer Squash - Cut into 1 Inch Chunks 
1 Small Onion - Roughly Chopped
1 Cup Carrots Chopped 
1 Cup Cauliflower Florets 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 Sweet Potato - Peeled and Chopped
2 Teaspoons Fresh Basil 
6 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary 
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
1 Teaspoon Pepper, Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, salt (divided)
1/4 Cup Mozzarella 

1- Place veggies in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 Teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning and salt.  Toss veggies in casserole dish until evenly covered  with olive oil and seasoning.  Lay 5 fresh sprigs of rosemary over the tops of the vegetables and set aside. 
2-Place chicken tenders into a large ziplock bag and toss with remaining olive oil, and seasoning.  Toss chicken in bag until evenly seasoned.  Place chicken tenders atop the veggies.  Top chicken with 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary.  
3- Bake chicken and veggies in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes (until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender).  Remove casserole dish from oven top with mozzarella cheese and return casserole  dish to oven.  Broil on low until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Top with fresh chopped basil and serve. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

{Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa}

I originally posted this recipe last summer, but sharing it again this week as a part of the weekly menu! This grilled salmon recipe is one of our favorites, and one that Derek always request! Enjoy!! 

Hello, Friends! 
Did you all have a lovely long and relaxing weekend?  Derek and I had a very active an jam paced weekend, but a fun one!  We spent the weekend soaking up the beautiful weather, catching up with friends and family, and hiking for hours in Taylor Falls, I will share some of the pictures with you later this week! We really couldn't have asked for better weather this weekend, and I think it is safe to say that Summer might finally be here! 

 Speaking of Summer weather finally coming to Minnesota, one of my favorite things about warm Summer weather has to be grilling out!  I love spending time outside with family and friends, grilling up a delicious home cooked meal!  Derek and I whipped up this delicious Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa to end our wonderful long weekend!  Derek and I both agreed that this salmon was delicious and agreed that the addition of the orange juice in the mango salsa provided a nice well rounded flavor!  The salsa is not overly spicy considering there is a whole jalapeno in it,  but if your not a huge spice person feel free to omit the jalapeno and add in a little sweet red pepper.   Serve this flavorful salmon with  a simple side salad for a balanced meal!  I will be sharing the salad with enjoyed with this salmon later this week on the blog! 

Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
2-4 Servings 

1-2 Pounds of Fresh Salmon (Skin on One Side) 
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil 
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder 
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 

Orange Mango Salsa: 
1 Mango Peeled and Diced 
1 Jalapeno Seeded and Chopped 
1/4 Cup Onion Finely Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 

1- Combine mango, jalapeno, onion and garlic in a small bowl.  Toss to combine.  Stir in olive oil, orange juice and spices, mix and set aside. 
2- Heat grill to 350 degrees.  Coat salmon (both sides, flesh and skin) with olive oil.  Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper and garlic.  Place salmon, skin side down on grill.  Cook 10 minutes on grill or until desired degree of doneness has been met.  

Check out these other delicious grilled salmon recipes from around the web:


Sunday, June 21, 2015

{Weekly Menu and Shopping Guide- June 21st-27th}

Hello, Friends! 
I hope you all have had a fabulous weekend!  Derek and I drove up North past Duluth Minnesota for a weekend away with my family!  My sister (Miranda) and her friend Kate ran in Grandma's Marathon so we were all up to support them as they tackled the crazy marathon distance!  It was absolutely fabulous to get away for the weekend and spend time with family! 

I also want to say Happy Father's Day to my Dad! Dad, you are the best!  Thank you for being the leader of our family, for being there for me through the ups and downs of life, and for walking me down the aisle so that I could marry the man of my dreams!  Thank you for supporting the decisions I make in life, for cheering me on, and for showing me what it means to work hard!  I love you, Dad! 

Now, shall we get to this weeks menu and shopping guide?

Grilled Salmon with Orange Mango Salsa - Serve with Steamed Veggies or a Green Salad 
**Older Post on Brunch N'Cupcakes, find it here!  Will also be reposting early Monday AM 

Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Casserole 
**Post Goes Live Tuesday 

BBQ Sloppy Joe Lettuce Wraps - Serve with Steamed Veggies or Sweet Potato Fries 
**Post Goes Live Thursday

And the shopping list! Enjoy!! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

{Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Curried Rice}

Remember that Curried CousCous Salad that I posted last week?  Remember how I told you I had been or am currently obsessed with using curry in dishes?  Well here is another dish that features the delicious warm flavor of curry! I am in love with this dish, the warm flavor of the curry powder balances out the bright lime flavor in the chicken, it is just scrumptious!  

 It is mmm, mmm good!  The Cilantro Lime marinade used for this chicken is zippy, bright and full of flavor, it is also the "glaze" that I used for the grilled fruity kebabs I posted last week, recipe here!  

Once again if your not a curry fan I give you options for the curried rice!  

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Curried Rice 
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 (you will have leftover rice)


2 Chicken Breast
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder & Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt 
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Marinade - The marinade from my Grilled Fruity Kebabs - Recipe Here
Juice from 2 Small Limes 
Zest from 1 Lime 
1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil 
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar 
2 Tablespoons Water 
1 Tablespoon Honey 
2 Garlic Cloves Pressed 
1/4 Cup Cilantro Finely Chopped 

Curried Rice: Inspired by Food Network 
**Note - This recipe makes 6 - 1/2 Cup Servings, you will have leftover rice but the rice keeps well and is a perfect addition to salad! 
2 Cups Chicken Broth 
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Brown Rice (not minute rice) 
1/2 Tablespoon Curry 
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced 
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
1/2 a Medium Bell Pepper (Color of Choice, I used Yellow)
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro Minced 
Juice and Zest from 1 Lemon 
Teaspoon Honey 


Marinading the Chicken:
1- Start by trimming the fat from your chicken breast.  Slice each chicken breast down the middle so you have 4 pieces.  Prick each piece of chicken with a fork and season both sides (of all 4 pieces) with Salt, Pepper, Paprika and Garlic.  Place in a small tupperware container and set aside.  
2- Combine first 7 marinade ingredients in a small measuring cup, whisk till well combined.  Stir in chopped cilantro.  Pour marinade over chicken breast in tupperware (make sure evenly coated) and set in fridge to marinade for at least an hour.  **Note I let my chicken marinade all day (about 6 hours)!

To Grill the Chicken:
1- Oil grill grates and heat grill to about 400 degrees. 
2- Grill chicken on each side for about 6 minutes or until center of chicken is done.  I usually cut into the thickest part of each chicken breast to ensure the chicken is cooked through. 

To make the Curried Rice:
1- In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil and saute onions and pepper until tender (don't over cook, about 3 minutes).  Add in garlic and cook till fragrant.  Stir rice into onions and cook until toasted (make sure you stir it) bout 2 minutes.  
2- Stir in Cinnamon and Curry and give the rice a quick stir to evenly coat.  
3- Slowly pour in chicken broth and water. Bring rice to boil.  Once rice is boiling reduce heat, cover and simmer rice until tender (about 30 minutes) or until liquid is completely absorbed.  
4- Remove rice from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  While your letting the rice sit, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest and honey.  
5- After 5 minutes toss hot rice with the lemon/honey mixture and gently stir in chopped cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and serve. 

To Serve:
1- Place 1/2 Cup curried rice on each plate and top with a piece of grilled chicken.  Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and serve! 

I served steamed green beans with ours!  Not a curry fan?  Not a problem!  Omit the curry and the cinnamon from the curried rice recipe! 


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chocolate Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread...

Because the world can never have to many banana bread recipes!  Am I right?


This banana bread is my current obsession when it comes to this classic quick bread!  Moist flavorful banana bread that has been topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel and then drizzled with chocolate.  Your house will smell divine as this banana bread bakes away in your oven!  Slather on some almond butter and I am in banana bread heaven!  

This little quick bread makes a sweet afternoon treat or would make an excellent addition to a brunch your weekend brunch spread!  Hey, speaking of brunch why not whip it up as part of a special brunch for dear old dad on Father's day!!  What dad wouldn't love this bread?  

Chocolate Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread 
12 Slices 

3 Ripe Bananas Mashed 
2 Egg Whites 
2 Tablespoons Butter - Melted
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce 
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar 
1 1/2 Cup Flour (I Used Unbleached All Purpose) 
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda and Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Oats (Old Fashion) 
2 Teaspoons Sugar 
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon 
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds
2 Tablespoons Mini Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl mix together mashed bananas and brown sugar until well combined.  Add in your apple sauce, egg whites and butter.  Stir until combined, set aside. 
2- In another bowl stir together flour,  baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until wet and dry ingredients are combined. 
3- Pour bread dough into a greased loaf pan.  In a small bowl combine topping ingredients (excluding chocolate chips) until course crumbles form.  Evenly spread crumb topping over banana bread and bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 minutes.  
4- While banana bread is still warm (and in pan) sprinkle top of banana bread with mini chocolate chips.  Allow bread to cool completely before removing from pan!  Slice and enjoy! 

Other mouth watering Banana Bread Recipes from around the web:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

{Chunky Eggplant Ragu with Parmesan Garlic Zoodles}

Derek and I celebrated being married for 2 months last Thursday, which blows my mind!  Mainly because I have no idea where the last 2 months went!  I know we have had a blast these past two months, but the time has seriously flown by!  To celebrate we busted out our wedding China, popped a bottle of wine and just enjoyed each others company!  It was absolutely fabulous! 

I whipped up a delicious veggie filled dinner which was both elegant and simple for our evening celebration!  Chunky Eggplant Ragu with Parmesan Garlic Zoodles... Yum! 

This dish was so yummy and oh so simple to make.  I guarantee you will not miss the meat in this Chunky Eggplant Ragu!  Seriously, the eggplant adds a hearty texture to the full body tomato sauce!  The zoodles are sauteed lightly and tossed with a bit of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and a touch of parmesan cheese!  You will have plenty of leftover Ragu, which is perfect atop fresh brown rice, penne pasta or as a stuffing for stuffed peppers!  Thats like 3 meals with leftovers! 

Chunky Eggplant Ragu with Parmesan Garlic Zoodles
Brunch N'Cupcakes
Serves 4 with leftover Ragu


Eggplant Ragu 
1 Small Eggplant - Roughly Chopped (about 1 Inch Cubes)
1 Medium Onion - Roughly Chopped 
1 Red Pepper - Roughly Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic - Minced
1/4 Cup Red Wine - or Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Prepared Pesto
1 - 15 Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes 
2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil - Chopped
1 Teaspoon - Red Pepper Flakes, Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper 
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Parmesan Garlic Zoodles:
3 Large Zucchinis - Cut into Noodles Using - I use this tool 
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion 
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese 
1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar 
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil 
Salt and Pepper to Taste 

For Serving:
Additional Parmesan Cheese - Optional 
Toasted Pine Nuts - Optional 


To Prepare the Eggplant Ragu:
1- In a large skillet heat olive oil.  Add onion and pepper and saute until tender.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add your chopped eggplant to the skillet and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and rosemary.  Saute until eggplant is tender but not mushy.  
2- In a large measuring cup whisk together pesto and red wine.  Pour mixture over eggplant mixture, stir to combine.  Add crushed tomatoes to your skillet and again stir to combine. 
3-Allow sauce to simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in fresh basil right before serving. 

** Note **
You will have about a cup of leftover ragu.  Serve leftovers over brown rice (or your favorite grain, maybe quinoa or farro), whip up some whole wheat penne, or stuff in bell peppers to make stuffed peppers!  The sky is the limit! 

To prepare the Parmesan Garlic Zoodles:
1- Grab a medium skillet and heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Saute Onion until tender, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Grab your zoodles and add them to the skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until zoodles are slightly tender, but not mushy. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook an additional 2 minutes. 
2- Toss zoodles with dried basil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese and serve!

To Serve:
1- Divide zoodles evenly between 4 plates.  
2- Top each mountain of zoodles with about 1/2 Cup of the Chunky Eggplant Ragu 
3- Top each plate with 1/2 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts (optional)


Monday, June 15, 2015

{Hearty Lentil Loaf}

Happy Monday, Y'all!   I have the perfect Meatless Monday meal for you!  It would also be a delicious dinner for you to serve up on Father's Day (hard to believe Father's Day is this weekend)! 
I seriously made this Lentil Loaf like 4 months ago... Oops!  But hey, at least I am sharing it with you now!  

Meatloaf/Lentil Loaf used to be one of those foods that kinda weirded me out, and I am not exactly sure why.  Maybe it was the name?  Or the texture?  I am not sure, but it is safe to say that I have grown out of thinking that!

This Lentil Loaf is so easy to make, reheats well and is sure to be a crowed pleaser! Serve it up with a side of steamed veggies, a salad or hey even mashed potatoes!  

Hearty Lentil Loaf 
Brunch N'Cupcakes Inspired by Whole Foods and Ambitious Kitchen
Serves 6 


Lentil Loaf:
1 Bell Pepper 
1 Cup Mushrooms Sliced
1 Cup Spinach 
1/2 Large Onion 
1/2 Cup Oatmeal 
1 1/2 Cup Bulgar 
1 Cup Lentils Dry
3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed 
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin 
Dash of salt and Pepper 

1 Teaspoon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Honey 
1 Small Can Tomato Sauce 
2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce 
1/2 Tablespoon Cumin 
1/2 Tablespoon Chili Powder 

1- Cook lentils according to package directions.  Combine flax seed meal and 1/3 cup of water.  Stir to combine and set aside while you assemble the rest of the lentil loaf.  
2-While Lentils are cooking heat skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.  Saute onions, mushrooms, and pepper until tender, add in garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add spinach to the skillet and cook until wilted.  Pour veggie mixture into a large bowl and set aside.  
3- Add Cooked Lentils, Oatmeal, Bulgar, Cumin, salt and pepper to the bowl with the veggie mixture.  Toss until well combined, grab your flax seed meal mixture and add to bowl.  Stir well. 
4- Pour lentil mixture into a greased loaf pan, and press down until smooth and evenly distributed.  
5- Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl.  Spread sauce over the lentil loaf.  Place lentil loaf in a 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Let loaf stand 5 minutes before serving! 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

{Week 3 - Meal Plan and Shopping List - June 14-19}

Sorry to be posting the weekly shopping list and menu just a tad late!  The weekend and time seemed to have gotten away from me!  Derek and I spent most of the weekend outside (despite the rain on Saturday morning) enjoying the beautiful weather, and a few "firsts" when it comes to summer activities in Minneapolis!  Friday night we took in a movie at the local Drive in Theater (yes, there is still one in Minneapolis) which was an experience, but so much fun!  They played three  newer films (Jurassic World, Pitch Perfect 2, and San Andres).

And Saturday we enjoyed a BBQ with friends before checking out Rock the Block (a outdoor concert in Uptown) and Northern Spark 2015 (a art/musical festival that takes place all over Minneapolis throughout the night, it ends at 5 AM on Sunday Morning)!

It was a blast of a weekend!

But lets get talking about this weeks meal plan and shopping list!  This week I focused on a few meals that I think would be perfect to show dad how much you care(since Father's day is this Sunday)!  A lightened up vegetarian version of meat loaf, a flavor filled grilled chicken and a chunky eggplant ragu that I serve over zucchini noodles (but serve over pasta if you prefer)!   There will also be a bonus recipe that is sweet, and perfect for brunch (at least I think so)!  So without further ado, your menu!


Lentil Loaf - Serve with a Green Salad or Steamed Veggies
**Post goes live Early Monday AM 
Post Live!!  Click Here 

Eggplant Ragu with Balsamic Parmesan Zoodles
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Note - You get a lot of leftover Ragu which is great on top of brown rice or stuffed inside peppers as a stuffed pepper stuffing!!

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Curried Rice 
**Post Goes Live Thursday

and... the shopping list!

Friday, June 12, 2015

{No Bake Reese's Pieces Cookies}

As promised I have a sweet treat for you today!! And, did you know that today is National Peanut Butter Cookie Day?  Seriously who comes up with these food holidays?  Can I sit on the committee?

Peanut butter cookies might be my absolute favorite (mainly because I am obsessed with peanut butter)!  So what better way to celebrate National Peanut Butter Cookie day then with an easy no bake (because who wants to turn their oven on in the summer?) peanut butter cookie that is studded with Reese's Pieces and Peanuts?  I tweaked Brown Eyed Bakers delicious no bake cookies to create this mouth watering no bake, and they are on point!  Full of peanuty goodness thanks to chunky peanut butter and studded with Reese's Pieces... Yum!

My advice, whip up a batch of these, grab a glass of milk and enjoy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

No Bake Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 24 

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
1/2 Cup Milk 
2/3 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter 
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oats 
1/2 Cup Reese's Pieces Candies 

1- In a medium saucepan combine butter, brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil and boil for one minute.
2- Remove saucepan from heat, stir in peanut butter.  Stir until peanut butter is melted and smooth.
3- Slowly pour oats into peanut butter mixture and mix until well combined.  Allow mixture to slightly cool (about 10 min) before stirring in the Reese's Pieces.
4- Drop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet (about 2 tablespoons each) and allow to cool for 30 minutes before enjoying (thats the hard part)!

Store in an air tight container up to 2 weeks!  I like to put mine in the freezer and enjoy them frozen!

More delicious Peanut Butter Cookies from Around the Web:
Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies - Cooking Light 
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies - Sally's Baking Addiction 
Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies - Taste of Home 

Enjoy, and happy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

{Southwest Chop Salad}

Big colorful salads loaded with  various textures and different tasty goodies is my weakness!  Yes, I am being 100% serious, and yes salads are one of my favorite foods.  I know I am odd, but I am ok with that! 

This Southwest Chopped Salad is exactly the salad I go weak in the knees over!  Color, Crunch, texture and a bomb cumin vinaigrette!  My mom used to make this salad all the time in the summer, and was always a favorite of mine!  What is great about this Southwestern Chop Salad is you can use any veggies you have on hand, and even omit the veggies you are not a huge fan of!  It is super versatile!  

This salad makes a great pot luck dish (because it is so pretty) or is great for entertaining!  If you don't plan on eating the entire salad in one sitting I would recommend just dressing individual portions, that way it won' get soggy!  The dressing will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks!  Have leftover Apple Soy Chicken?  Throw it on top for a little added protein!

Southwest Chop Salad 
Brunch N'Cupcakes - Recipe from Momma Wolfe 
Serves 6-8


6 Cups your favorite salad green
1 Small Bunch Cilantro Chopped (stems removed)
1/2 Small Jicima Cut into Matchstick Pieces 
1 Red Pepper Cut into Matchstick Pieces 
2 Carrots Cut into Matchstick Pieces
1/2 an English Cucumber Sliced
1/2 small Purple Onion Sliced into Rings 
2 Tomatoes cut into wedges 
3/4 Cup Black Beans 
1/2 Cup Frozen Corn Defrosted (not cooked)

1/3 Cup Olive Oil 
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar 
2 Teaspoons Cumin 
1 Garlic Clove Crushed 
1/2 Teaspoon Salt and Pepper 
**If you don't like your dressing with lots of vinegar reduce the apple cider vinegar and add more olive oil!

1- In a large serving bowl toss salad greens and chopped cilantro together. 
2- Arrange assorted veggies and beans a top the salad greens in color blocks.  
3- Whisk the salad dressing together and set aside till ready to serve. 

To serve:  
1- Toss salad with 1/2 the dressing adding more if needed.  Serve 
**Note - If only eating a small amount of the salad dress individual servings with the cumin vinaigrette.  This is generally what I do!