Archive: September, 2011

September 27, 2011

Tortellini with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Harper is REALLY into cheese tortellini lately so I thought I’d hunt for a yummy recipe. We just buy the frozen tortellini at Wegmans. It literally cooks in 2 minutes after water comes to a boil! Anyway doesn’t this roasted tomato sauce look amazing?

6-10 Roma tomatoes, root end trimmed away
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
however much garlic you feel like peeling (2 heads if you’re not in a hurry)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 box tortellini or homemade

Preheat the oven to 450°

Slice the tomatoes in half and place them on a sheet pan, cut side up. Use as many tomatoes as needed to cover the sheet pan entirely.

Peel the onion, slice it in half, and then each half into 1” slices; break up the onion pieces and scatter over the tomatoes.

Core and seed the bell pepper, slice and toss it on the sheet pan.

Leave the garlic cloves whole, just toss ‘em on with the tomatoes.

Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss it in the oven for about an hour, or until the onions have started to take on some color. The roasting time truly depends on how much time you’re willing to invest. Play with it and find what works for you.

When you’ve decided you’re done roasting, transfer the vegetables and juices to a pot, if you have an immersion blender, or to the bowl of a blender/food processor. Either way, blitz until smooth and creamy.

Season with additional salt and pepper and herbs, if you like. This sauce is incredibly lean on its own, so you may need another hearty drizzle of olive oil to bring out the full flavor of the dish.

Serve with tortellini and chunky shavings of Parm.

Categories: dinner, pasta
September 25, 2011

Dinner Success!

We made the Pork Carnitas tonight and they were soooo delicious. Here are a few pics from my iPhone! This is such a great football Sunday meal. The pork slow cooks for 3 hours and the house smells really great!

The only change to the recipe that I made was that I bought a 10 lb bone in pork shoulder. It took quite some time to cut up the meat. The good news is that there were plenty of leftovers for our german shepherd, Stella!

Categories: Uncategorized
September 22, 2011

Pork Carnitas

I’m updating my fall recipe rotation & am definitely adding Pork Carnitas. This recipe looks amazing and I hope to try it on Sunday evening! (I think it is a great Sunday football dinner idea!)

5 lbs Boneless pork shoulder (or country-style ribs)
32 oz Chicken stock (I used boxed from Costco)
2 cans (15 oz) Mild enchilada sauce (I used Las Palmas)
2 large Yellow sweet onions, peeled and quartered
6 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped rough
1 packet McCormick Grill Mates Mexican Fiesta marinade mix
1 packet McCormick Grill Mates Baja Citrus marinade mix
1 packet McCormick Grill Mates Backyard Brew marinade mix
1 cup Cilantro, chopped rough (optional)
3/4 cup Canola oil
1/3 cup Apple cider vinegar
2 tsp Smoked paprika

Cut the pork into 2-inch cubes, removing any heavy fat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the marinade mixes, oil, vinegar, and paprika, and whisk to combine. Add the pork, toss to coat well, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large heavy pot (preferably an enameled cast iron dutch oven), combine the chicken stock, one can of the enchilada sauce, onion, garlic, and cilantro if you want it (I left it out because we’re cilantro-senstive). Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Gently add the pork and the marinade to the simmering liquid, cover, and bring back to a light simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the pork is fork-tender, about three hours.

Heat your oven to broil.

Using a Chinese wire strainer or slotted spoon, remove the pork and onions to a large roasting pan. Spread the meat evenly throughout the pan, breaking the pieces of meat in half into smaller one-inch chunks.

Drizzle the pork with the second can of enchilada sauce, and put it in your oven so that the the pork is about six inches from the broiler.

Note: I used a disposable foil pan so for ease of clean-up for the family I was serving.

Paying close attention, cook the pork under the broiler until the outside just starts to brown and crisp, about five minutes.

Serve with warm corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, and your favorite refried beans. I served my Funky Refried Beans.

Categories: dinner, mexican
September 19, 2011

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

Aren’t these adorable? & I love the fact that you can make them to match you party theme! Get the step by step directions @

1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups quick cooking oats
6 oz. chocolate chips
3 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
sanding sugar

* Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand. Form into small balls and roll in sanding sugar. Keep refrigerated.

Categories: dessert
September 19, 2011

Breakfast Bars & Kitchen Islands

by Christine Hart

Is your kitchen not quite the social hub you’d like it to be? If you love hosting dinner parties and house guests, you know the kitchen is the place to be for social gatherings at home. These days, many social nights at home – either a party or just a few informal guests – will often end up gravitating towards the kitchen where the food flows and there’s no home theater system to drown you out.

So many would-be hostesses are daydreaming about that highly coveted open concept kitchen bar with a set of kitchen counter bar stools. The first question is obvious; what will it take to make your kitchen dream come true? Will you be giving the room a facelift and adding new bar stools? Or do you need the island or bar first?

Tommy Bahama Home Ocean Club Cabana Swivel Bar Stool

Tommy Bahama Home Island Estate South Beach Swivel Counter Stool in Plantation

Striking Kitchen Counter Stools

If you’ve already got a kitchen island or breakfast bar counter, you’re extremely lucky. Having the ‘bones’ of what you want is a huge step. To kickstart your new look, consider a few bold pieces. Do you have room for extra tall bar stools? If not, don’t worry, there are many other dramatic styles. Leather bar stools in a black on black design can also have a visual impact. Choose wood or metal as suits your style and taste. And for a more economical version, consider vinyl faux leather seats as well.

Coaster Lathrop 29 Inches Swivel Faux Leather Seat Bar Stool in Black Finish

Instant Kitchen Island – Just Assemble!

If you’re craving a kitchen bar with bar stools, but don’t have the framework, you may still be able to make it happen. Even if you don’t have a kitchen island or wall-adjacent bar, it’s doable if you’ve got room. You’ll be surprised at what a few quick changes can accomplish and how little space you’ll really need. Take a look at these island units below to get an idea of where to start.

Home Styles Woodbridge Two Tier Kitchen Island and Stools Set in White and Oak

Hillsdale Wilshire Kitchen Island with 2 Stools in Antique White

Categories: kitchen decor
September 14, 2011

Homemade Bread

Have you ever made your own bread? I usually pick up a baguette at Wegmans when I have a craving, but this recipe by looks so simple and delicious. I cannot believe that she made this beautiful moist loaf in under an hour!

305g Bread Flour
175 ml of Warm Water
20 ml Olive Oil
1/2 tsp of fine Salt
3 tsp Yeast

-In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then add the water and oil.
-Knead for 15 minutes (10 min if using a stand mixer) until the dough is shiny and somewhat elastic.
-Cut a few lines on top to make any design you want, or just leave it as is.
-Place in a small baking dish. Cover the dish. Place in the oven without preheating. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes (covered the entire time). Then uncover the dish and bake for another 5 minutes.

Categories: Bread
September 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

WOW, such a great fall drink! …Katie from teaches you to make her version of the Starbucks Pumkin Spiced Latte. MMMM!

2 T canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup milk of choice, or (for a richer taste) a combination of nondairy creamer and milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-4 T strong coffee
sugar or stevia to taste

Mix everything but the coffee with a fork or whisk. (Then, for a hot latte, you can either microwave or heat on the stove.) Add coffee and whisk again.

If desired, top with Coconut Cool Whip.

Categories: dessert, drinks
September 12, 2011

Chevron Plates

So fun/festive! via Aedriel Originals

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