Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Potato Mushroom Gratin with Chicken

No sooner did I scrape my plate clean than I jumped to the computer to share this recipe. Seriously, this is one of those easy peasy recipes that seem like you've been slaving away all day in the kitchen. So when you get the accolades, and you will, just say thanks and be at peace because you still have energy to make dessert if you want!

This recipe starts from one I found in my Nigella Express Cookbook, by my favorite foodie, Nigella Lawson. She emphasizes using your preference in the ingredients and amounts, things can be substituted easily and added just as quick. So although, her original recipe was much easier. I found myself at a loss for protein and wanted to make use of the leftover Rotisserie Chicken I picked up at Costco a few days ago. Here's how I adapted her recipe.

3 average-sized/1-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp white wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp chopped garlic, approx 1 clove minced
4 oz shitake mushrooms finely sliced
3 stalks green onions sliced
1/2 rotisserie chicken leftovers cut small
1/4 lb jack cheese cubed


1. Heat the oven to 425'F and butter a shallow baking dish or gratin.

2. Bring the sliced potatoes, milk, wine, salt and pepper to a boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, and leave at a simmer while you get on with the mushrooms.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, mushrooms green onions and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

4. Pour the mushrooms and their garlicky, buttery juices into the pan of potatoes, stir to mix. Warm up the chicken in the pan you were cooking mushrooms in. Once done, add to the potatoes. Mix to combine ingredients and pour straight into the gratin dish. Fold in cubed cheese. Bake for 45 minutes until piping hot, and crisp on the top.

The original recipe called for double the mushrooms - and cremini's, but I didn't realize that when I sifted through the bin at Henry's. In addition to the Chicken, the onions & cheese were wonderful additions that might make the dish a little more complex, but were much worth the extra few minutes to prepare.

Including chopping and extracting the chicken, this dish only took about 15 minutes to prepare. If I had planned it properly, I would have also combined some vegetable, maybe asparagus - and popped it in the oven 1 hour prior to dishing up for dinner so it had a few minutes to cool. Instead I just popped the kids dishes into the refrig. for a few minutes and we were good to go. I'm so looking forward to eating up the leftovers!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

After spending an adventurous week in Blackberry Land, I came home to find a large carton of fresh Blueberries in my refrig. What to do... Great treats for the kids, but they can only eat so many raw blueberries. So I scoured my recipe books for something that nutrition packed to feed to the kiddos. Kudos to Deceptively Delicious for capturing my eye with these temptuous treats!

1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp Butter
1 cup lowfat lemon yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup fresh yellow squash finely shredded
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, approx 1 tsp
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup masa, cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350'F. Prep muffin tin, makes 12-18 muffins.

2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and blueberries.

3. Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir just to combine, but do not overmix - the batter is supposed to be lumpy.

4. Fill the muffin cups approx 3/4 full. Bake until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 13 to 16 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

So, per usual, I have substituted a few things. The recipe called for flaxseed meal, I used masa a corn flour 'cuz I could not for the life of me find flaxseed meal in Ralphs! And I was not about to drop $3.50 for Lemon Extract... She likes margarine, but I can't stand the stuff and somehow feel like I am being healthier because I know butter comes from milk... PERIOD! Didn't have time to pre-make the puree so I just finely shredded the fresh yellow squash which by nature is a very soft vegetable and it seemed to be fine!

The muffins were very light and fresh, blueberries still a bit bitter and surprisingly were mostly still whole after baking. Now, I mentioned a nutrition packed muffin earlier in my thoughts. And you might wonder, there is nothing yucky - besides maybe the masa - in this to make it healthy. But as some may know, Blueberries and Lemons are quite nutritious and full of antioxidants. There wasn't too much sugar, and the added yellow zucchini brings Vitamin A, Calcium, and Potassium to the table.

Yum, yum and yum were the only words to be heard when my toddler gobbled down his 3rd muffin and the baby smeared hers across her face, high chair and new outfit! Incredible, these will definitely be gone in a few days:)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sliders... the new "it" food

A long, long, long, long time ago.... Costco brought in White Castle sliders to their freezer section. My ex-boyfriend was a frozen food junkie and always had yummy treats in his freezer. The first time I tried my first "frozen slider" I was a little grossed out. It was probably a little over cooked, as they can get when you nuke them until they are hot all the way through without moving them every so often in the circa 1980's microwave... I wonder if he still has that microwave?

Fast forward to 10 or 15 sliders later. There was something about the delicious White Castle, Cheeseburger Sliders that just really called to me. Do they add MSG to these things??? They are delicious! I was on a White Castle kick! The Beastie Boys sing about this chain restaurant. I had heard murmurs that it was an East Coast delicacy. Fast Food Chains are making their way across the nation... When, oh When would San Diego be blessed with the arrival of White Castle?

Then, someone had the bright idea to make a film about 2 stoners and their all night search for a White Castle Burger - Harold & Kumar go to White Castle. Seriously, my search had been about 5 years at this point. Loved the movie, and for those of you who know me... I am the farthest thing from a stoner, but oh am I a foodie! I wore my White Castle T-Shirt (that I picked up at some Hollywood Schmoozefest) with pride!!!

Finally, I found out there was a White Castle in Columbus, OH... and I just so happened to be going their for a business trip. Work was the purpose for the trip, but White Castle was my mission! It was late night. I had convinced my drunken co-workers that we HAD to get some White Castle. After waiting in line for what seemed like forever, I ordered and sat down to wait for my food. When it came out, I wrapped my lips around that first slider so quickly I don't even think I tasted the actual food. By the 2nd slider, I was getting the fresh yumminess that is White Castle.

Every now and again, I crave a White Castle Slider. Now, every trendy restaurant has some sort of slider on their appetizer menu. I've tried them all. Most of them are delicious, some are hack jobs! But nothing beats a White Castle Slider.

Hubby loves my enthusiasm and helped me research how to make a White Castle Slider at home. There are so many different recipes and some of which include beef baby food, bleck! Hubby did a great job and recreating the slider for me. And now, I use a variation of the White Castle recipe, that I no longer even Google. Here's my tips for making sliders at home, the White Castle style. They are not exactly like White Castle... I really don't think we could ever do the white paper hats justice!

Hamburger meat
Onions, chopped
Salt & Pepper seasonings
Cheese, Pickles - optional

1. Heat pan at medium and add tiny bit of water to cover base of pan. Add onions with salt & pepper seasonings and start to cook. Place hamburger meat, in prepared patties, on top of the onions. Cover pan in with lid. Allow the burgers to cook 5 minutes or so before checking. Drain excess liquid if it becomes too much, but always keep a little in the pan.

2. Once burgers are cooked mostly through. Add a pickle and cheese (both optional) and place top of bun on top of burger while it is cooking in the pan. Cover again with lid for another 2 minutes or so. Toast the bottom of the bun and add condiments.

3. When burger is done cooking, slide the burger onto the spatula and slide it off to the bottom of the bun. Wa-la, you are done!

Just a note. You can do this with full size burgers- eat whole or cut into quarters, or prepare mini "slider" size burgers and use Hawaiian Bread Rolls or any other small roll as your bun. If you notice that there is an increasingly large amount of grease puddling around the edges of your burger, just wipe it away with a paper towel after you have removed from pan.

These burgers may not be the healthiest for you, but MmmmMmmm if you can find a yummier White Castle slider from your home!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

La Jolla Rec Center

It was a dreary morning and I decided to get the kids out early, before any chances of thunderstorms could come our way. We headed down to the La Jolla Rec Center off of Prospect and Draper. Just a few blocks from the ocean, neighbors to the La Jolla Presbyterian Church, The Bishops School, La Jolla Tennis Club and La Jolla Art Institute.

I usually head there on a weekday and find parking right outside of the fence. Not today! We parked a couple blocks away and walked up there. Even though it was barely 9am. They get an early start around there!!! For an, open to the public, rec center in La Jolla the place was buzzing. Every tennis court was filled, there were kids on all the playground structures and the basketball courts were full, and heard screams from inside the center.

This park is great because there are swing sets for every age group, a structure for older kids, toddlers and a smaller one for the younger babes. Play ship, play firetruck and playhouse! And if you want to keep your kids out of the sand, which is the soft ground for most of the play structures, you actually can let them play on one of the structures that just has soft padding for the ground. There are also novelties like tether ball and kids basketball hoop. Bonus for us moms with our hands full, apparently you can borrow balls from the center when they are open!

The kids loved every moment and everyone was friendly, not something you always encounter in La Jolla. And despite the dreary day, it was quite sunny and extra windy (what you get when you're so close to the ocean). There was a cute art walk set up on the grassy area outside the center - away from the fenced in playgrounds. No security worries because the fences keep the kids in and the bums out. Nice time had by all!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let them eat cake!

For babies first birthday we celebrated at Kate Sessions, Thunder Road, Concert on the Green. The Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band played the last concert of the season. The kids rocked out, the adults hung out and we ate a fabulous cake.

If you're not familiar with Kate Sessions Park, it has one of the most beautiful views in San Diego. It is in North Pacific Beach on top Mount Soledad. Whereas the Cross at Mount Soledad overlooks LaJolla and everything North. Kate Sessions overlooks Mission Bay and south, down to the Ocean Beach Pier. During the Fourth of July you can watch 4+ sets of fireworks. Alcohol during the day is permitted ~ since the beaches are dry now, many parties have moved up here.

There is a large grassy hill as it is going up the mountain. When hubby was young, he and several friends would cram themselves into a large carnation barrel and make their way tumbling down the grassy hill. Dogs are also permitted, on leash. There is plenty of picnic areas and shade by large trees.

There are walking trails throughout a large canyon behind the regular park set-up. And there is a nice playground for the kids. Small structure for toddlers and bigger structure for the 3-5 year old set. Wood chipped ground complete with a set of swings.

There are always safety factors at any park. I somewhat worry that the playground is close to the busy Mount Soledad fairway, Lamont Street. And with the large canyons and long history of the park, sometimes I see some odd passersby that makes me wonder if people might be living in the canyon.

For our family, we will always have fond memories of this park. It was where hubby spent many fun childhood afternoons. Both Toddler & Baby had their 1st birthday's there. And it's only a few blocks from home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Homeade Spaghetti Sauce and then some

Family dinner is important in our household. I have always loved cooking, but was never really good at making just a simple dinner. So when hubby and I made the commitment, and believe me, it is a big commitment to have a family dinner every night - give or take a special occasion or two, I determined the only way I could possibly do it is if I had a weekly meal plan. Well, after a few weeks of fumbling around with dinner, I found it easiest to make a meal plan if we had some staple meals. I have always loved spaghetti or some sort of pasta dish... It's easy. Can come in many variations! So spaghetti dinner, or some form thereof has become a weekly dish at our home.

I was never one to purchase spaghetti sauce. Although, my Italian friends tell me that Classico Spaghetti Sauce is the best jarred sauce out there - so on occasion, I pick up a jar to keep on hand for those really busy nights. And having a few Italian friends, I've heard a lot of secrets to making a good sauce from scratch. Unfortunately, if you are looking for an exact recipe, I do not have one. I was taught to wing it when it comes to cooking...

When I was about 7 years old, my dad made me some cream of broccoli soup. I am not a soup fanatic, and cream of anything sounded disgusting to me as a 7 year old. But I loved his soup. A few days later, I believe I bugged him to make some more. This time he showed me how he added a few seasonings and after that, I was hooked. I'm always altering my foods with seasoning. Maybe too much sometimes, but what can I say... it's fun! And somehow I get this delicious satisfaction in thinking that I have stumbled onto a better recipe than what the manufacturer could ever think of!

So here's my stumbled upon recipe for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. There are few measurements, because I add different things and amounts all the time. I will start with the must haves to the sauce, and then list off the optional seasonings and other ingredients that you can add if you have or so wish.

Ingredients (must haves)
Tomato Sauce from can
Bell Pepper

(Optional Add-ins)
Garlic, Garlic Salt
Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Fennel
Carrots, Zucchini
Tomato Paste, Chopped/Stewed Tomatoes canned or fresh
Wine, Red Wine Vinegar
Sausage, Meatballs, Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Tofu

1. Chop approx half Onion & Bell Pepper (any color or mixed) Tomato, if using, and sautee on Medium in pot with oil until onions start to become clear. If you are adding raw meat, cook with onions & peppers. Add garlic towards end of sauteeing, to lightly brown. If you are adding chopped mushrooms or veggies such as Carrots or Zucchini shred as desired (sometimes I shred on the smallest shred option and you can't even see them in the sauce, I add them for more nutrients for the kiddos) add into the sautee with garlic. (If you added meat, you can skim the grease from pan if you wish, or leave it in for added flavor).

2. Add seasonings and stir - Oregano, and whichever else you might desire. Pour can of Tomato Sauce over all ingredients cooked so far. You can combo it with Tomato Paste and add 2-3 additional cans of water. Stir and bring to simmer. Add Wine, or Red Wine Vinegar to bring a richness to the flavor, 1 Tbsp or so of Sugar/Honey helps counter balance any bitter taste that might be developing, 1 Tbsp or so of Flour adds a rich thickness - especially if you've left any fat from meats in the sauce. Let simmer some more and taste. This is when I add more seasonings and then I let it stew. Add whichever you like. I always like lots of oregano, it reminds me of the movie Heathers:) Let simmer on low.

3. After you've let simmer for an hour or two, the seasonings should be pretty set. You can serve or keep on low for later in the day. I will prepare this around naptime and let it sit 'til dinnertime.

4. LEFTOVERS - this is the greatest part about the sauce. I keep leftover sauce in the refrigerator for a variety of uses - pizza sauce, lasagna, spaghetti pie, bread dipping, etc... and mostly, I keep it in the refrig for the start of next weeks sauce. Here's how I get that started.

5. NEXT WEEKS SAUCE - Break out the onion, chop and sautee. Add leftover sauce and another can of Tomato sauce. Then you can add veggies, meat, seasonings as you so desire. But since you've already gotten the sauce to a good point when you first made it, you don't have to spend all the time. Tonight's spaghetti sauce was ready in 20 minutes based on a heapload of meat sauce from last week. Just added half onion, half green bell pepper, some garlic, fresh basil and 1 can of tomato sauce.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Speedy - Chicken Bake

Last night, was busy, busy, busy. When am I not in a rush? Well, I wanted to put together a chicken bake, but ended up getting started a little late. So here's what I did to speed things up a bit and have dinner on the table by... ok, 6:10pm.

2 Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Rice
1 Can Cream of Chicken
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 Carrot Stick, chopped
1 Summer Squash, chopped (optional or may substitute for another veggie)
1 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Sage
1 cup Shredded Cheese

1. Pre-Heat oven to 425. Sautee veggies in 1 Tbsp butter, for about 3 minutes. During this time, cut the chicken to 1" strips. Once veggies are cooked, remove from pan.

2. Add some oil to pan if needed, and add chicken. Season with salt, pepper and breadcrumbs (just sprinkled over chicken). Cook for about 2 minutes on one side, turn and repeat on the 2nd side. Should be about half cooked when you are done in the pan.

3. In large bowl, start mixing cooked rice with veggies, 3/4 can of Cream of Chicken soup, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 2-3 Tbsp Breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in Thyme and Sage. Season with Salt and pepper. Continue mixing until well distributed. (Now, I used leftover rice which was cold - so I got it started heating up in the microwave for about 3 minutes, so it didn't have to keep the casserole in the oven for very long.)

4. Cream Sauce - In a separate bowl, mix together the rest of the Cream of Chicken, 1/4 cup milk, 2-3 Tbsp Breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Shredded Cheese, 1 Tbsp chopped butter, salt & pepper to taste.

5. Transfer rice mixture to casserole dish. Layer with Summer Squash, Chicken and smother with cream sauce. Cook uncovered in oven for 15-20 minutes or until it is bubbly and the top is starting to brown.

Nothing fancy about this recipe. It is supposed to be quick and easy. Use what you have on hand, I have done it without the cream sauce on top, or no veggies at all. But I got rave reviews from everyone last night. So I thought I'd share with you a few of my little secrets.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mmmmm... Rosemary

Last night, we entertained some relatives from out of town. We decided to go to the park in the morning, which turned into a day at the bay... come afternoon, I was tired, sunburnt and in no real mood to make anything for dinner, let alone clean house!

So get to the cooking, my cousin is a vegetarian and hubby wanted to BBQ steak & ribs. So, I found a few veggie dishes to make for everyone to enjoy. In this weeks Seabreeze Organic Farm food delivery, I received fresh Rosemary! I love the fragrance of Rosemary. And after tasting Rosemary Cornbread at House of Blues for the first time, I was in love with the idea of cooking with Rosemary. Could hubby add it to the steak and ribs, sure... but didn't happen. Mmmm, could I add it to Roasted Potatoes, you bet!

6 Potatoes (approx. 1 per person)
Sea Salt
Oil (preferably Olive Oil)
2 cloves minced garlic (~1 tsp. prepared)
1 sprig Rosemary (Optional)

1. Bring large pot water to boiling. Clean and chop potatoes into approx 1/2" cubes. Add to boiling water and cook for approx 5 minutes. They should be firm, yet not raw/crisp. Drain and let dry a bit.

2. Heat large skillet on Medium High. Pour generous amount of oil into pan and let it get hot (approx 1-2 minutes). Add potatoes to pan and let cook. As it is cooking add garlic (more or less for your taste), chopped rosemary and pepper (to taste). Turn potatoes while adding bits of butter every few minutes. Butter will add taste and help brown.

3. When potatoes are browned to your preference, add salt, turn once more and ready to serve.

If you don't have Rosemary on hand, you can always make these roasted potatoes without. This is a recipe I used to watch my friend's mom, who was French, make when I was younger. Every Sunday they would prepare lamb, roasted potatoes and veggies. It's a great option to mashed or baked potatoes, and they cook surprisingly quick - pre-cooking in boiling water, making sure pan is hot enough and adding enough butter are all the little secrets in speediness I figured out along the way.

We accompanied the Roasted Potatoes with a Pasta Salad (lemonade chicken leftovers on the side), green salad with lots of fresh veggies and the Ribs & Steak hubby cooked on the Q. Overall dinner was a success, and we even had a few leftovers... No potatoes though!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ski Beach

Roberto's Take-Out @ Ski Beach, Mission Bay

Yesterday was another hot one! Not to mention day 3 in a row of toddler's first swim lessons. All of us were tired, cranky and needed to get out of the house. Hubby picked up some take-out and we all had a picnic at Ski Beach.

I'd never been here to use the playground. There are a few prime parking spots next to the playground - no worry about hauling stuff - but they were all occupied when we arrived. Once we got set up on the sprawling grass around the playground, I noticed that all the kids that were on the playground had left. The bum that was trying to take cover, underneath the swing set must have scared them off. After a few minutes of not finding comfort there, he made his way to the bathroom and found a bench to sleep there. I know because I had to run after the toddler who had fun hearing the echo of his screams in the bathroom....kinda scary to think a potential predator might be in there.

Nevertheless, we had fun on the playground. It was a moderate sized playground structure with lots of climbing and things to do for toddler and older kids. I was impressed by how safe I felt about any possibly injuries. And there was a great little playground for baby. She made her way up and down the stairs and slides, the landing was enclosed and even if she had found a place to fall - it was only about 2' tall so I didn't have much to worry. There was also a separate area with swings for babies & older kids.

The positioning of this playground is almost at the edge to the bay. We had such a beautiful view of the water, all the boats that are out in dozens during the summer, and even the downtown skyline. There is no way we could have gone to a restaurant with a view like this, without paying a bundle and having cranky kids!

Ski Beach is such a large park, they have - large covered area with picnic benches for big parties, large grassy areas for games (there were several organized soccer games going on), boat launch area and lots of random picnic benches & bbq's. Not to mention, just about anywhere you set up you can take a dip in the bay - the park is pretty much a peninsula shape and surrounded by the water. It's also one of the great places to watch the Thunder Boat Races when they come to town!

We'll definitely be going back, but not without daddy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lemonade.... Chicken?

My car was telling me it is 85' outside. A hot dinner did not sound appetizing. Neither did cooking it. But hubby brought home groceries... and I asked for chicken (although I only needed to cook it so I could make a cold chicken pasta salad another night this week). So tonight I was going to find something easy & traditional to do with the chicken.

After leafing through Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, I ran across a recipe for Braised Chicken with Orange and Scallions. Unfortunately, I didn't have all the ingredients -you will start to notice this is a theme with all of my cooking- and I was craving lemonade. So I decided to adapt and here's what I came up with.

4 chicken breasts (or 1 chicken cut into 10 pieces)
coarse salt
lemon pepper from grinder
1/2 bunch scallions, trimmed & halved
3 small bunches bok choi, trimed & halved
1/2 real lemon juice
1/2 cup Simply Lemonade (or whatever lemonade you have)

1. Preheat oven to 450'. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute. Season chicken with salt. Swirl oil in skillet. Working in batches if needed, add chicken, skin side down, and brown on one side, about 5 minutes (mine was skinless and I browned for 3 minutes, so it wasn't too tough).

2. Turn chicken, skin side up, and season with salt and lemon pepper, add scallions, bok choi and juice to skillet. Transfer to oven and cook until chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes. (I cooked 10 minutes and let sit with lid on for another 5 minutes and all was cooked through, moist and tender)

I plated this on top of a bed of garlic infused, buttered rice. Added a bit of the juices and just a drizzle of soy sauce. I like all of my dinner dishes to have a full range of protein, starch/carb and veggie. Bok choi was more of a garnish and it was too hot to think about cooking anything else, so reached into the refrig. for some coleslaw I made a few days ago. Wallah, done!

It can be really tough to get a 2 year old to eat. As toddler was running around the room, probably spinning from the lemonade he begged for when I was cooking, he managed to get a good handful of rice and chicken into his tummy. Baby couldn't get enough and insisted on grabbing the fork out of my hands so she could feed herself.

After all are full, I've saved the largest breast and a half for the cold chicken pasta I will make later this week... Leftover rice, great for baby & I'm hoping I have extra meat this week to make some fried rice!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Spaghetti Pie

Yumm! What do you do with leftover spaghetti and no interest in cooking dinner. Well, I've been dying to try this new recipe I found for Spaghetti Pie from Deceptively Delicious. Of course, I added my own twist. Here's what I did:

Ingredients (approximates)
1 cup leftover spaghetti
1 cup leftover spaghetti sauce w/ meat & veggies
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup fresh shredded squash
1 cup mozzarella
8 meatballs (Trader Joe's frozen)

1. Preheat oven to 350'.
2. In a 9" pie plate covered with plastic tupperware lid, warm up the meatballs 1-2 minutes in a microwave.
3. In a large bowl, stir the cooked pasta, spaghetti sauce, cottage cheese and squash. Spoon the mixture into the pie plate and mix with meatballs. Smooth over the top and sprinkle with mozzarella.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes uncovered until the center is firm and the cheese is bubbly.

I accompanied this dish with some homeade garlic bread and mini-bagels. Hubby tought me this trick, to make any bread, delicious garlic bread.

Bread of your choice
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Parsley or Oregano

1. In a small bowl, mix mainly butter, dash of olive oil, pinch of garlic salt, pinch of parsley and a good 1/4 tsp or more of crushed garlic. Make enough to spread over the bread you have chosen.
2. Spread heapingly onto bread & toast

This dinner was a success. Not only because it took me almost no time to prepare, but also because it freed up some much needed room in the refrig. And there is nothing I like more than putting my leftovers into use. Waste not, want not... someone once told me. I guess you never forget some of those things your parents tell you. Anyways, it said it feeds 8-10, but we ate heartily and my toddler & 1 year old only had a few bites, but it is more than half gone.

For those of you wondering about the spaghetti sauce. I make mine fresh, from scratch every week or so. Will share the recipe later. Always have leftovers, and never follow the same recipe. So if you aren't as bold, use any premade spaghetti sauce meat or no meat, you'll have plenty of deliciousness regardless!

Extra time on my hands...

What to do? I'll start a blog, like I've always been wanting to do, and share my interests with the world and beyond! I'm a 30 something mom with 2 little kids, dog and well then there's my hubby. Boy next door from childhood, we grew, spread our wings and found our paths intersecting again as adults. Is there one true love? The jury is still out on that... but I'm pretty happy just where I am.

I never thought I'd find myself loving motherhood. Cooking, cleaning and staying pretty. I strive for the fifties housewife fantasy, but live in the reality that it did not really even exist 60 years ago. So I try to have a balanced life and bring happiness into all of our lives by relaxing and kicking up my heels, aka mama's flip flops! Hope you enjoy reading my tales and maybe you'll bring a bit of fifties glamour to your household someday soon.