Friday, January 30, 2015

Lazy Girl's Mac and Cheese

It's no secret that I like recipes that are quick and easy.  Sort of how I like my men.  JUST KIDDING!  All aboard the awkward train.

Let me start over.

During my grown-up snow day, I wanted Mac and Cheese.  Not the Kraft or Velveeta Mac and Cheese, but Mac and Cheese with actual cheese, and without the whole cheese sauce situation.  I know.  I am difficult.  I also do not sound very grown-up with my Mac and Cheese lunch request, now do I?  Does that come with a Happy Meal?  #No

Okay so this Mac and Cheese takes about 15-20 minutes to make, has 2 ingredients (3 if you count the second cheese), and can be adjusted to your liking.

Here is what you need to serve 1:
1) 2 cups of spiral pasta (I used Rotelle)
2) 2 different types of shredded cheese (I used cheddar jack and mozzarella) - used for sprinkling

Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the box, and drain.  Pour half of of the pasta into a bowl and sprinkle with both cheeses.  Add the second half of the pasta on top of the cheese, and sprinkle more cheese on top of that.  The amount of cheese depends on your preference.

Pop the bowl in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or until the cheese is completely melted.  It should not take too long in the microwave since the heat of the pasta begins the melting process.

When the pasta is done in the microwave, mix to combine the cheese and pasta.  Stuff into your face.  Regret nothing.

That is quite possibly the laziest dish I have ever been a part of.  Aside from that time I spooned Nutella out of the jar and then spooned that same Nutella-filled spoon into the peanut butter jar.  Don't worry, I didn't double dip ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wonton Cheesecake Ravioli

I love dessert.  I love eating it.  I love making it (sometimes).  I love serving it.  I used to bake all the time and that was fun, but it takes sooo much time/energy to bake the cake, make the frosting, let the cake cool, clean up the kitchen, frost the cake blah blah blah.  I kind of got over it and turned my attention to dessert as a whole, instead of just cakes and cupcakes.

Near my job there is an Italian restaurant that has a separate store where they sell their fresh pasta and sawce (no, that wasn't a typo heehee).  I heard from a coworker that they sell dessert ravioli - fresh ravioli, stuffed with cheesecake and topped with chocolate drizzle and strawberries.  Um WHAT?!  This kind of thing has been on my to-do list for a looong time, and I finally got to try it this past weekend.

Instead of buying or making fresh pasta, I used wonton wrappers that you buy in the supermarket.  I love them because they are so versatile and you can really use them for anything.  As another time-saving element I used Jello's No Bake Cheesecake.  Aside from the hour used to allow the cheesecake to set, this is a pretty quick dessert :)

Wonton wrappers come in a pack of about 50, but I only made 15 ravioli.  Based on the leftover cheesecake I would say that one package of wonton wrappers can make 25-30 ravioli, which is what this recipe measures for.

What you will need:
1) 1 box of No Bake Cheesecake (I used Jello brand)
2) 1 package of wonton wrappers
3) 1-2 cups of chocolate chips - melted
4) Granulated sugar for sprinkling
5) Powdered sugar for sprinkling
6) Canola Oil for drizzling

Make the No Bake Cheesecake as per the instructions on the box.  Depending on the brand, it is usually finished in an hour or two.

When the cheesecake is finished, prep the first batch of ravioli.  Line a baking pan with wax paper, and line that with as many wonton wrappers that will fit, giving about an inch between each wrapper.

Place a small dollop of cheesecake in the middle of each wrapper using a small teaspoon.

Fill a bowl with cold water, and use your finger tip to line the edges of each wrapper with water.  This will allow the top wonton layer to stick.

Place another wonton wrapper on top of the cheesecake and gently press the edges of the layers together.

Then, using your fingertips, gently spread the cheesecake mixture so that it evens out within the pocket.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals.  Set aside.

In a small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons of canola oil on medium heat and add 3 of the ravioli.  You can add more if the pan size allows, but you don't want to overcrowd the pan.  Sprinkle the top of the ravioli with granulated sugar, and flip when the bottom layer begins to crisp and brown, about 3 minutes.  After flipping, sprinkle the other side with granulated sugar.  When the second side is done, place on a serving dish, drizzle with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Continue these steps until all of the ravioli are done, and serve immediately.

What I love about these is the crunch of the wonton, followed by the smooth cheesecake and THEN the chocolate and powdered sugar finish.  Oy vey.  Insert lovey dovey emoji faces *here*



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Grown-Up Snow Day

So Winter Storm Juno made an appearance on Long Island.  Joy!  I actually don't mind the snow.  That is, until I have to go outside ;-).  We left work early on Monday and worked from home today, thus the grown-up snow day.  When I graduated from college, I was told that, like Sasquatch, snow days don't exist in the real world.  Lies my friends.  Lies.  Here is my photo diary starting from Monday night.

Made these cookies. So yummy!

Thought about this year's Halloween costume.  You can ignore the sauce stain please and thank you.

Caught up on some reading and played fetch with da puppy.  He tried so hard to make fetch happen, and he succeeded.  He refuses to be personally victimized by Regina George.

My "office" for the last 2 days.

Snowpocalypse 2015.  This was one for the ages.  Not really.

I helped watched my dad shovel.

Lunch break!.  Recipe for the Mac and Cheese in a future post :)

Afternoon delight coffee.

Sawce and Bawls for dinner <3

The End.

Xoxo Jillian

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Potato Brunch Plate

In case you haven't heard, it is winter.  Winter means snow.  Snow means cold.  Or cold means snow.  Whatever - it snowed, I'm cold, and on Saturday morning I wanted warmth.  Warmth and coffee and a breakfast that would add to my winter layer.

Apparently I made the brunch gods happy this week because we had all of the essentials ready to go.  Potatoes: Check.  Eggs: Check.  Turkey Bacon: Check.  Scallions: CHECK.

Let's get this party started!

Not to sound like an ass, but this is a freaking delicious creation.

What you will need to serve 4:
1) 6 Potatoes (I used Yukon Gold for this recipe)
2) 1 bunch of scallions
3) 10-15 slices of turkey bacon
4) 6 whole eggs
5) Handful of shredded cheddar jack cheese
6) Salt and pepper to taste
7) Olive Oil

Start with the potatoes.  Cut each in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise.  Slice into small slivers or cubes.  Pour enough olive oil in a large pan to coat the bottom.  Allow to heat up for about a minute, then add the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine, and cover the pot.  Stir occasionally.  The potatoes will take about a half hour to 45 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning.

Chop the scallions and set aside.

Cook up the turkey bacon and allow to cool, then chop and set aside.

When the potatoes have browned and softened, add the scallions and combine.  Then add the turkey bacon and combine.

Here is where you will add the eggs.  I added the whole eggs right over the mixture  allowed them to steam for about 5 minutes before breaking each egg apart with my spatula and combining with everything else.  This will allow the eggs to finishing cooking.
Next time I might fry the eggs in a separate pan and add on top of the mixture before serving, or scramble the eggs in a bowl and then add so the eggs can cook in the pan.

When the eggs are done, turn off the heat, add a handful (or more!) of the cheese, and cover the pot until the cheese has melted.

Serve right that second.  Or start eating right out of the pan because it's just that egg-cellent ;-)

Xoxo Jillian

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Links and Things

Oh Friday.  It has been too long since I last saw you.  This weekend shall be filled with homemade dinners (Boyfriend and I are trying to go out to dinner less.  He is the one keeping us on track...I guess one of us has to be the adult.  Glad it's not me!) and an attempt at meal planning for next week.  
Here are some internet thangs that I found this week!

Mac + Cheese Party - I want one.  Everyday.

This too.

This Food Map is quite interesting.

Absolutely NEED this for my next tropical vaycay.  Just kidding.

What does 1,000 calories actually mean?

More cheese!  Goat Cheese to be exact.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Xoxo Jillian


So I toats got a spiralizer for Christmas you guysss!!!  Oh my gaaaa just add it to my collection of 356,358 other kitchen appliances/accessories that I have :)

Here she is!  I am not going to lie - it took me like 2 weeks to try and figure out how to use the thing.  The first time around I couldn't figure out where to put the zucchini (that's what she said?), the instructions were not very instructional, and I cut my fingers.  So I put it away, gave it some time to think about what it had done, and then gave it another go a week later.  Thank goodness for YouTube.

Then the magic happened.


Ok so zoodlessss!  You can add whatever you want to your zoodle concoction.  Today we have chicken, garlic and parmesan cheese.

To feed 2 you will need:

1) 2 large zucchinis - spiralized
2) 6 cloves of garlic, diced
3) 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
4) 4 chicken breasts, cubed
5) Salt and pepper to taste
6) Olive Oil for drizzling

Start by seasoning the chicken breast with salt and pepper.  Cut into small cubes, and cook in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil.  Set aside.

Spiralize your zoodles and set aside in a bowl.  Heat up a large frying pan with some olive oil.  When the pan is heated, add the garlic and allow to cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the cooked chicken and Parmesan cheese, and toss to combine.

Serve immediately.

Oodles and oodles of zoodles!

Xoxo Jillian

Monday, January 19, 2015

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Chicken and Turkey Bacon

Good Day Friends!  How was your weekend?  Did you relax?  Did you not relax?  Did you stuff your face with slice and bake cookies and then go home and have pudding pie?  Oh that was just me? #awkward

I obviously need to make up for all of the crap-eating I did this weekend and I am SUUUPER excited about this recipe because I hate salad.  Like I would rather go hungry than eat salad.  Not really.  But you get what I'm saying.  I will only eat salad if it is piled with bacon, ranch dressing, cheese, and all of the things that will cancel out the salad part of the salad.  THIS, however, is a salad, but doesn't feel like a salad (in my opinion anyway).   We gots the Brussels Sprouts, turkey bacon (baby steps, people) and chicken.  

This may be my go-to salad until the end of time.  

What you will need for 1 serving:
1) 5 slices of turkey bacon
2) 13-15 Brussels Sprouts
3) 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts
4) Salt and pepper
5) Olive Oil

Start by cooking the turkey bacon strips until golden, about 5 minutes on each side.  When finished, set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel or napkin to absorb the excess oil.

In a separate frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook through.  Once finished, set aside to allow the chicken to cool.

Wash the sprouts and pat dry.  Cut off the stems and remove the first leaf layer.  Thinly slice the sprouts lengthwise and place in a large bowl.

I am not a fan of dressing, so for this salad I mixed 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and tossed with the sprouts.  I then chopped the bacon and chicken, and added to the sprouts.  Toss and enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts? Good.  Turkey Bacon? Good.  Chicken? Goooood.

I am in loooove.

Xoxo Jillian

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Favorite Food Blogs

Happy Friday Girlfriends and Boyfriends!  Today I wanted to share with you my go-to food blogs for recipes and inspiration.  The whole blogging world is still relatively new to me, and it is so much fun to find new blogs and see what other people are putting out there.  More times than not, I find myself licking wanting to lick my computer screen :)  Have a great weekend!

Bev Cooks - Always makes me lol

How Sweet Eats - Leaves me drooling

My Name is Yeh - Makes me want to live on a farm

Pinch of Yum - Written by a husband and wife team that shares not only their recipes, but how they were able to turn their blog into a full-time business

Sweetapolita - CAKE CAKE CAKE

Gimme Some Oven - Food for days

Cookies and Cups - Dessert in your face

In Jennie's Kitchen - In her words: Simple Scratch Cooking

Check 'em out!!!

Xoxo Jillian

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sundried Tomato, Chicken and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

Who doesn't love grilled cheese!?!

If you raised your hand, please hang up and try again.

I used to LIVE on grilled cheese sandwiches in college.  Add some bacon here, dip it in some guacamole there, add some freedom fries because I'm hungover and hate myself today - you know the deal.

As I've grown older (note: that doesn't necessarily mean I've grown UP) I still love my grilled cheese sandwiches, but they have become slightly more advanced.  I realize that grilled cheese is not the healthiest choice HOWEVER unhealthiness is cancelled out when the sandwich includes chicken or tomatoes...........right?  That's what I thought :)

Just a general recipe for a good grilled cheese sandwich:
-Thick bread
-Fresh cheese
How easy was that?

For this recipe I had a massive loaf of "Tuscan Bread" (not sure what makes bread Tuscan, but I'll be sure to ask Giada the next time I see her) leftover from a failed attempt at potato soup (sorry Boyfriend!), fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, shredded chicken, and a jar of sundried tomahhtoes. Honestly, my motivation behind this sandwich was to have an excuse to completely house this bread loaf.  Ask me if I'm sorry (spoiler alert: I'm not).

Here's whatcha need:

1) Butter 
2) 2 slices of Tuscan or other type of very thick bread
3) 6 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
4) 3/4 of a cup of sundried tomatoes
5) 1/2 cup of shredded chicken breast, cooked

Butter the bread in normal grilled cheese fashion and begin assembly.  Place 3 of the cheese slices down, top with the shredded chicken, add the sundried tomatoes, and top THAT with the final 3 cheese slices.

I used my panini press to let the sandwich toast up and the cheese melt - about 7 minutes.  If you don't have a panini press the stovetop works too!

Just look at that cheesey melty wonderfulness.

What is YOUR ideal grilled cheese sandwich?

Xoxo Jillian

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chicken Noodle Soup

In case you haven't noticed, it is FRICKIN' FREEZING outside!  Up until the last few days, our winter here on Long Island wasn't too chilly and I was able to get away with wearing a vest and scarf.  No more!  I woke up on Wednesday morning to 8 degree temperatures with a wind chill that made it feel like it was -5 degrees.  Isn't that fun?  I mean, I really shouldn't be complaining seeing how I went to college on a campus that was sitting on Lake Ontario.  That means 35 mile per hour winds on a daily basis in addition to snow from November to May (no joke, the week before graduation, that lake effect loveliness gave us some flurries).  Going to school in Oswego did give me a higher tolerance for the cold, however I have been out of college for more years than I would like to admit and my "Oswego Skin" has since disappeared.

My backyard.  Sunny? Yes.  Warm? Hell no!

Today I have for you my chicken noodle soup.  Broth.  Veggies.  Chicken.  Linguine. Delish.  It warmed me right up and kept me company while I lazed around for the afternoon.

What you will need to serve 5-7:

1) 3 stalks of celery
2) 3 medium-sized carrots
3) 3/4 of a yellow onion
4) Olive oil for drizzling
5) 12 cups of chicken broth
6) 3/4 of a pound of linguine or other noodles
7) 3.5 cups of chopped chicken
8) Salt and pepper for seasoning

3 best friends that anyone could have

Give the celery, carrots and onion a rough chop and set aside.  In a large pot, drizzle the olive oil and allow to heat for 1 minute.  Toss in the celery, carrots and onion and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onion are transparent and the carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

While the stock is coming to a boil, season the chicken with salt and pepper, cook on a frying pan, and set aside.

When the stock comes to a boil, add in the pasta and cook as per the instructions on the box.  When the pasta is finished, add the chicken on top of the soup and combine.

Serve immediately, or let cool, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Soda on the side is optional.

Xoxo Jillian