“As long as there’s a few farmers out there, we’ll keep fighting for them.” ~ Willie Nelson

One of the things I love about the spring and summer is the River Market Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning!

It’s a fabulous way to start your Saturday morning! There is just something about it that makes me happy. 🙂

Growing up on a farm with a huge garden will pretty much spoil you to any other kind of vegetables. Unfortunately, for years I had to do without such fresh homegrown vegetables but with the new interest in fresh homegrown food – I am now able to get a little bit of my childhood back.

I love to just look around a grab a few things for the rest of the week but today I had several things on my list that I had to have for tonight’s dinner and they did not disappoint.

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Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables

  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Cook pasta according to directions and preheat oven to 400º.

Sauté squash, zucchini and onion in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic for 3-5 more minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the cooking spray).

Then add cheese mixture to vegetable mixture and pour into an 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

 

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“I have CDO, it’s like OCD with the letters in alphebetical order, as they should be…..” ~ unknown

No secret here – I love a crock pot meal.

I love them even more now that I have started using crock pot liners! They make easy, easier!!

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I don’t know about you but I absolutely despise scrubbing all the cooked on mess off! It really needs to soak off but I hate leaving things soaking in the sink. I want it all cleaned up and put away, right away.

Definitely my OCD coming out. An affliction that has been greatly tested with an 8 month old. 🙂

Sweetened Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

(adapted from Food52)

Pork

  • 2 pounds Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Clove Garlic; crushed
  • 1/2 cup Water

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

Mix together sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub onto tenderloin and place in crockpot with 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.

With about 45 minutes left to cook, preheat oven to 350º and mix together glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium/low heat until thickened. Remove pork loin and place in oven safe dish and spread half the glaze onto pork and cook in oven for around 15-20 or until glaze starts to firm up.

Remove from oven, shred meat and drizzle remaining glaze.

 

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-abp

“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.” ~ Margaret Walker

The past several weeks, well 6 weeks actually have been crazy busy and the next 3 weeks will be just as bad. Because of this, I can count the number of times I have cooked on 2 hands, possibly even one.

I must admit – I’m tired of take out.

I was so very happy to have a long, low key weekend to spend with my husband and my sweet little nugget that I vowed to cook all 3 nights. A couple of the nights were easy go-to meals, like spaghetti and grilled steaks but I did work in a new recipe my dear friend Adrienne told me about on our recent girls weekend. It sounded wonderful and I could not wait to make it.

Not to mention – very easy!

Foil Packet Chicken Puttanesca

4 8 -ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 15 -ounce can cherry tomatoes
1 large can marinated artichoke hearts
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 regular baguette, split
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley ( I used dry because that’s what I had)

 

Preheat the oven to 400º.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay out four 12-by-18-inch sheets of foil. Drizzle each sheet with olive oil, then top each with a chicken breast.Combine the tomatoes, artichokes, olives, capers, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a bowl; divide evenly over the chicken. Fold up the edges of the foil and seal each to form a packet; set on a baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the melted butter, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a bowl; spread over the baguette halves and sprinkle with the parmesan and parsley. Bake until the bread is golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each piece in half.Open the foil packets and serve with the garlic bread.

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This was super tasty! I would like to try it with fish as well!

-abp

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” ~ Mario Andretti

You know what my favorite thing is about shrimp dishes?

How fast they cook!

Granted, for it to be quick, you need to buy peeled and de-veined shrimp. (worth every penny IMO!)

Although I’m at home most of the time now – my time is not my own, so quick and tasty meals are perfect for a week night meal.

This is a perfect example.

 Baked Greek Shrimp

(adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons bottled clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese$
  • 1 tablespoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine lemon juice, greek seasoning and shrimp in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; sauté 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add clam juice, wine, oregano, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp mixture. Place mixture in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese evenly over mixture.

Bake at 450° for 12 minutes or until shrimp are done and cheese melts. Sprinkle with parsley; serve over cooked orzo.

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“There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.” ~ Douglas Wilson

Since I am now a SAHM – I must admit, there is a decent amount of TV watching going on.

I’ll even go a little farther – I’m back to being hooked on Days of Our Lives – yep, there I said it. Don’t judge.

But I’m not much interested in talk shows except for one – The Chew! It’s fabulous and perfect for a foodie like me – it’s funny, entertaining and has great recipes and food tips.

(Kathie Lee and Hoda are a daily must too!)

I’m giving away all my secrets.

Oh, well.

Anyway, this is the first recipe from The Chew that I have tried and it will not be my last! So good yet totally do-able.

Spaghetti Bolognese

(adapted from The Chew)

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Carrot (chopped)
  • 6 slices Smoked Bacon (chopped)
  • 8 ounces Ground Pork
  • 8 ounces Ground Beef
  • 6 Garlic Cloves (crushed with garlic press or fork)
  • 1/4 cup Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 28 ounce can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (crushed by hand)
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds Spaghetti
  • Salt
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Saute onion, carrot and bacon in olive oil until soft. Add pork and beef, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add crushed garlic, cook until fragrant (30 seconds – 1 minute).

Deglaze with vermouth, then add in wine and chicken broth. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 6 hours, stirring occasionally.

30 minutes before serving, add in milk and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with al dente spaghetti noodles, reserving some pasta water to thin if necessary. Top with Parmesan cheese.

This dish plays a trick on your eyes – Spaghetti Bolognese is a very traditional Italian meal just like regular spaghetti. It also looks like traditional spaghetti but it doesn’t taste like traditional spaghetti. If you will notice this does not have the familiar ingredients like basil and oregano but do not let you turn you off – it’s a fabulous Italian dinner!

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-abp

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.” ~ Rupert Brooke

I love Valentine’s Day – the love, the candy, the colors.  It’s just a fun but low key holiday. A time that you can be cheesy in love with your significant other or other family members.

My husband’s favorite type of food is Italian, so in honor of my sweetheart this Valentine’s Day week, I am making three Italian dinners. The first one being a very simple dish that on a plate doesn’t look so simple.

Would be a great 1st dinner you cook for a new love! 🙂

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken

(adapted from Menu Musings of an American Modern Mom)

  • 1 lb fettuccine
  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Dry Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (halved and quartered)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (I used the jarred kind to save time)
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • ¾ cup basil – divided (cut into ribbons)
  • Parmesan Cheese

Start water for fettuccine and heat up olive oil in large pan on medium/high heat.

Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.

Brown chicken for 4-5 minutes on both sides.

Add in tomatoes, garlic, ½ cup basil and butter. Cook down for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and keep warm until fettuccine is ready.

Serve chicken over pasta with sauce and top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Love on a plate!

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken | Poore Amy-abp

“The Super Bowl is Americana at its most kitsch and fun.” ~ Sting

I must admit – I’m not a huge pro football fan but I do like the Super Bowl and yes, it’s because of the commercials. I also usually like the excuse to have people over and/or make yummy appetizers because appetizers are my fav!

Also – I love Peyton Manning. So, this year I will be pulling for the Broncos.

No big party this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a yummy appetizer and this year’s appetizer will be a little thing called Cajun Crack.

Cajun Crack

  • 2 cans of corn, drained
  • 1 can of rotel, drained (mild)
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoon Tony’s Seasoning
  • Fritos

Drain corn and Rotel. Combine all ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve with Fritos.

phontoThe original recipe called to serve it chilled but you cook also cook it in a baking dish at 350º for 25-30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

And to be honest – I think next time that’s what I would do but if I kept it cold, I would use green onions instead of red onions.

Also, in the cold version, I might add chopped green pepper. Basically, this is a good base but it needs to be dressed up to your taste. 🙂

-abp

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” ~ Victor Hugo

Wow, how my life has changed.

And I LOVE it.

I’m still a Type A worry wart but my worries are now different.  I have slowed down a bit.

Use to – had I still been unshowered and in my PJ’s at 10:00 a.m., I was ridiculously behind on my day. Now, I’m in my PJ’s covered in spit up, my hair a mess, with my first cup of coffee in hand sometimes as late as noon.

I’ll even open the door for the mailman looking like this.

But that’s ok. Because what’s important is sitting here, snuggled up, staring at the best thing I have ever done. And having her look right back at me and smile.

These moments are priceless.

And fleeting.

Everything else can wait.

I’ll cook while she sleeps and today I cooked the following.

Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken

(adapted from Makin’ it Mo Betta)

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup sprite
  • 2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Red pepper flakes

Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray, place chicken inside.

Mix together sugar, vinegar, sprite, garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Pour over chicken.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Remove chicken and shred. Pour remaining sauce into sauce pan. Mix water and cornstarch and add to sauce. Bring sauce to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes a glaze. Remove from heat and stir for a couple more minutes and add pepper flakes. Mix in shredded chicken. Serve over rice.

Very Flavorful!

phonto-abp

“I wouldn’t know how to find eBay on the computer if my life depended on it.” ~ Marc Jacobs

While pumpkin head and I are staying indoors because of the frigid cold, I thought I’d go back and write up one of my Christmas recipes.

This being a good diversion from Ebay.

Whew, that Ebay can be addicting. Although, I do sell on ebay, not just buy. I just buy more than I sell. 😉

I like for Christmas dinners to be nice, sometimes elegant but with all you have already spent on Christmas, you don’t want to break the bank on this meal. Because of this, I have found good use of pork roasts. Last year I did a crowned pork roast with gravy and this year I did a Sage Crusted Pork Rack with Pear Chutney.

Sage Crusted Pork Rack

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 3 cups firmly packed fresh sage leaves (about 4 [1-oz.] packages)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups olive or canola oil $
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest $
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) 6-rib bone-in pork loin roasts, chine bones removed
  1. Process sage, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor 30 to 45 seconds or until finely chopped. Add oil and next 2 ingredients; process 10 to 15 seconds or until blended. Rub mixture over roasts. Cover and chill 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Let roasts stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500°. Place roasts on a lightly greased wire rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle remaining 6 tsp. salt over roasts.
  3. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portions registers 155°. Let roasts stand 30 minutes before serving with chutney.

~These are the instructions from Southern Living.  I personally like my pork and little more done so I cooked mine for about 30 more minutes.~

IMG_3296(picture from before cooked – got a little crazy right before dinner and I didn’t get one after)

-abp

“Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

I have spent the day taking down Christmas decorations – a job I loathe.  I’m thrilled when it’s done and my part is done, just waiting on the hubs to disassemble the trees and carry them upstairs.

That, spaghetti and finishing up the last few episodes of Downton Abbey (so we are ready for season 4 in January) will be the extent of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Wild, I tell you. Wild.

Since we are just having good old sketti for dinner, I’ll give you the chutney recipe we had Christmas night to go with our Sage-Crusted Pork Racks (recipe coming later).  It was very, very good!

Pear Chutney

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 5 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook pears in 2 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl; wipe Dutch oven clean. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add raisins, garlic, and ginger; sauté 5 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and dried crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in vinegar and maple syrup, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in pears; cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Pearchutney

This paired perfectly with the pork!

-abp