June 17, 2013

Bacon and Gruyère Mac & Cheese

I stumbled upon this recipe and knew it was one that would be enjoyed by all. Who doesn't love bacon?! The original recipe calls for rosemary, but not being a huge fan, I omitted it. Feel free to include it if you wish!
Overall, this was such a simple dish. It requires no baking and everything can be made in one pot, making for easy clean up!

  • 1 quart heavy cream (I used fat free)
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ pound bacon, cooked, drained & broken into small bits
  • 1 pound whole grain elbow macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Gruyère cheese, grated
  • Chopped chives

  1. Cook elbow noodles according to package directions. Reserve 3 teaspoons pasta water.
  2. Place cream in large pot over low heat. Add salt and pepper. Slowly bring to boil and keep at boil until reduced by half. Be patient as this takes time.
  3. Stir in bacon and pasta and simmer until hot; add the Gruyère and 3 teaspoons pasta water. Stir until cheese is melted.
  4. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately. Enjoy :)

June 8, 2013

Summer Salad

This year, my paternal grandparents celebrated their 81st birthdays (they are two weeks apart!) To celebrate, my sister and I had our family over to celebrate over a Sunday lunch. Hosting a summer lunch, I knew salad had to be on the menu.

Earlier that week, I had done some of my grocery shopping at Whole Foods. While in the produce section I come upon a vinaigrette salad dressing table. I am a sucker for samples! The one that caught my eye was the Blackberry Vinaigrette. Anddd 20 seconds later it was in my basket.

With their birthday lunch approaching quickly, I kept thinking about the vinaigrette and knew the best paring would be fruit. This is how my Summer Salad was created!

  • A blend of Spring Mix and Spinach leaves
  • 1 - 16oz. carton strawberries, quartered
  • 1 - 16oz carton blueberries
  • ½ - ¾ of a fresh pineapple chunks
  • 2 small cans of mandarin orange slices
  • Coconut flakes
  • Blue cheese
  • Almond slivers
  • Aunt Dottie's Blackberry Vinaigrette

  1. Rinse your fresh berries then chop your pineapple and strawberries.
  2. Once all of the fruits have been prepared, place atop a bed of Spring Mix and Spinach blend.
  3. Top with desired amount of coconut flakes, blue cheese, almonds, and of course, the Blackberry Vinaigrette! Enjoy :)

*For serving a group, I placed the coconut flakes, blue cheese, and almonds in separate bowls so they could decide which amounts of the toppings they preferred.

*My favorite ingredient was the coconut flakes- it really added to the summer feel of the salad!

*To make a meal, add a source of lean protein such as chicken or tofu.

June 4, 2013


Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

  • 1 cup Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup fresh green onions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked organic chicken, shredded
  • 1 (8 oz) package neufchatel cheese, cubed and softened
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded pepper Monterey Jack cheese (you can use Mexican blend or Pepper Jack cheese too!)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (reserve some for garnish)
  • 8 small whole wheat tortillas
  • PAM cooking spray
  • Pico de Gallo* (recipe below)

*Pico de Gallo:
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 small vine-ripened tomatoes
  • Red onion, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper 
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Carefully stir, as to not bruise or mash the ingredients.
I eyeballed all ingredients and used equal amounts for the most part. The beauty is you can make it however your tastebuds prefer!

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil in a shallow pot over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach and green onions; sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the chicken, cheeses, and cilantro. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes until cheeses are melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spoon about ¾ cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up tortillas once the mixture has been evenly distributed among all tortillas.
  5. Place rolled tortillas, seam-side down, in a lightly greased 9x13" baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Once the dish has been removed from the oven, top with Pico de Gallo and enjoy :)