Strawberry Lemonade Bars

13 Aug

So one day I was looking at Pinterest, my new favorite distraction, and came across this picture with the caption “Strawberry Lemonade Bars:

It had a link to a blog with the recipe for them and they are basically lemon bars with strawberry puree added to them.  So I decided that I need to make them immediately.  And I did.  And they were awesome.  The recipe says to add powdered sugar at the end, but I didn’t because I find powdered sugar far too messy (but if I was making them for something special I probably would add it).  Make them.  You will love them.

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
(Recipe originally from Baking Bites)

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Begin by making the crust.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.

Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard – nothing to worry about).

Sprinkle the bars with some powdered sugar.  Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.  Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.  Makes 24 bars.

Here’s a picture of one of mine…they don’t look nearly as pretty as the picture I found on pinterest, but I promise they were delicious.

Stuffed Mushrooms a la Giada

8 Aug


Since I was taking an evening class this summer, I’ve had very little time to cook and I’ve missed it a lot.  So I decided to go all out with dinner last night and make an appetizer and dessert with dinner.  So that gives me four new recipes to post (and if I may say so myself, they were all delicious).

So the appetizer is first.  I recently found Giada’s Everyday Italian at Half-Priced Books and I’ve been dying to make several things from it.  I love mushrooms, so these were at the top of the list.  If you like stuffed mushrooms, they are awesome.

1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
About 3 tablespoons olive oil
28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir the bread crumbs, Romano cheese, parsley, mint, and garlic to blend.

Lightly coat a large, heavy baking sheet with about 2 teaspoons of the oil.  Arrange the mushroom caps on the baking sheet, cavity side up, and spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities. Drizzle 1/4 teaspoon of oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a platter and serve.

I know you can’t eat these Weesie, but I highly recommend them to everyone else.

Sauteed Spinach

9 Jan

Per Sarah’s request, here is a vegetable recipe that I just tried for the first time last week.  It’s REAL simple and delicious!  This one is from Giada’s Everyday Pasta cookbook (aka my new favorite thing in life).  Seriously, if you are looking for a great new cookbook filled with simple recipes you have to GOT to get this one.  (I’m pretty sure Mils would agree)  🙂  This spinach is great – the lemon zest and red pepper flakes give it a lot of flavor!

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (10-ounce) bags prewashed spinach
zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Add one third of the spinach and cook until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  Continue adding the spinach one large handful at a time, sauteing just until it begins to wilt before adding more.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve.  (I don’t have a picture of this one but it looks a lot like cooked spinach, just to give you a visual 😉

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

28 Dec

This is an awesome winter recipe!  As usual, this is from Giada De Laurentiis.  You can find this one and more at  Bon Appetit!


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion (from 1 onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to asimmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.


Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the brothto absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle withchives. Serve


Giada’s Pasta Primavera

12 Oct

The first time I had this was when the lovely Weesie made it for me – it was SO good that I just had to make it myself.  I’ve made it a couple times and every time, I love it.  It’s healthy and filling and delicious – what more could you ask for.  It’s perfect when you want something with a lot of vegetables.  Here it is:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I’m not a huge red bell pepper fan, so I used orange instead and it’s a great substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a little extra, of course)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
  • 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (as always, a little extra cheese)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets.

Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten.  Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Italian Sausage Lasagna

9 Oct

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of lasagna.  I’ve never ordered it out, never plan to…in fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time I even tasted a bite.  But after a long day at clinic, the husband was in the mood for something hearty.  In an attempt to please, I pulled out a cookbook we received as a wedding gift from a sweet friend, flipped through a couple pages, and voila! dinner. 

From here on out, folks, y’all can call me Garfield; this dish made me puuuuurr.

1 lb Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp dried parsley flakes, divided
1 (14 1/2 oz) can whole tomatoes, chopped and undrained
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
12 dried whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 (15oz) carton low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1.  Remove and discard the casings from sausage.  Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until sausage crumbles; drain.
2.  Stir in 2 Tbsp parsley, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
3.  Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
4.  Combine remaining 1 Tbsp parsley, ricotta cheese, 1/4 c Parm, and oregano; set aside.
5.  Spread 1c. meat mixture in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish.  Top with 4 noodles, 1c ricotta cheese mixture, 2/3c mozzarella cheese, and 4 more noodles.
6.  Spread remaining ricotta cheese mixture over noodles, and top with 1c meat mixture, 2/3c mozzarella cheese, and remaining 4 noodles.  Top with remaining meat mixture and mozzarella cheese; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
7.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly.   

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon

28 Sep

This post is brought to you by Giada and it is absolutely delicious.  I’ve made it twice now and absolutely love it.  Best of all, it’s not only delicious, it’s also healthy! Here it goes:

  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (as usual, I used a little bit extra)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine.

Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!