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Bold Barbecue.

BBQ Shrimp Salad & BBQ Steak Salad With Cool Cilantro-Lime Dressing

This is a great salad to make using leftovers or random ingredients from your fridge and cupboards. I had a leftover cooked steak and some frozen shrimp, so I used that to top the salads along with other festive ingredients! It’s simple, delicious and full of bold flavors!

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed (cooked & tail on) and/or 1 medium steak, cooked
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s suggested)
  • 1 bag butter lettuce
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella or other reduced fat-cheese
  • 1 cup corn (you could use frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
  • garlic salt/black pepper

To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, juice from 2 limes, cilantro, sour cream and a dash of garlic salt/black pepper together in the food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the dressing over the lettuce in a large bowl and add the tomatoes, corn and black beans and toss.

For the steak: Slice the cooked steak and put in a pan on medium heat. Allow the steak to heat up and put 1 tbsp of barbecue sauce over top and stir together. About 2-5 minutes.

For the shrimp: Take the tails of the shrimp and put in a pan on medium heat. Allow the shrimp to heat up and put 1 tbsp of barbecue sauce over the top and stir together. About 2-5 minutes.

Take the lettuce mixture and put a heaping pile on a plate, topping it with shredded mozzarella the barbecue shrimp and/or steak over top.

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GG’s Cavatelli & Meatballs

My great-grandma, Agnes Minnillo (who we called “GG”), was the most amazing cook. Born in Italy in 1911, GG came to the US with her mother when she was 13 years old. Food and cooking was a big part of her life, and I suppose some of that must’ve rubbed off on me! Her food was simple and delicious; tastes and flavors that cannot be replicated. One of her dishes that I remember most fondly is her cavatelli and meatballs. Every Christmas, GG would make cavatelli, which is the shape of the pasta that we pronounce “cavadills” in Italian-American slang. She would make the cavatelli, tomato sauce and meatballs from scratch. GG passed away in 2010 when she was 99 years old, just shy of her 100th birthday. After her passing, my mom was lucky enough to inherit the cavatelli maker that my great-grandpa (who we called “Bumpa”) had made for GG many years ago. This Christmas Eve, my mom made GG’s cavatelli and meatballs. It was a very special treat and brought back many, many happy memories of GG. GG would’ve been very proud of my mom and this delicious meal she cooked!

Welsh Pork Cake, Round 2

Well, it is that time of year again! This is the second year we’ve made the famous Welsh pork cake, so this time I tried to jazz it up a bit with green colored frosting (just added food coloring) and a powdered sugar and raisin Christmas tree! My mom made a paper stencil that we used to make the tree. Fun and yummy!

My Pickle Themed Christmas

A lot of pickle related gifts this year! I think the word is out…

Berry-licious.

I love this Very Cherry Berry Blend of frozen berries from Trader Joe’s. It has no added sugar and is packed with scrumptious raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries! There are so many ways to use these berries in sweet treats. Below are a couple of my favorites.

Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt & Very Cherry Berry Blend

As simple as this may seem, it is really delicious and hits the spot when you’re craving something sweet and tangy. By pairing the fruit with the vanilla yogurt, you get the creaminess of the yogurt and the tart bite from the berries. All you need to do is heat or thaw the berries and add a scoop of non-fat vanilla yogurt. If you wanted to be more indulgent, try adding a small handful of chocolate chips over top!

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Brownies & Very Cherry Berry Blend

If you’re looking for a more indulgent, extravagant way to use the berries, try making Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Brownies (which are FAT-FREE!) and mixing the thawed berries into the batter. The brownies are so easy! All you do is add 2/3 cup of non-fat vanilla yogurt to the dry mix and stir well. After that is mixed, just add the thawed berries and bake as usual. This is a chocolatey, fruit-filled delight!

Pesto Party.

Pasta With Arugula & Basil Pesto & Roasted Grape Tomatoes

My team had a potluck holiday lunch party yesterday and this was the dish I brought. I wanted to make a pasta dish so I decided to do a pesto pasta with a twist. The roasted tomatoes in the pasta add an extra burst of flavor that pairs well with the richness of the arugula and basil. It was a hit!

Serves 5-8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta (I used cellentani)
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 2  cups fresh basil
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/4 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • garlic salt/hot red pepper flakes

In the food processor, add the  basil, arugula, lemon juice, lemon zest and blend until finely chopped. Then add the slivered almonds, sour cream, 1 tbsp olive oil and a generous sprinkling of garlic salt and hot red pepper flakes. Blend again for a longer period of time until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

To roast the tomatoes, slice the grape tomatoes in half and put in a mixing bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt. Put on a non-stick baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

While tomatoes are roasting, boil your pasta as directed on the box to al dente. After the pasta is cooked, drain all excess water and put the pasta back into the same pot. Add the pesto and roasted tomatoes and mix well to combine.



Simply Delicious Sweet Potatoes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Dijon-Dill Dipping Sauce

These potatoes are a no-fuss, quick and easy side dish or meal. They go great with any type of meat or you could easily eat them alone or with a vegetable or salad. The dipping sauce adds an extra bit of pizzazz to dress them up a bit. Yum!

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s brand fresh diced sweet potatoes (or you can skin & dice 4 sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • garlic salt/black pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Put the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and mix with the oil and a generous sprinkling of garlic salt and black pepper. Spread the potatoes out on a non-stick baking sheet and cook the potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned. While the potatoes are in the oven, mix the sour cream, Dijon, dill, garlic salt/black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve the potatoes with a dollop of the Dijon-dill dipping sauce.