Football season has officially started! The weather is turning cooler and it’s time for some tailgating. This is one of my favorite times of the year. It can be agonizing and it can be oh so joyful. In the south, college football is HUGE and it’s one of those things that if you aren’t from here, you may not understand the football obsession and it’s not something you can explain.
As Jamie mentioned earlier in the week, I have been going to games since I was a young kid. I remember going to see my grandmother (G-Mama) after all of the games in Athens because she only lived about an hour from there. We’d visit with her and have dinner with her.
As Jamie also mentioned earlier this week, we’re working on some football party and tailgating food ideas for you. Pimento cheese is also a great choice because it’s pretty versatile. You can serve it with crackers, make little sandwiches with them or…
Pimento cheese pinwheels! I love pimento cheese, and to change things up, I used chipotle cream cheese in place of regular cream cheese and threw in some pepper jack cheese.
You can eat with just crackers or get you some flour tortillas and slather a nice layer of pimento on it and roll it up tight. Cut and then you have your pinwheels. I love tortillas so these are my favs.
Spicy Pimento Cheese Pinwheels:
1 cup of sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup of pepper jack cheese, shredded
College football is starting up this week so Luke and I thought it’d be fun to share some fun tailgating food ideas. Like most men, Luke is ridiculously excited about college football. He’s a HUGE University of Georgia fan. He grew up going to every single UGA football game. When we first started dating and even the first few years into our marriage, I went with him to most of the games, but after experiencing several miserable weather conditions one year, I decided I’d rather watch the games from the comfort of my own home.
To kickoff our college football recipes, Luke asked me to make red velvet cookies to show support for UGA so red velvet cookies it is. I made small (2 bite) cookies and made them into sandwiches with the wonderful cream cheese icing sandwiched between 2 cookies.
Start by making the cream cheese icing because you’ll want to refrigerate it for at least an before icing the cookies. While the icing is chilling in the refrigerator, start making the cookies. It’s actually a really simple recipe because it’s made with red velvet cake mix and only a few additional ingredients.
Mix the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and food coloring until combined. Use an ice cream scoop to measure the cookies because you’ll want the cookies to be about the same size. I used a very small scoop because I wanted very small cookies. Use your hands to roll the cookies into balls and then place on a greased cookie sheet. If you’re making these cookies for a party or for tailgating, roll the cookies into a ball and then lightly press them down to flatten them on the cookie sheet. The cookie sandwiches will travel better if they’re flat. I left my cookies in a ball shape because I wanted thick, cakey cookies because my cookies weren’t leaving our house.
Bake at 350 degree for 8 – 10 minutes. Place the cookies on a rack to cool.
Once the cookies are cooled, you can ice the cookies. You can leave like this or sandwich them with another cookie. Either way, they’re adorable and delicious! This recipe makes about 50 cookies and about 25 cookie sandwiches.
Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches
1 box red velvet cake mix
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5 – 10 drops red food coloring
Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz. cream cheese
2 sticks (1 cup) butter/margarine
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
1. For the cream cheese frosting, start by beating the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Slowly add the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and milk and continue beating until combined. Then refrigerate for an hour or 2.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 large cookie sheets with cooking spray.
3. Mix the cake mix, cocoa powder, eggs, vegetable oil and food coloring together until combined.
4. Use a small scoop to measure the cookies so they’ll be about the same size. Use your hands to roll the cookies into a ball and place on the greased cookie sheets. Place the cookies about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Once cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on half of the cookies and then top with the other half of the cookies.
This recipe is adapted from the Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling recipe in the Crazy about Cookies cookbook.
I hope you all had a great weekend! Ours was incredibly busy but it was a good one. No sleeping in or resting for us but that’s okay because this coming weekend is a 3 day weekend! YAY!!!
Luke and I actually went out to breakfast over the weekend which never happens because Luke is not a morning person. When I say he’s not a morning person, I mean don’t talk to him for at least 30 to an hour after he wakes up. He actually gets mad if you try to talk to him before he’s ready to talk. It’s so funny because he’s such an easygoing, happy person most of the time. It’s definitely something I had to get used to because I am a morning person.
Anyway, back to our breakfast out. We went to a new restaurant in downtown Columbia. It’s called the Black Bean Co. The food is organic, all-natural and delicious. I ordered the Traditional Challah French Toast and it’s served with fresh cut strawberries and fresh maple syrup. It was incredibly delicious and very filling. Luke ate half of it because I couldn’t eat it all. Luke ordered the Southwest Breakfast Burrito. He enjoyed his burrito but he said the French Toast was his favorite.
Okay, enough about that. Lately I’ve been craving lasagna so I decided to make a veggie lasagna, but as I was gathering all of the ingredients, I realized I didn’t want a traditional layered lasagna. So I made veggie lasagna roll-ups.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the veggies to the skillet and saute until tender. Set the cooked noodles and veggie aside to cool before handling.
In a medium bowl, stir 2 cups of ricotta cheese, chopped basil leaves, salt and pepper. Then spoon about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto each of the cooked and cooled noodles and spread the mixture to cover the noodle. If the lasagna noodles stick together, run cold water over them for a couple of minutes and then gentle pull the noodles apart.
Pour about 1/4 of cup of the sauteed vegetables over the ricotta mixture on the noodles.
Place thinly sliced tomatoes (cut in half) on top of the vegetables.
Then roll up the lasagna noodles and place in a greased 9 x 13 baking dish that’s coated with cooking spray and some marinara sauce.
Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the noodles.
Veggie Lasagna Roll-Ups:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
3 small squash, thinly sliced
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 8 oz. package sliced white mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 lb. lasagna noodles
2 24 oz. jars marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Then pour about 1/3 of a cup of marinara sauce into the baking dish and use a spoon to spread over the bottom of the dish.
2. Pour the EVOO into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, squash, zucchini, garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and saute until tender.
3. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Once cooked, run the noodles under cold water and set aside until ready to use.
4. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta, basil, salt and pepper together.
5. Lay the cooled lasagna noodles on a clean surface and spoon about a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture oven each lasagna noodle. Next, spoon about 1/4 of a cup of the sauteed vegetable mixture oven the ricotta cheese and place half of a tomato slice on the vegetable mixture. Roll the lasagna noodles and place in the 9 x 13 pan. It will take about 16 filled lasagna noodle to cover the bottom of the dish.
6. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the lasagna roll-ups. Then top with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Cannolis are an Italian dessert but the first time I tried one was about a year ago at the Greek Festival. Luke and I always go to the annual Greek Festival because we both love Greek food. Plus, we enjoy experiencing other cultures. We always try to order as many different foods as we can so we’re able to try pretty much everything they have to offer which includes desserts, of course!
I always get baklava because it is one of my favorite desserts, but last year, they’d actually run out of baklava. Needless to say, I was disappointed so I almost told Luke that I just wouldn’t get anything. Why waste the calories on something I didn’t really want? Then Luke suggested we split something. We looked and looked and finally I suggested a cannoli. He looked surprised and ask if I was sure so I nodded. Then he asked if I’d ever eaten one before so I told him no. I’d always been curious about them but was never interested enough to actually try one.
A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to create a cannoli recipe so we can eat them more often so I came up with this. Since these are mini pies, they’re definitely not your traditional cannolis but the filling tastes fairly traditional. It’s super creamy and actually very light and airy.
Servings: 24 mini pies
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup confectioner sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven according to the pie crust package instructions. Roll out the 2 pie crusts one at a time onto a floured surface. Use a rolling pin to make the crust even. Use a round cookie cutter to cut the crusts into individual mini pie crusts. Place each mini pie crusts into greased muffin tins. Bake according to the package instructions. Then set aside to cool.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, confectioner sugar, vanilla extract and whipping cream together. Start on a slow speed and as it thickens slowly add the milk and continue to beat. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to high until it thickens. Fold the mini chocolate chips into the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. After the pie crusts have cooled and the cannoli filling has chilled for at least 2 hours, fill each mini pie crust with the cannoli filling. Top with additional mini chocolate chips, if desired.
I hope you all had a great weekend! I wish it wasn’t over already! We had a much needed quiet weekend at home. Saturday morning, I woke up and realized I didn’t have anything I had to do or anywhere I had to be. That is such a wonderful feeling! I wish there were more weekends like that!
Since I could relax and enjoy my morning, I decided to treat myself to a homemade breakfast. I opened the pantry and decided I hadn’t eaten pancakes in a while so I reached for the Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix and almost put it back because I didn’t know what kind of pancakes I wanted to make. I knew I didn’t want a plain pancake and I wasn’t in the mood for a rich chocolate chip pancake. Then I spotted the unsweetened applesauce and decided I’d make apple pancakes. What goes with apples? Cinnamon! To add a little extra sweetness to the pancakes I decided to add some vanilla extract.
Oh my, these were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. They were light and fluffy and the vanilla extract gave the pancakes the most amazing flavor.
I served the pancakes with a dollop of butter and warm maple syrup. Yum!
I cooked the pancakes on a griddle pan, but if you don’t have one, you can cook them in a large skillet. Warm the griddle pan/skillet. Pour a tablespoon of vegetable oil onto the griddle pan (spread with a paper towel). If using a skillet, pour the vegetable oil into the skillet. Whisk the Bisquick mix, cinnamon, applesauce, milk and vanilla extract together. Once combined, pour the pancake batter onto the griddle pan or in the skillet.
Since I made large pancakes, I only cooked two at a time. Once the top of the pancakes start to bubble all over, it’s time to flip them.
Cook the other side for a minute or two until it’s golden brown.
Serve with or without butter and warm maple syrup (only a tablespoon or two) and you have one delicious, satisfying breakfast. Hmm, yum!
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1. Pour a tablespoon onto a 350 degree griddle pan or large skillet over medium high heat. If using a griddle pan, spread the vegetable oil over the griddle pan with a paper towel.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the Bisquick mix, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, milk and apple sauce together.
3. Using a ladle, pour the pancake mix onto the griddle pan/skillet making 2 pancakes at a time. Once bubbles form across the top of the pancakes (takes about 2 minutes), flip the pancakes to cook on the other side for another minute or until golden brown. Remove from the griddle pan/skillet. Repeat until the batter is gone. This recipe makes 6 large pancakes or 12 medium pancakes.
Serve with (or without) a dollop of butter and warm maple syrup and enjoy!
Happy Friday to everyone! We are going to start the weekend off with this colorful fruity rum punch! Jamie sent me a text in the middle of the day yesterday that said “do we have any rum? Saturday is national rum day.” I was like “of course you keep the cabinet stocked better than the local bar!” Her response was “we’ve got to make a rum drink for the blog this weekend”. So we made mango rum punch!
We’ve vacationed in the Caribbean several times and you can always count on rum punch in the Caribbean so Jamie had her heart set on making a rum punch for National Rum Day. Rum punch is a very refreshing, fruity drink so you can’t go wrong with this in the summertime heat, but don’t drink too much!! It’s easy to forget it’s got rum in it because it’s so refreshing, and you’ll want to keep drinking it!
To celebrate National Rum Day on Saturday, we recommend you have a few friends over to enjoy our rum punch!
This recipe serves 4 – 6. Chill the rum punch in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving, and depending on your preference, you can serve it over ice or not. Jamie doesn’t like ice in her’s because she says it waters her drink down but I prefer ice in mine.
2 cups of Bacardi light rum
3 cups of pineapple juice
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of mango juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup of grenadine
1/4 cup of cherry juice
Pour all ingredients into a pitcher and stir to combine. Chill in the refrigerator before serving. Once chilled, serve in your glass of choice with or without ice and enjoy!
Have a great weekend and Happy National Rum Day!!!
Who doesn’t like a quick dinner that can be on your dinner table in less than 20 minutes? Now that school is starting back, everyone’s schedules are a little more hectic and everyone is in need of a quick and delicious meal.
Our homemade personal size pizzas are a quick and tasty dinner that you and your family can throw together any night of the week. Most people love pizza, but a lot of people don’t think of making it at home. It’s actually really quick to make and it’s a cheap and filling meal for your family. When you make personal size pizzas at home, each person can make their own pizzas with their favorite toppings.
I love Marco’s Pizza. If you’ve never tried it, you’re truly missing out! Even Luke loves it which says a lot because he’s ridiculously picky about pizza. I always order Marco’s Garden Pizza which has mushroom, onion, green bell pepper, feta and mozzarella so those are the ingredients I like on my homemade pizza. I have to make my homemade pizza as close to Marco’s Garden Pizza as I possibly can.
When we were in college, Luke spent a summer playing baseball in upstate New York. He said the pizza there totally spoiled him so he didn’t want pizza when he first came back to the south. He says there is nothing like NY pizza. I’ve never been to NY so I’ll just have to take his word for it.
Luke likes Marco’s Meat Supremo Pizza which, if the name doesn’t give it away, is loaded down with meat including bacon. When we make our homemade pizzas, Luke only puts a few different meats on his pizza along with some of my veggies.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Cook your veggies in some extra virgin olive oil until the veggies are tender.
Season the cooked veggies with dried basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Place your pizza crust on a greased baking sheet and bake per the package instructions. We used the Flatout Flatbread Rustic White Thin Pizza Crust.
Spoon your marinara sauce on the pizza crust.
Add your pizza toppings to your pizza crust.
Top with cheese and bake for 2 minutes (until cheese is melted).
This recipe makes 4 personal size pizzas. We made 2 veggie pizzas and 2 veggie meat pizzas.
Ingredients for veggie pizza:
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 8 oz. package mushrooms
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp black olives (1 tablespoon per pizza)
1/2 cup marinara sauce, per personal sized pizza
2 tbsp feta cheese, per personal sized pizza
1/4 cup mozzarella, per personal sized pizza
4 personal size pizza crust
1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Then add the sliced onion, green bell pepper, and mushrooms to skillet and saute until veggies become tender. Once tender, season the veggies with the dried basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
2. On a greased baking sheet, bake the pizza crust per the package instructions. Then remove from oven and add the marinara sauce, the cooked and seasoned veggies, the black olives, feta and mozzarella cheese. I put about a cup of veggies on my pizza. Bake for at least 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Luke’s version was basically the same as mine except his pizza had less veggies and no feta cheese. The difference was his pizza had about 1/3 cup of veggies and 1/2 cup mozzarella, 2 pieces of cooked bacon and a few slices of pepperoni.
If you load your pizza down with a lot of toppings, you may have to eat it with a fork because it may fall apart on you.
First, I wanted to share that this past weekend was my 2 year anniversary of being a pescatarian! It feels like it’s been so much longer but I couldn’t be happier with the choice I made to change my diet. I’ll share more about that in a future post.
This past weekend Luke and I went to Georgia to visit his family. We had a rough drive there though because we went through several storms. I love a good summer storm when I’m safe in my house with no where to go, but I don’t like traveling in one! Needless to say, Luke and I didn’t enjoy the summer storms we drove through Friday night. When we finally got to his parents’ house, Luke said he didn’t think he’d ever had that bad of a drive to his parents’ house before. Hopefully, that was the first and the last time that happens!
We had a nice weekend with his family. Luke’s sister and her daughter, Aubrey, were there too because Saturday was Luke’s mom’s birthday and Sunday was their annual family reunion.
I swear our niece, Aubrey, is so much like I was as a child. I tell Luke all of the time that she should be my blood relative instead of his. She is so much like me! She even loves to cook so we gave her an apron with “Chef Aubrey” monogrammed on it and she LOVED it.
Saturday, Luke and I decided we’d make macaroni and cheese for the family reunion. Aubrey told us she wanted to help so she put her apron on and helped me shred the cheddar cheese for the macaroni and cheese. Then Sunday morning, Luke and I went into the kitchen to start making the macaroni and cheese and Aubrey followed us into the kitchen and put her apron on and pulled the step stool over to the stove so she could help us.
Luke and I bickered the entire time we were making the cheese sauce because he said it was too thin so he kept adding cheese. I kept telling him it would thicken but he wouldn’t listen to me. I finally looked at Aubrey and said “he’s driving me nuts.” She smiled and nodded her head agreeing with me. Then Luke’s mom started laughing and said, “I see where the feud with food came from!”
Just so you know, I was right and Luke was wrong. The cheese sauce thickened up and the macaroni and cheese was a huge success. It was the first dish devoured at the family reunion.
These are just a few pictures from our weekend. We’ll be back tomorrow with a quick recipe idea for you.
Aubrey and Izzy. Izzy loves Aubrey!
Luke’s parents’ neighbors have horses so of course we had to go see the horses!
Aubrey wearing her apron and helping me shred cheddar cheese.
Aubrey and me at the family reunion.
Luke and his sister, Brooke.
Luke and me with his parents.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a quick recipe that’s perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!
Well this recipe pretty much came out of nowhere. Jamie decided that she was in the mood for a cherry flavored drink so she bought this terrible cherry juice concentrate. It was so bad that I poured it down the drain. So I had to go back to the store and purchase some pure black cherry juice to make our wonderful drink.
I also had to go to the liquor store in order to make this drink because we were almost out of Gin and Jamie wanted Gin in the cherry drink. The thing about Jamie is she doesn’t pay any attention to what liquors we have or how much of each liquor we have when she comes up with these random drink ideas. She only keeps up with her wine.
After running around getting the ingredients necessary to make the drink, I threw this drink together and it turned out delicious!
Ingredients per serving:
3 oz of Gin
2 oz of Grand Marnier
2 oz of black cherry juice
1 oz of lemonade
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake, pour and enjoy!
I love cheesy pasta! Give me manicotti, cheese tortellini, or any cheese stuffed pasta, for that matter, any day of the week and I’m a happy girl! Really, who doesn’t love cheese and pasta?!!
Luke and I decided it was time for another food competition so we made our stuffed pasta shells. You’re the judge of this competition so tell us who you think should win the stuffed pasta shells competition.
Let me just say, I used plenty of cheese in my recipe without going overboard but not Luke. He went all in with the cheese! He even added extra mozzarella to the ricotta filling that already had Parmesan in it. Mine is good enough without the extra cheese.
These recipes are super easy to make and delicious! I have to say both of these are good but obviously you put meat with pasta and cheese and more cheese than it is going to be wonderful. Jamie once again has no chance of winning this comp. Meat or Spinach? Popeye is the only person who is going to pick Jamie’s (even though it is good).
For the meaty stuffed shells you can use whatever ground meat you prefer. I used ground pork that I cooked and seasoned. You could use Italian sausage, ground beef, or ground chicken.
Meat Stuffed Pasta Shells:
1 lb of ground meat (pork, beef, Italian sausage or chicken)
1 small onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
15 oz of ricotta
1 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 16 oz. package of jumbo pasta shells
2 26 oz. jars of marinara sauce
Add one tablespoon of EVOO to a large skillet and brown meat. Once browned, add the onion and pepper to the skillet and saute until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked meat, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and egg. Pour about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the crock pot. Stuff about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into each pasta shell and place the stuffed shells in the crock pot. Pour about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of marinara sauce over the stuffed shells and start filling the remaining shells. Then pour the remaining marinara sauce over the shells and top with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Put the lid on the crock pot and turn the crock pot on high and cook for 3 hours. Then serve and enjoy!
Veggie Stuffed Pasta Shells:
1 16 oz. package jumbo pasta shells
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 26 oz. jars marinara sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. Cook the pasta shells according to the package directions. Thaw and drain the spinach. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the ricotta, parmesan, minced garlic and minced onion, salt, pepper, and egg.
2. Pour about 1/2 cup marinara sauce into the crock pot. Then spoon about 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture into each shell and place in the crock pot. Once you have a single layer, pour about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of marinara sauce over the stuffed pasta shells. Then spoon the remaining pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place in the crock pot. Once all of the shells are filled, pour the remaining marinara sauce over the pasta shells and top with the mozzarella cheese.
3. Place the lid on top of the crock pot and turn the crock pot on high. Cook for 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Then serve and enjoy!
My veggie stuffed shells is adapted from my “Vegetarian 3 Books in 1″ cookbook.