Category Archives: Entrees

Cheeseburger in Paradise, er Home

There is nothing like a good, juicy burger. Nothing. They are always my go-to choice when I go to a restaurant I haven’t been to before, or even ones I have. They are usually a safe bet to not be completely disgusting. I’ve very few burgers that blew my mind though. You know what I’m talking about –ketchup and mayonnaise smeared together, crisp delicious pickles, gooey cheese, juice drippings, charred taste. Ahh that charred taste, that’s the best part. Burgers are amazing grilled, no doubt about it. But it’s just too difficult to grill in the winter obviously. So how do you still get the juicy goodness inside? With a 2 step cooking process – fry and bake. Yeah you read that right.

I interrupt this blog post for a shout out to Mr. P. for enduring my 4:30p.m. chats requesting his assistance. An example:

me:  can you get 2 potatoes (in the hall closet in the orange basket) and microwave them for like 8 minutes. poke holes in them
Mr.P:  with a fork?
me: a knife please
Mr.P:   8 min on high?
me:  yes please
Mr.P: ok cool

And now back to our recipe…


1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Cheddar Cheese slices
And all the condiments/sides you want


Start by blending the ground beef, garlic powder and worcestershire sauce together. To form your patty, take golf ball size pieces of meat and fit them together gently. The key is to form a nice airy burger, but firm enough so it will stay together.

Heat a skillet on medium/high heat. Spray the pan with cooking oil. Cook the burgers for 2 minutes of each side so they have a nice grilled look.

Next, place it in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (I like my burger medium rare). But always cut open a little to make sure its done all the way – not worth getting sick!

I like caramelized red onions on my burger. Simply amazing. I just chop up some red onion and throw in some brown sugar until its caramelized.

Don’t forget to top your burger with cheese!!!

So good. I served our burgers with some delicious homemade potato wedges.

What do you like on your burger?




Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

It’s funny; I was never a big soup eater. When I heard the words ‘Tomato Soup’, the first thing that popped in my mind was the Campbell Soup can. When I think of the Campbell Soup can, I think of processed, salty, fake food people eat that can’t cook (sorry if I offend anyone!). So now that I’m on my meal planning kick and am trying to cook a batch of soup every week or every two weeks, I am trying new things – like this Tomato Basil Parmesan soup. Mr. P. exclaimed with excitement, ‘This may be my new favorite dish!” I also made this soup on Sunday night – well the first half anyways. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup


2 – 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 T fresh oregano
1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ tsp bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
salt & pepper


Add tomatoes to a large pot. Add carrots and onions.

Stir in the chicken stock, oregano, basil, and bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Then treat yourself to a little snack like I did – prosciutto and bread. Delish.

At this point, this is when I let it cool and stuck it in the refrigerator for 2 days.

When I was ready to finish cooking…
About 15 minutes before serving melt butter over low heat in a skillet Add flour slowly. Stir constantly with a whisk.

Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.

Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. 

Add all back into the large pot.

Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed.

Cover and cook on low for another 5 minutes  or until ready to serve.



Chicken Stuffed Prosciutto, Asparagus and Goat Cheese

Here is one of the meals I prepared on Sunday – Chicken stuffed with prosciutto, asparagus and goat cheese. I love the fact that I could put these together easily and store them in the refrigerator for a day. I got all the messiness out of the way, and was able to easily pop these in the oven to cook for 20 minutes. Really makes my life a bit easier. I really dislike cooking during the week because I am so tired after work – like most people.

For this particular dish I decided to make chicken breast packed with asparagus, goat cheese and prosciutto. But you can be creative and stuff with many different things: roasted red pepper and provolone cheese, feta and spinach, etc.

I personally love asparagus, especially if it’s on sale. Did you know asparagus in a member of the Lily family? Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period. Read all about asparagus here – a site dedicated solely to wonderful asparagus.

Chicken Stuffed Prosciutto

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
Dijon mustard
8 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
8 asparagus stems, cut in half

Heat oven at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Slice chicken breasts horizontally into 2 thin pieces. If necessary, pound to 1/4 inch thick. Lay breasts, smooth side down, on work surface; season with salt and pepper.

Spread each with a thing layer of Dijon mustard. Then top with 2 slices of prosciutto, a little bit of goat cheese and 2 pieces of asparagus.

Roll up the breast and place on the baking sheet seam side down.

As I said, I prepared this meal on Sunday to eat on Monday night. At this point, I just popped these babies into the refrigerator. Monday night I came home, got these out and spread them onto a cookie sheet. Then…

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

How were they? Super yummy. The prosciutto was phenomenal and the taste of the goat cheese really added to the overall flavor. Mr.P. passed on the goat cheese. How did I not know he liked it?! You learn something everyday!

Have an idea for a stuffing? Share it!


Butternut Squash Risotto with Seared Scallops

I love Sundays. Recently, it’s been my fun food planning & cooking day. I usually spend about 2 hours planning my meals for the week. I search through blogs, my favorite websites, Pinterest (follow me!), Foodgawker, even Flickr. I grab my handy meal planning worksheet and a pencil and work my magic. I write down what meals I want to cook on those days and then fill in the shopping list. I cook Mondays-Thursdays. Fridays, Saturdays are too unpredictable to cook for, and the Mr. P, the Hubster likes to go out to eat. If we don’t have anything planned, I cook on Sundays too – usually my most elaborate meal if time permits. So the key for me is to make sure I can prep at least 2 meals for the week on Sunday. I also like to stick in an easy meal – usually sandwiches. Also, it’s great to make a little extra of stuff that can be frozen for next time. Stayed tuned for upcoming posts–for now, here is what I made on Sunday. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Seared Scallops


1 cup arborio rice
3 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 half butternut squash or 1 cup butternut squash puree
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp butter
2 oz dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt

For fresh butternut squash slice the squash down the middle the long way and scoop out all of the seeds.

Place flesh side down on a cookie sheet and then proceed to add water to the cookie sheet. It depends on the size of the cookie sheet, but typically 1 cup of water should do — enough to create a small pool around the squash halves.

Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender. With a spoon, scoop out all of the flesh – you’ll need about a cup for the risotto. Mash it up with the spoon.

In a sauce pan, heat chicken broth and squash puree (canned or fresh). Keep stock hot on a low heat.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden.

Then add the  risotto and sage and stir well to coat each grain with butter and until the grains are slightly golden.

Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

Add salt and pepper and the stock a ladleful at a time, until it is absorbed before adding another ladleful stirring gently and almost constantly.

Continue this process until all the stock is used, about 25-30 minutes from the time you started.

When the risotto is almost done, start to prepare your scallops: Heat the oil in a heavy bottom skillet, over medium-high heat.

Season each scallop with salt and pepper. Sear the scallops  for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Go back to the risotto – when all the liquid is absorbed, stir in the grated cheese and remove from heat.

Place the risotto is a bowl and top with the scallops.

Then, serve immediately.




Bean Love – White Chicken Chili

Beans are a great source of nutrition. They help reduce cholesterol, are high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. I’m not a huge fan of beans however. Finding a recipe with beans that I actually like is not an easy task.

When I came across a recipe for White Chicken Chili with Beans on Serious Eats, I thought the ingredients sounded really good and wanted to give it a try (although I did change up a few ingredients). I’m so glad I did! This hearty chili is absolutely delicious! Sometimes during the week, I’ll pick up a cooked rotissiere chicken at the grocery store. With the leftover chicken I have another meal planned for the week. Score!

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili


1 teaspoon olive oil
2 minced garlic clove
1 chopped jalapeño pepper
4 oz. can of chopped chilies
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 can large white beans
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated low-fat Monterey Jack


Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes until translucent.

Add the garlic, chopped jalapeños with seeds, oregano, and cayenne.

Cook for about 3 minutes until the jalapenos have softened. Next add in the chicken broth, diced chicken, and the beans—juices and all.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn it down and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

Mash the mixture with a fork, or potato masher breaking up the beans slightly. Finally, and the best part of all, add the cheese!

I like to eat the chili with a nice piece of Italian bread. So hearty and mmm mmm good!

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!


A Mouthful of Fun – Pizza Bites!

Mr. P and I are a cheese couple. He’ll say “No way!” because he thinks his love of cheese is much stronger than mine, but I disagree. Sure I may not eat squares of cheddar cheese with pepperoni and crackers, like, 4 nights a week as he does, BUT he also is not lactose intolerant. Yes people, I am lactose intolerant and I still eat cheese. Now that’s love!

I found a super fun, great recipe on Annie’s Eats a few weeks ago and was dying to try it out and surprise Mr. P. Food (especially with cheese) make him very happy. This is a different, more fun version of a regular pizza – Pizza Bites! I changed the recipe slightly to add tomatoes. You can have it for dinner like we did, with perhaps a side of salad. Or make it for appetizers.

Pizza Bites

1 bag of store bought pizza dough (or you can make your own)
1cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
Sliced pepperoni
2 garlic cloves
8 oz can of diced tomatoes
Olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Lightly spray a pie pan or glass casserole dish with cooking spray. Take your can of diced tomatoes and add to a small bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp of dried crushed oregano, a crackle or two of fresh pepper, and a few leaves of basil chopped. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces.

Take one of the dough pieces, and roll out into a small circle.

Top a small dollop of diced tomatoes, a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni.

Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed.

Place seam-side down into the pan.  Continue with the rest of the dough bites.

Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve hot!

Want to add some veggies? Other meats? Go ahead!

What would you add?



Throw Something Together

The week after Mother’s Day I had a ton of leftover ingredients from the brunch. It was either all going to go in the trash, or I was going to have to use it up somehow. One night after I got home late, Mr. P (the boyfriend) was super hungry. I quickly looked through the refrigerator and took out a couple of ingredients. I had ham, which I definitely did not want to waste, broccoli and I had whipping cream. Immediately, I thought pasta!

Creamy Pasta with Ham & Broccoli

2 cups cut broccoli
1 cup cooked Ham
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbsp olive oil


Take 2 cloves of garlic and mince in a pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes until translucent.

Next add the cut up broccoli to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the broccoli is tender.

Cook broccoli

Add the cooked ham next.

Add the ham

Now for the ooey gooey goodness –whipping cream! Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the whipping cream

Finally add the parmesan cheese to the mixture to get that thick gooey consistency. God it smells so good. Feel free to season with black pepper and avoid packing a spoonful of the sauce in your mouth. You may miss and get it all over your cute pink shirt.

Creamy Pasta with Ham and Broccoli