Tag Archives: roasted

Monday Night Football Burger

Hi friends. Happy Monday!

Fortunately Elliott’s soccer practice was cancelled for tonight so that means we can get in our jammies early, light some candles and be in for the night to watch some Monday Night Football.

Go Niners!

Buffalo chicken wings are synonymous with football, no?

Last night I made another Pinterest find ~ Buffalo Chicken Burgers

They were awwwwesome.

For all my buffalo chicken recipes, I like to use this…

Now, there is the Original Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce , and then there is the WINGS sauce {pictured above}….I have found that the wings sauce gives whatever buffalo chicken dish you’re making a more authentic buffalo flavor ~ and we don’t want to mess with that, right? Right.

I totally messed up the recipe, but they worked out just fine. I will tell you what I did and you can determine if you’d like to do what I did or follow the original recipe provided in the link above.

1/4 cup light sour cream {I used plain greek yogurt}
1/4 cup reduced fat blue cheese crumbles

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup diced celery

1 package ground chicken {approx 1.25 lbs.}
1/4 cup hot pepper/wing sauce

2 tablespoons bread crumbs {more if your meat mixture is too sticky}

 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

4 buns or rolls, split & lightly toasted
For garnish: lettuce, tomato and/or red onion

{I spread a little bit of bottled Ranch dressing on the bun and used up some leftover chopped tomato on top}

Preheat your pan or grill on medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
Mix the ground chicken, sour cream/yogurt, blue cheese crumbles, chopped celery, worcestershire sauce,  1/4 cup hot sauce, bread crumbs, celery salt, and cayenne pepper together in a mixing bowl until evenly blended. Form into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.
Cook the chicken burgers on the preheated grill 6 to 7 minutes until well marked, flip and cook for another 5-6 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Note: ground chicken has a very different texture than ground beef or ground turkey. Once you mix all the ingredients into the meat, it may seem very wet. If this is the case, you can add a little more bread crumbs to bring it together more or you can go ahead and separate into four patties and once they cook up, they will firm up obviously. The original recipe didn’t call for adding the blue cheese into the meat. I like to add things to the burger before cooking it and that is why I chose to add the chopped celery into the meat. You could certainly leave out the celery if you are not a fan. A little grated carrot would also be fun to throw into the meat for added color and crunch. Again, you can refer to the link above to see an alternate way to prepare these.

To roast the spaghetti squash, just cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and place flesh side {cut side} down onto a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 400* for 50 minutes.

I loved this meal. We’ll be having the leftovers tomorrow night before everyone comes into town for Thanksgiving and the real meals begin!


Wrinkled Tomatoes

Last Father’s Day we went to Los Feliz and had lunch at Umami Burger. I had a burger with slow-roasted tomatoes and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

{So Cal Burger ~ butter lettuce, slow-roasted tomato, house spread, house-made american cheese, caramelized onions}

Roma tomatoes were a dime a dozen last week at Sprouts so I picked up a couple pounds and tried to create my own delicious wrinkled tomatoes at home.

Super easy ~ I referred to this recipe.

I used 5 big romas and cut them in half length-wise and placed them cut side up on a foiled baking sheet. I mixed together about 3 tablespoons {since I used less than 4 pounds as the recipe called for} olive oil along with LOTS of minced garlic and drizzled it over the cut tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper and place into a 200* oven for 6-8 hours ~ I left mine in for exactly 7 hours and they were perfect! Next time I will roast more because Jay and I ate over half of them with our chicken marsala…they will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 weeks, though.

These would be excellent over pasta with fresh basil shreds, on bruschetta, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a salad, in a turkey sandwich or on a burger!


Happy Humpday!



Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders With Roasted Crookneck Squash

How’s that for an original title?

I am so tired I can’t even think of a somewhat catchy name for this post….

I pinned these {surprise!} and knew that I would serve them in slider form because let’s face it, everything is cuter on a small bun.

For the sliders I used about 1.5 pounds of chicken tenderloins {still frozen}, about 3/4 bottle {the small one} of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and about half a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix. I cooked on low for about 6 hours ~ after 5 hours, I shredded the chicken with two forks, added 2 tbsp butter and kept it on low for another hour. Lightly toast up some little rolls and then load ’em up! These would make PERFECT Superbowl grub.

I added a little reduced fat bleu cheese topper {helllllooo, what is buffalo chicken without some bleu?} and served them with roasted yellow squash that I just cut into half moons, drizzed with a bit of olive oil, dusted with salt & pepper, tossed and roasted at 425* for about 15-20 minutes.

Dinner is done.

And so am I.

The Christmas cards are 90% done, our adopt-a-family gift is ready to go, my goodie ingredients have been purchased and I just need to get bakin’.

How’s your holiday agenda coming along?


Nighty night.


Meat & Potatoes ~ Must Be Father’s Day!

Jay wanted meat and potatoes for lunch and dinner yesterday, so that is what Jay got.

We had a little hiccup along the way and discovered his first lunch choice, Irv’s Burgers, is closed on Sundays. So we decided on runner up, Umami Burger in Los Feliz.

Fortunately we were seated immediately and got to ordering…

Tempura Onion Rings with Jalapeño Ranch & Sweet Potato Fries with Roasted Garlic Aioli

Jay had the Manly Burger {of course} ~ beer-cheddar cheese, smoke salt onion strings & bacon lardons

I had the SoCal Burger ~ butter lettuce, slow-roasted tomato, house spread, house-made american cheese & caramelized onions

For dessert we all shared a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff moon pie {OMG!} and a peanut butter chip ice cream sandwich. Gone in a flash!


In between our two meat and potato meals, we visited The Grove where I made a little dent in the niiiice Crate & Barrel gift card Jay won in a raffle at work and he and the kids went to the  Apple store and fiddled with the iPod Touches and spotted Stevie Wonder!

{sorry Stevie, this is probably the worst ever picture of you…I mean not YOU, but the picture quality!}


For din din, his choice was chicken fried steak and garlic roasted mashed potatoes with blue cheese. I made Sonoma salad for a little something green!

Thanks, P-Dub for helpin’ me out with this one. I had NO idea how to even begin to make this….

And there you have it…meat n taters with a little speck o green peeking out in the background ~ a MANLY meal!

{for the mashed potatoes I just boiled up three large taters that were peeled and cubed until fork tender. then i melted half a stick of butter and about 3/4 cup milk and added it to the potatoes. i roasted a whole head of garlic [cut about 1/4″ off the top, drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper, put cut side down on a large piece of foil and wrap the garlic in the foil. roast at 350* for about an hour. the garlic will be soft and spreadable! squeeze out the cloves and add to the potatoes and butter/milk mixture]. use hand mixer to blend until smooth. also added a little blue cheese.}

I was a little nervous about this meal since it’s something I’ve never made and wouldn’t ever order at a restaurant…but it was quite good. The cube steaks were very lean and I used just a little canola oil to pan fry them. The pan gravy turned out very well, too, since gravy is not one of my strengths.

{side note: Pioneer Woman mentions that her favorite way to eat chicken fried steak is between two slices of soft white bread with mayo. In the recipe she mentions Miracle Whip and I had to laugh because, I too, can not stand the stuff! When I was about 6 years old, I vividly remember being at our neighbor’s house and the mom serving me some kind of sandwich with M.W. ….. I must have said I {didn’t care for} it because I recall her saying, “Oh, no honey, it’s not Miracle Whip!” UM, YES IT WAS! Remember that commercial where the guy goes to the store in the middle of the night because he ran out of it? Yeh. NO thanks! I’m not a picky eater at all, but if you really DON’T want me to come over for lunch, just serve sammies with [the whip] AND alfalfa sprouts. Blech!}


I am addicted to making these gift caddies! This was the one for our hero…..

{a couple Seattle’s Best iced mochas, Peanut Toffee Buzz CLIF Bar [with caffeine!], Carmex 3-pack and some shower gel}

{a nice big Hefeweizen and an orange to float in it}


It was the perfect day even though {we} forgot the camera, Irv’s was closed and it took 15 minutes to park at The Grove.

Here’s proof of the perfection…..

Have a great week!

Community Cheesecake

When I first spotted this scrumptious cheesecake, I knew it had to go on {the list}. Um, it has Keebler Fudge Striped cookies. As. The. Crust. Enough said…

Would’ve probably made it sooner, but I didn’t have a spring form pan.

But, I do NOW….and I DID make this cheesecake for our Valentine’s Day dessert.

This was my first cheesecake, so I was a little nervous.

{before the whipped cream goodness}

{and after!}

I knew I could not have this cheesecake staring at me all week {AKA eating it for breakfast with my coffee!!} so I cut it in quarters and shared with our neighbor friends. However, when I cut into it the center collapsed….maybe I didn’t chill it long enough?

Despite the oozing mess, I did receive all sorts of positive feedback. Check out this sweet comment:

“I just wanted to thank you once again for the DELICIOUS cheesecake!  When I came home from work this afternoon, my mom (who was watching the boys) said, “Where did you get that to-die-for cheesecake that’s in your fridge?  I helped myself to some, and I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything so divine in my whole life.”  No joke, she literally talked about the cheesecake for 20 minutes!  My mom is a dessert fanatic, yet over the last three decades of my life, I don’t ever remember her praising any dessert quite like your cheesecake 🙂  So, thank you again!!  We all REALLY enjoyed it.  Still can’t believe it was your first attempt!  You must consider opening up your own catering/party business!”

Awww, thanks Alina and THANK YOU Meg @ Whatever for sharing and THANK YOU Pam for your endless hours in the kitchen perfecting this extraordinary dessert!

I’m going to call it the {traveling cheesecake} because whenever I make it, three quarters of it will find another home. It is very rich, but smooooooth and creamy.


One of Jay’s favorite meals is Chicken Marsala. We use Ty Flo’s recipe and every time we make it, I wonder “Why don’t we make this more often?”

Tyler Florence’s Chicken Marsala

I served with roasted asparagus with parmesan:

{just take a bunch of asparagus, cut about 2 inches off the ends, cut in thirds on an angle, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper & parmesan, toss, place on a baking sheet lined with foil for about 20 minutes @400*}

Easy peasy, right?


That was our Valentine’s dinner…complete with crooked table cloth adorned with spilled smoothie spots and colored Crayola markers! We skipped the {Wilson Creek} Almond Champagne and will enjoy that this weekend.

And, as I mentioned, Miss Elliott lost her first tooth Valentine’s evening.

It’s so true that when you have children you start to see things differently and enjoy them so much more. V-day has never been one of my favorite holidays, but this year I really enjoyed watching them address their little valentines to their friends and see their joy when showing off all their cards. Next year my goal is to come up with a homemade valentine ~ there are loads of darling ideas out there!

And next year, even though I loved our dinner at home, {you and I} are GOING OUT to dinner, babe!

Love you.


Happy Wednesday!


This N That Thursday

Well, Hello!

How was your Thursday?

I was able to run several errands in preparation for Valentine’s Day and Holden’s upcoming birthday next month. I found some super inexpensive treats for Elliott to give to her classmates for V-day:

I swiped this image off eBay, so it’s teeny tiny, but I found some ornaments filled with candy at Rite Aid leftover from Christmas for 90% off! {There’s nothing “Christmassy” about them other than they’re supposed to be ornaments, but you wouldn’t catch me hanging them on my tree! And yes, I inspected the date and the candy is good until Jan 2012…I am weird with stuff like that. Not that a Now and Later will be any more fresh in mid-February 2011 or a year from then!} They ended up being 10¢ a piece. I’m going to have her cut little hearts out of construction paper and hand write her name with a touch of glitter. The little balls are pink and will look very Valentiney with the added message on the red paper.


Last weekend we went to Sprouts and loaded up on veggies.

I roasted some last weekend and we added the leftovers to a salad with some beer can chicken and some blue cheese!

I also made quinoa for the first time. Super easy, but a bit time consuming as you have to soak and rinse it {I bought mine from the bulk bin, but you can also buy it pre-rinsed and ready to go}. I used about 3/4 cup water and 1 cup chicken broth. I read that a 1:2 ratio makes the quinoa too mushy, so I used about 1 3/4 cup liquid to one cup rinsed quinoa. Just bring the liquid to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, cover and put on low for 15-20 minutes {or until water is absorbed}. You can also just make it with water and eat it for breakfast with some raisins, a little brown sugar and a splash of milk or cream.

{BTW, the quinoa is under the roasted veggies in the pic}

To roast the veggies, I just cut up whatever I had: red pepper, red onion, zucchini, yellow squash and baby carrots. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Toss it up and put onto a cookie sheet into a 400* oven for about 20 minutes. The flavor is amazing and this is a great way to eat your veggies! Elliott loved them {well, at least the carrots} and they are just as good warm as they are cold the next day. Tonight I am adding some cauliflower to the mix and using a little truffle oil that I picked up today.


Today is my Dad’s birthday…

Happy Birthday, Popsi! Enjoy your special day!

{Next year he will celebrate a milestone birthday ~ I will let you guess which one}


Does anyone out there still watch American Idol?

I tuned in last night {yes, we still have Direct TV} because I love J Lo. I think she’s so beautiful. And talented. And funny.

For me, the new judges are a breath of fresh air…it’s nice not having Simon pop off every 5 seconds and his snide comments flying around!

We’ll see if I am still able to watch next week…… 😉


That’s it kids….how can it already be Friday tomorrow? I don’t know, but I’m glad it is!

Have a great night!

Un{brie}lievably Amazing

When we lived in San Diego {and before kiddos!} we’d go wine tasting in Temecula quite a bit.

There was always one stop we had to make, but it wasn’t for the wine…it was for the sourdough baked brie at Maurice Car’rie Winery.

Oh. My. Word.


Their wines are nothing to write home about, but we’d go in and taste while we waited for our garlicky brie goodness {it takes like 20-30 minutes after you place your order to get your bread!}

So, naturally I think of this deliciousness from time to time and did a little Google search to find a recipe that sounded just like what I remembered:

Baked Brie With Roasted Garlic

{I got the LAST triple cream brie at Trader Joe’s!}

{Fresh out of the oven}

{Then cut into wedges, serve and get weak in the knees!}

Please make this.


Get Your Vitamin C & Sulforaphane!

I feel like I need to post a nice, healthy, full-of-antioxidants recipe once in awhile, so here you have it…..

Roasted Cauliflower With Parmesan


If you don’t think you like cauliflower, don’t worry, you’re not alone…personally, I can’t eat it raw, but I discovered roasting it ~ whooda thunk?

If you really want to read up on all the wonderful health benefits and some weird and not so interesting cauliflower characteristics, check out the Wikipedia entry here.

Or, if you just want to trust me and see this easy side dish, then c’mon…let’s go!

All you need are these things:

A head of cauliflower, olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and an oven preheated to 400*F.

Rinse your head of cauliflower and cut into florets, like this:

Then, in a bowl, drizzle the florets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper & parmesan cheese. Toss to coat evenly.

Pop into the oven on an aluminum foil lined pan for 20-25 minutes.

I like mine a little more on the tender side, so I lean towards the 25 minute mark.

This is what the final healthiness looks like:

They’re kinda like a Lay’s potato chip ~ you can’t eat just one. Really. Try it.

Any leftovers are great the next day on a salad.

Another great roasted veggie is broccoli, believe it or not. I have made this one a million times and it’s also a keeper…

Garlic-Chili Roasted Broccoli

Hopefully these two recipes will make it easier to get your 5 servings of veggies a day.

So, go on…go out there and get your antioxidants on!

Weekend Rewind

Saturday was full of impromptu events…

The Albertson’s down the hill was having an Easter egg hunt ~ the “golden egg” being a pass to Disneyland along with some other goodies for the little ones hidden inside certain eggs. Mr. Easter Bunny made a brief appearance which I was thrilled with because that saved me a trip to the mall and $25 for a photo!

The “hunt” took place in the produce section and it was hardly a hunt at all….just piles of candy filled plastic eggs under the apples, lettuce and potatoes! Super duper obvious and lasting a grand total of 3.5 minutes! My little chickens only walked away with mini Twix bars, Reese’s and mini Hershey’s bars…thank goodness the candy was good because I would’ve been real disappointed. But they had a great time and Albertson’s was nice enough to serve FREE hotdogs and sodas so this Mama didn’t even have to fix lunch ~ gotta love that. Here are some photos from the eggstravaganza…

Elliott gathering eggs:

The find:

Holden post hunt searching for the rabbit:

Emilie & Elliott with Mr. Easter Bunny:

Holdy with his new BFF:

Enjoying lunch:

Then, we organized a last minute redneck block party where a few neighbors parked their lawn chairs in the guest parking across the street, prepared some appetizers and enjoyed wine and chit chat while the kids ran amok, chalked the you know what out of the street and rode various modes of transportation including scooters, tricycles, bikes and the ever popular Disney Princess ride.

Here is the spread (yes, complete with boxed wine!):

I made a dip that I found on the back of the Mission Tortilla Strip bag…Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Dip:

It calls for cilantro so I was immediately sold:

This is my new fave $3.99 TJ’s wine find (and it’s organic!):

Holden decided to don a plastic bowl helmet:

Checking out the stars:

This morning we were up bright and early to head to a Scooter’s Jungle (bounce house place) birthday party for a little friend in E’s dance class, ran some errands to finish up shopping for Easter outfits, pick up some hand weights for my boot camp which starts tomorrow and then enjoyed an al fresco dinner of homemade crispy chicken tenders and mac n cheese (NOT homemade!).

I discovered this recipe in Parents magazine years ago and it is so easy and delish. I feel like I feed my kids dino chickens from Costco on a daily basis, so it’s nice to make them from scratch once in awhile. The recipe calls for corn flakes, but I used my leftover rice crispies from the treats earlier this week and those worked just fine.

Here is what you need:

12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I use frozen chicken tenderloins)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard

1 cup packaged cornflake crumbs or 2 cups cornflakes, finely crused (or crushed rice crispies!)

1/4 tsp. salt

Dash ground black pepper

Dipping sauces: BBQ, Ranch or ketchup

1. Heat oven to 450F. Cut chicken into 3/4-inch strips. In a shallow dish, combine the egg, honey and mustard. In another shallow dish stir together cornflake crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip chicken strips into the egg mixture and then roll them in crumb mixture to coat evenly.

2. Arrange the strips on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 179 calories, 22g protein, 2g fat, 16g carb, 18mg calcium, 0 fiber

I sliced mine and put them into a salad…still desperately trying to recreate the CPK bbq chicken salad!

Finally, I will leave you with this cute image:

Future blogger?

Here’s to another busy week ahead…2 boot camps, mammogram, bro-in-law coming on Wednesday and then the in-laws coming on Good Friday to celebrate Easter with us. Egg coloring and frosted Easter sugar cookies to be made in between. Oh, and sloppy joes (not from a can!) on the menu for tomorrow.

Hope you have all sorts of good stuff on the agenda this week, too!

Everything’s Better With Ketchup

Tonight it was “low carb” night in the Aspiras household.

Salmon cakes on greens and parmesan roasted asparagus.

Super easy and kinda fancy for a Wednesday evening.

I picked up some gorgeous asparagus on sale for 97¢/pound which is über cheap…

I just chopped off the bottoms (about 2 inches), cut into thirds on the diagonal, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Toss them around, pour onto a baking sheet and roast @ 400 for about 20 minutes.

Salmon Cakes with Lemon Dill Sour Cream

2 – 5oz. cans boneless, skinless salmon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs)

2 Tbsp. red onion, minced

2 Tbsp. frozen sweet white corn, thawed

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

Salt & Pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and form into small patties ~ the above recipe made 7 cakes.

Drizzle a grill pan or skillet with olive oil and cook on medium for about 5 minutes each side.

I had a little bit of leftover sour cream so I added a squeeze of lemon and a few shakes of dill weed. I just placed the patties on some spring mix and …

Super easy AND Elliott loved it! I’m thrilled that she is branching out and trying new things. She ate 1.5 patties and several pieces of asparagus right before she stated, “Asparagus is better when you dip it in ketchup!”

So, I will let YOU decide if you want to break out the Heinz on this one…but I think it’s perfectly delish without it!


{Oh my….I just had an evil carb thought ~ these would be heavenly on a little bun with the lemon dill sour cream and a few greens as sliders…hmmm, going to have to try that when I’m down a few pounds!}