Zupa's Ultimate Grilled Cheese

My favorite item from Zupa's is their Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  I LOVE it and get it every time.  Now that I have figured out the ingredients I can make it even better than they can. (not to toot my own horn, but I can.) :)  Try this!  You will LOVE it!

Sourdough bread from your grocers bakery
Turkey sandwich meat
Sliced Muenster Cheese and Colby Jack Cheese
Sliced Roma Tomatoes (thin)
Costco's Pesto Basil found in the refrigerated section

Butter the top and bottom of the Sandwich
Assemble as follows:
Turkey (I did only 3 slices)
Layer of Tomatoes
Layer of Muenster Cheese
Layer of Colby Jack Cheese

If you have a panini maker, go to town on that... 
If you don't just grill like a grilled cheese on medium until golden brown on both sides.

Serve this along with the creamy tomato basil soup I've posted and you will have one heavenly meal.. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Glazed Salmon Spinach Salad

As you know, I love to cook, and think that I am a pretty ok one at that.  Well, I like to think this is the tastiest meal I have made... ever.  I LOVED it and am pretty sure I will be making this time and time again!

I found a version of this glaze on www.abountifulkitchen.com and my version is a little bit healthier... I am sure their's tastes better though. ;)
Thaw 4 Salmon Filet's 
2 TB Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves Minced (mckormick brand in the spice isle is what I use.)
2 TB Worchesterchier Sauce
1 TB dry mustard
1 tsp Ketchup
3 TB Balsamic Vinegarette
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix up the ingredients and dip the filet's in the sauce.  
Place on broiling pan that has been sprayed with Pam.
Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the filet's.
Broil for 10-12 minutes until it can flake.

Layer Spinach on the bottom of a bowl.
Cut in half 5 sunburst cherry tomatoes per bowl.
Feta Cheese Crumbles
Glazed Pecans

Place Salmon on top of Salad and drizzle
Rasperry Vinegarette and Balsamic Vinegarette on top.



Artichoke Chicken

Stole this recipe from one of my best friends, you can find the original recipe on their site, www.fit2fat2fit.com and a lot of other delicious, healthy recipes you will love!

This recipe was so easy, and I took 3 minutes and threw the ingredients in the crockpot on Sunday before my 3 hour block of church, and it was so nice to come home to a hot and ready meal for my family!  You will love this zesty and hearty meal!

1 bag frozen chicken tenderloins
1 jar costco's artichoke hearts (juice included)
1 jar costco's 4 bean salad (drained)

Throw every thing in the crock pot and cook for a few hours on high.


Baked Green Beans and Asparagus

I don't know about you, but I LOVE fresh asparagus and green beans.  When I was first married I would either buy the canned or frozen version, or I would steam them.  I came up with this way that is fail proof and tastes delicious every time.  It just compliments the flavor of the veggie and you will have seconds. 

Fresh Asparagus or Green Beans.
For asparagus break of bottom of stalk about an inch in.  This will get rid of the rougher, more bitter part of the vegetable.
The rest of the preparation will be the same for the two.

Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper

Layer Veggies in separate 9x13 dishes.
Pour a tiny bit of Olive Oil and toss with hand.  You want it to cover all of the veggies, but be light.
Sprinkle Sea Salt, Ground Pepper and a generous amount of Garlic Salt on the veggies and toss again.

Bake at 375 degrees until fork tender.
This could take anywhere between 30-45 minutes depending on how thick they are.
Also, be sure to mix them up to redistribute the oil through out the baking.  I usually will every ten minutes.

Serve with Hollandeis sauce and enjoy!


Corned Beef and Cabbage

Got this recipe from my Dad.  One of his favorite meals, and though it took me quite a while to try this because of the color of the meat... I am glad I finally did!  The flavor and tenderness is so delicious!  It is now a favorite of mine!

Corned Beef
3 LB corned beef brisket with spice packet
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 med onions, chopped
1 small head green cabbage, cored, roughly chopped
2 cups apple juice
1 cup water

Put the carrots and onions on the bottom of the slow cooker, and put the corned beef on top.  Arrange the chopped cabbage around the beef. Add the apple juice and 1 cup of water along with the contents of the spiced packet.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the beef is tender.  



Baked "Hard-boiled" Eggs!

I saw this on Pinterest and I HAD to try!  We love hardboiled eggs in our home and go through sometimes 2 dozen a week!  This is such an easy way to get them just right!  Hope you try and enjoy this process as much as I do!

Preheat oven to 325- 350 Degrees for 20-30 mins.
You have to test out what works just right for your oven.  
Place the eggs in a mini muffin tin and bake for 20 mins then take one out and test.
To test, spin it and try to stop it from spinning by touching it with your finger.  If it stops it is done.  If it still wobbles a bit it need to be cooked longer.


Banana Nut Muffins

 Holiday's are so much more fun with kids in the house.  This past Valentine's Day I asked my 3 year old what she wanted to make for breakfast...  She said banana muffins.  I pulled out a muffin cook book I won at bunco a few years back that I never had opened (I am NOT a baker, I love to cook, but I tend to ruin any baked goods!)  However, these turned out divine!  I even made some mini ones for my neighbor and she said that she thought I bought them!  Pretty great compliment for me since I really ruin 9 out of 10 things I try to bake! :)  So, these are pretty much fail proof!  You must try!

1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
2 1/2 Cups Superfine Sugar
Large Handful Coarsely Chopped Pecans
2 Large Ripe Banana's, Mashed
5 Tb Milk
2 Tb Butter, Melted
1 Large Egg, Beaten
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Almond Extract

1- Place 8 muffin paper liners in a muffin pan.  Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, add the sugar and pecans and stir to combine.
2- Place the mashed bananas, milk, butter, egg and vanilla and almond extract in a separate bowl and mix together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined.
3- Divide the batter evenly among the paper liners and bake in preheated oven, 375 for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.  Remove the muffins from the oven and place them on a cooling rack.  Let cool completely before frosting them.  Once frosted sprinkle with chopped pecans.


Spinach Wrap

I am such a sucker for going to those high end bakery's and paying way too much money for this exact type of meal.  This creation reminds me of my favorite eatery in Virginia, The Joyful Spirit Cafe. So of course I was so pleased when I came up with this replica! If you have the right ingredients, you can eat like a queen everyday! :)
This chicken wrap is one of my favorite wraps.  You will thoroughly enjoy this one!

Spinach Wrap Tortilla (found with the flour tortillas)
Baby spinach
Cooked cubed chicken
Diced Avacados
Low-fat cream cheese
Costco's Pineapple habenero salsa
Diced roma tomato

How to Assemble:
Layer softened cream cheese on open tortilla
Spread a little layer of the salsa on the cream cheese.
(warning, this stuff has quite the kick, start of with a smaller amount..)
A small layer of spinach (cut stems off)
The throw on the rest of the ingredients.
Roll up and ENJOY!

*I served this with my homemade tomato basil soup.  You can find that recipe in the side bar under the label of 'soup'...


Lemon Garlic Artichoke and Shrimp

Usually I stick to the veggies I am very familiar with, however, when I was last at the grocery store these artichokes were just calling my name.  I had no clue to to cook, let alone eat the whole artichoke, but I picked two up and when I got home googled how to cook them.  Lots and lots of recipes are out there but this one sounded the tastiest to me.  I had some shrimp in the freezer and made up a yummy marinade I will also share.  The meal was unique, but was filling and delicious!

Minced garlic (I always use the pre-minced McKormic brand found by the spices.  Saves so much time and makes me use garlic a lot more in my cooking.)
Lemon Juice (again, I buy the lemon juice bottle from the produce section)
Thawed shrimp (take tails off)
Two whole artichoke's
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
(I also made up sauted mushrooms and onions for a side that complimented the meal wonderfully!)
One sweet onion
5 white mushrooms, diced

1- Cut stem of artichoke so it is flat so that you can stand it up while cooking. Then cut the top point off, about 1-2 inches down.
2- Open up leaves and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil, lemon juice and shove garlic down in to the pockets.
3- Wrap artichokes individually in foil and place on baking sheet.
4- Bake in oven for 1.5 hours at 425 degrees.
5- Unwrap the foil and enjoy! (the tips of the leaves are the edible parts and are delicious plain, or dipped in melted butter.  The heart of the artichoke is the best part, and that is in the center!  Have fun eating this!)

1- Mix 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 3TB olive oil and place in a baggy.
2-Thaw shrimp and marinate in a baggy for 30 or more minutes.
4- Place shrimp on baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Onions and Mushrooms:
This is one of my favorite side dishes or snacks out there!
So easy too.
1- Dice up mushrooms and onions.
2- Place in frying pan and add a small amount of olive oil and salt and pepper.
3- Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until onions are tender.

Bon Appetite!


Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Have you ever been to Zupa's and tried their delightful Tomato Basil soup???  Well, I have and I am a little bit more than obsessed with it.  I literally could eat it every week.  I am happy to say that I have found an exact replica of this yummy soup!

1 bottle of v8 tomato juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cube butter
2 cans whole tomatoes (drained)
20-30 basil leaves.
Salt and pepper

1-  Simmer Tomatoes and Juice in stock pot on medium heat for 30 minutes.
2- Slowly add tomato mix to blender and puree until smooth.
3-  Puree the basil leaves in as well until smooth.
4-  Put mixture back in the stock pot and stir in the heavy cream and butter.
5-  Continue simmering on medium heat until the butter is melted.  Make sure not to boil, it will burn the soup.

Every one I have made this for raved about its delicious flavor!


Spicy Chicken Avocado Chicken Enchilada's

I have always LOVED chicken enchilada's but never found a recipe that I have found and made that has been a keeper at our house.  A big thanks to Ruthie, a blogger I follow, for sharing a unique blend of shredded chicken, cilantro, avocado  cheese and a spicy topping.  A lighter, fresh take on the expected chicken enchilada.

I didn't have all of the listed ingredients, so I improvised a bit, but loved the result, so I'm pretty sure I will stick to the way I made it, was a bit easy too, with less steps.  Check out her original recipe on her site, www.ruthiehart.com, I will list my altered one.

For the sauce
I jar Pace's Garlic & Lime Salsa Verde
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fat free sour cream

For the enchiladas

2 Cans Kirkland shredded chicken
1 cup colby jack cheese
1 cup spicy jack cheese
3 avocados, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
10 whole wheat tortillas (I always use whole wheat for my mexican dishes.  They are healthier, and more substantial to hold all the yummy stuff.)

1. In large bowl mix together chicken, cheese, avocados and add a little salt and pepper, mix and then layer in center of whole wheat tortilla, roll up and place in sprayed dish.  Line up as many as you can fit in baking dish.

2. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over tortillas.
3. Top with a little more cheese to your cheesy likeness. :)9. Top with remaining sauce and cheese
10. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes


Favorite Italian Pasta Salad

This has been a favorite of mine for years and years!  Any time I bring this to a party I always get asked for the recipe, and laugh, because I always use the 'Suddenly Salad' boxed recipe mix.  Then I doctor it up with some yummies and it is always sure to be a hit!

I usually do 4 boxes at a time for parties, some for it and save some for my family.
Suddenly Salad Classic Italian
1/2 cup Kraft Caesar Salad Dressing
1 can black olives
1/2 pack sunburst tomatoes (the orange grape size)
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1 -1 1/2 cup broccoli flowerette's
3 diced white mushrooms
2 roma tomatoes
diced pepperoni (optional, my husband loves them included)
cubed mozzarella cheese 

Follow directions on box.
Mix the boxed dressing together with the caesar dressing.
Dice up veggies.
Mix the noodles with the veggies.
Slowly add the dressing mixing little by little.
Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

*If it seems a little dry and need a little more dressing before serving, try the caesar italian dressing by kraft.