Monday, March 9, 2015

BLT Pasta salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

courtesy of

I have been hooked on's site! She has GREAT recipes! Every twist on a swig cookie you could imagine and delicious main dishes, etc. I have never been disappointed in her stuff! I follow fer daughter (mintarrow) on instagram and found her mom (abountifulkitchen) through her! And for all you folks that miss Naturally Fresh ranch dressing...TRY THIS!!! Delicious!

1/2 lb bacon
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried (yield about 16 cups of loosely packed lettuce)
1 lb Grape tomatoes or Roma tomatoes
1-1 1/2 lb cheese-filled ravioli  (I used tortellini b/c its what I had on hand)
1-2  tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing mix
( I also added about two chicken breasts, cooked and shredded)

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
adapted from The Huffington Post 

1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoon chopped fresh: tarragon, dill, parsley, chives (all or a combo of these)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
two dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Prepare dressing:
Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Shake until blended well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. If you have an immersion blender place all of the ingredients in a jar and pulse until the herbs are chopped fine.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Pat any remaining grease off of bacon. Place on a cutting board and chop. Set aside.Cook chicken and shred and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not overcook. Rinse with cold water, drain. Toss the pasta with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons prepared dry ranch dressing mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.  Let the pasta cool completely before adding to the salad, or the pasta will wilt the lettuce.
Cut the lettuce into bite size pieces.
Slice the grape tomatoes in half, or if using Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks.
Arrange the lettuce in a large bowl. Place the tomatoes over top of the lettuce and top with cooled pasta. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, toss the salad a bit,  sprinkle with bacon and drizzle with fresh ranch. Serve salad with additional dressing on the side.
Serves12 as a side dish

PF Chang's Copycat Monglian Beef

courtesy of

I found this recipe on pinterest and made it for Sunday dinner. It was AMAZING! Pinterest win for sure (and you never know how pinterest can go). It was easy and delicious. My hubby even took some to his friends at school and then they called for the recipe.

  • 2 lb flank steak
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
For sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 or 3 green onions chopped
  • I added cornstarch (about 2 T) to thicken the sauce...I was probably just not patient enough for it to reduce.

  1. Slice the steak into small thin pieces against the grain. In a large ziploc bag add the starch and add the beef to it. Close the ziploc bag and shake really well until each pieces is coated with cornstarch. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a small sauce pan add the oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and water. Stir and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. It took me about 20 minutes until the sauce thickened and reduced. Set aside. (Or if you are impatient like me, add cornstarch :) )
  3. In a non stick skillet heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add beef and cook until browned. I had to do in a 2 batches. Also if you need more oil after the batch feel free to add more. Remove beef from skillet to a bowl and empty the oil from the skillet. Return beef to skillet and pour sauce over the beef. Stir and cook for a couple more minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

This soup was seriously amazing.  I made it for dinner tonight and couldn't wait to post it...its that good.  The flavor is so, so good.  I don't even like sweet potatoes, but the soup is spicy, so it gives the perfect amount of sweetness to offset the heat.  It really is perfect, very filling and super healthy.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil
½ medium yellow onion, chopped small
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, quartered and chopped
1 celery stalk, quartered and chopped
2 chipotle chilis (canned), seeded and chopped (use 3 for more heat and 1 for extra mild heat)
1 medium poblano (pasilla chili), seeded and chopped small
2 c. chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium)
3 cans black beans, drained (or 1 ½ cups dried black beans that have been soaked over night in water that is filled 3 inches above the beans (do this in a sealed container); drained)
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. salt
¼ tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
ground black pepper to taste
1 medium – large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

Heat the olive or grapeseed oil in a soup pot and add the first seven ingredients. Saute on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. 
 Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender to your liking (about 15-20 min). If you start to lose too much liquid, turn down the heat and put on the lid and add more chicken stock if needed.