All in a day’s work

The stomach bug conquered this family. Poor Marseille lost it during dinner. I am so thankful that today I was actually able to get some stuff done. I began the day by making meals with all the wonderful produce we have been getting from the Noisy Rabbit. Because I was out of commission last week, we had two full weeks of produce sitting around. Yikes! Saturday night, I made my favorite soup, Ribollita. I spent most of Sunday trying to find recipes to use of the remaining produce.

So, today, I made freshly squeeze grapefruit/orange/mineola/clementine juice, sweet potato gnocchi, roasted some red peppers. For dinner I made a tomato soup that used a head of cabbage and sweet potatoes. I also made my own croutons for the soup. I had to run to the store to get Strawberry Fanta for Danny because that was the only thing that sounded good to him. I ran the dishwasher twice and did two loads of laundry  A.N.D…

I am pooped. I sat down to watch some tv and fold the laundry. I even scooped myself a little bit of frozen yogurt, but I didn’t finish it. You know I’m sick if I don’t finish ice cream.

Being sick really does wear you out!  I can’t wait to feel like myself again! I can’t wait for my poor little family to be better. On the bright side, I was able to use a lot of good produce!!

xo, nikki :)


Mexican Egg Muffin

Since, I am counting calories, working out and such, I have been looking at different breakfast recipes.  I bought ingredients to make breakfast burritos and came across “egg muffins.” It’s like scrambled eggs in a muffin tin. I found a couple of good recipes, but I was always missing an ingredient or two. So, I made my own:

Nikki’s Mexican Egg Muffins


16oz. Egg Whites ( I got a carton of these very cheap at Trader Joes)

4 eggs

2/3 cup of turkey sausage, precooked (I bought the crumbles because I couldn’t find just a package of turkey sausage)

1.25 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 big cup of baby spinach, sliced/ shredded

half a green pepper

red onion to taste

large handful of cilantro

large handful of parsley

your favorite salsa


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F — Make sure you preheat your oven!

2. Prepare your muffin tin with foil liners or grease your tins with whatever you like to use. I only had extra large foil liners, so I put them on a baking sheet. You could use ramekins if you wanted.

3. In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs until the egg whites and whole eggs are combined.

4. Add the sausage, cheese, vegetables, and herbs to the egg mixture. Add pepper if you want. I wouldn’t add any salt, because you have already added cheese and sausage!

5. Stir to combine, then ladle the mixture into the prepared muffin tins filling about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Don’t put too much in because it will still over as the eggs cook.

6. Spoon salsa over the top of each “muffin”.

7. Bake for about 25-35 minutes until the eggs are set. Let cool for just a couple minutes on a wire rack.

You can enjoy now, or let cool completely and stick them in the freezer. The regular size muffins are around 90 calories!  The large muffins were too big for me to eat in one sitting, so I cut them in half and froze them!

This recipe makes 12-14 regular size muffins, and 7 large size muffins. When I run out of these I am going to try and make Italian Egg Muffins!

Bon Appetit! nikki :)

To be posted…

some of my own recipe creations! These are some of the new recipes I made up and Danny loved. So that means they go straight to the Tried and True notebook!!
Zucchini Boats- I didn’t come up with the actual idea, but made the technique and filling up!
Spinach Pizza Pot Pie

Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Sausage, Peppers and Onions
Giada De Laurentiis
The marsala wine makes this– don’t skip it!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Marsala wine
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
4 to 6 fresh Italian sandwich rolls, optional

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain.

Keeping the pan over medium heat, add the peppers, onions, salt, and pepper and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the Marsala wine, tomatoes, and chili flakes, if using. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the browned bits. Bring to a simmer.

Cut the sausages into 4 to 6 pieces each, about 1-inch cubes. Add the sausage back to the pan and stir to combine. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Serve in bowls. Or, if serving as a sandwich, split the rolls in half lengthwise. Hollow out the bread from the bottom side of each roll, being careful not to puncture the crust. Fill the bottom half of the roll with sausage mixture. Top and serve sandwiches immediately.

Bird in a Pie

Bird in a Pie
Gui Fieri
This is so good. I love the homemade herbed crust, who doesn’t love a little extra flavor!

For the Crust:
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for board
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons dried thyme (I use 2 tsp dried thyme)
4 teaspoons dried sage (I use 2 tsp dried sage)
4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
12 to 16 tablespoons cold water
For the Filling:
3 tablespoons butter
1 sweet onion, diced
1 medium shallot, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups hot chicken stock
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
2 cups frozen diced carrots and peas
2 teaspoons dried sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, whisked, for egg wash
Special equipment: 4 (5-inch) aluminum pot pie pans ** I don’t use these**
To prepare the crust:

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons thyme and sage in a food processor, pulsing until combined. Add in 2 sticks butter, 4 tablespoons at a time, pulsing after each addition until mixture forms coarse texture. Slowly add in 6 to 8 tablespoons cold water while machine is running, 2 tablespoons at a time until dough balls up in processor to one side. Remove dough onto a lightly floured board, cut in half and form into 2 (8-inch) rounds. Wrap each tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill for 30 minutes prior to rolling out. Repeat to make second batch of dough.

To prepare the filling:
In large saute pan, melt butter over medium heat; add onions, shallot and celery. Saute until just starting to brown. Stir in flour and saute for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot stock, stirring well. When bubbly and thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes, stir in chopped chicken, carrots and peas, and sage. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Let cool while rolling out dough.

To assemble pies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On lightly floured board, cut the rounds of dough in half. Roll pieces into 6-inch rounds, about 1/4-inch thickness. Place a round in the bottom of 4 aluminum pie pans and lightly press the sides and bottom to fit the shape of the pans. Generously top with filling until full and slightly mounded. Top with second piece of crust and pinch seams together. Cut 2 small slits in top. Brush with egg wash. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown and filling is bubbling.

**I pour the filling into a 8×8 baking dish or a pie dish and put the dough on the top. So, I usually only make half the amount of dough.**

Tango Joes

Tango Joes
Rachael Ray
A family favorite! Great for garlic lovers. Danny actually enjoys the chimichurri :)

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 pounds lean ground beef sirloin (I use only 1 lb of lean ground beef)
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (3 generous handfuls)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves **I omit**
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 Portuguese or kaiser rolls

Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, until browned, about 7 minutes. Season the meat with the paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat.

Meanwhile, make the chimichurri: Using a food processor, pulse together the onion, garlic, parsley, vinegar, oregano, thyme and rosemary until finely chopped. With the machine on, pour in the remaining 1/3 cup EVOO.

In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Stir into the meat and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of the chimichurri and cook for 5 minutes.

Warm the rolls in the oven. Split them and slather the cut sides of the tops with the remaining chimichurri. Pile the meat onto the bun bottoms, cover with the tops and serve.

Balsamic Chicken Drumettes

Balsamic Chicken Drumettes
Giada De Laurentiis
This is a great entertaining recipe! Everyone loves it! It’s quick, easy and best of all YUMMY! Danny said that this is one of his favorite dinners.

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce OR Tamari (wheat free)
5 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves, halved
10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves, in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Reserve.

Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley. (I have omitted this depending on who is eating it!)

Cook’s note: I like the rosemary and garlic flavors in the background. Brushing the cooked drumettes with the reduced marinade helps the flavors along. Also, re-moistening helps the parsley and the seeds to adhere.