Category Archives: for the recipe book

Cheesy Vegetable Bake – Recipe

This is a simple make-ahead supper, easy to pop in the oven when company’s over.  It’s actually the first meal I prepared after Bean was born.  (That’s right – I went four weeks without doing anything more than reheating.  Don’t judge.)

I made this when my sister-in-law and her daughter stayed for the weekend.   With eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and onions in the mix, I was nervous that my sixth grade niece would balk.  Perhaps she was just being polite, but she ate it.  (Disclaimer: She did pick around the eggplant and tomatoes.)

Cheesy Vegetable Bake

adapted from Real Simple
makes 4 servings


  • 1/2 pound dry, small-shaped pasta
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Feta
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella


  1. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl.
  2. Cut the zucchini, squash, eggplant, and onion into bite sized pieces and place on a baking sheet. Brush with the vinaigrette. Heat broiler on high. Broil until tender, 6 minutes per side.  Reduce heat to 350 if baking right away; turn oven off if freezing.
  3. Place the empty pasta pot over low heat. Add the garlic and the remaining oil and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the drained pasta, vegetables, oregano, tomatoes, pasta sauce, Feta, black pepper,  and the remaining salt and toss.
  4. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes longer.  Serve immediately.

To freeze: Assemble (but do not bake) the casserole. Cover tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Store for up to 3 months

To reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Cover and heat in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and heat for 20 minutes longer.


Cheese Stromboli (a.k.a. Pizza Pinwheels)

We’ve never eaten stromboli before, so I can’t say this is an authentic recipe, or could even officially be categorized as stromboli.  Over at Fix Me A Snack Cindy affectionately refers to them as Pizza Pinwheels, and we just might steal that name.  They’re fun to eat (particularly with ranch dipping sauce), but the name stromboli just sounds so official.  Pizza pinwheels it is!

Cheese Stromboli

(a.k.a. Pizza Pinwheels)

recipe adapted from Fix Me A Snack
makes 10 stromboli


  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • sauteed mushrooms
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Allow the dough to come close to room temperature so that it is easy to work with.  Shape into a 6×14 inch rectangle.
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Spread on the olive oil then the sauce, cheese, and mushrooms.  Tightly roll up the dough and pinch the loose edge to adhere it to the roll.
  4. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 2-inch segments. Gently reshape the segments into circles and place 2-3″ apart, swirl side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes or until the dough starts to brown. Allow the stromboli to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Serve or transfer to a cooling rack. The stromboli can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

One Ingredient Ice Cream

When I heard about one ingredient ice cream, I was skeptical.  The basic gist: put a frozen banana in the food processor.  That’s it.

I figured we’d end up with a frozen treat – possibly tasty, possibly not so much – but I didn’t expect the texture or taste to be anywhere near the glory of  ice cream.

Three words that I don’t usually admit to: I was wrong.

It turned out to be creamy, similar to soft serve.  If someone offered me banana flavored ice cream, I’d laugh.  But somehow this turned out to be our new favorite dessert.

You’ll have to try it if you don’t believe me.

One Ingredient Ice Cream

adapted from the kitchn
makes 2 small servings


  • 2 bananas
  • Add-ins (optional – see below)
  1. Slice bananas.  Freeze for at least two hours.
  2. Blend frozen bananas and add-ins in a food processor.  Scrape down the sides as necessary until smooth, creamy, and lump-free.
Optional Add-ins
  • hot cocoa mix (possibly just cocoa powder?  I’m not sure on this one…)
  • chocolate sauce and peanut butter
  • honey
  • fudgesicle
  • vanilla
  • pineapple juice, coconut, and rum
  • Nutella

Earthquake Cake

Not wanting to be late for dinner, my mom attempted to quickly assemble a cake that she’d just pulled out of the oven… a bit too soon, apparently.  While she got teased quite a bit by the rest of the family, I thought it actually looked pretty cute!

Earthquake Cake

recipe from Kate’s mom


  • 2 nine-inch cakes, just out of the oven
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • about 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • milk


  1. Make frosting by combining melted butter and powdered sugar.  Add milk until desired consistency is reached.
  2. Overturn first cake onto cake platter.  Frost the top of the first layer.
  3. Overturn the second cake on top of the first, unevenly, allowing it to break apart in several places.  Pull apart more if needed.
  4. Pour remaining frosting over cake.

Trail Mix

My go-to lunchtime filler is trail mix.  It’s easy, it’s filling, and it’s tasty.  There’s no official recipe, but my typical ratio is three parts nuts, two parts dried fruit, and one part treat.  The easiest way to toss it together is to layer the ingredients to fill about 3/4 of an empty peanut jar or other container and give a few shakes.  The picture below is way too full to be combined – I ended up splitting this equally into two containers.  (I also added a few chocolate chips, but we don’t have to tell anyone else that…)

Trail Mix Ingredients

macadamia nuts
sunflower seeds (not technically a nut, I know…)

dried fruit
dried cranberries
raisins (regular or golden)
dried cherries
dried apricots

yogurt-covered dried fruit
chocolate covered raisins or peanuts
chocolate chips
white chocolate chips

Teddy Grahams
Craklin’ Oat Bran cereal pieces
Goldfish Grahams


Strawberry Banana Smoothies

For a long time, I’d feel guilty about drinking an entire smoothie.  They’re so good they seem like an unhealthy treat.  I’ve since gotten past that, as there’s not a speck of unhealthiness in a glass.

We never measure this recipe.  I’ve written the formal recipe below, but it can be summed up in two sentences: Blend ice cubes, fruit, yogurt, and milk until smooth.  A few tips and tricks that we’ve discovered over the years:

  • Add more ice cubes for thicker smoothies.
  • Add more milk for a thinner smoothie.
  • Any frozen fruit can be used in place of the strawberries/banana.
  • If you add a hefty amount of ice cubes to begin with, you’ll over compensate with the rest of the ingredients, and end up with double the smoothie you’d like to eat.
  • If the ice isn’t hitting the blades of the blender, add more milk or give the blender a good shake or two (while it’s off, of course).

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

similar recipe found at
recipe makes 2 smoothies


  • 5-10 ice cubes
  • 5-7 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, broken into chunks
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup milk


  1. Layer ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.

Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots

recipe from Cook’s Country


  • 10 garlic cloves, minced (total of 2 tablespoons minced garlic)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Grease large bowl.
  2. Cook garlic, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon water in small nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is straw colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Add remaining butter, stirring until melted. Let stand 10 minutes off heat. Strain garlic butter through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl; reserve garlic solids.
  3. Whisk remaining water, 1 tablespoon garlic butter, reserved garlic solids, and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add water mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes. Turn dough onto clean work surface and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough has doubled in size, 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough on floured surface. Roll dough into 12- by 6-inch rectangle and cut into twelve 6-inch strips. With flat hands, roll each strip into 12-inch ropes. Tie ropes into knots (see photos below), tucking tails. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove knots from oven and discard plastic. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Return knots to oven and bake until set, about 5 minutes. Remove knots from oven and brush with 2 tablespoons garlic butter. Rotate, return to oven, and bake until golden, about 4 minutes. Brush knots with remaining garlic butter and cool 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Serve warm.