So simple… and so good!! I made this just as the recipe suggested.. with fresh cauliflower… That being said I think a few shortcuts to this would make it even easier .. not that its difficult at all lol! I’ll be giving it a try next time I make it…

  • Replace fresh cauliflower with frozen
  • Chop garlic into smaller pieces and just toss with cauliflower instead of pre-boiling. They may burn though… we’ll have to see…

Anyway, this was a great side dish as well as a main dish when tossed with pasta! Very easy and very filling! I made it once with the pine nuts and once without… both ways were yummy! Enjoy!   Here is the recipe from Ina’s book:

Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?

Serves 6


  • 1 whole head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • Bring small pot of water to a boil and add garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, peel, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
  • On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice until cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
  • Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the parsley, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, toss well and serve hot or warm.

It’s so good you will be picking the little bits off the pan and eating them while waiting for the rest of your meal to finish cooking lol! Enjoy!!

I’m so behind with this blog it’s not even funny!

I have a ton of recipes lined up… and now I have to search through my thousands of archives of pictures to find them!! This recipe for Spring Green Risotto was chosen as one of the May recipes by Kimberly from Indulge and Enjoy. I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of risotto… I had only had it once at a very nice restaurant in England… however it was so bland I had to dump practically an entire container of salt on it! I should have known better… because honestly at this point I think we all know Ina doesn’t make things that don’t taste good!! That said, I did have to modify this recipe a bit… while I’m sure that the mascarpone is delish… it had like an INSANE amount of calories and fat and since I was just cooking this for the 3 of us and not any guests I took the liberty of slimming it down. I’ve posted my modifications in green. And I just have to say that even with my hip slimming modifications this dish was amazing! Creamy, flavorful, and just yummy yummy!! I made it with lemon garlic grilled chicken cutlets… it was fab!!!  Enjoy!!!

Spring Green Risotto

Source: Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Serves: 4 servings for dinner (if you are feeding linebackers) or 6 for appetizers (normal people size 🙂 )


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil * I cut this down to 1 tablespoon and used olive oil cooking spray as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter * I cut this out completely
  • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade * I used the one in a box… I think it was College Inn??
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas * ((SHUDDER)) I hate peas… so I used fresh string beans and cut them in half
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian * I used fat free cream cheese… it was delish!
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter (I used the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cooking spray) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.
  • Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
  • This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends.
  • Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)   ( I blanched the string beans same as the asparagus)
  • When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas (string beans), lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
  • Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone (fat free cream cheese) together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone (cheese) mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.
  • Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

There is a special fondness for shrimp cocktail in my family… starting from as far back as I can remember…Basically every recipe is the same .. the only difference is the  brand of cocktail sauce you used or how much ketchup you added to the chile sauce! So, when I saw Ina make this on her show one day I mentally filed it away because it amazed me how one simple step can transform such a plain jane dish!  Also, her cocktail sauce is wicked spicy on it’s own so don’t be alarmed when you taste it without the shrimp. Add the shrimp and it works together perfectly!! This picture shows the roasted shrimp cocktail and also Ina’s roasted pepper and gorgonzola bruchetta… I can’t remember if I blogged about it though… it’s awesome too….Enjoy!

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail… I’m tired so here is the link!

So, I have to confess… I am not a huge meatloaf lover. My hubby however, is a HUGE meatloaf fan! So every once in a while I break down and make it for him. Unfortunately for him, my meatloaf recipes are mostly like my meatball recipes… (see BB: Real Spaghetti & Meatballs for details). UNTIL NOW! Mwahahahaha!

Once again, Ina has worked her magic. This meatloaf was simple and delicious and got thumbs up from all 3 of us! Try it and let me know what you think! 

Special thanks to Tonya of What’s On My Plate for choosing one of March’s Barefoot Bloggers recipe!

Here is the link to the recipe as I currently have an almost 4 year old throwing stuffed animals up in the air behind me and don’t have time to type it out….the only change I really made was subbing the meatloaf mix for the chuck… you know.. the 3 little mounds in the butcher section… beef/pork/veal. Enjoy!

Let me just say that we are a family of carnivores… meat eaters… whatever… I’m just saying …

However, once in a while I come across something veggy that sounds interesting. So the questions always are “Will it taste good?” and “Will it fill my husband up?” The answer for this recipe is YES!!!

Once again I was sucked in by the marketing. The picture of this recipe was so yummy looking! It was tasty as is although I did add a bit more cheese because cheese makes everything better! *Note my pictures are not as pretty as the cookbook! 🙂

Here is the recipe:

Vegetarian Moussaka

Source: Great Taste Low Fat, One -Pot Meals by Time Life Books

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, defatted
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 eggplants (@ 8 oz each), cut lengthwise into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 8 oz orzo
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat milk
  • 3 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (@ 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine the broth and vinegar. Add the eggplant, tossing to coat. 
  • Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until soft.
  • Meanwhile (at the Batcave lol) in a large pot of boiling water, cook the orzo until just tender, drain well and set aside
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot but not smoking over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, @ 7 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly until light golden, @ 4 minutes.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened, @ 4 minutes longer.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the orzo, all but 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella, the oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper
  • Spray a 9×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line 2 sides of the dish with eggplant slices, leaving a 2 inch overhang. Spoon the orzo mixture over the eggplant, fold the eggplant ends over the mixture, and pour the tomato sauce on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until moussaka is piping hot. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons mozzarella on top and bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Fat:9 grams

Calories: 423

Sat Fat: 3.2

Carb: 68grams

Protein: 19g

Cholesterol: 16 mg

Sodium: 522 mg

**You can unhealthify this recipe and maybe make it more flavorful. You know what to do! 🙂

Shame on me… I had the pleasure of choosing one of February’s recipes and I am soooo far behind! In my defense, I did have an oven incident which returned me to being “Queen of Microwave Cooking” for about 2 weeks….. more on that later when I post about Indonesian Chicken.

So what to say about this Baked Shrimp Scampi recipe except that it’s freaking awesome!! I’ve actually made it twice now, and will be making it again tonight. It is so easy to make and tastes so absolutely delish!  Shrimp scampi has always been one of my family’s favorite meals ever since I was a kid! My dad had some creative ways to making it (including a microwave version which sounds gross but is actually really yummy!) This is by far the best one I’ve come across, and it’s better than in the restaurants because you can choose to use the monster size shrimp and not be limited to just 4-5 measly little ones on your plate for $25+.

I served this a few different ways, once with rice and once over egg noodles. Both times, I made broccoli as a side dish. Just steaming it worked well because you can then just toss it into the scampi sauce! A few changes I made to the recipe was that I didn’t use the wine and I omitted the egg yolk. Wine doesn’t seem to last long in our house and every time I go to make this recipe I never seem to have any lol! And… egg tends to skeeve me out, so if I don’t think it’s needed I skip it.  I subbed lemon juice for the wine and it was great. Another time I didn’t have lemons, but I did have lime so I used lime for all the lemon and cilantro for the parsley… very yummy twist on the recipe!

It was so good, even my almost 4 year old little chicky ate it! She’s becoming very adventuresome lately with her food choices even branching out to her new favorite “sushi”.. or as she pronounces it “soooshi”… more on that in a later post!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, by Ina Garten

Serves 6


  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How to pull it all together:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
  • In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
  • Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.


 I’m not going to knock the convenience of the frozen food case… but if you have a bit of time these are totally worth the few extra minutes to make from scratch. Coming to us from More Super Secret Restaurant Recipes book, courtesy of mommy in law, is the T.G.I.Friday’s potato skins…

We’ve all ordered them at one point or another… probably bought them from your local grocery in the familiar red and white package. However, making them from scratch (without freezer burn) was sooo yummy! I made them as part of a football lineup… it also included a magical recipe for chili made with beer (I’ve made it multiple times, and yet keep forgetting to take pictures of it).

The recipe in the book was for a “healthier version”… but since I was making it for 8 guys watching football I did away with that… I’ve posted the original recipe and my ‘tweaks’ to make it unhealthier (if that’s a word).

 T.G.I.Friday’s Potato Skins

Source: More Super Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur

Makes 4 appetizer servings


  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • canola nonstick cooking spray (I think I used spray and a bit of oil on the pan)
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese ( I used the full on fatty kind and it was gooooood!)
  • 8 teaspoons Hormel Real Bacon Pieces (blech… I chopped up a ton of real bacon and fried the bits until crispy)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh snipped chive
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

How to pull it all together:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  • Bake the potatoes for 1 hour or until tender
  • When they have cooled enough to handle, make two lengthwise cuts through each potato, resulting in 3 1/2″ to 3/4″ pieces (you know, like a potato skin!)
  • Discard middle slices or save for some other dish, this will leave you with 2 potato skins per potato
  • With a spoon, scoop some of the potato out of each skin being sure to leave @ 1/4″ of potato inside the skin.
  • Turn oven up to 450