Meet the Sullivans: August 2011

August 29, 2011

Menu Monday 8/29

Happy Monday everyone! The weekend went by too fast, but I'm ready for the packed week that's ahead. I'll be in class three nights this week, so the menu is quite short again, but I'm excited to try everything on it! 
Clockwise from top left: 
Lasagna Cupcakes {The Girl Who Ate Everything}-A neat alternative to making traditional lasagna. These could be a fun addition to a comfort food themed cocktail party. I just hope mine turn out looking as nice as the ones in the picture above. I made them last night for dinner--expect a blog post about it very soon! 

Cream Cheese, Caramelized Onion, Bacon Quiche {Picky Palate}- I book marked this after I saw it on Picky Palate earlier this month. I have bacon, onion and eggs that are waiting to be used.

Asian Chicken Noodle Salad {Kraft Foods Magazine}- This recipe calls for rotisserie chicken, which will make it a really simple weeknight dinner. I'm hoping it tastes as good as it looks!

Apple Butterscotch Brownies {Southern Living}-It's not Fall yet, but I am in the mood for Fall foods and desserts. I can't wait to make these! Mmmm. 

Any new recipes you've tried and love? Please share! 

August 28, 2011

Lasagna Cupcakes

The name of this recipe doesn't sound too appealing, but don't let that fool you--these were simple to make, much more 'fun' than regular old lasagna and they tasted great! Presentation means everything in my book.
Lasagna Cupcakes
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The recipe below makes 6 servings, but I doubled it to make 12.

Here is what you'll need:

1 cup marinara sauce
3/4 pound ground beef
12 wonton wrappers
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
3 ounces Parmesan cheese
4 ounces Ricotta cheese
basil for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray (I totally forgot this very important step--thank you, pregnancy brain!--and mine still turned out fine, but I wouldn't risk it again).

Brown beef and season with salt and pepper. Drain. Mix beef with 1 cup of marinara sauce.

Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes using a biscuit cutter or using the top of a drinking glass. You can cut several at a time.

Reserve 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 6 tablespoon mozzarella for the top of you cupcakes. Start layering your lasagna cupcakes. Begin with a wonton wrapper and press it into the bottom of each muffin tin.

I separated the Parmesan, Ricotta and Mozarella into separate bowls to make it a little neater, but you definitely don't have to do that!

Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese,

then Ricotta cheese,

and mozzarella cheese.

Top with a little meat and marinara sauce. Use around 1-2 teaspoons of all the ingredients depending on your personal preference.

Repeat layers ending with marinara sauce. Top with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown.

Once the edges have browned, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove use a knife to loosen the edges then pop each lasagna out.

Garnish with basil and serve!

Looks 'fun' and tastes great! Using the wonton wrappers makes making this lasagna so much easier. 

Recipe courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Salami-Mozzarella Calzone

I've made a few calzones before (here and here), but I have to admit this is my favorite one so far!
The photo does not do it justice.
 (Terrible photo! This is the last time for a long time that you'll see a recipe with an iPhone photo in it!)

 Salami-Mozzarella Calzone
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2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 pound shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
1/4 pound deli-sliced salami, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 cups giardiniera (pickled mixed vegetables) fresh Spinach
1/4 pound sliced provolone cheese 

Place a baking sheet upside down in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Beat the eggs, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Pour half of the egg mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the mozzarella. Reserve the remaining egg mixture for brushing on the crust.

Turn another baking sheet upside down; line with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Unroll the dough on the parchment paper and pat into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread the mozzarella mixture over one half of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the edge. Top with the salami, followed by the pickled vegetables spinach and provolone. Fold the other half of the dough over to cover the filling. Crimp and roll the edges to seal, then pierce the top of the dough in a few places with a knife.

Slide the calzone with the parchment paper onto the hot baking sheet; bake 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining egg mixture, then continue to bake until the crust is golden, 5 to 10 more minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then cut into wedges.

This was a great and very quick week night dinner--there barely any chopping or prepping. I love any recipe that gets me in and out of the kitchen in 40 minutes or less!

BLT Pasta with Corn and Fresh Ricotta

It's been a little while since I've shared a recipe here, and that's probably because I was in a bit of a cooking / baking slump...BUT, I'm back! I'm going to share two of the better recipes I made last week and recap the others (click here for the recaps).

First up is the BLT Pasta with Corn and Fresh Ricotta from Rachael Ray Magazine:

BLT Pasta with Corn and Fresh Ricotta 
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Sea salt and pepper
1 lb. long fusilli or egg tagliatelle (I used campanelle)
2 tbsp. EVOO, plus more for drizzling 
1/4 lb. smoky bacon, slicked crosswise 1/4 thick 
3 ears corn, kernels scraped from the cob
2 leeks--trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 fresno chile pepper, thinly sliced, with seeds
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pecorino-romano chesse
handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
small handful basil leaves, torn 

Get Started 
Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Step 1
While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and render the fat. Add the corn and brown the kernels, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the leeks, chile, garlic and thyme; wilt the leeks for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and cover the pan to slump them, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2 
In a bowl, mix the ricotta, pecorino-romano, parsley, a little salt, pepper and a drizzle of EVOO.

Step 3
Add the pasta and reserved pasta water to the skillet; toss. Serve in shallow bowls with a scoop of the ricotta mixture for mixing in and the basil on top.

This is a really good pasta recipe! A few tips: Next time I would make a little more bacon (I used a little less than the 1/4lb suggested), add an extra ear of corn (they suggested only 2). Don't skip the ricotta! It really adds to the texture.

On another note: I finally remembered to pick up my camera from my mom's house, so all the pictures I post starting this week will be of good quality. I've cringed every time I've posted a picture of a recipe that I've uploaded from my phone.

August 22, 2011

Menu Monday 8/22!

{Cute idea for using extra letter magnets--image from Pintrest}
I'm officially back to work this week--School starts on Wednesday! That means its time for me to get organized and back to menu planning! During the summer I usually fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to dinner planning--I'll find a recipe online, make something I saw on television, make up my own creations (which never seem to turn out right) or fall back on something I know we love. Now that both our schedules will be jammed its nice to know I have shopping and dinner planned for the whole week!

Here are a few "new" things we'll be trying out this week:
Clockwise from top left:

Salami-Mozzarella Calzone (Food Network Magazine)- I filed this calzone idea in my recipe binder months ago and rediscovered it this weekend as I menu planned. It's from I'm happy to have found it because I was planning to just make any old pizza and now I get to try making something new instead. It calls for giardiniera (pickled mixed vegetables) and a few people reviewed it and said it didn't work out too well, so I'll replace them with sauteed spinach and onion. {Click here for the complete recipe}

Beef-Broccoli Stir-Fry (Cooking Light Magazine)- A few great things about stir-frys: they only use one pan, which = less cleaning, the prep is usually simple and they taste great!

This recipe was alright. We both agree that it could have used some extra flavor, or perhaps extra sauce.

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas (Real Simple)- These sound really easy to throw together. We'll have them with a little side salad.

We liked this recipe, and I would definitely make it again. Next time I would add a little salsa to the filling. Here is the original recipe from Real Simple.

BLT Pasta with Corn and Fresh Ricotta (Rachel Ray Magazine)- Doesn't this sound like the ultimate comfort food? I'm really hoping it turns out well! I will definitely share the results with you!{Click here for the complete recipe}

I hope everyone has an excellent week! I'm really looking forward to meeting all of my new students and getting this year off to a great start. What are you whipping up this week?

August 21, 2011

Halfway there--20 weeks!

Wow, today marks the halfway point in my pregnancy! It is so hard to believe we're getting that much closer to meeting our little tiny baby! This is the most exciting and joyful thing we have ever experienced!

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 20 Weeks

Size of baby: 6 1/2 inches, the size of a banana (according to Baby Center) or cantaloupe (according to What to Expect When You're Expecting and The Bump).

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Don't hold your breath! I'm still not telling my weight, but I will tell you've I've only gained 3 lbs in the last 2 months according to the scale in our bathroom.

Maternity Clothes: I'm wearing maternity pants and some maternity tops mixed with regular clothes here and there. I especially like these t-shirts from Gap. 

Gender: 10 fingers, 10 toes, is it a boy or a girl? Nobody knows! 

Movement: Our baby is movin' all over the place! It felt like little flutters, a goldfish swimming or tiny finger tips pressing into me at first...but now I can feel some bigger movements. Its the neatest feeling ever!

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty well, but once I wake up there is no going back to sleep. This is a new development that started this week. If I wake up around 5:30, then I'm up for the day.

What I miss: Sushi, having an occasional glass of wine, and soft cheeses. This summer seems to be the summer of the Skinny Girl Margarita (maybe because its been on sale at Costco?) and I have been missing out on it while everyone around me is raving about it. I'll have to wait until next summer to find out what its all about.

Cravings: Fruit 

Symptoms: None really!

Best Moment this week: Feeling our baby move all over my tummy while I sat in a back-to-school faculty meeting, while I drive down the freeway, while I wash dishes and as I type this post.

August 7, 2011

August 7th: 1 year Anniversary

It's been one year since we did this...

To celebrate we went to a Giants game during the day.

We tried a bit of the top tier of our wedding cake (which tasted like a freezer) and enjoyed a brand new (perfect!) replica and sparkling cider, while watching our wedding video from start to finish! Happy anniversary to us!

The first wedding anniversary is the paper anniversary and we tried to keep to that tradition. I gave Keith a share of Disney stock and he gave me a gift certificate to a spa.

Perfect anniversary!!

August 1, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

A few weeks ago I bought a delicious Red Pepper Pesto at a pasta shop in downtown San Mateo. It was so good that I decided to give it a try myself. Mine turned out a little different, but still very good. This is something I will definitely make again, but next time I will quadruple the recipe and freeze a few batches. This sauce tastes especially good on fresh pasta (not the boxed kind). I bought ours at Whole Foods.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
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8 oz chopped roasted red peppers (3-4 red bell peppers)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup basil, torn
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced garlic (I used the jarred kind)
2/3 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste


     To roast peppers:
  1. Cut the peppers in half and clean out the seeds and innards. Place them on a baking sheet skin side up. 
  2. Place the sheet in a 450-500 degree oven set on broil. The skin will start to blacken and soften in 7-10 minutes. 
  3. Once the skins are brownish-black, remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a large ziploc bag. Close and let sit for 20 minutes or so (or until the peppers have time to cool and "sweat"). 
  4. Once they have cooled you will be able to peel the skins right off. What you will have left is a moist, wonderfully cooked pepper.
      For the pesto:
  1. Wash and tear basil leaves into pieces.
  2. In a food processor, process peppers, Parmesan cheese, nuts and basil, then add rest of ingredients and process again.
  3. Taste, add salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings as desired (add a little more garlic or vinegar if it seems bland).
  4. Turn into serving bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to let flavors mingle for at least an hour or up to overnight. (I used mine right away and it was still great!) Heat slightly to serve over warn pasta. 

    Recipe from