Fathers Day Cards!

5×7 Folded Card
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Since Sprinkles has moved into my work neighborhood, they’ve quickly become my favorite cupcake shop.  But, last week when I had a few events to go to, I wanted to make my own instead of just picking up dozens.  I had the Sprinkles mixes for vanilla and red velvet, and they each just called for a couple extra ingredients.  I also made the icings from scratch – my first time ever!  The vanilla had a vanilla buttercream icing, and the red velvet had cream cheese buttercream.  The vanilla was delicious, and I even had co-workers track me down to ask if they were getting any of the cupcakes (Sorry – next time!).  The red velvet was a little disappointing, but I will definitely be making more of the vanilla.

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Cheesy Lasanga Rolls with Spinach and Ricotta

These Lasagna Rolls come from a recipe I had wanted to try for literally months. There is no need to wait though! These are so easy, so simple, and so customizable! While I followed the basic recipe that only included a filling made of ricotta, some marinara sauce, and a little spinach, your version could include extra vegetables or meats such as sausage or pepperoni. Next time I’ll pump up the veggie power!

Cheesy Lasagna Rolls with Spinach and Ricotta

a Whole Foods recipe

1/2 lb (8 – 10) uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach
1/2 cup shredded mozzerella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add noodles and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and gently transfer to a clean work surface.

Grease a small roasting pan or casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside. Working with one noodle at a time, spread with about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of the marinara then top with spinach. Starting at one end, roll up noodle snugly then arrange in pan either seam-side down or with the rolls close enough together to hold each other closed. Pour remaining marinara over assembled rolls then sprinkle with mozzarella and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 – 25 minutes.

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Parmesan Polenta

I had never had polenta before, despite one of my good friends raving about its versatility.  While her favorite way to make it comes via the already prepared tube, then sliced and grilled, i chose to try this recipe as my first polenta experience.

I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of this recipe.  There is no reason to be scared of polenta!  As usual, I added more cheese than the recipe.  Feel free to follow my lead!

Parmesan Polenta

adapted from a Real Simple recipe

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup instant polenta
4 cups water
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring water to a boil on stove, add salt. Stirring constantly, add in the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, black pepper and butter. Cover and set aside until butter melts. Stir once more before serving.

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Mushroom Stroganoff

So, I’ve been gone for awhile – I had a few health issues, very minor, but enough that I think we’ve had our fair share of take-out for the next year! All is well now and even the BF recently remarked that he really missed my cooking. So, without further delay, here’s what I’ve been eating lately. It’s a new, veggie-friendly spin on an old classic!

Mushroom Stroganoff

from Stephanie Cooks

1 tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, diced
10 oz. mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp flour
1 cup light sour cream
12 oz egg noodles

Heat salted water to a boil and cook noddles until al dente. In the meantime, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Cook onions until slightly soft, then add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occassionally, until mushrooms release some of their water. Add flour, stirring well to combine, then add white wine, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire. Cook on medium until liquid reduces and begins to thicken and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Add hot, cooked noodles and stir gently so sauce coats noodles.

When I made mine, I actually didn’t put in all of the sour cream – I probably used about 2/3 a cup instead. I thought I could cut back on a little fat and not be stuffing my face with gobs of sour cream, but as it turned out, I think you really need the extra 1/3 cup to cover the amount of noodles that you’ve cooked. Next time, I would probably just half the recipe. As it was, I was eating this for lunch for an entire week!

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Spinach Parmesan Dip

Spinach Parmesan Dip

adapted from a Cafe Deluxe recipe, Washington DC

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1-9 oz package spinach leaves, sliced
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in stock and cream; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chiffonaded spinach, cheese, sour cream and cayenne. Stir until spinach begins to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Serve warm with toasted baguette slices or tortilla chips.

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Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip

This pizza dip is undeniably one of the best party foods that I have ever had. I am a big fan of pizza sauce, and who doesn’t love cheese? I used breadsticks as the mode to shovel this dip into hungry mouths, but am curious about what else could be served with the dip. Please post if you have any suggestions!

(Photo borrowed from the creator, Noble Pig, as mine was gobbled down too quickly to get a photo!)

Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip
from Noble Pig

3/4 cup chopped pepperoni
1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 can (2-1/4 oz) sliced black olives, drained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package (3 oz NOT 8 oz) cream cheese, softened

In a heavy pot, over medium heat, combine pepperoni, sliced olives, green onions, oregano and pizza sauce. Cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes.

Add cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted and mixture is well combined.

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