Hi and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Tina, I am 42 years old and married to a wonderful man named Robert. I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area with my husband and our two pugs, Koko and Lucy and a special kitty, named Trixie.

I am of Italian decent and love to cook not just for my family but for everyone! I have a lot of weeknight dinner guest and try to keep it casual but delicious! My Mom passed away a few years ago and was my great teacher.

In 2012 I have changed the way I eat. A real lifestyle change to be healthier, eat a nutrient dense diet and remove all processed foods, refined flours and sugars from our diet. I do cook a lot healthier than my Mom did and do a lot more vegetarian meals, poultry and fish. I'm trying to find a way to keep the traditions of family, friends and good food in my house always.

I plan to post my weekly menus, update with new recipes, health information and articles and how to eat mostly organic in an economical way. I will also periodically post personal updates of my journey to regain health and hope.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pork & Bean Enchilladas

I love to use C.O.S.T. (Cook Once, Serve Twice) cooking is so easy and helps in cooking economical quick meals. I used the left over pork tenderloin from Saturday and made a whole new meal in a few minutes with some convenience foods.Pork & Bean Enchiladas
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cooked and chopped
1 14 oz. can of pinto beans
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
1 jar of Frontera Enchilada Sauce
8 corn tortillas

Mix pork, beans and 1/2 of the cheese in a bowl. Heat tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften them up a little. Fill tortilla shells with 1/8 of the meat/cheese mixture and roll them up. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and place tortillas on top. Cover with the remainder of the sauce and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Served with Rice A Roni Spanish rice and Sweet Corn Saute from a previous blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Company Breakfast

This is such a decadent breakfast we usually reserve it for the holidays. We had some overnight guest this weekend and I made this for Sunday morning. It was a huge hit all around. Definitely a very easy, but yet impressive breakfast. You make it the night before so it makes the morning easy and care-free so you can enjoy your guests.
French Toast Casserole
Loaf of French bread cut into 2" thick pieces
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. Orange Juice
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half

Melt butter and pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar into butter and spread evenly. Place bread in a layer over bottom. Sprinkle remainder of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of bread. Whip together eggs, cream and OJ and pour mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. In a.m. bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.

Serving suggestion:Warm 1 cup of pure maple syrup with 1/4 cup grand marnier in a small saucepan. Serve with sausage and fresh fruit.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cooking Light is always right!

So, I saw this cover of Cooking Light's June 2008 issue and thought it looked so good. I decided to try and make this tonight. It was really easy to make and pretty tasty. I especially loved hte coleslaw. This is a great summer meal!

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard BBQ Sauce and Tangy Mustard Coleslaw

Sauce: 2 bacon slices, finely chopped 1 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard 5 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin Pork: 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed.

1. Prepare grill.
2. To prepare sauce, cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until almost crisp, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mustard and next 5 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin) to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
3. To prepare pork, combine brown sugar and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small bowl, stirring well; rub mixture evenly over pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink), turning once. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce.
8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 235(25% from fat); FAT 6.5g (sat 2.1g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.7g); IRON 1.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 77mg; CALCIUM 26mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.6g; SODIUM 569mg; PROTEIN 26.2g; FIBER 1.3g

David Bonom ,
Cooking Light, JUNE 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Perfect Pasta Primavera

This is one of those dinners than just screams summer. Any variety of summer vegetables will do. I chose red peppers, vidalia onion, broccoli, zucchini and garlic this time..but the possibilities are endless. I love to roast tomatoes, eggplant and other veggies as well. I roasted the veggies in the oven, but this is really good using the grill on these hot summer days!

Pasta Primavera

1 lbs. of pasta, cooked to package directions.

1 red pepper, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped to florets

1 zucchini, chopped

1 vidalia onion, chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic

Olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Parmesan or Romano Cheese

1) Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with olive oil and set aside.

2) Arrange cut vegetables on a cookie sheet, coat with olive oil (about 2-3 Tbsp.) and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes.

3) Remove garlic and chop fine

4) Toss vegetables with pasta and season to taste.

Serve with Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lets Talk Turkey!!

So to continue on our week of Cheap Eats and Healthy Treats tonight we had turkey burgers, with baked sweet potatoes and sauted mushroom and onions. I also served it with my childhood favorite, applesauce. Total cost of dinner = $6.93, plus we had a burger left over for lunch tomorrow!!

Tina's Tasty Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey (85/15)
1 slice of bread made into crumbs
4-6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, grated 2 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste

Blend all together and form into 4 burgers. Grill until done and serve on toasted buns.
Serve with baked sweet potatoes and sauted portobello mushrooms and onions.

Ground Turkey - 1 lb. $2.49
Slice of bread - $.10
1 large onion - $.69
8 oz. portobello mushrooms - $1.50
2 oz. cheddar cheese - $.30
Sweet potatoes - $1.60
Applesauce - $.25
Total - $6.93

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beans, Beans They are good for the Heart and the Wallet!

Okay, so continue on my Cheap Eats Week, we had Black Beans and Rice tonight. I usually prefer to use dry beans as they are very inexpensive and have no salt added, they do take more time. Today was a beautiful day and I preferred to be at the pool instead of the kitchen. This dinner for two cost just about $5.00!

Black Beans and Rice
2 15 oz. cans of Black Beans, rinsed (I like Goya brand)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
pinch of cayenne

In a large sauce pan over medium heat saute onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add beans, chicken stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, simmer 30 minutes.

Brown Rice
Follow package directions. I use this rice steamer for perfect rice every time!
Beans - $1.60
Peppers - $3.25
Rice - $.50
Total dinner for two = $5.35

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cheap Eats and Healthy Too!

So, this is a dinner we eat on a regular basis. It isn't exciting, it isn't challenging but it is healthy, cheap, quick and easy. My organic chicken was on sale for $1.99 lbs. so this whole dinner cost under $7.00 to make.
Grilled Chicken, Harvest Blend and Broccoli
Grilled Chicken (marinated in Good Seasons Italian salad dressing) $2.58
Trader Joe's Harvest grain blend (1/2 bag) $1.00
Trader Joe's Low Sodium Chicken Stock (2 cups) $1.00
Broccoli, steamed $1.69

Total Dinner for two= $6.27

So for my friends who say it is cheaper to eat out...give me a break!! There is basically no recipe...just marinate the chicken for a few hours and grill it. Follow the package direction on the Harvest Grains blend..this stuff is awesome! Steam the broccoli and eat!

Cheap Eats and Healthy Treats Week!!

Robert's been on vacation and we ate like crap last week. Corned Beef Sandwiches, Burritos, White Castle (I know, I know). So, in hopes of getting our food back under control I plan to blog my menu and get back on our healthy eating kick. Also, to get our budget back in place, this week all of our meals are going to be on the cheap :-) Under $10 for every meal!!

Monday - Grilled BBQ Chicken, 5 grains medley and steamed broccoli
Tuesday - Black Beans and Rice with salad topped with salsa & avocado
Wednesday -Turkey Burgers with baked sweet potatoes, sauted mushrooms and onions
Thursday - Grilled Vegetable medley with brown rice
Friday - Turkey Kielbasa with German Potato Salad
Saturday - Out to dinner :-)
Sunday - Beer in the Butt Chicken