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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Tortellini Pasta Salad

So, like every grocery store I’ve ever been to seems to have some version of chicken bacon ranch pasta salad.  And it always has waaaay to much sauce.  It’s positively swimming!

I suppose that’s just my personal preference but I can’t stand over-dressed salads - pasta or lettuce!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Grated Beetroot Salad with Goat Cheese (Rödbetssallad med Getost) #EattheWorld

Today’s recipe takes us to Sweden for this month’s Eat the World Recipe Challenge!

I had briefly considered making Swedish food a few years ago for a Cook the Books Club post (I ended up making Croissants instead).  The next obvious choice is Swedish Meatballs, but I just made those recently.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Flourless Chocolate Brownie M&M Cookies (Gluten Free)

This past year, Dude had a classmate who doesn't eat gluten, so was my challenge whenever I sent treats to school to find something delicious that the whole class can enjoy AND doesn’t require any special ingredients.

Also – I realize that I’m super fortunate that we attend a school where we can still bring homemade treats!

Anyhow, I wanted to bring cookies but didn’t want to buy any specialty flours, so I went on the hunt for a fabulous gluten-free cookie using everyday ingredients.

These cookies are a total sugar bomb – but hey – no gluten!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Tuscan Roma Pizza #nationalcheeseday

It’s National Cheese Day and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with Tuscan Roma Pizza.  Not only is this pizza topped with the standard shredded mozzarella, but it also boasts a delicious homemade alfredo in place of the classic red sauce.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Burgers Au Poivre #TheLostFamilySupperClub

 *Disclosure: I received a complementary advance copy of The Lost Family in exchange for my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today is fun because I get to review my first ever advance copy book, The Lost Family by Jenna Blum and be part of the food-centric virtual launch party sponsored by the BookClub Cookbook and HarperCollins Publishers.

You can get all the information here at the Virtual Party!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Uyghur Nan Bread #CooktheBooksClub

Well, here I am flying in for Cook the Books Club at the very last second!  I’ve had the book read for ages, but just didn’t have the time or motivation to make a recipe.

Why was I so unmotivated?

Well, you can read my GoodReads review of Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop (also if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – anytime a title is *that* long, the book is certain to be pretentious)

Shark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in ChinaShark's Fin And Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was ok for a memoir I enjoyed learning about Chinese culture and how very different not only the food but also the people and culture are in different regions.

At times, the book was overly self-congratulatory. At other times, the foods describes were gag-worthy and I thought I'd scream if I read the words "offal" and "stench" and "tang of urine" describing foods anymore.

Ok, I just changed my rating from a 3 to a 2 - ick.

By the end, I was skimming to get through it. The book should have ended 4 chapters earlier. The book became depressing and boring as the author felt the need to wax on about endangered species, pollution, and climate change. While all of these topics are real issues in modern day China, the way in which they were presented was pretentious and boring.

The final chapter tried to lighten the mood but only mildly succeeded.

And the epilogue went right back to self-congratulatory pretentiousness.

Is this worth reading?

Sure, but I skip around to the good parts

View all my reviews


I wasn’t making offal (*hurk*) or pretty much any of the recipes included in the text – they were either vile or included such difficult to obtain ingredients (remember I’m in the sparsely populated great plains region) that I couldn’t do it.

I thought of just making a stir fry. But since all of my stir fries are basically the same teriyaki-ish base it felt like a cop out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spinach Salad with Gyro Turkey Meatballs

So, I almost missed this month’s Fantastical Food Fight – what with graduate school finals, and romaine trying to kill us and all.

Sarah of A fantastical Sharing of Recipes hosts each month as participants create something based on the monthly theme - this month's food fight is: Salad!

So yesterday, yes yesterday, I finally had some spinach (it will be a long, long time until I trust romaine again *shudder* (ps – if you’re not in the US or are in the US and living under a rock, romaine has been making friends with E. Coli lately and has been recalled)) and decided to try and make something for this food fight!

I had no real dinner plan other than, “swing by the grocery store while Dude is at piano and see what meat is on sale”.

Honestly, I was expecting to buy chicken breasts or pork loin or something.  But no, it was ground turkey that was on sale.  Hmmmm…

It definitely called for some creativity.  I wanted my food fight salad to be a main dish salad with some protein, but ground meat is not general what I think to combine with salad!

I ultimately decided that the ground turkey had to be transformed into meatballs.  But turkey meatballs are boring so they needed some amazing spices.

For some reason, I was reminded of my Gyro-Style Pork Salads and decided to try a turkey meatball version – with an amazing tzatziki dressing this time!

Though I’m the only one who really liked the tzatziki dressing (my family and I are all pretty like-minded when it comes to under-dressing our salads), the rest was a hit with the whole family (and I couldn’t get enough of the dressing *with* the salad!

It was so delicious and a welcome break after eating rather heavily during finals week (I rocked by finals, by the way – woot!!) I’m super glad I was able to participate and stretch myself with this recipe!

Spinach Salad with Gyro Turkey Meatballs
Inspired by Food & Wine 

Tzatziki Dressing
½ cucumber, peeled and diced
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chives
Salt & pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 pound ground turkey
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
1 egg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Fresh baby spinach
Cucumber, diced
Kalamata olives
Avocado, sliced
Pita chips

To make the dressing, place the cucumber, yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chives in a mini food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth.  Add the feta and pulse to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the meatballs, mix all meatball ingredients until combined.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook meatballs until completely cooked through, flipping once.

To make the salad, place spinach on salad plates.  Top with cucumbers, Kalamata olives, avocado, and meatballs.  Drizzle with tzatziki dressing.  Garnish with pita chips and serve.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Crunchy N'Dizi

Wow, has this month flown by!

It’s already time for the Eat the World challenge again.

You guys –

Evelyn was taking it easy on us choosing Cuba, Ireland, and Thailand so far.  This month, she chose Kenya.

Not only am I completely unfamiliar with Kenyan food, it is also difficult to find authentic recipes online!  Or at least ones that I could convince my family to eat.

As I researched, it became clear that desserts, if present at all on the Kenyan table, are usually fruit-based.

Eventually I found a recipe for Crunchy N’Dizi and I was intrigued.  In this recipe, bananas are dipped in butter, rolled in peanuts and roasted.  The over-weight American in me wondered if I shouldn’t be adding some sugar somewhere along the way, but I fought the urge and made the recipe as written.

I popped the n’dizi out of the oven and gave one a try and...meh.

Not so great.

But then I reminded myself that these were meant to be a topping, not a standalone (at least in the preparation I saw).  I dusted them with cinnamon (because cinnamon is delicious and plays a prominent role in Kenyan cooking) and put them on top of some cinnamon multigrain pancakes

Friday, May 4, 2018

Roasted Asparagus & Carrots #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Who loves roasted veggies???

*raises hand enthusiastically*

I’m a huge veggie fan – I like vegetable way better than most fruits - apples and watermelon are the only fruits I consistently love.  Well, I also love strawberries but mostly in pie or margarita form or otherwise doused in sugar.

So I’m all for my roasted veggies at brunch – or actually brinner because my family is way into breakfast for dinner and usually too lazy to make brunch!

It was so perfect that there were awesome brunch week sponsors that provided some of my favorite vegetables for recipes inspiration!

Asparagus (my all-time favorite brunch vegetable) from Michigan Asparagus.

Fresh carrots from Cal-Organic Farms.

Plus, a nice punch a flavor from capers provided by Cento Fine Foods!

I love to keep the flavor profile simple when I roast vegetable to let the natural flavors shine through, so these veggies are lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar, salt, & pepper.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Macerated Strawberry Sauce #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples Dixie Crystals Sugar and LorAnn Emulsions to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

A few weeks ago, I made Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes with sugar strawberries on top.

Then I got to thinking – what if I let those strawberries macerate overnight and added a little vanilla?

I had some fabulous sugar from #brunchweek sponsor, Dixie Crystals

And three amazing emulsions from LorAnn, so I decided to give it a whirl!

You guys – it was such an amazing choice and so perfect on our leftover pancakes!  I hope you’ll give it a try too! 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Hash Brown Waffles with Bacon & Eggs #BrunchWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from Eggland’s Best & Cabot Creamery to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Hey hey!

It’s Brunch week and things are getting exciting around here!

I’m kicking off the week with some major delicious Hash Brown Waffles with Bacon & Eggs.

Do not get confused like Hubs – the main ingredient of these waffles is actual hash browns, making these savory waffles, but if you want to toss some strawberry sauce on them anyway, then, well, you be you!

Before we get to that recipe, how about all the #Brunchweek deets and the amazing giveaway!

Welcome to #BrunchWeek 2018 hosted by Love and Confections and A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures! This year is even bigger and better than ever! Thirty eight bloggers from around the country are showcasing their best brunch dishes. We have so many delicious recipes for you to enjoy throughout the week (over 150!!) including cocktails, appetizers, pastries, tarts, main courses, and plenty of desserts! Our BrunchWeek Sponsors are helping us give away some great prizes. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!

Prize #1 Dixie Crystals is giving one winner a 6-Quart Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer and a case of Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar

Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South's choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. For generations, Dixie Crystals has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations. Our pure cane, non-GMO sugar products guarantee that treasured family recipes will turn out right every time. Bake with love and Dixie Crystals.

Prize #2 Cabot Creamery Co-operative is giving one winner a Cheese Board Set, including a slate cheese board, Boska cheese knife, Legacy Collection Cabot Cheddars, Founders 1919 Collection Cheddars, Waxed Private Stock, Waxed Vintage Choice, and 3 Year Artisan cheeses.

Cabot Creamery Co-operative, makers of naturally aged, award-winning cheeses and dairy products is owned by 1,000 dairy farm families in New England and New York.

Prize #3 LorAnn Oils and Flavors is giving one winner A Baking and Candy Making Prize package. The package includes: ceramic serving platter, a collection of 5 LorAnn Bakery Emulsions, one each of LorAnn Madagascar vanilla extract and Madagascar vanilla bean paste, Lollipop cookbook along with re-usable candy mold, candy packaging accessories, candy thermometer, and a pack of 3 LorAnn super-strength candy oils.

Our flavors. Your creations. For over 50 years, LorAnn Oils has been supplying professionals and home chefs with the finest quality candy and baking flavors, essential oils, and specialty ingredients. Visit us at to shop, learn, and discover new recipe ideas.

Prize #4 Cal-Organic Farms is giving one winner a Cal-Organic prize package complete with kitchen supplies, a portable cooler bag and branded apparel—everything you need to take your delicious #BrunchWeek recipes on-the-go! The package includes a custom-made Tilit apron, cooler bag, kitchen knife, vegetable peeler, t-shirt, hat, notepad and pen.

Cal-Organic Farms is the largest organic vegetable producer in the United States. Supplying more than 65 year-round and seasonal varieties, we are proud to grow 100% of our produce on family-owned acreage in California.

Prize #5 Michigan Asparagus is giving one winner $100 cash gift card.

Michigan Asparagus is known for its hand snapped fresh asparagus. It is available May – June and grown mostly in Oceana County along the shores of Lake Michigan. Remember to buy U.S. for the freshest of the fresh.

Prize #6 Eggland's Best is giving one winner an Eggland's Best Kitchen Essential Prize Package that included 1 month of free Eggland's Best Eggs along with Hard-Cooked Peeled Egg coupons, a freezer bag to carry your groceries, kitchen essentials, (whisk, spatula, pot holders, cutting board, frying pan), Eggland’s Best brand new cookbook, and a plush Eggland's Best egg.

Eggland’s Best eggs have more of the delicious, farm fresh taste you and your family love – anyway you cook them. Plus, Eggland’s Best provides superior nutrition such as 6x more vitamin D, 10x more vitamin E, and double the omega 3s compared to ordinary eggs so why settle for less?

Prize #7 Cento Fine Foods is giving one winner a Cento Classico gift basket, which contains imported products from Cento and their family of brands.

Cento Fine Foods, the premier Italian food distributor, importer and producer in the United States, presents a distinctive line of more than 1,000 authentic Italian style products produced from only the finest ingredients. A family owned and operated company spanning three generations, Cento continues to provide premium quality, exceptional products at the best consumer value. Taste the difference quality makes and see why you can “Trust Your Family With Our Family Ò”.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Churro Cookies #FoodnFlix

It’s a Fiesta!

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting Food ‘n Flix with this month’s pick, Coco!

Here’s a brief synopsis of Coco:

Despite his family's baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.

This is a fairly new movie and I have to admit that when I saw the previews I was very skeptical about the premise – a ban on music? What?

But I heard that it was a great movie with fantastic music, so the kids and I watched it one night.

You guys!  It was fantastic!  I think I need to own this one!  The soundtrack was amazing, the story was heartwarming, I loved it!

While the story actually surrounds Dia de los Muertos, which is in November, the theme and food is also great for Cinco de Mayo!

Over the past couple years, I became slightly obsessed with Frida Kahlo and then with Dia de los Muertos, so I was loving this movie (Frida shows up a number of times in the movie and it is fantastic!)

I even had to make a little altar for our little Sarah Catherine to go along with my churros – she’s one little girl who will never be forgotten.

Since this is food ‘n flix and the whole point is to create fantastic recipes based off movies, I was watching for great inspiration the whole time. Most of the food seen in the film were offerings in the Dia de los Muertos altars.  There was also mention of tamales, chorizo and churros!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes #FantasticaFoodFight

It’s Fantastical Food Fight time and this month’s theme is Strawberry Shortcake!

I almost sat this one out because I am so unfamiliar with strawberry shortcake.  But I wanted to at least research before I made a firm decision.

What I learned is that there are many different interpretations of the shortcake in strawberry shortcake.  The basic consensus was that the shortcake is not really a cake but not a biscuit either.  Ummm…kay.

So then is it like a pancake then?

I’m still a pretty uncertain to be honest.  As I looked through recipes, many looked like little cakes, while just as many were definitely biscuits.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Swedish Meatballs #SecretRecipeClub

We are in for a treat today!  Though Secret Recipe Club disbanded a couple years ago, the ladies are back in action today for a reunion reveal!  So fun!

Today I got to make something from Amy’s blog, Savory Moments!

Amy is a foodie who loves foods from all over the world and she is currently an at home mom with toddler twins!  Though I love working in the library (I get to see my kids during the day – yay!), reading about at home mom life made me feel nostalgic for my at home mom days.  It can be tough, to be sure, but I wouldn’t trade those years for anything!

I had a blast looking through Amy’s recipes!  In fact, Dude saw me click recipe after amazing recipe and started adding his two cents as well!  We almost chose Pennsylvania Dutch Ham, GreenBeans, and Potatoes, but ultimately Swedish Meatballs won out.

Dude was excited because he loves meatballs, and I’ve always wanted to make Swedish Meatballs!  Plus I was intrigued by the meatballs over pasta.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Multigrain Bread

The other day, Spud wanted French Toast for dinner. 

Now, Soft & Chewy Italian Bread makes a fantastic French Toast, but I wanted something a bit heartier if sugar covered bread was going to be our dinner.

I decided I wanted to make a nice multigrain bread, especially since I was serving stew that night and French Toast was for the next night.

Problem: most multigrain breads out there start with a base of 7 (or 9 or something) grain cereal mix.

Who has that stuff on hand?

So I decided to adapt a recipe for honey wheat & oat bread, toss in any grains I found in my cupboards and make my *own* multigrain bread. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chicken Satay #EattheWorld

It’s time for this month’s Eat the World Recipe Challenge and we’re traveling to Thailand!

You guys.

This one was tough.

Thai food presents the following challenges:

  1.      Coconut.  Absolutely no one in my family will eat anything coconut (yuck)
  2.      Fish sauce. Almost makes me want to pass out.  I hate fish, and fish sauce is some untold horror (double yuck)
  3.      Ingredients I’ve never heard of and can’t find in a land-locked state.
  4.    Tofu and fish.  Ew ew ew, ‘nuff said (triple yuck)

So I had a problem on my hands.  I was striving for authenticity, yet I couldn’t make something that would end up in the garbage.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Chicken Scallopini with Marsala Sauce

You guys!

This was my first time ever cooking with Marsala and it cracks me up that it was actually Dude’s recipe!

Dude is the champ at digging through closets and finding random forgotten stuff.  Case in point, an old copy of Taste of Home Magazine!

He was in my office/toy room supposedly cleaning up his cars but decided to dig through some stuff instead.  Half an hour later, the cars were still all over the place and he was asking if he could make this recipe!

So off we went (in a blizzard mind you) for a bottle of Marsala wine, so he could make his recipe!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Cinnamon Rose Bread #FoodnFlix

One more quick gorgeous bread before Easter!

Plus this is my Food n Flix recipe for this month as well (skating in at the very last moment, I might add!)

This month, Ali from Fix Me a Little Lunch chose the Runaway Bride!

I remembered seeing Runaway Bride before and enjoying it – I remembered the basic premise of the movie, but none of the details, so I was excited to watch it again with foodie goggles on!

It was fun watching the movie again.  I’m not a huge Julia Roberts fan, but I do like Richard Gere, and they make a great movie couple – plus the supporting cast was fantastic! 

There was tons of food inspiration in the movie.  Eggs are a particular standout, but I really wanted to amp up the creativity.

For some reason the scene with the rose tattoo stood out.  In one scene, Ike (Richard Gere) ask Maggie (Julia Roberts) to prove that she still has the rose tattoo she got when she was involved with suitor #1.

It got me thinking – could I make something inspired by roses?  I loathe rose water, so I knew I wouldn’t go that route.  But there are always fruits cut into rose shapes or even breads!

Ever since I made my Twisted Star Cinnamon Rolls and subsequent Twisted Turkey Cinnamon Rolls, my family had been slight obsessed with cinnamon rolls.  I don’t make them often, but they’re a welcome treat when I do!  So when I saw a recipe for Cinnamon Rose Bread, I knew I had to give it a whirl!



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