Tag Archives: basil

S’ghetti Sunday

Welcome back everyone!

Or welcome back CookinFanatic I should say 😉

We had a busy fun-filled holiday weekend and not much time was spent computer-side…

We were obviously reading quality material instead 😉  Yea, don’t ask!

If you checked out my previous post, I’m sure you noticed the mountain terrain…

Well, we spent all day Saturday at Wintergreen resort – which is actually a ski lodge during the winter but has lots of great events to offer during the summer.

Including wine festivals!  And you know I was all over that 😉

How cute is this little condo?!

It was a great time followed by an all day pool party at The Man’s parents’ house yesterday… phew!  And today has been spent on the relaxation front, sometimes you gotta “recover” from a relaxing weekend – am I right or am I right?!

So tonight’s dinner definitely called for something comforting & easy – and I had just the recipe in mind. 

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

My mom made this type of s’ghetti often when I was growing up, so it’s definitely a meal that reminds me of home 🙂

This past weekend I picked up some local grass-fed ground beef.  This beef is top notch!

Plus some simple strained tomatoes – in a glass jar!  Bye bye canned ‘maters, sorry 😦

I got out the key ingredients to any good sauce and gave them a choppin’

Garlic, onion & basil.  ❤

Some other key players included olive oil, black pepper, sea salt & dried oregano.

This sauce couldn’t be easier!

First saute the onion in 1 tblsp olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Then add the ground beef and cook until done, adding the chopped garlic at the very end.  I also seasoned the meat mixture with the S&P and oregano.

Then transfer to a pot and add the tomato sauce & fresh basil.  Turn to a med-low simmer and cover, letting the flavors get happy for about 45 minutes or so.

Serve atop some whole wheat angel hair pasta and dinner is served!  Add some cheese to top if ya want too, I just wasn’t feeling it tonight 😉

Okay, well not quite yet —> don’t forget a side salad!

And now, with a full belly, it’s time to get back to reality and work tomorrow… but not without some Bachelor Pad first 😛

What was your favorite part about this holiday weekend?!  Travels? Parties? Friends?


An Eggy Kinda Night

Hey hey hey!  How are ya’ll this fine summer evening? 😀

I must say things are pretty good around here, and I’m so glad you loved the fresh veggies from the Farm to Family bus yesterday too (they were delicious!)

If you’re in the Richmond area I highly recommend checking the bus out, or the new store they opened just east of the city as well (I haven’t made it yet but want to soon!)

So after a much needed post-work YogaWorks Body Slim today I knew it was a good night for an easy dinner!

And what’s easier than a quick BFD??

On the menu, his and hers omelets made with these sauteed beauties!

  • 1 package sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tblsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • S&P

Just saute the onion and mushrooms in the olive oil until tender, adding some water as necessary.  Add in the fresh thyme and S&P towards the end and set veggies aside.

Next make up your omelets, 2 eggs and cheese of choice each!

The Man’s omelet consisted of said mushrooms and eggs plus some of our favorite NY natural white cheddar (still workin’ on my omelet skillz… 😉 )

Served with some classic cinnamon sugar toast, it’s his fave 😛

My omelet consisted of the same, except swap in some cream cheese for the filling (yes, I have no shame when it comes to the cream of cheese, I love it in eggs too!)

Served with a fresh Hanover tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, S&P salad (one of my favorite summer dishes EVER when tomatoes are gettin’ good!) and some Italian beans.

Perfect way to end our Wednesday, maximum taste for minimum effort 🙂

And with that, I’m off!  We have a movie to finish watching and some relaxing to do… it’s nice to get back to a sense of normalcy this week and I’m soaking it up (creature of habit much?)

I have some fun reviews/giveaways on the horizon here shortly too… so stay tuned!

Have a fabulous night everyone, and just remember, tomorrow is already Thursday whoop whoop!

A family tradition :)

Hello friends!  Well I guess it’s time to reveal the Sunday cooking extravaganza?! 😉  Alright, here goes!

So today I set out on a culinary adventure… one that holds tradition in The Man’s family and one that I hoped I could uphold…

As ya’ll probably know, The Man’s family is Italian (I’m talkin’ like ‘237 fam members Italian’!) and after talking with his Grandmother about everything food the other night I knew that I just had to give her famous “sauce” a try!

For me, recreating something that is a family tradition is the ultimate experience & also sign of respect for another great cook… I think ya’ll all know how near & dear both my Mother’s and my Nanny’s recipes are to my heart 🙂  (hello, getting choked up over here what the heck?!)

The Man’s Grandma is actually not of direct Italian heritage, but her husband most certainly was and this was a regular favorite in their house that she learned to perfect.  I was very excited to give it a try, but also a bit nervous, not gonna lie 🙂

I’m not going to reveal everything for respect of family tradition, and in fact I wasn’t even given exact measurements and just made it to taste based on what she told me, I hope you friends understand….

However I definitely have to share with you some fabulous pictures of the whole adventure! 🙂

Oh and of course I couldn’t have been happier that I got this fabulous mondo-pot for XMas bc this recipe made a-lot!  Hello freezer, you are goin’ to be my new bff 🙂

The sauce really needs to simmer for a few hours to gain it’s ultimate flavor, so it was a perfect Sunday adventure!


Ahhh I think I had forgotten how aromatically amazing fresh basil can be since the passing of summer….


This is no vegetarian sauce friends (sorry sis!), there was a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ in there to really give it some fabulous flavor!

While I was cookin’ I decided to give this guy a lil’ taste too (<3 World Market beer selection!), twas fabulous – my beer tastes have gone so “girly” lately haha 😉

Once the sauce was done, it was served over pasta with freshly grated Parm and some toasted, buttered bread 🙂

For him:

For her:

So how was it?  Nothing short of amazing… Grandma really knows what’s up, that’s all I gotta say!  The Man said that I did a great job too and the only thing for next time would be to take the lid off a bit sooner so that it could thicken up a bit more, but flavor wise it reminded him just of his Grandma’s sauce!  But we all know that Grandma’s will always be the blue ribbon winner, as it well should 🙂

Needless to say I was sooooo happy with the results and can’t wait to use the leftovers in the near future! 

Well, off to watch the Vikings game with The Man for what is left of this Sunday night & also lettin’ the rest of the sauce simmer to thicken up for leftovers x200 😉

Guess it’s time for another Monday tomorrow, I’m ready to start the week of right!  It’s actually Fanatic Father’s BDay tomorrow so I know it’ll be a good day 🙂  We are headed over to the parentals for a delicious birthday dinner after work whoop whoop — Mom is cookin’ up some serious yum per my request (let’s just say that this lady has the “homemade roasted chicken market” cornered!)…. I’m so demanding right?!  😉  

Have a lovely rest of your night friends and see you tomorrow!

Sweet potato of lurveeeee

 Whole Foods post-work was a success my bloggin’ friends!  I got a great stash for my trip this weekend…..


I plan on packing oats & bananas as well so I can make sure I have a breakfast of champions! There may or may not be some wine drinking takin place so gotta fuel up 😉

I also picked up these beauties


My previous basil plant has been lookin’ a lil, shall we say, lackluster (bad plant mommy 😦 ) so I decided it was time for a replacement…. sayonara sucker!

I also decided to splurge on a honeycrisp apple (or 2) after seeing them on Kristin’s post and drooling on my keyboard 😉

 And since it was beautiful 70 degrees and partly sunny out, I chose to partake in some of this on our back patio


while watchin’ this crazy fool bark at squirrels 50 feet away up in a tree — ’cause that’s ever gonna happen Lu!


 Once The Man got home we set out to run some errands and the weirdest thing ever happened to us, I don’t quite know how to describe this situation hahaha but let’s just say it included an 80 year old lady, us being blocked into a Pier 1 parking lot and then said lady backing up at like 20 mph onto a curb — I’m talking a half cars length jacked up there…. yea, no words.


Why so dark :(

Why so dark 😦

After that minor incident it was time to head back home for dinner!  

Tonight I made a recipe I saw over at homegirl Lauren’s website that I knew I just HAD to try 🙂  Check out her awesome site for the ingredients!


I had baked the sweet potatoes (400F for about 45 minutes) right after work while I was sittin’ on the porch w/ my wine (multi-tasking?) – and just left them in a baking dish covered while we were out errand running/bein’ run over by grannies (??)  and when we got back they were ready to go!

Here’s what you need for the topping (plus salt/pepper to taste)


Check out how super-fantastic this avocado was — it was at just the stage of ripeness perfection



Here’s how THAT turned out —- can you say absolutely ah-may-zingly gorgeous?!?!?!?

Then I just heated up the ol’ oven to 375F and put the taters, topped with feta, back in for a few to warm up and heat cheese


 Then top the sweet taters with the bean/avocado/tomato topping and voila!!

oh. em. gee.

oh. em. gee.

No words once again.  All I can say is this dish was FANTASTIC to the max.  Holy cow!

Lauren, you rock girlie, thanks for this fantabulous recipe that I hope others will get to try too — sooooo healthy, soooo good, ah yes 🙂

Well I have mountains of laundry to tackle before this weekend’s adventures, but I want to leave you friends with these last things tonight!

Gushy mushy moment of the century haha (praying the Man is not reading today, or any of his friends, sorry honey!)

Me emailing the man at work:  “How’s work? I am really missin’ you today for some cuuuurrraaazzzzzy reason ;)”

The Man back to me: “Now u know how I always feel!!!!!!”

Okay, I literally may have almost started crying right then and there from the sweetness…. yes, I may be a bit lame 😛


Check out this awesome pumpkin butter giveaway (sound familiar peeps?!) 

Not only could you win a jar of TJ’s finest, but the lovely Danica is giving away some other pumpkin goodies to go with, does she rock or what?!?!

Alright my lovelies…. see everyone tomorrow for perhaps a few more hints on this weekend’s adventures 😉 NIGHT!!

Oh Cooking Light, I love thee so!

Before the absolutely deeeeee-lish (true dat) dinner post, I have a quick side note for my fine state of residency:

Dear VA,

What the heck, I leave you for 5 measley days and all of a sudden you decide that it’s mid-fall, long-sleeve, pant-wearing weather…?!  You’re really taking this September 1st thing seriously this year.  What is up with the 60 degree temps, totally not normal…  My body is in shock adjusting to the HUGE difference from the tropics, would appreciate just a couple of degrees boost before October.

Sincerely, Steph.

Haha but for real, I gotta say that it’s actually kind of nice to have some cool temps so I’m just gonna roll with it 🙂

Dinner tonight featured night 1 of theme week:

  • Chicken w/ Tomatoes & Olives (Cooking Light recipe w/ a touch o’ Cookinfanatic flair)
  • Parmesan CousCous
Tomatoes, feta, olives - I'm so in!

Tomatoes, feta, basil - I'm so in!

So when I got home from work I threw (not literally) the chicken breasts in some of this guy – the recipe didn’t call for this step however it happened anyway, bc that’s how I roll.

Doesn't it look yummy?!

Doesn't it look yummy?!

Then I had an appointment with J.M. – you see folks, all day I knew that my lady would not be pleased if we didn’t have a get-together… not after all those cruise mojitos 😉 !!  So in order to not disappoint the drill instructor, I shredded out some serious Level 3 whoop whoop!

Then I got started on din – guys, this recipe was SUPERFAB SIMPLE & turned out FREAKING DELICIOUS….omg I couldn’t believe my eyes how fast this came together & then how awesome it tasted, for real!  Here’s what you need (I tweaked the recipe a bit, go figure 😉 )

  •  4 chicken breasts
  • 2 big red tomatoes – chopped into large chunks
  • 1 can large olives – chopped in half
  • few tablespoons olive oil/vinegar salad dressing
  • crumbled feta
  • fresh basil
  • salt/pepper/oregano 
Let's get ready to rumbbbblllleeeee!!

Let's get ready to rumbbbblllleeeee!!

So I got to cookin’, but not before having some Columbia Crest Shiraz — pretty good I must say!  Put the chicken in a skillet at medium heat (1 tblsp. olive oil to coat pan will do) and cooked about 3 minutes each side, then I turned down the heat a bit and covered the lil’ guys and let them finish up cooking — getting nice and moist.  Once the chicken was done I removed it from the heat and set aside.   Then it was time for the veg mix – cooked the chopped tomato and olives in a few more tablespoons of Mr. Ken’s deelish dressing over medium heat in a medium pan, adding some salt/pepper/oregano/fresh basil for flavaaa flave
QUICK TIP O’MINE (courtesy of Mrs. Ray) – have a bowl for garbage/food scraps out while you chop & prep – saves so many trips to the garbage can guys, this is seriously such a wondeful idea!  Shout out Rachel Ray!
Endless trips to the gar-bahge... I think not!

Endless trips to the gar-bahge... I think not!

Once this mixture cooked for about ?10 minutes? I poured it over the cooked chicken breasts, sprinkled it with some feta then popped it in a 350 oven for 5 minutes to soften/melt the cheesy.  Oh yea, and don’t forget to just prepare the couscous in the meantime – I mean seriously guys, you boil water/EVOO and dump in a sauce pack and the cousy – then let sit for 5 and fluff.  Rocket science?  I think not!  Here’s how it turned out:
Try this. Now. Seriously, I didn't even like olives much before tonight, I'm totally not joking!!!!

Try this. Now. Seriously, I didn't even like olives much before tonight, I'm totally not joking!!!!

And here was the plate of delight — blog buds, I really can’t tell you enough how good this was esp for being so freakin’ easy.  This is going on the menu again soon, totally not kidding!!!!!!!  I really don’t love olives (or so I thought) however they tasted awesome in this dish, the blend of fresh flavors was just supurb (Cooking Light, you’ve done it again!) and it is even uber-healthy for the ol’ bod 🙂  Winner winner chicken dinner?  I think so!
Plate it up!
Serve chicken & veg over cous cous

Serve chicken & veg over cous cous

Alright blog friends, I gotta hot date w/ a certain Man to watch our favorite show EVER on demand (we missed it Sunday!) — can’t say that the Dark Chocolate PB won’t be dipped into during however (OMG Jenna this shizz is sooooo good, The Man is hooked too – I’m totally expecting to find that jar gone like in 3 days haha).
Night all! 🙂