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Portobello, Broccoli and Red Pepper Melts

Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Just make these melts! These melts are amazing for so many reasons and you will discover all of them when you make this sandwich! These sandwiches are chock full of veggies and flavor, are super duper easy to make, and there is hardly any clean up involved! To top it off, this sandwich can be modified in so many ways, add meat, switch up the veggies, change up the cheese, make it into a panini...possibilities are endless!

I was worried Kurt would not be a huge fan of this dinner because there was no meat and Kurt is sort of your "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. He seemed a little skeptical but after the first bite all I heard was "mmmm" and a muffled "disissooogooooood" so I'm pretty sure that just about anyone will like this sandwich. If that is not enough evidence that you should make this, I gave this recipe to my co-worker who made it for her family. Her 16 year old son grumbled as she was making it and after the first sandwich he ate another sandwich and told my co-worker that this should go into the rotation (he also said that I have given so many delicious recipes I should open a restaurant - I love this kid!!)!

Portobella, Broccoli and Red Pepper Melts
Souce: Adapted from Annie's Eats

1 bag broccoli florets (I used 1/2 bag)
1 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pint baby portobellas, sliced (I bought the pre-sliced ones)
1 jar of roasted red pepper strips (or you can make your own)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic powder or fresh minced/pressed garlic
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
4 thick slices country bread
2-4 oz. muenster cheese, thinly sliced (whatever cheese you prefer works)

1. Preheat a broiler with a rack placed 4-6 inches from the heat source. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the broccoli and mushrooms on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Broil 5-6 minutes then toss.

2. Add about 3/4 cup roasted red pepper strips to the mushrooms and broccoli. Broil another 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the mayo and garlic in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Place the slices of bread on a work surface, drizzle each slice with some balsamic vinegar then spread each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of the garlic-mayo mixture.

4. Top each slice of bread with the cooked veggies and then with a slice of cheese. Place the open-faced sandwiches on a foil lined baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

**I made this sandwich again last night only added some goat cheese and used some buns that I had and made it into a normal sandwich. After the sandwich was assembled I put it in my George Foreman and made it into a panini for us....YUM-O!!!


Layered Mocha Cheesecake

Honestly, after reading the title of this post do you really need to know why I wanted to make this cheesecake?! Well, since you are already here I might as well give you the story. For Easter this year, my in-laws got a huge suite at a hotel/water park in the Wisconsin Dells for the entire family to stay at. We were all in charge of bringing an appetizer. Well, there were going to be 4-5 appetizers so I decided I'd bring dessert. I had been eyeing a Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake from but when I mentioned it to Kurt he said that he wanted a mocha cheesecake. I thought long and hard about what kind of cheesecake to make. In the end....I chose both!!! I am personally not a huge fan of mocha, or anything coffee flavored for that matter, but I am a sucker for my husband and love making him happy with my food. I searched a lot of websites for a good looking mocha cheesecake and, after what felt like forever, found this little gem! There was definitely more prep work involved with this cheesecake but man-alive it was totally worth it! The coffee flavor is not overpowering (which I was afraid of) and the chocolate crust with a chocolate cheesecake layer and chocolate on top.....divine! I think that next time I'd make the very top chocolate layer a ganache so it's a little creamier. Other than that, this was a perfect cheesecake!


1 1/2 cups crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (better yet, use Oreo crumbs)
1/4 cup butter, melted

2 tbsp instant coffee granules & 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules 
1 tbsp boiling water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4-8oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp butter
chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)

1. Combine cookie crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan.
2. In a small bowl, combine the coffee granules, water and cinnamon; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Divide batter in half.
4. Stir melted chocolate into one portion; pour over crust. Stir coffee mixture into the remaining batter; spoon over chocolate layer.
5. Place pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Securely wrap foil around pan. Place in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan.
6. Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator and refrigerate overnight (this awesome trip prevents cracking!).
5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with coffee beans if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

This is what my kitchen looked like as the cheesecake went in the disaster zone!!


Welcome Summer! Steak & Goat Cheese Salad

Today was B-E-A-UTIFUL!! Summer has finally arrived (at least for a couple days) and it was a breath of fresh air. When the weather finally gets nice here in Wisconsin, I get inspired. I am inspired because there are fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store, the farmers market start up at the capitol and they have amazing fresh food there....and I realize that I will actually have to get into a bathing suit very soon. This morning I was sitting at work wondering what the heck I was going to make for dinner tonight (very productive, I know). I didn't want anything heavy because it was hot and humid today, I wanted something easy because I don't have much time to cook, and I wanted something different than I've been doing all winter (i.e. pasta and chicken). All of a sudden it hit me, a steak salad with goat cheese! Light, filling, and full of flavor. I did not miss the mark with this one either. Serve this with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine and you have yourself a perfet summer evening dinner!!

In case you were wondering, this was husband approved times 10! He raved and raved while eating and said that we definitely have to make it again.

Steak & Goat Cheese Salad
Source: Cristina Original

2 four oz steak fillets (or whatever steak you have on hand)
1 bag romaine lettuce, or any lettuce you prefer
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
balsamic vinegarette to taste
Lawry's seasoned salt

1. Preheat grill. Season steaks with Lawry's and cook steaks on grill until they reach desired doneness (ours were medium rare). Once done, leave on plate to cool to room temperature (about 5-10 minutes).
2. Add salad dressing to salad while in bag. Close bag and shake to cover all lettuce with dressing.
3. Pour salad into bowls. Sprinkle tomatoes and goat cheese on salad.
4. Slice steak into thin strips, place on salad, and serve!


Slow Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta

This pasta is divine! There is nothing I love more than pasta.....except maybe a pasta this easy! I found this on another one of my favorite blogs, Stephanie Cooks. She always has simple, delicious, and (usually) healthy food. One night as I was scrolling through her blog, this picture caught Kurt's eye, which was a total surprise because he usually doesn't request pasta dishes.

I have been meaning to make this now for a week or so and last night I realized that if I didn't use my tomatoes they'd probably go bad. Unfortunately Kurt had plans so I ended up making this for myself and now I am glad I did because I had two helpings with leftovers for lunch! The flavor that the slow roasted tomatoes bring to the dish is wonderful. There is a subtle sweetness that they add to the pesto. I used store bought pesto but if you make your own I think this would be even better! The angel hair is nice because the sauce isn't heavy and a thicker noodle would make this a heavier dish. On top of all these amazing layers of flavor, the whole thing was very quick to pull together. A healthy, delicious, and quick dinner...yes please!


1 pint cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
5 ounces chicken
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 250.
2. Wash the tomatoes, slice them in half, and lay them in an even layer on a foil lined baking pan.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. Bake until the tomatoes shrivel and "pop", about 20-25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the angel hair according to directions.
6. Cut the chicken into pieces, toss with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
7. Add some olive oil to a skillet, about 2 tbsp, and cook the chicken until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
8. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add them to a bowl and mash them with a potato masher or a fork, until they break apart and their juice comes loose. Pour the smashed tomatoes into the skillet.
9. Add the pesto, heat the tomato pesto mixture over medium/high heat. Add the angel hair and chicken, tossing until all is evenly coated.
10. Serve with parmesan cheese to taste.