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thumbnail1And now for a budget-friendly soup…

Some folks said they’d use fresh basil instead of the cilantro. Or only use the cilantro as a garnish.

Mouth watering and full of fresh flavors, this soup, with soft chunky tomatoes and healthy chickpeas, will be an instant winner with the family.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (14 oz) can cooked chickpeas or 1-1/2 cups home cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper

SoupIn a large pot over medium heat, cook onion until soften. Add garlic, chickpeas, water, cooked rice, tomatoes, paste, and dried parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add in chopped cilantro, season with salt & fresh pepper to taste. Remove from heat, let stand for about 7 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Soup will thicken up, too. You’re ready to eat! Tastes wonderful with fresh baked bread on the side.

Source: simpledailyrecipes.com.

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thumbnail1By Tara Duggan, Chronicle Staff Writer

The pasta salad is somewhat decadent, so you don’t need much of it.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 pound small dried tortellini
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 stalks celery hearts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 slices prosciutto, diced, or some julienned salami
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls or about 3 ounces diced fresh mozzarella

DRESSING:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh pesto, stirred before measuring
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pasta cooking water or plain water (if needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions. Add frozen peas during the last 5 to 8 minutes so that they cook along with the tortellini.

Meanwhile, flatten chicken breasts with a mallet to a uniform 1-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Grill in a lightly oiled grill pan over medium-high heat until browned, 5-8 minutes per side. Lower heat and continue cooking until no longer pink in the middle but still juicy, about 2-4 minutes. Let rest a few minutes.

When peas and tortellini are done, drain, reserving pasta water for dressing, then gently rinse in cold running water until cool. Allow to drain completely. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. If the dressing is very thick, add 1 tablespoon pasta cooking water.

Combine tortellini, peas, celery, prosciutto, tomatoes and mozzarella in a medium bowl. Gently toss with the dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the chicken.

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thumbnail1…A Delectable Dessert in about 10 MINUTES!

Makes six (6) popsicles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries)
  • 5 pretzel rods (halved), OR 10 baked snack stick crackers

Yogurt Pops

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, gently stir together the yogurt and fruit. Spoon into 4-ounce ice-pop molds or 3-ounce paper cups. Cover molds/cups with foil. Use a sharp knife to cut a small hole in the foil and insert cut side of pretzel rod or snack stick. Freeze until firm. Remove foil and mold/cup before serving. (Store for up to a month.)

Recipe from Parents.com

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thumbnail1Perfect activity for little hands, and perfect to eat for little mouths!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Grill: 8 minutes

Makes 12 mini burgers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2  pounds ground beef (90 percent lean)
  • 1  tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4  teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4  teaspoon black pepper
  • 12  small round dinner rolls (such as potato rolls or dollar rolls)
  • 24  leaves fresh arugula or other leafy green, cleaned
  • 12  slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces total)
  • 12  slices plum tomato

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat gas grill to medium-high or prepare charcoal grill with medium-hot coals. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, onion flakes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
  2. Shape seasoned beef into 12 small patties, about 1/4-cup mixture for each, forming patties that are 2-1/2 inches across and 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Split the rolls in half and toast the cut side on the grill, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large platter. Top buns with arugula leaves.
  4. Transfer hamburger patties to the grill and cook 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 additional minutes or until cooked through. Top burgers with cheese. Slice should be roughly the size of the burger; if not, cut or fold it to fit. Grill until slightly melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer burgers to lettuce-topped buns and place a plum tomato slice on each. Serve warm.

source: parents.com

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i_wonWe have another Secret Contest winner!

Amber D. (from Boerne, TX) had the most views for her “Chocolate Cake in a Mug” recipe she submitted in February. She also has submitted Daily Darling photos of her two boys, and shared topic ideas with us here at le•top blog.

Congratulations and thank you, Amber, for reading and participating!

We have many on-going Secret Contests for different prizes. You’ll never know what the contest is (it’s a secret!), but staying involved and particiating will reveal them one by one. It could be for submitting photos, sharing a story, recipe or funny quote, or maybe…just for commenting. So, keep coming back and sharing with le•top blog because you might win just for letting us know you’re out there! Stay tuned to see what Amber won. It might be something really special from the le•top Spring 09 Collection.

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…IN thumbnail15 MINUTES!

I received this recipe from my friend, Amber (from Boerne, TX). She found it on one of the many blogs that she reads (like ours!) and made this delicious little cake IN A MUG! She raves about how easy this recipe is and thought our le•top readers would enjoy it as well. Perfect little project to do with your child on a cold, rainy day!

I wish I could try this as a Valentine treat, but with gestational diabetes, I’m going to have to wait until after my little munchkin delivers. It’s a perfect dessert for two, or for someone eating for two. 😉

Five Minute Chocolate Cake In A Mug For Two

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp chocolate chips
a splash of vanilla
1 large mug

Mix all the dry ingredients in a mug. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the
milk and oil, and mix the batter well. Then add the chocolate chips and vanilla, and mix again.

Place the mug in your microwave oven (1000 watts) and cook for 3 min. The cake will rise over the top of the mug but don’t be alarmed. Allow the cake to cool a bit and tip out on a plate if desired or eat right out of the mug. Serve with ice cream on the side. Voilá… dessert for two. (Thanks, Amber!)

choco-cake-in-a-cup

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thumbnail1When my daughter was a wee little babe and going through the teething phase, I tried everything under the sun to pacify her (frozen bagels, frozen waffles, and a wet face cloth). I also bought everything at the store that had the word “teething.” It got pretty expensive. I remember coming across a recipe online to make my own teething biscuits, but that was a few years ago, and I can’t locate it anymore. Instead I found something similar, courtesy of wholesomebabyfood.com. It’s eggless and wheatless! (more…)

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