Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tilapia with Toasted Basil Butter Breadcrumbs

+ Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce

Or, as John and I called it, the tastiest tilapia we have yet to encounter...Seriously.

I've always enjoyed tilapia, but I've never had it like this. It was rich, flavorful, decadent and absolutely fantastic. In spite of that adjective overload, I'd use more if I could. I will hands-down make this again. I really think it would be a great dish for company, and hopefully I will have the chance to do that soon!

While the ingredients and preparation instructions may appear, at first, a bit lengthy, I assure you this is very doable for the average cook. I highly suggest combining the tilapia with the pasta and sauce listed below (and pictured!). They come together easily, including preparation timing. Enjoy!

[I adapted the tilapia from Jessica at How Sweet It Is and the pasta sauce from My Bizzy Kitchen (and one of my most popular posts).]

Tilapia with Toasted Basil Butter Breadcrumbs + 
Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce
Recipes adapted from How Sweet It Is and My Bizzy Kitchen
Serves 2 to 4

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shopping for a Cause

John woke me up Saturday morning with a proposition I never thought possible: shopping. What, pray tell, inspired my sweet hubby to eagerly offer to accompany and encourage this trip? A great event, with a truly wonderful cause: Pink Label event.

John read an Indy Star article about the Pink Label event, learning it offers designer and popular name designs at significant discounts during a 2-day event, with all proceeds benefiting the Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research through the Riley’s Children’s Foundation. And, with that, we headed out for a bit of Saturday shopping.

While I'm sure most of the big-ticket items were grabbed the first day, we managed to snag some amazing deals during our little trip. I stopped at the accessories table almost immediately. I snagged a bangle bracelet I spied at Nordstrom recently, and it was a steal at $8. I also grabbed a four-piece bangle set for a whopping $2.

As we walked around the space, I spotted some great Cole Haan shoes for John. While they were a tad bit big, John was happy to get a deal ($20!) on some comfy - and quality! - shoes that will be perfect for summer.

I'm a big hat lover. A table full of adorable caps drew my attention. Especially, this sassy number. At retail, the hat values at $150. However, thanks to this event, I walked away with it for $15. That, I can do!

Before leaving, John and I returned to the accessories table. I picked up a lovely turquoise cross necklace for $5, and a pair of gold and peach earrings for $5.

In total, we spent $55. We walked away with some steals and deals, but we also left feeling really good about the money spent and the cause it served.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheeseburgers + Dijon Aioli

In the last year, John and I cut out a lot of red meat from our diet. I almost always substitute ground turkey, and we haven't felt deprived. The only time I really want actual beef? Burgers. I know turkey burgers can be great, but I usually crave a burger, burger.

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to play around with it. John asked me to try incorporating mushrooms a bit more - I'm not a huge fan - and I thought this recipe seemed like good baby steps. I broke down the steps below, so you can feel free to omit, add or play around with the toppings however you'd like.

I loved how the arugula, cheeses and dijon aioli complemented the burger. The whole thing had a "fancy" feel to it, and I'll definitely make these again, especially with summer weather on the way. If you're looking for a fresh burger idea, this is definitely the one for you. Cheers!

Cheeseburgers + Dijon Aioli
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
Yields 4 burgers

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Also known as, my sister-in-law Lauren's bachelorette party in Nashville!

This weekend was an absolute blast! I could not have had a better time celebrating the beautiful bride-to-be with her aunts, my mother-in-law and fellow bridesmaids. Here's a glimpse into our fabulous bachelorette weekend. Congrats, Lauren!!

After a long drive from Indy, we arrived at our hotel and quickly went for dinner.

Bride and her bridesmaids!

We opted to stay in Friday night, as we had a very busy day Saturday, beginning with a tour of the Grand Ole Opry. I really enjoyed the tour, and that's coming from someone who doesn't listen to country music regularly. Though I do love the show Nashville!

Name twins!
The gang (minus Leslie, who graciously took the picture!)
The famous circle!
Bridesmaids and Bride on stage
Rayna's dressing room on Nashville! Loved seeing this one!

After the tour we went on a historic Nashville pub crawl, complete with trivia, ghost stories, fun facts and history about the city. It was a great way to see more of Nashville and actually learn a few things too!

First stop!
The bachelorette with her special hat and veil!
End of the pub crawl (and with the other group of girls who went on it with us)!

We returned to the hotel after our pub crawl to get ready for the evening. We played bachelorette games, ate tons of food and snacks, and then went out to celebrate our bride. Lots of dancing and laughing ensued, and it was a perfect way to round out our day. 

Beautiful bride with beautiful mom and aunts!
Rapp ladies!
Maid of Honor, Bride and Matron of Honor

"Love" it!
Dancing queens!

After breakfast Sunday morning we journeyed back to Indy. It was a perfect weekend, and I can't wait for Lauren's wedding in less than two months! We love you!

On a side note, I have to give a HUGE shout out to my sweet hubby who has been beyond thoughtful this week. He ran all my errands and picked up dinner Monday night so that I could focus on unpacking and getting the house back in order (I'm a spaz!). Then I came home yesterday from a long day, and he had cleaned the entire kitchen, including hand-washing all the pots and pans that I'd neglected for a few days. To top it off, he went out last night and got me a McFlurry because my heartburn was unusually bad. Very blessed girl over here, who is oh-so-thankful for her hubby. Men...take note! :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken Drumsticks


This easily tops the list of favorite new creations. When I saw that Trader Joe's had packages of 6 drumsticks on sale for $2.40, I grabbed them and set out to create an easy, healthy and cheap meal. We couldn't believe how much these drumsticks tasted like real fried chicken (minus the grease!) and how flavorful and crispy they were. Served with a simple side of asparagus, this was a very satisfying meal. I will definitely make these again!

Crispy Baked "Fried"Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe adapted from Cat Cora and my Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken
Yields 6 drumsticks

Friday, April 12, 2013

Herbed Ricotta Spread with Toasted Bread

A quick note: This was one of my very first blog posts, almost two years ago to the day. I looked back over it recently and noticed some of the awful pictures. So, I decided to reshoot some finished pictures and then repost this. It's a versatile and oh-so-simple recipe. I hope you enjoy!

I was inspired to make this after viewing my good friend Jourdan's blog. She served this with an amazing vegetable soup with chicken and cheese tortellini, which I immediately tried and loved. Jourdan used Jimmy John's loaves while I grabbed a loaf of French bread while I was at the store. This was delicous with the soup, but John and I have enjoyed it with so much more. We love this as an afternoon snack - with crackers! - or with any simple dinner. The best part is the that by using a low-fat ricotta cheese you have a filling and healthy snack/meal addition! :)

Herbed Ricotta Spread with Toasted Bread
Recipe via Jourdan Leigh in the kitchen
Easily serves many people or just a few 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Simple Spring Skillet

How's that for some alliteration? A big thank you to my middle school English teacher, Mrs. Pepe, who introduced me to Greek and Roman mythology, metaphors, similes and alliteration, which is easily my favorite literary element.

In fact...confession time... I secretly hoped I'd marry someone who had a last name ripe with alliteration opportunities for future children. Unfortunately, I've yet to find many "R" names I'm crazy about. I suppose a great husband is better than a name. :)

Back to this dish! This meal came together as I attempted to use all the produce in the fridge before it spoiled. Fortunately for me, it was a great success! I heard "yummm!" coming from table before I sat down, and I quickly snapped a couple pictures at John's insistence. We absolutely loved the lightness and freshness of this meal. Hopefully you will, too!

Simple Spring Skillet
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Serves about 4, depending on portions

Sunday, April 7, 2013

{Slow-Cooker} Bolognese Sauce

I have loved bolgonese sauce since I was little. I ordered it whenever we ate at California Pizza Kitchen, so it's surprising this is the first time I've attempted it myself. It was worth the wait, though, as this recipe was so, so good! I made some modifications, including omitting half and half and pancetta, as well as swapping ground turkey for ground beef. John and I both loved this, so I can't say it was missed - and it lightened it up. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste, via Jourdan Leigh in the kitchen
Serves 4-6, depending on portions

Friday, April 5, 2013

Easy Baked Chicken with Peanut Sauce

I have a super versatile recipe for you today! This would be great as an appetizer, or as an entree as we enjoyed it. John's brother JB came over so I could help him work on his resume, and I made this new-to-me recipe for us to enjoy with some quinoa fried rice. It was a great combination, and something we'll definitely make again. The sauce is a snap to whip together, and I'm thinking of trying it with some other main dishes. I'll keep you posted!

Baked Chicken with Peanut Sauce
Recipe adapted from "Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce" via People magazine
Serves 2-3, depending on portions

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette

I feel like a blogging machine this week! I've been so excited about all the tasty new recipes that I've tried - and sunlight past 6pm! I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - or day! - and could not be happier. Hopefully this will continue and you'll see more frequent posts heading your way.

This salad was fantastic. I mean, really, really good. I adapted this recipe from Rachael Ray and absolutely loved the flavor combination. John told me right away that I needed to "add it to the rotation" and not to let him forget about it. Sometimes I go through phases where I make tons of new recipes that we love, and then we completely forget about them. I guess I should peruse my own previous posts more often, huh? :)

Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray
Serves 2-4, depending on portions (we used 1/2 tuna steak each to lighten it up) 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Hey there! After indulging in tons of amazing meals on vacation, John and I were ready to get back to our normal, lighter fair. Well, we weren't, but our waistbands were - it was worth it!

Anyhoo... I saw this recipe on Jourdan's blog a couple weeks ago, and it sounded so flavorful - yet healthy! - that I knew I wanted to try it. It also seemed like the perfect dish to help get us back on track.

This recipe was so, so, so good! We loved all the veggies and how everything came together.

However...I will tell you that is a recipe I designate as "easy... but time-consuming." Chopping and roasting veggies, layering ingredients and oven-time add up, but it's not actually difficult. So, if you're looking for a fast recipe, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for an easy recipe and don't mind putting in some time, then this is definitely for you.

I highly encourage you to spend the time on this, because you won't be disappointed, and you're sure to have perfect (and healthy!) leftovers for lunch all week! 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking, via Jourdan Leigh in the kitchen 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

Here is a simple, fast and tasty recipe for you to add to your meal plan! I whipped this up because I had everything needed in my pantry/refrigerator before we left for vacation. John and I were surprised at how much we enjoyed this, and how much flavor was packed into this sauce. Give it a try on a night where you want a healthy meal, but don't have tons of time - or extra ingredients!

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, via People magazine
Serves 4 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break in Sanibel!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, rejoicing that He is risen! John and I just got back from a fun and relaxing vacation on Sanibel Island. We spent five days with John's grandparents and had an absolute blast. I've shared some highlights of our trip below, and I wish we were back there already. Here's hoping for warm, spring-like weather in April!

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