This mom loves to cook

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Hello! I'm Deirdre and I'm a stay at home mom to two boys. Cooking for a 6 and 4 year old- day in and day out can be the best job in the world, also the most frustrating. Trying to create not only kid friendly but husband and mom friendly meals is a challenge that I've readily accepted! My Foodie Mom blog is a record of the different recipes that I've tried in the kitchen, pictures of my ventures, and cool tricks I've picked up along the way. Cheers!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Green Bean Almandine


One of our favorite side dishes to make, regardless of holidays or not. This did make it's way onto my Thanksgiving menu. There was a little dismay of my not making the typical green bean casserole, but all was well. Fresh buttery green beans, and toasty nutty almonds make this side amazing. Under 5 ingredients. Under 15 minutes. Yes. 

  • 1-2 pounds fresh green beans, ends snapped off
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • salt and pepper to taste
                                               Throw snapped green beans in a 
                                                 medium pot with 1/2 cup water. 

                                      Cover and steam on medium high heat for
                                                10-15 minutes until fork tender.

                                  Strain green beans and place in a casserole dish.

                                                   While the beans are steaming, 
                               add butter to a small sauté pan. Melt over medium heat.

                                                            Add in sliced almonds, 
                                   and sauté in butter until golden brown. 3-5 minutes.

                                   Pour the almonds and butter over the green beans. 
                                                           Toss lightly to coat. 

                                          Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you've never made, or even tried green bean almandine before I suggest you do. We also love making this side with roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Now that is a great dinner. You should totally make that. I think I might make that next week now that I'm thinking of it. Cheers!

Bundt Pan Stuffing


Since I was only cooking for 6 this Thanksgiving, I was extremely excited to do quality over quantity with my menu. I came across this recipe on Pinterest- and I so pumped to try this. I was a bit intimidated at first, but everything came together nicely. This was one of the most flavorful and moist stuffings I've ever had. The flavors of the fresh herbs really made this stuffing shine.

  • 1 loaf of day old french bread, cubed (I used a long french baguette) 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray 

                                                     Preheat oven to 250.

               Spread your cubed bread on 2 baking trays and bake for about 30 minutes,
                          stirring half way through until firm. Don't over bake them. 

                                 Remove bread from oven, increase temp to 400.

                                In a large skillet heat butter over medium high heat. 

                      Stir in onions and celery sauté until softened about 3-5 minutes.

              Add in sage, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix to combine herbs and veggies. 

                                                         Remove from heat. 

                             In a medium bowl combine chicken broth and eggs.

                 In a large bowl combine bread cubes, sautéed veggies and egg mixture.

                           Gently mix until well combined (I used a rubber spatula).

                                      Add more chicken broth if it seems to dry.

                                                 Spray pan with cooking spray.

                           Add in the stuffing mixture, spreading evenly around pan.

Press stuffing down with fingers to pack it down into pan. 

Bake 30-40 minutes, until edges start to get firm. 

Let cool 25 minutes in pan.

Then with a long thin spatula loosen edges, 
and carefully flip stuffing over onto a serving platter.

Look at that! That really is just beautiful to look at. I was rather impressed with myself. I think I was mainly afraid of sticking in the pan, but the stuffing came right out. Don't forget the cooking spray! Delicious scratch made stuffing recipe. This will be a regular fixture in my holiday menus from now on. Cheers!

                                                                          Adapted from:
                                                                   Stuffing in a bundt pan

Roasted Butternut Squash


This is my go to recipe for roasting squash. Wether I'm making it for a side dish, or part of my butternut squash alfredo stuffed shells- roasted butternut squash is yummo.

  • 1 large or 2 medium butternut squashs 
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 375.

Place squash flesh side up in broiler pan.

Brush with olive oil.

Rub in brown sugar.

Season with salt and pepper.

Flip squash over so skin side is up.

Add 1/4-1/3 cup water to pan. 

Roast for 40-45 minutes, until skin can be pierced with fork.

Check occasionally to make sure squash isn't burning,
 add more water if necessary. 

Water should eventually evaporate to 
allow the squash to caramelize. 

When fully cooked remove from oven, allow to cool a
 bit before scraping the flesh from the skin into a bowl. 

To make a side dish, mash squash a little with a fork. 
Add in a little maple syrup and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Cheers!


Adapted from:

Caprese Salad


One of our favorite apps to put out when we're having a "picky day". Thats when we make a bunch of pickles, antipasto platters, bread and what not instead of our main meal for the day. 

  • One large log of fresh mozzarella sliced
  • 2 large firm tomatoes sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
On a large plate or platter arrange the tomato, basil
 and mozzarella so they are all overlapping each other.

Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic on top.

Salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve and enjoy!

You know a recipe is going to be fresh and delicious when it has very few ingredients. This is one of our go to dishes. Serve with a fresh baguette and it could seriously be a meal in itself. Cheers!

Buffalo Chicken Dip


Here's the rundown- we love blue cheese in our house. This recipe is packed with it. If you don't like blue cheese, substitute ranch dressing / shredded cheddar for the blue cheese dressing and crumbled blue cheese. I have a lot of friends that make it that was and it's just as good. Either way- quick, yummy recipe for parties- game day- quick throw together snack when you have company on the way- whatever!

  • 3 12.5oz cans of chicken in water (drained)
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce 
  • 1/2 - 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat oven to 350.

In an 8x8 baking dish combine the chicken, dressing, 
buffalo sauce, and crumbled blue cheese.

Mix until all ingredients are well combined. 

Sprinkle shredded cheddar on top. 

Bake 15-20 minutes until bubbly and cheese is golden brown. 

Allow to rest and cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

We love serving our buffalo dip with tortilla chips. Feel free to use what you prefer, and like I said above - if you don't like blue cheese substitute it out. Cheers! 


Antipasto Bites


Made these as an app on Thanksgiving. Standing true to their name- it is everything you love about antipasto in one bite. I actually can't wait until next game day I'll be making these babies again.

  • 1/4 pound sliced salami
  • 1 jar of mild peppadew peppers
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
Preheat the oven to 350.

Lay each piece of salami down.

Sprinkle a little shredded mozz on each salami.

Roll each one up, and place inside of the pepper.

Arrange each antipasto bite in a baking dish.

Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melty
 and the peppers are tender.

Serve warm.

When I originally made these I only made a tiny bit with what I had leftover in the fridge. I would highly recommend making a big batch and using the whole jar of peppers. They will go fast! Cheers!

Ham and Veggie Frittata


This was another brilliant Brinner installment in the Forgione household. My first time making a frittata, primarily because I wanted to use all the rest of the ham and veggies I had in the refrigerator before I went food shopping again. Originally I was going to do some omelettes, but the prospect of frittatas have been enticing me for quite sometime. Another awesome utilization of the cast iron skillet. This was a rocking Brinner. The great thing about this recipe is you can pretty much choose any fillings you want. The ham and veggies are what I had on hand but like I always say- the possibilities are endless.

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • a few halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, spices,
 hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat melt butter. 

Add in onions and sauté about 2 minutes until softened.

Add the rest of the veggies, season with salt and pepper and 
sauté just until the broccoli starts to become tender (about 4 minutes).

Stir in egg mixture until well combined then stop stirring.

Cook undisturbed until the edges are set, 2-3 minutes.

Place in oven and bake until top is set and golden brown about 15 minutes. 

Sprinkle the cheese on top, return to oven and broil for about 2 minutes until the cheese is melty and golden. 

The kids helped me throw this together, and it was fun doing it together. They have a huge appreciation for the Brinner and vegetables to this was really a hit. This can be prepared and served within a half hour. Thats the kind of recipe I love for a busy weeknight. As always you can omit the ham to make this vegetarian. Cheers!


                                                                                         Adapted From:
                                                                            Mushroom bacon spinach frittata

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ginger Scallion Meatballs with Sesame Green Beans

I originally found this recipe as sweet and sour meatballs over rice. I really wanted to give this an asian flare, because for real- you can't go wrong with fresh ginger and scallions. While the meatballs were baking in the oven I had time to get the rice on, make the green beans and sauce for the meatballs. I was able to prepare and finish this in just under an hour. 


For Meatballs:
  • 1 1/2 punds of ground meat (I use a meatloaf mixture of beef, pork and veal)
  • 3/4 cup quick oats (lightly pulsed in blender or food processor) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons- 1/4 cup grated ginger (depending on taste)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 
For Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce 
  • green scallions for garnish
For Green Beans:

  • 1 pounds fresh green beans (trimmed)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
First combine all of the ingredients needed for meatballs in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.

Roll into meatballs and place on a rack / baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. While you prepare everything else. 

At this point you can put rice on to boil if you're serving that as well.

In a medium skillet add green beans and 1/3 cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium high heat. 

In a large skillet add a little olive oil over medium high heat. 

Once hot add onions and ginger, sauté until fragrant about 3 minutes. 

Add minced garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, don't burn. 

Add in hoisen sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard and worcestershire sauce. 

Whisk together until combined and bubbly. 

Slowly add chicken stock until all incorporated thick and bubbly. 

Lower heat to medium.

Take meatballs out of the oven and add to the skillet with sauce.

Lightly toss meatballs with sauce until they are all covered.

Garnish with sliced scallions, and simmer on low for 5 minutes. 

Green beans should be simmering for a little bit now and the water should be completely evaporated. 

Add in sesame oil and honey. Sauté another few minutes until al dente. 

Add in sesame seeds and seasoning to taste. 

Remove from heat once the sesame seeds have begin to become toasty. 

This was one flavorful, amazing, easy, fresh dinner. Husband says the sauce kind of resembles a General Gau's Chicken. I think the sweet and sourness of the sauce was a perfect combination with the nutty sesame in the green beans. All in all a great dinner. I just wished the kids enjoyed it a little more. They don't have the pallet just yet for this unfortunately. Cheers!

Adapted from: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

F'n Good Chocolate Chip Cookies


This should be your go to cookie recipe. Pretty much the base of this (minus the chocolate chips) plus whatever you want to add will make the perfect cookie. Me and my friend Kristy used to make batches and batches of these cookies all the time. It's something you can keep in the fridge for a few days and make them fresh as needed (or wanted).

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg room temp (lightly beaten)
  • 7 oz chocolate chips (about 1/2 a bag)
  • 1 stick softened butter

In a large bowl combine softened butter, sugar and brown sugar.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer beat on low speed until well combined and smooth.

Add the vanilla and egg, and beat on low until fully mixed. Don't over beat.

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, flour- baking soda- salt.

On low speed add the flour mixture into the wet mixture until well incorporated. Don't over mix. 

Add chocolate chips and incorporate into cookie dough by hand with a wooden spoon. 

Refrigerate for an hour. 

Spoon cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. 

Remove from oven, and slide parch paper onto workspace.

When see (3 minutes or so) move to cooling rack.

Wait 5 minutes until you serve. 

Can't beat an amazing cookie recipe. You can spend your whole culinary career searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. This comes pretty damn close. Cheers!

Pumpkin Alfredo Lasagna with Chicken Apple Sausage and Spinach

Ok, I'm going to say this before we get started. Unless you really, really like the flavor of pumpkin ( I used canned pumpkin puree) - I would suggest you substitute the pumpkin for 1- 2 cups of roasted butternut squash (mashed). This is how I'm going to do this next time I attempt this. 

The pumpkin was really over powering and I think the subtle buttery flavor of butternut squash would go nicely with the chicken apple sausage and spinach. That being said- use which ever of the 2 you'd prefer. 

A friend of mine also suggested fresh roasted pumpkin- I think that might be a sugar pumpkin thats most used for cooking. Another friend of mine chastised me for using jarred alfredo sauce. Yes, I know I should have just sucked it up and made my own, but when doing so many components in 1 dish... jarred was just easier. Again, do whichever you would prefer. 

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 large container of ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parm cheese
  • 1 tablespoon italian seasoning 
  • 1 egg
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree (or 1-2 cups fresh roasted pumpkin or squash)
  • 1 jar (15 oz) alfredo sauce (or about 2 cups home made)
  • 1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (to taste)
  • 2- 3 cups shredded mozerella 
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 package (about 5 links) chicken apple sausage
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • olive oil 

Place lasagna noodles in a large deep skillet. Cover with water and cook over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil about 3 minutes until noodles are pliable but not completely cooked.

Drain noodles, shock with cold water and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking- in a sauté pan cook the onions with a little olive oil until softened.

Remove sausage from casings and add to the pan and onions. 

Cook until the sausage is all broken up and cooked through. 

In one bowl combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup parm cheese, italian seasoning, egg, and a little salt and pepper.

In another bowl combine the pumpkin puree (or fresh squash or pumpkin), alfredo sauce and pumpkin pie spice. 

Once the noodles and sausage is cooked you're ready to assemble.

In a 9x13 pan, spread a littler pumpkin alfredo sauce on the bottom.

Place 3 horizontal noodles and 1 vertical to make the bottom layer.

1/2 of ricotta.

1/2 sausage onion mixture.

1/2 spinach. 

 pumpkin alfredo sauce.

1/3 shredded mozzeralla. 

A little parm, salt and pepper. 

Place your other 4 noodles down.

1/2 of ricotta.

Last of sausage onion mixture.

Last of spinach.

Pumpkin alfredo sauce.

1/3 shredded mozzarella. 

A little parm, salt and pepper. 

Finally the last of the noodles. 

Last of the pumpkin alfredo. 

Last of the mozzarella cheese. 

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly. 

I can't wait until I have another go at this recipe. I really think that butternut squash would be the perfect substitute for the canned pumpkin puree. If I had done that instead I think I would have enjoyed this recipe so much more. All and all a pretty great dinner anyway. Cheers!