WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Olive Cheese Bread & Sopapilla Cheesecake February 6, 2012

Filed under: Bread/Muffins,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 11:20 am

Yesterday was the Super Bowl, which, for me, is just an excuse to eat junk since I couldn’t care less about football.  I asked Wayne what he wanted to eat, and he said “meatballs.”  Apparently this has become a Super Bowl theme, since he requested meatballs last year, too.  So I put some meatballs and BBQ sauce in the Crock Pot.  He didn’t have any suggestions for side dishes, so I decided to make some yummy Olive Cheese bread that I found on Pinterest.  We also had veggies and dip, mostly so I could say “at least we had some veggies.”

Olive Cheese Bread
I used half the butter, less cheese, and less olives than the recipe called for.  My loaf of bread was probably smaller than what the recipe calls for, though.  This was pretty tasty but I found it to be a little too salty from the olives.  Next time, I would cut WAY back on the olives and use them more as a secondary flavor.

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I debated on whether or not to make a dessert since we were already eating meatballs and bread slathered with butter, mayo and cheese.  Well, as you can see, I made the damn dessert.  I also found this on Pinterest, and it was SOOO easy to make and SOOOOOOO delicious.

Sopapilla Cheesecake
I cut the recipe in half, and it fit perfectly in a 9×9″ pan.  I used reduced-fat crescents and reduced-fat cream cheese.  It’s not like that’s going to make it “healthy,” lol, but it helps a teeny bit.  I would recommend cutting back on the sugar in the cream cheese mixture even further because it was quite sweet with the full amount.  Also, this is best served at room temperature.  Don’t try to eat it hot unless you want to sear the roof of your mouth!  Not that I know from experience or anything….



Spicy Chicken Rigatoni February 2, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Pasta — WannaBe Chef @ 11:40 am

If you like pasta, you will love this dish!  It uses pre-made pasta sauce, but add some extra spices and a little simmer time and you have a gourmet tasting week night meal!  The next day, I added some sauteed zucchini and roasted tomatoes to the leftovers, and it was equally delicious.

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni
Adapted slightly to make less quantity… I didn’t really measure anything, so my measurements are approximate as usual 🙂


  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t end up using any pepper)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-fat alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 pound rigatoni noodles


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a high-sided skillet.  Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and a little salt to the oil and let saute just until garlic starts to brown slightly and pepper flakes release their flavor.  Add the chicken and cook about 3/4 of the way through.
  3. Stir in the marinara and alfredo sauces.  Reduce heat and let sauce simmer / gently bubble until slightly thickened and chicken is cooked through.  You might need to cover the pan halfway with the lid to avoid spattering.
  4. Stir in the cooked pasta, toss to coat, and serve.  Top with parmesan cheese if desired.

Vegetable Tian January 31, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 10:46 am

If you’re like me, you have no idea what “tian” means.  Well, a quick Google search tells me that a “tian” is a layered vegetable dish that originated in France.  Works for me!

Vegetable Tian


  • 1 large summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 small potatoes
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • Shredded Italian style cheese


  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic and saute in a skillet with some EVOO until softened and transluscent.
  2. Thinly slice the other veggies.  I recommend slicing the potatoes slightly thinner than the other veggies because they take longer to cook.
  3. Spray a 2-qt or 8×8 or 9×9 casserole with cooking spray.  Layer the cooked onions and garlic on the bottom of the dish.
  4. Layer the sliced veggies in an alternating pattern in the dish.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes until veggies are tender.
  6. Remove foil, cover veggies with cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to brown.  You may need to switch to broil if you’re impatient like me 🙂

This was a very tasty side dish.  We had it with salmon and garlic knots.  I think this would be really good with sweet potatoes, and you could change up the cheese and seasonings, too.


Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip January 30, 2012

Filed under: Dips/sauces/dressings,Sandwiches — WannaBe Chef @ 11:41 am

Happy Monday!  I’m back with a cool, creamy, all-purpose dip for you.  This recipe makes a LOT of dip, and it was a little tricky to make in my mini food processor, but I figured it out (just had to do it in two batches, then combine!).  Anywho, this dressing was absolutely delicious.  It wasn’t spicy at all, though.  If you want it spicy, I would try adding jarred jalapenos since I find that they tend to be hotter than the fresh ones.

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dip


1 1/2 cups Ranch dressing (from the bottle, or homemade)  I used bottled, light Ranch.  1 1/2 cups is almost a whole bottle.

1/2 cup sour cream  I used light sour cream.

one  bunch of cilantro, stems removed

one large fresh jalapeno, de-seeded and coarsely chopped

one 7 oz. can chopped green chiles  I used the smaller can, it was less than 7 oz.

a large garlic clove, roughly chopped

a teaspoon of salt  I used less, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 tsp.

juice of one lemon  I used half a lemon


Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  I would imagine a blender would work, too.  Taste and adjust ingredients as desired.

Wayne and I dipped Doritoes in this, and it was really good.  For dinner, I put it inside turkey wraps with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.  Mmm, mmm!  Today, I plan to use it as salad dressing.  I think it would be really good drizzled on burritoes, enchilladas, or tacos or used as a dip for raw veggies.  The possibilities are endless!



Polynesian Sausage Supper January 24, 2012

Filed under: Beef — WannaBe Chef @ 11:40 am

Hello, peeps!  I’ve got another quick and easy dinner for you.  I’m not sure why this dish is called what it’s called.  Personally, I would have called it “Sweet and Sour Sausage with Rice” because it’s pretty much identical to THIS Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Polynesian Sausage Supper

I used beef smoked sausage, red onion and red bell pepper.  I did find the whole thing to be a little too “liquidy.”  Next time, I would probably omit the beef broth and add some salt in its place OR use the beef broth and only half of the pineapple juice.


Roasted Chickpea Fajitas January 19, 2012

Filed under: Meatless,Mexican-inspired — WannaBe Chef @ 11:48 am

Oh my goodness, these fajitas were so good!  Once again, roasting comes out the winner for tastiest cooking method.  Roasting the chickpeas makes them chewy, hearty, and even a little crispy.  You won’t miss the meat at all in these fajitas.

Roasted Chickpea Fajitas

I followed the recipe loosely.  I didn’t have any cilantro because the stupid store was all out.  I also added some cheese, sour cream, hot salsa, and diced yellow tomatoes.  I didn’t really measure the seasonings either, and ended up adding some EVOO, garlic powder and pepper to the chickpeas before roasting.


Italian Crescent Casserole

Filed under: Beef — WannaBe Chef @ 11:38 am

This meal was really easy to make and tasted like a deep dish pizza.  I would have never thought to use crescent rolls like this, but it worked really well.  You could use all different types of filling.  I think it would be good with maybe a chicken pot pie filling, shredded BBQ chicken with cheddar, buffalo chicken with Philly Cooking Creme, or roasted veggies with cheese.

Italian Crescent Casserole

I used lean ground beef, spicy tomato and basil spaghetti sauce, and reduced fat crescents.  I also spiced it up with garlic powder and parmesan cheese.



Thai Sweet Chili Salmon and Spinach Salad January 11, 2012

Filed under: Fish,Side dish,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 11:35 am

Here’s a healthy and yummy dinner for you!

Broiled Salmon with Thai Sweet Chili Glaze
Recipe from HERE

Basically, I just combined some Thai Sweet Chili sauce and soy sauce, marinated the salmon in it for about an hour, and broiled it.  Then I topped the salmon with some of the same sauce after it was done.  Delicious!!

Spinach Salad
This simple spinach salad has been my go-to side dish lately.  All I do is put a ton of fresh spinach in a big bowl and top with balsamic vinegar, honey, and EVOO.  Then I toss it really well and let it sit for like 15 minutes so the spinach breaks down a little.  This salad is good on its own, or you can top it with whatever you want.  Last night, I used toasted pecans and shaved parmesan.  Simple and tasty!


Meatloaf and broccoli January 10, 2012

Filed under: Side dish,Turkey,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 11:39 am

Happy Tuesday!  It definitely doesn’t look or feel like January around here.  We actually went outside for a walk the other day!  Very strange.  Anyway, I’ve got two recipes to share.  First up is the best broccoli you will ever eat.  Really.  I could easily eat an entire pan of this.

Roasted Broccoli
Based on recipe HERE, found via Pinterest


  • 1 head fresh broccoli (I threw some cauliflower in, too)
  • EVOO
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Do not wash the broccoli (the heat of the oven will take care of any bad stuff).  Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut broccoli into bite size florets.
  2. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Spread broccoli in a single layer on cookie sheet, do not overcrowd.  Use a second pan if you need to, as overcrowding will just cause the broccoli to steam instead of roast.
  4. Liberally drizzle EVOO on broccoli, and liberally season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Roast in oven 20-25 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender and starts to brown.  Keep a close eye on it, and toss halfway through.
  6. Remove from oven and squeeze some lemon juice over it and toss with a handful of shaved parmesan.  Serve immediately.

The second recipe of the day is a new (to me) twist on meatloaf.

Mozzarella and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Meatloaf
Recipe from HERE, found via Pinterest

I used turkey instead of chicken, and omitted the parsley and fennel seed.  I also used fresh spinach and wilted it in the microwave for a minute.  This meatloaf was very tasty, and it smelled like pizza while it was cooking!


Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto January 4, 2012

Filed under: Meatless,Pasta — WannaBe Chef @ 12:07 pm

Hi, folks!  I’ve got a good one to share today.   As you know, I love roasted veggies.  Roasting concentrates the flavors, brings out the natural sugars, and gives them a nice brown crisp.  The base of last night’s pesto is roasted tomatoes, or maybe they should be called “candied tomatoes.”  I really enjoyed this vegan twist on pesto, and I highly recommend making this!

Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto
Copied and pasted directly from Oh She Glows


  • 9 large roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling on tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Your desired amount of cooked Pasta

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 mins at 400F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting.

2. Reduce oven heat to 325F and toast almonds for 8-10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup into food processor and process until finely chopped. I left mine a bit chunky for texture. Remove and set aside.

3. With processor turned on, add 2 garlic cloves and let it whirl around until finely chopped. Now add in the basil and process until finely chopped.

4. Add in the oil, optional nutritional yeast, and 1.5 cups of roasted tomatoes (you will have tomatoes left over). Process until smooth. Pulse in 1/3 cup toasted almonds. Season generously with salt and pepper. I think I used about 1/2 tsp salt or a bit more.

5. Pour your desired amount of pesto over the cooked pasta and mix well. Chop the remaining roasted tomatoes and stir into pasta. Chop remaining almonds and Chiffonade the basil.