Absolutly Amazing Savory Pumpkin Soup

Alright, I have a confession to make. I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for the past year and a half. Maybe that has something to do with being a new parent and having a huge love affair with all things sweet. To my surprise my husband feels the same way. What? It’s not like he works two jobs. Oh wait, he does. Well I guess I can forgive him for being tired too. That being said we decided we were going to cut back on some of the calories in hopes of restoring some of our energy. What better way to do that tan going vegan on a few dishes? But what to make?

You probably already know that it is the peak of pumpkin season.  I know no surprise there. In that spirit I naturally had two one dollar pumpkins sitting on my counter, that I had no idea what to do with. Their just these little things maybe a pound worth of meat on them, so I figured I would make a dish that features these tricky little beasts. Now it had to be delicious and it had to be vegan, those were my stipulations. Now what is more delicious and filling on a cool day than a warm bowl of soup. Answer… NOTHING! sorry I got a little excited their. I love soup in the fall. In any case I found a beautiful recipe that doesn’t use any milk or heavy cream, a requirement in many, many pumpkin dishes. It did however feature chicken broth, which by the way I didn’t have.  So I used a pumpkin broth. That’s right a pumpkin broth, don’t worry it was home made and if you are making this recipe you already have the pumpkin you need to make this broth. Lucky you, and me now that I think of it. It is the same base I use to make my veggie broth and it really is amazing. That being said let me show you how to make this savory pumpkin soup.

The first thing you have to do is cut the pumpkins open and remove all the seeds and pulp.

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Now make the broth, and soften the pumpkin. So you want to fill a large soup pan a little more than half way with hot water, drop in both of your pumpkins with the stems removed upside down in the water. Add 1 tsp. paprika, 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder, 3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste), 2 tbsp. chives, 1/2 tsp white or black pepper.  and let them simmer on medium for an hour and a half until they are super soft.

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Remove and let cool.

While cooling  dice 2 peeled white russet potatoes into small cubes.

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Do the same with 2 -3 very large carrots.

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Toss both into the broth.

Cut 3 stocks of celery into small semi circles and add to the broth.

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Add 4 tbsp. olive oil. Let the broth and veggies simmer for an hour, or until all veggies are super soft.

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While the veggies are simmering remove the meat of the pumpkin and set aside until the veggies are tender.

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Once all veggies are sufficiently tender toss in the meat of the pumpkin.  and mix it in. Now for the fun part, take the soup mix and drop by portions, as large as your blender can accommodate,  into a blender. blend until very well mixed. Place into a separate bowl until all the mixture is blended. Sorry I don’t have any pics of the blending process as I had a very sleepy 11 month old demanding my attention at the time, and who could say no to such a cute little face. Once all the soup is blended place back in a container or in the pan and serve. It is so good and you can top it however you want. Mushrooms and onions sautéed work great for this recipe.

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Now most importantly Enjoy.

Now for the simple directions


2 small pumpkins (and yes ghost or white pumpkins will work in this recipe)

2 medium russet potatoes

2 large celery stocks, or 4 small ones

2 large carrots, or 4 medium ones.

1 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste)


Open the tops of the pumpkins  and remove the seeds and pulp, set aside the seeds for roasting if desired. Fill a large soup pot a little more than half way full with water and place the pumpkins upside down in the water to tender them. Go ahead and toss in the tops too, they have meat on them so why not. Add the spices to the water to add flavor to the pumpkin broth. Let the pumpkin and broth simmer for roughly an hour until the pumpkin has been infused into the broth and has become tender. Remove the pumpkins and let drain on a separate plate. Save the broth you will need it later. Dice the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Toss into the broth. Let simmer on medium until they are super soft.(approximately 1 and 1/2 hour.) While they are softening remove the cooled meat from the pumpkin and set aside until the broth is ready. Once all veggies are soft toss in the pumpkin meat. Then place by portions into a blender and blend until super smooth. Continue until all soup is blended. Serve and enjoy.




Apple stuffed Pork Chop

I can’t believe it’s been 6 years, can you? I should clarify; my husband and I have been together for six years as of today, and what a whirlwind it has been. We have faced everything together from injuries and sicknesses to the joy and birth of our daughter.  There are many way’s we could choose to celebrate, but only one way we could think of for dinner. You see in our family for truly special events we celebrate with a special dinner made by one of us. For valentine’s day my husband made some super special homemade buffalo wings, so this time it was my turn. I couldn’t wait to surprise my husband with this special dish.  You see in our house we have a lot of chicken, and fish, even steak or ground meat from time to time, but what we rarely ever have is pork, so I decided to make him a fall stuffed pork chop. Now before you ask, yes  I have done a lot of stuffed meats lately, I promise that’s not the only thing I know how to do it’s just novel to me so I got a little over zealous lately.  Pretty soon I will be onto something else, scouts honor.

I will admit while all the ingredients for the stuffing I did have in my pantry I did have to the store for the Pork chop, but I hope you will forgive this variation from my normal post as it was a special occasion for me and my family.  So to start out you will want to thaw your pork chops, preferably ones that are 3-4 inches thick.

Now you will want to take two medium sized gala apples. You can use granny smith if you want a bit more apple flavor in your stuffing, but I wouldn’t recommend the sweeter red ones as they tend to get lost in the stuffing flavor. If you do choose to use the red variety you may want to add an extra apple or two. Dice them so that they are very small cubes, approximately ½ inch wide.

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Now take fresh soft bread, whatever you have in the pantry will work. I had sugar free whole wheat. Take 2 to 4 slices of bread and tear them into 1 inch cubes. Don’t worry they don’t have to be perfect cubes the inconsistency in size with add flair to your dish.  I used two slices.

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Now dice an onion, and try your best not to cry. And yes I am speaking from personal experience. It really burns. But the flatter your onion the less likely it is to make you cry. Just a little trivia for you.

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The finished cuttings will look a little like this.

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Now heat a little olive oil in a pan, about 2 tbsp

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Sautee your onions until they are close to translucent.

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And a little brown

Add in your apples and stir frequently until your apples start to soften.

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Drop in your fresh bread cubes.

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Now stir in 1/2th tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2th tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp onion powder.

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Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Drop in your garlic. You don’t want to do it to soon because the garlic turns bitter if it’s cooked to long.

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You will want the stuffing to be a bit moist  when it’s done so that it doesn’t dry out to much when it’s in the oven.

Like this.

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A little out of focus, but it looks good doesn’t it?

Now it’s time to make the pork chop seasoning. For this seasoning I used 1/4th cup brown sugar, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp ancho chili pepper.

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You will want to set that aside and cut a deep slit almost all the way through your pork chop. You want it less than 1/4th inch from going through on all sides.  Something like this.

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It’s a bit bizarre looking isn’t it?

Now rub the Pork chop seasoning evenly into all sides of the pork chop.

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Take your stuffing and press it firmly into the slit you made in the pork chop. You want to get as much in there as you can so don’t be shy.

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If you want you can add some cheese but it’s not necessary.

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Now gently place the seasoned stuffed pork chop in a preheated skillet that has some olive oil. You will want to be careful so as not to spill the stuffing. You are just wanting to brown the meat to get that beautiful caramelized coloring, but most of the cooking will be done in the oven.

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Set the browned meat on a foil lined baking sheet.

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Place in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and Enjoy.

Doesn’t it look divine?

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Alright now it’s time for the simple instructions.


For the stuffing

1 Yellow onion

2 gala apples

2-4 slices of whole wheat bread

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp Italian seasoning

½  tsp oregano

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder


Dice the onion, and apples into small cubes approximately 1/4th inch in width. Rip the bread into 1 inch cubes. Don’t worry they don’t have to be perfect in size. Heat the olive oil in a skillet until warm, toss in your onions and sauté until they are translucent and brown. Add in the apples and heat until they are softened and warm all the way through. Once that happens add in the bread cubes. Stir in then add the seasonings. Warm the whole mixture for another 3-5 minutes until it is moist and browned all the way through. You might have to add a bit more oil to keep it from burning. Finally toss in the garlic and stir in for another 1-2 minutes.


For the Pork Chop and Seasoning

4 boneless Pork Chops

1/4th cup brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ancho chili pepper.

2 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix all the seasonings together into a bowl. Rub thoroughly into all sides of the thawed pork chops. Cut a slit in the pork chop until it is 1/4th an inch from the back and sides of the meat. Take the pre made stuffing and stuff the cavity you created, pressing firmly as you want to stuff as much in there as you can. If you choose to add cheese this is the point you do that, but if not you can skip that step. Now place the stuffed pork chop gently into a heated skillet that you have placed the olive oil in. It’s best to use a pair of tongs for this. Brown on each side, approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and enjoy

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Mushroom Risotto

Nothing says I love you like spending a lot of time on a side dish, a lot. This dish takes about 20-30 minutes to make. Now I have never made a risotto, ever. And I have no shame in telling you it scares me more than a little. I mean this is the staple of every episode of “Master Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen”. A staple, I might add, that everyone seems to do wrong the first time on the show and I am going to try it… YIKES. It’ okay, I may have to give myself a pep talk to get through this but we can do it.   You are willing to give me some moral support if I have a panic attack right?

Alright now that I’m done being neurotic you should know that I did actually get through making this dish, and it turned out incredible.  Honestly I had to do very little seasoning at all, this is a super simple risotto, and you and yours I am almost positive will love it, just like me and mine did. Now your traditional risotto takes arborio rice, but who has that, not me. So I used jasmine rice. Arborio rice is a short round fat rice, and jasmine rice is long thin and white, so there is a bit of a difference, but we can make it work and it really did.  So lets get this rather ambitious project started.  The first thing you will need is to heat your skillet on a medium heat for a few minutes then take a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and a tablespoon unsalted butter and drop them in the pan until they are hot and slightly bubbling.

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Once the oils are warm you will want to add in your veggies. The original recipe calls for onions, but I didn’t have that what I had was an old can of mushrooms sitting in the back of my pantry. “Eh this’ll work” and before you ask yes that was me talking to myself. So I took it out and drained the liquid from it setting it aside on the off chance I didn’t have enough chicken broth.

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You will want to take the mushrooms out of the can and rinse them off thoroughly. The reason for this is that canned veggies tend to get a metallic taste to them. By rinsing the vegetables thoroughly you get rid of that awful metal taste.

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See what I mean all that metal, yuck. Now that you have rinsed your mushrooms drop them into the skillet and stir occasionally until they start to brown and are warm all the way through.

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Once they are warm which will take about 5-8 minutes  you will want to add 1 cup of rice. You will then stir it into the oils and veggies.

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Keep stirring until the butter and oil is completely soaked into the rice. There will be a soft nutty aroma when you are ready for the next step.

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Now add 1/2 cup of a dry white wine, like the small box of chardonnay sitting in the back of your fridge.  Yes I did say box, go ahead make your jokes, but even this little boxed wine adds amazing flavor to this dish.

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Once the wine has been absorbed into the rice you will want to add another two tablespoons of butter stirring constantly to avoid burning.

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Once that is in you can start adding your chicken broth. Now you can buy chicken broth at the store it comes in a box already in liquid form, but you can also get bouillion cubes and add it to hot water. Or you can make your own chicken stock by boiling a whole chicken or chicken pieces. The alternative which I took takes a lot more effort. You have to Go to the hospital have a baby, get put on an all liquid diet for a few days where they give you several packets of powdered chicken broth, don’t use them. Forget they’re there and months later find them in your camera case of all places. Then mix them with water and use it in a risotto. I don’t recommend that method. It’s a lot more work for a risotto than necessary. However you make the broth now is the time you add it one cup at a time.

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You will want to stir constantly at this point to so that you don’t burn the rice, because it can burn very easily.

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This is what it looks like after 2 cups have soaked in. Over all this recipe takes about 3 1/2 cups of broth, or mushroom juice. I used both.

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After you have slowly added about 3 cups of broth, but before you add the last little bit you will want to add about 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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As you can see you can add this when you still have some moisture in your risotto.

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Mix in and add the last 1/2 cup of broth. Now you want your risotto to be al dente which means slightly firm but with a soft center. Now when it’s done the risotto will have a creamy consistency. At this point you can adjust the seasoning using some simple sea salt. I actually didn’t need to use any additional seasonings with this. It was that good.

What do you think? Not bad right?

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Now for the simple ingredients.


3-4 cups of chicken stock

1 cup rice (i used jasmine rice, but arborio is the classic risotto style rice)

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus 2 more tbsp for finishing

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1 8 oz can of mushrooms

1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese


Drop the vegetable oil and 1 tbsp of the butter into a preheated skillet. Add one 8 0z can of mushrooms (make sure to rinse mushrooms thoroughly as canned veggies can get a metallic taste and you don’t want that in your dish). Once the mushrooms are slightly browned and warm all the way through add 1 cup of Jasmine rice and mix in, stirring until all the butter and oil is soaked in. Continue stirring until there is a slightly nutty aroma, once you smell this add in 1/2 cup chardonnay. Continue mixing until it is soaked into the rice. Add 2 tbsp butter. Make sure to stir constantly as you don’t want to burn the rice. Finally add in 3-4 cups of chicken broth one cup at a time. Do this slowly as you want the rice to release their natural starches Make sure the rice soaks in all the broth before adding the next cup. You will want to taste periodically to see when it is al dente. Once it is still a little firm but almost there add in your 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese to taste.  Stir in the last 1/2 cup broth and let it soak in. Serve immediately.

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My husband now has three jobs so he has been working super hard to provide for our family. Sadly this means he worked over 87 hours last week. So I wanted to do something special to show him how grateful I am for all his hard work, and while it may not be true that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach for every man, mine sure appreciates it.  Therefore, I decided to try my take on an Italian dish. Parmesan crusted chicken, and mushroom risotto. I’ll put up the recipe for the risotto after this recipe.

Now I have done Parmesan crusted chicken before, but I have never done it this way. I normally do Rachel Ray’s Parmesan crusted chicken, but I didn’t have the ingredients for it this time.  (By the way it’s a terrific recipe ya’ll should try it. Still if you want to do it this way it is equally amazing. And oh so moist)  So let’s get to it, I know my husband deserves a good meal and i’m sure yours does too.

To start with you are going to need a few spices and some mayonnaise. I went with olive oil mayo, it’s a tiny bit better for you, and the following spices. Now I was a little reluctant to use Mayo on a baked chicken. It honestly sounded awful, but this is the most succulent delicious chicken I have ever made.

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As you can see I used Italian seasoning, chives, onion powder, black pepper and grinding sea salt. However you can season it however feels good to you. I used  about 1 tbsp of the Italian seasoning, 1 tsp of chives, a tbsp of onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 3-4 grinds of sea salt. I put all of this into 1 1/2 cup of mayo.

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then I mixed it up

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Now at this point a normal person would add their cup of Parmesan cheese, but for anyone who knows me you know I can be a bit goofy, So I forgot this step. But well make it better in a minute.

Now you want to take your thawed chicken and place it in a single layer at the bottom of a casserole dish.

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Aren’t those beautiful?  It’s almost a shame I have to alter them. Now as you can see they’re not really uniform in width, so were going to have to smash them a bit. This will help them to cook uniformly and finish at the same time.

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Now that I have had a good workout and pounded the meat so that it’s uniformly flat, it should look a little like this.

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Now I used a mashed potato masher, but you really can use whatever you have that would work, they make utensils for this, but you can use a can, the back of a spatula, or even a baseball bat, if you feel like you might want to be a kid again. Really you just want to make sure the chicken is as close to the same size as it can be.

At this point you want to take and spread you mayo spice mixture over the chicken.

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It’s like it’s wearing a mask, you can hardly see the chicken.

Now it’s time to fix our mistake… okay, maybe it was just my mistake. We are going to sprinkle on the half a cup or more of Parmesan cheese.

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Now use the back of a spoon to smooth in the cheese.

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See catastrophe averted.

Alright, now the recipe calls for bread crumbs, I however only have croutons. Same difference right? Okay maybe not, but it works divinely in this recipe, especially if you have seasoned croutons. Mine were tomato basil croutons.

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What you want to do is take that same spoon you used to spread the cheese, and used it to crush the croutons, but you could also use a food processor, it would probably be easier. Finally sprinkle the bread crumbs over the chicken.

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now place it in the oven at 425 Degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove and Enjoy.

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Now I have to say I have tried a lot of amazing chicken recipes in the past, but this one made one of the most moist and delicious chicken recipes I have ever made. It’s incredible.

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Now for the simple recipe.


5 chicken breasts

1 1/2 cup Olive oil Mayo, (but you can use whatever mayo you have)

3-4 grinds of Sea Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tbsp Onion powder

1 tsp Chives

1 tbsp Italian Seasoning

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Bread Crumbs (I used crushed tomato basil croutons)


Thaw chicken. Take the mayo and add in the salt, pepper, onion powder, chives and Italian seasoning. Mix well. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and set aside. Now place your chicken breasts in a heavy casserole dish. Now take a potato masher or a meat smasher and flatten the chicken until they are uniform in size. Take your mayo mixture and spread it evenly over the chicken. Finally top with your bread crumbs or crushed croutons. Now place in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve and Enjoy.

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Pigs in a Blanket

Ah, it’s been a long day, and for more than a week my daughter and I have both been sick. Now, however our colds are starting to wane. I think it’s time for some serious comfort food. Nothing is more comfortable than curling up in a nice warm blanket at the end of a long day so why not give our dinner a little of that same comfort as well? Hey even our hot dogs deserve to be comfortable. So let’s make them a blanket.

I mean sure, you could buy some random store bought rolls and yes it would work just fine, but nothing says I love you like homemade blankets. Sure they take a little more time, but they are so worth it. If you have ever been to Texas and had one of their famous Kolaches you will understand the beauty of a well-dressed pig, and these little beauties are practically wearing a ball gown.  My husband hates hot dogs and even he loved these beauties.

Okay now that I’m done fawning let’s get to cooking. For this recipe I had everything that it called for, but I thought, “Hey I’ve been sick for a while, I deserve to have something really special,” so I changed up a few ingredients from the original recipe which you can find at Mommy’s kitchen. It really is amazing, but if you want to change things up a bit, try this recipe.

Start with a warmed milk and water blend, drop in one tsp sugar and add one package of yeast.

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Now let it rest for 5 minutes, there’s no rush, relax, have a glass of wine, or maybe a sip because you only have 5 minutes. Once you’re done with your sip it’s time to add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk an egg until it’s well beaten.

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Now add the remainder of the sugar,

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the salt,

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the olive oil,

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Now pour that into your yeast milk and water then add as much flower as is needed to get the mixture to thicken and form a ball.

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Mix it well

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Now it’s time to give our hands a dough massage, or give the dough a back rub it’s up to you. You are going to want to knead it on a well-floured surface for around 8-10 min.  Or you could do what I did and flour your bowl really well and mix it there, less mess. Who doesn’t like less mess?

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Anyway, after that the original recipe tells you to grease the bowl, but since I used mine as a kneading surface I skipped this step, and just covered it and set it in the fridge for an hour.

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During this time I took out my hot dogs to let them defrost.

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1 hour has now elapsed and you can take out your dough, making sure it has doubled in size before you start working it.

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By working it I mean it’s time to taking out our aggression. Who needs a punching bag when you have doubled dough.  Go ahead and punch it. It doesn’t have to be completely flat, but you do need it to be easy to manipulate.

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Once all your aggression is all worked out.  It’s time to form the dough into 5-6 inch rounds. Now the easy way to do this is to use a rolling pin, I however don’t own a rolling pin, granted I could have used a cup or a can, but my husband took this as an opportunity to show off his pizza stretching skills.

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You want to cut a slit in the dog until it is about ¼ th inch deep.

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Spread it open and place the cheese inside.

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Now fold the ends in and roll the wrapped dog on the greased baking sheet, so that all the seams melt together. Blog food 144

Set it aside and finished with the rest. You are going to want to let the dogs sit out and rise for another 30 minutes.

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Now place them in a 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

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Remove from oven

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top with garlic onion and chive seasoned olive oil. This is what makes it really delicious.

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That’s it.  They are a lot of work, but so delicious.  By the way these are one of those things you can really play around with. You could substitute the hot dog for bratwurst or add jalapenos to the cheese stuffed dog.   Really the sky’s the limit.  Oh and if you serve it with a beautiful salad it makes a delicious meal.

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Now it’s time for the step by steps.  My alterations in bold.

1 – package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

1/3 – cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

2/3 – cup warm milk (110° to 115°)

1/3 – cup warm water (110° to 115°)

1 – egg, beaten

2 – tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons shortening, melted (Or 2 tbsp + 2 tsp Olive Oil)

1 – teaspoon salt

3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

10 – hot dogs (I would recommend using jumbo dogs)

2 – slices process American cheese (or more if you’d like) (Feta and Gouda crumbles)

For the dressing

6 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

A sprinkling of chives

Add all in a small bowl and mix well. Drizzle over your pigs in a blanket for a truly amazing finish.  


For the original recipe go to  http://www.mommyskitchen.net/2009/06/piggies-in-blanket-some-news.html

Spinach Mushroom and Fetta Stuffed Flounder

So what to do for dinner? I’ve got a fridge full of fish and no Idea what to do with it. Now fish can do a lot of awesome things. You can marinate it or dress it up with some fancy rice, but if you really want to impress you could stuff your fish. Stuffing your fish is similar to stuffing pretty much anything else, but since it’s seen less often people tend to be a little more impressed, and I’m hoping my husband is one of those people.

Stuffing fish could not be simpler, you simply pick the ingredients you want. Now I’m using flounder which means you want light not super acidic ingredients because you don’t want to overpower the fish itself. For my stuffed fish I chose spinach, mushroom, tomato and feta cheese.

First thaw your fish and ready your ingredients.

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Now you want to take a whole bag of frozen spinach, add in one roma tomato, and a box of pre-cut white button mushrooms.  Place them all in a skillet and let cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are wilted. You won’t need any extra oils or moisture as the vegetables provide plenty. Now I should note with the tomato you have to be very careful it is an acidic fruit, so you can easily overpower the fish with this.  You don’t want to use to many.

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Once the vegetables are done you can begin assembly.

Place the vegetable mixture on the thick side of a flounder filet and place the feta cheese atop the mixture, and roll from the thick side to the thin placing the seam on the bottom.

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Continue until all the filets are rolled.

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Top with seasoned bread crumbs and olive oil now bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

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For a little added flare you can top with Parmesan cheese.

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Serve and enjoy.


Now for the simple instructions


Seasoned bread crumbs

1  14 oz bag of frozen spinach

1 roma tomato

1 16 oz package of sliced white button mushrooms

5 flounder filets

1 package of feta cheese

Parmesean cheese  for topping

Preheat oven to 350. In a heated skillet add in the spinach the tomato diced and the entire package of mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms begin to brown and wilt, and the spinach is fully thawed and warm. Set mixture aside. Remove the thawed filets and place on a clean surface. Now it’s time for the fun part, were going to stuff. Place the spinach mixture atop the widest part of the filet, and top with feta. Roll from the thick to the thin side placing the seam down. Top with bread crumbs and place in oven for 15 min. Once the fish is cooked through remove and top with parmesan cheese. You will know the fish is done when it is flaky and white in color.

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Now enjoy.

I can’t wait to see your renditions, for more information on the original recipe, which is very similar, I just added a few things. Go to http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-stuffed-flounder-with-mushrooms-and-feta/