Archive for May 2016

Mini Meatball Calzones

May 26, 2016
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Classico Riserva for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

These homemade calzones are SO EASY to make any night of the week - make tonight Italian night at your house!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: our family eats out too much. Please tell me I'm not alone in this! Actually, you don't need to tell me because I already know that fact. I can remember when we were first married, and then we just had baby Silas around (MAN that was a LONG time ago) we pretty much ate out most nights of the week.

Looking back at that time though, I do have to give myself some credit. We were both working full time professional jobs with typical 9-5 work week schedules. I was teaching elementary school in Philadelphia and Paul was in banking at the time. I had gone back to work exactly 7 weeks to the day after giving birth to Silas. I was so lucky to have my Grandparents close by to look after him while we were at work, but it was hard.

When we were all together again at night, the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do was spend even more time away from my people slaving away in the kitchen, not even knowing if dinner would turn out right or we'd even WANT to eat it!

So, we'd order out - most nights Italian food. Little did I know how EASY and FAST it is to make our favorite take-out recipes at home, especially these Mini Meatball Calzones!

I have to say though, the quality of the products you buy at the supermarket makes a huge difference in the quality of the flavor in the final dish! Make sure you're using fresh tasting ingredients you know and trust and your homemade copycat favorites, like these AWESOME calzones, will turn out amazing every time!

Mini Meatball Calzones
  • 14 oz frozen meatballs, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 24 oz jar Classico Riserva Pasta Sauce , divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 (10 oz) tubes refrigerated pizza crust, thin crust
Cooking Directions
  1. Slice cooked meatballs in half and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce, basil, garlic, and black pepper. Stir gently until well combined.
  2. Unroll one package of pizza dough onto a large greased cookie sheet. Gently stretch to the length and width of the cookie sheet and slice into 4 rectangles.
  3. Place a generous amount of sauce filling onto each slice, leaving a border at the edges.
  4. Sprinkle with a small amount of additional mozzarella, stretch dough over filling, use a fork to seal the edges, and cut a slit in the top of the dough to allow air to escape while baking. Repeat process for remaining pizza crust tube.
  5. Place filled calzones onto lined cookie sheets and bake at 425 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
  6. Place remaining sauce in a microwavable dish and microwave for 45 second - 1 minute until sauce is warmed. Serve baked calzones with warmed sauce for dipping. Makes 8 mini calzones.

You truly wouldn't have a clue that you're eating a homemade dinner with this recipe - you could totally fool your family! I served this would a fresh side salad with Italian dressing and Parmesan cheese to complete our Italian night at home. If you're tired of the craziness of the work week, but want to try some homemade meals for your family, this is an awesome one to start with - what are you waiting for?!

As I mentioned before, choosing ingredients that you know and trust is important when recreating favorite restaurant dinners at home. In this case, I "opened up a bottle of the good stuff!" The "good stuff" being my favorite Classico Riserva Puttanesca sauce - it's honestly like opening up a bottle of my favorite wine! With exceptional taste, this new line comes in five varieties including Marinara, Eggplant & Artichoke, Roasted Garlic, Arrabbiata, and Puttanesca. Classico Riserva's vine-ripened tomatoes are picked at the peak of sweetness, and with no artificial ingredients or added sugar, I love serving this to my family!

Classico has provided me with coupons for 3 FREE JARS of sauce to giveaway, one each to three lucky Mostly Homemade Mom readers! To enter, tell me in the comment section below what meal idea you have for one of their new varieties of Classico Riserva Pasta Sauce. Giveaway is open to all US residents, 18 and older. Good luck!!

Visit Sponsors Site


Grilled Crab Legs for your Summer BBQ!

May 25, 2016
 This post has been sponsored by Bounty Advanced Paper Towels. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

You won't get this amazing sweet smoky flavor with steamed crab legs - try this EASY method for grilled crab legs on your backyard BBQ this summer!

Grilled Crab legs with grilled corn cookout recipe

My husband is becoming increasingly obsessed with all things BBQ lately ever since we purchased a Costco membership. Stroll though the meat department and you'll get what I'm talking about! Anyway, we were discussing some crazy ideas for grilling this summer and he came up with the idea of trying crab legs on the grill. Of course we pulled up Google and it's totally a thing, you guys.

Grilled Crab legs with grilled corn on BBQ

What the WHAT?! Being the steamed crab legs connoisseurs that we are, this was something that needed to be perfected for you all.

Into the cart:

Frozen crab legs, check.

Large tray of sweet Jersey corn on the cob, check.

Gi-huge-ic package of Bounty Advanced paper towels, check.

Shopping trip for grilled steamed crab legs bbq dinner recipe

This was going to be one messy and delicious meal, friends! When we were just dating, we would visit our local Chinese buffet where they offered all-you-can-eat crablegs. It was dangerously close to the apartment where we lived when we were first married, too. You should have seen the mounds of steamed crab - especially on Paul's plate! Needless to say, we got our money's worth out of that restaurant for sure.

Since then, we've realized how to capitalize on seafood sales at the grocery store and we enjoy our own seafood feasts here at home with the kids. Steaming crab in our kitchen is super easy, but I have to say grilled BBQ crab is just as easy and with less dishes to wash afterwards! And the flavor...

Grilled Crab legs recipe for summer BBQ cook out

It's unbelievable, you guys! The typical sweet crab meat combines with the smoky BBQ flavor and it's really out of this world! Plus, the grill tends to dry out the outer shell which makes them easier to crack. You'll still need crackers for the claws - don't forget that claw meat - YUM! 

*Note: if grilling corn along with the crab, place corn cobs wrapped in foil directly on BBQ 5 minutes before grilling the crab legs.

Grilled Crab Legs

  • 4-5 lbs frozen crab leg clusters
  • melted butter, seafood crackers, Bounty Advanced paper towels
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat grill to 350-400 degrees. Separate 2 individual crab legs (to test for doneness).
  2. Place crab legs and clusters directly on grill. Cook for 4 minutes. Flip, then cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
  3. Crack open one of the individual crab legs to test if done to your liking. Remove from grill and wrap individual clusters with paper towels to catch juices and keep crab meat warm. Serve with melted butter.

Grilled Crab legs on bbq gas or charcoal grill

If you're looking for something different to do on your gas or charcoal BBQ grill this summer, you've found it! Plus, it will TOTALLY make your neighbors jealous to smell delish seafood wafting through the backyards - better plan on making extra!

Grilled Crab legs picnic table spread with sodas and sliced watermelon for summer

For messy, buttery dinners like this one, great quality paper towels are a must-have! I like to put a roll of Bounty Advanced paper towels on each picnic table for easy access to clean up hands and any spills that might happen. Not only are they Bounty's most absorbent towel (compared to their National Bounty Select-A-Size Towels), they have longer select-a-size sheets, *vs National Market Bounty Select-A-Size) - which are perfect for wrapping cooked crab to keep warm until guests are ready to eat. These are Bounty's newest innovation and are available at Costco. Hopefully the weather cooperates with your BBQ plans and you can eat outside, that way you don't have to worry about anything spilling on the ground! 

Have you ever tried crab legs on the BBQ? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

May 19, 2016
With a premade graham cracker crust, apple pie filling, and caramel ice cream topping, this is one of the best cheesecake dessert recipes I've ever tried!

Caramel apple cheese cake pie dessert recipe

I love, love, LOVE no bake cheesecakes. They're just so darn easy to make and everyone loves them, especially my kids! Cheesecake is one of the few things Paul will ask about dessert-wise, too, so I tend to make a lot of the no-bake variety for convenience sake.

This cheesecake, though? TOTALLY worth the extra time to bake and set. 

I think I've mentioned on here several times that my favorite desserts are APPLE desserts. I think the obsession started with my Mom's famous apple crumb pie and just grew from there. At restaurants when I'm trying to decide on a dessert, I usually waver between the chocolate choice or the apple choice. And 9 times out of 10, the apple choice is the one I pick! Apple pie, apple cake, apple crisp... I just have to try them all! Plus, the odd time that I do go with the chocolate dessert it's usually because I'm at a buffet and I can cram both onto my plate - ha!

Caramel apple cheese cake pie in graham cracker crust with caramel ice cream topping

While this pie does take added preparation time for the baking portion, I use a premade store bough graham cracker crust and also canned apple pie filling for two time-saving shortcuts. The caramel ice cream topping along with the apple pie filling makes an amazingly sweet topping for this creamy cheesecake pie dessert. You simply have to try this one!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

  • 21 oz can apple pie filling, divided
  • 9 inch graham cracker crust
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon caramel (or vanilla) extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
Cooking Directions
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup apple pie filling. Spread remaining filling into the bottom of the prepared graham cracker crust.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and caramel or vanilla extract until well combined and creamy. Spread over apple pie filling in pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 - 50 minutes or until center is set and firm. Allow to cool completely.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat reserved apple pie filling and caramel ice cream topping over medium low heat until well combined, only about 2 minutes. Pour evenly over top of cooled cheesecake.
  5. Allow topping to cool about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator.

Caramel apple cheesecake pie dessert recipe with apple pie filling

I'm one that will totally heat up dessert to go with my coffee after the kids are in bed, but this one is SO GOOD ice cold - it makes a perfect dessert for the warmer months coming up - I can't wait!

Here are some more of my favorite cheesecake dessert ideas:

Don't miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email. Or, you can follow along via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ - I'd love to connect with you!

17 Recipes for a Can of Diced Tomatoes

May 16, 2016
An ongoing list of fabulous recipes using a canned diced tomatoes, one of my all-time favorite pantry staple items!

A list of 17 recipes using a can of diced tomatoes or canned tomatoes

If you've been around here even a short time you'd know I cook with canned diced tomatoes a lot. Like, A LOT, a lot. For several reasons - they're cheap, they are super healthy, and they add TONS of flavor to whatever you're cooking. Canned diced tomatoes are also good in a WIDE variety of recipes. You can imagine how much I stock up when I can get these babies on the cheap!

There are different brands and flavors, of course. I like the petite diced so that way I have less complaints about "chunkiness" (insert eye-roll here), but I do enjoy the diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano for Italian recipes and of course the diced tomatoes with green chiles for Mexican dishes, but I'll save that one for a separate post on it's own!

So if you have a can of diced tomatoes hanging out in your pantry and you don't know what to do with it, you've come to the right place!

Skinny Spaghetti Soup

Italian Chili

Veggie Loaded Chicken Cacciatore

Roasted Vegetable Chili

Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti

Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Ranch Pesto Rigatoni

Tomato Feta Shrimp Skillet

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Skillet

Easy Tomato Baked Chicken

Easy Lasagna Soup

Alphabet Soup

Crockpot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Pumpkin & Black Bean Chili

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

I hope I've given you some great, new dinner recipe ideas for that lone can of diced tomatoes (or two) hanging out in your pantry!

Menu Plan Monday 5/16 - Spring Dinner Ideas

Weekly menu plan meal plan recipes and ideas for dinner

What a whirlwind of a week last week! Paul was away Tuesday through Friday morning. I'm not used to being the only parent to 3 kiddos 24/7 like that, I have a new-found appreciation for single parents, that's for sure!

Then on Friday afternoon, I left for the SoFabU On the Road conference in Brooklyn, NY. I had an AMAZING time! This was my first blogging conference and, I can assure you, it won't be my last. I took yesterday to decompress and got right to work this morning - it's awesome to get some inspiration! 

I will say, while I absolutely loved Brooklyn - I will never, ever, EVER drive there again - haha! At times I have a bit of an anxiety issue, mostly when I'm driving long distances in cars by myself and especially in high traffic areas and construction. I'm realizing now it's more of a claustrophobic issue. Needless to say I didn't NOT deal well travelling through the Holland Tunnel in stop-and-go traffic. What in the heck was I thinking?! I have no doubt I will be visiting Brooklyn again, just not by car next time. :)

This week I need to get my behind in gear and start really packing because... we're moving! And of course it's the end of the school year, so it's really busy. Here's my menu plan for the week:

Cheesy Mexican Lasagna

Holiday Party Meatballs & Pasta

Skinny Spaghetti Soup

Store-bought Bacon Cheddar Burgers (grilled on my indoor George Foreman - LOVE that thing!) with Corn on the Cob

Cheddar Chicken Crescent Rolls

Leftovers from Freezer

Ultimate Roast Beef & Swiss Wraps

Find more yummy menu plans from my fellow blog friends over at Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday linkup!