Enchanted Mommy

The Best Sides for your Potluck!

Does everyone have their dish planned for your 4th of July BBQ?  Just in case you haven’t made a decision yet, I thought I throw out ten of our favorite potluck sides for you.  These are tried and tested recipes that you can’t go wrong with it!

1.  On of my all time favorites is Loaded Baked Potato Salad!  Its a different twist on potato salad and is so yummy!  With all that bacon, how could it not be a hit!?!?!

Loaded baked Potato Salad

Loaded baked Potato Salad


2.  Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad is an easy side to bring.  It can be made ahead of time and is served cold, making it the perfect take-a-long dish.

Broccoli, Pasta, Grape Salad

Broccoli, Pasta, Grape Salad

3.  I love these Mini Cucumber Sandwiches.   They are so cute and are always quickly devoured.

Mini Cucumber Sandwhiches

Mini Cucumber Sandwhiches


4.  I love bringing trifle to a potluck.  They are always so yummy and can feed a large group! Strawberry Short Cake Trifle and Red, White, and Blue Trifle are two of my favorite festive trifles!

Strawberry Short Cake Trifle

Strawberry Short Cake Trifle


Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Red, White, and Blue Trifle


5.  This Orzo Pasta Salad is also a big hit.  It is something a little different from the standard potluck dish and will be one of the first dishes to go when served in a crowd.  It is a no fuss dish that throws together easily.

Orzo Pasta Salad

Orzo Pasta Salad


6.  Fresh fruit is always a yummy BBQ side.  I like to serve mine up with this yummy fruit dip of cream cheese and marshmallow fluff.  It really dresses up your fruit.  I have been told that this fruit dip is addictive!

Fruit Dip - You_ll Never Serve Fruit Without It Anymore!


6.  These Watermelon Rice Krispies are so much fun!  I like to bring these along if I know there will be a lot of kids.  It is always a big hit with the kids.

Watermelon Rice Krispies

Watermelon Rice Krispies


7.  Try this Avocado and Tomato Salad.  This always tastes so good paired up with a good burger.  It is fresh and healthy!  Try adding crumbled bacon and cubed mozzarella cheese to it as well!

Avocado and Tomato Salad

Avocado and Tomato Salad


8.  If you are serving some fresh veggies, you could really glam them up by serving them with this yummy Avocado Hummus.  This is delicious with Pita slices as well.

Avocado Hummus

Avocado Hummus


9.  These fancy deviled eggs go great at a potluck.  Use a crinkle cutter to slice the eggs and a pipe the yoke  mixture into the eggs to really make them look good.  We also like to sprinkle them with crumbled bacon.  What doesn’t taste better with bacon?!?!  This should be my motto.


Deviled Eggs

10.  Chocolate dipped strawberries sprinkled with blue sprinkles look especially festive for July 4th BBQ.  It also helps that they taste AMAZING!

Patriotic Strawberries

Patriotic Strawberries


New Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Yay!  Its BBQ season again!  I love it!  Time to start getting your grill on!

We love potato salad at our house!  My mother-in-law has really perfected her potato salad by taste, all the way to the tiniest dab of salt.  It is so so so fabulous.  Sadly, I am unable to replicate it.  I just dont seem to have the magic taste… you know where you can take a small nibble and declare it needs just one more touch of mustard or pepper.  I just can’t seem to get it right.

So when I can’t duplicate it, I have to go out and find a new recipe to introduce.  I have had this Loaded Baked Potato recipe pinned for a long time from Dishing With Leslie for a long time now.  I finally got to try it out for a family BBQ last week.  Thank you Leslie!  So yummy!

The only thing I would change from her recipe is to add more cheese… because really, you can never have enough cheese!  I used the Yukon Gold potatoes… it was perfect!  I agree with Leslie, serve it warm or cold!  It is fabulous either way!




Fit in perfectly at our last BBQ and was gobbled up!

Fit in perfectly at our last BBQ and was gobbled up!



New Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Author: Dishingwithleslie.blogspot.com
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
  • 4 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped chives, divided in half
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. ***Mix mayo and sour cream together in small bowl. Add half the chives, cheese, pepper, and salt to taste. Refrigerate. Peel and cube your potatoes. Put them in a large pot of water and boil until tender (about 20 minutes). Do not over boil or your potatoes will turn to mash. You want them to be be tender to the fork, but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and let them cool for a bit while you cook and crumble the bacon. If you plan on serving this dish cold like I did, let the potatoes cool completely.
  2. Combine the potatoes and sour cream mixture in a large bowl. Fold in the bacon crumbles. Top the salad off with the last half of your chives and the last two strips of bacon crumbled.

5 Tried And True Paleo Friendly Meals

I bet you’re all thinking you wish I would make up my dang mind.  I go from sweets to South Beach friendly meals to Paleo/Primal style posts. The overall truth is that I feel like I gained a crap ton of weight with my last child and I did not (quote DID NOT) want to do it again this time.  So (not tooting my horn), this time I’ve got it under control.  Of course I don’t eat perfect, but I’m also not eating McDonalds every time I pass by it like my last pregnancy nor have my feet swelled up this time around.  I also have another friend who had some issues (preclampsia for one) with her last pregnancy and this time she’s golden because she’s also eating more Paleoish.  So because of my diet plan this time, I haven’t gained that crap ton of weight and I feel like I have more energy for my other two kids.

For this post, I’m linking up to some meals and a snack that I’ve tried and that are delicious alternatives to the fatty ways of life.

1.  Mustard Lime Chicken


Click on the link above to get the delicious recipe.  Seriously to.die.for.  We served it with cauliflower mash and parmesan roasted broccoli.  Seriously how can you miss french fries when you have this.


2.  Taco Stuffed Poblano Peppers


These were also amazing.  My friend posted a pic of hers on instagram and I immediately started drooling.  She told me that when she made them she boiled the peppers while she was prepping everything else.  I think that was a good idea so they wouldn’t snap when you tried to cut them.  We also added some texas pete.  Yummmmmmmm.

3.  Dark Chocolate Chunk


Okay, need I say more?!  Well, we do add as many nuts as possible and load up on the natural coconut flakes.  So good.  Oh yeah, did you know that Costco has coconut oil??  You can get a huge container for 15 something.  Good deal.

4. Bison Spaghetti

Spaghetti Squash

This was seriously yum.  We have the Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Cook Book (totally worth EVERY penny).  We made this from there.  We actually used regular ground beef since we have half a cow (literally).  Very yum!

5.  Fish Tacos With Citrus Dressing


I thought I would hate these.  But, no.  They were so tasty and delish.  The sauce made it to die for.  We actually used salmon because we already had it on hand.  Oh my goodness.  You won’t regret.


These are just some of my favs.  They really are so delicious and you won’t even think about the crap you used to eat.  I promise.  Do you have any favs?  Please share!!!


Cheesy, Spinach, Spaghetti Squash!

Spaghetti squash is so yummy and can be cooked so many different ways!  We have been cutting down on carbs lately and trying to eat more veggies!  Spaghetti squash is a great carb substitute!  We regularly use it in place of pasta in our spaghetti.  So yum!

This recipe has been floating around pinterest lately so I decided to give it a try.  I did change it up a bit to take the carbs out.  The original recipe is made with flour and milk.  I did like the dish, however, if I made this again I wouldn’t bake it.  I would just cover it in parmesan cheese and eat it!

This is it before being baked.

This is it before being baked.


This is it after it baked for 30 minutes.  It was good, and melted all the cheese, but I think it would have been just as good without this step.

This is it after it baked for 30 minutes. It was good, and melted all the cheese, but I think it would have been just as good without this step.


Start with cooked spaghetti squash

Start with cooked spaghetti squash


Saute it up with baby spinach, cheddar cheese, onions, and chicken broth.

Saute it up with baby spinach, cheddar cheese, onions, and chicken broth.  I added a bit too much broth.

Goes perfect with this salad!  MIxed greens, tomatoes, avocado, feta, parmesan, and sliced almonds!

Goes perfect with this salad! Mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, feta, parmesan, red onions, and sliced almonds!

Ingredients to make it even healthier.

Ingredients to make it even healthier.

I try to use the No Sodium salt and smart balance butter when I am cooking.  It is much healthier.  I also opted for the 99% fat free chicken broth.  It all gets mixed in together and tasted great.  My uncle would laugh at this, but he is the one who introduced me to the No Sodium salt.  He calls it the “girl salt.”  We use to eat dinner with him all the time when we lived out west and he would always say, “Please pass the girl salt.”  It always made me laugh!

Cheesy, Spinach, Spaghetti Squash!
  • 1 cooked spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ thinly chopped onion
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 8 oz 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach (I used half of regular size bag)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (to be sprinkled on top)
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To cook the spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and lay on a baking sheet facing up. Put a tsp. of butter in each half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Take squash out of the oven and scrape insides into a bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and let simmer on medium high for several minutes. Add the cheddar cheese and keep stirring until cheese is completely melted into the broth. Add spaghetti squash and baby spinach. Stir until combined and flavor with salt and pepper. Put it all into a baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.






Make Your Own Popcorn And Save Tons

popcorn Collage

Here are the 5 easy steps to making your own popcorn without spending a fortune on the portioned bags from the store!

  • Just buy the huge bag of popcorn kernels (the everyday price on 32 oz. at my grocery store was $1.97).
  • Pour 1/4 cup kernels into a brown paper bag.
  • Roll bag two times.
  • Hit popcorn on microwave.
  • Remove and enjoy!  Feel free to add the amount of salt and butter you prefer!
Make Your Own Popcorn And Save Tons
  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels.
  • paper bag.
  • Salt and butter are optional.
  1. Put ¼ cup kernels into brown paper bag.
  2. Roll bag over two times.
  3. Put in microwave and hit popcorn button.
  4. Pour into bowl and enjoy!




Look at this delicious money saving popcorn!


Yum yum yum!

You could also make a popcorn cake or caramel popcorn from this recipe!

Broccoli, Grape, Pasta Salad

pasta salad

This is the perfect dish for your next gathering or pot luck.  It makes a lot, is served cold, and is delicious!  The bacon is awesome in it and even my brother-in-law went back for thirds.

All three of my boys are playing sports this season and we have 4 games a week, plus practices.  To say it is a bit nuts is an understatement  but others who have gone before me have told me this is just the beginning and to get use to it!  Ha!  Anyway, on the weeknight games and practices I am always looking for quick and easy meals to feed the family so we can run quickly to our events without leaving a ton of clean up.

This meal does that. I made it earlier in the day and let it chill for a couple hours so the dressing could be absorbed and soften the broccoli.  All I had to do was pull it out, serve it on some paper plates with a side of fruit, and we were out the door.

I didn’t add the pecans in mine, simply because I didn’t have them on hand.  I wish I had though!  I bet they would be yummy!  I also stayed away from the salt.  Its a new kick I am on.  I try not to cook with salt at all, but after a dish is done I might add a little to taste at the table if I feel it needs it.  Most of the time though, I don’t need it or miss it at all.

Broccoli, Grape, Pasta Salad
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup chopped pecan
  • ½ (16oz) box of bow tie pasta
  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
  • 8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
  2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes – Valentine’s Style

I’ve been wanting to practice some delicious new cupcakes for my almost 2 year old’s (seriously WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE??) birthday.  Everyone notices how delish the icing is and could often care less about the taste of the cake, sad but true.  Also, today my husband wanted a cheat day from his strict Paleo diet.  Why not practice?  So, I did practice and I ate lots!  I got the icing recipe here.

So easy, delish and pretty!

  • 1 Devils Food Cake Box and the ingredients listed on box.
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • ½ Cup Butter Softened
  • 3 Tb Milk
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
  1. Make cupcakes according to box.
  2. Let cupcakes cool.
  3. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer.
  4. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable.
  5. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
  6. Decorate your cupcake.
  7. Add sprinkles and your choice of decoration.

This icing is SO easy and so much better than any store bought.  I want to do these and a buttercream for Anna’s 2nd birthday and put some Minnie Mouse decorative sticks in them.  Remember, people eat with their eyes and barely anyone passes up peanut butter with chocolate!

In case you’re wondering, I used this cake tip by Wilton.

Happy Cupcake Making!!!

Related posts:

Awesome 3rd Birthday Cake
Ella’s 3rd Pancake and Pajama Birthday Party
1st Birthday Party Ideas
Cupcake Cake Idea
Lion Birthday Party
Super Hero Birthday Party 

The Best Zucchini Lasagna

New Year’s resolutions here I come!  The story of my life right!  It’s not like I don’t want to eat healthy, because I do… Its just that when I cook something healthy I really want it to taste like fried chicken!  Too much to ask?!?!?!

We are all trying to lead healthy more active lives this year as one of our family goals.  We are off to a good start as we have our first Rad Run Race in a week and a half.  I am teetering on whether or not to let my 5 year old run it with us.  It is 3 miles so I am a bit worried it would be too much for him this time.  What do you think?  My 7 year old is all ready for it.  He has been practicing for months now and is so excited about his first race!

So here is a yummy lasagna recipe I made for the family this week.  I was so excited to find it on skinnytaste.com.  This recipe uses strips of zucchini instead of lasagna noodles!  So yummy, and saves you hundreds of calories!  My sister made a pan of regular lasagna and I made this zucchini lasagna the same night.  I wasn’t sure what we could get the kids to eat.  So guess which one was gone first???  Mine of course!

Fresh tomatoes from the garden!  They grow in the winter in Florida!

I used fresh tomatoes from the garden! They grow in the winter in Florida!


Fresh basil from my garden! Yippee for living in Florida!

Fresh basil from my garden went in as well! Yippee for living in Florida!


Not from my garden, but still yummy!

Not from my garden, but still yummy!

1 lb lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
1 Tb olive oil
salt and pepper
28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 Tb chopped fresh basil
4 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8inch thick
15oz part skim ricotta cheese
16oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg

***Brown the meat and season with salt.  Drain the meat in strainer or colander to get all the excess grease out.  There wont be much if you use the extra lean beef.  Heat oil then saute onions and garlic for a couple minutes.  Add the beef, tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper.  Simmer on low for 30 minutes.  The trick is to get  your sauce thick and not watery.

I actually added tomato paste to mine since I also used fresh tomatoes from my garden (lightly blended) instead of canned.  Really you could use any recipe you wanted for the sauce.  I wanted to add green peppers, but the one in the fridge wasn’t fresh enough.  Sliced carrots would be a great addition to the sauce as well!

Salt your sliced zucchini and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.  Then use a paper towel to dab all the excess water from the zucchini.  Zucchini adds a lot of water when cooked and salting it helps take some of it out.  Now, grill the zucchini on a grill or grill pan.

I admit, my grill is out of gas and the grill pan is still in storage while the house is being built so I just baked mine in the oven at 35o for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix the ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and egg together in a small bowl.

In a 9 x 12 casserole dish spread the tomato sauce down on the bottom.  Then layer with strips of sliced zucchini.  Spread the ricotta mixture next, then the mozzarella cheese. Now repeat until you are out of zucchini.  End with zucchini, sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  I also sprinkled the left over shredded parmesan cheese on with the mozzarella.  I might have cut my zucchini a little too thick because I had only enough to fill a smaller 9 x 9 pan.

Cover dish and bake for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  I actually did 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered and hardly waited at all to cut into it… we were hungry and impatient!  Ha!  It didn’t matter though it was perfectly delish!

You will love this low carb dish!  So good!

You will love this low carb dish! So good!


Here are some other LOW CARB  options:

The Best Chicken Tortilla Soup
Steak and Cheese Stuffed Peppers
No Potato Salad
Butter Chicken- Paleo Style
Healthy Avocado and Tomato Salad
Crock pot Mexican Style Lettuce Wraps
Avocado Hummus


Meatza: South Beach Friendly

Last week husband was gone for 6 days on a business trip.  He came back feeling awful and needed a little detox from all the eating out and high carb meals.  So, now he’s trying to really limit his carbs.  Tonight I made him some meatza.  It’s like pizza, but without the crust and instead uses ground beef.  It actually is really good and a great low carb meal.


Yummy Meatza!

Yummy Meatza!

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef (I actually used 2 lbs because my meat comes in 1 lb packages)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (fresh or from a jar)
1 tsp. dried oregano or Italian seasoning
8 oz. sugar free pizza sauce (Hunts Garlic and Herb in can)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella
Toppings (peppers, mushrooms, olives, whatever you like)

Here’s what the garlic and herb sauce looks like (It’s the one we’ve found with the lowest amount of sugar)

Sauce with the lowest sugar.

Sauce with the lowest sugar.

All you do is:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
oregano or Italian seasonings.
3. Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
for 20 minutes.
4. When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
the cheese.
5. Add toppings.
6. Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
(Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)

Plenty of leftovers too!

Plenty of leftovers too!

We let the girls make their own pizzas but using whole wheat toasted sandwich rounds.  I will miss one day how excited these girls get to make pizza!

My sweet girls!

My sweet girls!

Last week I posted how I lost my pregnancy weight.  I definitely made this a lot then!

Meatza: South Beach Friendly
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
It’s like pizza, but without the crust and instead uses ground beef. It actually is really good and a great low carb meal.
Recipe type: South Beach Friendly
Cuisine: Italian/American
Serves: 8
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
  • oregano or Italian seasonings.
  • Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
  • for 20 minutes.
  • When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
  • off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
  • the cheese.
  • Add toppings.
  • Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
  • about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  • (Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine the meat with the onion, garlic and
  3. oregano or Italian seasonings.
  4. Pat the mixture out in an even layer in a 9×12 baking pan. Bake
  5. for 20 minutes.
  6. When the meat comes out, it will have shrunk a fair amount. Pour
  7. off the grease and spread the pizza sauce over the meat. Sprinkle on
  8. the cheese.
  9. Add toppings.
  10. Put the Meatza 4 inches below a broiler set on high. Broil for
  11. about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  12. (Can also place in regular oven and bake until cheese is melted)


Some other good healthy eating recipes!

Whole Grain Lasagna

Broccoli Salad

No Potato Salad

Chicken Salad

Coconut Milk Tropical Smoothie

Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica!

What is with this icky flu stuff going around?  It seems like everyone I know has had it… including everyone in my family.  It has been pretty awful really!  After nursing myself, hubby, and kids for the last two weeks through this nasty virus, I was ready for some real comfort food.

Pasta is always comfort food for me!

This has always been one of my favorite things to eat!  Ever since I worked as a waitress at Macaroni Grill in college, I have loved eating Penne Rustica.

Someone introduced me to this awesome cookbook that replicates restaurant recipes.  This is where I found my beloved Penne Rustica recipe!  So yummy!  I have made it for big crowds as well as small family dinners… doesn’t matter, it is always a hit!

Seriously, doesn’t it look so yummy?!  I love this stuff!  It always impresses!  This meal will go very fast at your next get together or pot luck!

Penne Rustica (Tastes just like Macaroni Grills version)
From Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Recipes

1 lb penne rigate pasta
12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 skinless chicken breasts
½ cup thick-sliced smoked prosciutto, chopped


3 Tb butter
2 Tb minced garlic
3 Tb Marsala wine
2 Cups heavy cream
1 Cup grated parmesan cheese
½ Cup milk
½ Cup chicken broth
1 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Minced fresh rosemary (I used dried and it works just as well)
½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. fresh thyme (I used dried)
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

3 Tb grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ tsp paprika

***Garnish with rosemary sprigs if desired


1.Preheat grill to high.

2. Prepare sauce by melting butter over medium/low heat in a medium saucepan.  Add garlic and let it sweat for 5 minutes (Do not brown garlic!  If it browns throw it out and start over).  Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Simmer for 10minutes.  Cover and remove from heat.

3. Cook Pasta al dente (a little tender, but not mushy) and drain.

4. Rub chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Stick the shrimp on skewers, rub them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side and grill the shrimp for 2 minutes per side.  Slice chicken into strips when finished.

6.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Use a large glass or ceramic baking dish.  Add pasta, chicken and shrimp to the baking dish, spoon sauce over the top and toss to coat.

7.  For the topping, mix the parm. cheese with the paprika.  Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.    Bake for 10-12 minutes or until topping browns.