Fresh and Delicious Dill Balsamic Vinaigrette

You know those salad dressings that just stick with you?  You crave them…you think about them during a particular season…you make special trips to the store or Farmer’s Market just for those special ingredients?

Well, I have one of those dressings.  I tried it for the first time while I was working with some incredible Italian women and putting myself through college.  These sisters had big hearts and amazing cooking skills.


One day, they insisted I have some of the salad they had brought in from home.  I did.  Friends, that’s all it took.  I was hooked and had to know how I could make it for myself.

All these years later, I am still making this amazing vinaigrette.  I admit, it’s not the same recipe, because time has tainted my recollection and I probably cut the salt by over half, because salt is a current member on my don’t-even-go-there list, but I think it’s amazing still and my ids seem to agree.  When you’ve got a four and a six year old who actually fought over slices of cucumber for dipping, because they couldn’t get enough, you know you’ve got a winner.


Friends, here is that winner for your own enjoyment…

Dill Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 full sprigs of fresh dill (more to taste) – remove the fronds from stems and finely chop

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. honey (can also be split as 1/8 c. honey, 1/8 c. sugar)

1 tsp. sea salt & 20+ cracks black pepper (more or less to taste)

1 Roma tomato, chopped

1/4 c. yellow or red onion, chopped

*Even if you don’t care for onions and tomatoes, incorporate them into the dressing, because they are crucial in developing the proper flavor.

Finish with one cucumber, chopped, and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese (fresh is best, but shredded works well too!)

Pair with a delicious pasta dish or top with grilled chicken for an amazing, stand-alone meal.

That simple.


Connect with us on Instagram to keep up with all the latest happenings in the Klover House Kitchen!  Also, if Meal Planning is something that interests you, check out my in-depth article explaining my tried and proven process on the incredible site, Money Saving Mom.

Check out more of our Klover House Favorites:

Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken over Black Beans and Rice

Deliciously Sweet and Creamy Pumpkin Pie

Raspberry Almond Sugar Cookie Pie

Salted Caramel Oreo Truffles

Delicious Crockpot Lasagna


revamping the roast

oh, folks.  
or early.
either way you slice it, i should be sleeping.

but i had to get everything just right for ava’s first day of school tomorrow, and i promised you a roast.

so here it is, friends.

it used to be an unhealthier version full of cream of this and that and packets of soup mix, but i have been reformed and so has my dinner.  we all LOVE it.  i receive so many compliments from my husband on this meal, so i am happy to share it with you.

easy pot roast:

i use my roaster.  if you don’t own an electric roaster, get one.  seriously, i use it more often than my crockpot.  the roaster seems to cook everything a lot more like the oven would, minus the hot house that results when using your oven in the summer.

drizzle evoo in your roasting pan.  turn to ‘slow cook’, about 250 degrees.

then, in a little bit of evoo in a skillet, brown all sides of your roast (several minutes on each size for a nice, golden brown).  season with salt an d pepper as you flip it side to side.  

remove the roast from the skillet and place directly into hot roasting pan.  

season with a heaping tbsp. of italian seasoning and more salt and pepper, if desired.

add a chopped onion to your still-hot skillet of meat drippings, and saute until slightly browned.  

pour 1/3c. of red wine over your onions to deglaze your pan.  using a wooden spatula/spoon, help all of those tasty meat drippings off of the bottom of the pan and incorporate them into your onion/wine mixture.  allow that to simmer until well incorporated.

pour onions/wine over your roast in the roaster.

next, add an entire carton of beef stock to your roaster.  then, fill the empty carton completely with water and add it to the roaster also.

next up, 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced.

finally, add vegetables of your choosing.  i have used mushrooms, carrots and celery.  all are lovely.  today, i only had celery in the refrigerator, so i added 3 stalks of diced celery to the pan.  i make sure everything is bite-sized prior to adding it, b/c i like that when it’s time to serve, i simply, pull it apart with a fork, and it’s good to go.

that said, i flip the roast halfway through the cooking time (it cooked for 8 hours today), and when there’s about an hour to go, i take a nice, sharp knife and slice the roast into pieces that, when separated, will lay evenly submerged in the broth.  your broth will simmer down to only about an inch or two, but don’t worry, as long as you don’t crank up the heat or leave it for longer than eight hours, you should be fine.  always check it, though if you leave the house, b/c it’s better to have too much liquid than not enough.  the broth is rich enough that if you had to add a cup or two more of water, it wouldn’t hurt anything.

it never ceases to amaze me that this roast is so flavorful, even without the use of all of those extra processed ingredients.

i know you may be thinking, “i don’t think i’ll have time to cut those veggies and brown the meat before i head out in the morning”, but i am telling you, the whole process takes no more than 20 minutes.  if you prep the night before, i bet you could be done in half the time.  it doesn’t take long to sear beef, and you basically just want your onions to quickly soak up all of those delicious flavors from the pan for you, so work them around quickly, and your done with all of the ‘hard’ stuff in no time at all. dump in your seasoning, broth, and veggies, and voila!

our favorite way to eat this meal (adults) is to pile it high on fresh bread and then top it with slices of banana peppers (for crunch and heat) and a great italian cheese blend (or even just mozzarella).  it is delicious!  i basically do the same for the kids, minus the banana pepper.

ok, hitting the hay now!  and in case you missed my facebook post eons ago about what we do sometimes with leftover roast beef…fajitas!  just season the beef as you usually would for fajitas, add your favorite toppings and roll it up in a tortilla!  yummo!

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Delicious Crockpot Lasagna

Well, I did it, friends. I made a lasagna in the crockpot! You may be thinking, ‘hmph, I do that all of the time!’ but this was totally new to me! I have this incorrect notion that my crockpot is strictly for soups, stews, roasts, etc., so the idea of creating an ‘oven’ meal in it was a big deal for me. I am happy to report that it went perfectly! It was way easier than the oven, and in the summer months, it’s extra great, because you’re not heating your house up!

So here it goes… (oh, and I noticed as I was mentally recapping my ingredients that every single thing was from Trader Joe’s, and it was perfecto!)

**Update** Find my notes regarding a vegetarian variation below this recipe!


Ingredient list:

*marinara sauce
*6-8 oven-ready lasagna noodles
*1 lb. ground turkey
*1/2 red onion
*fresh basil
*fresh kale
*4 garlic cloves
*fresh parmesan
*fresh mozzarella
*15 oz. ricotta cheese
*1 zucchini squash

I had left over TJ’s marinara sauce in the freezer, so I thawed it out overnight in the refrigerator. (I usually take a jar of marinara and a big can of crushed or pureed tomatoes and mix them for my sauce.)

In a skillet prepped with a drizzle of evoo, I sauteed 1 lb. of ground turkey and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Once it was nearly cooked through, I added a half of a red onion (diced), a hand-full of fresh, chopped basil, about 1/4 c. of fresh, chopped kale, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Once that simmered for a few minutes, I added all but about a half cup of the sauce and mixed it together well.

The 1/2 c. of sauce that I reserved went into the crockpot first, and I covered the bottom evenly.

Next, I prepped all of my ingredients for layering.

In a small bowl, I combined a small tub of ricotta cheese (15 oz.), 2 more minced garlic cloves, and about 1/4 c. of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Next, I peeled and thinly sliced a zucchini and cut all of the slices in half, so that each was about 3 in. long.

Then, I sliced a a ball of fresh mozzarella into thin slices (i think it was around 8 oz. whatever the baseball-sized ball is??)

Finally, you are ready to layer!

On top of the sauce, my layers went like this:

*TJ’s ‘oven ready / no boil’ pasta (cracked in half, using 4 halves per layer)

*zucchini slices, filling in any gaps left by the noodles

*meat sauce (I wanted to put the sauce and zucchini right on the noodles, because both are full of moisture, and those oven-ready noodles really suck up the moisture in the dish if you aren’t prepared for them to do so.)

*ricotta/parmesan mixture

*mozzarella slices

*pasta, zucchini, meat sauce, cheeses, repeat…

Finish off the dish with any remaining mozzarella and a fresh layer of parmesan. I rinsed my crockpot lid off, prior to putting it on, in order to really add some extra moisture. I think all of the steam helped, b/c not a single noodle was dried out.

Let it cook on low for 4 hrs. (or on high for 2 hrs.) Easy and delicious. I will definitely be making lasagna this way from now on. My house stayed cool, the aroma filled the kitchen, and it turned out perfectly.


Try it, and let me know if you like it as much as we did!





I recently made a meatless version with half the ricotta, and it was also delicious!  Instead of kale, I used frozen spinach (just enough to sprinkle two light, even layers), and I also added thinly sliced portobello mushrooms (6 mushrooms / 3 per layer).  For the ricotta portion, I used half of the 15 oz. tub, 1 egg yolk, 1 large clove of garlic, 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning, and a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  In place of the fresh mozzarella, I used layers of Trader Joe’s shredded Quattro Formagio and sliced provolone.



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the perfect summer pasta dish

ok, so this is probably the easiest pasta dish that you’ll ever make, and it’s super tasty too!

i started out with a big skillet on medium heat and a about 2 tbsps of evoo.

to that, layer:

1 diced zucchini
1 diced sweet onion
2-3 diced roma tomatoes

i cut everything in to equally-sized pieces and literally layered each veggie. the zucchini sat directly on the heat, the onion on the zucchini, and the tomatoes on top of it all. i did NOT stir it. (you could also add yellow squash, mushrooms, asparagus…whatever!)

then, i seasoned the whole sha-bang with sea salt, cracked pepper, and parsley.

as the veggies sat, undisturbed on medium heat and simmering down, i flattened two very large chicken breasts and put a pot of water on in which to boil pasta.   boil your pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside in a big bowl/serving dish.

finally, once the veggies seemed softened, i stirred everything well, making sure to incorporate all of the veggies together evenly. then, i added 3 large garlic cloves (minced in my press) and stirred again.

once that mixture looked nice and steamy, i added a consistent drizzle of balsalmic vinegar across the pan (probably no more than 1-2 tbsps) and 3 tbsps of real, unsalted butter.

i stirred that around again, letting it get all yummy, and spooned it over that big bowl of pasta. (i used the remainder of two different kinds that we had in the pantry – regular spaghetti and mini shells.)

while my skillet was still on, hot, and full of flavor…i added the two large chicken breasts and seasoned them with additional salt & pepper (to your liking).  i let each side cook for a few minutes (i’d say until each side was a honey-colored brown. i sliced into the breasts at an angle just before removing them to make sure that they were completely cooked through.) then, i placed them atop the bed of pasta, poured all of the pan drippings on top as well, and smothered the entire dish with freshly shaved parmesan cheese (i am a big fan of trader joe’s).

that’s it!

simple. amazing. and real food!

i love summer!

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slow cooker pork tenderloin over steamed rice

seriously so easy.

seriously so cheap.

seriously soooo good!

slow cooker pork tenderloin topped with mozzarella cheese and served over steamed rice:

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my go-to list for a get-together (over a dozen yummies)

my go-to list for a get-together:

(all of these recipes have been personally tested and publicly praised!  you can’t go wrong!)
1 – pioneer woman caesar salad {link here} (see video)
2- pioneer woman greek salad {link here}
3 – sausage and cream cheese pinwheels (we LOVE these. i personally use italian sausage and pioneer woman’s cinnamon roll dough recipe. i like how the savory is balanced with the sweet bread.) {link here}
4 – cheese ball (see video)
5 – caramelized ham and cheese sandwiches {link here}
6 – asian chicken salad (my aunt’s delicious recipe)
7 – meyer lemon tarts (what i’m making for tonight’s get-together) 
{photo and link coming soon}
8 – cookies or gobs (making peppermint gobs, aka whoopie pies, for tomorrow’s get-together) {link coming soon}
9 – truffles (easy-to-make-ones like my ‘salted caramel oreo truffles’) {link here}
10 – grape salad {link here} or snickers caramel apple salad {link here}
11 – buffalo chicken ring {link here}
12 – amazing fruit dip (perfect with apples, grapes, or berries) 
recipe:  simply mix one can of sweetened condensed milk with one 8oz block of softened cream cheese. done. amazing. add to it or don’t; it’s perfection.

join the klover house family on facebook, pinterest, and twitter!

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Netflix Inspired Pre-Thanksgiving Feast! (BBQ Ribs)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Happy Holidays, friends!
Are you cooking like crazy? I have been! Today was off to such a wild start. The little turkeys and I went grocery shopping this morning.  (It took us three hours to go to two stores!)  We have such a busy week ahead…Thanksgiving and then Ava’s 4th birthday, and then, before we know what hit us…Christmas! I don’t think I leave the kitchen long enough to breathe during this time of year.
Thank goodness for nap time, right?! Seriously, one of my favorite things to do, especially during this hectic season, is to put the girls down for their naps and turn on the TV while I start the nightly dinner process alongside ‘my girls’ Giada or Pioneer Woman. There is just something wonderful about hearing another mama (or human over the age of five) talk to me about life and food after a long, hard day. It’s like therapy for me. I feel like I’m in the kitchen, cooking with friends.
That brings me to what I have to share with you today – Netflix! I always thought of Netflix as a ‘movies only’ company. Really. I was that clueless. But, after looking into it more, I found that Netflix let’s members enjoy their favorite TV shows too, anytime and anywhere they want! With Netflix you can watch your favorite shows on an iPad in the kitchen, the big screen in the living room, or even on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store. This is such good news! Netflix has been making some BIG changes regarding the consumer’s experience, in regards to streaming, making the process visually appealing and easy to navigate. (You can even connect your Facebook account to Netflix and share what you’ve been watching with friends.) Netflix also can suggest shows for you based upon the season (i.e. Thanksgiving) or your own personal streaming history. True fact. Oh, and instant video streaming is just $7.99 a month! Now, I don’t know about you, folks, but my cooking shows are costing us, oh, about ten times more a month. True fact, also. This is definitely a product that my husband and I are going to seriously consider for our family. I think the unlimited access to documentaries is a plus for him too. He loves them. Strange guy. 😉
Anyway…on to dinner! Turkey is NOT on the menu tonight! We’ll have plenty of that soon! Tonight, it’s all about the mister, and we’re having Curtis Stone’s “Freddy’s Sticky Saucy Barbecued Ribs” (inspired by the political drama ‘House of Cards’. I’ve yet to see that show. You? I’m more of a Hallmark channel or HGTV kind of gal.)
These are ready for the oven!  Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try!  Can’t go wrong with Curtis Stone and ribs, right?!
Freddy’s Sticky Saucy Barbecued Ribs
Every time I’m watching “House of Cards” on Netflix, I want to taste those ribs that Frank eats from Freddy’s BBQ Joint. Now we all can sink our teeth into those sticky saucy ribs right along with Frank! These ribs are served with a barbecue sauce more like the one you’ll find in North Carolina (where Frank is from originally) – one with plenty of vinegar, mustard, and a touch of heat. I’ve included two cooking methods for you to try –the original true barbecue method where the ribs are slowly smoked in the barbecue, and the quicker oven-baked version – both are finger lickin’ good! (Curtis Stone)
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 5 hours (includes marinating time)
Cook Time: 4 1/2 hours (for barbecued ribs) or 2 1/2 hours (for oven-baked ribs)
Make-Ahead: The barbecue sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated; reheat before using.
Spice Rub:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup whiskey
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 racks pork baby back ribs (2 1/2-pounds each)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
Optional Special Equipment to Barbecue the Ribs:
One 13 × 9-inch (or larger) disposable aluminum foil pan
3 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour
Clean spray bottle
To prepare the spice rub:
1. The day before you cook the ribs, make the spice rub. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin together. Place the ribs on 2 large baking sheets and rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, to make the barbecue sauce:
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is tender.
3. Stir in the paprika, then stir in the whisky and vinegar, bring just to a simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching, for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat. 
4. Prepare an outdoor grill for low cooking over indirect heat: For a gas grill, place the foil pan over one or two unlit burners and half-fill the pan with water. Turn on the remaining burner(s) and heat the grill to 300°F. Spread 1 cup of the drained wood chips on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the foil directly on the lit burner and wait until the chips are smoking before you add the ribs to the grill.
5. For a charcoal grill, place the foil pan on the charcoal grate on one side of the grill and half-fill the pan with water. Build a charcoal fire on the other side and let it burn until the coals are covered with white ash and you can hold your hand just above the cooking grate for 4 to 5 seconds. (To check the temperature more accurately, cover the grill and drop a long-stemmed metal candy thermometer through the top vent; it should register about 300°F.) Sprinkle 1 cup of the drained wood chips over the coals.
6. Combine the vinegar and 3/4 cup water in the spray bottle. Season the ribs with the salt. Place the ribs on the cooking grate over the water-filled pan. (Don’t worry if the ribs extend over the pan, as the pan will still catch the majority of the dripping juices.) Grill, with the lid closed, turning the ribs over and spraying them every 45 minutes or so with the vinegar mixture, adding another cup of drained wood chips at the same intervals, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is just tender. For a charcoal grill, you will need to add 12 ignited charcoal briquettes (or the equivalent in hardwood charcoal) to the fire along with the chips every 45 minutes to maintain the grill temperature. (Light the charcoal in a chimney starter on a fire-safe surface, or use a small portable grill or hibachi.) For either grill, do not add more wood chips after the 1 hour and 30 minute point, as too much smoke will give the ribs a bitter flavor.
7. Once the ribs are tender, begin brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat. Continue brushing the ribs with the sauce, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones. Transfer the ribs to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Alternatively, to bake the ribs:
8. Position the racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the ribs on the baking sheets with foil. Bake the ribs, rotating the baking sheets and basting the ribs after the first 45 minutes, and recovering them with foil, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones.
9. Uncover the ribs, baste them with the barbecue sauce and continue baking for 10 minutes, brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat.
To serve:
10. Using a large sharp knife, cut the racks into individual ribs. Arrange the ribs on a platter and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.
Some notes about the above recipe and my own diversions… 
One – I went with a smaller cut of ribs (and boneless), because this was more than enough to feed me and the hubs.  The children are living on mac ‘n cheese.  Another true story.  I stuck with the original amounts on the sauce recipe, because we will put a good BBQ sauce to use any day.  I wouldn’t be shocked to find the mister drinking it.  Eww!  haha  Did I take that too far??
Two – I don’t go into the liquor store, like ever. If you saw the kind of day I’ve had, you may suggest that I do… However, I chose to substitute apple juice for the whiskey called for in this recipe. I’m sure that they would’ve tasted just as delicious, if not better, but I have to shop with three monkeys, and a store full of glass was just not happening this week. 😉  You can make the sauce ahead, pour it into a glass canning jar, like the one pictured, and store the extra in the refrigerator.  (We’re having pulled pork on Monday, so I will put the leftovers to good use!)   
Three – As far as cooking, I went with the quicker, oven method.  For the same reason…I have three monkeys to tend to, plus, it’s 20 degrees outside!  We’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure once the weather is warmer, because my hubby loves ribs on the grill…and in the smoker…  He loves ribs.
Thank you, Netflix (and Curtis Stone), for access to a great recipe, and now an affordable, user-friendly TV experience.  You have made us one happy household…
Happy Thanksgiving!!!  Enjoy watching your favorites with your favorites this holiday season!  xo!
Like Netflix on Facebook.  Follow @Netflix on Twitter, and Follow Netflix on Pinterest to get the latest streaming updates!  
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super simple bbq pulled pork

this will be a quick one, ’cause mama’s got a lot to do today, but i just downed the last of the pulled pork we made the other night as my 3pm “lunch” (a mom’s gotta eat when she gets a free moment), so i thought i’d share how we made it.

it’s super simple.  it’s super cheap.  it’s super good.

  • buy an unseasoned pork loin (i bought our’s at aldi’s last week for around $5.  it was nearly 2lbs.)
  • put some evoo in your roaster and set the temp at 200 to 250
  • add your pork loin seasoned with salt and pepper
  • add 2 to 4 cups of water (to start)
  • cook for 5+ hours
  • continue to check the water and add more throughout the day when needed, 2 cups at a time
  • when the roast begins to fall apart, chop it up into little sections (i used the kitchen sheers)
  • allow it to cook for about another hour broken up
  • remove the pork and drain out the liquid
  • toss the pork with 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar and return to roaster
  • add as much bbq sauce as you’d like (we like montgomery inn – it’s sweet, not spicy, which is good for our kids’ palates).  we used a little over half of the bottle.
  • let it simmer for about another 30 minutes or so…done.