Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OOOO, my first recipe post. I feel so much pressure. This should be a work of art or something...well, maybe not. I made this the other day because it is one of our favorites and I remembered to take a picture! That totally makes it blog worthy! I must make a confession to start this off...I am a VEGETARIAN. I know, crazy right? I never intended to become one but for some reason my last two pregnancies left me this way. I just can't eat meat. I didn't decide this, my body decided it. So I will be giving you my meatless delights. Which, by the way, are amazing! Veg. meals only take about 30 minutes top! SWEEEEEET! Just what I want!

Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Cream

1 lb. fettucine
1 T. olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped (about 2 T.) although, I never have this on hand so I usually don't put it in.
16 oz. of mushrooms (the recipe says 8 oz. of shitake and 8 oz. of white, I just do whatever)
1/2 t. salt (whatever that's supposed to do??)
1 1/2 C. vegetable broth
1/3 C. heavy or whipping cream
1 C. fresh basil or parsley, chopped (if I don't have fresh I just used dried to taste, about 1 T.)
1/4 C. sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (for some reason I can't find sun-dried tomatoes in nowhereville where I currently inhabit, so I just use the dried kind)

My hubby is totally against following directions. He is a wing it man when it comes to cooking. I have to admit, he is REALLY good at it. I have some of his habits now when it comes to dishes like this. Here is what I do: just heat the oil in a skillet (just pour some in, I like to use more than 1 T.) add the shallot, green onion, chives or whatever you decide to use for that ingredient. Cook for a minute-ish. Add the mushrooms and salt (1/2 a t.??? puh-leez!) cook until tender about 10 minutes-ish. Add broth and cream and let it boil for three minutes-ish, stirring every once in a while. At this point I start my water boiling for the noodles. This is where I add my salt. Once it starts to boil put salt in the water, I usually pour some in my hand then dump it in. This gives the noodle great flavor and you don't really need salt in the sauce. Make sure your noodles are al dente. That means they must NOT be mushy....at all! My hubby is very particular about this. He served a mission in Italy. Capiche? Then when the noodles are perfecto, drain, return to pot, dump the sauce on top, and add the sun-dried tomatoes. It is dee-lish! Hope you like it! (hope you can interpret my nonsense as well!) If you need further instructions this is from Good Houskeeping Vegetarian Meals.

red velvet just sounds delicious

Red Velvet Bars
I found these from Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee on the food network. I tried them as cupcakes, but they are more like brownies. They looked hideous as cupcakes, but still make my mouth water. Way easy, too. Here's a tip though, because if you're like me you just zip through a recipe and don't pay attention if it's easy. You cook the cake layer and the cream cheese layer. So don't put the cake in and then start on the "frosting". I didn't do that, but I'm sure I could have easily.

Cake: 1 box (18 1/4 oz) German chocolate cake mix (recommended: Betty Crocker)
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 oz. red food coloring (recommended: McCormick)
For Cream Cheese Layer: 16 oz. cream cheese, softened (recommended: Philadelphia)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 by13-inch baking pan lightly with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat with an electric mixer on low speed, cake mix, butter, egg, and food coloring until combined. Press cake mixture into prepared pan; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake layer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 by13-inch baking pan lightly with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare bars as directed. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until bars barely start to pull away from sides. Cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicken Tikka and Mint Chutney

I picked up this book for my friend's birthday and picked one up for myself too. At Costco it was a very reasonable price. I tried the chicken tikka on Sunday and it was so good. If you like Indian food you should try it. (You should also invest in some garam masala - the spice blend - because it's in almost every dish.)

Chicken Tikka (serves 4)

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 inches ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 lb skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into cubes
wedges of lemon

For the marinade, blend all the ingredients (except chicken and lemon wedges) in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.Put the chicken cubes in a bowl with the marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 400 F. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and put them on a metal rack above a baking tray. Roast, uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and browned around the edges. Serve with wedges of lemon.

my notes: I didn't have time to marinate overnight, but I did marinate for 2 hours. We also grilled ours, which was really good.

I also made up a mint chutney recipe (from several I looked at on the internet) because my friend made some naan (flat bread) and I have to have mint chutney with naan. Here is that recipe:

Simple Mint Chutney

1 1/2 bunches cilantro
1/2 bunch mint leaves (about 1/2 cup packed)
2 limes, juiced
2 jalapenos, seeded and ribbed (only if you want less spicy)
1 onion
1 can green chilies
salt to taste

Chop everything roughly and blend in a food processor. I added the green chilies at the end because mine seemed to dark with too many leaves. I'm going to try something a little different next time but everyone liked this one.

A note about food processors: I used to think the only one available was a Cuisinart (which is pretty expensive). But there are lots of other brands available that start around $40. If you haven't bought one yet because of this, you should shop around. Mine was only $40, holds the same amount as the Cuisinart, and works fairly well. (There are smaller ones too, that start at $10 or so, but they never fit quite enough for me.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Asian Style Succotash

from Rachel Ray and it is so easy and delicious. It is even good cold for lunch the next day!

1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeded
2 generous handfuls of snow pea pods, coarsely chopped
2 cups frozen corn
4 scallions, chopped
3 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. hot sauce

Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper. Cook for two minutes, then add pea pods, corn, and scallions and cook for three minutes. Toss with lime juice and hot sauce.

I've tried everything except the banana muffins and Leigh's soup is my highest recommendation! I can't tell where the flavor comes from because there aren't a lot of spices to add, but it was so great!

Meaty Marinades

Sorry I have no pictures for this post as I haven't recently made these, but I thought I'd share just a few of my favorites with you.

Salmon Marinade

I got this from my friend Ashley and I love it. I've never had it with anything but Salmon, but I suppose you could try it with anything. And it doesn't have to marinade for too long, but the longer the better.

1/2 cup Dijon mustard or honey mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 clove minced garlic or about 1 tsp garlic powder

Easy Pork Marinades (From a pork package label, if you can believe it)

1. Squeeze a lemon with 1 cup BBQ sauce

2. 1 cup BBQ sauce with 2 Tbs. Texas Hot sauce

3. Equal parts BBQ sauce and soy sauce.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Posted by Cara

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce or butter (we use applesauce to cut out calories and it tastes great)
2 medium bananas (mashed about 3/4 cup)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 bag (6 oz.) chocolate chips

* cream sugar and applesauce (butter)
* mix in bananas and lemon juice
* add milk, stir
* add eggs, stir
* add flour, soda and baking powder - blend well
* add chocolate chips / walnuts

Bake at 325 for 25 - 30 minutes

If you make a loaf instead of muffins - bake for 35 - 40 minutes


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Light Italian Wedding Soup

If you get everyday food you already have this recipe and you should try it, because it's SO good.

Light Italian Wedding Soup (serves 6)

1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 lbs), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped. I actually used spinach, because I didn't think anyone would like the escarole

1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Using 1 Tbsp for each, roll mixture into balls.

2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add broth and tomatoes with juice; bring to a boil and turn down to simmering. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to the surface, about 5 minutes.

3. Add as much escarole (or spinach) to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

per serving: 250 cal, 9.8 g fat (3 g sat.), 23.6 g protein, 19.3 g carb, 4.8 g fiber

notes: I doubled this recipe and used it the next night as pasta sauce. I took out the meatballs and blended the soup. Then I cooked it in a pan until it was reduced by about half (cook on high heat, stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom). I cooked some shell pasta and reheated the meatballs in the sauce (since it was very hot at that point) and gave everyone some sauce on their pasta with a few meatballs. The sauce was a little weird looking because of the spinach and tomato combination but it was fabulous!

ps - I was trying to include a picture, but it's not working right now. Sorry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Garlic Chicken & Pasta

Garlic Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta

1 Tb olive oil
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breast, sliced crosswise
1 tsp salt
1 Tb olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, crushed (1 rounded Tb)
1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered
1/2 c green onions, sliced
3/4 c red or orange sweet peppers
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups dry bow tie pasta - cook as directed
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped (may use fresh parsley)
parmesan cheese, grated

1. Fry chicken in oil over medium heat until done. Sprinkle with salt and remove from skillet. Keep warm.
2.Cook garlic in oil until golden. Add mushrooms, green onions and peppers - cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, red pepper, cornstarch and salt. Heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Combine chicken, hot mixture, pasta and cilantro. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan to your liking.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Orange Smoothie

We have the hardest time using all the bananas we buy before they turn brown and we have to use them for banana bread. However, I have found a good way to use them that's not making banana bread. I got this smoothie recipe from my mom and I love it. My little guy downed a whole sippy of this in no time.

1 C milk
1/3 C orange drink mix (i.e. Tang, fruit drink mix from the cannery, etc.)
1 banana
1/3 C sugar (optional - I just put a teaspoon in my cup)
1 capful coconut flavoring
4 C crushed ice.

Blend to desired thickness. Serves: 3-4

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Morpher

I tried these last week and they were so easy and I really liked the sauce. Does anyone have a cheap way to spice up a spaghetti sauce? It is a two parter. I got it from Robin Miller's Quick Fix on Food Network. I did only 4 pieces of chicken instead of the 6 because it's just me and Doug.

Night One:
Panko Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Wasabi Tomato Sauce
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 27 min Level of Difficulty: Easy Serves: 4 servings
For chicken:
Cooking spray
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko crumbs or unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
For spicy tomato sauce:
2 cups canned or jarred tomato sauce
2 tsp. wasabi paste
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
For the chicken:Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow dishes. IN a third shallow dish, combine panko crumbs and Parmesan. Dip chicken first in flour, then in the egg and then panko crumb mixture. Transfer chicken to baking sheet and spray the surface with cooking spray. bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven.
For the sauce: While the chicken is cooking, in a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, wasabi paste, sugar, chili powder and cumin. Set pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and reserve 2/3 cup of the sauce. Serve 4 of the chicken breast halves with remaining tomato sauce spooned over top. Reserve remaining chicken and 2/3 cup of the sauce for calzone.

Night 2:
Buffalo Chicken Calzone with Blue Cheese Dip
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 Min Level of Difficulty: Easy Serves: 4 Servings
For calzone: Cooking Spray
2 reserved chicken breast halves, diced, about 2 cups
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2/3 cup reserved tomato sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 lb. fresh or frozen pizza or bread dough, thawed according to package directions
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan

For dip: 1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup blue cheese crumbled
2 Tbs. fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, tomato sauce, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Mix well and set aside.
Roll dough out, using a rolling pin, to a 12-inch circle. Spread chicken mixture over half of circle, to within 1- inch of the edge. Fold over untopped side so that it meets th other side, forming a halfmoon. Pinch the edges together to seal. Press a fork on edges to completely seal all around the edges. . Transfer calzone to prepared baking sheet and brush the top with olive oil. Sprinkle th etop with Parmesan. Using a sharp knife, make a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape during cooking. Bake 15 mintues, until puffed up and golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

For dip:While the calzone is baking, in a small bowl combine sour cream, blue cheese and chives. Serve calzone sliced with sour cream dip on the side.

Notes from Stef: On her show, Robin Miller also made individual calzones, which would take longer, but is certainly an option. Also, I looked everywhere for pizza dough at the grocery store, but ended up just going to Papa Murphy's and for $3.50, got a large already rolled out for me. It was great because I hate rolling out dough on my teeny tiny counter space.


Tortellini Soup

Ok is it legal to go first? I got this from a friend and it was so easy and good I thought it'd be perfect to share. They have this great tortellini at Costco, two packs for like 8$ for fresh organic tortellini so I used that and it was great. Alright, sweet blog I am excited! Hopefully next time pictures will be added!

Tortellini Soup

1 Tbsp. butter
4 cloves of garlic
4 c. chicken broth (or 4 bouillon cubes & water)
1 -14. oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup parm cheese either powder or real stuff
10 oz. package cheese tortellini
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1 Tbsp dry basil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter or olive oil cook garlic 1 min. Stir in tomatoes, broth, basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med add Tortellini. Cook until tortellini is tender (5- 10 min). Then add Parm, stir until mixed stir in Spinach and cook two more minutes.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A La Cuisine!

Alright! So we're up here at our new recipe blog, which I'm so excited that everyone is excited about and I hope it lives up to our expectations. I'll try to be the backbone if we don't have updates - to be sure to post my own. Something I do is go through Food Network, just a few shows I like: Robin Miller's Quick Fix (in which she morphs a lot of food for throughout the week), Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade, and 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray, of course. I go through the info on these shows and record them if they sound appealing, then I watch, then I print out the recipes from the Food Network website, then I try!

Also, VEGETARIANS/VEGANS: I know there actually are quite a few of you who may not know each other that are vegetarians so this will be great for you to communicate with each other. A lot of recipes I have can be altered to be vegetarian and some not so much, but just to let you be aware of each other.

I think it is completely acceptable if you don't have time to type the whole recipe in, to just post a link to the recipe, but always we should put the source of the recipe. We don't want to get in trouble!

1. Source
2. Prep Time (optional)
3. Level of difficulty (optional)
4. Your review of the recipe and any additions or changes you had.
5. Let us know if it was cheap, healthy, simple - the reason you posted it.

I think that's a good start. I'm trying a new one tonight I found in Fitness Magazine - I'll let you know how it goes! And please let's give each other comments on the ones we try and feel free to give me any suggestions that would make this site better! Thanks to all - I can't wait to get started!