Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Some of the things I bought were practical items that I've been keeping my eye on, such as the salad spinner, extra spatula, silpat baking mats, and cake keeper. The train sandwich-shaper and little cupcake containers were little splurges. ;)
Thank you again!!!
Monday, September 29, 2008
I am not having luck finding Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream, so I figured I'd make my own!
I couldn't find a recipe, so I combined one for cheesecake ice cream that I found on the Food Network along with the one for pumpkin ice cream that came with the machine.
I did use light cream and whole milk in place of the heavy cream and light cream, but the consistency was by far icier than when I made it last time. I actually had to let the container sit out for a good half hour before I could even scoop it out.
The taste, however, was freaken fantastic!!
- 1 1/2 cups light cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 8oz cream cheese (low fat is okay, but avoid fat-free), softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I don't even know what to say about these, really; simple and delicious.
Ryan went absolute bonkers over these. He ate about a billion! I asked him I could take a picture of him eating his beans, and he actually paused and POSED for me. He even said, "Cheese!"
(Yes. He's in his pajamas. Yes, he'd been in them all day. Yes, I was too. Your point??)
- ¾ Cup prepared Ranch Dressing
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 ½ Cups panko bread crumbs
- ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese
- A shake or two of Italian Seasoning
- ½ lb washed and trimmed fresh green beans
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine ranch dressing and egg together in a shallow dish. Combine panko, parmesan, salt and pepper in a separate shallow dish. Lightly dip beans into ranch dressing. Press into crumb mixture then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet (they’ll stick to the pan if not, even if sprayed with cooking spray). Do this process until all beans have been coated. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is crispy and golden. Let cool for 3 minutes then serve.
I tried my hand at home-made gnocchi once, and I was relatively successful. So I felt somewhat ready to brave this recipe for Spinach Gnocchi with Blush Sauce.
Two hours later, I found myself near tears, cooking Ronzoni pasta while staring at potato play-doh and sauce the consistency of pudding.
I have NO idea what happened to the gnocchi, but after cooking/draining, this is what was left behind, oozing out of the holes of the colander:
I followed the recipe for the sauce to the letter. The letter!! And yet it was this absolute disgusting blob in a pot. I actually tried to thin it out by adding some crushed tomatoes and another cup of milk; nope. It didn't taste too bad, actually, but the consistency was just too weird.
Anyway, my mom was watching Ryan for the day since I had Back-to-School-Night at work. I was just going to stay at school all evening and not bother coming home in between, so I set up the crockpot so that they'd have dinner.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Perhaps the best part of this meal was that there was NO work involved. I mean, you literally just dumped it all in the pot and that was it. Awesome. Totally awesome.
I really enjoyed the flavor and tenderness of this stew. I wasn't a huge fan of the frozen veggies I used (yep, totally went that route), but that was no fault of the recipe. Oh, I also totally forgot about the tomato paste, but it didn't seem to make a difference.
I served this over campanelle.
- 2 pounds round steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces*
- 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered*
- 1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, diced**
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes**
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker, and cook, covered, on LOW 7 hours and 30 minutes.
*2 (1-pound) packages frozen stew vegetables may be substituted for carrots and potatoes.
**1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions may be substituted for red bell pepper and diced tomatoes.
Yield: Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
CALORIES 293 (23% from fat); FAT 7g (sat 2.6g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.4g); IRON 4.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 65mg; CALCIUM 42mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26g; SODIUM 702mg; PROTEIN 31g; FIBER 4g
Southern Living, OCTOBER 2005
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My friend Denise is a fellow Picky Palate fan, and we often will notify each other when a new yummy-looking dessert has been posted. Denise was due with her first child this month and said she simply didn't have the energy to make them. I promised her that when the baby came, I'd visit in the hospital with these little delectable treats.
After baking, my husband was begging for a sample. However, the first words out of his mouth were not words of worship like you would think. His exact reaction was: "These don't taste done."
I checked the oven which was still on, and sure enough - I set the oven to 250 rather than 350. I threw them back in for another 5 minutes, but it was too late. They were irreconcilable.
They still taste amazing - I just couldn't bear to bring them to the new mom. Rest assured, Denise - I'm going to try these again for you!
- 1 Cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 12 mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped
- 36 mini marshmallows
- 1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 Cup mini M&M's
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place peanut butter, sugar and egg into a large bowl and mix until well combined. Scoop dough evenly into a 12 count mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin pan. Cook for 13-15 minutes until almost done. Remove from oven and press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie until flush with cookie top. Top each cookie with 3 mini marshmallows and return to oven for 2-3 more minutes or until marshmallows are puffed. Remove and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted smooth. Stir in 2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream until silky and smooth. You can return back to microwave for 15 seconds to get a thinner consistency. Spoon chocolate over top of puffed marshmallows and sprinkle with mini M&M's.
12 cookie cups
I struggle a bit with the whole melt-butter-and-add-flour concept; try as I might, I continuously have a grainy-ish consistency. After some discussion on my cooking message board, I realized that I should a) not use skim milk, b) throw in a slice or two of American, and c) not let the milk get too hot before I add in the cheese. I can't make any promises regarding (a), but we'll see how well the other two options pan out.
I don't have any cayenne pepper, so on a whim I grabbed allspice. Not too shabby!
Similar to the cookie incident, Ryan decided he couldn't wait for me to finish taking pictures before diving in:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
- 1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
- 2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in produce department
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar
- 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.
Heat a medium pan over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.
To boiling pasta water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.
While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.
Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.
Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Anyway, these cookies are SO YUMMY! They taste like little bits of pumpkin bread... Even my husband, the self-proclaimed "anti-pumpkin-ist" keeps eating them.
I got this awesome recipe from Living Insanity, who picked it up from allrecipes.com. I followed her suggestions and they are reflected below. Definitely a keeper!
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Brooke posted this Brushetta Chicken Bake a few days ago, and I starred it right away. It was so unbelievably easy and fast to prepare... and it really tasted great! I'm excited to have leftovers for later this week... just imagining the yummy tomato-and-stuffing-goodness is making me happy...
- 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
- 1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese
LAYER chicken, basil, cheese and stuffing in 3-qt. or 13x9-inch baking dish.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through.
This side from Ashlee was really good, and pretty easy to make. I served it alongside of the Pioneer Woman's Crispy Yogurt Chicken, and it was quite a nice compliment.
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1 c. arborio rice
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- 2 c. warmed chicken stock
- 3/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper. Toss to begin cooking. Add rice, toast for 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until the liquid is evaporated.
After all of the stock is absorbed, add the canned pumpkin. Turn heat to low and let the rice cook and pumpkin absorb into the rice.
Add parmesan cheese, stir, and plate.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Forgive my excitement. See, in the past, I could never use the crockpot unless I was home... which kind of defeats the purpose. I was gone too long to use it on low, but not home long enough to use it on high. So the crockpot became a weekend-appliance, and really, the weekends are when I like to cook things that I don't have time for during the week!
But like I said a few days ago, I recently purchased one with a few automatic settings, so I have joined the ranks of those who crockpot while at work.
And where to continue my crockpotting journey than with the CrockPot Lady!
This White-Bean and Apple Crockpot Chili was pretty good. Mine came out less liquidy than hers did, but I'm okay with that. I didn't listen to her warning about it being kind of bland, because I really don't enjoy spicy foods, but I should have - it was a bit too bland even for me. I will definitely crank up the spices a bit next time!
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 cups chicken or veggie broth
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I immediately started scouring blogs for recipes and landed, of course, at my friend Brooke's blog. I have recently fallen in mad, passionate love with the Thin Mint Blizzard at Dairy Queen, and I thought this might satisfy that craving.
Well, it didn't, but it's okay - there is a brand new place in my heart for this recipe. So good! I must confess that I kept sticking my finger in the bowl as it was churning, and I didn't even freeze it before helping myself to a bowl. Of course, it's at a much better consistency when frozen all the way, but really? No such thing as BAD ice cream.
I know you agree.
Anyway, part of me wants to keep making this over and over, and the other part of me can't wait for it to be gone so I can try a new flavor.
(Don't tell my husband, but I think next up on my list is a pumpkin pie ice cream...!)
Oh, and I just learned how to edit photos, so forgive me while I experiment and play around.
- 2/3 cup coarsely chopped Oreo cookies
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups heavy or whipping cream (I replaced half a cup with skim milk.)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp peppermint extract
Place the cookies in a bowl, cover and refrigerate. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the peppermint extract and blend again. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. After the ice cream stiffens (and about 2 minutes before it is done) add the chopped cookies and continue freezing until ice cream is ready.
Like Brooke, I also added a few drops of food coloring, since I like my mint ice cream green!
She said it was her husband's favorite, and I can see why - it DOES taste like a giant meatball!! Mine sort of didn't keep its "loaf" shape, but that's okay. Delicious nonetheless!
I wanted to throw some shredded mozzarella inside and/or on top, but realized I had none. So... I chopped up a couple of things of string cheese. ;)
I served the meatloaf with this.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup prepared spaghetti sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Heat oven to 375°F. Using your hands, mix together beef, half the spaghetti sauce, bread crumbs, half the Parmesan cheese, onion, egg and Italian seasoning in a medium mixing bowl. Shape into loaf and place in an 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and cheese. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or to desired doneness. During baking time, if desired, use a baster to remove excess grease from pan.
The recipe that was "assigned" to me (wink wink) is an awesome Fettucini with Basil, Ricotta, and Tomatoes. I absolutely loved everything about this, from how fast it was, to how good it tastes, to the fact that even my son ate it.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I really can't say enough about this dish. It was so unbelievably awesome. Part of this may have been from, however, the fact that I cooked it the night before I intended to eat it... so it kind of hung out in the fridge for 24 hours, marinating in its own yumminess.
(Oh, I didn't add the pancetta because I forgot to buy it.)
Even Ryan, the meat-hater, ate a bunch of this!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup flour
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 ½ oz. (about 3 slices) pancetta, cut into 1 by 1/8 in. pieces
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups Marsala
- 1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Anyway, luckily, pronounciation is not a requirement for actually cooking this awesome meal, chosen for the Dinner Divas group by Jenn.
I threw in some carrots for fun, but didn't really alter the recipe. I do wish, however, that I had purchased boneless/skinless thighs, but what can you do.
Oh, and did you notice how runny my mashed potatoes are?? Holy milk, Batman!
- 6 chicken thighs with skin and bone (2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 garlic cloves, halved
- 3 celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sear chicken, skin side down, in 2 batches until golden brown (do not turn), 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Cook garlic and celery in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a simmer.
Return chicken, skin side up, to skillet and simmer, partially covered, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
Anyway, I made this one yesterday as well in my plot to stock my freezer with individual lunch-size portions of soup. I saw this one on Brianna's blog and really didn't waste much time before attempting it myself.
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 (28-ounce) canned italian tomatoes, with their juice
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 quart vegetable stock or water (I used 2 cups of each.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions, carrot and garlic with 1 tablespoons of olive oil, for 7-8 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, bay leaf, beans and vegetable stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Using a hand blender or *stand blender puree until mixture is smooth. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold. Serves 6-8
* If using a stand blender make sure you allow the soup to cool a few minutes before blending the soup in batching. Place a towel over the top just in case of any accidents and remember the soup will expand while it is hot.
I hovered over my cutting boards and stove over the weekend making a couple of pots of soup, and this one did not disappoint! Everything just melds together to create this amazing bowl of yumminess... perfect for fall. And it makes a TON - I think I ended up stashing 8 2-cup servings in the freezer...
Next time, I think I'd also like to throw some corn and/or peas and/or beans in there... mmm...
For our 5th anniversary, my grandmother gave us some money and we used it to buy this beauty. I am so excited to be able to use the digital-ness (that is SO a word), plus be able to make larger portions. YAY!
(Any crockpot cookbook recommendations??)
The crock's maiden dish was a Creamy Apple Oatmeal from the expert herself - the Crockpot Lady.
- 1 cup of oats
- 2 cups of milk
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 chopped apple
Add oats, chopped apple and milk to stoneware, and then put in brown sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3. Check consistency of oatmeal and add milk as needed; garnish with cinnamon.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I love pumpkin, and though it's available in canned form year-round, something seems a bit "off" when you try to use it outside of autumn!
Funny, unrelated pumpkin story: I looove pumpkin. Love it. So every year I am so excited when Starbucks brings back their pumpkin spice latte. And every year I giddlily skip into the store and order a venti, nonfat. And...
Every year I remember that I hate the pumpkin latte.
I brought one of the loaves to my in-laws' house and kept the other one here; I am sure it won't last very long, though!
Oh, and Brooke was right about the 32-servings-is-a-crock thing. Who slices their loaves into sixteen slices? Crazy.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
Yield32 servings (serving size: 1 slice)Nutritional InformationCALORIES 152(30% from fat); FAT 5g (sat 1.2g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 2g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 10mg; SODIUM 137mg; FIBER 1.1g; IRON 1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.5g
I usually make a really simple mac & cheese dish that I got from my dad, and it's just really, really good... and some of the more sophisticated versions just don't bring that same comfort-food-level to the table, you know?
Anyway, Ina's Grown-Up Mac and Cheese wasn't bad; it just likely won't be a repeat dinner.