Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Snicker Doodle Cookies

I am so awful at this blogging thing because I don't post things as I make them. Shame on me. Anyways when I was looking for the cauliflower recipe I came across this Snicker Doodle recipe that I made about a month ago when we were going out on the lake with some friends. I wanted to make something that could stand up to the heat (no chocolate) and these sounded good. They were actually very good and moist. I know I've made and had these kind of cookies in the past and they were not as good as these. So here's another keeper...

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

After writing my previous post of the Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese I realized this recipe isn't on my blog. This is how I've been making my cauliflower for the past few months because I think it is really good. It's definitely not for everyone because it has some strong seasonings and lots of flavor. Not a recipe for the kids well...not my kids. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/balsamic_parmesan_roasted_cauliflower.html It's kind of an italian side dish in my opinion and I like to serve it with some Italian seasoned oven roasted chicken and maybe some fettuccini alfredo but it would also make a great appetizer served with some toothpicks.

Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese

There are times I have to admit that I get into a rut and make the same meals every week. Same meats...same veggies...etc. I stocked up on produce over the weekend and had a head of cauliflower in there I was going to cut up and roast like I normally do but decided to look up some new recipes and came across this one... http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/george-stella/cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-casserole-recipe/index.html I had all of the ingredients and I even had hopes the kids might even eat it. Well this was another winner all around. My daughter has become quite the picky eater when it comes to vegetables and she has total influence over her little brother so it is hard to get them both to eat veggies. I decided I wouldn't tell her what I made. I made up some turkey burget patties to go along with this and served it up on my daughter's plate. She says mmmm...what it it? I respond it is hamburgers and "cheesy peasy goodness". Of course her response was...what's in it? I told her it doesn't matter it is just "cheesy peasy goodness". Had I told her it was cauliflower she would have said it was disgusting. She proceeded to eat the entire plate of food and said it was great! Ha! This is a keeper!

Pear Crumb Coffee Cake

Every time I go to the grocery store with both kids in tow I go through the produce aisle to hopefully spark their interest in trying new things. If it were up to them they would live on blueberries, bananas, and melons. We typically buy a few of something my 4 yr old daughter says she has to have and then they sit and go bad in the fruit basket. So this was one of those occassions where I had 2 very ripe pears sitting in the basket waiting to be tossed and I decided to look up some recipes. Lucky for me I came across this recipe for Pear Crumb Coffee Cake http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,226,153180-234201,00.html because it is a definite keeper! I went by the recipe except I was nearly out of regular all purpose flour so I used cake flour. On the box of cake flour it says for every cup of regular flour a recipe calls for to add in 1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour. So I made that adjustment. Then for the crumble on top I used the remaining all purpose flour I had left on hand. I'm not sure if the cake flour made it better but it was delicious! The cake was fluffy and moist and the crumble on top was heavenly! Enjoy!

Paula Deen's Beef Stew and Cheesy Biscuits

Last week I was in the mood for some yummy Beef Stew so after doing some googling I came across Paula Deen's recipe http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/old_time_beef_stew/ and decided to make it. I'm thinking that I didn't "brown" the meat as I should have to develop the flavor because it didn't turn out as flavorful as I was hoping. When browning the meat it became more of a simmering the beef instead of actually developing color and flavor. So anyways the oil was probably not hot enough and I probably didn't get the sear on it as I should have. Lesson learned. Needless to say the stew was okay but lacked in flavor. Not something I would have expected from a Paula Deen recipe.

To accompany the stew I was looking for some sort of roll or biscuit to sop up all of the supposed to be yummy juices. So I made Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuit recipe http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/the_lady_and_sons_cheese_biscuits/ and OMG! These were SO delicious! They were exactly like the cheesy biscuits you get at Red Lobster. The perfect ratio of cheese to bread and the garlic butter brushed on top...yummy! The recipe says to use 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder and I used 1/4 tsp. Next time I will use 1/2 tsp because I love garlic and thought a touch more would have been nice. So these are a must for anyone looking for a delicious biscuit!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Trifle

Being in the holiday spirit and my never-ending desire to try new things I saw a Food Network Facebook post on a Red White and Blue Trifle. I didn't exactly love their recipe so I searched on cooks.com to see what I could find and then looked to Pinterest to see what other ideas were out there. I came across this one on Pinterest and thought it would be good with a few modifications. Here is the recipe I based my recipe around: http://heylittlemother.com/2012/05/24/perfect-patriotic-dessert-red-white-and-blue-trifle/

The trifle was a HUGE hit and I will definitely make it again in the future!

What you'll need:
  • 1 large tub Cool Whip (refrigerated not frozen)
  • 1 8 oz container sour cream
  • 1 small package instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 round angel food cake (I found a round angel food cake near strawberries in HEB but you could improvise and use a loaf cake and make it work the same)
  • 1 large container strawberries
  • 1 large container blueberries
What you'll do:
  • Clean, hull, and slice strawberries (lengthwise to make them pretty like in the photos below)
  • Clean blueberries and sift through them to make sure the stems are removed and any yucky ones are taken out.
  • In a large bowl whisk together Cool Whip, sour cream, and both pudding mixes. Mixture will be thick.
  • Whisk in milk until mixture is smooth.
  • Whisk in 1/2 cup pineapple juice from can then strain pineapples of any excess juice and stir into mixture. (If I had a can of diced pineapples I would have used that instead but I only had the big chunks on hand.)
  • Take round angel food cake and cut horizontally into 3 rings.
  • Line the bottom of the trifle dish with sliced strawberries and then place slices around the bottom sides of the bowl.
  • Place top ring of angel food cake in dish. I broke the ring kind of overlapped it a bit to get it to fit without messing up the strawberries around the dish.
  • Pour some of the pudding mixture over the cake and around the sides of the dish so you have about 1/2-1 inch of white showing.
  • Top the pudding with blueberries. Sprinkle around and then be sure to place all around edge of bowl so you can see them on the outside.
  • Now you repeat the layers a second time (strawberries, angel food cake, pudding mixture, blueberries)
  • Depending on how deep your dish is you can add more strawberries/blueberries/pudding until you get to the top and the top should be the pudding mixture so you can decorate on top of it as you choose. See pictures below for how I finished it off.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more until served.

Jello Shots

I had never made Jello Shots before but they sounded like a good adult addition to the 4th of July party our neighbors were having. So I looked up a recipe on cooks.com and essentially the consensus was 1 package of jello with 1 cup of hot water and 1 cup of alcohol. So then I got to thinking what combination I wanted to make. Pina Colada sounded good and the grocery store had pineapple jello. I had coconut rum at home so I got that one. I had tried chocolate vodka for the first time over the weekend and it was so good I was planning on picking some up at the liquor store so I thought about what might be good with it and so I got black cherry jello. So I picked up the chocolate vodka and got to work. I made the pineapple jello/coconut rum combination first. After making it and pouring into the cups I realized this particular brand of jello (Royal I believe) calls for 4 cups of water (2 cups hot/2 cups cold) and is supposed to make twice the amount of jello. Oops! The black cherry jello/chocolate vodka combination was next and I read the package and it called for 2 cups of water so I went ahead and prepared it the same way I did the pineapple batch. Well, after sampling both the consensus was the pineapple ones were delicious and the black cherry ones were merely okay and will not be made again. But they were ALL gone in the end!

What you will need:
  • 1 package Royal Pineapple Jello (2.8 oz)
  • 1 cup Coconut Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Jello Shot Cups (I ordered on amazon.com)
What you will do:
  • Place plastic shot cups in sheet pan
  • Add jello mix to boiling water in bowl and whisk until dissolved.
  • Wait 3 minutes or so for it to cool down a bit then add coconut rum and whisk together to combine.
  • Pour mixture into a large glass measuring cup with pouring edge on it. Fill cups half way with mixture. It makes about 15-20 shots.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. (good with whipped cream on top as well)

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

A staple in our house since I started The Belly Fat Cure (BFC) diet has been anything with meat and veggies. Something I had never made before until exploring my options was Bacon Wrapped Asparagus. To be honest I'm not sure I had ever made asparagus before starting this "diet"...I like to call it my way of eating now. So this is super easy and you should give it a try!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 package center cut bacon
  • 1 bunch asparagus (I try to get small-medium sized stalks)

Here's what you'll do:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil.
  • Remove rubber bands from bunch of asparagus. Rinse asparagus in colander. Grab a single stalk and take both ends and bend it slightly until it snaps. You throw out the end (the side with the flat edge) and keep the flowery end (that's the good part). Once you learn how to do this process you can grab 3-5 stalks and bend them together and speed up the process.
  • Open the bacon and grab a slice. Take 3-4 stalks of asparagus (depends on the size of the stalks) and start at one end with bacon and wrap up the stalks together. Lay on prepared sheet pan. Repeat the process with remaining bacon and asparagus. For me typically one package of bacon rolls one bunch of asparagus.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. After baking (if not browned enough and you like crispy bacon) put oven on broil and cook another 3-5 minutes. Yum!!

Returning to the blogging world...

So I've been out of the blogging world for sometime now but decided I'd start posting again since so many people have been requesting recipes. To update everyone following (all 3 of you lol) on what's been going on in my life I'll start my first post. I got pregnant near the time of my last post and that's what ended IWAD. There was no wine to be involved anymore and so it kind of defeated the purpose. It's not as much fun cooking without it! I had my little guy in April 2011 and have been busy with my now 4 yr old daughter and 1 yr old son. In September I decided it was time to lose the remaining 20 lbs of baby weight I was still holding onto. I started my last pregnancy 10 lbs over where I started my pregnancy with my daughter and then I was 10 lbs over that and had had enough! I wound up reading a book (that I had purchased for 99 cents through Amazon on my Kindle) called The Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. After reading that I decided why not I'll give it a try. Well, after losing 3 lbs that first week I was sold. Then it kept coming off 1-3 lbs every week...no joke. Now I must say that I was nursing my little boy at the same time but had stopped losing the weight. My goal was to lose 20 lbs by Christmas since we go on a caribbean vacation every year at that time. I lost more than 20 lbs in that time period. NO WORKING OUT (other than running after 2 kiddos all day). I'm currently at a comfortable weight and have been working out to tone up and "firm up the flab" as I like to call it. I've been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. This is a 25 minute workout that is pretty hard core. It definitely works. My goal is 3 days a week. I definitely notice results and can't wait to get this body back to pre-baby shape (aside from the stretch marks and saggy you know what's). I have also been entertaining the idea of getting a Gold's Gym membership again. Well there you have it...my last year in a nutshell.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IWAD #12- New Staple

Mark made it back home today and I cooked him a special meal of good ole "Spaghetti & Meatballs". This was pretty easy to make. This one just might become a staple at our house! I even recommend making the meatballs in marinara and serving them as appetizers at a party!

"Spaghetti & Meatballs"

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound hot turkey Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain; cover and keep warm.
  2. Combine beef, sausage, egg white, bread crumbs and oregano in medium bowl; mix well. Shape mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place on prepared baking sheet; coat with cooking spray. Bake 12 minutes, turning once.
  3. Pour marinara sauce into large skillet; add meatballs. Cook and stir over medium heat 9 minutes or until sauce is heated through and meatballs are cooked through (160 degrees). Serve spaghetti with meatballs and sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

IWAD #11- Friendly Neighbors

This IWAD was special because my mom was spending a few days with us. Mark was out of town for work and my mom came to spend a few days with my daughter and I to keep us company while he was gone. Mark dislkes mushrooms so I decided I would knock out a dish with mushrooms in it while he was gone. That's why this weeks dinner was "Chicken Marsala with Fettuccine". For dessert I used those amerreti cookies that Brandy found and made "Mocha Semifreddo Terrine".

The chicken marsala was to be cooked in a slow cooker. Well, I don't have a slow cooker, but I do have a crock pot. I assumed they were the same thing. Before my mom came up I called her and asked her to bring her slow cooker with her. Well, she brought her crock pot. I'm still not sure that they are the same thing, but that's what I used and it worked. If any of you reading this have not cooked with cremini mushrooms you are in for a treat with this dish. A few years ago I made a homemade fresh green bean casserole that called for cremini mushrooms and it was the best green bean casserole I had ever eaten. This marsala dish was good as well. For some reason the sauce didn't thicken up as much as I thought it should have, but it was still a pretty good dish.

For the dessert I made the "Mocha Semifreddo Terrine" in the morning because it had to freeze for at least 8 hours. Before I make a dessert of any kind I normally get out all of the ingredients ahead of time. The last thing I went to get out was the eggs. For some reason I thought I had a full dozen eggs in the refrigerator. Well, I only had 5! Oh no! I needed 3 more eggs and didn't have time to waste so this would be ready by dinner time. My mom persuaded me to go next door and ask the neighbor for 3 eggs. This is not something I would normally do, but I walked outside and luckily my neighbor was outside and I asked if he had 3 eggs I could have and he did! So, I had all of my eggs. This dessert was very good in my opinion. My mother enjoyed it as well. Brandy was not a big fan though. Between the 3 of us we had more than half of the dessert left over. I decided to pay my neighbor back for their 3 eggs and took them the remaining dessert. They said it was very good. Think of it as tasting like a tiramisu ice cream with an ameretto crust. Yummy!

"Chicken Marsala with Fettuccine"

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup marsala wine
  • 2 packages (6 ounces each) sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 8 ounces uncookd fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

    Slow Cooker Directions:
  1. Coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until translucent. Add marsala; cook 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in mushrooms, broth and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over chicken. Cover; cook on HIGH 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
  3. Transfer chicken to cutting board; cover and let stand. Blend cream and cornstarch in small bowl until smooth; stir into cooking liquid. Cover; cook 15 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large serving bowl. Slice chicken breasts andplace on pasta. Top with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.
"Mocha Semifreddo Terrine"

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/2 cups (4 ounces) ameretti cookies (about 35 cookies)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  1. Dissolve espresso powder in boiling water; set aside
  2. Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place cookies and cocoa powder in food processor. Process until cookies are finely ground. Add butter; process until well combined. Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Place in freezer while preparing custard.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in top of double boiler or medium metal bowl. Stir in cooled espresso mixture. Place over simmering water. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until mixture thickens, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; place bowl in pan of ice water. Whisk mixture 1 minute. Let stand in ice water 5 minutes or until cooled to room temperature, whisking occasionally.
  4. Beat cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in large bowl with electrick mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into cooled custard. Spread mixture over crust in pan. Cover tightly; freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.
  5. To serve, invert terrine onto serving plate; remove plastic wrap. Cut into slices. Serve on chilled plates.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

IWAD #10- Turkey in August

So, last Monday night after IWAD Brandy called me from Hawaii and told me she saw an ad on craigslist for a soux chef. At first I was like, really?! How weird! Then I got what she was saying! She was coming home! So, then I played along and asked when she could start and she said tomorrow! If I had known I would have waited, but this wee she's back, but unfortunately Mark is gone overseas for work. I can't wait for us to all enjoy an IWAD night together again! Next week my Mom will be joining Brandy and I, so I am pretty excited about that! We'll have to make something extra special!

Last night I made "Turkey Piccata" with white rice for the entree and for dessert...yep, I had all of the ingredients and we had "Orange Granita with Balsamic and Mint Strawberries". It is pretty obvious that not many people are intersested in eating turkey in August because at the grocery store there were 4 turkey breasts on the shelf. I have personally never bought turkey breasts, but really? 4? Anyways, they were down to 2 after I snatched up 2 for myself. Remember a while back I made "Chicken Piccata"? Well, this turkey one has nothing on that delicious chicken one! This one is defnitely easier, but I would go the hard route and make the chicken instead. It was good, but not great.

As for the dessert- I thought it was very good. I have to admit that I was a bit leary of the idea of eating strawberried marinated in balsamic vinegar, but it was actually a really good combination with the sweetness of the granita. I could have done without the mint leaves if there is a way to get the mint flavor without the actual leaves I would go that route. The orange granita was pretty easy to make, but I found that it melted very quickly and turned the dessert into a strawberry soup. Anyways, it's worth trying!

"Turkey Piccata"

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound turkey breast, cut into short strips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cups cooked rice (optional)
Slow Cooker Directions
  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add turkey strips and shake well to coat. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey strips; brown on all sides. Arrange in single layer in slow cooker.
  2. Pour broth into skillet; cook 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Pour into slow cooker. Add lemon peel and juice. Cover; cook on LOW 2 hours. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve over rice, if desired.
"Orange Granita with Balsamic and Mint Strawberries"

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups Florida orange juice, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Place sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice and pepper, if desired, in small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups orange juice and lemon juice.
  2. Pour mixture into 13x9-inch shallow pan and place in freezer.
  3. Every few minutes, stir and scrape mixture with spoon to create an icy texture. This pocedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on freezer temperature.
  4. Combine strawberries, mint and balsamic vinegar in small bowl; marinate while granita freezes.
  5. To serve, place 2 ounces granita in individual dessert bowls; top with 3 ounces strawberry mixture.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

IWAD #9- Easy Peasy

This week I made one of the easiest dishes yet throughout this IWAD experience. This dish is called "Italian Beef Ragu". I have to admit that I do resort to making Hamburger Helper at least once every 2 weeks. I cook dinner for us at least 4 nights a week and there's always a time where I just want something easy and fast. That's the night that Hamburger Helper always comes to mind. This Ragu dish is so easy as long as you have everything you need. The hardest part is chopping the onion! It is also pretty tasty! So, all of you that don't think you can cook...try this one and impress your date!

On a side note- that dessert I was planning to make last week was also supposed to be made this week, but silly me bought strawberries, but didn't know we were out of orange juice...next week it is!

"Italian Beef Ragu"

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans (about 14 ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or black pepper
  • 1 package (about 17 ounces) fully cooked beef pot roast*
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccini
*Fully cooked beef pot roast can be found in the refrigerated prepared meats secion of the supermarket.

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until translucent and slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove pot roast from package; add au jus to tomato mixture. Break meat into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces. Add to tomato mixture; simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
  3. Meanwhile, cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain. Serve ragu over fettuccini.