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.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

IWAD #8- Lonely

This week was not a normal IWAD night by any means (although it was on a Monday again). I enjoy cooking, don't get me wrong, but I enjoy cooking for others. Whether those people appreciate it I don't know, but I enjoy it anyways. This week my soux chef, Brandy, is out of town :( My husband, Mark, had to work late :( and I'm not drinking because we are working on getting pregnant :(

I was kind of counting on Mark to come home at a decent time because the dessert I was planning on making called for strawberries and we had eaten all of the ones I had bought on Sunday. I would have went out to buy more, but knowing myself I will go in to buy strawberries and leave with $100 grocery bill. So, no strawberries = no dessert.

The dinner I made (for my 2 yr old and myself) was "Spicy Italian Sausage & Penne Pasta". It was a pretty good and easy dish, but like I said, I enjoy cooking for others and even though my 2 yr old daughter enjoyed the dish it just wasn't the same. Mark did eat leftovers yesterday and he said it was pretty good also. Next week hopefully we can enjoy IWAD together again! Well, without Brandy :(

"Spicy Italian Sausage & Penne Pasta"

  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (about 14 ounces each) seasoned diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Romano cheese
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return to saucepan; keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, crumble sausage into large skillet. Add onion; cook and stir over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through. Drain fat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Cover; cook 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  3. Add sausage mixture to pasta; toss well. Sprinkle with Asiago cheese.