Thursday, December 27, 2007

Key Lime Birthday Pie

Yesterday was Chad's birthday, and he requested a Key Lime Pie. I called mom for her recipe, which is actually from the back of a bottle of key lime juice. It was really easy, and good. (I also made chicken enchiladas, which are already on here...but note to everyone, DON'T use corn tortillas for enchiladas!)

Key Lime Pie

1/2 cup key lime juice
3 eggs yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
9 in. graham cracker pie crust

Mix juice, yolks and milk until blended. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then refrigerate. Top with whipped cream.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back in the kitchen!

It's been a couple of weeks, but now that my interviews are over (I'm an assistant principal now!) and our Thanksgiving trip to Charlotte has passed (congrats Mrs. Helen Miller!) I can get back to cooking. After our weekend of binge eating, Chad and I said we would eat healthy this week so I made a salad tonight with scallops. It was totally delicious. I could eat this every night.

Spinach Salad with Scallops and Shallot-Balsamic Viniagrette

1 package fresh spinach
5 pieces of bacon
1/2 lb. sea scallops
1 small shallot, minced
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
goat cheese

Divide the spinach between big individual salad bowls (we had 2 huge servings for dinner, plus one leftover portion for lunch). Fry the bacon until crispy, and reserve 1-2 tablespoons of fat. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper, and sear on both sides in the bacon fat. Make sure you have a big pan so the scallops aren't crowded...if there are too many they will steam rather than sear. Remove the scallops and cover to keep warm. Add one tablespoon olive oil and saute the shallots for 3 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the mustard and balsamic. Stream in the olive oil. Add the warm shallots.

Top spinach with dressing, goat cheese, craisins, crumbled bacon and dressing, then toss. Add scallops and enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Apricot-Ginger Chicken Salad

This is my absolute favorite chicken salad...and it's courtesy of my mom of course! I made this for my friend Daniela's baby shower last January and it was a huge hit. Tonight Chad and I had it with a broccoli cheese soup mix. Quick and easy dinner!

Apricot-Ginger Chicken Salad

1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 oz. dried apricots, chopped
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup celery

Whisk together yogurt, preserves, ginger, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Add apricots, chicken, celery and chopped nuts if desired. Let chill and serve on favorite roll. This is great on a croissant, and can be prepared on the bread the night before and left to chill overnight.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

Chad is going to be home late tonight, and I knew I wouldn't be able to wait to eat until he got home, so I decided to make a salad to hold me over. I had a recipe for a blue cheese vinaigrette that I tried and it was horrible! So I searched online (my favorite recipe source!) and found this on It was tangy and creamy...a perfect blue cheese. I really need to make more homemade salad dressings.

Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mash blue cheese and buttermilk together with a fork. Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The "Ultimate" Beef Stew

I haven't had my camera in over a week because I left it in Tallahassee when Chad and I went up to watch the Seminoles play, so I didn't get to update with all my cooking last week. Kelli and Pat came to visit this past weekend to go with us to see Rascal Flatts, and she brought it back to now I can post this week's recipes!

Fall has finally hit Tampa, which means the temp has gone below 85. It was actually a little chilly this weekend and Chad requested beef stew. I searched online for a recipe, and found one from Tyler Florence that looked pretty good. After reading the reviews, I modified it a bit to come up with this. Although I think it is still a bit too hot to eat stew (we had to turn the air down while we were eating it because we got so hot!), this was DELICIOUS! We both just loved it, and I will definitely make it again this winter.

Beef Stew

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces (this cut is also called chuck shoulder pot roast and chuck roast boneless)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups good quality dry red wine (I used Yellow Tail Shiraz)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 bay leaves
4 cups cups beef stock
9 small red potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut in 1/2
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
7 tablespoons brown gravy mix, mixed with water to make a thick slurry
2 cups frozen pearl onions, a large handful
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, cut in 1/2
1/2 pound garden peas frozen or fresh

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, arrange the flour on a large dish. Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground black pepper and then toss in the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.

Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all the browned bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, smashed garlic, potatoes, carrots, freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste, bay leaves and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 hours add gravy mix, pearl onions and mushrooms, along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Add the frozen peas during the last minute of cooking. Season with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaves.

Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits

These are so easy and taste just like the Red Lobster biscuits. They were a great compliment to the stew.

Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350. Mix Bisquick, milk and cheese together, and drop by the spoonful on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic, and brush over the top of the biscuits.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chicken thighs...sounds gross but tastes good!

So I admit that I was cheap at the grocery store this week (hence the baked ziti that produced dinner, lunch and another dinner!) so I bought chicken thighs. I have never bought them before...I guess I am a chicken snob and usually buy boneless, skinless breasts. But since money was tight and I wanted to still make tasty dinners, I thought I would give them a try. I did spring for the skinless, and even though the word "thigh" sounds unappetizing, I really liked this chicken. Chad and I decided it's the bones, and I think I'll buy more bone-in chicken from here on out! This is another Giada De Laurentiis recipe...she is good (I did modify the recipe a bit, you can find the original at the link).

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Viniagrette

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package chicken thighs

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400. Remove chicken from the bag and place the chicken pieces and marinade in a greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour.

Baked Ziti

There is nothing I love more than Italian food, and I wanted something cheap and easy that would produce some leftovers for lunch so I made Baked Ziti. I started making my own sauce a couple of years ago (thanks mom!) but I never measure. I attempted to measure a bit when I made this so I could have some idea when I posted this recipe. I am a big sauce person, so this recipe makes a ton. I used half of it in the ziti, used more to pass on the side, and covered the leftovers with the rest.

Baked Ziti

1/2 package mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce with Italian seasoning (I use Hunt's basil, garlic and oregano)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

Using a large pot, saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in olive oil for about five minutes. Add all the ingredients for the sauce, mix well and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

1 box noodles, cooked (I liked the noodles with ridges so the sauce sticks)
1 small container ricotta
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups mozzarella, divided

Mix the ricotta, egg, Italian seasoning and 1 cup of mozzarella in a bowl. In a large bowl mix the noodles with half of the sauce. In a 9x13 baking dish, layer half the noodles and sauce, then spread the ricotta mixture on top. Layer with the rest of the noodles and cover with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 15 minutes to melt the cheese.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pizza night!

I saw this idea to make a pizza with a Pillsbury French bread crust, but I can't remember where! It turned out pretty good as far as the crust goes, but I didn't love the fresh mozzarella. I thought it would make it so good to use the freshest ingredients, but I thought the cheese was kind of bland. So I will make this again, but with some modifications on the toppings.

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Pizza

1 can Pillsbury French bread
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 large fresh mozzarella balls
10 basil leaves, chopped
pizza sauce (I used one package of Boboli pizza sauce)

Unroll French bread onto a rectangular baking sheet, crimping edges to form an edge. Prebake the crust for about 15 minutes. Spread sauce on crust, and top with mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Drumettes

This is a recipe I saw mentioned on The Nest's What's Cooking board, and I found the recipe on the Food Network, from Giada De Laurentiis. It was very easy and very tasty. Of course the skin was the best part, but I tried not to eat too much in an effort to be healthy! I'm not a big chicken leg fan, so I think next time I would make it with chicken breasts instead...but I do think the bone-in chicken helped keep it moist and tender.

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Drumettes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves, halved
10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves, in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450. Place the chicken drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Reserve.

Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley (I left out the parsley and sesame seeds).

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I love mac and cheese, but don't love how bad for you it is, so I searched on Cooking Light and found a recipe for Gouda and Spinach Mac and Cheese. I wanted to use some cheddar too, so I modified it a bit. It was pretty good, but not as creamy as I would have liked. Next time I would probably add more milk and cheese...but I guess that would take away from it being light! Oh well, maybe mac and cheese is one of those things that just shouldn't be light =)

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces gouda, shredded
6 ounces cheddar, shredded (I used 2% milk light cheese)
5 cups coarsly chopped spinach, or 1 box frozen spinach, thawed
4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
2 cups herbed croutons, crushed
melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, salt and pepper, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 2 minutes). Add cheeses, stir until melted.

Add spinach and macaroni to cheese sauce. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with croutons and drizzle on melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday cooking...

I had a TON of papers to grade, and I told myself that as a reward for getting through them all I would cook! On my menu - Sundried Tomato Meatloaf, Red-Skinned Mashed Potatoes and Apple-Oatmeal Bars. Chad said my meatloaf was a 6 (I thought it was at least an 8.5) and the apple bars were a 10. They were soooooo good!

Sundried Tomato Meatloaf

During last school year, my friend Susan and I were frequent visitors to Let's Eat, and one of my favorite things was the Sundried Tomato Meatloaf. I couldn't remember exactly what was in it, so I just improvised and came up with this. I thought it was pretty good (I think maybe I cooked it too long) but Chad said he likes HIS meatloaf better. I told him he can start cooking dinner! I served the meatloaf with green beans and red-skinned mashed potatoes (boil the potatoes with the skin on, and when they are tender, drain and add warm milk, butter, garlic and sour cream).

Sundried Tomato Meatloaf

2 lbs. meat (I used 1 lb. lean ground beef and 1 lb. pork)
3 oz. sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 small can (8 oz.) Hunt's basil tomato sauce, divided
1 egg
1 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning

Mix all ingredients together, using only half the can of tomato sauce. Shape into a loaf and put on a baking sheet. Spread rest of sauce on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or cooked through.

Apple-Oatmeal Bars

I saw these on a blog, Apples & Oranges, and knew immediately that I needed to try them. I love apple desserts, and am a fan of oatmeal cookies, so these seemed like a good mix of the two. I was surprised that the "batter" for the base of the bars wasn't really a batter at all, but more of a crumble. I didn't know for sure if I did them right, but I guess all that butter melts in to the oatmeal and flour to make the crust. As I said before, Chad said these were a 10! I think they would be over the top with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
3 apples, peeled and diced (I used Braeburn)

1. Sift flour, salt and soda together.
2. Add brown sugar and oats. Work in butter.
3. Grease a 8x8 inch pan and spread mixture on the bottom.
4. Spread apples on and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mix.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Long time, no post!

It seems like I've been really busy (what's new) and haven't really cooked in over a week! Last night I finally made something blog-worthy (as opposed to frozen California Pizza Kitchen or Velveeta Mac & Cheese) so here it is! I still wanted to do something quick and easy because I was tired after my long weekend (Happy Birthday Kelli!) so we had steaks on the grill, stuffed portabella mushrooms courtesy of Publix, and my contribution, Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Feta. This came from the new issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It's a really good issue with some great Thanksgiving ideas...I already have a few marked as possibilities for this year's dinner. (And mom...if you're reading this, I need a new camera because mine is taking really bad food pictures! =)

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Feta

1 big eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large plum tomatoes, cored and quartered lengthwise (I used 6...we like tomatoes!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar (I couldn't find this so subbed red wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (the one package left at Publix was scary, so I just used a few shakes of dried oregano)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450. Place eggplant and tomatoes on rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of oregano, salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer eggplant and tomatoes to platter. Sprinkle with feta and remaining oregano.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Celebrate...Grey's Anatomy is on tonight!

Chad and I decided early in the week to have a special dinner in celebration of the new season of Grey's Anatomy. I've been wanting to make a stuffed chicken breast with goat cheese, so I thought tonight would be perfect. We paired it with a great Riesling (because really, what else do I drink?) and now we're getting ready for the new season of Grey's!

Chicken stuffed with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sundried Tomato

This was a recipe I created all on my own...I'm so proud! And it was SOOOOO good.

Chicken with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sundried Tomato

3 chicken breats, trimmed
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the spinach, sundried tomato, goat cheese and Herbs de Provence. Cut a pocket in the chicken, and stuff with cheese mixture. Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme on one side of chicken. Lay chicken, seasoned sided down, in an oven-proof skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil heated on medium-high. Cook 5 minutes on each side (when you flip, season other side) until browned. Finish chicken in oven, about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Zucchini Pancakes

I had a recipe for zucchini pancakes, but I left it at home today and wanted to get any ingredients before I got home, so I posted on The Nest "What's Cooking" board to get a recipe. LovingWill posted this very easy one, and bonus...I had all the ingredients at home. They were more pancake-y than I wanted - I feel like I have had some before that were more crispy and you could taste the zucchini more...but these were very simple, and they were good.

Zucchini Pancakes

1/3 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini (I shredded mine in the food processor then put it in a colander with a little with a paper towel before mixing to remove excess moisture)

Mix all ingredients. Spoon into a hot skillet with olive oil and brown on both sides.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Can you tell I love Cooking Light?

Even though I love to eat, I do try to be somewhat healthy so Cooking Light is one of my favorite resources for recipes. I already mentioned how great the September issue was, and these cookies are another recipe I pulled out of it.


3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 30 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

CALORIES 99 (30% from fat); FAT 3.3g (sat 2g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.9g; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 17mg; SODIUM 59mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.9g

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

The September issue of Cooking Light was one of the best ones I've read, and I immediately noticed the recipe for Baked Potato Soup. I love thick, creamy, cheesy soups, and the fact that this is not horribly bad for you is awesome. It was easy to make, and yummy!

Baked Potato Soup

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes note: mine never got thick, but once the potatoes go in it thickens right up). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 329(30% from fat); FAT 10.8g (sat 5.9g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 13.6g; CHOLESTEROL 38mg; CALCIUM 407mg; SODIUM 587mg; FIBER 2.8g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.5g

Tomato Pie

For a girl who didn't used to like tomatoes (except in mass quantities of ketchup) I am now in LOVE with them. This is one of my favorite side dishes. My mom made it for me first, and she got it from Paula Deen.

Tomato Pie

1 deep dish pie crust, pre-baked
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup light mayo
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Lay the sliced tomatoes in a colander to drain while you bake the crust. Paula Deen boils and peels her tomatoes, but I am lazy and don't think there's much difference anyway! Layer the sliced tomatoes, green onions and basil in the crust, and add pepper to season. Mix the mayo and cheeses together and spread on top. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes (until the top is golden).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Viva Enchiladas!

Tonight I attempted homemade chicken enchiladas (a meal requested by Chad a while ago). The first recipe I found was from Cooking Light, but it called for canned tomatillos which I couldn't find anywhere, so I searched again and found one that sounded like it might be similar to the brown enchilada sauce at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Tampa, Estella's. I wouldn't say the sauce was quite that good, but they were tasty, if I do say so myself!

Chicken Enchiladas

4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (I boiled mine)
1 package shredded cheese, divided (I used 2% Milk Mexican blend)
1/2 onion, diced
1 package tortillas

3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups water
8 oz. can tomato sauce

Saute the onions until soft. Mix chicken, onion and 1/2 bag of cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients for the sauce. Stir in a little water until you have a thin paste. Add mixture to pan with rest of water and cook over medium until it thickens a bit (I was waiting for it to get thick, which it never really just gets thicker. Maybe about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Add tomato sauce and stir.

Spoon a ladle or two of sauce into chicken mixture and stir. Also add a ladle or two of sauce to bottom of baking dish. Roll chicken in tortillas and place seam side down in dish (my mixture made 7 rolls). Spoon remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with rest of cheese. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

K.Q's Tilapia

So last week was Cooking Club in Orlando, and Jenn was our hostess. She made an awesome tilapia, which is something her husband cooks for her about once a week. I didn't have any parsley because I pulled out the bottle and I think it must have been about 8 years old. I don't even know where it came from...possibly Chad's old house. Scary.

I served the tilapia with a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad and balsamic roasted asparagus. I don't think the fish looked very pretty, but it was tasty!

K.Q.'s Tilapia

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Emeril's Essence
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tilapia fillets

Mix all dry ingredients. Heat large saute pan on medium high and add butter, olive oil and lemon. Cook tilapia for 3 minutes, and flip. Sprinkle cheese mixture on cooked side. Cook 3 minutes and flip, again sprinkling cheese mixture on fish. Cook 1 minute, then flip again and cook 1 minute.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

Yesterday we had some friends over to watch NFL football. I love having people over because I get to cook for everyone. It was a little crazy as we decided to do this last minute and I had to go shopping in the morning and then cook everything (and our grocery story is CRAZY on Sundays), but it all came together. We had BBQ chicken (that was courtesy of Chad), corn casserole and pasta salad. For a little pre-dinner appetizers, I made spinach dip and baked goat cheese with crostini.

Spinach Dip

I make the spinach dip recipe from the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup mix, so this obviously isn't the world's biggest secret recipe! I usually make it with frozen spinach, but since I was in a hurry today and didn't have time to defrost, I used fresh spinach.

Spinach Dip

1 envelope Knorr Vegetable Soup mix
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1 container sour cream (16 oz. again I used light)
1 10 oz. bag of fresh spinach, chopped or 1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Green onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 bunch)

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate about 2 hours. Hollow out a round loaf of bread to make a bread bowl, and spoon dip into bowl. Use pieces of bread from hollowing out the loaf to dip.

Baked Goat Cheese with Crostini

I found this recipe on a great food blog, Elly Says Opa!. My mom and I had something similar at a Tampa restaurant called Bella's, and it was delish. I was so excited to see that it was so easy!

Baked Goat Cheese with Crostini

1 log herbed goat cheese (4 oz.)
1/2 jar favorite jarred tomato sauce
1 skinny french bagette, sliced
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning

Flatten the log of goat cheese and place in a small, shallow casserole dish (or gratin dish). Spoon sauce around the cheese, but don't cover it. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of baking, lay sliced bagette pieces on baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Serve cheese with crostini for dipping.

Corn Casserole

The corn casserole recipe is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make, and people love it! I got the recipe from my Aunt Carm, but have seen many variations. Some include sour cream, eggs, milk, etc...but I find this simple list of ingredients comes out the best.

Corn Casserole

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 stick of butter, melted

Mix all ingredients and put into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Italian Pasta Salad

My pasta salad is also super simple, and comes from my mom. You can add some other veggies (like olives) but when I make it, I add the stuff I like best!

Italian Pasta Salad

1 box tri-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1 bottle favorite Italian dressing (I use Ken's Light Northern Italian)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add salad dressing until well-coated. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until chilled. Add salt and pepper. I also usually add more dressing right before serving because the pasta will soak most of it up as it chills.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick and easy to start it off...

This week I actually cooked two different nights, but of course I forgot to take pictures of the stuffed steak. But I did remember to photograph the Scallop and Corn Chowder and Tomato-Mozzarella Panini I made on Wednesday. Every summer we go scalloping at my parent's place in Keaton Beach, Florida (a tiny little town near the Panhandle). I love the actual act of scalloping, but I have found that they are hard little things to cook. They are bay scallops, and are very small, so if you saute them it's very easy to over cook them. My mom's new method is to fry them, which is delicious, but not figure friendly. So I found this recipe in Cooking Light for chowder and thought I would give it a try.

Scallop Corn Chowder

Scallop Corn Chowder

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups refrigerated diced potato with onion (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound bay scallops
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I left this out, I'm not a parsley fan)

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek and celery; sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat. Add potato and next 5 ingredients (potato through broth). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. (At this point, I scooped out some of the potatoes and mashed them up a little. My mom said it would help thicken the soup. I don't know how much of a difference it made, I could probably mash up more next time!) Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (I found it needed to cook longer for the potatoes to be soft.) Add scallops, and cook 2 minutes or until scallops are done. Stir in half-and-half and parsley.

4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 352(20% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 4.1g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 23.7g; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 92mg; SODIUM 919mg; FIBER 4.9g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.9g

It was a very tasty soup, and Chad and I both ate it the next day for lunch.

The paninis were very basic, just sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil and a little basil pesto on Italian bread, cooked on one of my favorite appliances, the panini press. I usually use a balsamic, olive oil, Dijon mustard dressing on my tomato-mozzarella, but I thought I would try the pesto. I like the balsamic mixture better!

Cooking Club was last night at Jenn's house...I'm making the tilapia recipe she shared with us next week, so more on that later!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The start of a new adventure...

And everyone who knows me can tell you I always need some kind of adventure in life! With the wedding over, and The Knot no longer occupying all my time, I decided that I would embark on a journey that deals with my favorite thing - FOOD! I love to cook (definitely inherited from my mother) and have more cookbooks than I know what to do with. After reading Julie and Julia (great read by the way) I got the idea to get my butt in the kitchen and start cooking. I am not sure where this will take me, or how I will do with this whole blog thing, but I figured I would give it a try. And most likely, if you are reading this, it is going well because I would probably never give out the address if I didn't think it was a success =)