Sunday recipes

Like pretty much the entire world population, we are trying to eat better this year, and in order to succeed, we all need some cheerleaders in the background keeping us going and not succumbing to junk “food”. In honor of that, I thought I might post a couple of (healthy!) recipes we’ve recently tried and enjoyed.

Friday night we had something called Cuban Picadillo. It has a rather interesting set of ingredients (raisins and capers–together?!), but trust me, this was just the perfect mix of sweet and salty to really satisfy your taste buds. I’m really looking forward to the leftovers of this stuff, and I’m one of those anti-leftover people (unless it’s pizza, obv.) Her recipe doesn’t actually have the raisins in it, but I tossed in a handful after reading the comments, and next time I’d probably add another handful. This stuff is pretty awesome, and only uses 6 WW points (I’m not on that program, but lots of people are, maybe even you!) Give it a try, you might be surprised! ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday, we had our first ever spaghetti squash spaghetti. (NOTE: we didn’t use her sauce, we had our own.) I’m not certain that mine was cooked all the way through (a bit crunchy?), but as far as taste and appearance go, I think you’d have a hard time proving it wasn’t really spaghetti noodles. Double check the doneness after the cook time, but definitely give this veggie a try! We’re going to do it again for sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re not a squash eater (we definitely aren’t!), it can be a bit tough to make yourself try it, but once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. ๐Ÿ™‚ So just go buy one, it doesn’t cost any more than a package of decent spaghetti noodles!

EDIT: OK, according to the Dashing Dish website, if you don’t want a crunchy texture on your squash, you should saute it a bit, I’ll keep that in mind for us in the future too!

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Addictively delicious!

Yesterday, I made the most fantastic, awesome, delicious, amazing, addictive sloppy joes ever. If you like sloppy joes (or even if you generally don’t), you have to give this recipe a try–especially if you have some of those sweet-ish buns to serve them on. (Mine were grocery store bakery ones they call “sweet Italian”, but I think they are very similar to the King’s Hawaiian type buns.) Add a slice of colby jack cheese (or maybe even cheddar) to the buns (which MUST be toasted–this is non-negotiable!!!) and you’ll be set. Seriously.

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2010/03/sloppy-joes-recipe-video.html

Also, if you are in a hurry, just turn the heat up to medium high and stir it more often until it thickens. Using hamburger that I had previously cooked, it probably took about 15 minutes from when I pulled the burger out of the fridge until we were eating. (And I totally recommend browning up a bunch of hamburger and storing it in the freezer/fridge for those days when every minute counts. I just season mine with a touch of salt–in case you are making something with a fair amount of salt in it later–and some cayenne pepper. The cayenne just seems to have a better flavor than black pepper after being frozen, I don’t know why.)

Recipes (with videos)!

Have you seen the “Food Wishes” blog? He posts a video that highlights the important parts of the recipes. Which I think is a fun twist, and seems to load faster than those posts where every step has two pictures. You probably have a faster connection than me and don’t notice though. I’ve also seen some of his recipes on Pinterest (you may have noticed my “recipes” board has recently doubled) and seriously, so much of what he makes sounds absolutely delicious. Here’s a few that I’m planning to try very soon:

Just chicken and mushrooms: I’ll confess that I’ll likely be unable to resist adding some garlic in there, but everything else will probably be as written. People who say they don’t like mushrooms have no idea what they’re missing, but they probably only ever tried the canned ones, which might explain why they don’t like mushrooms….

Beef Stroganoff: I love a good stroganoff recipe, and this one looks delicious and simple. I’m all about easy breezy cooking, though this one does have some wait time….oh well, more internet surfing time for me! ๐Ÿ˜›

Chicken Parmesan Casserole: I love chicken parmesan, but I don’t like to make it. This looks like a good compromise. I’ll bet this would be a good recipe to make a couple and freeze for later. I’d probably freeze it before cooking though, chicken is picky like that.

Anyway, I have a picture-ous post lined up that shows off the booty I’ve accumulated over the last month for the various holidays, but I have to take said pictures first, so there ya go.

 

 

Ham and Potato Soup

Old man winter has, unfortunately, arrived. But, I have a recipe here that will help you overcome his chill and give you some comfort. This potato soup is awesome, and I discovered a little trick today that makes it even better. ๐Ÿ™‚

Delicious Ham & Potato Soup

By: Ellie11 @ Allrecipes.com

Original recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/delicious-ham-and-potato-soup/detail.aspx

Ingredients

  • 6-7 Medium sized peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (I use 1.5 tsp onion powder)
  • Half package of diced ham (about 1/2 pound)
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons cornstarch (depending on preferred thickness)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in cornstarch with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk and cream as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk/cream has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.
The original recipe uses 5 tablespoons of flour, but I discovered today that about 3 tablespoons of cornstarch makes for a less grainy soup, though it’s maybe not quite as thick. We preferred it with the cornstarch, but it’s up to you.
I also leave out the celery because honestly, I dislike the way it overpowers everything it’s in.
I don’t recommend using russet potatoes for this, maybe they are too starchy? I like the white potatoes with the gold skins on them or yukon golds, and you don’t even have to peel them (I don’t).
You’ll notice that I said to put in 1 cup milk and 1 of heavy cream–the original calls for all milk, so don’t panic if you don’t have the cream, but I really like the richness it adds to the soup.
I hope if you are looking for some comfort food that takes about 30 minutes from start to finish you’ll give this a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s not nearly so fussy as it might sound, the hardest part is prepping the potatoes.
Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomato Soup and Sandwiches

Last night I made up the no-knead bread that Nick over at Macheesmo is always raving about. It takes forever, but it turned out pretty good. I think it would have been better if it hadn’t fermented for like 28 hours instead of 20, and because it was so late getting made up I skipped the proofing. I think it’ll be really nice for what I wanted though, and that’s all that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll definitely be trying it again.

To go with the bread (which I made into grilled cheese sandwiches), I also made up some homemade tomato soup, based on the recipe from EvolvingMommy. Mine is a bit different though–I found some Del Monte Italian Stewed Tomatoes at the grocery store for less than 75ยข each, so I used those instead of the fresh tomatoes. I also bought really big celery and carrots, so I used one celery stalk and two carrots. My little guy and I both liked it, but the hubster wasn’t totally convinced. He said it was bland…..it’s tomato soup….? Anyway, I didn’t notice an overpowering flavor of celery my way, so I’d probably stick to that for us (I’m not a celery fan), and I may not have cooked the veggies long enough because the soup wasn’t quite as smooth as the stuff from the can.

All in all, I’d recommend both of these recipes. They worked well for us, and made a filling, healthy lunch on a day that started out a bit chilly. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m anxious to see how it reheats so that I can decide whether or not to make up another batch to freeze.

Happy Labor Day (for some of you)!

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., which means that hubby had a 3 day weekend. There isn’t much better than the one you love getting to stay home and hang out with you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Though, a raspberry tart might come close to that. So we had it REALLY good, since we had hubby AND a raspberry tart. I had never even made one before today, but when I saw the raspberries in the store yesterday, looking delicious and being on sale, I couldn’t resist picking them up. At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but then the words “raspberry tart” popped into my head and I had to take note.

First stop was my food blogging hero, Nick @ Macheesmo. He said that his tart was a failure because it was too liquidy and whatnot, so I took care not to make it too liquidy. First thing I did was toss a handful of the raspberries into a saucepan over medium heat and smooshed them with a potato masher (just like my mother used to do with sandplums to make jelly). Add about 1/8 C. of brown sugar, 1/8 C. of honey (I didn’t have more brown sugar), a healthy dash of cinnamon, and cooked it down until it was pretty thick. Toss in the rest of the berries (I had two 6 oz. boxes, minus a couple oz. we ate ๐Ÿ˜ณ ) to coat them with the “jelly”, and smear them over the pastry that I provided in the link above. I baked mine at 375ยฐF for about 35 minutes, but I’m not really sure what time/temp is recommended. I just default to 375ยฐF if I have no idea what I’m doing, because it’s usually a safe bet. I was actually surprised it took so long to cook, I kept adding ten minutes to the cooktime until it was done.

After it cooled I tried my hand at melting some chocolate in a makeshift double boiler. I didn’t get it as liquidy as I wanted, because it didn’t drizzle very nicely, but it tasted freakin’ awesome, and that’s what’s really important, right? Right. Serve it up with some homemade vanilla ice cream, and you have heaven in a bowl.

I really wanted to get some sewing in this weekend, but the weather has been so fabulous that we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors (or baking!) We’ve had the windows open for two whole days now and it’s been just beautiful. I think the high today was like 78ยฐF, if it never got hotter than that, I’d be the happiest of campers. Anyway, this post got kind of long winded, sorry about that. Hope you had a fabulous weekend whether it was a holiday for you or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll leave you with some pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tart after baking

Mmmm. Drizzled with chocolate

 

A little slice of heaven

Awesome pizza dough

Pizza Dough III Recipe – Allrecipes.com.

If you click that link you will find the recipe for an awesome pizza crust. Are there better recipes out there for pizza crust? Probably. But this one can be made up right when you are ready to cook the pizza, and doesn’t require much rising time (I gave it until the oven heated up before rolling it out and topping it). The second time I made it, I used half whole wheat flour and it came out just as good, if not a bit better because it was a bit more chewy.

*Note: I followed some of the suggestions and reduced the amount of water by 1/4 cup, otherwise the dough is really sticky. And be sure to use a good olive oil!

If you are looking for a delicious, airy, and super quick pizza crust, this is the one for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you like a thinner crust, just take about 1/3 of the dough and make it into breadsticks.

You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

More recipe reviews, sorry!

I couldn’t resist because these were so yummy! (And healthy!)

Other other day I went on another cooking binge, (I’m trying to do more cooking and less eating junk, what can I say?) and tried a few more recipes.

First up, we’ll mention the Chocolate Banana Breakfast Muffins. You want these. Trust me, they’re delicious. I’m on the hunt for some better cocoa powder though, because I don’t like the slightly bitter aftertaste left by my old standby (hershey’s) when you don’t sugar a recipe within an inch of it’s life. And, if you want (or don’t have them), I bet you could even leave the chocolate chips out, because these would probably be just as good without them. Be warned, they have the same texture and moisture level as banana bread, so they will need to be kept in the freezer/fridge.

Another winner was the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. These turned out fabulous. They are everything a cookie should be–crispy on the edges, chewy in the center, they taste just like normal chocolate chip cookies, and you’re actually allowed to have not one–but TWO–of these little beauties! Compared to a normal chocolate chip cookie recipe where you get one and really should only have a half a bite of it, this is like a revelation. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made mine too big (so ended up with half the number of cookies) and they took for.ev.er to cook, but they were worth the wait. They’re big enough that half a cookie is actually pretty satisfying after a meal. ๐Ÿ™‚ And they’ve kept really good in the fridge for 3 days now (just give them time to come to room temp). I think it’s going to be the only kind of chocolate chip cookie I make from now on. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had the Tomato Sauce from the same site which was also pretty good. I used fresh basil from my little herb pots, and next time I’d just use some of the italian and roma tomatoes we are growing that have been peeled. I’m picky like that though. It’s not too bad over some whole wheat pasta. ๐Ÿ™‚ I might also reduce some of the garlic, it was just a bit overboard–and I’m a garlic fanatic!

So yeah, I’m really loving using the SkinnyTaste website to come up with food that doesn’t feel like dieting. Not everything from there has been a winner, but I love that she’s willing to make the effort to try and lighten up some traditional favorites. Besides, taste is such a personal thing, it would be impossible for every recipe to be a winner for everyone.

And yes, I’ve been sewing, I have some progress to report, but it’ll be later when I have enough bandwidth left to upload some pictures. Right now we’re on the line of going over. Someday we’re going to change providers, because this is ridiculous. ๐Ÿ˜ก Hope everyone is having a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

A Culinary Adventure

Or something like that. These past few weeks, I’ve been kind of on a cooking binge. We’ve tried quite a few new recipes, some good some….well….not so good. In our opinion anyway.

First, we tried the Filipino BBQ Pork Skewers which were absolutely delicious–when you throw in the fact that they only use 4 points per serving, well, lets just say that makes them even better. Guilt-free (or at least less guilty) is always awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next up we tried Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Hearts & Feta. This was a BIG miss for us. The chicken was OK, but the artichokes (which I like in the dip) were nasty and kind of sour tasting. If this sort of dish is your thing though, go for it, because like most of these recipes it’s low guilt.

Not quite next (but it was on the same search page) was the Lemon Feta Chicken with Oregano. I’d give this a solid B if it were a student. The idea was good, and it wasn’t that we didn’t like it, we just have a similar recipe (using pork) that we like better, and I’m going to guess has a similar “guilt” rating. I am, however, going to totally rip off the cooking method for the chicken using my recipe for the seasonings. Because cooking chicken thighs under the broiler rocks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir-Fry was something I desperately wanted to love, but just couldn’t bring myself to even halfway like. But behold! It looks so beautifully delicious in the picture! It has to be scrumptious! But alas, not even my husband (who actually likes bell peppers, as opposed to me who was just willing to give it a shot just because it looked delicious) said that there were WAY too many bell peppers. So yeah, HUGE miss on this one. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp was another one of those that was a miss for us. Despite the fact that I think I could totally sniff the curry paste all day, this came out kind of bland. It was sad, because it smelled SO GOOD while it was cooking, but just didn’t deliver the flavor that the aroma promised.

Now, before you think they were all misses (except the first one), we also tried a not quite so guilt free roast recipe. This stuff is orgasmically delicious. Seriously. You’ll be fighting over the leftovers it’s that good. It’s Flaherty’s Signature Pot Roast, and it cooks in a pressure cooker! It’s done in like 45 minutes! How freakin’ awesome is that! Do you think I used enough exclamation points?! Here’s some more!!! Really, you WANT to cook this, no, scratch that, you NEED to cook this. It’s a divine intervention from my computer to yours.

Oh, and I can’t forget about supper tonight. We bought a Fuji apple, and used it to make grilled cheese like Picky Palate did here. You don’t even need fancy-shmancy bread, I just used the stuff from the grocery store–potato bread I think. Now, because I like you, I’m going to give you some advice. DO NOT look at any other recipes on that site. They don’t make towels big enough for the drool, and you love those pants, right? Right?! Did I lose you? Oh dear. Well, I tried.

Next up? I’m planning to make these low-guilt chocolate chip cookies and these chocolate breakfast muffins. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can’t go wrong with chocolate, right?

Cooking up a storm!

Strawberry Shortcake Puffs

Don’t you want to just come through the computer and eat them? Don’t worry, I posted the recipe below! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been on a bit of a cooking binge lately. My poor neglected son! I’ve been so busy sewing and cooking that I haven’t spent as much time with him as I should. He’ll thank me later though, when we can play extra long games of catch instead of me having to quit early to cook something for supper…right?

I’ve got the stuff I made the other day stashed away, and several other things since. Now my freezer has salisbury steaks, black bean chicken, stromboli, browned hamburger for cassroles or whatever, grilled chicken thighs, chicken cordon bleu, and sausage and corn muffins. Hopefully, I’ll be adding to it as we eat those things, in effort to keep up in this hectic time of year.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping, and I found the most beautiful box of organic strawberries that I just had to make into some sort of shortcake-type dessert. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything from the organic section that looked bigger, juicier, and more delicious than their non-organic counterparts. Generally they seem kind of small and pathetic, so I’ve never splurged on them.

Cream Puffs
Recipe by: Pillsbury

1/2 C. hot water
1/4 C. margarine or butter
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Heat oven to 425ยฐF. In medium saucepan, heat water and margarine to boiling. Stir in flour and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously until mixture leaves sides of pan in smooth compact ball, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating vigoriously after each until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon 6 mounds of dough about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425ยฐF for 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool completely. Split; remove any filaments of soft dough. Fill with ice cream, whipped cream or pudding. If desired, top with chocolate sauce.

Serves 6.

It sounded a bit daunting, but honestly the recipe was easy peasy to make up. The hardest part was waiting until they were cooled! I only ended up with 5 puffs, so apparently an ice cream scoop is too big of a measuring device. Also, be sure to check them after 30 minutes, mine were perfect at that point (I used my convection oven). I didn’t remove any of the insides either, I just put some strawberries that I had sliced with sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and some whipped cream on top and added the “cap”. Delicious!