Thursday, January 31, 2008

Review - Chicken and Rice

Forgot to do my review before typing up tonight's recipe. I won't be making the chicken again. The rice was totally over-cooked and the chicken was kind of dry. Not a good combo. It may have been my fault because I turned the heat up to high for about an hour, but I don't think I'll try it again. And I think this will be my last try with rice in the crockpot. So much for third time's the charm!

Hoisin Pork Medallions

I bought a pork loin roast at the store this week and need to cut it up, so I figured I'd make this. We haven't had it in awhile, and it's really yummy. It calls for a pork tenderloin sliced into medallions, but I always make it with pork chops.

Hoisin Pork Medallions
Cooking Spray
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
6 Tbsp water
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 cups hot cooked long-grain rice, cooked without salt or fat
1/4 cup sliced green onions

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil, and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add pepper and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add pork; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from skillet. Wipe drippings from skillet with a paper towel.

Combine water and next 3 ingredients in skillet; cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork to skillet, turning to coat. Place rice on a platter; spoon pork mixture over rice and sprinkle with green onions.


I heart hoisin sauce. I don't remember the first time I used it, but it's something I always keep in my fridge now. It's kind of like Chinese ketchup or barbecue sauce. If you've had mu shu, hoisin is the sauce they spread on the pancake/crepe.

Now having said that I want some mu shu!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

King Cake

Well, y'all are in luck and get my king cake recipe because I found it online! You'll see why I didn't want to type it out when you see how long it is. I am trying to decide if I should make it today or wait and make it Monday or Tuesday. Or both! Maybe reading the recipe will help inspire me to decide. :)

Last year my son's birthday fell on Mardi Gras, so we had a Mardi Gras themed party. My husband grew up in New Orleans and loves King Cake. In fact, we used to always order one each year from Gambino's Bakery in Louisiana, but it was something like $40. It was good, but not single income good. John wanted to have king cake at Will's birthday party, so I tried a few recipes to find a good one since I wasn't shelling out the dough to have one sent from Louisiana. This one was in my Ultimate Southern Living cookbook, and it turned out great. It was very well-received at the party.

To find out the origins and background of King Cake, read the Wikipedia King Cake Entry.

Southern Living magazine's King Cake
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 eggs
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
Colored Frostings (see below)
Colored Sugars (see below)

Colored Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops green food color
2 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops blue food coloring
2 drops red food color

Colored sugars:
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 drops green food color
2 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food color
2 drops blue food coloring

COOK first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until butter melts. Cool mixture to 100 degrees to 110 degrees.

DISSOLVE yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until smooth. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

TURN dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

STIR together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

PUNCH dough down; divide in half. Turn 1 portion out onto a lightly floured surface; roll to a 28- x 10-inch rectangle. Spread half each of cinnamon mixture and softened butter on dough. Roll dough, jellyroll fashion, starting at long side. Place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bring ends together to form an oval ring, moistening and pinching edges together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, cinnamon mixture, and butter.

COVER and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 20 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

BAKE at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden. Decorate with bands of Colored Frostings, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars.

COLORED FROSTINGS: Stir together powdered sugar and melted butter. Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla. Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting 1 green, 1 yellow, and combining red and blue food coloring for purple frosting.

COLORED SUGARS: Place 1/2 cup sugar and drop of green food coloring in a jar or zip-top plastic bag; seal. Shake vigorously to evenly mix color with sugar. Repeat procedure with 1/2 cup sugar and yellow food coloring. For purple, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue food coloring before adding to remaining 1/2 cup sugar


See what I mean? I don't have the time or patience to type that out! :) I don't do colored frosting, I just keep it white and then color the sugar that goes on top of it.

It was awfully tasty when I made it last weekend...maybe I will whip up a batch today.

Chicken and Rice

Tonight's my photography class, so we're having a crockpot dinner. I had marked this as one I wanted to try and had most everything for it already, so I figured we'd give it a shot. Normally I don't like making rice in my crockpot because it just doesn't ever turn out well--it's always over-cooked. But, I'm giving it a try again.

Chicken and Rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 package dry onion soup mix
2-1/2 cups water
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
6 ozs boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low 5-6 hours, stir occasionally.


To me, six ounces of chicken didn't seem like that much, so I put in three chicken breasts. I also cut the water back to just two cups. I figured I could add more later if I needed to, but whenever I use a crockpot recipe that calls for water, it ends up being too soupy. I need to go check on it and stir, it's been in for about 90 minutes so far.

Spinach Artichoke Chicken

I forgot to post yesterday what we were having for dinner. I didn't so much forget, actually, as I was just lazy and never did it. It was super easy and really good. I had Bunco last Friday night, so I bought Costco's spinach artichoke parmesan dip to take. That stuff has got to be laced with crack! We still had some left, and I wanted to get rid of it, so I came up with a genius idea. I cooked chicken breasts on my grill pan (seasoned with just salt and pepper), then once they were cooked I moved them to a cookie sheet and spooned some of the remaining dip on top and stuck the pan under the broiler for a few minutes. Oh man, was it ever good! Will loved it, too.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Well, the tofu fried rice was okay. I like the tofu lo mein I like better, but this wasn't bad. I was worried it was going to taste too much like the Hoisin sauce because I could really smell it while it was cooking, but the taste wasn't overpowering at all. It was better with the soy sauce than last time without it, but it was still just okay.

Tofu Fried Rice

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile (i.e. my husband, brother, Jen A., and Joanne) may remember us trying this recipe before and not liking it. I didn't have enough soy sauce last time, so I figured it was worth another go. Plus all I needed to buy were the frozen peas and carrots.

Tofu Fried Rice
2 cups uncooked instant rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (14-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into (1/2-inch) cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices green onions
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon bottled minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Thinly sliced green onions (optional)

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. While rice cooks, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan. Add eggs to pan; cook 1 minute or until done, breaking egg into small pieces. Remove from pan. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to pan. Add 1 cup onions, peas and carrots, garlic, and ginger; sauté 2 minutes.

While vegetable mixture cooks, combine sake, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil. Add cooked rice to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tofu, egg, and soy sauce mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.


I don't use the instant rice, I had some white rice left from the gumbo so I made that instead of my usual brown rice. I have to say, I love the cooking time of white rice over brown rice, but I like the taste of brown rice better. I also don't have any fresh ginger, so I figure I'll sprinkle some ground up ginger in the pan. And since my two year old is going to eat it, I'm hesitant about using sake, so I'm going to use rice wine vinegar instead.


Gumbo. Was. Awesome. I could leave it at that and call it a decent review. ;) My roux turned out great--probably the best I've ever done. John said I must have channeled Aunt Holly somehow, it was that good. That's a pretty huge compliment because Holly's gumbo is fantastic. I just now realized I forgot to add the file to it. Oops. We had leftovers of it for dinner last night, and there's still probably two or three servings left. I'll have to figure out when to have them because there's no way I'm letting good gumbo go to waste.

The king cake was pretty amazing, too. The recipe makes two, and we ate one of them on Saturday night. I think I'm going to try and make another batch before Mardi Gras happens next Tuesday. I just have to decide when to make it. I may do it Wednesday and take one of them to Book Club for my MOMS Club.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I'm pretty sure this is the earliest in the day I've ever posted my dinner recipe! I have a baby shower to go to this morning, then this afternoon I'm making king cake. I'll try to post that recipe later, maybe. It's long, I don't know if I want to type it all out. I guess I should, though. Anyway, tonight we're having gumbo. YUM! This recipe is my husband's Aunt Holly's recipe, and it's fantastic. Of course, she makes it way better than I do, but I think I do a decent job considering I didn't grow up in the south.

The recipe below is as Holly sent it to me, so you'll have to read through it to find out all the ingredients. She kind of makes it as she goes, so I wouldn't know how to list out measurements for ingredients.

Aunt Holly's Gumbo
First you make a roux. I don't use olive oil I use about 3 or 4 large cooking spoons of flour and about 1 large spoon of vegetable oil. Med. heat. The roux should be the consistency of a loose paste. Stir then let it sit a few seconds then stir. Keep repeating till the roux is a med dark brown. not as dark as chocolate. Then add 1 chopped onion, about 3 or 4 green onions chopped, 1/2 bell pepper, chopped, 1 or 2 sticks celery (optional) chopped, Parsley chopped. Keep stirring and cook about 10 min till onions start to cook then add about 4 cups of water this may not be enough. but let it come to a boil and let all your roux melt this takes about 20 min. You can always add more water. It may take about 6 or more cups. I don't know I never measure. I just know what constancy it should be. Remember Gumbo is watery not like stew. As soon as it comes to boil turn fire low or it will boil over. In separate pan on high heat brown chicken. I use either breast and thighs (boneless) or sometimes like my Grandma did I cut a whole chicken. Just brown the chicken don't cook it. Then put it in with Gumbo, add smoked sausage (Bryan) I also pre cook that in separate pot to get out oil. I also add andouille sausage. I also add 1 smoked turkey wing which is also hard to find. But the smokey flavor of the turkey wing just adds flavor it's not a necessity. Everything is in one pot now and boil on low fire till chicken is well cooked. Then you can add file' if you can buy that also. I think you can it's with the spices and called Gumbo file' Add about 2 tbs. of that sprinkle on top stir than cook about 5 more min. I add a little garlic powder. Oh don't forget plenty of salt thats your flavor and pepper and cayenne pepper to, it's Cajun remember. Serve over rice.


I'm glad I did this early in the day because I forgot to get celery at the store yesterday. I need to go back and get white rice anyway because the husband thinks gumbo with brown rice (what we always have) would be weird. Anyway, the first time I made it I was like, "Cooking spoon?! What the heck is a cooking spoon?" So I just use one of my big spoons and call it good. I'm still not very good with the roux, but I'm learning. I think I end up using more oil than it calls for to get it the right consistency. Oh man, I'm totally excited for dinner tonight!


The shepherd's pie turned out pretty good. I like it better with regular ground beef instead of veggie grounds, but it was pretty good. John went back for thirds (claiming veggie grounds aren't as filling as ground beef), so it must have been good. Will didn't eat a ton of it, but he's not a fan of the veggie grounds, nor does he really like mashed potatoes. I swear if he didn't look so much like me I'd wonder if he was really my kid. Not liking mashed potatoes?! That's my favorite food! Plus who doesn't like mashed potatoes?!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

This is going to be my first attempt at making Shepherd's Pie with veggie grounds instead of ground beef. The recipe I use is a take-off of a Weight Watchers recipe, but I've modified it a bit over the years.

Shepherd's Pie
1 lb ground beef
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 package frozen mixed vegetables
Mashed potatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef in a skillet until cooked. In a small saucepan, make gravy according to package directions. Once ground beef is done, stir in vegetables and gravy until desired sauciness. Transfer beef/veggie/gravy mixture to a pie pan or 8-inch square pan. Top with mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is melted.


I think it should turn out okay with veggie grounds instead of ground beef, but I've found with the Morningstar Farms veggie grounds that the consistency gets kind of funny when cooked in a sauce of some sort. I definitely like the Boca Grounds better, but these were on sale recently.


Oops...forgot to post yesterda! I started a photography class on Wednesday nights; it runs for six weeks. Wednesday night dinners are going to be something super easy and fast or crockpot while I have this class. My friend Jen B. is taking it with me. We might be in a little over our heads, but we're hoping to find the artists within us. Or that's what we're telling ourselves anyway.

So last night's dinner was ridiculously easy. We had Boca Brats, and I just followed the instructions on the box for cooking them...nothing exciting. I did slice up a green pepper and onion and sauteed those to go with. I also found out that my son LOVES raw green peppers--just like his mommy! I wanted a side dish to go with it and found the following recipe on It was okay. The husband really liked it (reminded him of hash browns scattered and covered at the Waffle House), but I don't think it's anything I'd make again.

Bob Evans® Au Gratin Potatoes
1 (20 ounce) package Bob Evans® Hash Brown Potatoes
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a greased 7 x 11 x 2 inch baking pan, place half of potatoes. Sprinkle flour, then 1/2 cup cheddar cheese on top. Cover with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper over, then pour on the milk. Pour the butter over top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.


I skipped the parmesan cheese and butter on top. I didn't feel like shredding parmesan, and I was in a hurry to get it in the oven and didn't want to take the time to melt butter. I think maybe if everything had been mixed up and then put in the baking pan, it would have been better.

The brats, in case you were wondering, were actually really good. And MUCH healthier than regular brats. They only had three Weight Watcher points per brat. I don't know what regular ones have, but I have to figure it's significantly more.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fettuccine Alfredo

I'm a little late in posting tonight, we had a busy day. We've already eaten, and it was yummy. :) There are two fettuccine alfredo recipes I've found from Cooking Light that I've tried, one I like and the other is okay. This ended up being the one that is just okay.

Fettuccine Alfredo
1 pound uncooked fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half-and-half, cheese, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; add pasta, tossing gently to coat.


To be sneaky and get my family to eat more veggies, I added in some pureed cauliflower. You couldn't taste it, but you could definitely smell it in the sauce. John actually asked, "Is there broccoli or something in this?" after he smelled it. Will loved it and ate it better than a lot of dinners I've fixed recently!


Our Po' Boys were really yummy last night! John and I both liked them anyway, the boy wasn't so impressed. He's not a big fish fan, though. This was the first time I'd used the broccoli slaw with them, usually I use regular cole slaw mix. I didn't really notice a difference.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Catfish Po'Boys

I'm back in the land of the living! Actually I've been feeling pretty good since Saturday, just haven't made dinner. That's not really true either, for our date night Saturday the husband and I ended up making pizzas at home instead of going out, but it wasn't anything exciting. We were going to grill them, but 1) the store we went to was out of fresh pizza dough, and 2) it was really cold outside!

So now it's back to making dinners. When I was at the store a couple weeks ago they had had catfish nuggets on Manager's Special, so I stocked up and got three packages. I found this recipe for Catfish Po'Boys several years ago in Cooking Light, and I just haven't seen catfish on sale in a really long time, so we haven't had them in forever. I'm totally excited to have them tonight!

Catfish Po'Boys
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (such as McCormick)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fat-free sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Dash of crushed red pepper
2 cups bagged broccoli coleslaw
4 (2 1/2-ounce) hoagie rolls with sesame seeds, toasted

Combine milk and catfish in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat. Remove fish from bowl; shake off excess milk. Sprinkle fish with salt. Combine cornmeal and Cajun seasoning in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add fish to bag. Seal and shake to coat.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

While fish cooks, combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (vinegar through pepper) in a medium bowl. Add broccoli coleslaw; toss well to coat. Spoon 1/2 cup slaw mixture onto bottom half of each roll. Arrange fish evenly over each serving, and top with top halves of rolls.


I think I'm going to set a couple pieces aside for the boy that won't have the cajun seasoning on them. He wasn't very fond of that with the chicken wraps we had last week, so his can just be breaded with cornmeal. I'm also not using hoagie rolls, I bought a baguette (sp?) at the store and will cut that into pieces to use instead. It's a bit more traditional that way.

Friday, January 18, 2008

No dinners for a few days!

I was diagnosed yesterday with strep throat...again! I just had it back in September. So I didn't cook last night, I'm not cooking tonight (except maybe a hot dog or grilled cheese for the boy), tomorrow night we're supposed to have a date night, and Sunday night is my cousin's 30th birthday dinner at my grandma's. The upside, of course, is that since I didn't make two of the meals I'd planned for this week means I have two dinners already figured out for next week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pulled Pork

This is what we're having for dinner tonight. I took dinner to someone from MOMS Club last week that just had a baby, and this is what I made. I still had some pork roasts in the freezer, so I thought we'd have it one night this week. I forgot to get it set up this morning before Cooking Club, so hopefully it gets done in time. I also forgot to get out my pork to defrost, so I'm hoping have the crockpot on high will help speed things along!

Pulled Pork
1-2 lbs pork loin roast
1 bottle barbecue sauce

Place pork roast(s) in crockpot. Pour in bottle of barbecue sauce. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours. Remove pork from crockpot, shred meat with two forks. Return pork to crockpot and mix with sauce. Serve on hamburger buns.


Ridiculously easy. When I buy the pork roasts, it's usually around four pounds, so I cut it into one pound sections. I used two pounds of meat last week for the new mom, and I decided to use two pounds for us for tonight based on how much that made. It's probably going to be a bit too much, but then we'll have lunches the rest of the week. I'm not sure what we'll have with this yet. Maybe crinkle fries. I'll have to see what I have on hand.

Oh, and to mine I sprinkled Montreal Steak Seasoning over the pork roasts before adding in the barbecue sauce. I also added in a little honey because I bought the "Traditional" flavor BBQ sauce.

Shrimp Scampi

It's another two-for-one day! My MOMS Club has a Cooking Club once a month where a recipe is demonstrated and cooked. I hosted this month's and made a Weight Watchers shrimp scampi. We don't eat shrimp anymore since it's really high in cholesterol, so it was a fun treat to make this since I rarely get to eat shrimp. This was in the WW cookbook "Take Out Tonight" I think it's called. It's one of my favorite WW cookbooks...just about every recipe I've tried from it is good, and they're divided up into ethnic food secions: Italian, Mexican, Deli Food, Indian, Chines, Japanese, Thai, Greek. There might be one or two more, but I can't think of what they are. Anyway, here's the recipe:

Weight Watchers Shrimp Scampi
WW Points: 3 points
4 tsp butter (teaspoon, not tablespoon!)
1 shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, butterflied, and deveined
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Return pan to heat, cook until shrimp are pink. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

Makes four servings, six shrimp per serving.


It was a big hit! Everyone really liked it, including the kids. Well, not my kid, but all the other kids did! Scampi is usually just dripping with butter, but this is a really healthy, flavorful version. And it's super easy to make. The most labor and time intensive part is butterflying the shrimp, but once that's done it's super easy! The real recipe calls for you to broil the shrimp, but I don't see any reason to diry another pan, so I just do them in the same skillet. Plus shrimp cook really fast anyway, no reason to broil.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The Chili Cheese Cornbread was really good, there's hardly any left. I saw the cornbread box said to bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, so I set the oven to 400 instead of the 350 in the recipe. I had it in there for probably 17 minutes I think.

Chili Cheese Cornbread

I don't think the husband will be excited about this dinner because it's not "chili weather," but it's what I had planned for tonight, and I don't feel like switching things around at the last minute. He'll just have to deal. :) I found this recipe a few years ago when we were low on funds. The website has a bunch of frugal recipes. I turn to it a lot when we're low on funds now. Chili happened to be on sale a couple weeks ago, and I had a coupon that made it $0.50 per can. We always have shredded cheese on hand, and the cornbread mix was something like $0.35. This is one of the most economical dinners I know of!

Chili Cheese Cornbread
2 cans chili w/beans
Cheese (shredded or sliced)
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 c. milk

Spread chili in a greased 8x11 dish. Top with cheese. Stir milk and egg into cornbread mix and spread on top. Bake at 375 degrees or until golden brown and cornbread is done.


It's a little white trash I suppose, but who doesn't like a good white trash dinner every now and then? I bought turkey chili because it's a bit healthier than regular. I'd have to check the cornbread mix box for cooking time, but I think I usually cook it for however long the cornbread is supposed to bake. I'll let you know in my review!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tuscan Style Grilled Tuna Steaks

So I found a recipe close to the one I'd been looking for, but then when I went to dice up my mano, it was bad. Don't you hate when you buy something and it's bad when you get home?! I'm too lazy to go back to the store and fight over $1. Instead I found a different tuna steak recipe. The one I'd seen was sesame crusted tuna and a mango salsa. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, the one I ended up finding was pretty good. We both liked it, Will didn't really eat it.

Tuscan Style Grilled Tuna Steaks
4 fresh tuna steaks, 8 ounces each, 1-inch thick
1 lemon, zested
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, about 2 tablespoons leaves stripped from stem
Handful flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Coarse salt and black pepper or grill seasoning
Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking

Rinse and pat tuna steaks dry. Place zest on top of cutting board. Pile rosemary and parsley leaves on top of zest. Pile garlic and some coarse salt and black pepper or grill seasoning on top of herbs. Finely chop the garlic, herbs, and spices. Drizzle the olive oil over the tuna steaks just enough to coat each side. Rub herb and garlic mixture into fish, coating pieces evenly on each side. Let stand 10 minutes.
Grill tuna steaks 6 minutes on each side or 4 minutes on each side, if you prefer pink tuna at the center. Cook steaks over: high setting on indoor electric grill, medium high heat on outdoor gas grill or, 6 inches from hot, prepared charcoal.


It was really yummy, like I said. And a totally easy way to prepare it also. I only seared ours for about two minutes per side for pink in the center. We had Creamy Parmesan Orzo and some peas with it. All in all, a super yummy dinner!

Cajun Chicken Wraps

This was actually our dinner last night, I was lazy and never sat down to type it out for the ol' blog here. It was from the Weight Watchers website, four points if you're into that. I'd printed it out waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2003 but never made it. I used to print out recipes from the website when I was bored at work, so I have quite a few. :) Plus I did WW many times off and on over the years. From the date on the recipe, this was when I was doing it for my wedding. :)

Cajun Chicken Wraps
3 Tbsp Cajun seasoning mix
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp paprika
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
4 medium fat-free flour tortillas
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups mixed baby greens
8 medium basil leaves
4 tsp fat-free mayonnaise
1-1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning mix

Combine 3 Tbsp seasoning mix, flour, and paprika. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in seasoning mixture.

Coat a large, nonstick pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add chicken to pan and saute until cooked through. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.

Combine mayo, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp seasoning for dressing. On each tortilla spread 1 tsp dressing, add onion slices, greens, and two basil leaves. Top with chicken pieces and wrap.


This was really good and really easy. I used a bit too much Cajun seasoning, so my son wouldn't eat it because it was too spicy, but the husband and I really liked it. I even scaled back and added less seasoning and more flour so Will would eat it, but I guess it wasn't enough. I skipped the onion and basil pieces because I didn't have either of those, and I did add in some shredded cheese because we like our cheese.

I'm having issues with tonight's dinner. I saw a recipe recently I wanted to make, but now I can't find the darn recipe for the life of me! I went back through my cookbook log but can't find it there, so it must have been a magazine or something. I'll have to do some more looking.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Baked Egg Tchoupitoulas

Today was my friend Laura's baby shower. My friend Jen B. was in charge of food, and I asked if she needed help with anything. She said she needed another egg dish, so I said I'd make this one. We had it for Christmas breakfast last year, and it was really good. It's a lot of work and soooooooooooooo unhealthy, but it was a special occasion. I told the husband as I was finishing it up this morning that the amount of cholesterol in it must be staggering. You'll see why! I found this recipe on a website my mother-in-law sent me from a Lousiana tv station. I had kind of forgotten about it until I thought of this egg dish. I need to check out the list of recipes and see what else is on there.

Baked Egg Tchoupitoulas
2 pats butter or margarine
2 cups French bread, broken into small pieces
1 cup whole milk
8 large eggs
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. salted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup fully cooked breakfast sausage links, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. Lorraine or baby Swiss, shredded or sliced
10 slices bacon, fried, drained and crumbled
1-1/2 cup soft bread cubes, sauteed in butter

First, grease a 9 X 13-inch (2-quart) baking pan with butter or margarine and set it aside.

Then, almost as if you were making a bread pudding custard, mix the milk with the bread, gently knead it together with your fingers, and set the mixture aside to soak and form a slurry.

In the meantime, whip the eggs gently with a whisk or electric beater. Then stir in the salt, pepper, and butter until they are fully incorporated and gently combine it all with the milk and bread slurry.

Next, pour everything into the pre-greased baking pan and gently swirl into the eggs the sausage pieces and the cheddar so that they are uniformly distributed. Then cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

Then when it's time to cook, evenly layer on the bacon, top it with the Swiss cheese slices, and crown it all with the sautéed bread cubes. All that's left is to bake the casserole at 400 degrees on the center rack of the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the eggs have set. When you're ready to eat, just spoon out a generous helping right from the pan and chow down.

Most New Orleanians prefer to serve this breakfast dish with a hot cup of cafe au lait, a chilled glass of milk or orange juice, and a stack of toasted and buttered English muffins.


I received a lot of compliments on it at the shower. It really was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. I left what was remaining for Laura to take home becuase John can't eat this, and I didn't need to eat how much was left on my own.

John had a boys night out tonight, so no dinner at our house. Will had some tortellinis, and I don't know what I'll have. I'm still kind of full from the feast at the shower this morning!

Gouda Crawfish

I forgot to post this yesterday! This was the dinner we were going to have Monday night for the BCS National Title game, but since we were both under the weather we didn't want to waste it on a night we weren't even really hungry. So we had a mini date night last night and had this yummy dinner after the boy was in bed. It was so tasty! Except I didn't drain the crawfish first, so there was a bit of excess crafwish juice in the pan, and I think the crawfish got a bit over-cooked while I was trying to cook off the excess liquid. Oh well, it was still tasty!! Who can resist anything that has puff pastry and cheese?!

Gouda Crawfish
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound crawfish tails
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry Vermouth
1 Tbsp seafood seasoning
1/2 package frozen puff pastry
1 pound round Gouda cheese, cut into large slices
Melted butter

Simmer butter, crawfish, onions, parsley, and garlic until crawfish are tender. Add cream, parmesan cheese, vermouth, and seasoning. Simmer until liquid is consumed. Set aside to cool.

Defrost 1/2 package of puff pastry to room temperature. Place one pastry on baking sheet. Add gouda cheese in center. Add crawfish mixture on top of cheese. Fold pastry over cheese and crawfish. Seal edges. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serves 10.


The 10 serving thing is a bunch of BS, if you ask me. John and I ate all but one piece of this. I guess it would be 10 servings if it was an appetizer? I just don't see ten people eating this and all being satisfied. I think the package of crawfish I had was 12 ounces, too, so it was a bit shy on that. We still enjoyed it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pork Chops with Country Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

We haven't had this dinner in quite awhile. I had to come up with another new idea today since John nixed the tamale pie (okay, I nixed that one) and chili casseroles I had planned on making this week. I had some pork chops in the freezer (actually a pork loin roast I cut into four one-pound pieces, then I cut chops from one of the pieces) and realized we haven't had this in a long time. The first time I made it I fell in love with the gravy. It's so yummy--especially for being light!

Pork Chops with Country Gravy and Mashed
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
1 teaspoon butter
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated mashed potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt evenly over both sides of pork. Add 1 teaspoon butter to pan, stirring until butter is melted. Add the pork to pan, and cook pork for 3 minutes on each side. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm.

Combine low-fat milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. Return pork to pan. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer for 7 minutes or until gravy is thick and pork is done.

While pork cooks, prepare potatoes according to package directions. Serve with pork.


Mmmmm...doesn't it sound so down-home and yummy?! I love me some gravy! And I have to admit when I make this it's probably not as healthy as it should be. I trim the fat off the pork, but then I put the pieces of fat in the pan to cook to give it a little extra flavor. Clever, huh? We're not technically eating it, but the flavor gets in there. I've also made this gravy and added sausage to it for biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Oh, and I don't buy refrigerated potatoes, I just make my own mashed potatoes. Potatoes on their own are a lot cheaper than the already made mashed ones...why spend the money when all you have to do is boil potatoes, drain, add milk and butter?


The spaghetti sauce from last night is NOT a keeper. John liked it and said he'd eat it again, but I didn't like it at all. It was way salty--probably from two cans of soup--and just didn't taste right to me. I don't really know what made it Irish...not like there was Guinness in it or something. I guess cream of mushroom soup is Irish? No idea. Anyway, I guess it was okay but not anything I'd bother making again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Irish-Italian Spaghetti Sauce

So this wasn't what I had orignally planned to make for dinner tonight. I was going to do a tamale pie type thing, but in reading over the recipe it sounded an awful lot like a chili casserole I make that the husband said he wasn't in a mood for. So I started looking for something else. I don't want to have to go to the store, and we've had chicken the past three nights, so I really wanted to find something to do with the veggie grounds I had planned on using. I found this recipe on the Campbell Soup website. I only have spaghetti as far as pasta goes, so I thought I'll give this a try.

Irish-Italian Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Lightly brown meat in a heavy skillet. Add soups and spices. Stir well, cover, and simmer at least 45 min. Add mushrooms if desired.


I really have no idea how this is going to turn out. THere was only one review, and that person gave it five stars but left no comments. I'm either going to make spaghetti to go with it, or I think I have partial packages of linguine and fettucine, so I may just make what's left in those packages. My fingers are crossed that this turns out okay. If not, there's always our universal back-up plan of $5 pizza from Little Caesar's.

Chicken Soft Tacos

Okay, we actually had this for dinner last night, I just forgot to update the blog. I got a smaller version of the cold John had over the weekend, so I napped when Will did yesterday...and it was soooooooooo nice. :) Since I wasn't feeling 100%, I figured something easy in the crockpot would be best.

I love this recipe. It's ridiculously easy and so good. We hadn't had it in quite awhile, but it's usually something we have somewhat often.

Chicken Soft Tacos
1.5 pounds frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
Various taco fixings

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. In small bowl, combine tomatoes and taco seasoning. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove chicken and shred. In a medium bowl, place shredded chicken and add sauce from crockpot until saucy-ness level of chicken is to your liking. Serve in tortillas with whatever taco toppings you like.


The last part about saucy-ness was my own addition. The official recipe just has you shred it, but I like a little of the sauce in with it to give it some more flavor. I actually didn't have the tomatoes with green chilies, I had a can of fire roasted tomatoes with garlic, so I used that. I also added 1/2 a cup of pureed sweet potatoes to the mixture ala Deceptively Delicious. No one was any the wiser. I wanted to tell John about it, but then I figured he'd become suspicious of everything I make. I think not using the tomatoes with chilies and also adding in the sweet potato made these less spicy than usual, which was good because Will doesn't usually eat it well if it's spicy, and he was all over this last night!

Monday, January 7, 2008


I realized I didn't review the mac and cheese from the other night. It was awesome. No one even knew there was cauliflower in it! I think it was an 11x7 pan I used to bake it, and there were no leftovers for the next day. Most of it was eaten by the husband, who by the way HATES cauliflower. So being Deceptively Delicious worked!

My tortilla soup from yesterday was okay. I don't think I put enough salsa in it because it didn't have quite the same kick this time as last time. Or I don't know if it was the chicken or what. Last time I made it I used leftover chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked, so there was some dark meat in it, and this time I just cooked up some chicken breasts. I think I caught John's cold, so I'm looking forward to having some of it later, even though it wasn't as good this time.

I had a great dinner planned tonight in honor of the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (GEAUX TIGERS!!!!!), but since we're sick I don't think I'll make it. Instead we'll wait and have it as a celebratory meal later this week after the Tigers stomp all over the Buckeyes. :) We were going to have the Gouda Crawfish we had for our anniversary dinner. I'm not making that when neither of us feel like eating and won't be able to enjoy it!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The husband woke up with a really bad cold yesterday and is still sick today. We had some frozen gnocchi from Trader Joe's last night for dinner, which was really good. Today is mostly overcast and yucky looking outside, and I want soup. I have most everything on hand for Chicken Tortilla Soup, so I'm going to make some up after the kid and I run to Walmart for a couple items and some more tissues for the husband. I can't wait to have a big bowl of this for lunch today!

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 container (12 ounces or so) salsa
6 regular cans chicken broth (or 2 large)
1 lime, juiced
1 bag tortilla chips
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Hot sauce to taste
Shredded cheese to taste
Cooked chicken to taste

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil. When oil is heated, saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add cooked chicken, chicken broth, salsa, and bring to a boil. Add any aditional vegetables (i.e. corn, tomatoes, black beans, etc.) at this step. Once boiling add cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce to taste.

In individual serving bowls, place some broken-up tortilla chips in bottom and sprinkle with cheese. Pour the hot soup over the chips and cheese and serve.


I can't remember if I mentioned last time that this can be made into a vegetarian version by leaving out the chicken and adding in some black beans or kidney beans (or both) or even just leaving out the chicken and not adding anything else to it. After I dry my hair, we're off to Walmart and then it's soup time! I'm trying to decide if I should sneak some pureed veggies into it, but I'm not sure what I'd use.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Macaroni and Cheese

I got the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook for Christmas and was going to make the mac and cheese recipe in there, but then I figured I'd just make my mother-in-law's which I know is good and add in some pureed cauliflower to give it a nutritional boost. HOpefully the husband doesn't read this and find out I'm sneaking extra veggies into things, although this will be the first time I've done it.

Aurelia's Macaroni and Cheese
(these are "unmeasured ingredients", add to your taste)
hot boiled macaroni (8 to 12 ounce bag)
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese (~8oz)
parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
butter or margarine (1/2 stick)
few tablespoons of milk

boil macaroni
mix all other ingredients into the hot macaroni
place in 350 oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted
(toss in other cheeses as you like. ie american is good)


I, of course, add more cheese than just one bag. I'm using the 2% shredded sharp cheddar, so it will be somewhat healthy. I'm so excited for this. It's been overcast off and on all day here, so some yummy comfort food sounds so good. The water is on the stove boiling right now!


The cheeseburger hoagies last night were really good! Well, John and I both liked them, the boy not so much. I think he doesn't like the veggie grounds because he never seems to eat what I make with those. Anyway, they turned out really good and were fast and easy!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cheeseburger Hoagie Sandwiches

So, are you guys enjoying all the new recipes so far this week? I've been enjoying making new things, and so far everything has been good. Phew! Will the streak continue?! Let's hope so.

This recipe comes from another Pampered Chef cookbook (I have many of them), and I thought it looked intriguing. I'm changing it up a bit, but I'll explain all of that after the recipe!

Cheeseburger Hoagie Sandwiches
1 package (11 ounces) refrigerated French bread dough
4 slices reduced-fat American cheese, divided
12 ounces 95% lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
1 plum tomato, sliced

Preheat oven to 350. Place bread dough on cutting board, stretch slightly. Cut dough into four equal portions. Cut three diagonal slits on top of each portion of dough; place seam side down and 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove loaves from baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Cut two slices of the cheese into small pieces. In a 10-inch skillet, cook and stir beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles. Drain. Stir in ketchup, mustard, and cut-up cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Remove skillet from heat.

Slice each loaf lengthwise, end to end, cutting halfway through to center of loaf; spread open. Fill evenly with beef mixture; place on baking stone. Bake 6-8 minutes or until bread is toasted and meat mixture is heated through; remove from oven.

Cut remaining cheese slices diagonally in half; top each sandwich with one cheese traingle. Top sandwiches with lettuce and tomato slices.


I'm using hoagie rolls that I have left from Meatball Sandwiches a few nights ago instead of going out and buying a thing of french bread dough. I'm also going to used reduced fat shredded cheese because I have that and didn't want to buy more cheese slices. I also don't have lettuce or tomato, but we usually eat burgers without any fixings, so I think it will be okay. The picture in the cookbook looks really good, so I'm excited to try them. I think I'll just bake some crinkle fries to have on the side. Oh yeah, and I'm using veggie grounds instead of ground beef.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


The tortellini was awesome!! There was too much sauce, but that was probably because I had less pasta than it called for, plus three cups of crushed tomatoes seems like it would be more tomatoes than three cups chopped. If that makes sense. :) I also skipped the olive oil and garlic step because I was feeling lazy and had a hungry kid and husband. My son totally loved this, and the husband had seconds and even ate the few tortellinis that were left in the pot when I went to do dishes. This one is definitely a keeper! Next time I'll try using fresh tomatoes.

Tortellini with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Back to healthy eating now that the holidays are done! This is one I came across during my cookbook indexing project (which will probably take me forever to finish) and thought it sounded good, plus I had a can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry I figured I could use instead of fresh tomatoes. It's from a Pampered Chef cookbook.

Tortellini with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
1 package (20 ounces) uncooked refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
6-8 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (3 cups)
3 Tbsp snipped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain. Meanwhil, core tomatoes and cut crosswise in half and remove seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes, set aside. Add snipped basil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to tomatoes; mix together. Heat oil over medium heat. Add pressed garlic, stir 1 minute or until garlic is lightly browned. Remove pan from heat. Add tortellini and tomato mixture; toss gently. Spoon pasta into serving bowl. Sprinkle grated parmesan over pasta.


I'm using a bag of frozen tortellini that's only 16 ounces...oops. And like I said above, I'm using canned tomatoes not fresh. I think that's all I'm going to change about it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Okay, the stroganoff was awesome. Actually I thought there was slightly too much sour cream, and I also added in some red wine, and I could taste that too much as well. So next time I'll scale back on both of those. It was super good, though. We have stroganoff over rice, not nooodles.

Oh, and the creme brulee. Awesome. Fan-freakin-tastic. Amazing. Super tasty. Have I stressed how good it was? I made four ramekins-worth, so there are two more in the fridge. My friend Jen A. has never had creme brulee, so I promised one of them to her. It's a good thing, too, because John and I would probably be eating the other two!!

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

I've been really excited to try this recipe, so I hope it turns out. I love stroganoff, but really the only good one I ever have is my grandma's. Hopefully this one will be a keeper.

Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces dried egg noodles

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

At the same time, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until softened. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are limp and browned. Remove to a bowl, and set aside.

In the same skillet, stir in vegetable broth, being sure to stir in any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced by 1/3. Reduce heat to low, and return the mushrooms and onion to the skillet.
Remove the pan from the heat, stir together the sour cream and flour; then blend into the mushrooms. Return the skillet to the burner, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.


All the reviews said to add soy sauce and worcestire (sp?), so I figured I'd go ahead and do that. I had bought regular portobellos and some baby bellas to use, but the baby bellas aren't good anymore, so it looks like I'll be halving the recipe since I don't have enough mushrooms.