Saturday, August 30, 2008


I don't think I'll be making the chicken again. It was okay but nothing to write homee about. I think we decided that we don't like chiken legs (other than drumsticks), it's too much work to get the meat off the bone, they make me nervous when I cook them because I can't tell if they're done or not. I have three left in the freezer, but I think I might offer them up to one of my friends.

I'll be back on Monday. I had another Gourmet recipe planned, but since I haven't been overly impressed with any that I've made, I may try to come up with something different to make instead. The husband said I should cancel my subscription, but since I've already paid for it, I think I just won't renew.

Enjoy the long weekend...and GEAUX TIGERS!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chili and Honey Chicken Legs

I have six minutes until I need to start working on dinner, so I'd better type quickly. Last night we had "clean out the fridge" night which was so nice. We got rid of a ton of leftovers. Hooray! I hate leaving them in there forever and finding them weeks later, wondering what exactly it used to be. Gross.

So when I signed up to receive Gourmet magazine, there was an offer for a free Everyday Meals cookbook. Actually I think I thought you got the Gourmet cookbook for free, so I was kind of miffed when a recipe pamphlet arrived in the mail a few weeks later. Oh well. I just looked through it for the first time a couple days ago, and there's some yummy sounding stuff in there. I'm actually using it tonight and Monday night (we're having a staycation over the weekend--no cooking!!). In a strange coincidence, I've been looking for a recipe that uses chicken legs because I got some for a smokin' price a couple weeks ago and had no idea what to do with them. Then this recipe dropped into my lap. Beautiful.

Chili and Honey Chicken Legs
2 Tbsp chili powder (not pure chile powder)
1 Tbsp mild honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper4 whole chicken legs (2 lbs), thighs and drumsticks separated

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425. Line bottom of a 15x10 inch shallow baking pan with foil and set an oiled large metal rack in pan.

Stir together chili powder, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then add chicken and turn to coat completely.

Transfer chicken to rack, arranging in one layer, then bake, turning over once, until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.


I have no idea how to separate a chicken leg into thigh and drumstick, so I think mine are staying whole. Unless it's painfully obvious how to do it once I take out the chicken. I'm still not really sure what kind of pan I'm going to use. I think I have a 15x10 roasting pan, but it's not shallow. I could use a cookie sheet, but then I don't have a metal rack that will fit. I'll see what strikes my fancy when I get in the kitchen.

Still not sure what we're going to have with this. I may be completely shameful and make a package of teriyaki noodles (kind of like Pasta Roni) that I have in the pantry.


Mmmmm...White Girl Enchiladas. Or did I call them Lauren's Enchiladas. I don't remember, but either way they were soooooooooooooooooo good. These are definitely my enchiladas of choice. They were a bit spicier than I remembered them being, not sure if I accidentally used jalapenos instead of green chilies or what. The boy didn't like them for that reason, but the husband and I did. I ended up using an 11x7 pan and fit five enchiladas in there, going long-ways. We had the leftovers for dinner last night. Mmmm...these are so good. I definitely need to make them more often.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

White Girl Enchiladas

Generally when I cook a whole chicken it's because I want chicken meat leftover for something else to make later in the week. I hadn't had these enchiladas in a loooooooooooooooooooong time, and they sounded really good to me.

I told the story last time I made these of how they got their name, but basically my Hispanic boss at the time told me that no Mexican would make enchiladas like this when I told her about the recipe, that they were white girl enchiladas. I thought it was funny, so that's what I started calling them. The recipe was originally from my friend Lauren.

White Girl Enchiladas
1-2 lbs chicken (depending on how much you are making)
1-2 small cans of diced green chilis
8 oz block of cream cheese
8-10 flour tortillas
15 oz. can Green Chili enchilada sauce
1 pkg. Cheddar/Mexican Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook chicken and shred or cut into small pieces in a pan on the stove. Cut up 8 oz. of cream cheese into small pieces so it melts easier. Mix chicken with cream cheese and 1-2 cans of diced green chilis (depending on how spicy you want them) in the pan on medium heat.

Fill each tortilla with mix and fold up. Place into a lightly greased cooking pan, folded side down. Pour cheese and sauce over the enchiladas and put in the oven for 20 minutes.


They're pretty easy to make and quick to assemble. And they taste oh-so-yummy. I don't know if I have quite enough chicken leftover from the other night, so I'm going to cook up an extra chicken breast, too. I didn't really plan anything to have with it, but I'll come up with something. There's some of the slaw mixture left from last night's fish tacos, so we may have that on the side.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blackened Fish Tacos

I came across some tilapia in my freezer recently that I had forgotten about. I think I came across it when I was rummaging for more chicken breasts. I thought of the tilapia when I was making up my menu for this week and thought I'd fix these fish tacos. We've only had them a couple times, but we've really liked them each time. Plus I had a lot of chicken meals, so I wanted to add in some fish and/or vegetarian meals as well to appease the husband.

Blackened Fish Tacos
1/4 cup sliced green onions with tops
2 Tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Cajun or blackened fish seasoning
2 cups broccoli slaw mix

1 pound tilapia or catfish fillets
1 Tbsp Cajun or blackened fish seasoning
1 avocado, seeded and sliced
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
3 medium radishes
Additional snipped fresh cilantro (optional)

For slaw, combine green onions, cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, sugar, and Cajun seasoning. Whisk until blended. Add slaw mix; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat grill pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Moisten fish fillets with water and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning. Lightly spray pan with vegetable oil. Place fillets in pan; cook over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork, carefully turning once. Remove from heat. Flake fish into bite-size pieces.

Cut avocado in half lengthwise; remove seed and cut flesh away from skin. Cut one avocado half into slices. Reserve remaining half for another use. Warm tortillas in microwave or oven. Once heated, top tortillas evenly with slaw mixture and fish. Grate radisehs evenly over fish. Top with avocado slices and sprinkle with additional cilantro.


I'm excited for these. They're tasty and filling but light. I'm going to make Jen B's pinto beans to go with it. Last time I made them, I overcooked them a little. They were still good, just more the consistency of refried beans instead of whole beans. I heart them a lot, so I'm excited for them.

Had I thought about it, I would have picked up some tortilla chips at the store to have as well and used the remaining half of the avocado for some homemade guacamole. Oh well.


Giada comes through again! The chicken was really yummy and really easy. And it was so much more moist than when I cook a whole chicken in the crockpot. Jen A, you were right! I am switching to cooking whole chickens in the oven instead.

I didn't end up doing the pan sauce. I didn't think there were enough drippings for it, but then when I went to wash the pan I realized there probably would have been. Oh well, the meat was so moist it really didn't need it.

This was definitely something I'll make again. Now to find more roast chicken recipes for the oven...and to learn how to carve up a chicken. I really have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to that. I had an aversion to meat with bones in it for a really long time (I lived with vegetarians in college, what can I say. Hi, Joanne!), so cooking whole chickens is something I've only started doing very recently. I always feel like I'm leaving so much meat on the bones, but I don't know how better to do it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Giada's Garlic and Citrus Chicken

A couple months ago I was watching my friend Jen B's son at her house while she got a haircut. While the boys were playing I entertained myself by reading cookbooks she has that I don't. One of them was a Giada one. I know I've expressed my love/hate for Giada before. Her food is so yummy but she's waaaaaaaaaaaaay too skinny for all that goodness she makes. Anyway, I thought this chicken recipe sounded good, but I'm so used to cooking whole chickens in the crockpot I've been hesitant to try it. Finally I said, "Oh get over yourself and just try it." So we're having it tonight. We were going to have it last night, but I forgot to get the chicken out early enough for it to defrost. Oops.

I don't remember which of her cookbooks this was from, but I found it on the Food Network website.

Garlic and Citrus Chicken Recipe
courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

1 (5 to 6-pound) whole roasting chicken, neck and giblets discarded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, plus 3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
Kitchen string or butcher twine

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, lemon, and garlic halves. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string to help hold its shape. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the rack in the pan. Roast the chicken for 1 hour, basting occasionally and adding some chicken broth to the pan, if necessary, to prevent the pan drippings from burning. Whisk the orange juice, lemon juice, oil, oregano, and chopped garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Brush some of the juice mixture over the chicken, after it has baked 1 hour. Continue roasting the chicken until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F, basting occasionally with the juice mixture and adding broth to the pan, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Tent with foil while making the sauce (do not clean the pan).

Place the same roasting pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in any remaining broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Strain into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and discard the solids. Spoon the fat from the top of the sauce. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.


My fingers are crossed it doesn't take forever and a day to cook, as happened with the last whole chicken I tried to cook in the oven instead of the crockpot. I don't know if I'll go to the trouble of making the pan sauce. Sounds time consuming. I'll see how I feel. I think I'm going to make mashed potatoes to go with it and maybe some corn on the side.


The fettuccine was really yummy! The sauce seemed a bit thin, but once I mixed the pasta in, it thickened up. I figured it was from the starches on the pasta. Don't rinse your pasta for something like this after you drain it! Then all the starches get washed away and it will be harder for your sauce to stick. No one commented on the cauliflower I had mixed in, so that was a big win. I had forgotten how yummy this is. It's definitely something I need to get back into the dinner rotation.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fettuccine Alfredo

Once again I had to scramble this afternoon to come up with something to make for dinner. I was going to make a Giada roast chicken recipe, but I forgot to get the chicken out early enough, and it was still pretty frozen when I checked it earlier today. Oops. So we'll have that tomorrow. I was going to make Fettuccine Alfredo for the boy and me while the husband was gone, but then he came home early. So I figured I'd just make that tonight instead of coming up with something totally new.

We haven't had this in quite awhile, so I'm excited for it. It's of course not as good as real alfredo, but few things are. I never eat real alfredo except when I'm pregnant and gaining weight anyway, but so far this time I haven't had it yet. It's killing me!! I only have 13 weeks left (gulp!!!!), so I'd better get some here soon. I think I'm going to steam some broccoli or peas to go with it, and I have some yummy bread in the freezer too.

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.


This was originally from Cooking Light and a pretty good "skinny" alfredo. Last time I made it I snuck in some pureed cauliflower, so I might do the same this time if I still have some in the freezer, which I think I do.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Brats and Pasta Salad

Nothing exciting for dinner here tonight, just grilled brats and a box of pasta salad I'm going to mix up. Since the husband came home a day early I was short one dinner for the week. I found a potential crockpot recipe, but it involved more work than I felt like doing. Brats all I have to do is get them out of the freezer and the husband--God bless him--will do the rest!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Taco Crescent Bake

I've been dying to make this recipe again since the first time we had it a month ago or so. I was going to make it last week when I needed to rearrange my menu, but I didn't have crescent rolls. Hamburger was on sale this week, so I figured it would work out great to have it now. I'm so excited.

Taco Crescent Bake
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 cups crushed corn chips
1 can tomato sauce
1 pkg crescent rolls
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheese

Grease/spray a 9x13 baking pan. Spread out the cresent roll dough along the bottom and sides. Pinch the perforations closed. Crumble a layer of half the chips. Brown and drain the ground beef. Add tomato sauce and taco seasoning to the ground beef and simmer a few minutes. Pour beef mixture over chips. Top with sour cream, cheese and remaining chips. Bake. Enjoy!


I can't remember if I used one pound or the 1.5 pounds of ground beef called for when I made it last time. I had made a comment on my post that I thought I had a half pound of hamburger in the freezer I could use, so my guess is I did use the full amount. I think the taco chips I have are a little stale, but I don't think that will be a big deal. Or maybe I'll be surprised and they're fine.

I'm trying to include more vegetables at dinner because I always forget until we're sitting down to eat. I have some yummy canned corn from Trader Joe's, so I think I'll heat up one of those to go with it. I can't wait for dinner!


The ziti and cheese bread were so yummy. I don't know when the last time was we had cheese bread, well over a year ago because I'm pretty sure I stopped making it once the husband found out he had high cholesterol. We really enjoyed it. The ziti was good, too. I thought it could have used more sauce (not sure how much I ended up using), but the husband thought there was enough cheese in the dish to make up for it. The boy really liked it, too. I'd definitely make the ziti again. It was really easy to throw together. There's about half the 9x13 pan left, so I think I'm going to wrap it up and freeze it so it doesn't go to waste.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cheese Bread

This recipe has been around my family for almost as long as I can remember. I think it came from one of my grandma's sisters, and we had it at a family reunion in Missouri in the mid-80s. I think the husband had it for the first time at my parents' house the first time we went to visit them while they still lived in TX. Then he was hooked and asks me to make it every now and then.

WARNING: It is neither diet nor cholesterol friendly, so consider yourself warned. And I'm sure you could make it diet or cholesterol friendly, but I just don't think it would be as good. Kind of like substituting fat free half and half for heavy cream. Yeah you can do it, but somehow it's just not the same.

Cheese Bread
1 loaf french bread
3/4 c. soft butter
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese

Split loaf of bread lengthwise. Mix butter, mayonnaise, and cheese. Spread butter mixture on each half. Bake bread for 25-30 minutes at 350, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Slice into serving pieces.


Don't be put off by the mayo if you aren't a mayo fan. But, also make sure you don't use too much or you'll really taste the mayo above anything else, and that would be a shame. I've made that mistake before when I tried to eyeball everything. I'm just watching out for you guys so you don't make the same mistake. And of course I use way more cheese than is called for. I sometimes mix in other cheeses than mozzarella to jazz things up a bit. Really it's whatever I have on hand. Oh, and don't undercook it either, you want to make sure the cheese mixture is melted and gooey and delicious.

Oh man, I can't wait for dinner tonight. I meant to get going on it five minutes ago, so I'd better get my toosh in gear!

Baked Ziti

Well, the husband is home from his trip back east. He had commented before he left that we hadn't had my mom's Cheese Bread recipe in a long time and would like it when he got back. He was supposed to get home tomorrow night, but I did a little rearranging and we're having it tonight. I had some ricotta in the fridge I needed to use up, so I thought Baked Ziti would be perfect with the Cheese Bread. The Cheese Bread recipe, by the way, will be in a separate post after I finish this one.

This Baked Ziti recipe is from the same person as the Eggplant Parmesan I made a couple weeks ago, so I have pretty high hopes. Plus I love cheesy, tomato-ey pasta dishes! Yum!

Baked Ziti
1 box ziti pasta
Spaghetti sauce
1 container ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 bags mozzarella cheese
2 handfuls parmesan cheese

Boil pasta until it's al dente. Mix beaten egg and 1 handful of parmesan into ricotta cheese. Drain pasta and add back to wherever you plan to mix everything (like the pot the pasta was boiled in). Mix in sauce, ricotta cheese, half the mozzarella, and another handful of parmesan. Add some sauce to the bottom of the pan, then dump in the pasta mixture. Bake at 350 until bubbling. You could use less mozarella than called for and the spaghetti sauce can be with or without meat.


I need a little more structure in cooking time, so I looked up another Baked Ziti recipe, and it said to bake at 375 for 45 minutes, so I'm going with that. I'll probably check it after 30 minutes and see how it's doing.

I only have half a container of ricotta, so I'm substituting cottage cheese for the other half. I was going to get more ricotta, but cottage cheese was on sale, ricotta wasn't, and I'm cheap. And I'm using the leftover spaghetti sauce I made for the Eggplant Parmesan.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chicken and Yellow Rice

The boy and I are on our own for dinner the next couple nights, so I wanted easy stuff and things that the husband doesn't necessarily like. ;) Tonight's dinner is super easy and one of my favorites. And it's relatively cheap.

Chicken and Yellow Rice
1 package saffron rice mix
1 or 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Cook rice mix according to package directions. Mix in chicken and black beans.


See what I mean, super easy. If I don't add the black beans, I'd probably do two chicken breasts, but since the beans add some substance to the dish, I think I'll just do one chicken breast.


The cheesecake was yummy. I wouldn't say it was spectacular, but it was tasty for sure. The blackberries macerated (is that right?) really fast. I think the cheesecake could have sat in the fridge for longer than two hours, too. When I had some bites of it this morning I thought it was better than it was last night. There were some berries left, but I haven't had any yet today. I think I prefer a graham cracker crust for cheesecake instead of the one in this recipe. It was good, but I like the flavor of a graham cracker crust better.

Anyway, it was a nice treat because the husband doesn't like cheesecake, so I rarely eat it and I NEVER make it.

ETA: the blackberries DO NOT last overnight. DO NOT let them sit overnight. You'll be amazed at what nastiness they turn into in that amount of time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cheesecake with Minted Blackberries

We're going to my grandma's house for dinner tonight, but I offered to bring dessert because I have been DYING to make this recipe ever since I got last month's issue of Gourmet Magazine and it was on the cover. I've gone from never making a Gourmet recipe to making two in a week! Here's the picture:

(I should probably add that it's copyright Gourmet Magazine...I don't know if it really is but probably better to say that and be safe)

Doesn't it look awesome?! The picture on the magazine cover was a little different, but this still looks freakin' amazing. The cards all fell into place to make it when my grocery store had blackberries on sale last week. I figured it was a sign from above. Blackberries are freakin' expensive here in AZ! My grandpa used to pick them near their house in Seattle when we all lived there, so maybe I just always took blackberries for granted. Raspberries, too. But to get raspberries I damn near have to trade my first born for a pint of them.

Anyway, I'm making this to take tonight and can't wait to try it. The husband doesn't like cheesecake, so it's a big treat for me. I'm done with the crust and waiting for it to cool a bit before I start on the actual cheesecake.

Cheesecake with Minted Blackberries

For crust
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped

For filling
3 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350ºF with rack in middle. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed sheets of foil, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, then lightly butter foil.

Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour and almonds, mixing until combined and dough begins to clump together.

Press onto bottom of baking pan with floured fingers.

Bake just until a shade darker and edges begin to pull away from pan, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan.

Make filling and bake:
Reduce oven temperature to 325ºF.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and flour with cleaned beaters at medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add half-and-half, then eggs 1 at a time, mixing until incorporated. Pour filling into crust.

Bake in a hot water bath until set 1 1/2 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 40 to 45 minutes. (Center will set as it cools.) Transfer pan to a rack and cool completely, about 2 hours. Chill, uncovered, at least 2 hours.

Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake from pan and peel off foil before cutting into small rectangles.

Cooks’ note: Cheesecake can be chilled (loosely covered once cold) up to 3 days.

Minted Blackberries

3 cups blackberries (3/4 lb)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl or airtight container and let macerate at room temperature 30 minutes.

Cooks’ note: Blackberries can be chilled (after macerating) up to 2 hours.


I cannot wait for dessert time to get here!! I'm so intrigued to see how the blackberries taste with the mint. I love fresh mint but never know what to use it for, other than just smelling it. I figure I'll wait and macerate the blackberries at my grandma's so they don't sit too long and start to apart.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Toss

Our dinner tonight was almost thwarted by a pregnancy craving. I was dying for some biscuits from Popeye's. The husband was going to go get us that for dinner, but we decided it wasn't worth the drive or the cost. Because we're budget friendly and all that. ;)

I had originally planned on making a chicken recipe that was something like chicken with florentine sauce. It sounded and looked good, but I forgot a couple ingredients and I only had two chicken breasts. Oops. I went back through my chicken recipes on here to see if I could find some kind of casserole or skillet dish to make where two chicken breasts would get me by. I saw my chicken parmesan recipe and thought that sounded good, so I decided to invent a new dish. Lo and behold, my Chicken Parmesan Pasta Toss was born.

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Toss
2 chicken breasts
2 egg whites
Italian bread crumbs
8 ounces (dried) rotini pasta
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Place egg whites in a pie plate, place bread crumbs into a gallon Ziploc bag. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Put chicken pieces into egg whites and coat chicken. Transfer chicken to Ziploc bag and close bag. Shake to coat chicken pieces. Move chicken pieces to skillet with olive oil; cook until golden brown and cooked through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water and drain when done cooking. Return pasta to pasta pot, add in chicken. Pour in spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan. Stir to combine. Serve.


This was an awesome creation, if I do say so myself. I'm always a bit skeptical when I come up with my own dinner creations, but this is something I'd definitely make again. I used a pouch of the Ragu All Natural spaghetti sauce because I had it in my pantry, and the only other sauce I had was frozen. The amount of sauce in the pouch was perfect. I guessed at how much was in the pouch. I also don't know exactly how much of the bread crumbs I used. I poured them into the bag until it looked like it was going to be enough.

This was ridiculously easy, too. I put the pot of water on to boil right before I put the chicken in the skillet, so even my timing of everything worked out pretty perfectly. The husband stopped himself after having seconds but said he would have gone back for more.

Friday, August 15, 2008


I only had time last night to post one recipe because we ended up eating really late and it was about time for bed. I was cooking some marinated mahi mahi filets I got at Trader Joe's, and I thought--like their ahi tuna steaks--there were only two in the package. So I suggested to the husband that we eat dinner after the boy went to bed. We had some brie to tide us over...I heart brie so much. When I took the fish out to let it thaw in a bigger container, I found there were five pieces of fish in it. Oops. Oh well, the boy doesn't really eat fish anyway, unless it's tuna from a can.

I had been dying to try this risotto recipe and had bought stuff to make it a couple times, but for whatever reasons it never worked out. It's from one of my favorite websites, Pioneer Woman Cooks!. If you haven't been there yet, GO NOW! This will still be here when you get back. ;) My friend Jen B. made it before and said it was awesome. I heart risotto, so I couldn't wait. I decided to half the recipe because she had said it made a lot and wasn't as good the next day. The recipe below is for the whole shebang.

PW’s Perfect Risotto
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small or 1/2 medium onion
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 pound Arborio rice
7 to 8 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups (total) grated Parmesan, Romano, and/or Asiago cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chopped chives

Heat oil in large skillet, then add chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft. Dump in 1 pound dry Arborio rice, and stir to coat. Then add the broth, in 1-cup increments, stirring after each addition until liquid is absorbed. Rice is done when it no longer has a hard bite. After all liquid is absorbed, add cream, cheese, salt & pepper, and stir to combine. Stir in chives and serve immediately.


Now, somehow I didn't have any onions. Not sure how that happened, but I did have some shallots, so I used those instead. And there was a near mishap with the heavy cream. I bought some last week, and the date on it was yesterday. I opened it and poured it into my measuring cup...and clumps came out. GROSS!!! I had some fat free half and half I was going to use (you have no idea my disappointment), but then I saw another container of cream in the fridge that was still good! Hooray!! Mine took about 3 cups of chicken broth, which was good because that was exactly how much I had.

The risotto was AWESOME. The husband and I both had seconds, and there was about one serving left. I put it in the fridge but haven't tried it yet today to see if Jen's right and it doesn't reheat well. She's usually right about that stuff, so I trust her opinion. Oh, and I'd say it probably took 30 minutes for the risotto. The husband and I both agreed we could have stood over the pan and ate the remaining portion, but as it was 9:00, we figured that probably wasn't the best idea. I will DEFINITELY be making this again!

(No dinner tonight, by the way...we have a birthday party to go to!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

I did make dinner on Tuesday, but it was just tacos...nothing exciting. Last night I had planned on making Tofu Lo Mein, but when I got the tofu out to drain it, I saw it had a use by date of August 7th. Ugh. So I figured I'd do chicken stir fry instead, but I had no teriyaki. Double ugh. I started panicking a bit because I had to leave for a girl's night out (saw "Mamma Mia"...such a fun movie!!!) at 6:30. I went to the ol' standby of to look up teriyaki recipes or stir fry recipes. I found this stir fry recipe that sounded tasty, had good reviews, and I had everything on hand for it. Perfect!!

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable blend
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
Hot cooked rice

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken and garlic in 2 teaspoons oil. Add the honey, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until chicken is lightly browned and juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan, stir-fry the vegetables in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Return chicken to the pan; mix well. Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Serve over rice.


It turned out pretty well. There could have been more sauce, but that was my only complaint. I added in some crushed red pepper and used chicken broth for the cornstarch instead of water. I don't know if I'd necessarily make it again, but it wasn't bad. We had yummy Trader Joe's vegetable egg rolls with it. Those I LOVE!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Orecchiette with Salsa Cruda and Ricotta

Well, my cold has turned into a sinus infection, so I don't know when I'll be back to making dinner as 1) I feel horrible, and 2) nothing sounds good. Except a Sonic milkshake...I'd take one of those right now. Anyway, I was feeling better over the weekend and made dinner on Sunday night. Last night I went to Urgent Care, and we had Sonic for dinner.

This was the recipe from Gourmet magazine I had mentioned I was looking forward to making. There was a bit of a mishap because the magazine went missing when I went to make dinner on Sunday. Somehow it ended up behind our entertainment center. My guess is little two year old hands were at work there because I'm not in the habit of putting stuff back there.

Orecchiette with Salsa Cruda and Ricotta
1 medium shallot, minced
2 small garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 lbs tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped basil
1 lb dried orecchiette
3/4 cup ricotta (preferably fresh)
small basil leaves for garnish

Stir together all ingredients except pasta and ricotta in a large bowl with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling, salted water (3 Tbsp salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.

Drain pasta and toss with tomato salsa. Season with salt and pepper and dollop with ricota.


I couldn't find orecchiette when I was looking for pasta, so I used bow ties. I also forgot to add any salt to the pasta water or salsa mixture. I thought it could have used some salt, the husband thought it was fine. And instead of dolloping the ricotta on, I mixed it in with the pasta and salsa. I probably used more like a cup than 3/4 cup. We all really liked it--even the boy ate quite a bit! It's definitely something I'd make again...tasty and quick to come together!

My mom's coming to take the boy for the day, so hopefully after a day of resting and doing nothing, I'll be mostly back to normal and willing to make dinner tonight. But, no promises!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This is so cool...

The husband went to play golf yesterday, so the boy and I went to my grandma's for the day. She's getting ready to move into an independent living facility (she's 90!!!), so we went over to help her pack. She had some stuff she had set aside that she wanted me to have, and while we were there I asked her about her cookbooks, if she was taking them with her. She was only taking a couple, so I jumped at the chance to look through them. She has some great church cookbooks from the church we used to go to when we all lived in Seattle. Anyway, my great aunt (my grandpa's sister) wrote several cookbooks during her life, which I had known about. My grandma has all of them, so I was looking through them and noticed on the cover of one it said, "James Beard award winning author."

My jaw dropped. My great aunt won a James Beard Award?!?!?!? First I called my friend Jen B. because I knew she'd want to hear it and would be as impressed as I was. Then I got on the James Beard website to see what she'd won it for. She won in 1994 for Healthy Focus Book for a diabetic cookbook she wrote, and then she was nominated for the same category in 2003. How cool is this?!?!?!?

So see...I have good cooking genes in me, so y'all are lucky you read my blog. ;)

I'll be back to cooking dinner tonight. This cold has really kicked my butt, and then yesterday we had dinner at my mom's. But tonight and the coming week it's back to the usual!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me first say that this is not my mom's chocolate chip cookie recipe. I think the sun would have set and risen again in the time it would take me to think of when the last time would have been that my mom made chocolate chip cookies. I'd always ask her when I was growing up why she didn't make cookies more often, and she said she didn't want them around because she'd eat them. I didn't understand it at the time because what kid could possibly fathom not wanting to eat cookies constantly, but now as an adult I completely understand. Especially after having baked these!

This is another recipe from my message board cookbook. I have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe that I love making, but these sounded interesting, so I figured I'd try them out. The boy helped me make them. We were talking this morning about making cookies and I asked if he thought that would be fun. His answer totally cracked me up..."fun in my mouth!"

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugars. Add next four ingredients. Combine flour and baking soda, add to creamed mixture and mix well. Drop onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.


I've had four of them so far. I can't stop eating them!! I think it's the pudding mix that makes them tasty and soft and chewy. Oh, and for the record I did not separately combine the flour and baking soda. Why dirty another bowl, I figure. I'm all about using as few bowls as possible (really I just hate doing dishes). Oh, and I used milk chocolate chips...Trader Joe's brand. I think those are my new chocolate chips of choice. TJ's brand, not necessarily the milk chocolate ones.

I had a yummy pasta dish planned for dinner tonight, but this cold is kicking my butt. I don't know what will happen with dinner. I may end up making it if I can rest a bit this afternoon, or we may go with our universal dinner back-up plan: $5 pizza from Little Caesar's. Regardless, the pasta dish will come sometime soon. It's from the most recent issue of Gourmet magazine. This will be my first Gourmet recipe I'll have made, so I'm pretty excited for it. Don't worry--it's super easy and quick sounding. We'll dive into the world of Gourmet together!


I was the only one that liked the Chicken Korma. It was too spicy for the boy, and the husband once again professed his hatred of Indian food. I finally told him to be quiet so I could enjoy the dinner I had so looked forward to. He wasn't that annoying, but I was tired of hearing him talk about how he doesn't like curry and couldn't believe I'd make Indian food. Sheesh. So much for trying to expand his horizons.

It's something I'd buy again, but only to make when the husband was out of town. I'd also cut down on the amount of water it said to add because it seemed to runny to me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chicken Korma

We were going to have this last night, but I've come down with a yucky cold. I did make dinner to take to a friend (a Rick Bayless Mexican recipe that I'll eventually make for us), but that was it. I was going to post that recipe, but I couldn't find it online and didn't feel like typing it out. I'll type it out when I eventually make it.

Anyway, my week of Trader Joe's feasting continues. Tonight we're having Chicken Korma which is my most favorite Indian dish. I heart Indian food and NEVER get to have it. Remember when I said I had a friend that used to go eat Thai food with me? We went for Indian a lot too. The husband HATES Indian food (he doesn't know tonight's dinner is Indian), so I really never ever get it. This dinner is ridiculously easy.

Chicken Korma
1 lb. chicken breast, diced (or tofu)
1 jar Trade Joe's Chicken Korma simmer sauce
8 ounces water

Brown chicken in skillet until mostly cooked. Add jar of simmer sauce and eight ounces water. Simmer until heated through.


We're having basmati rice with it and some garlic naan bread. I heart naan! It's on the stove right now, and it's looking like the eight ounces of water might be a bit much. Granted it's been a long time since I've had chicken korma, but I'm pretty sure the sauce was thicker than this is looking.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Wow. Wow! Wow!!! The eggplant parmesan was awesome. Awesome, I tell you!! It was definitely time consuming, I'm glad I got the eggplant fried and the whoel thing assembled during naptime, otherwise it would have been really late when we were eating. The recipe had said that the eggplant browned really quickly, but mine took awhile. Not sure if I didn't have enough oil or it wasn't hot enough (it seemed hot enough), but it took a few minutes per side. I actually ended up putting my first batch back in for awhile because it wasn't nice and golden brown like the later batches.

The tomato sauce was really good, too. I let it simmer for probably three hours. I felt like an Italian mama having a pot of sauce simmering on my stove for that long. :) It was super easy to put together and tasted really yummy. I used probably half of it for the eggplant parm and froze the other half.

Assembly of the eggplant was really easy. For the parmesan cheese layer, I just held my microplane over the casserole dish (I used a 9x13) and grated the cheese all over the top. I didn't use fresh mozzarella either, just regular. And I used more than a pound because I bought a one pound block of it but also added some shredded mozzarella I had in the fridge.

I took pictures while I was doing stuff and added them into the recipe posting. Have something handy to wipe up your drool while you're looking at them. ;)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan

Our weekend plans got turned upside down a bit, but it all worked out okay. We ended up at my mom's last night, so tonight is going to be eggplant parmesan night! The husand and I finally got to see the new Batman movie. Third try's the charm I guess. Even that was almost thwarted--the husband locked his keys in our car, and of course I hadn't taken mine since he had his. And of course neither of us had our cell phones. Sheesh. It all worked out though.

I've been dying to make this eggplant parmesan recipe ever since I got my message board's cookbook. I just hadn't seen eggplant anywhere at a decent price. Then I was at Trader Joe's last week, and they had a package of two eggplant for $3. That seemed reasonable to me! Everyone who has tried this recipe says it's awesome. I can't wait for dinner!! I'm even making my own tomato sauce for it. The recipe for the sauce is from the same person. I'll post both for y'all.

Eggplant Parmesan
2 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick round slices
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Flour for dredging
6 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp whole milk
Olive oil, as needed
Tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Place the flour in a plate or bowl. Add oregano and thyme. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Dredge an eggplant slice in the flour then dip it in the egg mixture. Shake off any excess egg and start frying. Turn the eggplant once, cooking until golden brown. It cooks very quickly so keep your eye on them. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. Preheat oven to 400. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with some tomato sauce and arrange the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with more sauce and scatter half of the parmesan and mozzarella over the sauced eggplant. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, parmesan, and mozzarella. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tomato Sauce
3 cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
Fresh basil

Mince the garlic and onion. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add cans of crushed tomatoes plus half a can of water and bring to a boil. When it's boiling, turn the heat way down and let it simmer. The longer you let it simmer, the better it will taste. For three cans, let simmer about 90 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. At the very end chop up some basil and stir it in (dried basil would work too).


Wouldn't a nice bottle of red wine be oh-so-awesome with this? Yes, it's 7:30 in the morning and I'm wishing for red wine. Tells you what kind of a start my day is off to, huh.

Anyway. Doesn't this sound so yummy? I asked the person who submitted the recipe a couple questions, and she said she usually preps it all in the morning then sticks it in the fridge and bakes it for closer to 45 minutes since it can take awhile to do the eggplant frying. The boy and I are going to the store after Sesame Street this morning, then I'll throw the stuff together for the sauce when we get home. I figure I can do the eggplant during naptime, get it all assembled and in the fridge so we can eat at a reasonable time. I'm horrible at timing things to be done at a certain time.


I took pictures! I was going to put them in the review and then thought that was silly.

My two beautiful eggplants:

Sliced eggplant, ready and waiting for flour and eggwash (I got to use my new camera lens for some of the pics...exciting!!):

Eggplant in its oil hot tub (and my Le Creuset buffet casserole pan!):

Eggplant after being fried:

Oh yeah, and here's my pot of tomato sauce:

First layer of eggplant:

Second layer of eggplant:

Finished product...lordy mama, don't you want to grab a fork and dig right in?!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pulled Pork

My friend April had a baby just about two weeks ago. We were going to meet some friends for lunch yesterday out near her, so I asked if we could bring dinner over and meet baby Jace. I had planned on making pulled pork in the crockpot on Thursday night, so I just threw in an extra pound of pork roast to take that over for them. I had planned on fancying it up a bit, but then I was lazy when I was tossing stuff in the crockpot.

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

Place pork roast(s) in crockpot. Cover with barbecue sauce. Sometimes I pour a little water into the bottle when it's mostly empty and shake it around to get the sauce that's stuck to the sides. Cook on low 6-8 hours (if still frozen when you put it in, it will be more like eight hours). Remove pork, shred with two forks, and mix in some sauce. Serve on hamburger buns.


So easy! My plan had been to dice up some onion and add in some stuff to perk up the bottled BBQ sauce, but like I said, I was lazy. It turned out fine, so I have no complaints.

Last night we had a banquet at church so I was off the hook for dinner. Now tonight we're going to my mom's and getting yummy Mexican take-out. Woo hoo...two nights off of cooking duty! Stay tuned for my recipe tomorrow night...I'm going to attempt eggplant parmesan for the first time. And this coming week is going to be a Trader Joe's fest!! Pregnant women should not go to TJ's when they are hungry, but man alive did I get some yummy stuff, and I won't really have to go shopping this coming week.