Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pastor Ryan's Bread

I know I included the link to the post for this on the PW website in my post for the bolognese sauce, but I thought I'd go ahead and include the recipe.

THE BREAD

20 oz. of bread flour (all purpose is okay, too) - about 4 cups.
8 oz. of water (or 1 cup.)
4 oz. melted butter with chopped herbs of choice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast

Combine these ingredients all together in the KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook (it can be done by hand…it just takes longer).

Mix together for about 10 minutes or so until you achieve a windowpane with the dough. This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready.

Once this elasticity has been achieved, the dough can sit out with plastic wrap over it for 1-4 hours to double in size. After it’s gotten bigger, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom!

Bake inside a covered cast iron pan after coating the rounded dough with olive oil and sprinkling with kosher salt. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.

If you like to use a thermometers, we’re looking for an internal temp. of around 200-210 degrees. (The bread can get brown on the bottom if it’s too close to the heating element; if that happens, just slice it off with a sharp knife.

*****

The pictures of this look amazing. I'm beyond excited for dinner tonight. We really don't have much planned for today, so I think I'll probably spend a good chunk of the day drooling over the thought of dinner tonight. Don't worry, I'll wipe up any mess I make. ;)

*****

I didn't end up making the bread because I took a nap with the baby instead. Really, wouldn't you rather snuggle with the most adorable six month old baby and take a 90 minute nap instead of making bread? I sure would!

Pastor Ryan's Bolognese Sauce

I've been eyeing up this bolognese recipe from The Pioneer Woman's website ever since it was posted. I knew I had to make it post haste and try its deliciousness, so I threw it on my menu plan for this week. I love, love, love homemade pasta sauces, and this one looks amazing. Pioneer Woman has never steered me wrong, so I'm assuming this will be awesome. Although I guess technically it's not one of her recipes, but I still assume it will be good. The post for the recipe on her website has great pictures of the process, if you want to check them out.

Ryan’s Bolognese
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 large red onion, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
2 tablespoons dried basil flakes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
salt
pepper
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 cup milk
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture. Throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine.

When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

*****

Did I mention I love homemade pasta sauce? I've pretty much stopped buying the jarred kind because it's really so easy to make your own and you can control what goes into it. And it just tastes so much better. The husband has another hockey game to watch tonight, so it will be nice to get this sauce going in the afternoon so all I have to do at dinner time is throw in some pasta to boil.

There's a bread recipe on PW's website also by Pastor Ryan that looks amazing that I think I'll make to go along with this. Either that or Barefoot Contessa's Garlic Ciabbata Bread which is without a doubt the best garlic bread I have ever had. My mouth starts watering just thinking about it. I think I'll go with Pastor Ryan's and make it a Pastor Ryan/Pioneer Woman dinner all around.

*****

This was yummy sauce. I added in two cups of wine, and I think one cup would have been enough. My sauce only got to simmer for one hour because I got a later start on it than I had planned (see my reason for not making the bread!), and I really would have liked it to simmer longer. I was worried for awhile because it seemed too liquidy (is that a word? Not sure...watery, soupy, etc.), but it thickened up in the end. I hate watery sauce so I was a bit apprehensive. But it all worked out. This was definitely good sauce, but I don't think it was the end all be all of spaghetti sauce. I'd make it again because it was tasty and fairly easy to throw together. Oh, I ended up using kitchen shears to cut up the whole tomatoes. Had I been thinking, I would have cut them up while they were in the cans instead of once they were already in the pot. And this made a TON of sauce. We ended up having leftovers for dinner on Sunday night because there was so much of it. So we had Saturday dinner, Sunday dinner, and I probably put about half of the pot into the freezer today. I'd say if you didn't want to eat this for days or freeze it or serve it to a crowd, you could easily cut it in half.

Mmmm...sauce simmering on the stove:


Just to keep things interesting, I took a picture of dinner on the boy's frog plate:

Edamame and Mushroom Risotto

I don't know how I've fallen so far behind in my posting. Yesterday was a harried day, and I wasn't up for anything other than vegging out on the couch while I stuck the boy in front of the TV in our toy room. I know, not my best parenting, but his behavior was horrid, and I just couldn't deal with him. It was my friend Jen A's birthday yesterday, and we had a birthday lunch party for her here, so my house was cleaned for that, so I felt justified sitting around doing nothing. Well, not nothing. I was perusing the iTunes store for apps for my new iPhone!! I've had it two days and wonder how I've survived this long without one. Seriously. Although I think I've only used it as a phone twice, but I don't use my cell phone a whole lot.

Anyway, this was our dinner on Thursday night. In hindsight it was a poor choice for that night because we were out in the afternoon and by the time we got home it was after 5:00, I had to feed the baby, and I didn't end up starting the risotto until 5:45 or so, so it was pretty late by the time we were eating. Oops. I told the husband that maybe I should save risottos for after the baby is weaned. :) This recipe came from Jen B.. It was funny, I had been going back through her blog looking for dinner ideas and thought this sounded good, plus I already had a bag of edamame in the freezer and arborio rice in my pantry. Then they ended up having this dinner one night last week! I thought it was funny anyway.

Edamame and Mushroom Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 pound frozen edamame
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable broth mixed with 1-1/2 cups water
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of half and half (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

2. Cook edamame, about 5 minutes, following package directions. Drain, cool and remove beans from shells. Add beans to mushrooms in skillet. Discard shells.

3. Place broth and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a simmer.

4. In a large saucepan, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and stir until rice is coated with oil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring-. Add wine and cook until wine is absorbed -- about 1 minute

5. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth mixture. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking in the same manner. This should take about 30 minutes.

6. Gently heat mushrooms and edamame. Stir into rice and remove from heat. Stir in the pepper, half and half, and 1/4 cup of the cheese.

7. Divide among 4 bowls and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

*****

I totally spaced on taking a picture since we were eating so late, but there's a picture on Jen's original post if you want to see it. This was really good. I left out the half and half because I didn't have any on hand, and I think it would have been better with that added. The boy doesn't like mushrooms, but he ate his entire serving once I picked out the mushrooms for him. Normally I encourage him to eat things he's not fond of because I don't want a picky eater, but with sauteed mushrooms I don't mind because I love them, so I'll gladly eat his. :) The only thing I would change would be to use already shelled edamame because that took me quite awhile. I love edamame--it's such a great healthy snack and insanely high in fiber.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Cheese Enchiladas

The husband is a HUGE Detroit Red Wings fan, and tonight is game five in the series against Chicago. He requested last night that tonight's dinner be something in the crock pot so he didn't have to entertain the boy while I'm cooking. That was after I had gone to the grocery store, and I couldn't think of anything to do in the crockpot that wasn't chicken related, and I'm kind of tired of chicken. I wanted something vegetarian, and I realized I had posted this recipe but never made it. I thought it would be easy enough because the boy could help me mix up everything. He loves to help in the kitchen, especially for dinner. It's pretty rare he gets to help with dinner since it usually involves raw meat, sharp knives, and using the stove. He's engrossed with Bob the Builder right now, so once he's done with that I'll see if he wants to help. Here's the original post with the recipe:

Three Cheese Enchiladas

*****

These were pretty good. I don't know if I'd go out of my way to make them again, but I usually have all of these ingredients on hand, so it's nice to have another "oh no it's 4:00 and I don't know what to make for dinner" meal in my pocket. I used way more cheese than was called for--three ounces of Monterey Jack, four ounces of goat cheese, and two ounces of cream cheese--and I really don't think it would have been filling enough with increasing those amounts. I think everything else I kept the same, except I used whole wheat tortillas instead of corn. I made a Rick Bayless rice recipe as a side dish, but it did not turn out. I think it was my fault, not the recipe's. I'll post it later because I want to hang out with the husband and baby.

Claire's Lemon Chicken Pasta

I needed to go grocery shopping yesterday for everything I had on my meal plan for the week, but I didn't want to take both kids. I much prefer going by myself or with only one kid. The baby is six months old, and I've only taken both kids with me once, and it was a pretty small shopping trip. Anyway, I was once again going to do the Crockpot Chicken Marsala but I realized I had the wrong kind of canned soup. I already had chicken out, so I scanned the pantry for anything else I could do with the chicken. I saw some lemon pepper papparadelle pasta I had bought at Trader Joe's and thought I'd do something with that. I had a couple recipes in mind that I kind of melded together to make this. I have to say I really enjoy coming up with something from scratch like this instead of following a recipe. It's a nice cooking challenge.

Claire's Lemon Chicken Pasta
2 chicken breasts
Salt
Pepper
Oregano
Garlic powder
Onion powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk
4 ounces light cream cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 package Trader Joe's lemon pepper papparadelle pasta, cooked

Cut chicken breasts into bite-size chunks. Mound in a pile and sprinkle salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder on chicken. Meanwhile heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add chicken and cook until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from skillet. Deglaze pan with lemon juice. Add garlic but be careful not to burn it. Combine flour and skim milk, then add to skillet. Add in cream cheese and stir (I used a flat whisk) until cream cheese melts and sauce thickens. Add in parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Return chicken to skillet and stir to coat chicken. Add in cooked pasta and toss until pasta is coated in the sauce as well. Serve with shaved parmesan on top.

*****

This was really good. REALLY good. I added peas into mine, but I didn't like how they tasted with everything else, so I didn't include them in the ingredients. I think next time I'd make this I'd actually increase the sauce ingredients some so it was a little saucier, but the flavor was fantastic. I'm so glad my mad scientist chicken pasta concoction worked out okay!!



These are my new pasta bowls from Crate and Barrel. Aren't they cool? I've been wanting some like this for quite awhile. The only problem is that they're too wide for my dish cabinet. I've yet to come up with a solution, but I will!! I also bought the Parker Bowls because I've been eyeing them for quite some time.


The pasta I used. It was really fragrant (read: somewhat overwhelming lemon scent but in a good way) when I opened the package, but the pasta itself didn't taste super lemony once it was cooked.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tres Leches Cake

Are you amazed at how much I've done over the weekend cooking-wise? I feel like I've been updating the blog all afternoon! I think I'm almost done, then I just need to update our family blog and I'm done. Phew! I haven't even hardly been on Facebook today because I've been doing so much blog updating.

We were invited to a BBQ at a friend's house tonight (another Jenn...you'd think all I know are Jen's!) and guests were asked to bring a side dish or dessert. I wasn't sure what to bring at first and then I thought of Tres Leches Cake. I love it so and haven't had it in a long time. Normally when I take this somewhere there isn't any left to bring home.

Here's the link to the previous post with the recipe:

Tres Leches Cake

I had to add all three pictures I took of this to really do it justice. Okay, maybe three is a bit of overkill, but I couldn't decide which one or two to use, so it was easier to just do three. The first one shows good detail, the second shows all the yummy goodness in the pan, and the third shows you just how much this was enjoyed at the barbecue!!





Bagels

Awhile ago I checked out a plethora of cookbooks from the library, and I don't want to return any of them. I just renewed them for the second time. Really I need to just copy some of the recipes from them and return them so they're not cluttering up my house. Two of them are the sandwich cookbooks I got from my brother, one is a Cat Cora cookbook, and the other is a take out cookbook, The Take-Out Menu Cookbook. I love it, although this is the first time I've used it. It has sections for all sorts of different ethnic foods and a ton of things I want to make.

I was looking at it the other day while the boy was taking a bath and saw a recipe for bagels. "Bagels? Make my own bagels?" I thought to myself. Hmmm...intriguing idea. The recipe sounded really easy, so I slatted it for this weekend when I'd have more time on my hands.

I swear I've spent the majority of the weekend in the kitchen, so I was thinking about not making these, but the boy asked this morning if we were going to make bagels. Who am I to say no to my kid for wanting to bake something? So, we got started. And it's proving to be an all day event. Hopefully it's worth it.

Bagels
2 cups warm water
2 (2-1/4 tsp) packages active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
Vegetable oil

Optional toppings:
Sauteed chopped onions
Poppy seeds
Sesame seeds
Caraway seeds
Kosher salt

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast, and 2 Tbsp of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment on the mixer, gradually add 4-1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, and combine until the mixture comes together.

Continue to work more flour in, 1/4 cup at a time, using either the dough hook attachment of your mixer or kneading with your hands, until you have dough that is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic. Bring the dough together into a ball.

Oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, turning to cat with the oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Uncover the dough and punch it down several times to work out the air bubbles. Form it into a ball and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Cover the balls with a damp cloth and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes for easier shaping.

Lightly coat your hands with vegetable oil. Find the middle of one dough ball and push a finger through to make a hole. Gently widen the hole by twirling the bagel on your finger. Be careful not to rip the wall of the bagel in the process. The walls should be approximately 1 inch thick and the hole 2 inches wide. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Place them on a large, lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest 20-30 minutes, until risen but not doubled, in a draft free spot.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large heavy pot bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches add the bagels to the water and boil, turning once, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the bagels from the water, shake off any excess, and place back on the greased baking sheet.

Sprinkle any desired toppings on top of the bagels (or if you like a lot of poppy or sesame seeds, you can dip the bagel directly into the topping for extra coverage). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

*****

I messed up and put all the sugar in with the water and yeast...oops. I'm not sure how these are going to turn out. I had a hard time getting it to form into a ball, it wouldn't really stick together. I also had a hard time twirling them, so I didn't have them the same proportions as listed above. My next step is boiling the water, so the end is in sight! I doubt I'll go through the trouble of making these again unless they're the most amazing bagels I've ever tried. I think I'll leave mine mostly plain but maybe do some with kosher salt. I love salt bagels!!

Blackberry Cobbler

I think awhile back I mentioned that I had found out my great aunt won a James Beard award for a cookbook she wrote. Okay, really I just wanted to throw in that because it only kind of relates to this recipe. One of the cookbooks she wrote was strictly desserts (not the award winner). We always kind of laughed at this particular book because a lot of the recipes have anecdotes about members of our family that are completely untrue. Like there's some kind of apple recipe that says how my mom had a small apple orchard. Uhhh...if two rhubarb plants in the backyard count as a small apple orchard, sure. This particular recipe tells a story of how my grandpa took up baking as a hobby once he retired. As far as I know, my grandpa never baked anything in his life. He made great pancakes and chili and could fry up a mean hamburger and boil potatoes like no one's business, but I think that may have been the extent of his cooking ability. He did like to go pick blackberries like the story says, but he left the baking to my grandma. This is all kind of moot I guess since I'm not planning on typing up the anecdote, but I just thought I'd mention it.

So, last week blackberries were on sale for super cheap, and I couldn't resist. I bought four containers. We ate one of them, and I wanted to do something with the other three that was super tasty. My friend Jen A. had a berry baking fest recently and made some good sounding blackberry recipes, so I was thinking about making one of those. Then I pulled out this cookbook of my aunt's to see what was in there. I saw this cobbler recipe and figured this would be it. I didn't have quite enough blackberries for it, but I was close enough.

Blackberry Cobbler

Dough:
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp solid vegetable shortening, frozen
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup buttermilk

Filling:
6 cups fresh blackberries, washed and drained
3/4 cup sugar
4 sugar cubes, crushed (for texture), or 4 tsp granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter a 9-inch round casserole dish that is at least 2 inches deep.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or tw oknives, cut in shortening and butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. With a fork, stir until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll or pat dough to forma rough 8-inch circle.

In a bowl toss blackberries and sugar. Pile into prepared dish. Gently lift the circle of dough an dplace over the berries, pinching together any breaks or tears in the dough. (The dough should look rustic and "cobbled.") Sprinkle the top with the crushed sugar cubes or granulated sugar.

Bake until fruit bubbles and top is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving warm with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

*****

So, I had full intentions of taking a picture of this and posting it, but the husband and I ate all but one serving last night because it was just so darn tasty. We would have eaten all of it, but the boy helped me make it and I promised him a piece. I only had four cups of berries, but it worked well enough. This was super tasty and I would definitely make it again if I can find blackberries for cheap. Yum!

Potatoes on the Grill

This was the potato recipe I found when I went looking on RecipeZaar.com. I had made some kind of grilled potatoes last summer I remember, but I must not have put it in the blog because I couldn't find it. But, this one was REALLY good, so I'm glad I found it.

Potatoes on the Grill
Recipe #28587

6 medium potatoes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
paprika (optional)

Peel and thinly slice potatoes, place on a double layer of foil. Spread potatoes to make one layer. Add onion to potatoes. Add cheese, salt and pepper. Garnish with a little paprika if desired. Fold foil over and on ends to completely cover potatoes. Cook on grill until done when tested with a fork.

*****

I cut it in half since the boy doesn't like potatoes (weird, I know), and it was the perfect amount for us. These were GREAT!!! I will definitely be making these again. Super easy and tasty. I had them on the grill for probably 20-25 minutes. I put them on a few minutes before the chicken and then took them off at the same time. Oh, and I sprayed the foil with nonstick spray before putting everything down. Some of the cheese still stuck to the foil, but not that much. I may play around with spices next time and add some others to it. I wanted to see how it turned out on its own this time, and it was good, but I think I'll still play around with it a little.

Saito Chicken

I had originally planned something different for Sunday's dinner, a crockpot chicken marsala recipe. But, I was out running errands yesterday afternoon and thought that didn't really sound good at all. I wanted to grill. Memorial Day weekend and 4th of July weekend I just feel the need to grill. So I scrapped the plan for the crockpot dinner and decided to make this chicken again. I wasn't sure what sides to have with it, but I found a grilled potato recipe on RecipeZaar.com that sounded good, and I figured some peas and a salad would round out everything. I'll do the potatoes in a separate post.

Saito Chicken

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I've been neglecting my blog over the holiday weekend. I told the husband this morning that today I want to get my blogs updated and work on cleaning our office so we can start looking for a treadmill. We've been having a fun, relaxing weekend. I'm sad today is the last day of it! I love when the husband is home from work and we get to have family time. Right now he and the boy are out in a little inflatable pool my mom bought for my kids. The boy LOVES it. First thing this morning he asked, "Can I go swimming?" :)

I haven't had to do much cooking this weekend, although I've done a lot of stuff for fun. Friday night the husband and I grilled burgers after the kids were in bed. They were tasty...I added a packet of ranch dressing mix, some barbecue sauce, and some shredded cheddar cheese to the ground beef. YUM! Saturday night we went to my mom's for dinner to celebrate the baby's half birthday. I know, can you believe he's six months old already?! Me neither. For the boy's six month birthday I made a half cake--two round cakes each cut in half and then layered and frosted. I was excited to do another one because, to be brutally honest, I thought it was a really clever idea the first time around. :) I used a yellow cake mix but used applesauce instead of the oil and Egg Beaters instead of the eggs to make it slightly healthier. This was the same frosting recipe I used for the boy's cake, and I had loved it, so I figured I might as well stick with it.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 8-ounce block cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup baking cocoa powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In bowl of stand mixer (or with an electric mixer), cream butter and cream cheese together. Add in remaining ingredients until combined.

*****

This is some of the best chocolate frosting I have EVER had. The recipe actually says you can use vanilla or almond extract, but I had crossed out the almond extract, so I imagine that must not have been as good. I'm embarrased to admit how much of the frosting I ate straight out of the bowl, but since that's a pretty vague statement, I'll just leave it at that.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Weight Loss Blog

I did end up creating a weight loss blog...

Claire's A Fat Girl's Name

So far there isn't much there, I just set it up last night.

Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken

We have had a fun, long day! My mom has a membership to the Desert Botanical Gardens here in Phoenix, and they currently have two exhibits going on we wanted to see. One is a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture exhibit and the other is their annual butterfly pavilion. My mom had seen the Chihuly exhibit already, but I really wanted to see it, and we wanted to take the boy to see the butterflies. Both exhibits end May 31st, and today wasn't supposed to be nearly as hot as it's been so we jumped for it. I'm glad we went--the blown glass was amazing. It was scattered throughout the gardens mixed in with the plants. The butterflies were really cool, too. We went last year to see that, and the boy was not at all interested. This year he really liked it. After the gardens we went to lunch at Rainforest Cafe, which to me is right up there with Chili's, Applebee's, and Olive Garden...places I would rather avoid eating at if I can. But, the boy really wanted to go there, and he had been really good at the gardens, so my mom and I decided to indulge him. It wasn't bad necessarily, but it wasn't worth the money they charge. I don't dig over-priced mediocre food. Anyway, I was hoping the boy and baby would nap at the same time so I could lay down for awhile, but of course that didn't happen.

Jen B. made this chicken last week, and it reminded me that I hadn't made it in quite awhile. The first time we had it, I LOVED it. I'm really excited to have it again. I'm going to make up a package of saffron rice (I've decided that even though it has MSG in it, we eat it rarely enough that I can keep buying it) and add in some black beans, and I'll also make glazed carrots to go along. Here's the link to the last time I made it:

Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy

I remembered a box of vegetarian sausage I had in my freezer when I was meal planning for the week and realized we hadn't had this in quite some time. We love having brinner (breakfast for dinner), so I thought it would be perfect. Plus it's really tasty!! I wish I could find Grands biscuits that are a little healthier, but we don't have this very often, so I figured I could splurge a little. And I did compare every single package--Pillsbury and store brand--to find the one that was the most nutritious. If anyone happened to be at the Laveen Safeway last night looking at the canned biscuits and wondered why the nutritional info was facing out on every package, that was why. ;)

Here's the recipe last time I did it--and there's even a picture!!

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy

I bought some hash browns to have along with this, and I might cook some eggs, too. I also have a lot of yummy fruit--blackberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, and apples--so I'm going to mix up a fruit salad as well.

BTW, I think I'm going to start a weight loss blog. I just saw the pictures my mom took on our San Diego trip, and I realize I'm quite the fat ass. Yeah, yeah...I just had a baby and all that...but it was still pretty gross. We have a few big events this summer that I'd like to lose some weight for, and I'm thinking if I blog about it and have some kind of daily accountability like that I might be more successful. But first I need to finish off the package of Double Chocolate Milano cookies in my pantry...I'd hate to see them go to waste. Ha...that explains a lot doesn't it. When I get it up and running I'll share the link here so you can all go along on my weight loss journey with me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cheese Ravioli with Pesto Sauce

I needed another easy dinner tonight since I'm not going grocery shopping until after my kids are in bed tonight. I much prefer going by myself because if I take both kids, the boy insists on getting one of those obnoxious car carts. Have you tried to push one of those around the store? Pain in the ass...especially since you really have to work at not running into things. Or at least I do. So, I try to avoid grocery shopping with both kids at all costs. It was pretty slim pickings around our house, so I had to be a little creative. I was looking for something in the garage freezer and saw a bag of frozen raviolis. Then in my pantry I noticed a packet of an organic pesto sauce I bought recently. Voila! Dinner for tonight was planned. I'm looking forward to trying the pesto mix. Dinner should be super easy to put together...boil water, add raviolis, mix up sauce, stir in some pine nuts (as recommended on the pesto packet), shave some parmesan on top, and then eat. I think I'll heat up some bread to have with it and either some peas or broccoli.

I'll be back tomorrow with a real dinner again!

Dream Dinners' Almond Chicken

Well, we're back from our week at the beach. How I wish I could afford to live in San Diego. I love the city, it's so temperate...I could easily live there if it wasn't so stinkin' expensive. We had a great time with Jen B. and her son and my mom, then my brother came down for the weekend from Seattle. It was a great time--we fit A LOT into a week. I'm still trying to recover. We got home late Sunday night, so yesterday was spent doing laundry and trying to get everything back in order. I wanted to stay home all day because the poor baby had been in his carrier basically for four days straight (Legoland on Thursday, San Diego Zoo on Friday, Knott's Berry Farm on Saturday, and driving home on Sunday. I said we did a lot--and that was only the last half of the week!), and I thought I'd have a baby mutiny on my hand if I tried to take him anywhere. The husband and I are also going to be leading a small group from our church, and we were supposed to have our first meeting tonight, so I needed something that didn't require a trip to the store and would be easy and fast since people were coming over at 6:30.

Luckily my MOMS Club went to Dream Dinners recently so I had some dinners from that stuck in my freezer. Dream Dinners is a genius idea, and frankly I kick myself for not thinking of something similar. You go to their store, which is basically a big kitchen with several stations, and prepare a bunch of meals to stick in your freezer. They provide all the ingredients, and everything goes in either Ziploc bags or disposable pans. Smart, huh? It's even fairly reasonably priced. They require you to order a minimum of 36 servings, and all entrees come in three or six serving sizes. Some of my friends and I went in together to get to the required 36 servings. That way we all got to try some of the dinners but didn't have to fork out all the money it would cost to do it yourselves. The dinners were between $11 and $14 dinners I think for the three serving sizes. If I worked I would definitely consider doing this on a regular basis, but since I normally have a well-stocked pantry and grocery shop based on what's on sale, it's not really a money saver for me. I would go in with friends again, though, as I like the idea of having some "go to" stuff in the freezer.

Almond Crusted Chicken
Adapted from: Dream Dinners

3 chicken breasts
1/4 cup of egg substitute or separated egg whites
3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Cooking spray
2 gallon sized zip top bags
sweet and sour sauce for dipping(optional)

Place chicken breast in a large zip top bag with egg substitute (or egg whites). Seal bag and turn until all chicken is well coated and set aside. In a separate bag add: Panko, almonds, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine and set aside. Now, take chicken bag and drain off excess egg mixture and remove the chicken. Then, add chicken pieces to the second bag with the Panko/almond mixture (discard the first bag that had the raw chicken and egg in it). Seal bag and shake to coat chicken.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place coated chicken on cookie sheet and place excess breadcrumb/almond mixture on top of each piece of chicken. Spray tops of chicken with additional cooking spray. Cook chicken for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked (internal temp. of 165 degrees F). Serve with sweet and sour sauce on the side, for dipping (optional).

*****

This was pretty good. Really easy to make and put together, even if you hadn't done it ahead of time and stuck it in the freezer. We had some couscous and green beans on the side. Unfortunately my camera was upstairs because I had uploaded all 573 pictures I took from our trip and forgot to bring the camera downstairs. And my point and shoot camera had an unfortunate run-in with the ocean when I was saving my son from nearly drowning and being swept out to sea.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Freezer Pancakes

I offered to make pancakes and freeze them to take along on our trip for breakfast while we're there. I love this pancake recipe, and the boy loves to help me mix up the batter. These are from the cookbook my message board put together.

Freezer Pancakes
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir until flour is moistened. Heat griddle or pan to medium heat, until drops of water sizzle when dropped on it. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon about 1/4 cup worth of batter for each pancake. Turn when the tops are bubbley and the edges look dry. Cook on other side until golden brown.

To freeze: Let pancakes cool compleely and stack in Ziploc bag either alone or in between sheets of wax paper for easier separation. To reheat, cook in microwave for about 1.5 minutes for every three pancakes.

*****

I add in some vanilla to the batter because I just like the taste it gives the pancakes. Sometimes I add in a tablespoon of ground flax seed. I doubled the recipe this time, and it made a TON of pancakes.

Three Cheese Enchiladas

I realized last night that I needed a new plan for tonight's dinner. I had originally put falafel on my menu plan, but I realized last night that all I had to go with it was hummus. So, I had to come up with something else. I wanted to stick with a vegetarian meal, but I couldn't come up with anything looking through my fridge, freezer, and pantry. So, I turned to RecipeZaar.com. I remembered I had just bought some goat cheese at Costco, so I searched on that and then narrowed it down to simple main dish recipes. This was one of the first that came up, and I have everything on hand--including some things I'd like to use up before we leave on Sunday. Perfect!! Now I just have to decide if the husband and I will wait and have dinner after the boy goes to bed.

Three-Cheese Enchiladas
Recipe #369657

1 medium yellow onion
1 small red bell pepper
4 scallions
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 ounces monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons salsa or taco sauce (hot or mild)
8 corn tortillas
1 (10 ounce) can red chili sauce or enchilada sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mince yellow onion; stem, seed, and finely dice bell pepper (there should be about 1/2 cup each). Mince scallions. Heat 2 t. oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper, half the scallions, and the cumin; cook, stirring frequently, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grate Monterey Jack cheese. Place half the grated cheese, the goat and cream cheeses, salsa, and onion mixture in mixing bowl; stir until blended.

Wipe out skillet. Heat remaining 1 T. oil in skillet over medium heat. Briefly cook tortillas, 1 at a time, in oil until pliable, not crisp, about 1 minute each side. Spoon cheese mixture onto tortillas and roll up, folding ends under. Place in 10x8-inch baking dish. Spoon red chili sauce over enchildadas. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and scallions. Bake until very hot, 15-20 minutes.

© 2009 Recipezaar

*****

I don't have a red pepper, so I'll have to come up with something else for that or just skip it. I don't have enough Monterey Jack cheese, so I figure I'll substitute cheddar. Oh, and I'm going to use whole wheat flour tortillas instead of corn. Reading over this recipe again, I'll probably increase the amount of each cheese...doesn't sound like a whole lot, and you know how we LOVE cheese!

*****

I didn't end up making these, but I'm keeping the post here because I want to make them at some point. My mom called that day inviting us to my aunt and uncle's house for dinner on Saturday night, so I moved the lasagna to Friday night.

Crockpot Marinara Sauce

I think I've mentioned that the boys and I are heading to San Diego for a week with my mom and Jen B. and her son. Since I don't want the husband to get pizza every night while we're gone, I thought I'd make lasagna on Saturday night so he'll have leftovers to eat throughout the week. I was looking through a vegetarian cookbook last weekend and saw a crockpot recipe for marinara sauce. I thought I could throw it in the crockpot today and it would be all ready for me to make lasagna with it tomorrow.

Crockpot Marinara Sauce
2 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 large onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in slow coker. Cover. Cook on low 8-10 hours.

*****

I used regular crushed tomatoes, and instead of the basil and oregano I just added in Italian seasoning instead. My house smells AMAZING with this cooking. It makes me want to have pasta for dinner tonight, but I don't want it two nights in a row.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chicken on the Grill

I'm not really sure what to call this dinner tonight. I'm using my most favorite chicken marinade, but I'm using a whole chicken splayed out in all her glory on the grill. So, "Chicken on the Grill" it is. I got a late start on dinner because we had my MOMS Club Mother's Day party this afternoon, and I was too busy gabbing with friends and feeding the baby to realize what time it was and that we needed to get our butts home to get this chicken on the grill. At least I got it marinating during naptime this afternoon.

We went to Jen B's for dinner one night last summer, and they grilled a chicken like this. My uncle has grilled chicken like this before, too, and I've wanted to try it for awhile. I'm not sure why I haven't before now. I saw a whole chicken in my freezer last week and thought I might as well try it. I wasn't sure how to season it, but I thought this marinade would be good because it's good on chicken breasts. The recipe below is a combination of the marinade recipe and what to do with the chicken. I'm blatantly copying and pasting the directions from Jen's blog. I hope she doesn't mind.

Chicken on the Grill
1 whole chicken (mine was 4 pounds)
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 soy sauce
1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dried ginger
salt and pepper

Remove the giblets (if there are any) from the cavity of the chicken. Flip the chicken onto its breast. Using poultry shears, cut down both sides of the backbone from tail to neck; discard backbone. Or, if you don't have shears, lay the bird on its back, insert a long heavy knife into the body cavity and press down hard with a rocking motion to cut down through both sides of the backbone. Open the bird out onto your work surface, breast side up. Make sure that the legs are turned inward. Using your fist or a mallet, wallop the bird on the breast, hard enough to dislodge the center bones and flatten out the breast. Twist the last joint of the wings up over the breast and then down behind the "shoulders," tucking them in firmly to keep them in place during grilling.

Mix together remaining ingredients. Place chicken in a 9x13 glass pan and pour marinade over the top. Marinate in fridge for a couple hours, turning chicken halfway. Heat one side of a gas grill to medium. If you have a grill with three burners, heat the outer two to medium, leaving the center one off. Or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash and about medium-hot; bank half the coals to one side of the grill, half to the other.

Lay in the center of the grill (it will not be over direct heat). Cook, without turning, basting from time to time with any remaining marinade, until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced deeply with a fork (an instant-read thermometer should register about 160 degrees when inserted at the thickest part of the thigh), about 45 minutes. If you're cooking over charcoal, you'll want to add more charcoal to the fire after an hour or so - the internal temperature of the grill should stay at about 325 degrees. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. It will lose less juice if you cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

*****

I forgot to add the garlic to my marinade. I can't believe I did that after all the times I've made this. Ugh. Oh well, hopefully it won't make that much difference. I have to say, getting the chicken ready was pretty disgusting. If I hadn't shared it before, I used to have issues eating meat. If it had a bone in it, I couldn't eat it...it reminded me that once upon a time said meat was walking around. I'm slowly getting over it, but cutting out the backbone of the chicken may have made me take a couple steps back. It seemed so inhumane and gross. Jen B. assures me it gets easier to handle and that I'll get over it. We'll see.

*****

Okay, this chicken was tasty. It was so juicy and moist and tender. Jen may be right, and I will get over the grossness of cutting the backbone out of the chicken. This was a really easy way to cook a chicken, too. I just threw it on the grill, checked on it once about halfway through, and that was it. Our grill has four burners, so I turned on the two outside burners and left the two middles ones off. Our grill has a temerature gauge on the top of it, and it stayed between 325 and 350 the whole time. My only complaint was that the marinade didn't really soak into the chicken at all. Next time I might loosen the skin a bit to see if that would help it seep under the skin and get on the meat, since we don't eat the skin (although I did take a few bites because it was super yummy!!). The husband ended up dipping his chicken in barbecue sauce, so I thought next time I might try basting it with barbecue sauce and put some under the skin before putting it on the grill. I'll definitely cook a chicken like this again!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lentil Burritos

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Since I didn't stick with the right heritage for St. Patrick's Day I thought for this holiday I should try and make something befitting the day. I needed something vegetarian, and I was trying to use up items I had on hand since we're heading out of town soon. Jen B. made these lentil burritos recently and really liked them, so I figured I'd give them a try since I had some lentils in my pantry already. I don't think they're very authentic, but burritos are, right? Maybe. I may have to have a margarita along with dinner because it's just been that kind of day.

Jen found this recipe on a great budget-friendly blog, $5 Dollar Dinners. I've read it a few times but need to be better about checking it because I love finding new, inexpensive dinners to make. I just wanted to give credit where credit was due!

Lentil Burritos
From: $5Dinners.com

1 cup white or brown rice
1 cup lentils, any color
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt/pepper
6-8 tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese

Directions:
1. Cook rice. In saucepan, bring 2.5 cups of water or chicken broth to boil. Add 1 cup of white or brown rice. Return to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. For white rice, cook for 20 minutes. For brown rice, cook for 50 minutes.
2. Cook lentils. In saucepan, add 1 cup of lentils plus water to cover lentils by an inch. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain any excess water.
3. Combine rice, lentils and can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles. Stir in garlic powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper.
4. Lay tortillas (corn or flour…whichever you prefer!) out and spoon rice/lentil mixture into the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and roll up. Place burritos in 8×8 baking dish.
5. Place lentil burritos in a warm oven (250) for about 20 minutes, giving cheese time to melt. Don’t leave in too long or the tortillas will get crispy!

*****

Mine are in the oven now. Jen's family really liked these, and I hope we do too. This is only my second time using lentils, and the first attempt was kind of a bomb. I filled up six tortillas and put them in a 12x8 casserole dish. I have at least half the filling mix left, so if we like these I'm going to try freezing what's left to have a quick, easy dinner for another night. I'm going to make some guacamole to go along with these and have that and Tostitos as a side.

*****

I didn't need to have low expectations for these at all--they were great! They were really filling tasty. I'd maybe add in some additional green chilies next time to add a little more flavor, but they were fine on their own. I'm glad it ended up making so much--we'll gladly have this again!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

Awhile back I saw a link somewhere to get a free coupon book from Eat Better America, so I signed up for it. A few weeks later I got a booklet with coupons and a bunch of healthy recipes. Sweet! This one struck me the first time I saw it, but then I forgot about it for awhile. Then I've had it on my menu for the past couple weeks but kept pushing it back for some reason. Well tonight was finally the night!! Thankfully I even found the recipe on their website, so I didn't have to type it all out--woo hoo!

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each)
1 box (10 oz) Cascadian Farm® frozen organic cut spinach, thawed, well drained
2 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), softened
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fat-free egg product
12 stone-ground wheat crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Muir Glen® organic Italian herb pasta sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1 oz)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick.
2. In medium bowl, mix spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon basil and the garlic until blended. Spread about 1 tablespoon spinach mixture over each chicken breast; roll up tightly. If necessary, secure with toothpicks.
3. In small shallow bowl, place egg product. In another small shallow bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 1 teaspoon basil and the pepper. Dip each chicken breast into egg product; coat with crumb mixture. Place seam side down in baking dish.
4. Bake uncovered 20 minutes. Pour pasta sauce over chicken; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted in center of chicken reads 165°F. Remove toothpicks from chicken before eating.

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories 290 (Calories from Fat 100); Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 4 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 100mg; Sodium 450mg; Total Carbohydrate 10g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 3g); Protein 38g

*****

The chicken breasts I used were pretty big; I cut them each in half and had just enough filling for all of them. The only thing I changed was using some homemade Italian bread crumbs I had in my freezer instead of the crackers. Oh and I used garlic powder instead of real garlic. I had some stuff for sale on Craigslist, and someone responded to one of the ads, and it turned out she is a fire fighter. We went to drop off the stuff to her at the fire station where she works, and we ended up getting a private tour of the fire station and the fire engine!! Pretty cool! But, they were out on a call when we got there, so we ended up getting home late because we had to wait a bit, which meant I was scrambling to get dinner going because I hadn't thought to take out the chicken breasts before we left. Oops.

Anyway, I'm writing this after we've eaten, so I'll let you know that it was super tasty. I LOVED it. The boy ate every bite on his plate (that doesn't happen very often). The husband said he liked it but he thought it was too much spinach. I told him next time maybe I'd cut back on the spinach and increase the cream cheese. I would definitely make this again!

Oh, and I took a picture, but the one from the website sure looks a lot nicer, so I'm just putting that in here. Cheating, I know, but it does the dish a lot more justice than my pic.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fettuccine with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I'm drawing a blank on any interesting commentary today, so I'll just get right to it. I recently checked out Ellie Krieger's cookbook from the library. It's one I'm definitely going to add to my collection. This recipe is one from that, although I found it also on the Food Network website so I didn't have to type it all out. Woo hoo!

Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce
Ellie Krieger, 2006 All rights reserved

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among pasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

*****

I'm pretty sure this is the exact same as in the cookbook. I think we'll just have some bread and salad with this, maybe some broccoli.

*****

I thought this was just okay. If I had everything on hand and needed a quick dinner I'd make it, but I don't think I'd plan on making it again. I have other feta/pasta recipes I like a lot better than this.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Salmon Burgers with Scallion Cream Cheese

Have you been wondering what happened to me? We've had a crazy week and haven't been having anything interesting for dinner, so I didn't bother to update. Tuesday night we had a tofu stir fry that was similar to the Peanutty Udon Noodles with Tofu I made awhile back, only I didn't use any noodles. So really it was just tofu, a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and the Thai peanut sauce I bought at Costco. Wednesday night we had some pizzas I got at Costco. Yesterday I was taking dinner to a friend that just had a baby, so we had the same thing that I took them--macaroni and cheese and pigs in a blanket. We were originally going to have these salmon burgers last night, but when I told the husband what I was taking to my friend, he requested we have that too. Actually he asked if I could set aside a couple of the pigs in a blanket for him, but I thought that was tacky, so I changed our menu plan a bit. I was kind of bummed because I've been so excited for these burgers, but it all worked out.

So, this recipe is from the Meal Planning 101 blog I like so much. Jen B. made it a few weeks ago and invited me over for lunch for the leftovers. Lordy mama, were these ever tasty!! The husband isn't a big fan of salmon, but he'll just have to tough it out because I cannot live the rest of my life without consuming these again. I happened to find some salmon fillets on manager's special recently, so I felt the stars were aligning for me to make this.

The title of the recipe links to the recipe post on the original website.

Salmon Burgers with Scallion Cream Cheese
4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets, cut into large chunks
1 tbsp grill seasoning
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice

Lettuce,
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Crusty kaiser rolls, split and toasted

Place the chunks of salmon in the food processor and pulse just until the salmon is coarsely ground. Transfer the meat to a mixing bowl and add grill seasoning, poppy seeds, sesame seeds and dill. Mix until everything is combined well. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form into burger patties. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over each side of the burger.

Preheat your grill or a frying pan over medium high heat. If using a grill, spray with cooking spray and if using frying pan drizzle a bit of olive oil in the pan. I like my burgers well done so I cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. If you like your salmon still a bit pink in the middle, cook only 3 minutes on each side. If using your stove top, turn your oven on to broil.

While the salmon burgers are cooking, mix together the softened cream cheese and green onions. Stir in the sour cream. Place the crusty rolls face down on the grill or under the broiler, and toast.

Assemble the burgers by spreading the scallion cream cheese over the toasted buns, top with the salmon burger, a piece of lettuce, tomato and onion.

*****

Mmmmm...I cannot wait for dinner tonight! I think I might do them on the grill and grill some potatoes along with them. I remember having a grilled potato recipe that I made last summer which we really liked, so I think I'll dig that up and make. I also need to make whole wheat hamburger buns this afternoon to go with these. It's going to be a busy afternoon in my kitchen because today is my grandma's 91st birthday, and tomorrow night is her birthday dinner. I'm making creme brulee for dessert for her dinner, so I need to whip that up today as it has to sit overnight. You have no idea how many times I've been reminding myself this week that I need to do that today.

I'm so glad it's almost the weekend. This week has been crazy busy and next week isn't looking to be any better. Then the boys and I are going to San Diego for a week with my mom. I'll be glad when things start to calm down--although hopefully a week of hanging out on the beach will be calming.

*****

Sadly, I don't think we'll be having these again. I was the only one that liked them. I gave the boy half a burger, and he ate the bottom bun and that was it. The husband ate his but said he's still burned out on salmon. Sigh. I was really hoping these would turn him around on salmon so we could have them again.