Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Food Survery

1. How do you like your eggs? Scrambled...Very Well Done...Some would call it rubbery, but I can't stand "gooey" eggs!
2. How do you take your coffee/tea? I don't like coffee or tea!
3. Favorite breakfast food? Everything!!! I LOVE breakfast!!!
4. Peanut butter: Smooth or crunchy? Crunchy
5. What kind of dressing on your salad? Hmmmm, depends on my mood. Italian or Ranch.
6. Coke or Pepsi? Coke if it's from Nordstrom Cafe...but otherwise Dr. Pepper. Pepsi's too sweet.
7. You’re feeling lazy, what do you make? A phone call to Eric who will stop somewhere on his way home!
8. You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order? Canadian Bacon with Pineapple and Green Bell Peppers.
9. You feel like cooking. What do you make? Some kind of go with Pasta of course!
10. Do any foods bring back good memories? A lot of foods bring back good memories-too many to name! Chuck E. Cheese Pizza (where I spent most of my first few birthdays), Tootie-Frooties the cereal (whenever I got to stay home from school I would eat them for breakfast), Disneyland Churros (whenever we used to go as a family), Cherry Pop-Tarts (going camping with the cousins at Carlsbad Beach), and Fuddrucker's Hamburgers (reminds me of our Sunday afternoon tradition when Eric and I were dating.)
11. Do any foods bring back bad memories? Hmmm. Ginger ale. When I was in the hospital when I was 8, I threw up about 10 feet away after drinking ginger ale. Also Baked Turkey Breast. That was the last meal I ate before I started getting Morning Sickness while pregnant with Taylor.
12. Do any foods remind you of someone? Taquitos remind me of my Mom, I remember going to Salazar's when I was little...Baked Chicken and Mashed Potatoes remind me of my Grandparents for sure.
13. Is there a food you refuse to eat? Raw anything. Especially Sushi.
14. What was your favorite food as a child? Cheese Pizza, Buttered Noodles. Plain stuff.
15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like? Most things. I was a very picky kid. Any kind of pasta sauce, especially pesto and cream sauce. Vegetables. Salad.
16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate? Hmmmm, no.
17. Favorite fruit and vegetable? Fruit-Any of them; Vegetable-Zucchini
18. Favorite junk food? Anything sweet!
19. Favorite between meal snack? Granola bars or fruit snacks.
20. Do you have any weird food habits? Just that I love breakfast 24 hours a day!
21. You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on? Salad and bread. Bread's okay on a diet, right?
22. You’re off your diet. Now what would you like? Pizza, Enchiladas, Bread, Pasta, Burgers...I'm affectionately known as the "Carb Queen."
23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai? I don't like ANY Indian or Thai food.
24. Can I get you a drink? Ice cold Coke from Nordstrom cafe.
25. Red or White Wine? I don't drink the stuff, but I love using Red Wine to cook with!
26. Favorite dessert? Oh, where do I start!??!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chicken Noodle Soup

I woke up from a nap on Sunday feeling achy, tired, and overall "blah." So, what better meal than Chicken Noodle Soup?? I sauteed up some carrots and celery in butter glorious butter, then added some organic free range chicken broth, a rotisserie chicken from Vons, and a bunch of chicken-y spices like parsley, sage, rosemary, and marjoram. (You keep waiting for me to say Thyme, but I'm not going to!!! :) Anyway, as icky as I was feeling, there was still enough time to make some homemade French Bread. I started feeling much better after dinner--and a warm bath. I'm looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today!

Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles

The latest recipe I had Eric try for our Saturday Morning Breakfasts were these Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles. They turned out pretty good, although they were significantly improved with a bit of vanilla to the batter. Next time I would like them to be a little sweeter, but I have a sweet tooth, so I'm probably not the best one to ask. But, served with Scrambled Eggs and a Banana, Eric made my day by starting the morning off right--with a tasty breakfast!

Poor Little Pasta...

So imagine this delicious Italian Feast...
Homemade Pasta Noodles baked in a combination sauce of Homemade Pesto, mixed with Italian Sausage, Ricotta, Bell Peppers and some wonderful Italian Herbs and spices. Mmmmm. Look how wonderful this pasta looks. (This was hour 5 of the endeavor. Long process indeed!)
Now to mix the noodles---UH OH!! This is going to end poorly. My noodles turned to mush!! Apparently I was supposed to let them air dry for several hours before cooking. My recipe didn't say that! Thanks a lot Michael Chiarello!
Eric ate it. I think he ate it just so I would stop pouting. (I ate the homemade bread and that was it. Oh, and a pop tart.) The filling was awesome...BUT, next time I'll try it on *REAL* pasta that came out of a box.

Mexican Chicken Rice Bowls--I HATE MAKING RICE!!!

I don't know what it is, but I cannot make rice to save my life! Take these Mexican Chicken Rice Bowls for example. Delicious spiced Chicken with Bell Peppers, Black Beans, Corn, and started out great! (Well, after I had to dig out the pieces of parsley I thought were cilantro, we were on our way to a pretty good meal!) Then I took the lid off my rice that had been cooking for an hour. STILL HARD AS ROCK! Ugh!!! (Last time I ever buy rice from the bulk bin at Sprouts without directions!) Then I get out my Minute Rice. I tried to add a little garlic and olive oil to flavor it, but I guess you can't do that to Minute Rice. It never absorbed the water! So, I had to strain the Minute Rice, and still we had a decent meal. Now, if someone could just help me make some good rice!!!
Rice attempt #1
Rice attempt #2
The finished product, despite the rice debacle.Dinner the next night--a much smarter idea--no rice! :)

Sloppy Joes (again)

I liked these Sloppy Joes so much I decided to make them again this week! The best part of the meal was the Homemade Focaccia Rolls. The Macaroni Salad and Buttered Carrots were pretty good too. This time I only used half the dressing for the Macaroni Salad, but I think I liked it better with all the dressing, just a little extra pasta. One-half was not quite enough dressing, while the full recipe yields too much. So, just adding a cup or two of extra pasta is a better bet.

White Bean and Ham Soup

Last weekened I made a giant ham--8.5 lbs to be exact--so I had plenty of leftovers for this White Bean and Ham Soup. (Not to mention the 10 C of ham I froze!) It was pretty good. I used Instant Potato Flakes to thicken up the soup--all my "real" potatoes had gone soft--and I can't stand the thought of Ham Soup without potatoes!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Wonderful Husband

My sweet husband made me a healthy* and delicious breakfast on Saturday. It was great to relax and enjoy being I know how Taylor feels!*By healthy, I mean "not overly unhealthy." Ignore the bacon. And the butter...and Crisco...and the pancakes. Eggs are healthy.

Italian Sausage Bow Tie Pasta with Homemade Herbed French Bread

This dish started out as a recipe, but ended as my own creation. To a pound of bowtie pasta, I added one red, and one green bell pepper, one zucchini, some spinach, asparagus, and pine nuts. Oh, and italian sausage of course. Add plenty of garlic, basil, parsley, and crushed red pepper. The sauce was going to be a beef broth-wine mixture, but I forgot the wine part a little too late, and no use adding it at the end...which I might have done had it been a stressful day, but no. I defrosted a loaf of my amazing French Bread, which I slathered with EVOO and sprinkled garlic powder, parsley and basil on before baking, and VOILA, uh, this is Italian food, PRESTO, dinner!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Snickerdoodles and Kitchen Sink Cookies

Becca made Snickerdoodles last week, and being the wonderful little baker she is, she inspired me to make my own batch. Using the same recipe as Becca, I made 2 dozen delightfully delicious, soft and chewy cookies.

Since Eric is not a Snickerdoodle kind of guy, (just the word "Snickerdoodle" is not very tough and manly, so I can understand), I made him Kitchen Sink cookies. These cookies have "everything but the kitchen sink" and are AMAZING. I used Rice Krispies instead of Cornflakes (much better), Coconut, Oats, and Chocolate Chips.

Lime Chicken Tacos with Black Beans, Chips, and Guacamole

This was a pretty popular choice on last weeks poll...Lime Chicken Tacos with Black Beans, Chips, and Guacamole. I was planning on serving the beans on the side, but I didn't have any clean pots or pans that I could use to heat them up. So, I just added the beans to the chicken while it was simmering, and I would definitely do that again. It gave the beans a great flavor, and really tied the dish together. I have been on a guacamole kick lately, and really enjoy the Wholly Guacamole packs from Costco. This was a very tasty meal, that actually lasted us two nights.

General Tsao's Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

My Mom gave me a bottle of Trader Joe's General Tsao's stir fry sauce a few months ago, and I have just gotten over my fear of "spicy" foods, so we made it this week. SO GOOD! I highly recommend this sauce. I used a plethora of fresh ingredients, including asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, celery, chicken, corn, pineapple, snap peas, and zucchini. It was great served over white rice.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells--Sara Style

I made these incredible stuffed shells for my Dad's poker night. All the guys raved, and so did my Husband...I even snuck one, and Taylor didn't seem to mind the tomatoes, onions, and dairy...I kind of did "a little here, a little there", sort of thing, but here's the basic idea...

2 LB sweet italian sausage, casings discarded
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 bag 10 oz baby spinach
1 onion chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
32 oz. ricotta cheese
12 oz. mozzerella cheese
1 C parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 box (12 oz.) large pasta shells
2 (16 oz) jars spaghetti sauce
In a large skillet, saute italian sausage, garlic, and onion until sausage is close to done.
Add bell peppers, cook until peppers are slightly crispy and sausage is cooked, brown and crumbly.
Add spinach until wilted.
Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix cheeses, and seasonings. Taste and adjust as necessary.
When flavor is good, add the eggs, and stir until well combined.
Add cheese mixture to cooled meat mixture.
Cook pasta shells as directed, until al dente, or still fairly hard on the bottoms.
Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking process.
Stuff meat and cheese mixture into shells.
Spread some sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
Place stuffed shells in baking dish.
Top with the rest of the sauce, and a little parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until bubbly.

Pulled Pork with Macaroni Salad and Maple Dill Carrots

There was only one word to describe this meal...DELISH! The Pulled Pork, Macaroni Salad, and Maple Dill Carrots paired together perfectly. I didn't get a chance to make homemade French Rolls, but maybe next time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This Week's Menu

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Homemade Macaroni Salad
Maple Carrots with Dill Butter

Eric: Stuffed Shells
Sara: Pancakes and Eggs

General Tsao's Chicken Stir Fry
White Rice

Lime Chicken Tacos
Refried Beans
Chips and Guacamole

Lime Chicken Tacos
Refried Beans
Chips and Guacamole

Italian Sausage Pasta in Homemade Bread Bowls
Balsamic Asparagus

BBQ Steak Kebobs
Grilled Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus

Baked Ham
Green Beans

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oatmeal Waffles

So, this is how our Saturday morning went...
Eric: "What do you want me to make you for breakfast?" (I'm serious, he likes to make me breakfast on Saturdays. I have the perfect husband, thank you.)
Sara: "I don't know."
(Sara goes upstairs to her trusted, and comes down with this recipe...
Eric: "Okay, I'll make these. Have you seen the baking powder?"
Sara: "It expired. I threw it away. Use Baking Soda plus Cream of Tartar."
(They spend the next 20 minutes looking for Cream of Tartar, until phone rings. It's Mom.)
Sara: "Have you seen my Cream of Tartar, Mom?"
Mom: "You left it at my house."
Sara: "CRAPPOLA! Eric, take the baking soda out of the trash!"
(Eric takes baking soda out of trash and uses it. We're not dead yet, thank heavens."

So, here are the Oatmeal Waffles Eric made, topped with my Spiced Sliced Apples. Really good. The oatmeal makes it seem healthy. We won't talk about the butter content...

Balsamic Garlic Chicken

This was pretty good. Despite my usual aversion to the fungi, I actually liked the mushrooms in this dish. Also topped with Feta Cheese, it was a very easy, and pretty tasty one-pot meal.
I served it with Smashed Red Potatoes and cooked Carrots. I have found that cooking my carrots in my potato water alleviates the need to season the carrots. At least it makes me feel like I'm cooking a little healthier!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sloppy Joe Night!

Remember that French Baguette recipe I fell in love with a couple weeks ago? Well, turns out they make AWESOME french rolls too! Before I baked the rolls, I topped them with olive oil, garlic powder, basil, and parsley, then baked them at 375 about 12-14 minutes. They were the perfect shape, size, and consistency to hold our Sloppy Joes...Firm and held their shape, but soft and chewy when eaten. Mmmm mmmmm mmmm! Speaking of the Sloppy Joes, they were pretty awesome too... only had spicy brown mustard, which was a little strong, so I might decrease that amount next time. Otherwise, served with the warm Spiced, Sliced Apples, and Roasted Potato and Carrot slices, it was a perfect meal. I can't wait to enjoy the leftovers for dinner tonight!

Anatomy of A Great Sandwich

First, take some homemade Focaccia Bread. Then spread some homemade Red Pepper, Green Onion, and Spinach Pesto on each side of said Focaccia Bread.
Next, layer Turkey, Bacon Glorious Bacon, and Swiss Cheese...
Wrap in foil to create a Packet of Deliciousness.. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes until hot and cheesy gooey...
Serve with Chips, and Warm Homemade Spiced Apple Slices. I used this recipe: But, I kept the apple slices whole instead of mashing them.

Steak Fajitas

These Steak Fajitas were from Everyday With Rachael Ray and they were very good. I will have to post the recipe soon...Very easy too. And, a good way to use some of the $1.99 sirloin that was on sale at Albertson's last week. (I ended up buying 8lbs, so we still have plenty on hand!) The beans and corn were good...just threw in some black beans with frozen corn, cilantro, and some spices...could use some tweaking, though. And, the Mexican Rice was NOT good. Something about me and rice...Unless it says "Minute Rice" on the box, I am horrible at making "real" rice. All in all, though, this was a very good meal...Until we went to have the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday, and the tortillas were moldy. Oops. Fajita Nachos anyone??

Monday, February 23, 2009

Steak Vegetable Soup

I'm not sure why I didn't love this soup...I like everything I put in there! Steak, Carrots, Celery, Zucchini, Spinach, Potatoes, Rice, and Garlic...Parsley, Basil, Salt, Pepper and of course Red Wine...It just turned out a little bland. I really don't know what I did wrong. On the other end of this meal, a Bread Tragedy occurred and I can't put my finger on it...I took one of my loaves out of the freezer and defrosted it like normal, but it soon developed an "off" smell and a strange freakish crust appeared. Baking it only made it worse. The color was different and it remained raw on the inside while burning on the outside. Weird. I made Garlic Toast instead. Not Italian Bread, but at least it fulfilled my Carb Requirement for the meal.
As with most soups, this one improved with age. This was the second night of the soup, and even the picture looks better. I made some French Bread, covered it with EVOO and sprinkled some parsley, basil, and garlic powder on it. So yummy. Is it wrong that we ate the entire loaf in 10 minutes? I didn't think so either.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Menu for the Week

Saturday and Sunday
2/21 and 2/22
Beef Stew
Italian Bread

Steak Fajitas
Black Beans and Corn
Tortilla Chips and Guacamole

Turkey Bacon Paninis on Homemade Focaccia Bread
Apple Slices

Sloppy Joes
Carrot Sticks

Thursday and Friday
2/26 and 2/27
Balsamic-Garlic Chicken
Roasted Potatoes and Zucchini
French Bread

Saturday and Sunday
2/28 and 3/1
Shepherd's Pie

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now This Was Good!

If you know me at all, you know that I consider great bread to be the hallmark of a great meal. This french bread (as referenced in a previous post) has an amazing store-bought flavor without the store-bought price. Not to mention that I can eat it straight out of the oven. Many a time have I waited the extra half-hour at Vons for them to bring out the warm bread, then proceeded to stuff my face and finish half the loaf before getting into the car...But, my carbaholic issues aside, this is seriously good bread. The recipe calls for an egg wash, but every time I do that it ends up tasting more like scrambled eggs than this time I melted a little butter and brushed it on before baking. Mmmm, isn't this a regal shot? This bread deserves it... Oh yeah, dinner. I cut said bread into sandwich size, and since I had a ton of leftover chicken that wasn't "casseroled" last night, I decided to make sandwiches out of it. I also made some mashed potatoes I cut up, covered in olive oil and spices for a few hours before boiling them...and carrots that were cooked in said potato water, which was quite tasty. Now this is lunch today, and I must admit I'm looking forward to it. At a complete loss for dinner ideas tonight...any suggestions?

Not A Hit...

So, I had this awesome idea for dinner the other night. I put 3 lbs of chicken breasts in the crock pot with a can of chicken broth and some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce...shredded it, added some black beans and corn...and made some Homemade Buttermilk Cornbread to put on top to bake like a casserole. Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it wasn't baaaad, but it wasn't that great. The cornbread dried up a bit on me...Next!!!

Nothing Better Than Soup...

Or Homemade Fresh French Bread when you're sick. Well, actually we have been able to fight it off so far (knock on wood), with the help of Zicam, orange juice, and bananas; but Taylor wasn't so lucky. And, having a sick 6 month old who won't sleep is more than enough to crave comfort food. This bread is my new favorite. So good. So good. Did I already say that?
So, here's our soup. It was sure good! I sauteed up some carrots and celery in butter. You can never go wrong with butter. Then added 6 C chicken broth, 2 C water, 2 C cooked shredded chicken...I love my FoodSaver. (I had frozen some shredded chicken last time I roasted a whole bird.) And, finally some egg noodles. Oh, and some parsley, sage, rosemary, and marjoram. You were waiting for me to say thyme, weren't you??? And, served with the delicious crusty french bread, it was the perfect meal for a sick, rainy day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day

My sweet husband knows I love steak...and potatoes...and it's quite easy to find a romantic meal for moi. Eric q'ued it up. Grilled the steak and potatoes...Filet Mignon no less. They had it on sale at Henry's. It actually ended up costing less than dinner at In'N'Out would have, so I didn't feel bad about it...Anyway, throw in some Focaccia Bread, and you've got yourself the perfect V-Day meal.
Then for dessert...Cookies. Yes, cookies. Yummy heart shaped cookies. Actually, these were not the cookies I made, but I didn't take a picture of my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Masterpiece, so this will have to do. I made these last week, and they weren't great, but Eric was appreciative of the "I" "Heart" "U" cookie shape. I do love my husband...on every day, not just Valentine's Day...But, a Steak Dinner doesn't hurt either :)

Rotini with Proscuitto in White Wine Sauce

As is the common theme for most of my meals, the best part of this meal was the bread I don't add the onion, just top it with all kinds of good herbs and parmesan cheese. Of course, not to take anything away from the pasta, which was great too. It was made from a whole bunch of leftover stuff in my fridge. Spinach, pine nuts, proscuitto...for the sauce I melted 1/4 C of butter and added some white wine and garlic until it was tasty, then I added the fixins', the pasta, and mixed it all together. Yummy!

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Pesto

This was pretty stinkin' good. Homemade Italian Bread, with a Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Pesto, topped with Pancetta. Pancetta was a bit too salty, but the pesto was awesome. I did 1 C packed spinach leaves, 4 oz or so roasted red peppers from the jar, 2 cloves garlic, 3 TBS pine nuts ,5 TBS parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 C olive oil. I think. I kind of forgot, so you'd have to taste and adjust as you go...But, the real star of this meal was the bread. Mmmmm!

Hello There!

Hello to all my fans and groupies...okay, friends and family. With the suggestion of my sister, I've decided to set up a blog. This is probably because my family is tired of hearing "Guess what I made for dinner last night?" Now, they can just say "I'll check the blog later...So, how about this weather?"

Well, enjoy...good eats, bon appetit, blah blah blah, and all that good stuff!