Monday, September 29, 2008

Ziti (penne) with spinach & tomatoes (repeat)

I made this grown up mac n cheese today, at wirrek's suggestion, and let me just reiterate that this is a fantastic meal! I can never eat cream sauces because of the butter, but this was awesome. DH loved it as well, and said that wirrek's DH was right about it being such a great meal.

I hate repeating what has already been posted, but this really is good. I added quite a bit more spinach and used vine tomatoes instead of grapes (cost). Can't wait to make it again.

I served it with toast that I rubbed a half piece of garlic on.

Bahn Mi


I think I really tried to do some different things this month. This sandwich was something I would never have tried in the past. However, pork tenderloin is my new favorite go-to meal, so using it in a sandwich seemed right up my ally.

This recipe was in the section about cravings, and how people who work there crave spicy, ethnic food. Personally, don't see what is wrong with eating ethnic food. I mean, look at this, it is like a salad on a sandwich. I have never had real bahn mi though...they must really like it there in Birmingham. ;)

As written, this was just ok, but I could definately see way to tweak it and make it better. Imagine if you had leftover pork, made a hot-sour-salty-sweet dressing, add some bread and veggies, and TA-DA! meal #2.

I made this last week, and only got around to posting now. It has been a busy time!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sizzling Shrimp with Corn Relish

I actually made this Sizzling Shrimp with Corn Relish at the same time as the artichoke dip, which sounds like an odd combination. Funny enough, the cheesy flavor of the dip was so different that I don't think it was a massive collision. This dish gets raves reviews, yet again. It seems that some of my favorite new dishes are shrimp dishes. I love that I can throw in a bunch of corn and call it a balanced meal!
I get bonus points for taking two pictures in the same night, even if the bread/dip below is missing a bite or two!

Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip

I NEVER make appetizers, so it's a really big deal when I attempt something new. Tonight was this Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip, served with some toasted baguettes, and it was absolutely delicious. DH loved it too, and we are already planning to make it for friends of ours or when we have company.

The only substitution is that I couldn't find frozen artichoke hearts, so I just bought a can and drained all the juice. I would do the exact same thing next time.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I am totally not able to contribute this month and my reasoning is tri-fold.

First- I am a nauseated, vomitting freak of nature

B- We have no power.

III- We had a little mishap in the kitchen due to Mr. Ike.

You guys are doing great! Keep it up!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Mexican Chili Verde


Even though it has still been hot here, I decided to give this "chili" a try. It is really more of a soup and it would be a nice meal to some recent victims of strep throat. I actually made it last sunday, and we tried to eat it on Monday. There was only 6 aneheim peppers at the store, so I also got pablanos. However, when roasting, SOMETHING was very spicy...not the mild as promised in the recipe. I ended up using all 6 aneheim peppers, and only 2 pablanos. DH (with strep)still thought it was too spicy for his throat, however, my 2 year old (recent recovery from strep) ate it up. It was a very simple tasting dish, but pretty good. I think would be really good with some HATCH chili peppers, but more about that next month ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Turkey-Ricotta Meatballs

These meatballs are on page 18, but not online for some reason. They are very flavorful and I definitely recommend them. I did sub half seasoned breadcrumbs, so maybe that helped:

Turkey-Ricotta Meatballs

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used seasoned)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt (probably needed a little more)
1 lb lean ground turkey

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients and shape into about 18 meatballs. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add meatballs and brown on all sides (mine started falling apart right here). Remove from skillet and transfer to broiler pan and bake for 15 minutes or until done (I used a regular pan).

Throw them on spaghetti with some sauce in a jar and eat it all until your belly feels full.

Ham and Egg Fried Rice

Sorry, no picture this time. It was gone before I knew it. I tried this fried rice recipe out last night. Very good, standard fried rice recipe. If you put the effort into all the prep work, the dish comes together really quickly. I subbed diced, dark meat chicken for the ham and cooked it a little longer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Announcement for next month

Kerri asked me to come up with an idea for next month and I immediately thought about suggesting a product challenge. Since returning to the States I'm overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the choices we have. So this next month will be a time to show off or try for the first time your favorite brands, internet food sites and of course share any tips, recipes, etc for using this product. I'm giving you a couple of weeks advance notice in case anyone wants to order special products online. Anything goes, so use your imagination and don't assume that we all know about a product ... there should be plenty of posting! Let me know if you have questions.

*** Clarification ***
For example, someone once submitted a soup recipe that included a Wolf Brand chili kit (I'm still looking for this). This is a great example because the poster said the recipe doesn't turn out as well if you use another brand's chili kit. This is a great example of a product challenge because she submitted a recipe and included a specific brand name to one of the ingredients. Also, some people have posted recipes using Rancho Gordo beans that they ordered online ... another great example. Or, don't even submit a recipe and grab a boxed Pad Thai kit (or whatever strikes you) and give us your review of it - no recipe needed. Any supermarket or website product is fair game.

Pizza Margherita

I'm a sucker for homemade pizza so I thought I would try this one out. I had a few things go awry with this one starting with the crust. First, I didn't pay attention to the amount of dry yeast and used the whole package. You would think this would create a fluffy dough but it didn't rise very much at all and I was left with a plate sized pizza ... maybe this is the size it was supposed to be. Who knows. It actually didn't taste too bad considering I think I overhandled the dough. I think I prefer Rachel Ray's pizza crust over this one ... but it wasn't a bad try.

Venison, Sausage, and Black Bean Chili (or close)

I made this Venison, Sausage, and Black Bean Chili on Saturday night, with one major substitution. Instead of venison (approx $12.50/lb), I used ground bison. I could have also used the 96% beef. For chicken sausage, I used a spicy italian sausage, which added so much great flavor.
This chili was absolutely fantastic. We can't wait to make it again, and if I had a dime for every time this chili came up in conversation this weekend, I'd have at least 50 cents.

And for once, I actually took a real picture.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Potato and Lamb Moussaka


To be honest, I am not even sure I could pronounce this recipe, let alone spell it. At first, this was one I passed over, but I need some new casserole type recipes and this one is different from you normal "add 1 can of cream of whatever soup". Plus, it is interesting to look at. All in all, it wasn't bad, but I probably wouldn't make it again. It took about an hour to assemble the casserole. If I did make this again, I would season the potatoes while browning them, add some spice to the the meat mixture, and add more eggs/milk for the last step. Hmmm, if I did all that, it might not be cooking light any more. Oh well. Again, not bad, just not a repeater.


Oh, and I did not take this over to my parents house to eat after a boat ride while my sister was in a hurricane. There were, however, two screaming children, but that is true any night. Sigh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Curried Chicken and Cashews

This recipe uses madras curry, an ingredient I have never used before. It was very easy, and the flavors were outstanding. This is probably the only recipe I have ever made where I actually had all the ingredients on hand, minus the cashews and red chiles which we skipped.

You can't go wrong with this. Without the heat of the chiles, there was no "spicy" heat to battle. We will probably add some heat next time, but this would be a great recipe for your non-curry friends as well as your curry fanatics.

Curried Chicken and Cashews


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mediterranean Salmon Salad

I did take a picture ... but we are having technical difficulties with the camera so I'll try to update it later. This salad was a great light summer dish. I used a fresh Sockeye Salmon fillet from my new favorite grocery store, Fresh and Easy. I wouldn't omit the salt in the pasta cooking water or your salad will be flavorless. We really liked it!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ziti (well, penne) with spinach, tomatoes, and gorganzola sauce


I don't know what is wrong with me, I am just in a blue cheese phase. Give me some stinky cheese and I am one happy girl. When I saw this one, I just knew I had to try it. It turned out just like it was described in the magazine....a grown up mac n cheese. I think the tomatoes were the best part, and the gorgonzola/blue cheese was very mild. I used leftover penne from earlier in the week, and the whole meal came together quickly. I did double it because Cooking Light tends to be really skimpy with their pasta serving sizes and sauce. Next time I might cook the tomatoes a little more. A great "restaurant quality" (per DH) friday night meal!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

You know I would have to try this one out. My three faves ... curry, coconut milk, and shrimp. This is a great light curry dish ... very simple to prepare. I used the whole can of coconut milk for a soupier dish and added some cilantro to top it off.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Black Bean Tomato Soup with Cilantro Lime Cream

When it's 110F outside and a soup recipe catches your eye, you know it must have potential. This was a great find this month. It has a great flavor, very simple to make, and doesn't make a ton of soup so no leftovers all week. I bought the chipotle chile powder (by McCormick) and I think it makes a big difference so don't sub regular chile powder. In fact, that chipotle chile powder was a great find and I may end up subbing it in recipes that call for chipotles in adobo sauce. My soup was spicy enough so I didn't go to the trouble of mixing up the special sour cream ... I just used a dollop on each serving, sprinkled on the herbs, and added a couple of chunks of ripe avocado to help with the heat.

Recipe is here.

Kung Pao Shrimp

We made this Kung Pao Shrimp recipe last night from the September CL and it turned out fantastic. We didn't use a wok, but just heated up a giant skillet to deadly hot.

It calls for the chinese rice wine, but we used sake. It also says you can adequately sub balsamic vinegar, so we did. We couldn't find the little red chiles, so we used giant ones, seeded of course. They were outstanding, and not hot.

This dish gets 4 thumbs up (me and DH). It was quick and relatively easy. Enjoy.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

These little morsels of yumminess are heavenly. They were a big hit at a party yesterday and I would absolutely make them again, at the bequest of my friends.

Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I did make a small change. Instead of using goat cheese, I used pechorino toscana (sp?). My SIL made a very similar dish for me before and used that cheese. With that in mind, I sprinkled the nuts underneath the cheese because of the firmness of toscana.

The hardest part was finding figs, but everything else was pretty easy. I do recommend chopping them quite small to make spreading them on the bread a little easier.

It suggests to serve them warm, but I served them at room temperature, with the cheese perspirating on top.

Mmm, I wish I had one right now.