Homemade Marshmellows -

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I have a huge bag of sugar and BIG plans to make some of these tonight.


Thank you - Google alerts for sending me this random blog where I found the link.

Coconut Shrimp

Monday, December 20, 2010

This weekend Jordan & I made this delicious Shrimp dish for his family's Christmas party. Yes, we made it together, and not just one batch but over 70 Coconut Colossal Shrimp. The Shrimp was from Sam's club - and apparently the freezer burned look is ok and just part of how they flash freeze them.

I bought 3 bags of Colossal Shrimp, 35 gallons of Peanut Oil, 3 boxes of Panko, 2 bags of Coconut, and 3 jars of Orange Marmalade & 3 of Sweet Chili Sauce. (3 times what i needed for the coating)

We pulled out the fryer that had been in the garage storage cabinets for 3 years and got to peeling, dredging, and frying.

The perfect 'timing' was 2 min and 20 seconds. And, a few of them had what we called 'splits' didn't fry curled but sticking straight out either side. This wasn't too tragic -- it allowed for two bite per shrimp :)

I didn't get a photo of the finished product, but I'm sure we will make this dish again, and I'll be sure to update with a photo :)

UPDATE: 1/27/11

Cookies -

Saturday was filled with the joy of cookies and great company. My dear friend Kristin and her beautiful family came to visit. Specifically to mess up my kitchen and not hers, but also cheer me up a bit. It's been a rough few weeks and I needed a little Obermeyer love in my life. As you can see from the photo of Mrs. Gingerbread above we were quite creative in our cookie making. And, no cookie decorating fest would be complete with out a child under the age of 5 using brightly colored icing over white-ish carpet. (no worries she didn't spill any)

The sugar cookie recipe turned out beautifully - with soft puffy sugary wonderfulness. The recipe can be found on All Recipes.com  http://tiny.cc/sugarcookie

Kristin was also kind enough to bring a selection of cookie cutters - since I didn't have any. Here is an example of one of the more ... creative cookie cutter shapes. They are candle sticks -- get your mind out of the gutter.

The icing recipe was super simple - 1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar to 2-3 Tablespoons milk whisked until smooth. It/when it dries out a bit add a dash of warm water. Color with food die (I prefer the gel kind, it is not nearly as messy as liquid.

The Gingerbread Cookies gave us a bit of a fight. I turned to my all time favorite Cooks Illustrated
http://tiny.cc/gingerbreadcc for the first time I think I'm a bit disappointed. We followed the directions to a T - but the dough wouldn't release from the parchment paper. So, we improvised and mostly just made round cookies. I was quite surprised - their recipes are normally fool proof. Next time I might floor the paper before rolling to help the dough release.

Finally, I had slaved over French Butter cookie dough on Friday, hoping to have the most adorable chocolate swirl cookies. They were the driest little cookies ever, they were NOT sweet, and overall a complete disappointment in cookie making. That said - they were traditional french butter cookies, crumbled well, and I guess weren't supposed to be sweet American cookies. So, while I was disapponted and wasted 15 dollars worth of ingeredients some French guy would have loved them. My husband, Kristin, Jeff, and I all did not. Next time I'm using the sugar cookie recipe. I'll post the recipe when I perfect it :)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I promised my Uncle Dave I would make him some cupcakes for his 65th birthday on Thursday but, I thought I better do a test batch this weekend just to be sure they aren't terrible.

As I was trolling the aisles of the local Kroger today, I almost bought a Carrot Cake Mix... until the phrase "Carrot Flavored Pieces" quickly lead me to return it to the shelf (as did my sister, who was on the phone telling me I had to make them from scratch). So, instead of buying a mix, I used my Cooks Illustrated iPhone app (FREE!) to look for a carrot cake recipe. Luckily, it turned out that I already had all the ingredients I needed at home.

I started baking "process" as soon as I got home, by shredding the carrots in my stand-up food processor (warning: carrot juice will stain your white plastic kitchen gadgets, but I found Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works wonders on this).  After shredding the carrots, I hauled out my full sized food processor to combine/fluff the eggs and sugar.  I was kind of surprised the recipe called for a FP ... but the bottom of the recipe had directions for using the Stand Mixer.

By this point, it looked like an orange tornado had cut a path right through our previously clean kitchen.

Once the mix was prepared I quickly tried to look up a method to calculate the proper time for cupcakes (vs sheet cake), gave up and guessed at 15min (it took 20).

Three batches of cupcakes later it was time to start the icing.  It seemed to go well at first, and after following the directions I added a VIA instant decaf coffee packet for an extra kick -- (Dave's party is going to be a Starbucks and the SB manager suggested trying the VIA in the icing). It tasted DELICIOUS and after just one more minute whisking it was supposed to be light and fluffy and ready to decorate.  That is, until I turned around to straighten up the kitchen and left the icing whisking in the mixer....

With in just a few minutes it looked curdled and I was devastated.... luckily, I happened to stock up on cream cheese last week (it was on sale) and I had JUST enough powdered sugar left for another batch. Unfortunately though, I couldn't risk using the last two VIA packets - since I still needed those for the birthday party batch.

I decided to try piping the frosting which went ok, but next time I'm going to use the larger tip so I can get a larger dollop of icing on each cupcake (and to avoid clogging).

In the end it was a lot of work, some of which was unnecessary, but overall, the cupcakes were delicious, spicy, and had great texture.

Spiced Carrot Cake by Cooks Illustrated - http://tiny.cc/carrotbd

Disney Recipes

Monday, December 6, 2010

I have been craving the Roasted Red Pepper Soup from the Grand Floridian @ Disney. I haven't found the recipe yet - but I did find this site. http://www.wdisneyw.co.uk/recipes.html It has quite a few Disney favorites - check it out!


Delicous Pizza Dough

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This delicious recipe came from my Kitchen Aid Mixer recipe book - the dough also makes delicious bread sticks. Jordan's favorite is spicy Italian sausage and LOTs of Cheese. I LOVE using alfredo sauce, chicken, artichokes, and spinach leaves. (Thank you Carrie Thompson for introducing me to this amazing combination)

Make sure you cook the meat before you put it all together - and if you are cooking for two - try making a smaller pizza and using the other half of the dough for breadsticks.


Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I was craving a delicious Chocolate desert, and so I turned to my Cooks Illustrated books and found this tasty treat. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/4958-triple-chocolate-mousse-cake

Note: That is a Steak n' Shake plate. (not I did not steal it)


This year we had Thanksgiving dinner at the VA hospital. My Uncle Dave had a heart attack the Saturday before and was still in the hospital so we had to change plans a bit ... but we were still able to have full T-day dinner with all the trimings.

The turkey was a beautiful 19 pounder from Goose the Market - I used some cooks illustrated tricks including brining the turkey, drying it in the fridge (for a crispier skin) and a BUNCH of butter & herbs rubbed under the skin. Unfortunatly I didn't have a v-rack and during step 1 of  cooking the turkey breast side down the skin stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan and was pulled off when we flipped it -- but no worries I simply re coated the top with more herbs and prayed it wouldn't dry out.

Herbed Roast Turkey http://tiny.cc/ccturkey

The stuffing was Rachel Ray's Mushroom Stuffing. I started this the Wednesday night with the cubing and drying of the bread. To add some texture I used one white bread loaf and one higher end whole wheat loaf. This process takes some time - especially if you just pile all the bread in your large roasting pan. You will need to 'turn' the cubes every 30 mins or so until all pieces are dry like croutons. http://tiny.cc/raystuff

And, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without Cranberry Sauce - and not that canned goo - but a sweet orange concoction using fresh cranberries & one orange. Again, a Rachel Ray recipe - http://tiny.cc/raycran

$25 dollar salad - I miss my garden.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today is my company's annual Thanksgiving pitch-in. A dinner event for work kept me out late last night, so I was in a bit of a rush this morning trying to make it into the office on time. In that rush, I spent about half a weeks grocery budget on a large spinach, apple, walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

"Seriously....!?" - from Jordan

Why didn't I just make Jiffy Corn Muffins? Wouldn't it have been cheaper to eat out everyday this week then to participate in this 'pitch-in'? Perhaps if I had actually planted spinach this year I could have simply visited my garden this morning for the main ingredient.....  If I hadn't chosen to get Honey Crisp Apples, and if I had skipped the bag of Walnuts, and I had simply made a batch of homemade dressing, this would have been a lot less expensive... But, in my defense it is a rainy 40 degrees
outside.  That and I LOVE Honey Crisp Apples, I promised a co-worker Walnuts, and overslept... so, in a frenzy this morning at the local big box retailer/grocery I spent a fortune to create a beautiful salad, with fantastic flavors, for a bunch of people that would have been happier with Jiffy Corn Muffins.

So, to prevent this same disaster next year I'm in need of budget conscious pitch-in recipes... any ideas?

Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In my quest to establish consistency with our food budget I have decided I need to follow these simple rules.

1. Never take anyone with me grocery shopping (Jordan included)
2. Meal plans are my friend (stop being lazy)
3. Stay away from the middle of the store.
4. Don't bother visiting the frozen food aisle
5. Don't go shopping on Sunday - they are always out of sale items, and the lines are ridiculous.

And, finally stop being lazy --

Do you have any suggestions?

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Friday, November 5, 2010

The first time I tried Pumpkin Curry Soup I only took a small portion for fear of looking foolish or picky. (ha!) Needless to say, two full bowls later I still wanted more.

It took a few years of craving the spicy yet sweet curry burn punctuated by pumpkin goodness before I finally google'd the recipe and tried making it myself. The first few batches were made completely from scratch (anyone have a photo from the party where I served it in the pumpkin?) This year I went with organic pumpkin puree and a similar recipe that can easily be made after a LONG day at work.

The only addition I made was 1 leak chopped up into bits (just used the end portion)


Oh cooking...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh, how I love to cook meals people enjoy. This week I cooked my first Turkey of the season, just a frozen one on sale at Kroger. Nothing fancy just a little salt, pepper and rosemary. Then a remix of last weeks Chicken Tikka Marsla - this time with the cardamon (kind of pricy @ $12/bottle), and proper  fresh serrano chile were missing last week. Last night it was Maple Salmon, & tonight -- I'm taking the day off and heading to the Beans for a pasta bake.

Next week check back for the much anticipated Pumpkin Curry Soup, and my first Sweet Potato of the season. I really didn't start eating sweet potatoes until 2 years ago. I always hated the mush that was served at Thanksgiving , and figured that was the only way people ate them (which may have been true in the 80's)

Here are a few delicious recipes from the past week or so --

Easy Turkey Recipe http://tiny.cc/easyturkey

Chicken Tikka Marsala http://tiny.cc/tikkam

And, here is a little TV spot I was lucky enough to do this morning for our event this weekend!

Anytime Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

Friday, October 15, 2010

These delicious little muffins were super easy to make - and delicious. I made them froze them - and then a few days later cooked the entire batch.

I would like something with a bit more lemon -- but maybe next time. Also, perhaps warming it with a little butter would have been good.


Tip: Poppy seeds are a normal spice - but are quite hard to find you may have to ask your grocer to order a bottle.

Rich's Fried Chicken (or pork)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This makes a great dinner and the leftovers make delicious breakfast sandwiches. A few weeks ago Rich (Anne's husband) was staying over after a long day of packing. I was exhausted but gave him run of the kitchen to make whatever he wanted. The result was a delicious fried chicken. Jordan used the leftoveres the next day for a breakfast sandwich and has promised to stop his frequent trips to chic-fila for breakfast if I make this every week. So -- here is the much anticipated recipe. I'll post photos next week as well as the homemade biscuit recipe I use :)

4 Chicken breasts/thighs/pork loins - TENDERIZED
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk or heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of bread crumbs - you may need more depending on absorption of meat to breading
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
*other seasonings can be added for different flavors to the preference of the dish (for example red pepper flakes, cumin, rosemary, chili powder, curry, etc)
1/2 cup or more of frying oil - vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil - DO NOT USE OLIVE OIL

~Mix egg and milk and beat together
~Mix together bread crumbs and desired seasonings
~Begin Heating oil, med to high heat for frying
~Place meat in egg/milk mixture for 2-3 minutes to get it slimy
~Take meat out and coat meat in bread crumb mixture to have a even breaded coating on meat
~When oil reaches frying temperature - check by taking a pinch of bread crumb mixture and putting it in oil to see if it sizzles
~Apply meat with breading to frying oil and cook meat entirely through - note the breading may darken faster than meat cooks, so use medium heat at first and flip meat consistently, cut meat in the center to check when done or use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature to make sure it is done.

I LOVE the Fall -- Cider, Pumpkins, and Parties

Friday, October 8, 2010

So look forward to amazing recipes this month. Including Jordan's Magic Cider, Pumpkin Curry Soup, and more information about the BIG Halloween party downtown at Footlite Theater. But, for now -- save the date October 30th ghouls and goblins for a fantastic afternoon with the kids or evening with your hubby (or sig other) at Spooktacular Featuring Live Music by Scott Kline & Destination: Earth!

Ugly Dip - Guest Recipe from Ms. Sara

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sara, a dear friend from work makes this amazingly ugly and devilishly delicious dip. I made it twice this past weekend!

Ugly Dip
~Looks ugly, tastes pretty great

1 Roll regular or hot sausage
1 can Rotel (Do NOT drain)
2 pkgs Cream Cheese
Red Pepper Flakes to add heat (optional)

Brown meat, drain grease.  Add Rotel and Cream Cheese.  Warm through.  Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Doubles easily

Tip: It will take about an hour and a half to warm in a crock pot

Mandel Bread / Almond Biscotti

Saturday, October 2, 2010

As promised here is the recipe I use to make almond biscotti's a hard cookie perfect for dipping in hot chocolate or coffee.

4 eggs
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3/4 C oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/8 tsp. almond extract
3 c. flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
sliced almonds

Use large aluminum tray. 325 for 35 in. cut & return to oven 250 for 35 min.

* You can also dip them in chocolate or white chocolate for a more refined look.

All Recipes has a pretty close recipe that uses a little less flavoring and a topping of milk/sugar. They also have more specific instructions. http://tiny.cc/biscottis

Grandma Betty's Manicotti Recipe

A few weekends ago Becky Smith, the future Mrs. Colglazier, & I whipped together a last minute dinner for Jordan and Scott as we waited for them to return from Boston.


Package of Manicotti noodles
- Filling & Topping -
1/4 c fresh ground parmesan
1 lb. ricotta
1/2 lb mozzarella
2 eggs
salt & pepper
1 pkg chopped frozen Spinach (cooked & drained)*
- Sauce -
1 lb ground beef
oregano - italian seasoning
1/2 c onion
2 cloves garlic
#2 can tomatoes - 2 1/2 cups
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste*
1/3 t black pepper
1 1/2 t salt

Cook sauce on top of stove for about 45 min. (Brown meat with onions and garlic then add remaining ingredients) Cook manicotti shells 8-10 min. Rinse in cold water - fill with mixture. Pour half meat sauce into 12 x 7 1/2 baking dish arrange manicotti. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 Parmesan chese on top - bake 350 degree 30-35 min .

Tips: The tomato paste in the sauce is optional - I add it because I like a thicker consistency. We also skip the spinach - Jordan hates cooked green leaves.

Flan - Adventures with Sugar, & baking towels ?!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Every few weeks we have group of sales reps in for training. The first group had mentioned biscotti's one day and I got this ... itch to make my Grandmother's delicious Mandel bread (Almond Biscotti). Then a few weeks later, we were overwhelmed with the vast number of tomatoes that were ripening in our garden. A few days later another training group came to the office and I brought in one of the many jars of salsa I had made.

Today, I brought in both Flan and Custard Pie. Somehow we started hording eggs and I have been looking for a way to use 3 dozen organic farm fresh eggs. Last night I used about a dozen.

The Flan was a new one for me -- caramelizing sugar was a chore (a quick chore) the first batch I swirled the pan a bit too feverishly and it crystallized. Scraping that concoction out of my pan wasn't much fun either. (Steel wool, hot water, and a wooden spoon work well)

The second batch went a bit better - and flowed into the pan fairly well. But seconds later was hard as a rock. Now, I have to admit I have never eaten Flan, but I have seen it and I have read the description and what I had was a bit lighter than mahogany, and hard like glass. But, I took a chance and finished the custard/pudding filling and stuck it in the oven. Another adventure. The recipe says to put a kitchen towel in the bottom of a large pan or roasting pan -- the only pan I had that would fit my 9-inch cake pan was the turkey roasting pan Jordan got me last year. And, a towel?! I figured there was something missing -- but I went with it.

After mixing the ingredients for the custard esc filling - I filled the cake pan and placed it in the oven. But, I wasn't finished I had to fill the roasting pan with boiling water half way up the cake pan. I used a ladle and it went pretty well -

After cooling I placed in the refrigerator and prayed it worked out ok... This morning when I got to the office I flipped the Flan onto a serving dish and gave it a try - (had my friend Sara try it first - just to be safe) the hard caramelized sugar had turned to a sugary syrup and it tasted delicious.

  • Make sure you really let the caramel turn to a dark brown - you need the color in the end to make it LOOK like caramel. 
  • The towel allows the water you pour into the baking dish to flow under the cake pan.
  • Don't use a hot pink towel it bleeds in the water -- harmless but could stain if spilled. 

Prep Time: 5 mins
Wait Time: 2 hrs to cool, 2-24 to refrigerate
Cook Time: 40 - 50 min (15 on the stove, 30 ish in the oven)

Flan - http://tiny.cc/lemonflan

It is not just IU dorm food - Chicken Piccata

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last night I made this quick and easy dish. I was a bit worried about "Slicing the Cutlets" (sounds like the title of a bad horror movie), which plate I could use that would be oven safe, and if I'd end up with dried chunks of chicken. But it really was quite easy because the cutlets were really thin and cooked quickly. Here are some quick tips:

  • Watch your fingers
  • Use corning ware
  • Add the cutlets to the sauce immediately so they don't dry out
The sauce (below) was a salty, chicken broth based lemon-aid and it was DELICIOUS! Jordan's note… When Jennie told me we were having “Chicken Piccata” I was immediately taken back to my Freshman year of College at IU, as this dish happened to be one of the only truly edible things in the “Wright Place” food court at Wright Quad where I lived.  Fyi… her’s was better :)
Prep Time: 5 mins 
Wait Time: 0 
Cook Time: 20 min

Chicken Piccata - http://tiny.cc/piccata

Photos of the Magical Grilled Pizza


Another fantastic Salmon Recipe.... Maple Salmon

Monday, September 13, 2010

Labor Day was a wonderful day for Jordan and I -- we walked Scout around the neighborhood and all the way to Starbucks where we hung out with Uncle Dave. Then we took the bike to Anderson Apple Orchard, where they were out of Cider! On the way back home we stopped by Grandma and Grandpa Whitt's, and got to visit with cousins. We even found time to stop by Jordan's parents -- they weren't home but were visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Thompson -- we decided to run home and make something for dinner to take over.

While I ran to the grocery for supplies Jordan went to Mug N Bun. (we had skipped lunch)

The dish we pulled was sort of heart healthy since Grandma Thompson had just gotten out of the hospital and was told to eat a bit more ... heart friendly.

This recipe was DELICIOUS -- and would serve up to 5-6 if you use a large cut of Salmon (cut into 6 or so fillets) We added white rice and what I call Jordan's Asparagus Recipe (really Kevin's) ... look forward to that recipe in a later post :)

Prep Time: 5 mins (chopping the sun dried tomatoes is bit of a pain)
Wait Time: 0
Cook Time: 40-60 (could be less if you put more than one thing in the oven at a time)

Broiled Maple-Soy Glazed Salmon Fillets with Toasted Sesame Seeds -  http://tiny.cc/maplesalmon

Autumn Chicken Cacciatore Menu - from cooksillustrated.com

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Life has been crazy busy for the last 7 wks. SO I haven't gotten to cook all that often. But, here is a wonderful dish I made Tuesday right after work for the in-laws and our good friend Scott Kline.

I was lucky enough to have my Great-grandmother Carrie's Dutch Oven. There is something magical about cooking in an heirloom cast iron.

It was delicious. And, took about 30 min of 'cooking' and 45 of simply simmering. The dressing was quickly made the night before, and the apples were SO easy. If I did it all again I wouldn't forget the sage and I'd be sure to cook the apples for a good hour so they were good and soft.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Wait Time: 40-60 (let the pot simmer, and apples bake)
Cook Time: 30 (browning, mixing, etc)

Autumn Chicken Cacciatore Menu - http://tiny.cc/cacciatore
TIPS: Make sure your apples are baked until soft.

Amazing thin crust pizza on the gas grill? - Cooksillustrated Late Summer Menu

Friday, September 10, 2010

This week Jordan and I cooked for some of our friends... unfortunately the pictures did not turn out... but no worries I will be making this dish again soon.

The menu includes:
  • Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic Essence
  • Stuffed Tomatoes with Goat Cheese (we used Blue Cheese), Olives, and Oregano
  • Grilled Flatbread
  • Fresh Peach Cobbler
The winner of the night was the amazing flat bread -- the dough was a curious Nickelodeon Gak-esc substance. It worried me and my guests until it magically turned into the most amazing flat bread ever.

Next time I want to try using one of those thin pizza cutting boards/handled things to slide the dough on the grill.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Wait Time: 90 mins (letting the peaches sit and the bread rise)
Cook Time: 60 min (Peaches first - then the tomatoes, then the steak and then the flat bread)

Late Summer Menu - http://tiny.cc/flatbread


Flat Bread: Using all-purpose flour did not ruin the bread & add 1/3 cup whole wheat flour not the listed 1 TLBS. Be careful when putting the thin dough on the grill -- make sure you re-flour so you can gingerly flatten it back out once on the grill (try not to burn yourself)

Stuffed Tomato: Use more olive oil and perhaps use a cheese that melts better.

Dry chicken and AMAZING topping

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I wasn't able to brine the chicken quite long enough .. and it could probably have used some more salt. BUT, the topping was AMAZING! I made this dish for my Mom and Uncle Dave last week - Dave is an honest food critic he didn't touch the chicken after just one bite. Of course he is also a lifetime smoker and probably couldn't taste much of anything. I save a plate for my husband who picked around the tomatoes and devoured every morsel of meat, chicken included.

Next time I'll be sure to brine the chicken longer and season it with a heavier hand.

Prep Time: 5 mins + an hour for Brining
Wait Time: 15-20 (while the pasta cooks, be sure to stir often)
Cook Time: 40 mins

Sauteed Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Scallions  - http://tiny.cc/bluecheesechicken
TIPS: Use more bacon - people love bacon.

Hamburger Helper ? . . . not in this kitchen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I am a HUGE fan of one-skillet meals (Hamburger Helper excluded). Last night, I used the hot-Italian sausage I purchased from (http://lekincaidmeats.com/) to make a Cooks Illustrated Editors' Choice recipe.

Skillet Penne with Sausage & Spinach reminds me of a made-for-summer chili. It has great flavor and take less than thirty minutes from start to finish. The recipe serves 4, so cut it in half for 2 :)

Finding the Sun Dried Tomatoes proved to be a bit tricky… apparently, they are kept in the produce aisle under the fresh tomatoes and not next to canned tomatoes or tomato sauce.

Prep Time: 5 mins (chopping the sun dried tomatoes is bit of a pain)
Wait Time: 15-20 (while the pasta cooks, be sure to stir often)
Cook Time: 10 (cooking sausage, adding ingredients, wilting spinach)

Skillet Penne with Sausage & Spinach Recipe - http://tiny.cc/skilletpenne

TIPS: One sausage = 1/2 pound of meat; all that spinach does wilt down; be careful opening the pine nuts.

# 3 - Enchiladas Verdes

Monday, August 9, 2010

I really didn't cook this weekend. But, I did re-organize my Pyrex (I know, only old married women would ever get excited about this).

I received two amazing sets of Pyrex as wedding gifts and after five hours of laying down some flooring and building an IKEA cabinet, I finally had a place to put them. As I carefully collected every piece I was reminded of a dish I made the first week we were married (and then again a few weeks later for a family from church).

I suggest prepping the sauce and chicken the night before and simply assembling it after work for a delicious dinner.

2015 Update: Forget the homemade sauce - that just is not going to happen these days - I buy the jar (glass) of sauce in the mexi aisle of the grocery now. And this has become a staple in my arsenal of dinners for friends :)

Cut the recipe in half for a great meal for two (or three).


Squeamish vegetarians/vegans beware…

Friday, August 6, 2010

#1 - Sweet & Savory Lamb, Indian Summer Veggies, & Rice Pudding

I've been quite busy with work, travel, and life in general for the past few weeks. During which, my wonderful husband has had to sustain himself on frozen pizzas, any'tizers, & lunch meat sandwiches. (& beer)

Monday, I made a trip to the butcher's shop near work (http://lekincaidmeats.com/) and purchased hot Italian sausage, flank steak, bone-in ribeyes, lamb chops, roast beef, peppered turkey, horseradish cheddar cheese, provolone, bacon, bacon burgers, Traders Point Creamery yogurt, and a a loaf of bread (all for about $90).

The plan was/is to make at least three great meals before leaving again next week for training, so my husband doesn’t have to live like a frat-boy.

So, here we go -- this is actually meal #1 (the steak tacos were meal #2)

I found the Lamb and Rice Pudding recipe the first week we were married. It was part of cooksillustrated.com's menu selection. The problem was that the closest grocery store did not carry the cut of lamb required. So, I called the butcher to see if they would have what I needed - and they did!

Unfortunatly the lamb may have been a bit over cooked. I thought it was lacking in flavor and I probably won't make it again -- but perhaps it could have been better if I hadn't 'braised' it for so long.

Luckily, the veggies were fantastic and had a great spicy/sweet Indian flavor - Jordan even enjoyed them (which says a lot)!

The pudding was good as well. Neither of us is big on raisins, so next time I might try adding different fruit or maybe some almonds. It also holds well in the fridge overnight.

Prep Time: 15-30 (cutting veggies takes some time)
Wait Time: 30-60 (only if you are going to cool the pudding)
Cook Time: 40-60 (could be less, I used the same pan for the veggies & meat so I could only cook one at a time)

Sweet & Savory Lamb and Rice Pudding - http://tiny.cc/lambrice
Indian Spiced Vegetables - http://tiny.cc/indianvegy
White Rice - http://tiny.cc/limerice

On the Road Again ....homemade dessert in a hotel?

Have you ever spent a week in a hotel for work? I have… in fact over the last four years, I have spent what amounts to an entire year living “on the road”. And, I've learned a few things. For example....

1) Chicago hotels: the Conrad isn't that great, actually. The Hampton Inn & Suites has a larger suite for half the cost. (The Conrad bathroom is still pretty amazing, though)

2) Orlando transportation: DO NOT TAKE A CAB. Call a car service.

3) New York food: the gyro vendor outside of the Javits is the BEST $5 you will ever spend. Don't forget your Dr. Brown Dark Cherry Cola.

4) Dallas safety: even though you might be staying at a 5-star hotel (the Adolphus) where several Presidents, Queens, and Dignitaries have laid their head, DO NOT go to the 7-eleven across the street. But do check out the amazing Mexican food place around the corner :)

5) Vegas: THE HOTEL (at Mandalay Bay) is amazing! Seriously, do not bother to stay anywhere else. EVER. Ok, maybe the Venetian if you really want to be in the middle of everything. Be sure to grab a crepe in Mandalay Bay, and a moijto in Caesars. Stay away from the blackjack table and play the penny slots. --Editor’s note: Looking for that killer mojito in Caesar’s? It’s tucked away in a corner of the Forum Shops at a little place called Casa Fuente, which is owned by world’s most famous cigar family/empire. Ps… they have a world-class cigar selection locked away there as well—so, don’t skip this if you are at all interested in cigars.

Finally, I have learned how to make an amazingly refreshing dessert in my room. This dessert requires a quick visit to a grocery/convenience store for a half-pint of fresh blue berries, package of strawberries, and Cool Whip Original (my latest obsession). You must then rummage around the hotel for a knife, fork/spoon/spork and a glass of some sort. If you are really desperate you can always use the cups provided in the room ... but after watching that documentary on 60 mins a few years ago I won't touch those things.

Rinse the berries in the sink, cut the strawberries up a bit, fill your glass with the fruit, and then top with the Cool Whip – and dig in!

Taco Night

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Last night we made delicious homemade tacos. Not the Old El Paso's packet of seasoning on some frozen ground beef. Would I do that?

This week I went to a butchers (http://lekincaidmeats.com/) and bought Flank Steak. I also made 3 trips to the grocery since I kept forgetting to pick up tortillas, cheese, and sour creme.

The tacos were DELICIOUS! Filled with flavors from the lime and cilantro paste. I paired it with a lime/cilantro white rice (Chipotle), homemade salsa, & left over rice pudding for desert.

I've decide to add some 'times' to my blogs -- since i broke up the prep it didn't seem to take too long -- it just depends on how fast you chop, etc. These times include steak, rice, and salsa.

Prep Time: 15-30
Wait Time: 30-60
Cook Time: 30-40

Steak Taco Recipe - http://tiny.cc/steaktacos
One-Min Salsa Recipe - http://tiny.cc/1salsa
White Rice - http://tiny.cc/limerice (I simply followed the directions on a package of long grained white rice. Then squeezed 1/2 a lime into the rice and added 2 Tablespoons of minced Cilantro leaves.

TIP: The salsa is really easy to make -- I used the bullet my sister bought me for Christmas years ago - the clean up is so much easier then using my large food processor. It takes about 3 mins from start to finish.

Eliminating sugar & processed foods?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Have you ever heard of a yeast-free diet? (a supposed cure-all for ill health). After the fourth round of allergy testing confirming I allergic to everything under the sun… I decided to give it a go. During the diet I had amazing focus, energy, and no allergy or asthma symptoms. It lasted about 3 weeks then there was a cookie incident, and I caved.

It isn't a very practical diet for most people. If you are anything like me it is almost life changing; I love milk, sweets, & white bread/dough and the idea of sticking to mostly vegetables and meats seems ... boring.

But, when have I ever been practical? With the change at work I will have a 'decreased' travel schedule & I think this is the perfect opportunity to give it a go... again.

Look forward to creative uses of meats and organic veggies when I return in a week or so.

If you are interested in learning more about the diet -- here is my favorite site about the subject. http://tiny.cc/wholeapproach

*Disclaimer this diet is not about losing weight, in fact, I actually gained weight while on it. So please save the comments like “you are so tiny”, “why would you diet”, etc.

Junk Food

Monday, July 19, 2010

For the next few weeks I will not have a moment to 'cook' so I loaded up on frozen pizzas, (Blue!) Gatorade, lunch meat and anytizers. Jordan is ecstatic.

Mostly because I already have a fridge full of Miller High Life, which everyone knows goes perfect with this kind of food -- Jordan

It happens. - So please look forward for random hotel food ideas and reviews of conference food :)

Chicago, Orlando, Chicago & Boston Creme Pie (oh my!)

The adventure of married life continues with a crazy month ahead. I just found out I have been promoted.. This promotion will come with less travel in the long run, and more travel in the short run.

Last week I was in Chicago at a tradeshow - the last of my old role. I have returned to the office for a week and will take the GMAT (which I have been avoiding for 4 years) this weekend, followed by a week-long trip to Orlando for the new role, only to return home for about a day and a half before heading back to Chicago (first for a batchelorette party and then for training with my old boss for my new job). Finally, I will be able to return home for a while.

Expect some amazing food blogs from the road, but for now enjoy this treat I made for Jordan before I left for Chicago. Reminded me of cocoa gravy -- but I'll save that for another blog.


Steel Cut Oatmeal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A post I wrote last weekend...

I am much more familiar with the variety pack from Quaker Instant Oatmeal, but daring to try something "new" I went with something classic.

I originally ordered Steel Cut Oatmeal from Farm Fresh Delivery's bulk selection. If you haven't heard of Farm Fresh Delivery you are missing out. They delivery organic produce and groceries to your home, just like the milk man used to do. It is AMAZING. You edit your order online and can receive a 'bin' for as little as $35 dollars every other week.

So, when I received my bin that week I was surprised to find these little pellets of 'oatmeal' - I google'd a recipe and decided to give it a try. It turned out beautifully - I prefer a bit of apple or pulot cut up into cubes, Jordan enjoys copious amounts of maple syurp and brown sugar. It takes a bit of time... 5 min prep (boiling water, toasting the oats) & then you let it sit uncovered &; simmering for about 25 minutes with out stirring. Giving you just enough time to do something for you ... today Jordan cut scouts nails & folded some laundry, while i made coffee, cleaned up the kitchen, wrote this blog post, and watched him pin scout down :)


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