Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Original recipe

This was pretty tasty and oh so easy to make. BAJ made a version his mom gave him several years ago that was far more complicated than this. This was EASY. The worst part of making this was probably chopping the kalamata olives--not fun around a big ole pit. I used anchovy paste rather than the real stuff, because it was what I had around the house. I used about 1/2" of anchovy paste and it was the perfect amount. I went a little heavy handed with the crushed red pepper, but that was great too. I also used a whole wheat pasta, which was a nice healthy addition.

This wasn't, unfortunately, as good as leftovers as it was fresh.

The best part of this recipe was that it was completely a pantry meal... I didn't have to buy a single thing to make it.

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 rinsed anchovies, (optional)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, and their juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives


  1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions; drain; return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and anchovies, if desired, mashing them with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, 2 minutes.
  3. Add whole tomatoes and their juice, breaking up tomatoes with hands. Stir in capers and olives. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Toss with pasta; season with salt and pepper.

Read more at Spaghetti Puttanesca - Martha Stewart Recipes

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It is midterm week for both of us and all I want to eat is takeout. Stress eating is one of my many downfalls.

Last night, I managed to make premade lobster ravioli with a browned butter sauce. It was easy enough, but not really all that awesome.

I'm at a loss for tonight. I would love some comfort food, but the picky hubs means that's pretty much out. And I haven't had time to go to the grocery store, so it's not like something is already planned. sIGH.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finger Foods Night

We had some friends over for dinner, and everyone made finger foods/appetizers.

I made:
Smitten Kitchen's Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes
Cooking Light's Marinated Shrimp
Cooking Light's Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichoke Dip

I didn't take a single picture because I was cooking as the guests arrived and didn't want to seem weird.

This was my first time making cheesecakes in mini form, and I really enjoyed it. I overbaked them a little bit, but they were still delicious. I bought a mango, and had full intent to use it as the topping, but time constraints made me just go with the (oh so delicious) cream topping. On the whole, these were fantastic. I forget where I did it, but I substituted Splenda for some of the sugar (I think in the cheesecake itself I substituted one cup), and I used Neufchatel instead of cream cheese. I dont think these changes impacted the flavor at all, and next time I will try a 100% Splenda mix.

Marinated Shrimp
Ironically, we ended up with two shrimp dishes that were very similar. They were both really good, but the only real differences were that mine were served warm while the others were chilled, and I used much more jalapeno (he said he used one ring while I used about 10). These were really good, although they had a good amount of kick in them. Definitely a nice amount of spice, but I probably won't use so much jalapeno next time.

Stuffed Mushrooms
I was a little disappointed in these. They were easy and very good, but I wouldn't call them outstanding or amazing. These went into the oven as we decided to eat, so perhaps their late arrival to the table explains why they didn't really move, but they weren't a favorite at the table.

I made my typical version of Ali's Amazing Bruschetta from allrecipes. It was good, although I overbaked a little... too much activity happening at once! They were enjoyable as always!

Artichoke Dip
This recipe came from a friend and was in the book of recipes I received at my bridal shower. I don't know if it's a family secret or something like that, so I won't post it, but it's similar to the one posted here. I had some red onion, so I added that in, and I served with tortilla chips. This, ladies and gentlemen, was outstanding. I've made this dip for this same group before, and they all commented that it was outstanding the first time, but for some reason so much better this time. Strange, right? Anyway, it was really stinking good, and I think I even used Neufchatel in this too. YUM!

So in short, this was a great idea. It allowed everyone to bring something, and although the hors d'ouvres didn't all "go together," we had an excellent meal and a TON of fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grilled Turkey and Ham Sandwiches with Tomato Soup

From Cooking Light's January/February 2009 issue. Also here

Pictures coming soon!

This was pretty easy to put together, and a break from our usual routine. That said, it wasn't anything spectacular. The soup was a little on the bland side, and the sandwich was alright too.

Vegetable Lasagna

Recipe from Betty Crocker's Bridal Cookbook.

I tried this one out last night, having company coming over. Our guests said they really liked it, commenting especially on the "cheese on top." BAJ said it was "Ok," but to try something different next time. I thought it was ok, but nothing really spectacular.
I didn't take pictures because of hte company, but the presentation was terrible anyway--I couldn't get it out of the pan in a nice layered slice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Steak with Pineapple

I modified a recipe! Wahoo! I know this, in the grand scheme of cooking blogs, is not at all a big deal. But for me?? BIG DEAL!!

I took this recipe from Rachael Ray, which I found in a random issue of her magazine, and modified it to the ham steak sitting in my fridge.

Here's what I did:

1/4c brown sugar
1/4c maple syrup
1T Dijon mustard (the online recipe calls for 1T as well, but the magazine said 2T)

Heat to boiling in a medium saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce. Brush this over one side of a ham steak. Broil ham steak four minutes, turn over, brush again, and place pineapple slices over the ham. Broil four more minutes.


It was pretty good, pretty basic, nothing to really write home about. That said, it was super easy (although I'm very glad I'm not the one who has to clean that saucepan) and pretty tasty. I served it with Betty Crocker's Au Gratin potatoes and some Italian green beans.

Oh, but something important to note about this is that The Boy loved it! He ate all his ham, after gobbling up his pineapple.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meal Plan

Meals this week:

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Giada's Pasta Primavera
Wednesday: All Day Ham and Vegetables (Crock Pot)
Thursday: Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake
Friday: Pending
Saturday: Pending
Sunday: Pending

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Long time, no post!

I have been cooking, just not so much on the posting. I can't believe I haven't posted anything since what I made for Thanksgiving...

Lots of things coming, including my Christmas dinner!!
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