Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Vegetable Hash

Meatless Wednesday!

I found this recipe on allrecipes, and figured it was a great choice.  It used up several things in my fridge from the co-op, seemed easy enough, and would mean a meatless meal for the week.  Yes, it had squash in it, but I figured it would be easy enough for BAJ to pick them out and wouldn't affect the flavor.

I started preparing it, and discovered the acorn squash (merely a week old and kept in the fridge) had gone moldy inside.  So, having read some of the reviews, I made modifications and threw in whatever I had around the house.

So, I started with the oil and the butter, then added my onion and potatoes.  I was chopping as I went, so I let those go for awhile, added some carrots and celery, then some red pepper and shallot.  Finally, I added in the mushrooms.  I seasoned with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  I also added some balsamic.  Then, when the potatoes were soft, and the carrots were slightly crunchy, I added the kale and the sage (which I diced) until the kale was good and wilty.

I enjoyed it enough to eat two platefuls, but certainly not enough to make again.  BAJ, however, started by picking out the kale, then finally just stopped eating because he really didn't like it.  The Boy went through his, "I don't like that, even though I haven't even tasted it" routine, then finally had a taste.  He said he liked it, but then wouldn't eat any more.

Ah well.  You can't always win, but at least I didn't waste the vegetables without even trying something, like sometimes happens with stuff from the co-op!

Here's the original recipe, in case someone stumbles onto my blog looking for the vegan website and wants to try.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small acorn squash, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage


  1. Place oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and mix in potatoes, mushrooms, pepper, squash, and shallot. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Mix kale and sage into skillet. Continue cooking 5 minutes, until kale is wilted. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Menu

For Christmas, we will have:

Knorr's Spinach dip in a bread bowl
Stuffed Artichokes
Marinated Shrimp
Cranberry Bread

Scalloped Potatoes
Green Beans of some kind  (Maybe these)
Cranberry Sauce

Some kind of dessert

Chicken Noodle Soup


My mom always uses a chicken carcass to make chicken soup.  I figured I'd give it a go, and see how it turned out.  I turned to the internet for some help, and used this recipe as my base.

As that recipe directed, I put my carcass (I used rotisserie from the store) in a stock pot, and covered it with 4 qts of water.  I brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer with the cover on for an hour.  I strained the hard stuff from the broth, picked the meat from the bones.  I skimmed the fat off after it had cooled a bit.

Then, I simmered some onion, carrots, celery (and wish I had used some garlic), along with some chicken bouillon until the veggies were soft.  I added some Italian seasoning  and the picked chicken, along with some cooked pasta.

The result is sort of dissatisfying.  I don't know what I did differently from my mom, but this wasn't great.  I do think I will go back to my starter recipe, and take their suggestion of cooking the vegetables outside the broth, to see if that brings some additional flavor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pea-nutty Pasta


Meatless Monday!!

Another from The Family Dinner, this one is billed as something the kids can make by themselves.  Maybe kids older than mine can do it, but preschoolers not so much.

This was pretty good, though I think I added a little too much of something, which then made it so neither of us could eat it toward the bottom of the bowl.

This is great, however, because it's largely a pantry meal.  The sauce is all ingredients I had in my pantry, and the author offers substitutions for things like "rice wine vinegar."  Love that.  I bought a few things to add in (peanuts, cucumbers), but you can use whatever you like and/or have on hand.  Good deal!

Pea Nutty Noodles
From The Family Dinner by Laurie David and Kirsten Uhrenholdt

1lb pasta
1c peanut butter
1/2c soy sauce
2/3c warm water
3T minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T toasted sesame oil
1T honey
3T white (rice or wine) vinegar

Cook your pasta.  When done, rinse in cold water.  Mix sauce ingredients (except the pasta) in a big bowl.  Toss with the pasta, and garnishes.

For the garnishes, I used diced cucumber, diced apples, chopped peanuts, and carrots.  The book offers even more suggestions.  I served with these in small bowls, so everyone could make his/her bowl in his/her own way.  Big hit with the hubs AND The Boy!

Carmelized Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Quinoa


Meatless Sunday!

Trying to get my family eating more healthfully, I chose to make this one from The Family Dinner.  I did this knowing that my husband doesn't like sweet potatoes, but also knowing that it can take trying something 20 times to like it.

That said, he is a trooper and agreed to try, just like we ask our son to do.

The Boy and I really liked the sweet potatoes, but the rest?  Gagfest.  I don't know if I made it wrong, or if I need to try this 19 more times, but I think I'm going to have to pass on that.

The ATK failed me!

For the very first time, I had a not successful, picture perfect meal from the ATK.  I decided that since it was just the boys and me for the morning, I would make pancakes.  To my trusty ATK I ran, and began whipping away.  My pancakes ran ran ran across the pan pan pan, and were thin and kinda blah.


I happened to have a Mickey Mouse mold for just such a purpose, which really helped things out; it contained the spread so the pancakes were more contained.  It also took a ton more time to do the whole batch, which of course erupted in baby screams.  Joy.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken


I'm pretty sure I first saw this recipe referenced on a message board, but  when I actually made it, it came my way from The Crockpot Lady, who made it (amazingly) in her crockpot.  I cannot recall what happened that I didn't make it in the crockpot, but instead followed the recipe she used as inspiration, which came from Amanda's blog.

Of course I waited awhile to post this one, and don't remember what we think.  I'm pretty sure I liked it a lot but that M wasn't over the moon about it.  One thing we learned, though, is that The Boy DOES like bacon, but only "Mommy's bacon"--turkey, not pork.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb bacon (or bacon bits)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet, heat oil & butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with teriyaki sauce and dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and top with bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.


Pastor Ryan's Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp


I love shrimp.  Not only are they super tasty, and really not that expensive, but they cook so fast... last night, we went from frozen to table in about 30 minutes.

I know many are enthralled by Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, and the recipes I've tried from her have been great, but I rarely find something on her website on my own.  Most things I've tried have been of the so many people have tried this and raved about it, I guess I will too variety.  But I found a post in which she shared many of her favorites over a period of time, and this recipe was listed.  I gotta tell ya, it was that last picture that really sold me on this one.

This made some really delicious, although very spicy, shrimp.  I swirled some pasta in the sauce, and it came out excellent--my favorite part actually.  We couldn't get The Boy to eat any beyond his first bite, and the kick had both of us drinking milk to deal with the burn.  So, I will definitely be cutting back some of the spice next time.

BUT, there will definitely be a next time.  Upon his first bite, BAJ grunted... this grunt meant that it was REALLY good.  And you just can't beat how fast and how easy this one was.


  • 24 pieces (26-30 Per Pound) Deveined Shrimp
  • 2 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
  • ¾ cups Orange Juice
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter, Divided

Preparation Instructions

Thaw and peel the shrimp. Thaw them by running them under cold water for a few minutes. Dry the peeled shrimp by draining them on a paper towel or two.
Thinly slice your garlic cloves. Add the garlic to ¾ cup of orange juice. Use a nice high quality orange juice. Measure out and add all of the spices to the orange juice as well.
In a large skillet over high heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted add your shrimp. Cook them for about 30-60 seconds and begin flipping them over starting with the ones you placed in the pan first so they don’t get overdone. Cook for another 30-60 seconds. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, leaving the heat on high.
Once the butter and drippings begin to smoke ever so slightly add the spicy orange garlic mixture to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce and after a few minutes of cooking and occasional stirring your sauce should be slightly thicker.
Return the shrimp to the pan and give them a nice toss to coat them in the sauce. Allow an intermingling of souls to take place for just a few seconds and then it’s time for the fireworks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My first panini

I got The Family Dinner from the library, and began reading it the other day.  I found a recipe for panini, and decided to go ahead and make my very first one.  I don't have a panini press, so went for the crazy contraption of frying pan on top of the sandwich with a teakettle full of water on top of that.  BAJ said Alton Brown suggests doing the same to make grilled cheese, except he suggested to heat the frying pan that goes on top so you don't have to flip.  Brilliant!

I took a loaf of ciabatta bread,  and cut it in half for our use... it wasn't enough without a salad or something on the side.  I then sliced it, and spread mayo on one half and Dijon on the other.  I put some cheddar on each half... oven roasted turkey (expensive, but the Boar's Head was delicious) on one side, and topped with some very thin apple slices.  I put some olive oil in the big frying pan and heated it up, cooked for about 3 minutes on each side.

I wish I had cooked it a little longer on each side, and at a lower temperature.  The cheese wasn't quite melty enough and the top as starting to burn.  Otherwise, this was awesomely delicious, the best part being when I got a bite of apple in with the other stuff.  I can't believe how much I liked the Dijon mixed with apple!!

The book also suggested Nutella with banana, which I made for my still hungry husband.  It was ok, but there needed to be a lot more of it than I used to stand up to the thickness of the ciabatta.

So, if you fear making a panini without a special tool for it, fear not!!  This came out great, and while it didn't have the fancy grill marks, it was still delicious and pretty enough!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hazelnut Lemon-Curd Kisses


Oh wow.  I really didn't expect to like these.

I love these.


Can't stop eating them.


I like hazelnut in my coffee, but wouldn't say I really know much about hazelnuts themselves, and really am not a huge lemon-ish fan.  But I really like these.

This came in my Cook's Country magazine.  They ran a cookie contest, and this was the grand prize winner.  So you know it's got to be good.  Did I say these were good?  They are great.
I really wish I could share these, because they are so good.  (I *can* be bought)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mushroom Ravioli with Marsala Sauce

M requested this hit from Lauren's blog the other day, and while I've made it before, I had a successful mistake.

I went to measure the beef broth, and it had white spots in it.  Ew.  So, I turned to my basement and had chicken broth.  Chicken broth was even more delicious than I remember the recipe as originally written being!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

When my co-op box came this week, I gave up some beets and got double on broccoli.  I knew what had to be done.  Another try on Broccoli Cheddar Soup!

I've made a version that is very popular on a message board of which I am a member, and it wasn't super successful round here, but I wanted to try it again, because we Looooove Broccoli Cheddar soup.

But, alas, things didn't quite work out.  The two bunches of broccoli looked like about a cup.  Hmm.  So, I went to my freezer and pulled out some frozen broccoli.  I also had only 1 cup of half and half in the fridge, and so used milk for the other cup.  We use skim.  Hmmm, missing some of that creamy goodness.

But, this was a really good version of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  I had it today as leftovers, and was really happy with it.

Thanks to Julia for posting it on her blog!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (adapted from Food Network, as seen on Amber’s blog)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, stems removed (about 1 head)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you’ll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.
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