Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not exactly blogworthy....

But ya know what? Its food, this is a food blog, so I'm posting about it! Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday and I will be busy baking her cake tonight and tomorrow night will be very busy with lots of cooking and celebrating. So I wanted an easy dinner. I was going to make pasta, but I had pizza for dinner, and I didn't want pasta and pizza in the same day for some reason. So I decided to make hot dogs, oven fries, and roasted zucchini.
The oven fries were really yummy. I don't always do well with these. I always seem to over cook them and they get gross. This time they were very good though. I sprayed them with olive oil spray and sprinkled some salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder. They were very tasty! I know my hot dog looks naked. I did put toppings on it, but I took the pictures first. I also want to mention that roasted zucchini is my favorite vegetable, and if you think you don't like zucchini, try it roasted and I think you might change your mind!

I joined the foodie blogroll!

I have found so many great blogs on there so I decided to join. I'm not sure I'm on there yet, since I just emailed Jen at The Leftover Queen. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together Jen! It's such a wonderful resource!

Monday, July 30, 2007

BBQ Chicken, Potatoes, and Green Beans

BBQ Chicken is one of my favorite foods. I love it on the grill and could eat it a couple of times a week and not complain. Living in an apartment, unfortunately, means that I do not have an outdoor grill. I do have a George Foreman Grill, but it's such a pain to clean and I really didn't feel like dealing with it. So I decided to just try it in a skillet on the stove top. I've made bbq chicken this way before, except the last time I used boneless skinless breasts and cut them into chunks and made BBQ chicken wraps. This time, I used chicken leg quarters. I use this kind of chicken a lot lately because it is very in expensive (kosher meat is ridiculous sometimes) and it tastes really yummy. I took the quarters and separated the leg from the thigh to make it easier to fit into my little skillet. I "marinaded" the chicken pieces in BBQ sauce for about an hour before cooking. I like to do this because I like my chicken really saucy and that helps it hold onto some of the sauce and the flavor. I have to confess here that I used bbq sauce from a jar. I just used Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce. It was delicious! I sprayed the skillet with some olive oil spray, and cooked the chicken pieces over a medium flame for about 35-40 minutes. I basted with more sauce on each side a couple of times during cooking. It was really good and easy and everyone here loved it.

For the potatoes, I took 3 medium-large red potatoes and cut them into relatively small pieces. I laid them on a baking sheet coated with olive oil spray and sprayed them with the oil. I sprinkled salt and pepper and chopped rosemary leaves on them and roasted them at about 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. They were brown and crispy and delicious.

I tried something new with my green beans, and I won't be making them this way again. I sauteed them in olive oil spray and garlic. That, on it's own, probably would have been fine. But I also squeezed some lemon juice on them and that did not taste right to me. Rob liked them though, so that's a big success!

Oh, and I usually leave the skin on the chicken when I cook this type of chicken because I love it so much. But I decided that it was time for me to start taking it off. And I did not miss it at all! The sauce got cooked right into the meat and tasted wonderful!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Turkey burgers

This dinner is actually from Wednesday night, but the site that I upload my cell phone pictures to has been down. Well, I wish I hadn't waited because the picture isn't that great. But I put it in anyway! I promise it looked a lot yummier in real life. And they were really good!I found a recipe on Cara's blog for Teriyaki Turkey Burgers, and it sounded great! Only problem was, I didn't have any teriyaki sauce! So my Turkey burgers had some of the same ingredients as Cara's. Let's just say I used her recipe as a starting off point. I'll call mine Onion-y Garlic-y Basil Turkey Burgers.

I picked up some fresh basil at the farmer's market on Sunday, and needed a way to use it up before it wilts away. So I threw some of that in there. Cara's recipe called for red onion, but I only had yellow onion, so that's what I used. Here's my recipe for Onion-y Garlic-y Basil Turkey Burgers:

1.25 pounds ground turkey
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 5 or 6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
i might have added oregano, i don't remember :-)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with hands. I was able to get 5 burgers from this recipe. I cooked mine on the stove top because I did not feel like dealing with our George Foreman Grill. I just sprayed a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and cooked them in that. It was super easy and delicious! I served them with long grain white rice (I know, not the healthiest) and roasted zucchini. It was a really simple and yummy dinner!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


So let me start by saying that I hated lasagna as a kid. I thought it was disgusting. But as I got older, I started trying it again, and realized how yummy it was. So since my daughter is away for the week, and has the same hate for lasagna that I had when I was a kid, I decided that today would be a great day for a lasagna. My mom made it an even greater day for lasagna but saying that she was going to come over and take me shopping! I knew I could talk her into staying for dinner if I said I was making Spinach Lasagna. Only problem is, Rob doesn't really like spinach So Christit493 from the nest recommended that I make half of the lasagna with spinach and half without. Genius! It worked out perfectly. I simply topped the spinach half with oregano so we'd know which side was which. I used the recipe on the box of San Giorgio No Boil Lasagna. It was a pretty basic, but delicious recipe. I will definitely make it again, but next time I'll add more herbs and seasonings than it called for. It needed some salt and pepper, and more oregano and basil. My sister ended up coming over as well, and she raved about it. It felt so good too make a nice big dinner for my family! I hope I get to do this more often.

Step by Step Lasagna (from the San Giorgio box)
1lb ground beef ( I did not add beef because then this dish would not be kosher)
3 cups (about 28 oz jar) spaghetti sauce (I made my own the other day)
1 cup (8 oz czn) tomato sauce (optional) I did not use this
1 3/4 cups (15 oz) ricotta cheese I used part skim
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves I used about 5 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
12 pieces San Giorgio Oven Ready Lasagna, uncooked, unsoaked
4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese I used part skim
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Heat oven to 375
2. In large skillet, cook meat until browned; remove from heat. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce, if desired.
3. In a small bowl, sit together ricotta cheese, egg, basil and oregano This is where I split the ricotta cheese mixture into 2 equal parts and added thawed out frozen spinach to one part. I did not measure, but I'll take a wild guess and say I added maybe 1/3 cup?

1. In a 13x9 inch baking dish, spread 3/4 cup meat sauce.
2. Place 3 pieces uncooked pasta crosswise over sauce (there's a great little diagram on the box that helps a lot) Pieces should not overlap or touch side of pan since they will expand when baked.
3. Spread about 2/3 cup ricotta mixture evenly over pasta. Spread 3/4 cup meat sauce evenly over ricotta covering pasta completely; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times. Top with remaining 3 pasta pieces. Spread remaining meat sauce completely over pasta; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
5. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; remove foil. Bake 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with additional sauce, if desired. 10-12 servings.

This recipe can be made ahead and frozen. Simply assemble per the instructions, cover with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Simply remove the foil and plastic wrap, and put the foil back on. Frozen lasagna should be baked for 1 hour and 30 minutes, removing foil for last 10 minutes.

I served with homemade garlic bread. I took Italian bread and drizzled some olive oil on both sides and baked it in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes. then, I took a garlic clove and cut off the tip and rubbed it on the bread so the fresh garlic melted into the hot bread. This is my new favorite way to make garlic bread!

Monday, July 23, 2007

It's official...these are my favorite!

I forgot how much I love the Soft Chocolate Chip cookies. Ya know, the ones with pudding mix in them? I have made them so many times in so many different ways. I've tried french vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, and lemon pudding (don't recommend this one. they were not good) I know I messed one batch up because I used the wrong sized box of pudding. I think it was the chocolate ones. They were really dry and not good. But the ones I made tonight were amazing. I used vanilla pudding mix in these and they are soft and chewy and delicious. The picture I got was not good, so I apologize, but I'm adding it anyway!

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding & pie mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz. bag) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat in the instant pudding until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls (I rolled mine into balls) onto ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 16 minutes to get the edges just browned) in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

(I wanted to add that I C&Ped this recipe from chelley's blog. I was way too lazy to type it out myself)

A week without Maura!

So, my aunt took my daughter away from me for a whole week. She is out of town visiting her best friend (my cousin) I miss her terribly and the week cannot go by fast enough. Rob and I have decided that this would be a great week to make some meals that Maura might not like. I have heard so many fantastic things about Giada's Balsamic Chicken on the What's Cooking board, and this seemed like something Maura might not be into. Although, I think I may be wrong about that. I think she would absolutely love this meal! Anyway, I fully intended to try it quite a while ago. I bought some balsamic vinegar just for the occasion. And then I didn't make it...so I used the balsamic for something else! Then, my good friend Steph (better known as skidunks) said she was making this the other day, and that inspired me to actually make it! It was so good and not as hard to make as I thought it would be. I think the only thing I will do differently next time is marinade it longer. Like all day or something. I marinaded for about 2 1/2 hours and it was really good. But I think all day would make it even better. Oh, and since I didn't use the type of chicken Giada calls for in her recipe, I would probably make less of the marinade. We had a ton leftover and throwing it out makes me feel wasteful. Anyway, my changes have been made in italics.

Balsamic Chicken Drumettes (source WC nesties: original source Giada De Laurentiis)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 sprigs of rosemary
5 garlic cloves, halved
10 to 12 chicken drumsticks (I used 3 chicken leg quarters)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I left these out because I didn't have any)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (again, I left this out because I didn't have any)

Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce (I used less sodium soy sauce), rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves, in a large, re-sealable plastic bag (I was clumsy and let go of the bag while getting the marinade ready and spilled it everywhere. so be careful!). Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken drumsticks (or leg quarters...or whatever kind of chicken you feel like using) to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the skin is caramelized and very dark in spots, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Reserve.

Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Place the chicken on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.

I served this with oven roasted red potatoes. I tossed the potatoes, which I cut into eights, in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and rosemary. They were fantastic. I cooked them in the oven for the same amount of time as the chicken. They were a little brown on the outside, but I like them that way :-)

I also sauteed some zucchini in some olive oil and one minced garlic clove. Oh, and salt and pepper of course. They are soo good this way. I normally roast them, but have tried sauteeing them and it gives them such a different flavor. Rob really likes them this way and even went back for seconds of the zucchini. Anyone who knows my husband, knows this is extremely strange, especially since he took seconds of the zucchini before he took seconds of the meat or potatoes!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tried and true!

Tonight I decided to make a dish that I knew we all love. It's a dish that I found on elly's blog and it has become one of our favorite dinners. It is so easy and so delicious. It takes a while to cook, but since it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare it, the hour wait for it to be done is really not a big deal. The sauce that is left behind in the bottom of the baking dish is amazing, and I love the way it tastes with the potatoes. I always use yukon gold potatoes because their buttery texture goes so well with the sauce. There isn't really a recipe for this meal. It's all done by taste/sight. I use an oval baking dish (no clue about the size) You start off by cutting up your potatoes. For the 3 of us, I use 3 yukon gold potatoes, peel them, and cut them into eights. Then, coat the bottom of the baking dish with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add the chicken ( I use 3 chicken leg quarters) and potatoes to the baking dish and coat both sides of the chicken and potatoes with the lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano on both sides of the chicken and on the potatoes and squeeze the juice of the other half of the lemon over everything. Add enough chicken broth (I almost always use veggie broth cause that's what I always have) to cover the bottom of the pan (elly says 1/3 cup, but i never measure) Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour. Make sure to check periodically to make sure you don't need to add more broth, or to baste with the sauce if you'd like.

Tonight I roasted zucchini and broccoli and they go so well with this dish. I cut the zucchini into chunks, and the broccoli into florets, laid them on a baking sheet coated with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then sprayed them with olive oil spray. This is my favorite way to eat veggies, and my previously non-veggie eating husband loves them this way. I pop those in the oven when there's about 20 minutes left for the chicken. I love this dish and will continue to make it over and over! Thanks Elly!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I've made this recipe before. But not since I started my blog :-) So I had to make them again so I could post about them. So that will be my reason for baking them tonight. Anyway, I heard about this recipe on the nest on the What's Cooking message board. Everyone raves about them and the first time I made them, I was less than impressed. They just didn't knock my socks off the way I had hoped they would. But I gave them another shot a few weeks ago and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure what I did differently. Maybe it was when I put them in an airtight container with a loaf of bread. Yeah, that was probably it. Well, tonight I tried another trick I learned from my friend Amber (of Amber's Delectable Delights) She said that I should chill the dough in the fridge before baking. Just for a little while. So I did that and they were perfect right out of the oven. I also made sure I didn't overbake them. I have a tendency to do that sometimes. So here's the infamous BFCCC recipe (from allrecipes)

Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. *Note: I did not make them this big. I dropped them by rounded tablespoonfuls.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes (mine were perfect after 15 minutes) in the preheated oven or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Easy dinner night!

I was really disappointed to find out that I would not be going out to dinner with my family tonight. We were supposed to go out for Greek food to a local Greek restaurant, and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. My little brother (who is actually a lot bigger than me now) is leaving soon for Japan, and we were going to go out before he left. Well, he's not leaving as soon as he originally thought (yay!) So we postponed the night out. Only problem was, I hadn't planned anything for dinner tonight, and I only found out last night that we wouldn't be going out. Then I remembered that I had some sauce in the freezer from a while back that I had been wanting to use up.

Maura had already asked for salmon tonight, since she discovered last night that she likes it. I made up a really simple baked salmon fillet for her, since she likes her food plain. But I just wanted to do something simple for me and Rob. So I grabbed the sauce out of the freezer before work this morning.

I love to try new things and work in the kitchen, but I also love easy dinners that don't take long and are still very yummy. And I got a great idea while roasting some zucchini for Maura. I topped my pasta (I used vermicelli tonight) with some of the roasted zucchini before I added my sauce. It tasted fantastic! The zucchini added such a wonderful flavor. I will definitely do this again. I hardly ever make my sauce the same way twice and I rarely measure things like spices. But I'll do my best to "guesstimate"

Kayte's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste (I sometimes add more if I'm in the mood for a thicker sauce)
half of a green bell pepper, chopped
2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
dash of sugar (I sometimes use brown sugar)

Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add onion and garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste and green pepper at this point and cook until the tomato paste "melts" (about 2 minutes, maybe less) Add tomatoes, and seasonings to taste. Simmer for atleast 30 minutes, checking taste along the way.

I really can't be sure how much of each seasoning I use. I really just start throwing things in. I'd guess about 1/2 teaspoon of each would be good. And sometimes I add a splash of red wine if I have a bottle open. That adds a really yummy flavor.

For the roasted zucchini, I slice my zucchini (actually, tonight I cut it into chunks, which worked out really well when I added it to my pasta), throw it on a baking sheet coated with olive oil spray, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, spray them with olive oil, and roast them in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. The next time I make the zucchini for my pasta, I will also sprinkle some parmesan cheese on them before roasting!

Guilt free baking!

I love to bake. I really really love it. There is something about it that makes me feel good. The problem is, I eat what I bake. And usually not just a small serving. Since I am trying to lose weight and be healthier, I decided to do some guilt free baking last night. I dug out my recipe for Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins that I found on sparkrecipes months ago. I've only made them once, and I'm not sure why, because they are incredible. They're simple to make, but you do have to let the oats soak in milk for about an hour, so they're not exactly fast. But They are definitely worth it. And for anyone who is watching what they eat, they are 95 calories and .5 grams of fat per muffin! And that is if you make 12. I stretched my batch out to 16, but they're pretty small that way. I'll be grabbing 2 for breakfast this morning and I can't wait!

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
raisins or nuts (optional)

Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired.
Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.
These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Lemon and Dill

What a great combination! I bought some fresh Salmon at the market and was really excited to make it. I never make fish here because my husband and my daughter don't like it. So making fish for myself would mean making 2 dinners in one night. Definitely not something I'm interested in. But I wanted the salmon so badly, that I was willing to do it tonight. And I am so glad I did. I decided to make some chicken up for Rob and Maura, and I used pretty much the same seasonings for the chicken that i did for the fish.

I definitely don't have a recipe, since I just threw stuff together. Basically, I put the salmon on a foil lined, greased (well, i sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray) baking sheet, squeezed the juice of half a lemon on it, sprinkled a healthy amount of dried dill on, added some freshly cracked black pepper and sprayed it lightly with the olive oil spray. The piece of salmon I used was half of a fillet I had gotten at the market and it weighed about 6 ounces. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. It was cooked perfectly for me, but I don't like my fish undercooked whatsoever.

As far as the chicken goes, I don't think I would cook it the same way again. The seasoning was fine, but it got dried out and I could tell Rob wasn't a big fan, even though he wouldn't say so. Although he wasn't feeling well today, so who knows! I did pretty much the exact same thing with the chicken. Foil lined baking sheet, juice of half a lemon, dill, salt and pepper. I cooked the chicken longer than the fish because undercooked chicken scares me so I sometimes go overboard. I'm still trying to think up a way to cook the chicken this way so it doesn't dry out so much.

For the couscous, I Just followed the package directions. I sauteed one small yellow onion in some olive oil until it was slightly brown. I added the couscous (and 8.8 ounce package) and browned that a bit. Then I added 2 cups of veggie broth that I had boiling on another burner. I also added garlic powder, salt and pepper, oregano, and basil. It definitely didn't need all that seasoning and next time i think I'll just cook it in the veggie broth because that seemed to give plenty of flavor.

All in all, it was a yummy dinner, and I will definitely be replicating the salmon again! The biggest accomplishment of the night was getting Maura to try fish! She really really liked it and demanded that I make it again really soon. Yay!!
(Sorry about the blurry pics. I'm working with a cell phone camera)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A new recipe for a new blog

I thought it would be appropriate for my first blog recipe to be a recipe that I have never tried before. So I searched allrecipes.com and found a yummy looking recipe for Caramelized Baked Chicken. It was incredible. The original recipe called for chicken wings, but I used chicken leg quarters because thats what I had. It would be great as wings though! The sauce was sweet, but not too sweet. I cooked the sauce on the stove top for about 5 minutes before pouring it over the chicken, per the suggestions of the reviewers on allrecipes. Definitely a good thing to do. I think cooking it on the stove top helps bring the sauce together. I think this is a new family favorite! Everyone loved it.

I served it with roasted broccoli and long grain white rice cooked in chicken broth. They were the perfect compliment. Here's another picture just because I loved it so much!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My first blog entry!

So I finally did it. I finally started a food blog. I've been putting it off and putting it off because our digital camera isn't working and I wanted to be able to put pics up along with my recipes. But I'm trying a new recipe tonight, and I've been looking at food blogs a lot more lately, so I did it! I'll be back later tonight with a full review (and hopefully some decent pics) of tonight's dinner!