October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

So is it weird if you make your own birthday cake? I had been dying to try to make my own fondant, and it seemed like the perfect excuse. As a bonus, if it didn't turn out I would be the only one who was upset. Through all of my hours on the internet, I found this recipe for Marshmallow fondant. Hmmm, interesting right? This fondant did not dissappoint. It was easy to work with, fairly easy to make (a bit messy), and it did not taste totally disgusting. I don't think fondant is something I would want to eat much of, but it was not too bad. (Recipe coming soon) I was pretty pround of myself, I have a long way to go, but I think my first experiment was a hit!


So tonight I am catching up this poor neglected blog. I have just been so busy! I still haven't had much time to really experiment in the kitchen, so I have been sticking to our tried and true favorites. Like this chili. I make it basically the same way that my Mom does, but neither of us really has a recipe. We just throw whatever tomato products we have in our pantries into the pot. Surprisingly, it always tastes about the same. My Dad will not eat chili unless it has a macaroni in it, I guess that I over compensate for this or something, because I always put too many noodles in my chili and wind up with something more reminiscent of goulash or Hamburger Helper instead of a nice soup. This time I tried to be more aware of what I was doing, the chili did come closer to what I was going for.

2 lbs. of hamburger
1 medium onion, diced
1 package chili seasoning mix (I used McCormick)
1 large can of diced tomatoes, undrained (28 oz.)
2 cans of tomato soup
1 can of tomato paste (6 oz.)
1 can chili hot beans, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup macaroni noodles (elbows, shells)
Brown the hamburger and onion in a large soup pot, drain. Put the hamburger back in the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for at least 15 minutes (I think it is better the longer it simmers). In a small pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions until a little less than al dente. Add it to the mixture in the pot. If you want to avoid your noodles getting too large, you may want to wait to add them until a few minutes before serving.

September 19, 2010

My First Cake Order

So I sold my first cake! A lady at work ordered it for her grandson's twelfth birthday. It is probably not the best cake ever, but she seemed to like it. Matt was also impressed. The edges didn't look so crooked and bumpy in real life. Tomorrow I will find out if it tasted okay (I am a bit nervous). The only thing she said was white cake with white icing and sports themed.

I'm Back!

Wow, I cannot believe that it has been so long since I have posted! I have recently started a second job, so my time has been pretty booked. Most of our meals have not been blog worthy, lots of slow-cooker and thrown together at the end of the day meals. Also, the few things that I have cooked have not turned out very well. These turkey sliders have turned things around though. What can I say I am a sucker for cute little sandwiches. Matt ordinarily does not eat lunch meat very well, but we both really enjoyed these. He also really liked this broccoli cheese soup (it was supposed to taste like Panera's). I was not a huge fan, but I only like broccoli soup that is SUPER cheesy. I think the bay leaves were too strong, maybe. Anyway this was a good meal, because I could make the soup on my day off and then heat it up and assemble the sandwiches for a quick dinner which is good when you don't get home until 8:00!
Not Quite Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
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
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2 1/2 cups grated sharp white and yellow cheddar
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes or until tender. Using a whisk, add the flour and cook until golden (3-4 minutes). Gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until thickened (about 20 minutes).
Add the broccoli and carrot and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Remove the bay leaves. Optional- Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Whisk in the cheese over medium heat. If the soup is too thick you can add up to a half cup of water.
Turkey Pesto Sliders
6 slider buns (we used the Hawaiian brand ones)
6 slices of deli turkey meat
6 slices of provolone cheese
3 tbsp. pesto
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the slider buns. Lay them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun. Add the provolone. Combine the pesto and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread a thin layer on each top bun. Replace teh top bun. Brush the tops of the buns with melted butter. Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed.

August 17, 2010

Baked Ziti

I forgot to take a picture of this one, but as you can see it was a big hit. This dish is so popular with the hubs that I am absolutely sick of it and have refused to make it again (at least for a few months). However, you should make it because it is quite good. I first discovered this dish while watching an interview between Rachael Ray and Raven Simone. Surprisingly, it is Raven's recipe not Rachael's. However, I have altered it a bit and made it so many times that it is basically my own. This dish is not hard to make at all. It is kind of messy and you have to time everything out well. I have the timing perfected, but if my method is too confusing just do one thing at a time and you will be fine. This is a great recipe to serve for guests, because it feeds so many! I have put the full version on here. It makes a lot! You could reduce it very easily, but I usually just make a full batch and freeze it or give it to someone else.

Baked Ziti
2 jars Spaghetti Sauce with roasted garlic (I use Prego Roasted Garlic & Herb)
1 small onion, chopped
1 1 lb. block of mozzarella cheese (not fresh mozzarella) or 1/2 lb. block and 1/2 lb. shredded
1 box of rigatoni (can also use penne or ziti if desired)
pinch of oregano
pinch of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste (I often don't add it)
butter- optional
First, you will need to chop the onion. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brown the hamburger and onion in a large skillet or saucepot, drain. While this is browning, bring the pasta water to a boil. Once it is boiling cook the pasta as instructed on the package until al dente (or even a little less), drain. Simmer the hamburger/onion mixture with the two jars of sauce for a few minutes (don't rinse out the jars, just set them to the side). Add the parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper). While the pasta is cooking and sauce is simmering, chop 1/2 lb. of cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice the other half into thin slices (unless you are using shredded). Get out your pans. In my experience, this amount of food needs one large 11x14 casserole dish adn one 8x8 dish or two 9x13 dishes. I like to grease the bottom of the pan with butter, but it is not necessary. Put a ladle full of sauce into the bottom of the pan begin layering by adding the pasta and then the cubed cheese. Continue layering, I always try to end with a layer of sauce. No remember those dirty sauce jars? Fill each of them about 1/4 full of water. Shake them up and pour the tomato water over the ziti (mostly on the edges). Cover the dish with sliced or shredded cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and parsley. Basically, you just need to bake this until the cheese is browned and bubbly. You can do it by simply baking for 30 minutes or so or by covering with foil for 30 minutes and then baking for 15-30 minutes more. It turns out the same either way.

August 9, 2010

Strawberry Muffins

Yup, still no working fridge at this time. So I have been making things that do not need to be refrigerated, like these strawberry muffins. They were okay, but I would probably leave out the nutmeg. I found it to be overpowering, I wanted my muffins to taste more like strawberries than nutmeg. They are still a good breakfast though!

Strawberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Splenda
1/8 cup white sugar
1/8 cup Splenda
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine the strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and a 1/4 cup Splenda in a seperate bowl. Let set for 1 hour. Drain the berries keeping the liquid seperate. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a 12 count muffin tin by greasing or lining with paper liners. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and the rest of the sugar and Splenda until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla. Combine the remaining dry ingredients and and stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the juice from the berries. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Source: All Recipes

Stephanie Supper

Have I mentioned that our fridge is broken? We are going on week three, I believe. The repairman has been here twice, and thinks the fridge is fine. It is not! Just because it is running and is kind of cool does not mean it is working! He thinks my thermometer is wrong, but I have two and both are reading the same temperature which is about 10 degrees higher than a fridge is supposed to be. Thus, I can't grocery shop or store leftovers for fear of food poisoning. This and the fact that Matt has been working at a band camp and not eating at home have lead me to eat many Stephanie Suppers recently (which is okay by me). In college, my roommate (and good friend) Stephanie ate this dish or some variation of this multiple times a week (hence the name). Everytime I eat it, I am reminded of her. It is not really a specific recipe just a general guideline.
Stephanie Supper
Pasta (any shape), I have been using Whole Wheat
Butter or Olive Oil
Garlic or Garlic salt
Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions (just make as much as you think you will eat). I like to throw my the broccoli in with the boiling water for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. In the original version, she cooked the broccoli separately (usually in the microwave). It is good both ways. Drain the pasta (and broccoli). Now in my version I throw the butter and minced garlic into the already hot pasta pot. I saute until the butter is melted and the garlic has started to brown. (You can also just add the butter and garlic salt to the pasta before serving). I then put the pasta back in the pot and toss to coat it with the butter/garlic. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy.
*I think you could also make this with olive oil instead of butter for a healthier dish, but I am not a big fan of the flavor of olive oil and pasta.
Source: Stephanie

PB & Chocolate Chips?

Yup, these aren't your ordinary chocolate chip bars. They have peanut butter in them! I don't know that they are one of the best things that I have ever made, but they were pretty good and super easy. Matt's friends seemed to like them.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Splenda or another 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon course salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8x8 pan. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In another bowl cream together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugars. Beat until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one. Add the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and combine. Spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 30-32 minutes. Cool before cutting.

August 4, 2010

Mad Men Party Anyone?

Why is it that our best ideas always occur too late? For example, why did I not throw a party for the premiere of Mad Men. I love the show and I love to party plan. It would have been perfect! I guess I will just have to save these awesome recipes/ideas for another day. That is okay though, because I will be able to look at my Grandma's cookbook from the fifties/sixties. It has all of these tips on how to be a good housewife that make the cookbook awesome on its own, but the recipes are even better. I could take the easy route and recreate the recipes from Betty's around the world party, but I think some of these retro dishes would be way better. I thought that I would share them, before I forgot them all. Hopefully, you will read the post that recaps all of these dishes and my super party soon.

We would have lots of finger foods. We would start with rumaki, polish mistakes (okay these are actually one of my favorite foods) and a jello mold. Does anyone else think there are olives in this one?

I would also serve chips and french onion dip, Utz of course. This dish would be dedicated to Pete Campbell ( I think there's an episode where he talks about getting a chip server for a wedding gift or something). I would also serve deviled eggs and a cheese ball.

I don't drink, but no Mad Men party would be complete without an array of mixed drinks. These would include Old Fashioneds (for Don) and Vodka Gimlets (for Betty).

I might change my mind though and serve a real meal of these retro classics: Beef Wellington and Chicken Kiev.

For dessert, I would love to serve Baked Alaska, but would probably be better off just making a bundt cake. This pineapple-upside down one looks pretty appropriate to me.

So there you have it, my great ideas for a Mad Men party. Maybe I can throw one for the season finale. You might want to eat a snack before you come though...

July 31, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

This one was so good that it gets two pictures! I have wanted to make chicken enchiladas for a long time. I don't know why though, because they are not one of my favorite Mexican foods. I hate the red sauce and usually don't order them or order them with just cheese. However, this one was called "Angela's Awesome Chicken Enchiladas". With a title like that they have to be good right? Right! The red sauce kind of soaked in to them so I could only taste it on the edges. Matthew was quite impressed he actually told me that I had to put this on my blog. He then preceded to tell me that this was a recipe we could serve to people. I am not sure what he meant by this. Is my other food not good enough to serve to people? He does not think sometimes. Anyway back to the enchiladas, they were good, but they were a pain to make. So make sure you leave yourself a couple hours to get them done. I think next time I will cook the chicken and some of the spices in the crock-pot so they will be easy to shred. Hopefully, this will make things go faster. Also, this was NOT a healthy recipe. We did use reduced fat cheese and fat free sour cream. That makes me feel a bit better about it. I also left off the olives, because neither of us like them.
Angela's Awesome Enchiladas
Okay, I am not even going to bother retyping this recipe. It is long. Just follow the link.
Source: All Recipes

Rachael Ray Hot Dogs

Last Christmas Matt bought me some orange Rachael Ray pots. I had to break them in with a Rachael Ray recipe, obviously. We saw her making these hot dogs with Michigan sauce on her show and the rest was history. We made these for the first time in January and Matt has been requesting them ever since. Personally, I prefer a sweet sauce on my coneys so these were not one of my favorites, but he loved it enough for both of us.
Stuffed Hot dogs: Michigan Dogs with Cheese Sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
8 large good quality hot dogs, split down the middle
8 bakery hoagie, sub or dog rolls, split
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown for 5-6 minutes. Drain. Season with salt and pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Add the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute, then add the beef stock. Simmer until the beef stock has boiled out (it took about 20 minutes). In a second small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper and cook to thicken (about 2 minutes). Melt the cheese into the milk sauce. Split the hot dogs through the middle, down to the casings. Cook on the George Foreman (or grill) until browned on both sides. Place the hot dogs on the rolls and cover with the Michigan sauce and cheese sauce.

July 30, 2010


I can't believe that I married a man who doesn't like pierogies. Seriously? It is pasta, cheese, and mashed potatoes! What could be better? This is my go to meal when Matt is not at home. Someday I will be more Martha Stewarty and make my own pierogies (they are one of her favorite foods too!), but for now I am pretty content with the frozen ones. If you have never tried a pierogie you should do it now. Schwann's are by far the best but Mrs. T's are good too. However, you can only get the cheese flavored ones. The onion ones are not worth your time. Also, the ones in the ISU cafeteria should not even be called pierogies. They were gross: undercooked, covered with marinara, and nacho cheese. It was not good. The only way to make these is to saute them with onions and butter. Adding salt, pepper, and chives doesn't hurt either.

July 26, 2010

S'more Cake!

I have always been a huge fan of s'mores, but not a huge fan of camping. Actually, I hate camping. In recent years, I have taken to going to the campground just for a s'more and then heading home. Well friends, my camping days may have officially ended with the discovery of this s'more cake. It is delicious! Two layers of graham cracker cake with marshmallow fluff and chocolate glaze. Yum!

Step-by-Step Instructions for S'more Cake:

S'more Cake
For the cake:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
For the filling:
Marshmallow Fluff
For the chocolate glaze:
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
For decoration:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
Chocolate chips
Crushed graham crackers
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. You will then need to line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, you will also need to grease and flour the sides of the pans. Set them aside.
In a medium bowl add all of the dry ingredients (graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt), stir to combine and then set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment to your electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form (see below).

Okay, I over beat them just a little bit but this is an idea of what your egg whites should look like. When you lift your beaters from the bowl the batter should follow it and form a slight peak, but since it is a soft peak it will fall over a bit. A stiff peak will continue to stand straight up. Transfer your egg whites to a different bowl and set aside.
3. Now cream together the butter and sugar for about two minutes or until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks. Once they are well integrated, stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Begin adding the other ingredients alternating between the dry ingredients and the milk. Fold in
a portion of the egg whites using a rubber spatula. This will lighten the batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Your batter should look something like the above picture.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan. If you have a wire rack you can transfer the cakes to it at this time in order to finish cooling. I found that this was a delicate cake, so be careful with the transferring.
6. Once the cake has cooled, transfer to a cardboard cake circle or just place on the serving platter. Spread the marshmallow fluff over the cake. Believe it or not this is a bit difficult. The fluff is super sticky and the cake is really delicate. A pastry bag works well, but is a lot of trouble. Either way you need to leave at least 1/2 inch of space between the fluff and the edge of the cake (the cake is heavy so the fluff will spread out). Add the top layer to the cake and put the whole thing in the fridge for about 1 hour.
7. Now it is time for the chocolate glaze. The best way to do this is to set a heatproof bowl on top of a pot of simmering water, this way the chocolate will not scorch. Add the chocolate, cream, butter, and corn syrup to the bowl. Heat until the chocolate has melted. Then whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Pour glaze over the top of the cake. It is okay if it runs down the sides in some places (it makes it look more s'more like).
8. It's time to decorate! Obviously, this is just how I did it. Matt did not want anything super fancy since we were feeding it to his friends. So I decided to make it look a bit messy and delicious looking. To make the marshmallow icing combine the butter and marshmallow fluff and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar. Stir in the cream or milk to make the icing more fluid. If you need more liquid you can add it. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag (if you don't have one just use a ziplock baggy and cut off a tiny bit of one corner). I then drizzled it all over the cake. I covered it with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. I then did another layer of marshmallow icing. I finished the cake by sprinkling it with graham cracker crumbs!
*If I had a kitchen torch, I would have just covered the top with mini marshmallows and browned them. So you still had the look/taste of a real s'more. I am going to try it someday.
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats

First Dinner Party

Tonight was our first dinner party. I think it was a success! There were six of us, five of whom were boys so this dinner party consisted of "man food". Matt requested strombolis. We also served a salad, chips and white pizza (they ate it so quickly that I did not have time to take a picture!). For dessert we had S'more cake (post coming soon). We made both meat and veggie strombolis.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. sausage
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons green pepper
3 oz. tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
4 oz. sliced/shredded mozzarella cheese (I usually use more)
Pepperoni- optional
Loaf of French bread
Brown meat and drain. Add onion, pepper, tomato paste, water, salt and oregano. Simmer 1o minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Slice bread lengthwise, scoop out some of bottom loaf. Sprinkle some cheese on the bottom loaf of bread, add meat mixture. If desired add pepperoni at this time. Cover it with cheese. Put on top 1/2 of loaf. Wrap in foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 or until cheese is melted.
*You can make a vegetarian version by substituting 1 can of mushrooms (drained) for the meat. You may also want to increase the onions and green peppers.
Source: First Presbyterian Cookbook, courtesy Sarah Lee

Zucchini Bread and Muffins

Last Saturday I woke up with a big desire to bake zucchini bread (I have no clue why), so that is exactly what I did. I realize that zucchini bread is not really a healthy food so I decided to be creative and make some alterations to an existing recipe. I substitute most of the oil for applesauce and replaced some of the sugar with Splenda. It was surprisingly good. I need to figure out how to calculate the nutritional information of baked goods though so that I can show you the difference. The recipe was for two loaves of bread. I ended up making one loaf of bread and 12 muffins. I only have one loaf pan. I think I baked the bread a bit too long, so we preferred the muffins. They were super moist, slightly sweet, and just plain good. I may have to make another batch and freeze it for quick breakfasts this fall.

Megan's Modified Zucchini Muffins (or Bread)
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup applesauce*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups grated, peeled zucchini
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Beat all ingredients until blended.
For muffins- Line baking pan with paper baking cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
For bread- Pour into 2 greased and floured bread pans. Bake 45 minutes to one hour at 350 degrees.
Sprinkle top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Can ad nuts, raisins, and etc. up to 3/4 cup.
*I used sweetened applesauce, if you use unsweetened you may want to add up to 1/4 cup of sugar or Splenda.

Source: Adapted from the Bethel United Methodist Cookbook, courtesy Nancy Johnson.

July 22, 2010


Since we were house sitting this week, we decided to take adavantage of their nice big grill. Kabobs were already on the menu, so they just got pushed back a few days. They were a hit! The recipe was originally just for steak and bell pepper kabobs, but I decided to add the onions. I am glad that I did; they were my favorite part. If I make these again, I might use real veggies too. I got tired of all the peppers.

The recipe:
Steak & Bell Pepper Kabobs
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. beef grilling rub
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. boneless beef sirloin, cut into 1 in. pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 in. pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 in. pieces
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 in. pieces
Onion, cut into 1 in. pieces (if desired)
1 cup molasses and rum grilling sauce (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the wine, olive oil, grilling rub, salt, and beef. Stir to coat the meat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat the grill to medium. (If you plan to use wooden skewers, you need to soak them for at least 2o minutes).
Remove the beef from the marinade. Assemble the kabobs using the beef and peppers.
Cook on the grill turning every 2-3 minutes until grill marks appear underneath (or meat is to desired doneness). About 10 minutes. If desired, coat with the barbeque sauce and cook for 1 minute more, then brush with more sauce. Remove the skewers from the grill and enjoy.
Source: Annie's Eats

Soup's On

This Minestrone might be my new favorite soup! It was easy, delicious, and healthy. The hardest part was chopping up all of the vegetables. Matthew absolutely loved it which is good because it is actually good for him. This is a true vegeterian soup, but you don't miss the meat beacause it is so hearty. I served it with a side salad and homemade wheat bread (I did not make the bread, but I may have to start!).

Here's the recipe:
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
5 carrots, sliced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine (optional- I did not use it)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can grean beans
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed (I just used 1 box of frozen spinach)
2-3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsps. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to tatste
1/2 cup seashell pasta
Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat saute garlic in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4-5 more minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add chicken broth, water, and tomato sauce, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. If desired add red wine at this point. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, spinach, zucchini, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least 30 minutes (preferably longer).
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and
add to soup. If you will not be eating for some time you may choose to make the macaroni later, add it to each serving bowl, and then ladle the soup on top of it.
Source: allrecipes.com

Mmmmm, Brownies!

Okay, so these brownies were delicious! I had a major sweet craving and these definitely fit the bill. I used a brownie mix from the box (gasp!) and doctored it up by adding a cream cheese frosting (whipped cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla) and strawberries.

As a side note, my pictures are going to be much better from this point on. I kind of forgot that my camera had a close-up feature!

July 15, 2010

On Top of Spaghetti

I thought everyone knew how to make spaghetti. I for one have been making it since elementary school. However, recent experiences have taught me that I was seriously mistaken. Someday I am going to make my own sauce, but for know just doctoring up a jar of sauce is good enough for me. All I do is fry up a pound of hamburger, add a handful of onions, and then simmer it in the sauce. I usually choose a sauce with garlic in the title, but that is just personal preference. Right now my favorite is Classico brand. I believe it is a tiny bit healthier, plus it has a cute old-fashioned style label.

For the garlic bread I used a loaf of como bread (it is a cross between french baguette and ciabatta). I spread it with a mixture of butter spread, garlic salt, and oregano. I think sprinkled it with cheese and popped it in the oven. Delicioso!

July 14, 2010

Rice & Ham

For my shower I got a cookbook from First Presbyterian Church. We first tried the Stromboli recipe. It was so good! Matt said that now he had a reason to marry me. Anyway, we thought we would give another recipe a try. Since I had leftover ham, and didn't really want to do the standard ham with mac & cheese. I made Rice & Ham. Matt is always skeptical of new dishes (I try to jazz up their names, but it doesn't seem to work). Fortunately, he was pleasantly surprised this time and was even more surprised when I told him that it was fairly healthy. I think we will be making it again. I also think it would be great with chicken or kielbasa (kind of like jambalya).

Here's the recipe:
Rice & Ham
2 T. olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 1/2 c. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 lb. baked ham, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 can (28 ox.) tomatoes, with juice
1 c. water, or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups rice (I used brown)
salt and pepper to taste
Place oil in a large pot over med-low heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring for 10 minutes, adding garlic during the last 5 minutes. Add ham and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and water, bring to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork. Season to taste.
Source: Tracy Dorsett (Family Friend)

First Meal With New Dishes!

So the wedding was two and a half weeks ago, but this is the first time that I was really able to use any of our wedding gifts. I decided to break in our new Fiestaware. It is so fun and colorful! The first meal I chose to make was Island Chicken (courtesy Annie's Eats), only I forgot about the need to marinate it ahead of time. So instead of marinating for ten hours and then baking for one, I marinated for an hour and then threw it on the George Foreman. It was not too bad, but even better in a chicken wrap the next day. The Green Beans with Bacon, Onion, and Tomato were okay. I think that I prefer traditional, if I make them again I will leave off the lemon juice it took away from the real flavor. The garlic mashed potatoes were my favorite part of the meal! Matt said they tasted just like regular, but he does not have a very sophisticated palate, I guess.
Tonight's Recipes:
Island Chicken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 tsp. salt
Ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients except chicken in a large airtight plastic bag. Shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. Press out all of the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours.
Method 1- When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 164 degrees, about 45 minutes (time varies depending on size of the chicken breasts). Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Method 2- Cook them on the George Foreman until heated through.
Source: Annie's Eats

Green Beans with Bacon, Onion, and Tomato
1 lb. green beans
4 slices bacon, cut up
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp, chopped fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (optional)

Place beans in water (about 1 inch) and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes, drain. Rinse with cold water, drain.
In skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet leaving about 1 tablespoon of fat. Drain bacon on a paper towel.
Add the onion to the bacon fat and cook until tender. Stir in the tmato, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the beans and heat until warm. Drizzle with lemon juice and garnish with bacon.
Source: Betty Crocker's Cookbook

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Make mashed potatoes as you normally would, just add peeled garlic to the water while cooking the potatoes. I think 1 clove of garlic per potato was about right (I smashed them a bit before adding them). When you drain your potatoes, don't take out the garlic. Leave it in and mash it up with the potatoes. I also added some dried chives for color. Yum!
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook