Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Craving The Carbs

Some people crave sweets, I crave pizza and pasta. So, I gave into my craving and made a big pot of pasta sauce & meatballs....I could eat this everyday! Top with some grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, all served in a warm bowl. I'm in heaven.

Mushroom Tomato Sauce with Turkey Meatballs

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
28 oz can tomato puree, then fill the can with about 1/2-3/4 full with water, to add to sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup onion, diced
3 tbsp tomato paste, more if necessary to thicken sauce

Heat a large pot with olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook until onions are soft.
Add all remaining ingredients. Once bubbling, turn heat to low and simmer for a couple of hours.

Turkey Meatballs:
1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp (or more if needed ) of bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
extra virgin olive oil for frying

Heat a large skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.

Meanwhile, mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Form equal sized meatballs (I made 20).

Add meatballs to skillet and saute for 10-15 minutes, turning so all sides get browned.

Line a plate with a paper towel, remove meatballs from skillet and place on paper towels and lightly blot.

Add to tomato sauce to fully cook the meatballs, and let simmer on low.

Monday, November 17, 2008

B-Dubs At Home

When you think of Buffalo Wild Wings, you think of chicken wings of course. To save some money, while still enjoying their great sauces, I bought bottles of Mango Habanero and Caribbean Jerk sauce. So this past Saturday, Jamie enjoyed what every man does....sitting in front of the TV, watching football, drinking beer and being served chicken wings...all from the comfort of our own home.

He is so spoiled!! But these flavors are if heat is not your thing, try it with Honey BBQ, Sweet or Mild BBQ or Parmeasan Garlic sauces. Plus these are naked - no breading, no frying!

B-Dubs Naked Chicken Wings

2.5 lbs chicken wings, rinsed, dried, separated, and wings discarded
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
3-4 tbsp butter, divided
about 2 tbsp vegetable oil
BBQ sauce - I used BWW's Mango Habanero & Caribbean Jerk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with tin foil and non-stick spray.

Spread out wings on the baking sheet, drizzle a little vegetable oil over them and turn to coat.

Lightly season wings with salt, pepper, garlic powder on both sides. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turn over and baking for an additional 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat approximately 1/2 cup sauce and 1.5-2 tbsp butter in saucepan (separate if using different sauces). Heat till simmering and mixture is reduced.

Remove wings from oven. If there is a lot of liquid on the tin foil, drain off, or replace and spray with non-stick spray. Pour sauce on wings and turn to coat. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, sauce will become like a glaze. Enjoy with ranch, bleu cheese & celery sticks.

Fried Pickles?? It's A Southern Thing....

Before moving to Tennessee, I had never heard of fried pickles. The thought of them seemed kind of weird, even scary to me. But I saw a post about them on the WC board and on Courtney's blog so I decided to made them for Jamie....I like a couple of pieces now and them, but Jamie loves them.

FYI, since living here I have learned a couple of things about Southern cuisine:

* Deep fried food is good;

* BBQ is not burgers or pizza, as Wikipedia states: "The term as a noun can refer to foods cooked by this method, to the cooking apparatus itself, or to a party that includes such food. The term is also used as a verb for the act of cooking food in this manner....and initially revolved around cooking pork";

* Beans & Greens are common side dishes;

* Sweet tea is a favorite beverage.

So...back to the fried pickles, I made two batches, since I am not that familiar with frying things. The first batch when using the batter mixture as stated, kind of fell off the pickles. So I added in a little more flour and cornstarch until the batter was thicker. Jamie liked the latter batch better, although I thought the batter was too heavy. Next time, I would find a happy medium between the two. Either way, they were really good!

Fried Pickles
from Cook Like A Champion & Science of Cooking

* I cut the batter ingredients in half, as I was not making that much
* I added some more flour and cornstarch to make the batter thicker


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ice water
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
4 cups dill pickle slices, drained I used about 10 pickle spears, sliced lengthwise once so they were thinner
vegetable oil for frying


-In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
-All at once, add the water, egg yolk and pickle juice.-Stir the mixture with a wire whisk to make a smooth batter.
-Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
-In a deep fryer or large saucepan, heat at least two inches of oil to 375°.
-In batches, dip pickle slices into batter, lightly and evenly coating them.
-Without crowding, place coated slices in the hot oil.
-Fry until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.-Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Serve with fat-free ranch dressing....LOL...just kidding, at this point, go for the full fat version!

Loaded Potato Soup - Revisited

I love potato soup, and I found a great recipe that I blogged about in one of my first posts Not So Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Cooking Light - Lighter Loaded Baked Potato Soup. I wanted to make it again, while still avoiding cream, but still make it a little changes from the original, I used turkey bacon in place of regular, added mashed roasted garlic, and fat free sour cream instead of reduced fat. The biggest change was not to mash the potatoes, instead I coarsely chopped them. Although I loved the first time I made it, leaving the potato in chunks added great texture and reduced the graininess that mashed potatoes can have in soup.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese ,divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves of roasted garlic, mashed
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 turkey bacon slices, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°.Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely chop.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes).

Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and roasted garlic, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil).

Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Perfect Fall Treat

Pumpkin is one of the quintessential Fall flavors. I recently enjoyed the last of the banana muffins from the it was time to restock. It's November, and I haven't really made many things with pumpkin yet, so I found the following recipe for Pumpkin Chip muffins. After reading the ingredient list, I didn't like how much oil and sugar were in it, so I substituted with applesauce, which I have done with banana muffins in the past. They were moist, delicious and full of flavor. Not sure if many of them will make it into the freezer!

Pumpkin Chip Muffins
From Allrecipes


4 eggs
2 cups white sugar I used 1.5 cups
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil I reduced oil to 1/2 cup, I added 1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease two 12 cup muffin pans, or line with paper baking cups. I ended up with more batter, and did not have another muffin tin, so I put the remaining batter into a small loaf pan and baked the loaf an additional 10 minutes or so.

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and mix in the sugar, pumpkin and oil.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Blend into the egg and pumpkin mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer to the muffin pans.

4. Bake in the preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans, and cool on a wire rack.

Menu - Week of November 9th

Monday - From the freezer.....Chili & Cheesy Beer Bread

Tuesday - Chicken Parmesan Strips over Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Marinara

Wednesday - Sweet Potato Fries, Cilantro Black Bean Burgers & Green Beans

Thursday - Potato Soup & Garden Salad

Friday - Homemade Pizza & Salad

Saturday - Homemade appetizers for dinner.....still not sure what to make yet

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chicken Fajitas in a Salad?

Earlier in the week while grocery shopping, I was excited to see that colored bell peppers were on sale, so I stocked up. I had all the ingredients for fajitas and wanted those flavors....but I wanted something a little different. So my fajita taco bowl salad was born. It was a wonderful change from the usual, especially the creamy, tangy dressing, and you don't have to eat the bowl - making it an even leaner meal.

Chicken Fajita Taco Bowl Salad

1 1/2-2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced - I used a mixture of red, yellow and green
2 tomatoes, chopped
2-3 limes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Seasoning blend
large flour tortillas (if using the bowl, otherwise omit and serve on a bed of lettuce and some broken tortilla chips)
toppings: 2 % shredded Mexican cheese blend, iceberg lettuce & avocado slices

Heat a grill pan, remove chicken from marinade, grill chicken till done, approximately 8 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil, and saute peppers and onions till softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin, Southwest seasoning and juice of half a lime. With a couple of minutes left, add the tomatoes.

**If making a tortilla bowl, place tortilla upside down on top of a ramekin, brush a little vegetable oil and bake in a 425 oven for 5-6 minutes.

Add the chicken to the vegetable mixture and combine. Serve the fajita mix in a tortilla bowl or on lettuce. Drizzle with the Cilantro Lime Dressing.

Lime Fajita Marinade

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Corona
juice of 1 lime
zest of half a lime
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp mesquite flavored liquid smoke
salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Put the chicken in a bag or bowl, add marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Take chicken out of fridge about 10 minutes before using.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

1/2-3/4 cup fat free plain yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp limes zest
2-3 tbsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix above ingredients, cover and chill until ready to use.

A Marvelous Meatless Meal

I don't enjoy a lot of different types of meat, so many of the meals I make include chicken, however once in a while I like to make meatless meals. This pasta dish was made with inexpensive ingredients that I always have on hand, it was quick and easy. The beans make it seem more filling, serve with a salad, and you won't miss the meat.

Tomato Cream Pasta with Spinach & White Beans

1-3 cup onions, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-3/4 lb rigatoni
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups spinach, rinsed, dried & roughly chopped
1/4-1/2 shredded Parmesan cheese
about 3 tbsp of reserved pasta cooking liquid
1/4 cup half and half cream
5 cloves of roasted garlic, mashed
28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley

Cook pasta according to directions, drain, but reserve some cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil and add onion and saute for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

Add tomatoes, herbs, beans, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 7-8 more minutes. Add cream and heat through, but do not boil. Stir in cheese, spinach and a a couple of spoonfuls of reserved pasta cooking liquid (or till desired consistency is reached) and heat through. Remove and serve with additional Parmesan if desired.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Want My Mummy!

I've never made specific holidays dishes, so when I saw this very cute & popular recipe for mummy dogs on the WC board, I knew I just had to make them. These would make a great Halloween appetizer for children & parties, they were pretty easy to make, just be sure to leave more room than you think for the face because the dough expands and I didn't have that much room - so my mummy's only had eyes....oooohhhh....extra creepy!

And I picked up this adorable bib at Target for my children ;) It's just a coincidence that the bib's theme fit with this recipe. So here is Thumper looking all cute in his "I Love My Mummy" bib.

What's Halloween without costumes? Here is Socks and his brother being adorable little devils.

Now enough of the cats, onto the dogs......

Crescent Mummy Dogs
from Pillsbury

Ingredients :

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated flaky dough sheet I used the dough sheet
2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered (2.5 oz) I used deli-style sliced medium cheddar cheese
10 large hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard or ketchup, if desired


1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles.

3. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half).

4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray.

5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on "face."