Monday, June 25, 2007

Ha! I did have time to post!!!

In our attempt to eat all leftovers before Thursday, I got out all the veggies we had in the fridge & made salad. Its like a cobb salad I would say.

I had lettuce, Tomatoes, carrots, celery, hard boiled eggs, turkey, provolone chese, extra sharp cheddar cheese & avocados.

I served it with some flat bread & hummus.

I love the Athenos Hummus, this flavor was roasted red pepper.

MIA for a bit...

Hello All! I have been a little MIA & will continue to be for another 2 weeks!! I have been cooking I promise! I don't have any pictures of the latest culinary adventures though :-(. My husband has been hogging the camera. He is taking an underwater photography class for our trip to Maui. We leave on Thursday, thus the absence on the blog.

Wednesday we had some friends over for dinner, I made BBQ Chicken, potato salad, ramen noodle slaw & corn on the cob.
Potato Salad:
About 10-12 potatoes, peeled, boiled & chilled.
A few cups of mayo
Some splashes of mustard, sometimes I mix in a little dijon for some spice
Chopped celery & onions
Hard Boiled Eggs
And the secret ingredient: Hidden Valley Ranch
Mix mayo, mustard, ranch together. Add to potatoes, eggs, celery, onions. Top with paprika & some more eggs.

Ramen Noodle Salad
1 bag of cole slaw
sliced almonds
sunflower seeds
chopped green onions
1/3 cup of vinegar
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 package Ramen Beef Noodles
Mix slaw, onions, almonds & sunflower seeds together. Mix vinegar, oil, sugar & flavor pack from Ramen Noodles together. Add to slaw mixture, crush ramen noodles & add to slaw & dressing.
This is best if you mix the dressing & let it sit for about an hour. Do not mix dressing, noodles, slaw until you are ready to eat or they will get soggy

Thursday was a potluck luncheon at work for our co-worker & friend Scottie. I made enchilada dip & hash brown casserole. Good Luck Scottie!
Enchilada Dip
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened * I used one package reg. cream cheese & one package light cream cheese*
4 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel with green chiles
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, & all spices. Mix until well blended. I do this so the mixture doesn't have chunks of cream cheese. It makes the consistency much better. Mix in chicken, onions & Rotel by hand. Cover & refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips. We like the lime ones the best
(Thanks Drewie!)

Hash Brown Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 container sour cream (8 oz)
1/2 butter, melted
1 bag hash-brown potatoes (32 oz)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix everything in a casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

Saturday we spent the day with my family. I assisted in making marinated veggie kabobs & shrimp kabobs. And attempted the grilled corn cob. They turned out great! Oh and we had Portillo's Italian Beef. I love it when my brother visits from Chi-town & brings back some of the goods!
Veggie Kabobs
Pick your veggies. I used whole mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, zucchini, squash. Whatever will stay on a kabob pretty well. Marinate in olive oil & Italian seasoning. I think I used Good Seasons Italian Dressing.
Skewer onto kabob & grill until complete.
Grill Corn on the Cob
pull husks back from corn on the cob, remove all silk on the inside. Pull husk back over the corn. Place on grill until cooked. I melted some butter & basted the corn as it was cooking.

So its now clean out all leftovers before we take off. We will be diving, deep sea fishing, snorkeling & relaxing in Maui for the next 9 days. I am most excited for the Food and Wine festival in Kapalua at the Ritz-Carlton.
I promise to take pictures of the wonderful seafood & Hawaiian Eats!
Take Care!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


This is fun & a great way to get to know your other blogging friends
I was tagged by Renea.

Each player starts with seven random facts or habits about himself or herself. A tagged player then writes a blog entry with the seven things, as well as these rules. Then the player tags seven others and lists their names on his or her blog. Remember to leave a comment for your newly tagged players, letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog!So here are my 7 facts...

1. I moved every 7 years until I was 21 years old
2. My mom read "Charlotte's Web" to me when I was little. I cried for 2 weeks after she finished reading it to me. When the movie came out this year, I couldn't see it.
3. I am addicted to celebrity gossip and hate myself for it
4. My husband interviewed me for my job. I took it because I wanted to get to know him better.
5. I make fun of my husband for his OCD tendencies (like cleaning & such) but I am just as bad
6. I transferred from Arizona State University to University of Iowa. Who does this? Sun vs Snow???
7. My aunt took me to see E.T 3 times when I was 5 years old. The first time I ran out at the very beginning, second time I made it until the spaceship took off & left ET, the third time I made it to the point where Elliott meets ET in the driveway. I never actually saw the whole movie until I was 12 years old.

hum Now I get to tag some people. I will try not to do repeated tags
1. Sarah
2. Rachel
3. Julie
4. Sarah
5. Leslie

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Yum Yum Enchilidas

I had some HB sitting out and needed to do something with it. I had intended to make mini-meat loves on Monday, but it was completely thawed so I had to wait. Tonight it was just too darn hot to leave the oven on for 45 minutes to an hour. So I perused my fave blogs and came across Amber's Kitchen. She had a recipe for Mexican Concoction & thus, dinner was served.

Beef and Rice Enchiladas
(Source: Amber's Kitchen)

8 flour tortillas (medium sized)
1 pound ground beef
2.5 cups seasoned rice (I cheated and used a pack of Lipton Sides "Taco Rice" and it was pretty tasty)
1-2 cups Mexican blend cheese
1 can (10oz) enchilada sauce
2-3 Tbls sour cream (optional)

1) Cook and season ground beef and prepare rice.
2) Warm the tortillas (I like to place them over the flame on my gas range for about 5-10 seconds on each side).
3) If desired, mix the can of enchilada sauce with the sour cream.
4) Put enough sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish so the tortillas will not stick. And preheat the broiler.
5) Assemble the enchiladas; lay out the tortilla and put down a bit of cheese, then some rice, then some ground beef, then a bit more cheese and some of the sauce. Roll up tight and place into the dish seam side down. Repeat this for the rest of the tortillas.
6) When they are all in the dish cover them with the sauce (amount to your liking) and top with cheese. Broil for ~10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly

** I used Lipton Spanish Rice, which has a bit more kick to it. I also did half the enchilidas with rice & half without**

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Interesting Fact About Bananas

Did you know that a banana tree will only produce one bunch of bananas in it's lifetime. Once that bunch has been harvested, they chop down the tree. Appreciate your bananas!
That being said, I couldn't let the 2 bananas I had at home go to waste. So I made some banana bread. This is a recipe my mom has always used.


1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together butter & sugar until smooth.
Add eggs and beat. Sift together dry ingredients & add to cream mixture alternately with bananas. Blend well after each addition. Stir in nuts if you choose to. Pour into a well greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Test with a toothpick.

On a side note, last night I used baking soda as opposed to baking powder and I just realized it this morning.

Garlic Chicken Stuffed Shells

Yesterday was a very "blah" day in KC. No sun, just lots of rain. I was craving some comfort food but knew we should eat somewhat healthy with our trip to Maui next week. I also refuse to go to the store before we leave b/c I know food will go to waste. I had the ingredients for the Garlic Chicken Stuffed Shells so I went with that but I halved the recipe.

Garlic and Chicken Stuffed Shells
20 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
3 garlic cloves
2 chicken breast shredded
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/6 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 springs fresh parsley
2 large basil leaves
1/6 cup fat free 1/2 & 1/2
16 oz Pasta Sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Cook pasta shells according to package, leaving slightly al dente. Drain.
Add ingredients garlic through half & half to a food processor and process until combined.
Spoon 1/2 the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
Fill the cooked shells with ricotta mixture (about 2 Tbsp).
Spoon remaining sauce over shells & bake, covered with foil, for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with cheese & bake for about 5-10 minutes.

Some Notes: I used Parmesan & a Kraft Italian Cheese mixture as topping. We also used a Tomato & Red Wine Pasta sauce from Viansa Winery. It was good, but the sauce was too robust for the this pasta dish. When I make this again, I will use a basic sauce with traditional spices.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Follow Up From Last Week

Finally I get a chance to update my blog today.
Last night I made Shrimp Scampi with Sugar Snap Peas & some cheesy garlic bread
One question: Why did my garlic turn blue???

Shrimp Scampi
*This is all a rough estimate mind you*
2TBSp Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (EVOO)
3 garlic cloves
about 2 cups of shrimp, peeled (I used pre-cooked shrimp)
red pepper flakes

Heat the butter & olive oil in a pan.
Add garlic
Add shrimp
Sprinkle with Red pepper flakes

Serve over linguine. I also made garlic toast with this and snow peas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Boo to working at night....

I work in IT, most things I need to do have to happen in the evening so as not to interrupt customer service. Tonight was one of those nights. Normally I can do this all from home with ease. But tonight the network decided I should make the 35 mile trek into work after battling with it for about 90 mins. I think I am just more frustrated because I missed out on free Sheridan's Frozen Yogurt.
So while I sit here and wait for things to finish up I thought, hey I will put up the dinner I made tonight.
Opps guess I will finish this post tomorrow because I am out of here!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WC Platinum Chef Challenge

I am not sure if I did this right because I have a main dish, side & dessert. But only my side & dessert had the ingredients in it. So here goes:

Cara is hosting this weeks WC challenge.
Our ingredients are: basil, tomatoes, garlic, zucchini, nuts & strawberries.

My meal: Sauteed Veggies, Chicken Cordon Bleu & Strawberry Almond Parfait

Chicken: I just put some Southwestern Spice mix on the chicken & grilled it up. I added some slices of swiss cheese & ham on top, allowed to melt. Pretty easy.

Sauteed Veggies

My fresh ingredients
Basil-about 5 leaves
Garlic- about 2 cloves
Tomatoes: about 4 or 5 tomatoes, cored & seeded, diced Zucchini: 2 zucchinis, sliced and cut in half
Onions: 1 onion sliced & cut in half
Also used a little EVOO & tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a pan, add onions until they are translucent & soft, then add zucchini. About 5 minutes, add tomatoes, garlic & basil. Stir for about 5 minutes, add tomato paste.
Cover & cook for about 15 minutes.

Strawberry Almond Parfait

1 banana
graham crackers
sliced almonds
Almond Extract

Slice up the strawberries & banana. Crushed the graham crackers. Mix a little bit of the almond extract with the vanilla yogurt. In the glasses layer graham crackers, strawberries, bananas, yogurt. It will probably take two layers. Top off with sliced almonds.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Stupid Sopranos & HBO

You are not worthy of my delicious dinner I made for Sopranos Sunday! I won't say what happens, I am just really disappointed in how it all ends. I need closure people!
Anyway, dinner was awesome. We had homemade rosemary foccacia bread with Bonefish Grill Dipping Pesto. I made a normal garden salad. For our main dish we had Braised Chicken with Tomato, Prosciutto & Zinfandel served on top Garlic Mashed Potatoes. After all that cooking, we bought a turtle pie.

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes, Prosciutto & Zinfandel
1⁄2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 3⁄4 cup hot water until softened, drained, liquid reserved and mushrooms chopped
1 chicken, about 3 1⁄2 lb., cut into 8 serving pieces
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz. prosciutto, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
1⁄2 cup Zinfandel
1 can (14 1⁄2 oz.) plum tomatoes with juice,
pureed in a blender
1 1⁄2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Strain the mushroom liquid through dampened cheesecloth into a bowl. Set aside.

Rinse the chicken pieces with cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper.

Place a Dutch oven or large fry pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is almost smoking, add the chicken, skin side down, in one layer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until browned, about 8 minutes, then turn and brown on the other side, about 8 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat.

Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the prosciutto. Cook, stirring, until the prosciutto crisps, about 1 minute. Add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer briefly, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes and the porcini and their liquid. Bring to a simmer, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Add a little water if the sauce is too dry.

Return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer gently, turning the pieces once in the sauce, until tender, about 15 minutes. If the sauce is thin, increase the heat to high and simmer until thickened. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

* I used chicken broth in place of water to give it better flavor*

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
About 8 potatoes
1/2 & 1/2
garlic powder

Peel & boil the potatoes. Drain & place in a mixer safe bowl.
Add about 2 Tbsp butter, a few dashes of garlic & some 1/2 & 1/2. Start mixing, keep adding the 1/2 & 1/2 until its the consistency you want it to be. Mix in chives by hand. Add more garlic if you want to.

Bonefish Grill's Pesto Dipping Oil
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
6 Kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
Additional olive oil and bread for serving

1. Using a food processor, combine the basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt and olives. Process until ingredients form a paste. Slowly add olive oil.
2. To serve, place a dime-sized portion of pesto paste on plate. Top generously with olive oil to create dipping consistency. Serve with your favorite bread.

We served it with Roman Focaccia Bread
2 pk Fast Rising Dry Yeast*
2 cups tepid water (about 90F)
2 Tbsp Sugar
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups Unbleached white flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil for topping
1 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt


Dissolve the yeast in the tepid water. Add the sugar, olive oil, oil, and salt. Mix in 3 c of the flour and whip until the dough begins to leave the sides of the mixing bowl, about ten minutes.

Mix in the remaining flour by hand or with a dough hook and knead the dough until it is smooth. Allow the dough to rise twice, right in the bowl, and punch down after each rising. (about an hour for each rise)

Shape your loaf on a cooking sheet, you can make two I just made one. Allow to rise for about 30 mins.
Brush with crushed garlic & olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with Rosemary & salt.
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.
And just to give a little props to my helper last night.
He does such a good job :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend Guest

This weekend, my husband and I were expecting an out of town visitor. I love guests, means I get to cook more!!! So our friend Stephen, whom we met on our honeymoon, was supposed to come up to KC this weekend to look at a car. (Stephen & Tyler were honeymoon'ing in St. Lucia the same time we were there) Anywho, Thursday night I cleaned up the house, planned some meals for when he was here, etc.. Well Friday he called my husband & said he couldn't make it. The car dealership sold the car he was going to buy :-(. So in honor of you Stephen, here are some things you missed out on:

Bananas Bailey's & Coconut Cream
A staple while visiting St. Lucia. It was so hot down there you had to drink a frozen concoction to stay cool.
1 banana
4 2 oz jiggers of Bailey's Irish Creme
1/4 can of Coconut Creme (can be found with alcohol mixers)

This will make about 4 drinks. My husband decided that if i was going to post this he needed to make them look pretty.
AND I had to promise to give him the credit. I did not make these, Mike did.
So Cheers to you Stephen and Tyler!

Next Up: Sausage & Egg Strada
I love eggs. It has to be one of my favorite food items. My husband and I got into the habit of making a big breakfast one day out of the weekend. I was just doing omelettes, scrambled eggs, etc... But we like warm breakfast during the week & there isn't much out there that you can make in the morning that is either healthy or doesn't take 45 mins to make. So I started making breakfast casseroles on the weekend, then we have leftovers during the week. But with Stephen visiting I decided that I was going to try a strada recipe from my aunt. It makes quite a bit so I will be having a lot of leftovers.

1 lb bulk sausage (it can be hot or spicy if you'd like) cooked & crumbled
8-10 slices of bread, torn into bit size pieces
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (I use a little more)
6 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
2 cups milk

Brown the sausage & drain. In a greased 13x9 dish, layer 1/2 the bread crumbs, 1/2 the sausage & 1/2 the cheese.
Whisk the eggs, salt, mustard & milk.
Pour over the bread, sausage & cheese mixture.
Cover & refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

**This is a great staple recipe b/c you can mix it up however you'd like. Instead of cheddar use swiss or pepperjack, use veggies as opposed to sausage, use rye bread as opposed to white bread. **

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New Blog Friends...

Since I finally introduced myself on a foodie message board I am going to try to pay tribute to those new blog friends.
I had every intention of making a braised chicken tonight, however, the chicken was not thawed. So I found myself scanning blogs of people I had "met" earlier today. Lo and behold, I found a recipe that I actually had all the ingredients for right in my kitchen.

Cooking Fiend's Pasta e Fagioli

2 Tbsp EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
4 strips bacon (uncooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups jarred or homemade spaghetti sauce
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons grated pecorino-romano cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper (pinches to taste)
1 lb ditalini pasta or other small tubular pasta

In deep stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat then saute onions for 3 minutes. Add bacon and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring to keep the bacon from burning. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, add sauce, beans, 2 tbsp pecorino-romano cheese, garlic powder, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine well and cook for 15 min. While sauce mixture is cooking, cook pasta until tender and drain well. Add pasta to sauce mixture and combine well. Turn heat to low and allow pasta and sauce flavors to "mingle" for 5 minutes. Serve with grated cheese and crusty bread, if desired.

I halved the recipe and topped it off with some fresh parsley from our garden.

I also made a new favorite salad. I don't have a name for it, but I have eaten something like it at California Pizza Kitchen.

Salad Greens
One apple, cute into bite size pieces
Gorgonzola Cheese
Candied Walnuts
I make the candied walnuts myself. They are pretty easy. Just melt some butter & brown sugar together. I think I did 2 Tbsp Butter, 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Coat walnut pieces in butter/sugar mixture. Toast in oven, on about 200. Just keep checking on them to ensure they don't burn. Then let them cool.
We top this salad off with Raspberry Vinaigrette.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Turkey Burgers

I have a new found love for ground turkey. I used to be biased, thinking it didn't taste like hamburger, but I am a changed woman. I have even used ground turkey in Sloppy Joe's & Spaghetti, my husband never notices the difference until I tell him.

My favorite is stuffed turkey burgers. I make variations of these. Last night I found a recipe for Southwest Turkey Burgers from the Kraft magazine & some BBQ Scalloped Potatoes. I changed a few things in the recipes.

Southwest Stuffed Turkey Burgers
1lb ground turkey
1 package taco seasoning
1 Tbsp mayo
A handful of Kraft Crumbles Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese

Mix the ground turkey, about 1/2 of the taco seasoning & the mayo together.
Make about 6 or 8 thin patties
On 1/2 of the patties top with cheese crumbles, use the other 1/2 of the patties to cover up the cheese. Pinch the sides together so the cheese doesn't fall out.
Grill over medium heat. I sometimes put a piece of foil down so the cheese doesn't cause too much fire.
We use just salsa as our topping, but you could do mexi-ranch (1/2 salsa & 1/2 ranch).

BBQ Scalloped Potatoes
1 baking potato
1 sweet potato
2/3 cup mayo
2/3 cup parmesan cheese

Slice the potatoes into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.
Place in microwave safe dish with enough water to cover.
Microwave on high about 5-7 minute. * Depends on the thickness of your slices *
Spray heavy duty foil with non-stick spray. You are going to make a "packet" for the potatoes.
Drain the potatoes. Mix with the mayo & parmesan cheese.
Place mixture in the heavy duty foil packet.
Place on grill for about 20 minutes or until completely cooked.

My deviled eggs! An all time favorite with family & friends. My secret is adding dry hidden valley ranch seasoning. I don't really have a recipe. Just mayo, egg yolks and ranch. Mix well.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Attempt At Turtle Cookies #2

I love my kitchen aid mixer so I try to find reasons to use it. Well, we had about 3lbs of caramel squares left over from the chocolate fountain we had at our wedding. So I have been trying to perfect Turtle Cookies. The first time was about 3 weeks ago, I cant recall the recipe, but the cookies were dry. All I remember is that there was no eggs or anything in the recipe-which I thought was weird.
So tonight I thought, well I will just use the Nestle Tollhouse Recipe for chocolate chip cookies & add the pecans & caramels.

I didn't take any after pictures because well, they didn't turn out. The cookies were too runny, so the caramels melted through. DISASTER.
If you have any good turtle cookie recipes, send them my way. I am in desperate need!!!