Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Goodies!

I can't believe it's almost Christmas!  Even if the house is a mess, even if there is a pile of old mail and newspaper sitting in the kitchen, even if the puppy is neglected (or at least thinks she is - she still gets her two walks a day), even if I haven't made dinner in over a week, and even if I just had a baby a month ago, I can still find time to make Christmas goodies!  And boy are they delicious this year!  Tina can attest.  In retaliation to us having a baby, she is misbehaving - including jumping on the counter and eating 15 cookies and untold numbers of pretzel turtles while we weren't around to stop her.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies, and pretzel turtles!

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Cream Cheese Filling - beat all ingredients together until smooth:
8oz cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla


1 2/3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients.  Beat Well:
15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 C oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar

Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.  Pour 1/4 of the batter into two greased and floured 8inch bread pans.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter in each of the bread pans.  Top with remaining pumpkin batter (it's ok if you don't quite have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese as you will be mixing the two layers anyways).  Using a knife inserted through the top two layers, swirl the cream cheese and top pumpkin batter together to create a marble effect.

Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.

Adapted from recipe posted by the Nanny Create Blog.  Thanks for a delicious recipe!

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 C chocolate chips
  3/4 C Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips - At first I couldn't find these so the first batch I made used chopped up Andes mints.  It turned out delicious.  The next day I went to the store and there they were in a special holiday display in front: Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips.  Despite the name "crunch" they are soft white chocolate peppermint chips.  Truth be told, Geoff and I couldn't really tell the difference between the cookies with the chopped up mints and the cookies with the Peppermint Crunch Chips.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a seperate bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint chips.

Refrigerate dough for 24 hours (I'm a believer - the dough really improved after the 24 hours in the fridge).  Scoop cookies onto cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Original Recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.  Thanks for the delicious recipe!


1 C coarsely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted, divided (to toast, spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes at 350, stirring halfway through).
1 C unsalted butter
1 C sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp corn syrup
3/4 C semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the toasted nuts.  Set aside.

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-qt saucepan.  In saucepan, melt butter.  Add sugar, water, and corn syrup.  Stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.  Reduce heat to medium.  Continue to boil at a moderate, steady rate stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees (about 12-15 minutes).  Watch carefully after 275 because the last 15 degrees will go fast!  Immediately remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.

Let stand 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Let stand 2 minutes.  Spread chocolate chips over candy.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C toasted nuts.  When candy is firm, use foil to lift it out of the pan.  Break into pieces.  Store tightly covered.

Original Recipe from bhg.  Thanks for the delicious recipe!

And finally, some baby photos, as that's what my biggest fans (aka - my parents, babies grandparents) actually come to the blog looking for.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Remember how I love pizza?  This one was fantastic, as all pizza is.  The black bean sauce was really good and I had leftover sauce which I quite enjoy as a dip.

1 pizza crust

Black Bean Sauce:
2/3 C dry black beans (or 1 can black beans)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 C salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
Sea salt, pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight.  Cook beans, drain, and rinse.  Puree all ingredients together.  Add water until you reach the desired consistency.

Mexican grated cheese blend
Bell Peppers
Red onions

Cook crust for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread sauce over partially cooked crust.  Add desired toppings.  Bake until cheese is delicious looking and crust is golden brown (I didn't set a timer so I don't know how long it baked).

On another note, you may have noticed I didn't post a single thing about Thanksgiving.  How can a food blogger not blog about a holiday dedicated to gluttony?   Easy: the blogger didn't cook a thing but instead held, fed, and loved Baby while other cooked for her.  Brilliant.

Everyone is ready for the feast, including Tina!


Cruising up the stairs, much to his parents dismay who had to constantly follow him up since he hasn't figured out how to come down.  Thankfully Grandpa took a turn following him up the stairs, giving Desmond's parents a break.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Size of a . . .

 We went from this:

To This:

Welcome baby Isaac Geoffrey Allen to the world!  Born November 10th, 2011 at 8:12 pm.  7 lb 3 oz.  18 1/2 inches long.
I love how size newborn clothing hangs off him!

The neglected first child.  She's still not sure what to think of all this.

Bath time was a little traumatizing - but the robe is just too cute

Tiny Toes!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I love fall if only for the excuse to eat pumpkin in everything (and because it's finally becoming liveable in Houston).  The original recipe from here instructs you to freeze the cream cheese/sugar mixture in a thin log and then cut off frozen log pieces to put in the middle of the muffin mixture.  My thoughts:  I'm never going to plan far enough ahead to actually freeze the cream cheese.  I just used two spoons and plopped a spoonful of cream cheese in between two layers of muffin batter and it worked just fine.

3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ C oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree

Filling - whip together until well combined:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1 cup powdered sugar

Streusel Topping - Mix together with a pastry blender until crumbly:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour
4 tbsp. butter, cubed
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, combine the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin puree.  Mix until well combined.  Add in the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined (a little lumpy is fine).

Fill each muffin well with enough muffin batter to cover the bottom.  Drop a spoonful of cream cheese into each muffin well, on top of muffin batter.  Top cream cheese with more muffin batter until tins are a little over 3/4 of the way full.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.

 Makes 24+ muffins.

Again, thanks to Baked Perfection for this delicious recipe.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Caesar Salad Pizza

I love pizza.  I don't know if that's the pregnancy talking or if pizza really is just that amazing but we have been making strangely topped pizzas about twice a month all summer long.  This was one of my favorites by far - up there with the veggie pizza from a few months ago.

1 pizza dough (I'm constantly going back and forth between pizza dough recipes.  Maybe I'll decide on a favorite and post it one day)
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1/2 C grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 C fresh Parmesan cheese
2 C torn romaine lettuce (we threw in some spinach, too)
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 C Caesar salad dressing
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I cooked it with a little salt, pepper, and garlic)

Bake pizza dough at 425 for 7-9 minutes.  Remove from oven and coat with just a little dressing.  Top with cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  Return to the oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly (I didn't time how long this took, just keep an eye on it).  Remove from oven and top with lettuce, chicken, and tomatoes.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with remaining dressing.  Serve while still warm.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I think I just had ice cream for breakfast.  And it was amazing.


1/2-3/4 C oats
1 C plain or vanilla yogurt
3/4-1 C frozen fruit

Place oats in blender or food processor and pulse a few times to break up.  Add remaining ingredients.  Blend until well combined and fruit is pureed.  If using plain yogurt you can consider adding 1 Tbsp sweetener (honey, maple syrup, agave, or good old fashioned sugar).

Makes 2 servings

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheese Tortellini Soup with Sausage

Super tasty and makes a lot!

Olive oil
12 oz Chicken Sausage, cut into thin slices
1 C chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cartons (8 C) chicken or vegetable broth
4 C chopped fresh spinach
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
8 oz cheese tortellini
Shredded asiago or parmesan cheese

Heat oil in soup pot.  Add sausage, onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes.  Saute until sausage is cooked (if using uncooked sausage) and onion is tender.  Add broth.  Bring to a boil and stir in tortellini.  Cook according to tortellini package directions.  Add beans and spinach.  Garnish with cheese.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a recipe I tried from here.  I really liked the cookie recipe but was uncertain about the icing (brown sugar icing, tastes faintly of butterscotch).  I only made a half-batch of icing and in the end decided the cookies were better without the icing mentioned on the original recipe.  Click on the above link if you want to try the icing for yourself. 

Cream Together:

1/2 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 C butter, softened

1 C pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Sift together the dry ingredients then add to the pumpkin mixture:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

Add 1 C chocolate chips.

The dough is very wet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (cookies will still be soft in the middle).  I cooked half the recipe on parchment paper and half without and had much nicer cookies using the parchment paper.

Enjoy!  And thanks again to The Girl Who Ate Everything for a delicious recipe.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Maple-Apple Topping

Delicious!  The maple-apple topping was incredible.  Way better than normal pancake syrup.  Also, I was nervous about grinding the whole wheat kernels in my blender, but it worked just fine.

Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes:

Blend the following for 5 minutes:
1 C whole wheat kernels
1 C milk
pinch of salt

Add and blend 1 minute:
2 eggs
1/4 C oil

Add and blend until mixed:
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon

Maple-Apple Topping:
2 Tbsp butter
3 C sliced peeled apples
1/4 C maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add apples and saute 8 minutes or until tender.  Stir in maple syrup and cinnamon.  Keep warm until serving.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hoisin Sauce Stir Fry

Geoff lovingly calls this poison sauce.  But don't let that fool you - he requested the poison sauce when I said I was making stir fry and asked what kind of sauce to do.  Either he likes self-inflicted death or it's a misnomer.

1 pork chop cut into stir fry sized chunks mixed with 1 spoonful hoisin sauce and 1 spoonful cornstarch (equal sized spoonfuls).

Cook pork with some minced garlic and stir fry veggies (we used a bell pepper, an onion, a carrot, and some broccoli).

Sauce:  2 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Dash of red pepper flakes.

Combine sauce and pour over stir fry for last minute or so of cooking.  Serve with rice.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Enchilada Sauce!

Homemade enchilada sauce!  Doesn't that just sound like fun?  And - I braved the pressure cooker (you know, that terrifying kitchen tool that can "blow up" if used improperly) to cook black beans in only 10 minutes!  Overall, delicious dinner.  Even Geoff liked it, despite it's lack of meat.

2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 C water
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 C vegetable broth
2 tsp dried oregano or 2 Tbsp fresh
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Place chiles in 2 C water and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Remove chiles from water.  Reserve 1 C cooking water.

Saute onion, garlic, and a little salt until golden.  Add broth, oregano, tomato paste, and cumin.  Cook 8 minutes.  Pour into blender.  Add chiles and 1 C reserved cooking water to blender.  Blend till smooth.  Add lime juice and ground red pepper.

I used this with black bean enchiladas: 1 can black beans (or 1 1/2 C cooked beans - about 3/4 C dry beans) some green onions, and 1 C cheese.  Roll them in tortillas.  Bake topped with sauce and a little grated cheese.  Delicious!

A note on tomato paste:  I run into recipes that call for a few Tbsp of tomato paste all the time.  If I don't have an immediate plan on how to use the remaining tomato paste, I freeze the remaining paste in1 Tbsp quantities ice cube trays.  Once it's frozen, pop them into a bag and use as needed.

As for the black beans:  I soaked them the night before (so they soaked for about 16 hrs).  Discard all the soaking liquid and rinse thoroughly.  Cook in pressure cooker with 4 C water and 1 Tbsp olive oil per 1 C beans.  I read that without the olive oil, the beans will have too much foam and you run the risk of clogging the pressure cooker vent and causing a disaster.  So throw your health concerns out the window and use the oil.  Mine were good in 10 minutes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grilled Pineapple - Finally

Remember when the baby was the size of a pineapple?  And I promised a delicious grilled pineapple recipe?  Well, we had this pineapple a few weeks ago and it was delicious, I was just a blogger slacker and never got around to posting the recipe.  Forgive me.

1/3 C molasses
1/4 C rum - we used pineapple-orange juice that we had on hand
 1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp butter
Pineapple, cut into thick wedges or rings

Combine molasses, rum/juice, lime juice, and spices in a saucepan.  Bring to boil.  Cook until reduced to about 1/3 or 1/2 C.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter.

Place pineapple on grill grated coated with oil.  Grill until nicely marked (3-5 minutes per side).  Brush with glaze during last 2 minutes of grilling.  Remove from grill and brush with any remaining glaze.

Original Recipe from Mastering the Grill by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim

Friday, September 30, 2011

Frozen Yogurt

What to do with the leftover cream from the mushroom rice?  Frozen Yogurt, of course!  Super delicious and I had everything on hand to make it (not needing to go to the store is always an added bonus).

Blend together:
1/2 C cream
2 C vanilla yogurt
1/4 C sugar

Add in:
12 oz frozen berries - I used strawberries and I half way pureed them in the blender first.

Pour into ice cream maker and follow machine directions (my machine took 30 minutes).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Size of a Pineapple

33 weeks and we're the size of a pineapple - well we were 33 weeks last Friday (Sept 23rd) but it took a few days to get to the store and buy a pineapple.  Wild guess here, but I'm thinking this comparison is not supposed to include the leaves of the pineapple - that would be a pretty big child that still has 6 1/2 weeks to bake.  Now we need to wait for the pineapple to ripen but once it does - grilled pineapple galore!  Tune back in for the recipe and pictures!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baked Chicken with Mushroom Rice

Did I ever mention how much I love mushrooms?

4 servings of chicken (for us, that's 2 breasts - we share a breast and that is plenty of meat)
salt and pepper
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, thinly diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/3 C rice
1 C chicken broth
1/2-3/4 C water
3 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
Fresh grated pecorino Romano cheese

Salt and pepper chicken.  Brown chicken in a little olive oil on all sides (about 3 minutes per side).  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onions and carrot to pan; saute 4 minutes.  Add mushrooms to pan; saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute.  Add rice; saute 1 minute.  Spoon rice mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.  Stir in the water, broth, and cream.  Place chicken over rice.  Sprinkle chicken with cheese.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Original Recipe from October 2010 Cooking Light

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yummy Salmon with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This was a meal of many firsts.  First time grilling fish (Geoff).  First time blanching almonds.  First time roasting red peppers.  And it was delicious!  Absolutely marvelous meal.

Roasting Red Peppers:  Cut red pepper in half.  Smash flatish with palm.  Grill skin side down until black.  Remove from grill and place in a closed container (we used tupperware but I've read of putting it inside a brown paper bag or a glass dish with a lid).  Let cool for 10ish minutes.  Remove skin.

Blanching Almonds:  Pour just enough boiling water to cover almonds.  Let stand for 1 minute (no longer!).  Cool with cold water.  Dry.  Peel.

Salmon with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

Salmon fillets

Sprinkle fish with salt.  Grill skin side down for about 10 minutes.  No turning necessary.

Red Pepper Sauce:
1/2 a red pepper, roasted
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp olive oil
7 almonds, blanched
1 clove garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Serve over fish.

Original Recipe by Sandy Gluck in Oct 2011 Cooking Light Magazine

Monday, September 12, 2011

Grilled Romaine

This is one of those times where I'm not sure I can take any credit for this delicious "salad".  Geoff is the grill master and while I can usually at least boast cutting up things to put on the grill, I didn't even do that because I was on some really exciting medication that made my whole body shake and jitter.  Brand new fancy-dancy sharp knife and shaking and jittering didn't seem like a good combination so Geoff even cut the lettuce in half.  I at least brushed it with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Does that count for anything?

Grilled Romaine:
Cut a romaine heart in half.  Leave the bottom stump (or whatever it's called) in tact for both halves.  Brush the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill cut side down for a few minutes until starting to get lightly charred in places (just a few minutes).  Remove from grill.  We served with croutons, asiago caesar dressing, and a little parmesan cheese.

Absolutely delicious.  If you don't own a grill (mom!) it's worth buying one just for this.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Black Bean Luau

Delicious and super easy to make!  Our proportions were off - I had extra rice but I threw it all in because who really follows recipes.

20 oz Pineapple chunks, drained
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 C cooked rice
1 1/2 C chicken, cooked and shredded
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 C celery, diced
1/2 C green onion, diced (we used red because that's what I had on hand)

1/2 C honey Dijon salad dressing

I didn't want to buy salad dressing for this so I made my own that turned out delicious:

Whisk the following together:
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 C honey
1/4 C vinegar
Salt and pepper

While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 1/3 C olive oil

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Size of a Butternut Squash

I have been a slacker blogger.  Not because I haven't been eating - I get kicked ferociously if I pass up any opportunity for food - but because baby websites have become unreliable in comparing the size of my child to common kitchen ingredients.  They try to throw in weights and say "your baby weighs 2 lbs this week.  That's like a 2 lb roast."  Well, what if I buy a 3 lb roast?  Or a 1 1/2 lb roast?  What if I have the butcher trim off the fat?  Does it still count as a 29 week baby?  Lame.

Finally, this week they compared my baby to something I'll blog about.  But I realize that butternut squashes vary in sizes just as much as a roast can.  So whether or not we believe any of there comparisons is debatable.

29 weeks!

Recipe to follow, when I'm not so tired and when I've actually cooked the squash.

Update:  We cooked the squash for a veggie side dish.  I just cut it in half, baked it, and mixed in some salt and pepper and butter when done.  It  was tasty, but needs another try or two before I come up with an excellent way to prepare the squash.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chicken Kebabs with Nectarine Salsa

Does anyone else wish that nectarines were available for cheep all year round and that apples were seasonal?  But maybe then I'd grow tired of nectarines the way it's so easy to grow tired of apples.  Anyways, these were amazing.  My husband even liked this and he claims he doesn't like avocado or cilantro (he once even claimed he didn't like nectarines - crazy, I know.  He knows better now).  Good thing I don't cater to his tastes or he would never realize that nectarines mixed with avocados are delicious!  

Mix the following together and use to season two chicken breasts cut into kebab sized pieces:

1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper

Thread chicken and some red onion pieces onto kebab sticks (if using wooden sticks, make sure you soak them for an hour before threading and grilling).  Grill kebabs until done.

Nectarine Salsa (the reason this meal was delicious!):

2-3 nectarines, diced
1/2 of a red pepper, diced
1/4 C red onion, diced
A handful of cilantro leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 avocado, diced
A few grinds worth of salt

Original recipe from Cooking Light July 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Length of an Ear of Corn

24 weeks and we're still waiting for the day they compare the size of my baby to a half gallon of ice cream.  What a delicious week that will be!  Until then, though, we are still comparing our little one to fruits and veggies.  I suppose that's healthier for me (and him) since I apparently have a Kronos complex and eat whatever veggie he was compared to.

Delicious Veggie Pizza (try this one!)

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 ears worth of corn
Salt and pepper
pizza dough
5 oz thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved (use cherry, I tried to substitute with diced roma once and it wasn't nearly as good as this time when I actually bought the cherry tomatoes.  They were so much better on this then roma!)
Fresh basil

Saute the onions and bell peppers.  Add the garlic for the last few minutes.  Add the corn, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat.

Roll out the pizza dough.  Top with mozzarella slices.  Top with veggies (it will be a thick layer when you add them now, but it will shrink down as it bakes).  Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Place tomatoes evenly over pizza.  Bake an additional 5-8 minutes until crust looks done.  Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil.

Original Recipe from Cooking Light July 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

Mmmm. . . Summer veggies.  How we miss them all winter long.

4 oz ziti, cooked
2 C yellow squash, chopped (about 2-3 squash)
1 C zucchini, chopped (about 1-2)
1/2 C onion, chooped
2 C tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese (you could get away with a little less)
2 Tbsp fresh basil
2 tsp fresh oregano (I used 1/2 tsp dried, because I didn't have any fresh)
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 C ricotta cheese
1 egg

Saute squash, zucchini, and onion for ~5 min.  Add the tomatoes and garlic; saute another 3 minutes.  Stir into pasta.  Add 1/2 C mozzarella (or a little less), herbs, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper.

Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg.  Stir into the pasta mixture.  Pour pasta into a greased 8-in square baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Original recipe from July 2011 Cooking Light.

Monday, July 11, 2011


It looks like a serious amount of cheese on top (and it probably is) but there are also quite a few orange bell peppers, but in the picture, they just look like more cheese.

Dearest Caroline,
I would love the recipe for enchiladas that I think I ate with you and your sister Annette freshman year.  It was your birthday and we went over to your sisters for dinner, I think.  In the meantime, I ate these enchiladas - a much more unhealthy version I am sure.  They were absolutely delicious, but I'd like to try your recipe which I am sure is better for me.

We had leftover chicken from grilling earlier this week.  It was fantastic.  I think we should have leftover chicken on a regular basis because it makes throwing dinners together so much easier.  On one day we used the leftover chicken on a BBQ chicken pizza and the next day I shredded the chicken and made some delicious enchiladas!  It was a wonderful meal week.

Olive Oil
1/2 C chopped green onions
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 oz can diced green chiles
10 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 C sour cream
1 1/2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C shredded cheese, divided
6 10-inch flour tortillas
1/4 C milk
red peppers
lettuce, shredded

Saute green onions in olive oil until tender.  Add garlic.  Stir in green chilies, soup, spices, and sour cream.  Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside.  Add chicken and 1/2 C cheese to the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the pan.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Fill each tortilla with chicken mixture and roll up.  Place seam side down in greased 9x13 baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the resreved 3/4 of the sauce with milk.  Spoon mixture over tortillas.  Top with 1/2 C cheese and red peppers.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with lettuce.

And a visit from Po!  Thanks Po, I'm so glad you could come (and thanks Ted for sharing her).  Tina and I will miss you until next time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bacon and Goat Cheese Chicken

This was delicious!  And I was so excited because I had all the ingredients (or close enough substitutions) on hand so I could put off going to the store just a few more days!

2 Tbsp green onions, diced (I didn't have green onions, so I sauteed some yellow onion)
1-2 slices cooked, crumbled bacon
3 oz goat cheese (we used feta)
2 Chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper

Combine onions, bacon, and cheese.  Cut a slit into the thick end of the chicken breasts to form a pocket.  Divide cheese evenly and stuff into the chickens.  Secure with wooden picks if needed.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with some olive oil.  Add chicken and saute for 2 minutes on each side.  Bake at 350 for 15ish minutes.

Geoff and I always share a chicken breast - that's about the right sized portion of meat for a balanced meal with other sides (veggies, fruits, whole grains) - so I only made one chicken breast and we cut it in half.  Added bonus: smaller portions of meat cuts the grocery bill down!

Original Recipe from Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2011 by Julianna Grimes

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

We've had some serious amounts of blueberries as of late and so this is the second batch of blueberry muffins we've tried.  Geoff liked this recipe the best, and I'll have to agree.  Enjoy!

3/4 C milk
1/4 C lemon juice
2 C flour - I did 1 C white, 1 C whole wheat
3/4 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 C oil
1 C blueberries

Combine milk and lemon juice; set aside (the milk needs time to "sour" from the lemon juice)

In a large bowl, combien flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.  Add egg and oil to the milk mixture.  Mix well.  Gently stir milk into the flour mixture just until moistened.  Fold in blueberries

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Original recipe by Carolyn Gilman, found here on

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes

I like these even better than stuffed green peppers.  Geoff, not so much. (He still thinks he doesn't like tomatoes - one tomato dish at a time, though, and I'll convince him otherwise.  After all, I used to think I didn't like tomatoes.  How wrong I was.)  But, he liked the stuffing and thinks we should try this filling inside green peppers.

10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chile
1/4 C dry bread crumbs
1/3 C cooked rice (or more to taste, or depending on how many tomatoes you're doing)
1/3 lb smoked cooked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
A handful of shredded Cheddar cheese
4 large tomatoes

Combine canned tomatoes, bread crumbs, rice, sausage, and a small handful of cheese.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes and scoop out the innards.  Save for another use (we're making spaghetti sauce tonight!).  Stuff tomato shells with sausage mixture.  Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese.

Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.

Original recipe by Stephanie Burr, posted here on

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Length of a Banana

We are at 20 weeks, and supposedly our little apple has grown to the length of a banana from head to toe.  To celebrate, we are going to the doctor on Wednesday to see said baby in close up detail.  Perhaps the only time we want our little one to expose him/her-self.

What you don't see in this picture is Tina sitting at my feet looking at me quizzically, surely wondering why I'm not petting her.

And because all things in life must be celebrated through eating, we are also enjoying banana boats, a camping favorite, on our new grill.

Banana Boats

Slit a banana open lengthwise, but do not unpeel.  Eat a few small bites of banana (again, going lengthwise) to make room for toppings, but leave at least half the banana in the peel.  Top with anything that sounds delicious to you.  I usually do mini marshmallows and some cut up Rollo's.  Wrap the whole thing in foil and throw it in the camp fire. (We're doing these on our grill.  I've also heard of people cooking them in the oven.)  Wait 10-15 minutes until melty and delicious!


Mini marshmallows
Cut up candy bar (rollo's, peanut butter cups, milk chocolate bar, etc)
Chocolate sauce
Caramel sauce
Peanut Butter
Chocolate chips (or any chips - white choc, peanut butter, etc)
Chopped nuts
Basically anything that would be a good topping on ice cream will make a good topping in banana boats.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

While making these, and tragically not eating any cookie dough due to the little one inside me, I made a decision.  Baby magazine gurus always talking about coming up with a "Birthing Plan".  I think they actually want you to come up with a plan for labor, but I came up with what I consider to be a critical part of my Birthing Plan:  I want chocolate chip cookie dough at some point after giving birth.  I'm not saying I need it immediately afterwards ("Baby's out, where's my cookie dough?"), but sometime before I leave the hospital, at least.  My husband has been informed. . . . He thinks I'm crazy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
2 C chocolate chips

Beat butter, sugars, and baking soda together (yes, I thought this was a weird time to put in baking soda, but I followed the directions - against my better judgement - and they turned out really good).  Add eggs and vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour.  DO NOT OVER BEAT.  Stir in chocolate.

Dough will be rather sticky.  Throw it in the fridge for 30 minutes and it will become a little more manageable.  Drop with spoons onto ungreased sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Foccacia Bread

We had already eaten over half of the bread when I realized I hadn't taken a picture.  The other half of the bread had tomato slices on top which were amazing - wish I had enough tomatoes for the whole thing.

I wanted to make some sort of delicious bread using my rosemary plant to go with our salad dinner last night.  I found this recipe on here and it was perfect.  I could have eaten the whole thing myself!

1 Tbsp honey
2 C warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C onions, diced
5-6 C flour
1 Tbsp salt

3 Tbsp olive oil
Fresh chopped rosemary
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground salt

Dissolve honey in warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top.  Let stand for 5 minutes until yeast begins to foam.  Combine with 1 Tbsp olive oil, onions, 5 C flour and 1 Tbsp salt.  Beat with dough hook, adding flour as necessary to get a smooth and elastic dough.  Lightly oil a large bowl.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (~20 min)

Spread dough onto oiled cookie sheet or jelly roll sheet.  Use tips of fingers to make indentations all over the dough.  Drizzle with 3 Tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and salt.  Let rise for 10 minutes.

Bake at 415 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches

I forgot to take a picture - I'm always hungry; this dinner was immediately consumed with no consideration for a blog, only thoughts for my stomach.  There should be a picture here. 

2 lb chicken breast, cut in cubes or strips
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 C broccoli puree (steam some broccoli, throw it in a food processor or blender with a teaspoon or more of the steaming water.  Puree until you have a smooth, creamy texture.  My thoughts - cook up a bunch of steamed broccoli and either use it the night before and save out enough for this, or serve the extra steamed broccoli as a side to this sandwich)
6 ciabatta rolls
Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh basil
Grated mozzerella cheese

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour.  Cook in skillet with olive oil and garlic until chicken browns on all sides.  Add chicken broth, vinegar, and brown sugar.  Bring to boil.  Simmer ~10 min until chicken is cooked all the way through.  Add broccoli puree.  Cook for 2 more minutes.

Place tomato slices and basil on bottom of rolls.  Top with chicken, sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 350 (or if your impatient like me, broil - but watch closely so it doesn't burn) until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Original recipe in the parade magazine a month ago, by Jessica Seinfeld.  Supposedly Jerry Seinfeld's favorite sandwich. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mexican Mac & Cheese

Like Mac & Cheese?  Like Mexican dishes?  This is a delicious combination that has absolutely no nutritional worthwhile-ness to it.  I told my husband "what an unhealthy main dish" and he said "good".  Typical.  And, to add to it, we forgot to garnish with tomatoes.  At least then the pasta would have had a vegetable.  Oh well, it was super tasty.

12 oz pasta, cooked (I used penne, since that's what I had on hand)
1 lb pork sausage (I cooked the full 1 lb but saved out a little more than 1/3 of it for a dish we'll have later this week.  We had plenty of meat and this helps keep the grocery bill down a little (as well as the calories!))
1 onion, chopped
16 oz jar green salsa, medium
Serious amount of grated Monterrey jack or Mexican cheese blend (I used about 3 C, but the recipe called for 4 C)
Tomatoes, sliced jalapeno peppers, and/or cilantro for garnish

While pasta is cooking, brown sausage and onions.  Drain.  Stir in green salsa.

Spray a 3-quart baking dish (we used 2 9x9's.  Baked one tonight and froze one unbaked for a quick dinner in a few weeks).  Layer half the pasta, half the sausage mixture, and half the cheese.  Repeat layers.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Garnish with tomatoes, jalapenos, and/or cilantro.

Original Recipe from March 2011 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

12 oz Pasta, cooked and rinsed with cold water
10 oz can Chicken (if canned chicken creeps you out, leave out the meat or cook some chicken)
8 oz can Pineapple tidbits, drained
11 oz Mandarin oranges, drained
2 avocados, diced
Poppy Seed Dressing
Rice Wine Vinegar

Add fruit, chicken, and avocados to the pasta (don't toss together yet - you don't want to over toss the salad or the fruit and chicken start breaking into tiny pieces).  Pour poppy seed dressing and vinegar over salad to taste.  I don't know how much of either dressing I use, but if I had to guess, I'd say at least 1/4 C vinegar and almost the same amount poppy seed dressing.  Maybe more of both.  I don't know, I just dump.  Salt to taste.

And:  Thanks Rob and Anna for a fantastic weekend!