Monday, May 31, 2010

Ice cream is your friend

It's just not friends with your hips...

We have aquired many gizmo's and gadets the last few weeks.. one being an Ice Cream Machine... they were half off at SurLaTable... and in purty colors. AND you got a $15 gift card! Um,..yes!
I chose the happy green color. I started with a vanilla base.. and then added about 6 thin mint cookies... Sorry for the blur - i may or may not have been hopping up and down when I took this...
Nom nom nom..

For Memorial Day BBQ at lee's parents - i will be making homemade blackberry cobbler..
I wonder what Pioneer Woman is making?


We have some tomatoes on the vines out there, and the zuccini squash is HUGE (although I just learned you have to stick your finger in the flowers and "screw your squash" to get it to make a veggie... ew.) but the only thing we have harvested is 2 tiny strawberries...My basil is growing-ish and the oregano is taking it's sweet time...OreganoBasil.
And the sprouting baby is this size this week. (a plumb)I hate the word fetus. Ick.

More spaghetti? Yes.

I will have to write this down, but my major pregnancy nom has been for marinara sauce. In all forms... meatless, meaty, spicy, cheesy. Doesn't really matter...Lee was gone all day yesterday helping someone paint their house, so I knew when I went to the store that I was having spaghetti for dinner. I grabbed a little ground chuck so I could meaty up my sauce. HEB had a deal that if you bought a jar of sauce, you got a bag of pasta for free. I had used half the bag for the truffle pasta, so I already had pasta and a jar of sauce at home. I love homemade sauce, but when it's just me... i didn't see the issue in a jar. I also don't buy Prego or Hunt's or something, i grab something interesting that i can add spice too. Keeping a jar of tasty pasta sauce around is a really good idea. You never know when you will need it...
I also had some left over mushrooms from the truffle pasta and added that in.

Whala - spaghetti for one (and 1/2? 1/4? it's the size of a plum so...)

Summer Lovin

Houston summers are brutal. When you get an evening that you can stand outside for more than 3 minutes without sweating profusely, you have to take advantage. My mom and pops visited this weekend and while Lee was grilling some seriously awesome chicken, I noticed it was quite nice outside. I ran inside and grabbed a tablecloth and went about getting us set up to eat outside. Later, my mom told me she thought that was just wonderful.
We sat outside for about 5 hours, listening to music, talking, and eating.

A wonderful southern meal of bbq chicken, potatoes, and baked beans.
No i didn't make them, too short of notice, but the Bush's worked just fine...

These potatoes are a bit of a family tradition when grilling. I used my veggie chopper from Williams Sonoma to get the potatoes chopped the same size, then used it to spare my fingernails from jalapeno juice!

Basically, you take about 5 or 6 good size potatoes (yukon gold is what i used. russet will work too) and chop them into cubes. Lay out a good about of foil to make a pouch for all this, and put the potatoes inside. Then dice about 1/2 an onion (or more depending on your eye and mood) and throw those in the mix. Dice one or 2 jalapenos (no seeds!!! unless you want some extra heat) and add those to the potatoes and onions. Mix around a little to get everything incorporated. Pour about 1/4 cup of water into the pouch. We have found this keeps everything from sticking. Then season with salt and pepper, and I added a little Cachery's (cajun seasoning). I also cut up about 1/2 stick of butter and layered that on top. Close up the pouch and throw it on a hot grill for about 30 minutes. You can move it over to indirect heat while grilling your meat, it should be fine. This is why you want the cubes smallish, so they cook quickly.
Lee did all this on a charcoal Weber, and it was some of the best chicken he has made in years. It was nice to get off the gas grill (since it's broken!) and get some good ole fashioned charcoal grilled bbq chicken.

Things are beginning to go back to normal

I have been cooking, but nearly as much as I used to. Some of this is due to how dadgum tired I am when I get home from work, and I either don't cook or I cook something easy like Turkey Tacos... which I have posted about more than once! Other reasons are Lee traveling more for his job, which I think sucks.

So when I DO cook, I am trying my best to go for stuff I haven't made before.

Of all places, I found a recipe at the grocery store when a lady in a kiosk was making that something that smelled wonderful. Then she said the word "truffle" and I halted in my tracks and went to see what she was up to.
Tuscan Pasta with Truffle Cream

um, YUM! I grabbed the recipe card and set about making this at home for Lee, but with my own added twists.

Ingredients:8oz pasta (whichever shape, I used a small curly pasta, but Fettucini would be yum...)
1/2 jar White Truffle Cream
1 shallot, finely chopped
8oz (1 cup) heavy cream
2 chicken breasts
1/2 package mushrooms

Start your water for boiling, adding a little salt.
Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat with some EVOO. Season chicken with salt and pepper, maybe a little Italian herbs. Cook in skillet until just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes each side.

Remove chicken and throw about 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until soft and browned. Add truffle cream and stir to blend.
(check on your water about now...)Add heavy cream and lower heat to medium and cook until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
Slice chicken and add back into mixture and stir well to incorporate, cook until chicken is heated through and done.

Drain pasta and ladle into bowls. Top with chicken mixture and watch as your guests eyes roll back into their heads!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Preggo Spaghetti

Apparently, my little fetus (eeek that word is just not pretty) really wants to have an italian mother.
For the past 2 weeks, all I want all the time is spaghetti!
Yesterday for lunch I had spaghetti with simple meat sauce. It was awesome.

Tonight - after a great walk - I got home thinking about what to make myself for dinner since Lee is out.
Here is where I saw the bad side to keeping a well stocked pantry.

I had everything I needed to make a down and dirty, college kid red sauce. And frozen ravioli in the freezer to boot. (where did they come from? no idea).

After seeing all these ingredients, I knew there was no going back to grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Here is my improv on red sauce in a pinch.

1 - 16 oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 of an onion (or less, just whatever you like)
1 palm-full of italian seasoning
pinch of salt (check the can for sodium. may want to just add salt on your plate if you need it)
9-12 ravioli (yes, i counted!)

Start water for ravioli.

Chop onion. Drizzle oil in skillet and throw in onion once the pan is warmed up. Grate garlic with a microplane into skillet (this is my all time favorite way to use garlic).
Once these 2 are happy and acquainted, add the italian seasoning and pep
per. Stir around until you are dancing around the kitchen with the smell!
Add tomato sauce and stir.

Meanwhile, the water should be ready. Add ravioli to water. It only cooks about 7 minutes, which is enough time for the sauce to heat through.

Drain ravioli and add to bowl. Pour as much red sauce as you can possibly stand over the ravioli. Sprinkle with a smidge of cheese.

Whala! 20 minute decent spaghetti, and it was only about 400 calories!

I love marinara (can't you tell?)

I am sure this would have been good over plain spaghetti or whatever pasta you have on hand.

Baby Nash sure knows what it wants. I guess I should be happy it's something that I happen to love.

I better brush my teeth before Lee gets home - that garlic is strong!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

I am loving Sunset Magazine these days and this recipe caught my attention. I made them Friday night and took them to Jennifer and Dave's for their impromptu crawfish boil, they were a hit.
Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies
Makes 8 oversized brownies
Chewy, big enough to share!

1/2 cup of butter
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup cocoa
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter 8 muffin cups.
(note: i only had a 12 cup cupcake pan, so mine were a little smaller...)
Microwave 1/2 cup butter in a heatproof bowl to melt. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Add sugar and cocoa, stir. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and stir until smooth. Spoon batter into cups.
Using a small spoon, make a depression in each portion of batter about 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep. Spoon 1 tbsp Nutella into each.
Bake about 20 - 25 minutes and cool on wire rack.