Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tortellini Soup

I am going to keep this short and sweet.


Because I want you to write down the ingredients, get off your butt, and go get what you need to make this soup NOW.

It's that good.

Recipe found at 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Italian Tortellini Soup

Basically you brown the meat and onions

I did this by putting the insert of my crock pot on the stove. I wasn't worried about damaging it because then that means i can get this..

I used my iPad as the cookbook, which was fun

Then you add the rest of your ingredients (minus the pasta)

Then just let it cook. An hour before you want to eat, add the pasta... it results in this:
It was so good that everyone at the table was burning their mouths rather than waiting on it to cool down because they wanted to keep eating it. It was also a hit with Logan, who's portion was cooled down and I made the pasta smaller for him.

It's even better the next day.

Now... GO!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 Minute Chicken Parmesean

When I get home from work, putting together a meal that is ready in time for us all to eat is a bit of a whirlwind. This meal was a product of what I had on hand and how to make it interesting!

First I flatted the chicken:
Then I sliced fresh mozarella and placed it in the middle:

Then I rolled them up, sprayed them with cooking spray and sprinkled bread crumbs on top and bottom.
I popped them into a 425 degree oven and moved on to the sauce.
At this point, I started the water for pasta.
Then I sauteed onion and garlic in a sauce pan and added a jar of simple sauce:
By the time the pasta boiled and the sauce simmered, the chicken was done (almost exactly 30 minutes!)
I put it all on a plate and whala! Semi-fancy weeknight dinner!

Logan loved it and it was very filling and healthy.

What are your go-to weeknight dinners?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Weight Watchers Recipes

Now that I am on Weight Watchers (which is going pretty well), I wanted to make easy recipes that made everyone in the house happy and didn't feel like diet food.

This week we tried 2 different ones.

First was Chicken Tostadas
3 spray(s) cooking spray   
4 small corn tortilla(s)   
8 oz raw lean ground chicken   
1 tsp minced garlic   
1/2 tsp ground cumin   
1/4 tsp table salt   
1/2 cup(s) canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained   
1/3 cup(s) salsa, verde   
1/2 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided   
1/4 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp-variety   
8 tsp reduced-fat sour cream   
1 medium plum tomato(es), diced   
1/2 medium avocado, diced   
1 tsp fresh lime juice  

   * Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
   * Place tortillas on prepared pan; bake until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes.
   * Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add chicken, garlic, cumin and salt; cook, breaking up chunks of chicken with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes.
   * Next, in a bowl, mash beans and salsa with a fork until well-blended and most of the beans are mashed; stir in 1/4 cup cilantro.
   * To assemble pizzas, spread 1/4 bean mixture over each tortilla (slightly less than 1/4 cup); top each with about 1/3 cup chicken mixture and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon cheese. Bake until cheese melts and topping is hot, about 3 minutes. (Broil pizzas to brown cheese even more, if desired.)
   * Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together tomato, avocado, remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and lime juice.
   * Remove tostadas from oven and top each with 2 teaspoons reduced-fat sour cream and about 1/4 cup avocado mixture.

I didn't bake the tortillas - I just put them in a wet paper towel in the microwave and it steamed them.
I also used black beans instead of pinto beans.

This was SO good and very satisfying for 6 points per tostada

Then I tried the Beef Fried Rice with Fresh Ginger
3 spray(s) cooking spray, divided   
2 large egg(s), lightly beaten   
12 oz lean sirloin beef, cut into thin strips   
1/3 cup(s) low-sodium soy sauce, divided   
4 cup(s) packaged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)   
1 cup(s) frozen green peas, thawed   
2 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, grated, or less to taste   
1 Tbsp minced garlic   
3 cup(s) cooked white rice   
1/2 cup(s) scallion(s), sliced   
1 small jalapeٌo pepper(s)   


   * Coat a 12-inch or larger nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add eggs; tilt pan so that eggs cover bottom. When eggs start to set, break them up into pieces with a heat-proof spatula or wooden spoon. Cook over medium heat until eggs are cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove eggs to a bowl; set aside.

Rinse skillet or wipe it clean; coat with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Add steak to skillet; toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Stir-fry until browned, about 6 minutes; remove to bowl with eggs.
Add coleslaw mix, peas, ginger and garlic to same skillet; stir-fry over medium-high heat until coleslaw mix is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and remaining soy sauce (1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon); reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Gently stir in cooked egg, steak and scallions; heat through. Yields about 1 3/4 cups per serving.

Again - very good. I don't think I got the skillet hot enough and the coleslaw mix got a little soggy but I liked the idea to mix in relatively tasteless veggies so that you get more bang for your buck. This one was a 9 point meal.

I haven't had any wine since Sunday night. Lee is grilling tonight so I may splurge and have a glass. It's about 5 points per glass so I have to use flex points, but that's ok. What else are they for?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pork Chops and Asparagus

Last night I must say I made a dinner of epic proportions.

And I don't mean the portions were too big...

I made Breaded Pork Chops with Dijon Asparagus.

Here, in a few photos, is how it turned out:

This is a really easy meal - and pretty impressive to guests.

Changes I made: I browned the pork chops but since I had 6 to make, I put them in the oven for about 15 minutes to cook through. While they were cooking I was able to mash the potatoes with some cream cheese and butter, and make the dressing for the asparagus.

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fried Rice

My coworker, Tony, has the most lovely wife - Lulu. Tony one day brought me a sampler of her homemade fish sauce and I was hooked.

Recently, I took him a full bottle of "Three Crab" fish sauce from the store so he could have her make it into her awesome concoction.
So from this:
To this:

I tried figuring out what's in it. All I can tell is sugar, garlic, and red chili pepper. It's the bomb.

Hi, welcome back to 1995.

I promise not to say "the bomb" again.

Since Lee was out with friends, I concocted a quick fried rice for myself.

First I boiled water and added a bag of rice.

Oh yeah, keepin' it classy with the bagged rice.

Once that was done, I cracked 2 eggs in a pan.
Then I cracked open a bottle of wine...

and diced some green onion...

Once the eggs were pretty scrambled I dumped in the rice...

Then I drizzled some of the fish sauce over the top...
Then I added the green onion and a little olive oil and stirred it up...

This was the perfect single gal dinner - no meat required!

Why do men think it's not a meal without meat?

This fish sauce is my new obsession, along with red curry and peanut sauce.

And sushi.

Oh man.

What do you like to make when home alone?

Monday, September 12, 2011

NFL Kickoff Party

Sunday we threw a bit of a NFL Sunday kick off party. Not really a party, more like a few people hanging out really.

Lee requested my chex mix, and at the look of glee on his face in the grocery store, I gave in.

Here is how I made mine.

(4) cups of all 3 kinds of chex
(2) cups of mixed nuts
(2) cups of roasted peanuts (the sweet kind)
(2) sticks of butter (I KNOW)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
(4) tablespoons of Lawry's season salt
(1) tablespoon of garlic powder

Combine all cereal and nuts in very large roasting pan. Pre-heat oven to 325.
Melt the butter in the microwave and add seasonings.
Pour over cereal and nuts mixture and mix very well.
Bake in the oven, stirring every 20 minutes, for an hour.

You can certainly add other items like pretzels and garlic chips, but we really only enjoy the cereal and nuts part so that is why I came up with this.

On the sweet side, I mixed some of the left over nuts with some m&m's - LOVED IT.

What did you do for NFL Sunday?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Homemade Guacamole

For Labor Day I was asked to bring my guacamole over to a friends... this is how I make it:


  (1/2) Red Onion
  (4) Serrano peppers,  (1) lime
 Salt (to taste), cilantro (to taste)
 And (not pictured) tomatoes, cumin, and chili pepper. Mix together, forget to take a photo of it, and enjoy!

I also made a new version of the Sand Dollar Cookies. I cheated a little with the pre-made cookie dough
 Then added slivered almonds
 Cut the dough into unequal pieces

 Add the almonds and sprinkle with cinnoman/sugar mix
Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So far this week....

Sunday we made BBQ chicken with mac-n-cheese and green beans:

It's like the chicken is hugging the pasta... best friends....
Then Monday I roasted a chicken with lemon slices beneath the skin and stuffed with lemon and fresh thyme. With the chicken I roasted potatoes and carrots. While that was going I made this yummy asparagus dish and it was a huge hit and I can't wait to make it again. Since there is lemon in the asparagus sauce and the chicken, they went together nicely.

I meant to get a photo of the chicken but when I asked Lee to check it for doneness, he kind of hacked into it with hunger-frenzy.

With that we had Wine-of-the-Week and we are on letter C. Donald brought one of my old favorites:

As for the rest of the week - Lee had a happy hour tonight and so he is picking up food on the way home. Then tomorrow night he isn't home at all for dinner and then we have been invited over by friends on Thursday. So there goes my menu...

Somehow a photo of a ham sandwich doesn't seem like something that would make anyone drool, so I will spare you.

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This Week's Menu

We stocked up the kitchen on Saturday at HEB, rather than Costco and I am ready for some cookin!

This week I am going to try a few new things. But Sunday night is just a Keep It Simple night, going to a family favorite of Home Cookin. 

Monday - Donald night and I am roasting a chicken with lemon and herbs. Then I am going to make this asparagus dish I saw on the Cooking Channel and just couldn't wait to try. Chilled Asparagus Salad

Tuesday - I have some left over enchilada sauce so I might make a small pan of enchiladas with some turkey meat I have in the freezer. I also have some shredded cheddar I need to use up.

Wednesday - I see a lack of pasta in this week's menu so far, and I have some crushed tomatoes to use. How about spaghetti with meat sauce? I could use 1/2 the turkey (unseasoned) from the night before and add in some italian sausage and easily make a meat sauce. This would go well with the Pinot Noir I picked up in the cabinet...

Thursday - At this point I may be looking to see what's left over and let us just scrounge.

I will do my best to remember to take photos and update how these recipes played out.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chipotle Pulled Pork Enchiladas

Last night for Monday night dinner, we had extra guests and I found that as an excuse to be a little fancy.
Sunday I roasted a pork shoulder in onions, tomatoes, and a can of chipotles. This results in a smokey yet not too spicy meat.

We usually eat this pork in a corn tortilla with a little avacado. Since we had a ton left over, I came up with an idea to make enchiladas.

I made homemade red sauce, rolled the pork with a little monterrey jack cheese, topped it all with the sauce and sharp cheddar.

These enchiladas were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I added a little sour cream, green onion, and dashes of Chipotle Tobasco. 

Donald brought wine and this week we are on "B".

I didn't really get to drink any but I heard it wasn't a real hit.

What do you cook when you are having guests over?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Italian Chicken with Polenta

After Saturday's big meal of spaghetti where Donald and Lee raved and made innapropriate noises, I felt the pressure Monday night (A.K.A. Donald/Uncle Bunny Night) to make another meal that would impress them.

The funny thing about cooking for men is that they tend to forget you have made them something before, especially if you go long stretches without making it. I pulled out a recipe that I always enjoy and it was a real winner.

This is a Rachael Ray that I saw on her Food Network show randomly and it's super yummy. You can find it here: Italian BBQ Chicken with Polenta.

The finished product was this:

The first response was "OOOOOOHHHHHHH YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM where did you find this recipe? Please make it again!"

Me: I have made this before... more than once... but ok!

Donald: What is this hybrid potato/pasta stuff? OMG it's awesome!

Monday nights it is also customary for Donald to bring over a bottle of wine. He started going through the alphabet to keep things interesting. Here is the first run on "A":

It went well with the chicken, a little "crisper" than I like my chardonnay - as I prefer a deep, buttery version - but in the middle of this incredible heat, it was nice.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spaghetti is sexy...

I am addicted to Spaghetti and meatballs. I have posted about it many times, especially while pregnant since that is the major food group I ate.

I even branched out with the recipe once.

But Saturday night I made the most epic spaghetti sauce I have ever made. Lee and Donald wouldn't stop ooohing and aahhing and moaning.

See? Spaghetti is sexy.

Now, I barely followed the recipe I have previously posted. I just started throwin stuff in the pot and let it simmer. When Lee said "You need to put up this recipe, it will make the world a better place," I said "I can't! I didn't keep notes or anything!"

So here is how I made spaghetti the other night - in realistic terms...

First, I diced up half a very large onion and threw it in the pot to soften with some olive oil.

As it started to soften and brown, I added some minced garlic. The kind from a jar, maybe about 1 teaspoon?

Then I added a palmful of Italian Seasoning, a few shakes of tobasco, about 6 shakes of worcestershire sauce, and a little chili powder.

After that, I started ladeling in crushed tomatoes from the large can I got at Costco. That can is 106 ounces and I used about 2/3 of it.
Then I added a 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes (and the juice) and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
I started to wonder if I had enough seasoning for that much sauce, so I added a little more italian seasoning and a little more chili powder. I also added some salt and pepper.
Once I had all this stirred together I let it bubble and simmer for almost and hour, and made the meatballs...
In a large bowl, I beat one egg and added a little milk, bread crumbs, and a pound of ground turkey. Once that was mixed together I added grated parmesean until the meatballs were sticky and would hold form.

Next was a nice squirt of garlic paste, some salt and pepper.

When I started the water for the pasta to boil, I started browning the meatballs, then throwing them in the sauce to cook through.

The finished product looked like this:

It was wonderful, heavy, and a little spicy,

This is how I cook, not really measuring, just throwing things in until it tastes good.

What about you? Do you measure to the T or just wing it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Southern Living Rocks My World

First of all, I am a diehard subscriber to Southern Living magazine. I love the food, the photos, and the little "good southern lady" tidbits that try and tell you how to act. That doesn't normally soak in but I at least read those parts...

My friend Sara recently told me about a website called How I had not heard of this, I don't know, but it is a great resource for all magazine recipes (Southern Living, Sunset, etc). Oh and if you don't get Sunset, please do. Sara told me about this as well so I txt'd her that I love her a bushel and a peck for telling me about this.

Anyway, back on point, I made a recipe Monday night from this month's Southern Living. It was grand. It was monumental.

It was freaking good.

Pork Chops with Roasted Green Beans and Pecans
(Aka, holy crap this is good)

  • 2 (12-oz.) packages fresh cut green beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 (4- to 6-oz.) bone-in center-cut pork chops
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse beans. Combine beans, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Spread beans in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until beans are tender and slightly browned.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle pork chops with pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.
3. Stir together breadcrumbs and next 3 ingredients in a large shallow dish. Dredge pork chops in breadcrumb mixture.
4. Cook chops in 1/4 cup hot vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done.
5. Stir pecans and butter into beans; bake 5 to 6 more minutes or until pecans are golden. Serve pork chops with green beans.
Something I will share about how I varied on this recipe:
- I didn't have Panko breadcrumbs so I smashed up good ole saltines and then chopped up some rosemary and thyme really fine and threw that in with some pepper and the parmesean

-I don't fry things so I put a generous amount of olive oil in my skillet and if it got a little dry toward the end, I sprayed it with cooking spray.

- I used frozen green beans.

Also, I served it with this yummy bread I found at Central Market. It is the Central Market Organics brand (also found at HEB) and it was 2 smallish frozen rosemary baguettes. You lay them out for 5 minutes then toss them in the oven for about 12 minutes and you have yummy bread.

My sister in law's only question: "Does it come pre-buttered?"

I love her.

But no, it does not.

Here is how our plates looked:
Paper towels for napkins, because we are super classy like that

Notice how the bread and butter is strategically placed right in front of me.

Hence the treadmill in my living room...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stuffed Bell Peppers

My coworker, Christi, came to work the other day and brought her lunch. I asked her what she brought and she said "I made some stuffed bell peppers last night!" That got my wheels turning.

With the Costco way of purchasing, we end up with (4) packages of ground turkey. Other than meatballs or tacos, I don't really do much else with it. I decided to take a stab at this for a nice Friday Night Meal.

First, I coated the peppers and broiled them.

Meanwhile, I mixed onion, turkey, a can of rotel, and some spices in a skillet and got it cooked through. Then I loaded the peppers up.

I put these back in the oven for about 15 minutes..

Then, of course, cheese!

I put them back in about 5 minutes just to get the cheese melty.

While the cheese was melting, I took a shortcut with the rice and beans.

I basically just heated up a can of beans on the stove and put 2 of those packets of Uncle Ben's Mexican Rice in the microwave.. 60 seconds!!

It turned out to be a wonderful and easy meal and Lee LOVED IT.