Sunday, October 23, 2011

Total Comfort Food Weather

So it's getting chilly.  I associate a few things with the cold weather, cozy sweaters, soup, casseroles, the desire to play Christmas music a bit too early, lots of pumpkin bread, to name a few.  So I wanted some new 'cold weather' recipes...

Monday:  I have never cooked with quinoa, but apparently all the healthy people are eating it and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon.  So here I have Lemon Parley Quinoa Cakes, why not.

Tuesday: Last week, I made a super simple one skillet meal and loved that it only took me 15 mins to make dinner... and the boys ate it! So I found this really easy casserole... 1 skillet, 1 casserole pan.  And I think my burrito lover husband will like Burrito Casserole.

Wednesday: I love veggies. I could really do without meat most of the time, this Veggie Pasta 'Lasagna' Bake looks warm, and healthy (can go easy on the cheese) and very filling! I think I'll switch the rice pasta with regular wheat pasta.

Thursday: 'Pantry veggie soup'.  See recipe below. And I love Jewels Rosemary and Olive Oil mm mm.

Friday: Southwest Chicken Stew for tonight!

Saturday: This is a great hearty, healthy, good for leftovers meal: Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies

Sunday: I need a break man.  Left-overs or ordering a pizza.

"Pantry Veggie Soup"

-about 6 c. broth (veggie or chicken)
-1 can diced tomatoes (not drained)
-1 can corn or 1 1/2 c frozen corn
-1 can white northern beans
-1 or 2 chopped zucchini
-1 1/2 c frozen peas
-1 1/2 c. chopped carrots, fresh or frozen
-1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
-1 TB (more or less if you like) Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I am LOVING Menu Planning!

When I look for new recipes I usually scan the number of ingredients and if that number is over about 7, it gets passed by automatically.  So I was thinking about the many delicious meals I've missed because of this approach to cooking.  Not that tons of ingredients equals a better dish, but I shouldn't be so quick to veto. So, little by little I have been using recipes with more ingredients, and have noticed that I've acquired some of the random spices that would normal turn me off to some dishes; dill, mustard powder, bay leaves, dried parsley, cream of tartar, etc, have all become permanent members in my spice cabinet making it not so daunting to take on some fuller-listed recipes.  And the Salmon Cake recipe below has a long list of ingredients, but is very good, especially to Salmon lovers like me!

Monday: Baked Spaghetti and Banana Berry Smoothies. Recipe below.

Tuesday: Salmon Cakes with this Creamy Dill Sauce that I love. I have made this salmon cake recipe before, and it is very flavorful! It also tastes good with Fat Free Miracle Whip instead of real Mayo as it calls for.

Wednesday: Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Soup - I have started a love affair with sweet potatoes.... mmm... this is a new recipe but it looks very yummy and very fall.

Thursday: 'Beef Taco Skillet' with some steamed Broccoli. Super easy 1 skillet meal.  You can use very lean beef, and go easier on the cheese if you want to make it a bit more waistline friendly.   Recipe below.

Friday: Mascarpone and Strawberry Puree French Toast.  Prepare french toast as you would normally, dipping 2 pieced of bread into about 1 beaten egg.  Cook both sides. Thaw and puree as many frozen strawberries as you like.  Top french toast with mascarpone and strawberry puree.

Saturday: Pulling a double header Goddaughter birthday party today staring at 10:30 a.m. Kaitlyn is turning 2 and Ava is turning 1! We will all be eating double meals and double cake today!

Sunday: Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas - I will make some Spanish Rice to go along with this too.

"Baked Spaghetti"

-box of spaghetti, can use wheat
-jar of favorite sauce
-about 1/2 c. ricotta (can use FF or reduced fat)
-3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
-4 egg whites

Cook pasta till tender yet on al dente side.  Let cool a bit in a mixing bowl so you can work with it and won't cook the egg whites.  Stir in egg whites and mozzarella cheese.  Dump into square baking dish. Spread top of spaghetti with thin layer of ricotta, add more or less depending on your preference.  Top with sauce then mozzarella, again as much or little as you like, but save some sauce for after you cut and serve. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for about 30-35 mins, check it from time to time, you may want to cover top with some foil so the top doesn't get too crusty.

-1 banana
-1 c. frozen strawberries
-about 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. orange juice (may need to add a bit more of each to blend well)

"Beef Taco Skillet"

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 (6 inch) flour tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Monday, October 10, 2011

Remember Me?

So if this blog was my rehab for bad cooking, I totally pulled a Charlie Sheen.  I am back now though, and between not so perfectly planned meals and quick trips to Portillios were some pretty good meals... one of my favorite dishes I made, and will be adding to Thanksgiving repertoire is Cauliflower Gratin. And one more meal that Patrick actually requests is Chicken Tortilla Pie.  So check those out.  Two dishes in 2 months, hey not bad! Here's the plan for the week...

Monday: We just had left-over Turkey Chili.  This is my own recipe, but I swear it's actually pretty good and very healthy! A great fall meal! See recipe below.

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese - Trader Joe Style.  I am such a sucker, another sample has hooked me.  Use wheat bread spread with Earth Balance butter. For the middle, slices of fresh tomato, mozzarella cheese, and hummus.  Skillet it, and eat it! Yuuum Yuuum! We'll have simple salad too.

Wednesday:  This is NOT gourmet so stop reading unless you are into processed meat from time to time.  I have had such cravings for hotdogs, usually yuck, but just one won't hurt.  Bought some veggie dogs from TJ's so thats actually not bad and turkey dogs in case the veggie ones are nasty :) Patrick likes sour kraut on his, along with sauteed onions. I like big slices of tomato, dill relish and sesame seed buns. We just made a little fire pit in the back yard, so we'll roast them over some back yard twigs :) And we'll have some of my new FAVORITE.... Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday: Bruschetta with Lentils and Goat Cheese. I've used a jar of bruschetta from TJ's mixed with cooked lentil beans and a bit of goat cheese.  Serve on baguette slices or crackers. Also for the little boys Baked Mac n Cheese and I'll add some cauliflower and broccoli in before I bake it. 

Friday: My friend Sabrina's wedding. So we will be eating something delicious I am sure, and trying to score some extra slices of wedding cake tonight. :)

Saturday:  Dinner plans :)

Sunday:  Loaded Baked Potato Soup.  I am veeery excited for this.  I love potato soup, and this one is loaded! Can't go wrong! Recipe below.

Turkey Chili:

1 lb ground turkey - browned in skillet
Chili powder - as much as you like (I used probably 4 TB)
Frozen Corn
1/2 onion, sauteed a bit to soften
1- 2 fresh zucchinis diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1-2 cans tomato sauce (depends how thick you like it)
1/4 c water

Brown turkey in skillet, then add 2 or more TB of chili powder with a little less than 1/4 c water and let simmer till most of water is gone and turkey is all spiced up!  Dump all the other ingredients, along with the rest of chili powder.  Add salt and pepper to taste. And simmer, simmer, simmer till veggies and soft and there you have a perfect fall supper!! Patrick adds a dollop or sour cream and some cheese to make it extra good (but a little less calorie conscience)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
  • 1 lb. bacon, diced - I'll use turkey bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 c. chicken stock
  • 3 T. butter - sub. earth balance butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • Sour cream for garnish, optional
1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside. Drain all but 2 T. of bacon grease from the pot. Cook the onions in the remaining bacon grease for about 5 minutes, until tender.
2. Add potatoes and chicken stock to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove a few scoops of potatoes. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
3. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Slowly stir in to stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Stir mashed potatoes back into pot.
4. Add 1/2 c. shredded cheese, three-fourths of the bacon and half the sliced green onions to pot. Add pepper. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with some shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and optional sour cream.