Monday, December 1, 2008

Autumn Sausage Casserole


Recipe name: Autumn Sausage Casserole
Source: A Year of Crockpotting
Servings: 4-5
Cookbook date: November 29



--1 pound turkey sausage
--1 large, or 2 small apples, chopped (no need to peel)
--1 yellow onion, chopped
--1/2 cup chopped carrots
--3 cups already cooked long-grain rice
--1/2 cup raisins
--1 T dried parsley flakes
--1 T brown sugar
--1/2 tsp allspice
--1/2 tsp cinnamon
--1/4 tsp black pepper (start with 1/8 if your kids don't tolerate a touch of spice)
--1/3 cup chicken broth or water (I used water)

The Directions.

If you are going to use uncooked pork sausage, I'd recommend browning on the stove top, and draining before adding to the crockpot.

Otherwise, dump all the ingredients into the crock, and stir well.

Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4. You're really only heating through, and allowing the vegetables to soften.

This will not stick together like a gloppy casserole; it has the consistency of fried rice. Use bowls to serve rather than plates.

Here's yet another fabulous recipe from A Year of Crockpotting. Tim and I thought this was hearty and delicious, with an overall sweet flavor that was very nice. I would say that this is the perfect recipe to try when you want something warm and comforting, but are feeling a bit tired of soups and stews.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins

Recipe name: Chocolate Chip Orange Muffins
Source: no idea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: November 27

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup oil
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In another bowl, combine egg, milk, orange juice and oil. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
Grease a muffin tin and bake for 14-18 minutes.

I love making homemade muffins, because often the recipes are so simple. I thought these had a terrific flavor, just perfect for a lazy morning anytime during the holiday season.
The muffins remind me a lot of an actual chocolate orange, a holiday treat I love. We got 9 muffins out of the batter. I will most definitely make these again next year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hearty Cheese Dip

Recipe name: Hearty Cheese Dip
Source: Adapted from recipe on allrecipes.com
Servings: Lots
Cookbook date: November 22

Ingredients
1 (2 pound) loaf processed cheese, cubed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup water
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) jar picante sauce


Directions
Place ground beef in a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain beef, and mix in water and taco seasoning mix. Cook and stir 2 to 4 minutes. Slowly melt cheese in the skillet. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. Mix in salsa. Cook and stir until well blended. Serve warm.

I created this dish while Tiffany was away volunteering for the Junior League on Saturday. It didn't take long to put together and was just the thing for a cold winter day. I'm not a huge fan of processed cheese so I halved the amount called for in the recipe and added "real" cheese for the other half. We didn't have any taco seasoning so I created my own from a recipe on allrecipes.com.

We had this with tortilla chips and we both liked it. So now we have two pounds of cheese dip in the fridge. That is a lot of dip. I know what I'm eating for lunch for the next week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh No She Didn't...Black Bean Brownies!

Recipe name: Black Bean Brownies
Source: somewhere online
Servings: 8


Ingredients
1 box of Brownie mix
1 15 oz can of black beans

Drain and rinse the beans. Return them to the can, and fill the can (with the beans in it) to the top with water. Pour the beans and water into a food processor and puree until smooth (this part may take a while).

Combine the pureed beans with the brownie mix. Do not add any other ingredients, such as oil or eggs, to the mixture. Mix until combined. Pour into a greased brownie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

"WHAT?!?!?!?!"
This is what I thought when I first saw this recipe. If I'm remembering this correctly, when I found this recipe online there were lots of comments on a discussion board from various people swearing that these brownies just tasted "fudgey" and that nobody would notice that it was made with beans. It simply sounded too bizarre for me to not try!

So we made the brownies the other night, and just like I've been forgetting for the past 2 weeks, I forgot to take a picture of them. They simply look like dense brownies, though. And as for the taste....overall they weren't too bad! I do believe, though, that they have a slight bean aftertaste. I actually think this could be remedied by adding some chocolate syrup to the mix to enhance the chocolate flavor (this is a trick my mother-in-law taught me in order to make any brownie mix taste better).

So yes, believe it or not, I think I will make these again!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Super Yummy Appetizer

Recipe name: Chicken Enchilada Dipp
Source: Simply Tasty
Servings: 8-10 (as an appetizer)
Cookbook date: November 15

Chicken Enchilada Dip

2 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
2 8oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
4 green onions, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped dried cilantro
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika

In a non-reactive bowl, combine all ingredients. (Stacey recommends a food processor so the chicken pieces are really small, making it easier to dip. Or you can just shred with forks if you like the chicken pieces bigger.) Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.


This is yet another fantastic recipe from Stacey over at Simply Tasty. We made this at our election party a few weeks ago. It was great to serve a heavier appetizer that was out of the ordinary. I would definitely recommend this for your next dinner party, any large family gathering, or a Super Bowl party! If you are the host or hostess, the dip is especially great because it comes together quickly, and you can make it a few hours (or even a day) ahead of time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

CrockPot Chicken Noodle Soup

Recipe name:
source: adapted from Weight Watchers
servings: 4
Cookbook date: November 8

Chicken Noodle Soup

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped

2 medium stalks celery, chopped

1/2 of 1 medium onion, chopped

3 cans chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 small bay leaves

10 ounces frozen green peas -- (1 pkg.)

6 oz angel hair pasta or spaghetti noodles, broken in half.

Put frozen chicken breasts in microwave. Cook on full power for 5 minutes to allow the chicken to thaw and mostly cook. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients (except peas and pasta) in a CrockPot. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. It is ok if it is not cooked all the way through at this point. Add the chicken to the CrockPot, cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Add the peas and noodles and cook 10 minutes longer, or until noodles are al dente.

Tim and I thought this was a super yummy and easy to make chicken soup recipe. It had plenty of flavor, and the veggies were a great addition (I've always been a chicken soup purist, so adding celery and peas was like a walk on the wild side for me)! The only thing I would change next time is that I would add the peas 15 minutes before dinner time, and the pasta 10 minutes before dinner time. Adding the peas 10 minutes before didn't give them quite enough time to cook.

This makes enough to feed 4, and since we are a family of 2, we had it again as leftovers and loved it just as much the second time.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rachel Ray's Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

Recipe name: Rachel Ray's Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage
Source: Food Network
Servings: 4-6
Cookbook date: November 14

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf,
  • 4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
  • Romano or Parmigiano, for grating

Directions

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Tim here once again. The only substitute I used this time was nonfat milk for heavy cream. I know what you are thinking, nonfat milk isn't really a good substitute for heavy cream. That is what I thought as well, but the dish turned out great. Granted, it wasn't nearly as creamy as it would have been with the heavy cream but we both really liked it. I took the sausage out of their casings before I cooked them so it would be easier to break the meat into bite sized pieces.

I was a little concerned when I first read the recipe. I mean how is Italian sausage, canned pumpkin and a whole bunch of holiday spices going to all work out as an Italian pasta dish? Well, I'm still not sure why everything goes together so well but it does. You definately have to try this one. One word of advice, go heavy on the parm cheese at the end. Yum-O.

Easy fall weeknight meal: Cranberry Cheese Melt

Recipe name: Cranberry Cheese Melt
Source: no idea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: October 26

2 oz cream cheese
2 oz shredded gouda or swiss
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
8 slices bread
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Mix cream cheese, gouda and walnuts and spread on half the slices of bread. Top with cranberry sauce, onion, cheddar cheese and remaining bread. Spray large skillet. Heat over medium heat until sandwiches brown on the bottom. Spray tops of sandwiches and turn to heat the other side.

The first time I made this sandwich I didn't care for it, and that is because I do not like raw onion. The second time I made it, I sauteed the onions before putting them in the sandwich, and that move totally saved this recipe, in my opinion. It is easy to throw together, has a taste that is a bit different from standard weeknight fare, and would go very well with a cup of hot soup on a chilly night. Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A different (but good!) vegetarian dish

Recipe name: Rice with African Peanut Sauce
Source: no idea
Servings: 6
Cookbook date: October 30


Ingredients
3 cups brown rice, cooked
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 20 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is soft and golden.
Add the curry powder and coriander, then cook for 1 minute more.
Pour in the tomatoes, then stir in the salt, crushed pepper flakes, and Tabasco. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Stir in the peanut butter and peanuts. Cook for about 5 minutes more. Stir frequently so that the sauce at the bottom of the pot doesn't overcook. The sauce is done when it thickens. Serve the sauce over rice.

Once again, I forgot to take a picture. Tim and I have made this dish twice, I think, and we have loved it both times. It has such a different, yet totally yummy flavor. I'm always well-pleased to find a vegetarian dish that holds it own and doesn't make me think that I'm just eating large quantities of a side dish.

This would also be good with some sort of flat bread. If you try this out, let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

For your next holiday party: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Recipe name: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Source: Simply Tasty via Baking Blonde
Servings: 8
Cookbook date: November 4

Ingredients

1 cup butter (I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup yogurt and it turned out fine)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter

Directions

Grease a 9×9 inch square pan.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in the oats. Cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended.Press half of mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Reserve the remainder for topping.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust in the pan, and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the chocolate layer, pressing in gently.Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cutting into bars.


Sorry that I don't have a picture for this one, but check it out on Simply Tasty if you want to see the finished product. I thought these were good, but Tim thought that they were outstanding. He says that this is his new favorite dessert item. As you can imagine, they are on the heavy side, so I don't imagine that I'll make them frequently, but Tim likes them so much that they may become a standard treat around the holidays.

My tip for making this recipe is to give the chocolate mixture time to cool in the pan before you spread the top oat mixture layer over it. I waited about 15 minutes before putting the top layer on, and I think that made things go more smoothly.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sweet Potato Burritos

Recipe name: Sweet Potato Burritos
Source: Unknown
Servings: 6-8
Cookbook date: Oct 21

1/2 Tbsp veg oil
Handfull of chopped onions
1 clove garlic minced
1 can refried beans
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp grounds cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp soy sauce
6-8 flour tortillas
40 oz can yams, mashed
Shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Meanwhile heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the beans. Gradually stir in water and heat until warm. Remove the bean mixture from the heat. Stir in all spices and soy sauce.

Heat tortillas in microwave oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften. Put bean mixture on tortillas and spread sweet potato over the beans mixture. Top with cheese. Roll up burrito style and place on a lightly greased backing sheet. Sprinkle top of burritos with cheese. Bake for 12 mins.

Both Tiffany and I really enjoyed this dish. Usually we freeze the leftovers so we can eat them later. In fact, this time we doubled the recipe so that we would have plenty of leftovers. The bean mixture was a little too thin. Next time we will not add as much water. I would suggest just adding the water until the bean mixture gets to a consistency that looks good to you.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grilled Chicken with Edamame Skordalia


Recipe name: Grilled Chicken with Edamame Skordalia
Source: Bon Appetit August 08
Servings: 4-6
Cookbook date: Oct 25

1 16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup evoo plus additional for brushing
3 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tbsp freshly grated parm cheese
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves

Cook frozen edamame in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid for skordalia. Meanwhile, combine basil, 1/3 cup oil, and garlic in processor; blend until basil and garlic are finely chopped. transfer 2 tbsp basil oil to small bowl and reserve.

Add edamame, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, parm, and lemon juice to remaining basil oil in processor; puree until mixture is almost smooth, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry. Season generously with salt and pepper. Set skordalia aside.

Prepare barbecue on med-high heat. Brush grill with oil. brush chicken breasts on both sides with reserved basil oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. grill until chicken is just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Slice chicken breasts crosswise. Spoon warm or room temperature skordalia onto 4 plates. Top with chicken.

Tim here. This dish was very easy to make and super tasty. No substitutions this time so I followed the recipe to the letter. The first time we made it was with chicken fillets rather than chicken breasts and I think we both liked it better with the fillets. Both the chicken and the base taste great and compliment each other.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ideas needed for party food

Tim and I have decided to host an election party, and we'd like to have an array of appetizers on hand for guests to sample. I would love to get recipe ideas from anyone who reads this. Please share with me your favorite recipes to serve to company. Remember, I'm not making any main dishes, but instead will offer small bites of several things. Dessert ideas are welcome, too! Just post your recipes or recipe links in the comments section. I really appreciate your help!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Healthy(ish) Macaroni and Cheese


Recipe name: Healthy(ish) Mac and Cheese
Source: no idea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: October 15

8-10 oz cooked macaroni
8 oz shredded sharp cheese
12 oz cottage cheese
8 oz plain yogurt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

In a 9x13 pan, stir together cooked macaroni, cheeses, yogurt, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Put foil on top and bake for 30 minutes. That's it!

I made this for the first time last night, and I absolutely love it. I'm not going to tell you that it is the very best mac and cheese that I've ever had, because that's not true. But it is most definitely the easiest homemade macaroni and cheese I've ever made, and given that it doesn't contain any butter or heavy cream, it tastes AWESOME. I suppose it isn't exactly accurate to call this a "healthy" meal, but I really think this is a great recipe to use when you want some comfort food, but you want to skip the guilt that comes from eating something with enough calories in it to sustain you for 3 days straight!

Friday, October 17, 2008

vacation!

Hi folks,

Sorry that it has been a week largely void of recipes. We've been cooking this week, but unfortunately, we've just been making disaster after disaster. We're headed to Arkansas for fall break this weekend, but when we return I've got several new dishes to try out, and hopefully we'll have better luck next week!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cranberry Scones

Recipe name: Cranberry Scones
Source: no idea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: October 10

Ingredients

2/3 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions

Heat oven to 375. Coat scone pan with cooking spray. Beat egg with yogurt and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter, cutting with a pastry blender until mixture looks granular. Lightly stir in cranberries and sugar. Stir in yogurt mixture with a fork until a soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 times. Separate dough into eight equal pieces and press into individual spaces of scone pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until medium brown. Let cool 20 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Both Tiffany and I love scones so we were excited to try this recipe. Tiffany had the foresight to soak some dried cranberries to make them plum. She's so smart. Most of the recipes we reference require heavy cream and I was glad to see this absent from the recipe. Even better I was able to substitute low fat yogurt for butter milk. So I was feeling all healthy up to the point where it called for a whole stick of butter. But here is the great thing about it. I didn't feel bad about adding the butter because it didn't have the heavy cream. The scone turned out great and was very tasty. Its a keeper.

Friday, October 10, 2008

meatball sandwich

Recipe name: Meatball Sandwich
Source: allrecipes.com
Servings: Lots
Cookbook date: October 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 French baguette
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 4 slices provolone cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, gently mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, cut the baguette in half lengthwise, and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil, and season with garlic powder and salt. Slip the baguette into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatball's time, or until lightly toasted.
  4. While the bread toasts, warm the spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. When the meatballs are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the sauce. Spoon onto the baguette and top with slices of provolone cheese. Return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Cool slightly, cut into servings, and enjoy!
Tim here posting. I followed the recipe for the meatballs word for word. Last time I made this recipe I found the meatballs to be too big so this time I made them smaller. I ended up having double the number of meatballs of the original recipe. The smaller meatballs were easier to manage and made for a lot more sandwiches. Since we didn't have a baguette I just toasted up some leftover hamburger buns.

Both Tiffany and I really liked this one. The recipe for the meatballs is one of the better ones we have tried so far. The leftovers were really good as well. Its a keeper.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sage Scented Sweet Potato Pizza

Recipe name: Sage Scented Sweet Potato Pizza
Source: no idea
Servings: 3-4
Cookbook date: October 1

Ingredients
2 cups sliced sweet potatoes
1 cup sliced onion
1 tsp dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
refrigerated pizza dough
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup colby-jack cheese

Spray an aluminum foil-lined pan with cooking spray. Arrange sweet potatoes and onion on a pan; Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with sage. Roast at 426 10-15 minutes (until almost tender); cool to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a 12 inch pizza pan with cooking spray. Spread dough on the pan. Sprinkle dough with garlic. Arrange potato mixture on dough and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake pizza until crust is browned.

This pizza recipe isn't quite as speedy as I like, due to having to cook the sweet potatoes, let the cool, and then cook the entire pizza afterwards. However, you will most definitely be surprised by how delicious this is! Sage isn't the type of spice that I usually give center stage to in a recipe, so I was concerned that the pizza would taste weird at best. And the taste was different, but very tasty. We forgot to take a picture; sorry!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Loaded Enchilada Casserole

Recipe name: Loaded Enchilada Casserole
Source: Rice and Beans and Other Fine Things
Servings: 8
Cookbook date: October 28

Ingredients (I made a few adjustments from the original recipe)

1 pound ground turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups cooked rice

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

12 corn tortillas, quartered or torn into fourths

1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce

3 cups Colby jack cheese

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 (4-ounce) can chopped black olives, drained

2 tsp dried cilantro or 2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro


  1. Brown the ground turkey, onion and garlic in a large skillet. Drain off grease, then stir in the soup, black beans, rice, canned tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place half of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan, then drizzle with half of the enchilada sauce evenly.
  3. Spoon half of the turkey mixture on top, then half of the cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese melts and it's bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, black olives, and fresh cilantro.

This was superb! Thanks so much to Lorie for posting this recipe! We absolutely loved it. I'd estimate that the casserole cost us between $8-10 to make, but it made 8 very filling and very tasty servings, so it is a bargain meal in our book. If you like Mexican food, this is a meal that will not disappoint. It's only 8am and I'm already looking forward to my lunch break because I get to eat the casserole as leftovers!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chinese Chicken lettuce wraps

Recipe name: Chinese chicken lettuce wraps
Source: adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen
Servings: 2-3
Cookbook date: September 27

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • 2-3 tbsp oil, sesame or peanut are nice
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, I use dark
  • iceberg lettuce leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over high heat.
  2. Break up and brown the ground chicken.
  3. Mince all of the vegetables-mushrooms with garlic. You also might want to run your knife through your cooked chicken as well to get the pieces more uniformly sized, you want everything to be texturally at the same fine mince.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar. You could also add some red pepper flakes if you want a little spice..
  5. Add your vegetables to the chicken and saute until onions and garlic soften.
  6. Add the sauce and cook and toss for an additional couple minutes. Taste and adjust your salt and seasonings.
  7. Serve with plenty of iceberg leaf “cups.”
Thanks to Chaos in the Kitchen for posting such a fun recipe. If anyone has ever been to P.F. Chang's, you know that lettuce wraps is a signature of theirs. We really enjoyed having our own version at home for a fraction of the price.

Our substitutions/additions: We used ground turkey, and the taste was awesome. I also shredded 4 baby carrots and sliced 1 green onion to add a little bit of color. We used water chestnuts which I finely diced, and we left out the mushrooms, because we believe that mushrooms are nasty.

I made this while Tim was out running errands, and I was glad to have the opportunity to sneak in water chestnuts, which he doesn't like, in general. When he tried the wraps he immediately asked, "What is the crunchy stuff in here?" I made him tell me first if he liked it, which he said he did (!) and then I revealed the secret ingredient. He wrinkled his nose up, and then confessed that water chestnuts were a good thing in this dish. Victory for Tiffany!

Friday, October 3, 2008

CrockPot Breakfast Risotto

Recipe name: CrockPot breakfast Risotto
Source: adapted from A Year of Crockpotting
Servings: 4-6
Cookbook date: September 27



--1/4 cup butter
--3 little apples
--1 1/2 t cinnamon
--1/8 t nutmeg
--1/8 t cloves
--1/4 t kosher salt
--1 1/2 cups arborio rice
--1/3 cup brown sugar
-- 2 cups of milk
-- 2 cups of apple juice


Turn your crock to high and add the butter so it can start melting. Wash and cut up your apples while it begins to melt.

Add the rice to the butter, and stir it around to coat it nicely. If the butter isn't completely melted, don't worry. Mine wasn't either, and it didn't seem to make a difference.

Add the apples, and spices. Stir in the juice/milk.

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.


I was SOOOO excited to try this recipe from A Year of Crockpotting. It seemed like a perfect culinary introduction to fall weather, which we seem to be having at night now. It made the house smell incredible while it was cooking, too! When it was finally done at the 3 hour mark, and I lifted the lid to check it out, I'll admit that my heart sunk a little bit. It looked so mushy! I was afraid that I'd let it go too long and that now the texture would be too gross to eat. Thankfully, I was wrong! I will say that this is not the best meal to eat if you aren't in the mood for something akin to oatmeal, though it is definitley more firm than oatmeal. But the flavor is just awesome! I swear, it felt like a meal that just hugs you, if you can imagine that. I've had limited success with my CrockPot over the years, but this recipe is definitely a winner. I'll no doubt be adding this to my yearly cookbook!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bacon Chicken Melt

Recipe name: Bacon Chicken Melt
Source: Recipe Zaar
Servings: 2
Cookbook date: August 26

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon or turkey bacon
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded low-fat cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wrap two bacon slices around each chicken breast.
  3. In a small skillet, place the chicken breast with the bacon and cook until the bacon is done.
  4. Place the chicken into a baking dish and bake for 10-20 minutes until done.
  5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts.
  6. Top with tomatoes.
  7. For different versions, try adding a sauce like ranch or barbecue or add more toppings like mushrooms, green onions, etc.
This dish was surprisingly delicious. The only thing we'll change when we make it again is that we'll add the tomatoes at the same time as the cheese so that they can warm up a bit.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rachel Ray's Chili Dog Nachos

Recipe name: Chili Dog Nachos
Source: Food Network
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 hot dogs, sliced into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 sack yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 sack, 10 ounces, shredded yellow Cheddar
  • Sour cream, garnish
  • Salsa, garnish
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Directions

Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add oil then beef, and begin to brown and crumble with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add chopped hot dogs and continue browning, another 3 minutes. Add onions and seasonings, Worcestershire, chili powder, and cumin. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes more.

Preheat broiler.

Arrange corn chips on a platter or in a casserole dish. Top the chips with the cooked chili dog topping. Cover the chili dog sauce with cheese. Melt cheese under hot broiler, 2 minutes, until melted and bubbly. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and chopped scallions.


So it's been a while since I attempted a Rachel Ray recipe, and since I normally have success with her dishes, I thought I'd give this one a go, just in time for football season to get going (I say that like we watch football, which we don't!).

Let me just cut to the chase here, people. This was gross. It was just way too much of everything. The sheer amount of meat and cheese in this dish made me feel sick. There are some great reviews of this recipe, so evidently not everyone will agree with me. If you are feeling especially carnivorous, this may be a go-to recipe. But as for me, I won't be making this again. I could literally feel my arteries clogging as I ate it. Oh, and if this does appeal to you, definitely don't make more than you can eat in one sitting, as the chips will go soggy quickly.


Monday, September 29, 2008

chicken meatballs

Recipe name: chicken meatballs
Source: Meet me in the kitchen
Servings: 4-6


Finger-Picking Chicken Balls adapted from Annabel Karmel's Lunch Boxes and Snacks

Makes about 20 chicken balls
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 small, skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 Tbls boiling water
salt and black pepper
flour for coating
1 Tbsp canola oil
cooking spray

Using your hands, squeeze out some of the excess liquid from the grated apple. Put the apple, chicken, onion, parsley, thyme, bread crumbs, and chicken bouillon into a food processor. Process until a smooth mixture forms a ball. Season with a little salt and pepper.
With your hands, form the mixture into about 20 balls, roll in flour, and fry in the oil for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Serve with your favorite condiment, such as ketchup or honey mustard.

Thanks to Meet Me in the Kitchen for posting this dish. I thought that these were good overall, though the next time I make these I'll only use half of an onion. The sweetness from the apple took a little getting used to, but I'm always a fan of finding ways to sneak in an extra fruit or vegetable serving. My only other complaint about the meal was that I thought they were a little pungent. I noticed that my entire refrigerator smelled like these meatballs the next day! While these aren't making my OMG list of recipes, I'll keep this especially in mind the next time we have guests with children.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Curried Chicken and Mango Sandwich


Recipe name: curried chicken and mango sandwich
Source: Closet Cooking
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked chicken
1 small mango (peeled, stoned and cut into bite sized pieces)
1 green onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon mango chutney (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of bread (optionally toasted)

Directions:
1. Mix everything but the bread in a bowl.
2. Assemble sandwich.


This is yet another successful recipe that I got from Closet Cooking. I am a huge mango fan, but I'll be honest, I was a bit skeptical about this dish. I thought the curry would taste kind of weird and perhaps overbearing. But no, it was perfect! This is definitely a keeper. Give this a try the next time you are able to get your hands on a ripe mango. The taste in beyond belief for something that comes together so quickly.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

White Bean Dip

Recipe name: White Bean Dip
Source: Giada on Food Network via Simply Tasty
Servings: 4

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 pitas
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl.

Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree.

I saw this recipe over at Simply Tasty a while back and bookmarked it to try later. Today was later. Let me tell you that my only regret is that I didn't try this sooner. I really think this may be my new favorite healthy snack. I love the creamy texture and the lemon-garlic infused taste. If you like hummus this is an absolute must try. I had it with some leftover pita bread, but I'll also be cutting up some raw veggies to have with it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Coconut Mint Cream Cake

Recipe name: Coconut Mint Cream Cake
Source: Bon Appetit September 2008
Servings: 8-10
Cookbook date:

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut cream

MINT WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • Sweetened flaked coconut

Preparation

CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with flour. Place round of parchment paper in each pan.
  • Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Mix milk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract in small bowl.
  • Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture in several batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just to blend after each addition.
  • With clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter in 3 additions.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine condensed milk and coconut cream in medium bowl.
  • Remove cakes from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Poke holes all over top of each cake layer with skewer. Pour coconut cream mixture by half cupfuls over cakes, allowing mixture to be absorbed before adding more. Cool completely in pans.

MINT WHIPPED CREAM

  • Stir 1/3 cup mint, sugar, and 3 tablespoons water in small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cook just until bubbles appear. Cover and remove from heat; let steep 30 minutes.
  • Strain syrup into large bowl, pressing on mint. Cool completely. Add 1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream to syrup and beat until firm peaks form. Turn cakes out of pans onto separate plates. Peel off parchment.
  • Spread 1 cup mint whipped cream on 1 cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining mint whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with sweetened coconut. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.

ingredient tip

  • A thick mixture made from shredded coconut and water, coconut cream is often sold in cans or cartons. If unavailable, buy coconut milk and open the can without shaking. The thick white coconut cream will be at the top of the can, separated from the milk. Don't confuse coconut cream with cream of coconut, which is a sweetened mixture often used in drinks and desserts.


Well, this was certainly an ambitious recipe for us at moose headquarters. We very much enjoyed the cake, though we won't be making it again because we thought it took a great deal of effort and it made a terrible mess. It was really good, but it wasn't cake Nirvana, so we'll stick to something easier next time. I thought I would post it for those of you who have more culinary skill than us, or for anyone who just wants a bit of a challenge.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

meatball marinara pita pocket

Recipe name: Meatball marinara pita pocket
Source: Meet Me in the Kitchen
Servings: 4


Meatball Marinara Pita Pocket
12 lean turkey meatballs with Italian seasoning
1 jar marinara sauce
1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
4-6 pitas, cut in half
shredded mozzarella cheese
Place sauce and beans in blender and puree. Put sauce into a large skillet and add meatballs and zucchini. Heat until warm over medium heat. Cut meatballs in half (makes it easier to eat). Open a pita half and spoon a few meatball halves and sauce into the pita. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and serve.


So this recipe didn't turn out well, but it is mostly my fault (big surprise).
First, I didn't use turkey meatballs (couldn't find them). We rarely eat ground beef, to the point where we don't really like the taste anymore. So that part of the dish was not so good. Second, I don't like zucchini, but I thought I could trick myself into liking it because the zucchini bits are so small. But there's no fooling me, people! Still, the recipe idea is really cool and if you either like meatballs made from ground beef or can find/make turkey meatballs AND you like zucchini, give this a try, because it did come together quickly.

The only reason I decided to post this dish at all is because I thought the idea of putting pasta sauce and cannellini beans together in the food process was pure genius. I thought the pasta sauce with the beans tasted terrific, and I will add beans to my sauce the next time we do spaghetti. We typically eat meatless spaghetti, but the meal is usually disappointing and a bit on the puny side. Now I can add some protein on the cheap!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Southwest Brown Rice and Black Bean Burgers

Recipe name: Southwest Brown Rice and Black Bean Burgers
Source: Taste Buds via Prudence Pennywise
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: December 2

Ingredients

2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1-3 tablespoons minced jalapeno or green chilies, (canned is fine)
1/4 cup salsa
1 egg white
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon olive oil

cheese, if desired

Mix rice, beans, chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, onion, cilantro, chilies, salsa, and egg white in large bowl. Mixture will be very moist. Add flour, using only enough so that you can shape the mixture into patties. Dust the outside of the patties lightly with flour. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and warm. Add patties and cook until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Sprinkle with cheese, reduce heat to low and cover with lid to melt cheese.


Special thanks to Annemarie at Taste Buds for posting this delicious recipe. This came together very easily, so it makes a terrific weeknight meal. The only changes we made were to leave out the chilies (instead we added a few drops of tabasco) and we just used the whole egg instead of the egg white alone. The burger was a tad bit on the dry side, but this was much improved with some traditional hamburger condiments!

Pumpkin fruit dip

Recipe name: Pumpkin Fruit Dip
Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks
Servings: 8 (ish)


I had some canned pumpkin and some plain yogurt sitting in my refrigerator with no purpose this week. Basically, they were just sitting around waiting to expire. Then I read a post by The Pioneer Woman Cooks that gave lots of ideas for uses of plain yogurt. One suggestion had a fruit dip that used yogurt and pumpkin puree. Perfect!

Here's what I did:
Combine roughly equal parts of plain yogurt and canned pumpkin. Add powdered sugar to taste (I was making a rather large batch of dip, so I believe I used at least 3 tbsp of powdered sugar). Combine together with a spoon or spatula and chill.
I have some apples in the crisper drawer that I'm going to use with this dip. I can't wait!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sloppy Joes

Recipe name: Sloppy Joes
Source: somewhere online (can't find it)
Servings: 8-10
Cookbook date: August 29

3 lb ground beef (we use ground turkey)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp prepared mustard
4 tbsp vinegar
3 tsp chili powder
hamburger buns

In a large skillet, brown meat, onion and garlic. Cook until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. combine remaining ingredients (except buns) in a skillet. Stir in meat mixture. cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon onto hamburger buns.

We just made half of this recipe. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that these were the best sloppy joes I've ever had, they came together quickly and they were cheap to make since I had all the ingredients on hand. I'll make them again, for sure.

Garlicky Appetizer Shrimp Scampi

Recipe name: Garlicky Appetizer Shrimp Scampi
Source: All Recipes
Servings: 3
Cookbook date: September 3

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 pound large shrimp - peeled and deveined

Preheat grill for high heat.
In a large bowl, mix together softened butter, olive oil, garlic, shallots, chives, salt, pepper, and paprika; add the shrimp, and toss to coat. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the shrimp as close to the flame as possible for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

This recipe is super easy, as long as you ignore the whole "use the grill" thing. I just sauteed the shrimp in a pan over the stove. Tim didn't really like this, but that's because he doesn't like shrimp (his loss, right?). I served this over rice and thought it was an awesome, indulgent meal. Yay butter!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Amazing Chicken Pilaf

Recipe name: Amazing Chicken Pilaf
Source: Tim's brain (based on 30 minute cookbook recipe)
Servings: 2-3
Cookbook date: August 21

2 tsp butter
3/4 cup onions
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic
can of chicken
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/3 cup raisins
mango chutney

They say necessity is the mother of all inventions. That and laziness is what lead to this recipe. The original recipe called for a few things I didn't have and following the recipe would have taken a lot longer than I wanted so I decided to use the recipe as a guide. So here is what I did. (Read the next section with a Julia Childs' accent in your head, it helps.)

First I melted the butter and sauted the onions until they started to turn brown and slightly caramelize. I then added in the cinnamon, cumin and garlic. I let that cook for minute or two and then took out the onions and garlic. I drained the chicken and cooked it a bit in the pan to gather the flavor of the onion, garlic and spices in the chicken. I then placed the chicken on the same plate as the onions and then added a little bit of olive oil to the pan to cook the almonds. I cooked the almonds till they started to brown.

Meanwhile I had a package of instant rice cooking in the microwave. When it was done I opened it and added it the almonds. I added in the onion and chicken and the raisins and mixed it all up. I then added in a few tbsp mango chutney and mixed that in as well.

Tiffany and I both enjoyed this dish. While it might sound involved from my description it only took a few minutes to put together. I think we are on to something with this rice haugpaug dish thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sweet Potato Muffins

Recipe name: Sweet potato Muffins
Source: no idea
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: August 23

12 oz sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup low fat yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp raisins, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon

Microwave sweet potatoes until tender. Drain well and mash. Set aside to cool.
Sift flour, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in center of mixture. Add yogurt, eggs, vanilla, raisins and cinnamon. Mix until just combined. Fold sweet potato into mixture.
Spoon mixture into 12 muffin tins. Bake 35 minutes.

Tim here again. I'll be posting all this week. I don't have a lot to say about this one. The only substitute is that I replaced apple sauce for the yogurt. It turned out great. The muffins are great as leftovers and didn't dry out in the microwave when you reheated them. I think the chunks of sweet potatoes keeps them moist.

It isn't uncommon for Tiffany and I to have breakfast for lunch or dinner so we had these through out the week. If fact I'm not sure if we had them once in the morning.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Italian Beef Patties with Balsamic Cream Sauce

Recipe name: Italian beef patties with balsamic cream sauce
Source: Recipe Zaar
Servings: 4-6
Cookbook date: August 20

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together beef, cheese, egg yolks, salt and pepper and form into 6 patties.
  2. Heat 2 tbls butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, brown patties on both sides, reduce heat to medium and cook until juices are pink.
  3. Remove patties and cover with foil.
  4. Add oil, 1 tbls butter and onion to the pan and cook over medium heat until onion is golden brown.
  5. Add cream and vinegar and cook on low 2 minutes.
  6. Pour sauce over beef patties and serve
The debate over balsamic vinegar continues and I fear that I ended up on the losing side this time. Let me say as one aside that I didn't add quite as much vinegar as it called for. That being said, the sauce with the vinegar turned out great. The tanginess from the vinegar went great with the burger.

I followed the recipe almost to the T, with the only change being reducing the amount of vinegar and using the George Foreman instead of a pan. As I said the sauce was great but what really did it for me was how the cheese was slightly burnt on the outside of the patty. I'm not talking black burnt but ultra crisp burnt, the way cheese gets when you overcook it. Think of the cheese on the outside of a nice loaf of cheese bread. We crisped the buns too because that is just how we roll. The leftovers were great. This is definitely a keeper.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moving on without the camera

I still can't find the cord so I can upload my pictures. I've decided not to stall my blog any longer, though. I know that recipe posts are much better with pictures, but we have been making some yummy stuff and I want to capture that here and share it with you, pictures or not! So here we go!

Recipe name:Mexican black bean and spinach pizza
Source: Cooking Light
Servings: 4 (at 2 slices each)
Cookbook date: August 24

Ingredients

1 (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup bottled salsa
1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place pizza crust on a baking sheet; bake at 375° for 5 minutes or until crisp.

Mash beans with a fork; combine beans and next 4 ingredients (beans through garlic) in medium bowl, stirring to combine. Spread bean mixture over crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Spoon salsa evenly over bean mixture; top with spinach and cilantro. Drizzle with hot sauce; sprinkle with cheeses. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

I was a little bit worried about the spinach being too excessive, but by the time I squeezed all of the water out of it, it was just fine. We served this to company and they seemed to enjoy it. We love pizza and we love Mexican food, and this recipe was a perfect marriage. I think this is the third cooking light pizza I have made, and I've loved them all!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hot Corn Dip

Recipe name: Hot corn dip
Source: Closet Cooking
Cookbook date: August 18
Servings: 4


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
1/4 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1 jalapeño (chopped)
2 teaspoons garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 handful Monterey jack (grated)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 handful sharp cheddar (grated)

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and saute until the corn starts to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a pan.
4. Add the onion, and pepper and saute until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes.
5. Add the green onions, jalapeño and garlic and saute until softened, about 2 minutes.
6. Mix the corn, onions, peppers, mayonnaise, Monterey jack and cayenne in a bowl.
7. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 inch baking pan and top with the cheddar cheese.
8. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until bubbling and golden brown on top, about 10-20 minutes.

Please check out the blog Closet Cooking, where I snagged this recipe. Also, check out his fabulous picture of the dish. It was excellent! This appetizer is not for you if you aren't a fan of the mayo, because I thought that flavor came out rather strong. We served this to company last night and I think they enjoyed it. It is very colorful and therefore, a lovely thing to serve to company. I agree with Kevin that this could also serve as the main dish if you are feeling a little too tired to cook several things for a meal.

I'm so sorry that I'm doing such a bad job of loading pictures. I can't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer at the moment, which is very very bad. Wish me luck in finding it soon!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pizza Margherita

Recipe name: Pizza Margherita
Source: Inspired by Cook's Encyclopedia of 30 Minute Cooking
Servings:2-3
Cookbook date: August 16

1 pizza crust, about 10-12 inches in diameter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chunky tomato sauce
5 oz mozzarella cheese
2 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
6-8 fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper

Tim here. Let me start by saying that the only thing that I used from the recipe above was the picture of the pizza for inspiration. To start with, I didn't have a pre-made pizza crust (all out at Kroger) but one of those pizzas in a bag that you can get in the baking aisle of the grocery store. So I basically just followed the directions on the bag.

I tried to get fancy and preheat the pizza stone and then place the pizza on it. I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is what I put on the pizza. For the sauce I used some spicy spaghetti sauce, very tasty. I then layered some shredded mozzarella. On top of that I put a bit of green onions we had that were about to go bad. Why? Because as Tiffany says "We are in a recession and we already bought them and don't want them to go to waste." I also placed some halved cherry tomatoes and topped the whole thing off with some basil and some more cheese.

The pizza stone and oven was preheated to 425. The back of the bag for the pizza crust had directions for using the pizza stone. It suggested using a wooden paddle to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and I was all like, "I don't need a paddle, I can improvise. I'm a smart guy". I was feeling pretty smug with my system. I had placed the pizza on top of some parchment paper that had been layered with corn meal. The plan was to roll the pizza off the parchment paper onto the stone.

I hadn't counted on the pizza sticking to the parchment paper. I ended up using a spatula to get the pizza off the parchment paper and by that point the pizza was in pieces. I thought for sure my Italian genes would get me through on this one. Oh well. The good news is that even though I messed it up it still tasted great. I guess even I can't miss up bread, cheese and tomatoes :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baked Black Bean Dip


Recipe name: Baked Black Bean Dip
Source: no idea
Servings: 3
Cookbook date: August 15

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 clove garlic, diced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup grated cheddar
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 small tomato, diced
tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beans, sour cream, garlic and cumin in a food processor. Process until mixed but still chunky.
spread mixture in a pie plate. Top with cheese, onions, olives and tomato.
Bake 15 minutes.

Our substitutions: I only had cherry tomatoes, but they worked out really well. I didn't have any olives (but I know they would rock in this recipe). Believe it or not, I made this with the sour cream and Tim gave it his seal of approval. It's a miracle!!!
This is super yummy. It was really good with Wheat Thins. The next time I make this I will double it because it doesn't last long enough. This is also a great dish for those nights when you want something really fast, because it comes together quickly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Recipe name: Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Source: PBS Everyday Food
Servings:
Cookbook date: August 8

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir in cottage cheese, milk, egg whites, and vanilla.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium. Working in batches, drop cottage cheese mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into pan (2 or 3 at a time).
  3. Cook until bottoms are set and tops have small bubbles, about 1 minute. Turn pancakes and cook until just firm in the center, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat, using remaining 3 teaspoons oil for the other batches.
Sorry I don't have a picture, folks. They look like pancakes, though (trust me). We made no substitutes (shocking, I know!). When I took my first bite I thought that they weren't done in the middle. I was wrong, but the cottage cheese does throw you off for the first few bites.
Overall, I thought these were really tasty, and I'll make them again. I wouldn't call them "to die for" but they are a good switch from the standard pancake.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Miniature Rootbeer Float



Recipe name: Miniature Root Beer Float

Ice cream (preferably Dreyer's Root Beer flavor!)
Root Beer
wee little glass


I know, this shouldn't even count as a recipe. All I'm sharing with you today is a classic 2 ingredient dessert, only in a petite version. But seriously, I think this is genius! Root beer floats are perhaps my favorite guilty pleasure in the whole world. I recently discovered that the size of the root beer float doesn't matter too much to me. So I've re-purposed my juice glasses to become my nightly (um, yeah, I'm serious) root beer float glasses! I get to have all of the joy of a rootbeer float experience and about 1/4 of the guilt! Rock!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Szechuan Green Beans

Recipe name: Szechuan Green Beans
Source: Guy Fieri of The Food Network
Servings: 6-8
Cookbook date: August 1

2 cups canola oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 ounce hot chili garlic sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or white wine
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 pound green beans, cleaned
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

To medium Dutch oven, add 2 cups canola oil and heat to 350 degrees F.

In medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it turns light brown; quickly add soy sauce, chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin, mirin, sesame oil and cilantro.

Fry the green beans in the canola oil for about 45 seconds, or until beans turn dark green. Remove, strain, and add to sauce. Toss and garnish with peanuts and parsley.


You can see a picture of these green beans on the Kung Pao Chicken page.

Ok, the amount of oil is over-the-top. Other than that, this recipe is a knockout. It went perfect with the Kung Pao chicken. Tim thinks it doesn't need as much vinegar as it calls for, but as we've already established, he hates vinegar, so any amount is too much. But once again, he is wrong. This is the first Guy Fieri recipe I have attempted, and I am pleased!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kung Pao Chicken!


Recipe name: Kung Pao Chicken
Source: RecipeZaar
Servings: 3-4
Cookbook date: August 1

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons light sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, chopped with tops
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4-1 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes(to your own taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (can use fresh grated if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 cups cooked rice, hot

Directions

  1. Combine chicken and cornstarch in small bowl.
  2. Toss to coat.
  3. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet or wok on medium heat.
  4. Add chicken.
  5. Stir fry 5- 7 minutes or until no longer pink in center.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Add onions, garlic, red pepper and ginger to skillet.
  8. Stir fry 15 seconds.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in small bowl.
  11. Stir well.
  12. Add to skillet.
  13. Return chicken to skillet.
  14. Stir until chicken is well coated.
  15. Stir in nuts.
  16. Heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally.
  17. Serve over hot rice.
This is the best DIY Chinese food recipe I have ever tried. I LOVED this! It has a lot of ingredients, and the kitchen gets messy in the process of making this, but it is worth it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ham and Cheese Bites


Recipe name: Ham and cheese bites
Source: adapted from Land O' Lakes
Servings: 24-28 individual bites
Cookbook date: August 9


1 cup mild cheese of any type, shredded
3/4 cup finely chopped deli ham
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sliced green onions
1 tbsp horseradish
24-48 plain triscuits or wheat thins

Stir together all ingredients except crackers in a small bowl. Spread 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of mixture on each cracker. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on HIGH 10-15 seconds or until cheese begins to melt.

I waited to make this appetizer until Tim was out of town, as he would gag eating this on account of the mayo and horseradish. Personally, I thought it was quite a tasty appetizer, and I would definitely serve this at a party. As a person who thinks appetizers can make a dinner when eaten in large quantities, I would also make this again for myself the next time the cat's away!

I used this to chop all the ingredients, and it totally worked, even on the ham!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Recipe name: Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts
Source: Cook's Encyclopedia of 30 Minute Cooking
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: July 30

1/3 cup raising
1 thick slice crusty white bread
3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 1/4 pounds young spinach leaves, stalks removed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt and black pepper

Put the raisins in a small bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover and let soak while you make the croutons and prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
Cut the bread into cubes and discard the crusts. Heat 2 tbsp of the il and saute the bread until golden. Drain.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Saute the pine nuts until beginning to color. Add the spinach and garlic and cook quickly, turning the spinach until it has just wilted.
Drain the raisins and add them tot he pan. Tos gently and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the croutons and serve the salad at once.


Tim here again. The only thing I changed for this dish was that I added some garlic salt to the olive oil I used to brown the croutons. I liked having the hint of garlic with the rest of the flavors and the light salty flavor as well. As you can see in the photo above I let the spinach cook too long. The pan wasn't big enough for all the spinach so added more later after there was more space but that resulted in some of the spinach being overcooked. The idea was to just slightly wilt the spinach and I overdid it a bit. Other than that we really enjoyed this recipe. There are a lot of flavors going on in this dish and it is a fun way to eat your greens.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pita Wedges with Banana Salsa


Recipe name: Pita Wedges with Banana Salsa
Source: unsure
Servings: 3
Cookbook date: July 26

1 large ripe banana, peeled and diced
1 medium nectarine, pitted and chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 tbsp cilantro
1/2 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
Toasted pita wedges from 3 small pita bread rounds


In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except wedges. Toss lightly to mix. Serve with toasted pita wedges.

Simple, fresh, divine! Does anyone else get this overwhelming feeling of self-righteousness when they eat something so healthy? I'll be honest, I feel downright smug! I become immediately convinced that all my late night ice cream sins are absolved simply by making a meal made up of only good things (well, ok, it does have a teaspoon of brown sugar...). What can I say? I'm ridiculous. Now go make this recipe so you can feel holier than thou, like me!

P.S. It is officially my birthday month. Let the festivities begin. Awwww yeah.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spicy Chicken and Melon Kabobs

Recipe name: Spicy Chicken and Melon Kabobs
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: July 27



1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
dash ground red pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 skinles, boneless medium chicken breast halves
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
16 green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tbsp peach or apricot preserves

In a small saucepan heat oil. Add garlic, rosemary, cumin, salt, coriander and pepper. Heat and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in vinegar. Set aside. Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Cut each breast half into 1 inch pieces. On four 12-15 inch skewers, alternately thread chicken with cantaloupe and green onion. Brush all surfaces with vinegar mixture. Place skewers on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil kabobs 4-5 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Stir preserves into remaining vinegar mixture. Brush on kabobs; turn kabobos and brush again. Broil 3-5 minutes more or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

Tim posting once again. I took the lead on this recipe and found it to be dishes heavy. Despite making the kitchen look like a bomb went off, I think the recipe turned out great. I made a few changes to the recipes. The first being that I substituted green peppers for green onion. I remembered making this once before and I swear that the recipe called for peppers not onions. Tiffany thought otherwise and eventually we just agreed to disagree. I made Tiffany's kabobs with green onions and mine with green peppers.

The other major change was that I didn't have the brush washed so I drizzled to cover the kabobs instead of brushing. I think this may have resulted in losing some of the flavor so next time I will make sure I have the brush cleaned and prepared. Overall, both Tiffany and I liked this meal. One thing I will say is that the leftovers are no good so only cook enough for one sitting. I think any meal where you get to layer things on a kabob is a good one and this recipe is no exception.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pistachio Salad

Recipe name: Pistachio Salad
Source: Aunt Robyn
Servings: 4?
Cookbook date: July 28

12 oz cool-whip
15 oz crushed pineapple
1 small package pistachio pudding
1 cup mini marshmallows

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

I would show you a picture of this, but I ate it all. I'm not even kidding.
This is a classic summer dessert. If you have never experienced it, though, go straight to the store and pick up the necessary ingredients. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And do not tell me that it sounds weird!

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Feature Alert - Feed the Moose Calendar

We have added a new feature to Feed the Moose. A calendar tracking our recipes. We created it to keep track of our goal to have 365 days of recipes. Now we can see what dates have recipes and where there are gaps.

You can check out the calendar clicking here. We will be updating the calendar as we add recipes to the blog so be sure to check it out from time to time. If you are nerdy, you might want to subscribe to our ical calendar feed here. We have also placed a link to the calendar on the sidebar under "helpful information" so you can access it anytime you visit the blog.

As always we would love to hear feedback. Let us know what you think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Curried chickpeas and black beans

Recipe name: Curried chickpeas and blackbeans
Source: Cheap, Healthy, Good
Servings: 4
Cookbook date: July 15
Date prepared: July 15

Curried Chickpeas and Black Beans

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced peeled gingerroot
4 teaspoons curry powder
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and gingerroot; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder; cook an additional minute. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute or until mixture is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add salt, black beans, and chickpeas; stir well. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in fresh parsley and lemon juice. Serve warm.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
277.5 calories, 4.4 g fat, $0.82


Please check out the awesome blog Cheap, Healthy, Good! I am a regular reader of this blog, and I was so excited to try my first recipe from their site this week.
Now, I have to admit, I didn't really think that this was going to be that filling. I was afraid that it was going to pretty much feel as though I was trying to fill up on a side dish. Not so, my friends! The beans in this meal are very filling. The flavor is also fantastic. And as you can tell from the recipe, it was crazy simple to make. Give it a try! It is easy on the wallet, the waistline, and the environment.

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