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


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


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

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)

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
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
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


  • 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


  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.