Monday, February 22, 2010

Veggie Chowder

This is a great and simple soup to make! I would add some garlic and maybe some celery next time.  It goes great with sandwiches or french bread!  I would also add the mushrooms a little before the last of the recipe.  They weren't as cooked as I usually like them.

Veggie Chowder
Start to finish: 30 minutes
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
  • 1 can (12 ounces) fat-free evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons real bacon bits
  • In a large saucepan, combine the broth, potatoes, carrots and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add the corn, milk, cheese, mushrooms and pepper. Cook and stir 4-6 minutes longer or until heated through. Sprinkle with bacon.
7 Servings

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beef Fried Rice

I made this with orange-pork stir-fry last night and they were delicious separate and together!  This is a very easy recipe, and makes plenty of rice (6 servings)!  I honestly wouldn't change a thing about the recipe!  Although I omitted the red pepper sauce because I couldn't find it and it was still awesome!


Start to finish: less than 30 minutes

1cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
2cups water
1egg, beaten
1lb. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2cup sliced celery
1/3cup soy sauce
1tablespoon sesame oil
1/2teaspoon hot pepper sauce (omitted)
1 1/2cups fresh snow pea pods, halved diagonally
1/2cup chopped green onions (8 medium)

1.Cook rice in water as directed on package.
2.Meanwhile, spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add beaten egg to skillet; cook 1 minute or until firm but still moist. Remove from skillet; cut into thin strips. Cover to keep warm.
3.In same skillet, cook ground beef, mushrooms and celery over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.
4.In small bowl, mix soy sauce, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce; stir into beef mixture. Add pea pods, onions, cooked egg and cooked rice; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.

Orange Pork Stir-Fry

Last night I made stir-fry and fried rice.  I probably didn't need to make both, but I love Asian food so figured why not!  Both recipes were super easy and delicious!  Next time I am going to try this orange sauce with chicken or beef!

Orange Pork Stir-Fry
Start to finish: less than 30 minutes
  • 1-ounce package Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 pound pork loin, cut into strips (I just bought stir-fry pork)
  • 16-ounce package frozen Oriental vegetable blend, thawed (I bought stir-fry peppers)
Mix together dressing mix, juice, oil and soy sauce. Combine one tablespoon of dressing mixture and pork strips in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Add vegetables and remaining dressing mixture; cook and stir until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Whipped Cream

I made this whipped cream to go along with my strawberry shortcake.  It's super easy and delicious!

Whipped Cream
Start to finish: less than 30 minutes
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a chilled mixing bowl, add all ingredients together. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Strawberry Shortcake

I had never tried Strawberry shortcake before, but looking through the recipe, I did not see how it could be bad!  I made this after Mel made her dinner, and it was AWESOME!  Super easy to make as well.  I also made homemade whipped cream to go along with it!


Start to finish: 45 minutes
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 1  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3  cup cold butter
  • 1  egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2  cup dairy sour cream
  • 2  tablespoons milk
  • 5  cups sliced strawberries
  • 3  tablespoons sugar
  • 1  recipe Whipped Cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl combine egg, sour cream, and milk. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until moistened.
2. Drop dough into 8 mounds onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 tablespoons sugar. Using a potato masher, mash berries slightly; set aside. To serve, split shortcakes in half; fill with strawberry mixture and whipped cream. Top with remaining sliced strawberries.

Baked Macaroni with Pepperoni

On Tuesday I had dinner with my cousin.  I love her but she is possibly the most picky person I have ever met. We're both learning how to cook so I told her to pick dinner, and I would make dessert.  She made this recipe and I made strawberry shortcake.  It was AMAZING!!!  Highly recommended!  I mean look at all the can't not love it!

Baked Macaroni with Pepperoni
Start to Finish: 1 hour

  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 25 slices pepperoni sausage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • onion powder to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  3. In a 9x13 inch baking dish combine cooked macaroni, tomato sauce, tomato paste, cheeses, pepperoni, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Hungarian Style Chicken

I was a little nervous about this recipe.  The soup topping is what scared me at first, but I figured, why not give it a try!  In the end it was actually really good--a hit with the bf and his roommate!  Will definitely make again!

Hungarian-Style Chicken
Start to finish: under 30 minutes
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 10.75 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 8 ounce carton dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon of the paprika. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken: reduce heat to medium. Cook for 8-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine soup, sour cream, milk and the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika. Add to cooked onion; cook and stir until heated through. Serve soup mixture over chicken.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cucumber Raita

This was my favorite part to the mezze.  It was a huge hit at my friend's house!  I had never tried greek yogurt before and it was a great surprise!

*Optional Recipe: Cucumber Raita – Recipe adapted from The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm
Prep time: Approximately 15 minutes
1 medium cucumber, peeled and most of the seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (.1 ounce/3 grams) OR use a small pinch of dried cumin—to taste
2 cups plain whole milk or Greek yogurt (17 ounces/473ml)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
fresh coriander or mint, chopped, a couple pinches or more to taste
cayenne pepper or paprika, just a pinch to use as a garnish (optional)
1. Peel cucumber, de-seed, and dice. Blot off moisture with paper towels.
2. Toast cumin seeds for a few seconds in a small, heavy frying pan over high heat.
3. In a bowl, stir yogurt until it is smooth.
4. Mix it with the cumin, garlic and coriander or mint leaves (I used some grated radish instead).
5. Stir in the cucumber and sprinkle with cayenne or paprika, and chill before serving.
*Optional Recipe: Cucumber Raita – Recipe adapted from The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm
Prep time: Approximately 15 minutes
1 medium cucumber, peeled and most of the seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (.1 ounce/3 grams) OR use a small pinch of dried cumin—to taste
2 cups plain whole milk or Greek yogurt (17 ounces/473ml)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
fresh coriander or mint, chopped, a couple pinches or more to taste
cayenne pepper or paprika, just a pinch to use as a garnish (optional)
1. Peel cucumber, de-seed, and dice. Blot off moisture with paper towels.
2. Toast cumin seeds for a few seconds in a small, heavy frying pan over high heat.
3. In a bowl, stir yogurt until it is smooth.
4. Mix it with the cumin, garlic and coriander or mint leaves 5. Stir in the cucumber and sprinkle with cayenne or paprika, and chill before serving.


The hummus was also a required part of the mezze, if I made it again I would not use as much lemon and something in addition to or different from peanut butter.

Hummus – Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.
1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
additional flavorings (optional) I would use about 1/3 cup or a few ounces to start, and add more to taste
1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Pita Bread

The main part of the Mezze was the pita bread, which was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!  If you have the time to make homemade pita bread I highly recommend it!

Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook 2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
2.5 cups lukewarm water (21 ounces/591 grams)
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (may use a combination of 50% whole wheat and 50% all-purpose, or a combination of alternative flours for gluten free pita) (17.5 -21 ounces/497-596 grams)
1 tablespoon table salt (.50 ounces/15 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (.95 ounces/29 ml)
1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
3. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).
4. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
5. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn't puff up, don't worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.


I participated in my first Daring Cooks Challenge this month and it was AWESOME!  Mezze is a Middle Eastern dish that you can make almost anything with.  I made the pita bread, hummus, and cucumber raita.  I LOVED the pita bread (first time making homemade bread--yay!), and the cucumber raita was a HUGE hit.  I wasn't a big fan of the hummus, but it was okay.  You could try with different flavorings though.

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steak and Potatoes with Mustard Vinaigrette

I forgot to take a picture of this recipe, so I have to use the one from  I did everything as stated in the recipe.  Everything was good, but Scott and I weren't a huge fan of the mustard vinaigrette.  I don't know if its the vinegar or what, but just not a huge fan.  Might be for someone else though!

Steak and Potatoes with Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3), scrubbed and sliced into 1/8- inch-thick rounds
  • 9 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-ounce sirloin steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once, until the potatoes are golden, about 25 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, season the steaks with ¾ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the steaks to the desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and the remaining salt and pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly add the remaining oil and the tarragon. Toss the spinach with the vinaigrette, slice the steaks, and serve the salad and meat alongside the potatoes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cheesy Ravioli Casserole

I love slow cookers.  They are the most wonderful thing ever.  Just throw everything in (you can even do it in the morning!) and don't worry about it until you get home!

One thing with this recipe, I would DEFINITELY spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (or use a nonstick slow cooker) because the cheese will get stuck to the sides!  It is making for a messy clean up :/

My substitutions in this recipe: I used canola oil instead of vegetable or olive oil.  I used one 14 ounce jar of pizza sauce instead of tomato sauce because I forgot to buy it!  I used one package of cheese ravioli, and one package of beef ravioli instead of both beef ravioli.  I also used 9ounces of cheese instead of 8, because cheese is just wonderful and you can never have too much!  I also omitted the parsley because I didn't have any in the house!

Cheese Ravioli Casserole

  •  1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (26 ounces) four cheese-flavored spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce (I used pizza sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 packages (25 ounces each) frozen beef ravioli (I used one cheese and one beef)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces) (I used 9oz.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (omitted)
Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil about 4 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onion is tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning.

Place 1 cup of the sauce mixture in bottom of 4 1/2-6-quart slow cooker. Add 1 package frozen ravioli; top with 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining package of ravioli; top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Pour remaining sauce mixture over top.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 5-7 hours or until ravioli are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

This is from Real Simple, and is listed as a freezer recipe, meaning you can make it and freeze it to eat at a later date.  I ate some of it tonight and froze the rest, so I did not use the whole pound of pasta (for 4-6 servings).  I also used canola oil instead of olive because that was what I had in the house.  I substituted turkey bacon from pancetta because I couldn't find pancetta at the grocery store and I was getting hungry!  I also substituted skim milk for the whole milk, because who uses whole milk?  I substituted spaghetti for the fettuccine (you could use any pasta).  And I omitted the parsley because I forgot to buy it, and it's more of a garnish anyway :P

I would also suggest cooking the meat separately because I had issues getting the excess fat out of the sauce from the beef.  Just a thought!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 1 cup whole milk (sub. skim)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dried (I used the dry stuff)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (omitted)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound dry fettuccine (any pasta will do)
In a Dutch oven (I used a saucepan), over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, then add the beef and cook until brown. Add the wine and the remaining ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve with cooked fettuccine. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

This is a very simple twist on casseroles.  Instead of noodles using stuffing.  It was a nice change, although Scott thought it needed more "heat"/flavor.  Haven't quite figured out what that is yet, but we'll get there!  I used chicken stock instead of broth, and cream of mushroom instead of chicken since that was what I had lying around.  I also made everything the night before so I just had to throw it in the casserole dish and put it in the oven!  It worked great!

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 package (16 ounces) crushed corn bread stuffing
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, warmed
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • Cover and bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 8 servings.
'Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 35 minutes


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