Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekly Favorites

So, I have an idea. What if we dedicate October to favorite recipes? Each week we can have a theme, like favorite appetizer or favorite soup, and then we (AHEM, Sara, Jennifer, Laura and Mary, Corie you get a pass since you didn't think you'd do much posting) will all post one recipe.

What do you think? Let me know.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Martinis

This recipe is from Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine

Ice cubes
2 ounces (1/4 cup) vanilla vodka
2 ounces (1/4 cup) crème de cacao
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Whipped cream, for garnish

1) Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes. Add the vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, heavy cream and pumpkin pie spice and shake well.
2) Dip the rims of 2 martini glasses into a bowl of whipped cream. Strain the cocktail into the glasses.

I made this last year on Halloween when we had our friends Kyle and Kim over to dish out candy to the 5.5 children who showed up at our house. This year I'll be making a few tweaks.

1) I'm going to infuse the vodka with the pumpkin pie spice a few days ahead of time. Last time, the pumpkin pie spice just sort of sat in the bottom of the martini glass
2) I may just spray the whip cream directly on the glass. Dipping mean the whipped cream was all over the glass.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dark, tart and tasty

Kashi's Cherry Dark Chocolate chewy granola bars had me at hello. I'm a sucker for anything marketed under the Kashi brand, and these delicious granola bars keep me satisfied with a perfect mix of sweet and tart. Plus, they're full of fiber and other good-for-you ingredients. I've been eating one for breakfast for weeks now and I always feel powered up afterward.

Favorite cookbooks and recipe sources?

What are your favorite cookbooks and recipe sources? Here are mine:

Everyday Italian
Barefoot Contessa at Home
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
75th Anniversary Joy of Cooking
Food Network Kitchen's Making it Easy
Creme de Colorado
I've just lately been getting into Lidia Bastianich's Italian American Kitchen

Other sources
Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine
Real Simple magazine
Cottage Living magazine
lots of blogs, lately its been the Pioneer Woman Cooks
Food Network web site

Mexican side dishes?

Next weekend we are going to Anthony's 10 year college reunion and I'll be making Pastor Ryan's Mexican lasagna for the crew. Its a big group, so I want to have some complementary side dishes. Anyone have any recipes to share?

Key Lime Cheeseball

I first had this cheeseball at Des Moines's winefest last year. I found it at our local grocery store and made it a few weeks ago for tailgating. It is really tasty and unique. You could eat it as an appetizer with savory crackers (like we did), or eat it for dessert with vanilla wafers or graham crackers. Now I want to try some of their other mixes, especially the cranberry orange.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Crock recipe with Chicken & Veggies

I found this recipe on msn and it sounded like a good blend of summer/fall flavors to me..I haven't tried it yet but hope to soon.

Chicken Edamame Chowder
Prep: 30 min. Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Cook: 7 to 8 hrs. in slow-cooker (low) or 3-1/2 to 4 hrs. (high), plus 20 to 30 min. (high)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 12-ounce package frozen soybeans (edamame)
1 large green sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 14-1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Cook chicken in hot oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until lightly brown. Combine the chicken, soybeans, sweet pepper, onion, jalapeno peppers, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper in a 3-1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker. Pour chicken broth over all. Stir to combine.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. crisp-tender.

3. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Combine sour cream and flour. Stir sour cream mixture and zucchini into chicken mixture using a wire whisk. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes more or until mixture is thickened and zucchini is crisp-tender. Ladle into bowls; top with cheese and cilantro, if desired.

* Note: When preparing hot chile peppers, avoid burning your skin and eyes by wearing gloves or sandwich bags over your hands (good tip right?!). This way, your skin doesn't come in contact with the hot pepper oils. Also be sure to always wash your hands and nails thoroughly in hot, soapy water after handling the peppers.

Swedish Meatballs

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I could make Swedish meatballs from scratch. But why bother when McCormick does such a good job? Photo from

Friday, September 12, 2008


What's everyone's chili signature/secret? You know everyone does something unique with this wonderful fall and winter dish! I'm saving mine until I read some of yours... :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pastor Ryan's Mexican Lasagna

Do you ever look at a recipe and you just know, with every fiber of your being, that its really going to be good? That's how I felt about this recipe, Pastor Ryan's Mexican Lasagna.

I made it last night for dinner and it literally blew both of us away. So freakin' tasty. I think the salsa verde is the key. The recipe below is for a double recipe, but last night I just did a half (which still filled my lasagna pan). Here's the printable version of the recipe. FYI-the printable version forgets to add tortillas to the ingredient list.

I skipped adding the beans to the rice and served refried beans on the side.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Joe and I have been making this Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter from Cooking Light since it was originally in their September 2001 issue. Aaah, back when we were newlyweds! It is so easy and delicious. Tonight we made extra sauce and had it on our pork chops and brown rice too and it was great!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Strawberry Bread

Freezes well and also from my Creme de Colorado cookbook. I just made some today and didn't have enough strawberries, so I added some frozen blackberries as well. We'll see how it turns out.

Strawberry Bread
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
20 oz fresh strawberries (sliced) or unsweetened frozen strawberries, thawed and undrained
3 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 C sugar
1 1/2 C chopped pecans (I omit)

Beat oil and eggs until fluffy. Add strawberries and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to egg mixture. Mix well. Stir in nuts if using. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Favorite potatoes

Here's my recipe for one of my favorite kinds of potatoes. Its adapted from my mom's JoJo potato recipe. I like it mainly because I don't have to peel the potatoes.

Heat the oven to 375
Clean potatoes (however many you want), I usually use russets
Slice lengthwise both ways, then slice so pieces are approximately the same size
Place on cookie sheet with olive oil (enough to coat)
Sprinkle with Jane's crazy salt, fresh pepper and kosher salt
Cook for 10 minutes, then move them around with a spatula to release from the cookie sheet
Cook for another 10 minutes, repeat last step
Cook for 30 minutes without disturbing (this gives you a crispy, crunchy side)

We eat these for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Foods that intimidate you?

I am intimidated by roasting a whole chicken. I don't know why, its just not something I've done before and I just haven't worked up the nerve/desire to do it. Its probably not even that hard (so I've heard)!

Do you ladies have any foods that intimidate you?

My favorite meat :)

The cold air today had me frantically brainstorming some of the things I actually have to look forward to with all the long and dark and cold months ahead. I realized besides football, and pumpkin foods/drinks, pomegranate season would also be here soon! So here's one of my favorite meat dishes starring the fruit. It was the base of our Christmas dinner last year and I think I'll request it again this year!

Herbed Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Reduction
Perfect with a side of couscous.

Cooking spray
8 (3-ounce) lamb rib chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup pomegranate juice and seeds of 1 fresh pomegranate for garnish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat broiler. Coat a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Place lamb on prepared pan. Sprinkle lamb evenly with 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and thyme. Broil 5 minutes on each side.

Combine juice, mustard, and honey in a small bowl. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in juice mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes).

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chives, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve with lamb.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 lamb chops and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A nice meat-free alternative!

I shared this recipe with Camby and Sara a while back but thought I would post it here too. Its a great alternative to burgers and very yummy with fresh veggies for a nice and healthy meal :) Oh and I baked the burgers in the oven versus frying them...

Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce - 4 Servings
Rather than a heavy, fried falafel, here's an updated version of this pocket sandwich: a light chickpea patty served in a whole-wheat pita with a flavorful but light tahini sauce.

1 19-ounce can chickpeas
4 scallions
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 6-1/2-inch whole-wheat pitas
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare burgers: Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.) Form into 4 patties.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.

To prepare sauce: combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sweet and Delicious Snack/Dessert/Breakfast

We've been eating a lot of yogurt parfaits lately for dessert or breakfast or just a little snack thanks to a certain three year old who loves them. Any kind of yogurt, topped with any kind of granola and any kind of berries! Can it get any easier than that?

Image courtesy of