Everyday Mom's Meals: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Contest Winner

Thanks to all that entered! I am happy to announce the winner (randomly selected) is Karen S!!! I will contact you ASAP to arrange getting your prize- sea salt hand scrub- to you! I am so excited w/ the direction the blog is going, and am looking forward to more contests in the future!

For The Veggie Lovers

I love vegetables. Never really met one I didn't like. But I love meat too. So while I know I could never be a vegetarian (I'm sorry I love my bacon and medium rare steaks a little too much) I have great respect for those who are, and one especially. My sister in law Charla is a vegetarian, so I'm always on the look out for great recipes that I think she would enjoy, and most of the time they are ones I could fix for my family as well and know we wouldn't miss the meat. I think it's a very healthy lifestyle choice and I think I could even do it for a while but I know myself and eventually the smell of an open fire w/ animal flesh searing away would lure me back in. But that's okay. To each their own, and I can have the best of both worlds. I can enjoy the yummy veggie only dishes I find to share w/ her, and know the next day I can have a big juicy pork chop if I choose:) I saw this in the current issue of Woman's Day magazine and immediately texted Char and said "I found a recipe I think you'll love". Her and my brother in law Joel live in Bloomington, and enjoy visiting the local farmer's markets on the weekends, so what better time of the year to try a recipe w/ zucchini?? So even if you're like me, and enjoy your meats, give this one a whirl and see what you think. (Char if you're reading this, I hope you enjoy it too!)

Spaghetti with Roasted Zucchini

12 oz. spaghetti
3 TBS olive oil
2 1/2 inch thick slices fresh bread, torn into 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves smashed
4 small zucchini (about 1 lb) sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 TBS grated lemon zest

Heat oven to 425. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, return to pot and mix w/ 1 TBS oil. Meanwhile in a food processor pulse the bread and garlic until the bread is coarse crumbs and the garlic is chopped. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini, red pepper, remaining oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Add Parmesan and bread crumb mixture and toss to combine. Spread the zucchini mixture on 2 baking sheets and roast until zucchini is tender and brown, 10-12 minutes. Toss pasta w/ zucchini mixture, lemon zest and parsley.

*NOTE* For a one-pan meal, skip the pasta and toss 1 lb large raw peeled and deveined shrimp with the zucchini and bread crumb mixture before roasting.

Shared on Julie's Eats & Treats July 16, 2011
Shared on Mandy's Recipe Box July 18, 2011

 Photo Courtesy of Woman's Day

Zucchini on FoodistaZucchini

Monday, May 30, 2011

Potluck Pleaser

What happened to the traditional pot luck? When I was younger, we had them at church all the time. I remember my mom getting up early on Sunday morning to make sure she had her dish prepared before we left for church for the potluck after service. I always loved the idea. A group of people sharing fellowship and great food, but not 1 person having to do all the work. I'm sure there are still potlucks out there, keeping up this wonderful tradition--I just don't get invited to any! Until now, kind of. Each Sunday my fellow blogger Tina over at Mommy's Kitchen hosts a virtual potluck where if you attend, you can share a recipe so all of her readers link back to your site. I "showed up" last night and took Mom's Macaroni Salad and in return I got some great new recipes I am excite to try out. The first being this dip that I think would be perfect for a party, cook out, or heck, just for snacking! This comes from another Tina (although she credits her friend Lori), this one at Sugar Bean Bakers and I'm so happy to share it w/ you and I can't wait to go to the potluck next Sunday!

Holy Moses Dip

16 oz sour cream
4 oz. packet dry ranch dressing
3 oz real bacon bits
1-2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients well and chill. Serve w/ chips, crackers, pita chips, veggies, etc.
 Photo courtesy of Sugar Bean Bakers.

Sour Cream on FoodistaSour Cream

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pigs in Sugar

Maybe you've heard of "Pigs In Mud"? Maybe not. We love them. What are they you ask. Well, it's bacon, dipped in chocolate, sprinkled w/ powdered sugar and they are one of our favorite treats at the Indiana State Fair every year. They were brand new at the fair a few years back and as soon as we saw them we knew we had to try them. People everywhere can put their noses up and say "ewwww" but don't knock it til you try it! I know it sounds weird, but if you're like me, and you like sweet and salty at the same time, they satisfy in every way. We're also a family of bacon "dippers"- we always dip our bacon in maple syrup. Again, salty and sweet together, harmonized in one bite. So when I saw Ina Garten do this my heart sang! I've been baking bacon instead of frying for years now, and it turns out perfect every time; but this time they will be "pre-dipped" for our eating pleasure:)

Maple Roasted Bacon

16 slices bacon
1-2 TBS good maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400. Place a baking rack on a cookie sheet and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon begins to brown. Remove the pan carefully from the oven; there will be hot grease in the pan! Brush the bacon slices with maple syrup and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the bacon is a warm golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and serve warm.

Bacon on FoodistaBacon

Rub It In

I have learned many important lessons in my life, and one of the more recent ones? Rub your meat!!! Yes, thanks to Paula Deen I discovered if you want really flavorful meat, and not flavor in the 1st bite only, rub rub rub. Rather it be salt and pepper only, or something more exotic filled w/ every spice you have in your cupboard, the more you rub it into your meat, whatever meat that might be, the more flavor packed it will be once cooked. I have a few prepackaged ones I enjoy, and I am also throwing different things together depending on my mood, but in this month's Woman's Day magazine they dedicated a 2 page spread to various rub mixes and even explained which meat each is best with. So I knew I had to share this w/ all of you. Rather you're having chicken, pork, beef, lamb or even veggies this holiday weekend, I've got the rub for you!!!

Redeye BBQ Rub
Makes 1/2 cup
3 TBS paprika
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS ground coffee
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper

Best For: London broil, strip steak, beef burgers, pork chops.

Mediterranean Herb Rub
Makes 3/4 cup
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS dried oregano
2 TBS dry mustard
2 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS dried thyme
1 TBS dried sage
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper

Best For: Shrimp, striped bass, lamb chops, boneless chicken breasts, turkey cutlets, zucchini

Jamaican Jerk Rub
Makes 1/2 cup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1/4 tsp pepper

Best For: Salmon, mahi mahi, pork tenderloin, steak, bone-in chicken

All Purpose Rub
Makes 1/2 cup
1/4 cup plus 2 TBS chili powder
2 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Best For: Baby back ribs, pork tenderloin, bone-in chicken, salmon, onions

Smoky Spice Rub
Makes 1/2 cup
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 TBS ancho chili powder
2 TBS ground cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard

Best For: Chicken, lamb chops, salmon, pork tenderloin, skirt steak

Iced Tea-Infused Rub
Makes 3/4 cup
1/2 cup powdered iced tea mix (w/ no artificial sweeteners)
2 TBS ground ginger
4 tsp kosher sal
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cloves

Best For: Pork kabobs, seafood, chicken, steak, ribs, eggplant, zucchini, sweet potatoes

Old Bay-Inspired Rub
Makes 1/4 cup
16 bay leaves, finely crushed (2 tsp)
1 TBS paprika
1 TBS kosher salt
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Best For: Shrimp, scallops, chicken, turkey, potaoes

*NOTE* All of these rubs can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 months. Pat about 2 TBS into each pound of meat, fish or veggies. For major flavor, refrigerate for a few hours before cooking.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

 Finally, the holiday weekend has arrived! Three days of freedom (literally, be sure to thank a Vet) to enjoy summer weather, family, fun activities and of course, yummy food! Picnics have always been something my family has enjoyed. When I was little, my parents and I would head out on a warm Sunday afternoon to a location only my dad knew (being a truck driver he always found neat spots) and have a picnic just the 3 of us. Adam and I have continued this tradition w/ Alex and they are always so much fun. In both cases, one of our favorite foods to enjoy is cold fried chicken. Yes, I said cold. Most of us in my family actually enjoy the bird more when it is cold! Dad always used to get a bucket of KFC, mom would throw some potato salad together and off we'd go; and I've been known to do the same. So when I saw this recipe on Cooks.com while trying to discover what those secret 11 herbs and spices are (at home versions are an obsession of mine) I immediately imagined a picnic basket, sunny weather, a picnic table and a lazy afternoon w/ my family--rather it be when I was a little girl, or now when the little girl is a Mommy:) I wish you a very happy, safe and well fed holiday!

Baked Kentucky Fried Chicken

3 c. self rising flour or Bisquick
1 TBS paprika
2 packets Lipton Cup O Soup- Tomato (dry)
2 packets Good Seasonings Italian Dressing Mix (dry)
1 tsp seasoned salt (Lawry's, McCormick's, etc)

Mix all dry coating ingredients well. Shake chicken in dry mixture and place in greased baking dish. Dab melted butter or chicken. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees basting occasionally with water and oil (mixed). This recipe makes about 1 quart of coating; you may prefer to divide the recipe in half.
*NOTE I will probably baste w/ dripping and melted butter, just as I do when I roast a turkey.

Bisquick on FoodistaBisquick

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Menu Plan May 29- June 3

 *New Recipe
(Where to find on blog)


Monday (Happy Memorial Day!!)
Coney Dogs (January 10, 2011)
Garlic Potato Salad*
Corn on the Cob

Stuffed Peppers (March 10, 2011)
Olive Bread (February 12, 2011)

Beef Roast
Scalloped Potatoes (July 6, 2010)
Steamed Asparagus (January 31, 2011)

Greek Salads (September 27, 2010)
Hawaiin Rolls

Angel Hair w/ White Clam Sauce, Mushrooms and Lemon*

Warm Enough For A Dip

Memorial Day is the official gateway to summer. Dig out those bathing suits, dust off the pool toys, it's time for all water related activities!!! Ok, so I don't know about where you live, but where we do, there is no way it's going to be warm enough to be swimming this weekend! Yes, by Monday it's supposed to be 90, so maybe the water will be warming up, but after a week of chilly rain, I'm betting many will be enjoying the water from a deck, on a chair, w/ the warm sun beating down on them! But a dip you can sink a chip into?? Well, rain or shine that's a good thing! This one comes from our friend Tina of Mommy's Kitchen--one of my favorite blogs to find inspiration on. As I blogged about earlier this week, Alex has just recently discovered his love for Mexican food, and one of his favorites is any cheese or tomato product that can be put in his mouth via chip :) Combine those 2, throw in some beans for protein and wah-lah, a new treat for us, rather it be for the upcoming holiday or any day of the week!

Cheesy Black Bean Dip

1 16 oz package Original Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed
1 11 oz. can Mexican corn (has red & green bell peppers in it), drained
1 c. chunky salsa (the original called for hot, I will use mild)

Combine all ingredients in a microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes or until Velveeta is completely melted, stirring after 3 mins. If needed,can put in small crock to keep warm!

Black Bean on FoodistaBlack Bean

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Good News

Along w/ finally getting the blog linked to Facebook to try to increase exposure, I found out this afternoon it's been chosen to be featured, advertised and suggested on The Foodie Blogroll website! I'm so excited to potentially reach many MANY more people, foodies and non foodies a like!

Another New Blog

My friend Natalie and her daughter Olivia have decided to dedicate some time this summer to blogging about baking. What a great mother/daughter activity. Since you don't always find a lot of baking tips here--check out their new blog!!


If Macs Aren't Your Thing

Nope, not talking computers. (I bet those who know my husband and our family's complete loyalty to the Apple brand thought I was!!) Macs as in macaroni salad. As in the recipe I posted yesterday. I'm on a Memorial Day picnic, cook out, barbecue, roll and variety is important. If macaroni salad isn't your idea of a yummy side dish, maybe potato salad is. I have a ton of recipes for this old stand by, but we're always willing to try a new one:) Alex has requested my Coney Dogs (January 10, 2010) for the holiday and I figured this would be a great addition. The thing that caught my eye while reading this over at The Hungry Housewife was the addition of garlic. I can honestly say I don't think any of my recipes include garlic; and w/ us loving anything w/ garlic I figured this was right up our alley. So be it macaroni or potato, hamburgers or hot dogs, corn on the cob or baked beans--I hope your Memorial Day is very happy, safe, filled w/ loved ones and tasty tasty food!

Garlic Potato Salad

5 lb. red potatoes, cubed
6 chicken boullion cubes
1 1/2 c. mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves minced
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Put potatoes in a large stock pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. Add chicken boullion cubes. Bring potatoes to boil and cook until fork tender, about 6 minutes. While potatoes are cooking, mix mayo, mustard, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper very well. When potatoes done, drain well and put in large bowl. Pour mayo mixture over potatoes and mix well.

Red Potato on FoodistaRed Potato

Garlic on FoodistaGarlic

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out Bobby Flay

Yes, he's the self proclaimed grill master, but I don't do bad for myself. Especially considering that 4 years ago I didn't grill. At all. My dad did. My husband did. I didn't have to. But as time went on and Adam worked longer hours, I got tired of either waiting on him to get home to do it and starving, or only planning grilled items for the weekends. So I pulled on my big girl pants and decided to do it myself. And wouldn't you know...it's not that hard! Now I still prefer Adam to do it when he can, but if I'm here and he's not, I mange just fine. Except burgers. For years now I've watched Rachael Ray preach about putting an indentation in the middle of her hamburger patties to allow for even cooking. Well, even when I did that mine still came smaller, and "puffier" than what I made them. Of course I decided Rachael didn't know what she was talking about. Then for my birthday I got a hamburger press and it came w/ an insert to allow for such indentation making. Huh? Seriously, she did know what she was doing?? I love my press. It makes them even, round and just the right "bun size". I've been reading over Internet sources to see exactly what the perfect burger takes, and I've compiled what I think will be the key!

How To Grill Burgers

1. Make patties 1/2-3/4 inch thick, making sure they are even on all sides. Make 1/2 inch bigger than the bun, in diameter, to allow for shrinkage. Make a small indentation in the center of the patty. (Thank you burger press)

2. Season both sides w/ salt and pepper.

3. Heat grill until hot. Then turn down to medium. Using tongs, rub clean grates w/ a paper towel covered in oil. (Or spray w/ cooking spray)

4. Place burgers directly over heat, indentation side down. DO NOT press. This will cause juices to flow and make burgers dry.

5. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on how well done you like them.

Ground Chuck on FoodistaGround Chuck

Monday, May 23, 2011

Perfect for a Picnic

With Memorial Day just around the corner, it's time to bust out all those great summer salad and side dishes that are the perfect companion for hot dogs and hamburgers. This is one my family has been eating for years; and I mean years. I call it "moms" but that could either be my mom, or hers, since grandma taught her to make it and now I know too. Until now I've never actually made it myself, and I'm glad I asked mom to help that first time b/c her method of measuring, well, let's just say it isn't exact....lol. That's normal though for those recipes that are kept in the brain instead of in a box. Add some of this, a little of that, sprinkle some of this. Taste, repeat. So when mom helped me today I tried to guess on the amounts to make it easier for all of you, so be kind if they aren't an exact science. I promise the end product is worth it!

Mom's Macaroni Salad

1 lb. rotini pasta (elbows work too, but see note below), cooked, drained and cooled
10 oz jar olives, sliced
1 small onion, finely diced
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 1/2- 2 cups Miracle Whip (mayo doesn't taste the same)
3 TBS mustard
3 TBS sweet relish
1/2- 1 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

Mix pasta, eggs, olives and onion in a large bowl. Add 1/2 of dressing mixture and mix well. Add rest of dressing and finish mixing. Taste for salt/pepper. Add more if needed. Refrigerate w/ a damp paper towel between salad and lid to avoid drying out.

*NOTE* We've found that the only elbow macaroni that works w/o falling apart is the Creamette Jumbo Elbows.

Shared on Mommy's Kitchen May 29, 2011
Shared on Gooseberry Patch June 29, 2011

Rotini on FoodistaRotini 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another Newbie

The other day I was talking to my aunt about the blog, explaining how it worked and what I did on here. She isn't very Internet savvy and doesn't even have email, so she has never seen it:) I told her that back in January I made a commitment to try a new recipe each week, and while very rewarding, sometimes it can be challenging too. Not b/c there aren't enough new ones out there for me to try, but b/c some weeks I just want to be lazy and gravitate towards those "staples" that I could make w/ my eyes closed. She asked what I was going to try this week and w/ a small smile I told her "a Mexican recipe that Alex could make himself if I let him near the stove." LOL Adam has always been a fan of Mexican cuisine. I came to love it when Adam and I first started dating (Yes before that I wasn't a very big fan. As a child I HATED tacos!!) Now Alex is old enough a little bit of spice (not the make you cry and genuflect heat his father loves) doesn't scare him and he is discovering his love of all things Mexican. Tacos, burritos, chips n salsa, enchiladas--He has found he loves it all and can eat it every day if allowed. So I find myself seeking out more and more easy at home versions of the things he has had in the restaurants; and that is how I found this one. Campbells.com is a great resource for recipes, both containing there soups, and not. I hope the little guy likes this one b/c it's so simple it could easily become one of those staples in my recipe box!

Beef Enchiladas

1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz jar Pace Picante Sauce
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
12 corn or flour tortillas, warmed

Heat oven to 325. Wrap tortillas in foil and put in oven to warm for 7 minutes. Once warm, remove and increase oven temp to 350. Cook beef over medium high heat and drain. Stir in 1/2 cup picante sauce and 1 cup cheese. Spread 1/2 cup picante sauce in bottom of shallow baking dish. Spoon about 2 TBS beef mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in dish. Top w/ remaining picante sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until enchiladas are hot and cheese melts.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meal Plan May 22-27

*New Recipe
(Where to find on blog)

Beef/Cheese Enchiladas*
Flip Flop Bean Dip (July 1, 2010)
Nacho Cheese Dip
Tortilla Chips

Grilled Lemon/Garlic Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts (June 27, 2010)

Grilled Hamburgers
Mom's Macaroni Salad*
Sliced Peaches

Grilled Pork Chops
Cranberry Stuffing
Green Beans

Pizza Mac (January 11, 2011)

Friday (Left Over From Previous Weeks)
Clam Chowder

Friday, May 20, 2011

Indoor Campfire

I revealed a couple months ago how I had finally tried Nutella for the first time and how it was quickly becoming my new addiction. Since then whenever I see a recipe using it I get so excited b/c I just don't think anything could taste bad when this yummy chocolate hazelnut dream spread is involved. Seriously, I think you could put it on a shoe tongue and it would be yummy. Ironically after sharing the recipe for the ice cream, Tina over at Mommy's Kitchen posted this as her recipe today. She must have been reading my mind!! 3 ingredients and you can have a campfire treat right in your own living room!! Looks like we'll be "camping out" this weekend!

Nutella S'mores

2 Graham cracker squares
2 TBS Nutella
1 Large Marshmallow, toasted

Spread the Nutella on one half of the graham cracker. Top w/ one marshmallow. Place the graham cracker half in the toaster oven or you can use your ovens broiler. Toast the marshmallow until lightly browned. Remove and add the second graham cracker half. Smoosh down and enjoy!

*NOTE* We use fondue dippers to roast marshmallows over the flame on our gas stove. So I will probably roast a whole bunch and do an assembly line of these when we make them! Even easier!
Nutella on FoodistaNutella

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Home Made Ice Cream (Put the Machine and Rock Salt Away!)

Yep. It's a dream come true. I would never lie to you. You can have smooth, creamy, delicious home made ice cream, in all of your favorite flavors (and probably some you've never thought of) w/o the hassle! I can NOT wait to try this, and there are so many I want to taste I can't decide which to do first. This came to me from my cousin Trish over at Recipe Roundup and she found it on Kevin and Amanda. (There's another tid bit for you. A new blog to check out. I'd never heard of them, but if they can provide this recipe, they just jumped to the top of my must read list). I will share a couple of the ones I am going to be trying first, but please check out either site for more ideas, and photos on Kevin and Amanda. Seriously, I can't even express my excitement for this.....I thinking about sending Adam to the store right now...and it's going on midnight!

Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
1 14 oz. Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 TBS butter, melted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl. Whisk condensed milk, butter, cinnamon, & vanilla in large bowl. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into a 2 qt. container and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm.

Nutella Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
1 14 oz. Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 TBS butter, melted
1/2 c. Nutella
1 c. peanut butter chips

Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl. Whisk condensed milk, butter, and Nutella in a large bowl. Stir in peanut butter chips. Fold in whipped cream. pour into 2 qt container and cover. Freeze 6 hours until firm.

As you can see, it's really a method that allows the possibilities to be endless!!! Your imagination can make your ice cream!

Nutella on FoodistaNutella

Welcome to the Blogging World

I have many friends who blog, some started before me and inspired me, others have jumped on the band wagon since me and like me have found it to be very rewarding and worth while. The latest to join the world of "blog rolls" and "gadgets" is my cousin Tricia. She has come up w/ a great idea- a go to place for recipes, crafts and creative/helpful tips. In the 3 days she has been doing it, I've learned so much :) We're talking about eventually doing guest posts on each other blogs, which is very exciting! So some day when you click on here don't be surprised to find Trish teaching you something very crafty--and you'll know for sure it's no me b/c while I can cook you a good meal, making photo coasters from tile and mod podge just isn't something I excel at!! (Seriously, she made these recently--they are amazing! Check out how!) Please go check out her blog and support her in the way wonderful way you have me!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fresh From My Kitchen

Not very often do you get a recipe from me the instant I make it, or in this case while I'm making it!!! Especially one that I've made up myself! This is an extra special treat, I know! Yes, as I type this my side dish for tonight's supper has just went into the oven, and it was something I came up w/ 5 minutes ago. If you read the meal plan, we were planned to have mashed potatoes and gravy w/ our meatloaf and corn on the cob tonight, but to be honest, I just wasn't in the mood. So I'm looking at this bag of potatoes saying, what can I do easily and will be done in an hour when the meatloaf is. And then it came to me! The inspiration? My waitressing days. From the ages of 16-21 I was a waitress at Bob Evans, and one of the things we were known for was our home fries. No, they weren't hash browns (although ironically enough, they now serve shredded hash browns), they were home fries-diced potatoes, seasoned and cooked on the flat top grill. People seem to be in 2 groups, either they loved them or they were ticked we didn't have traditional hash browns. So I'm staring at these potatoes and decided I can do that, but even better, I can do them in the oven (less babysitting). Here is what I came up with--I think they would also be perfect for a brunch! See what happens when you start staring at a bag of potatoes??!!

Baked Home Fries

3-4 baking potatoes, scrubbed, peel left on
Olive Oil
(or any other herbs/spices you enjoy)

Pat potatoes dry w/ paper towel. Dice into 1 inch cubes. Place in a 9x13 pan. Drizzle liberally w/ oil and season w/ salt, pepper and paprika. Bake @ 350 for approx 1 hour until fork tender, stirring once in a while.

Shared on Amee's Savory Dish Sept. 2, 2011
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Just Curious

What I am about to say may alarm you. Today I "Googled" corn on the cob to see proper cooking instructions. See, I knew you're eyes would be big right now. No, it's not that I don't know how to cook it, I just wanted to see if there was a general consensus on how you should. What I discovered is there are a lot of different opinions and ideas, each pretty much as good as the next. I think corn on the cob is one of those things that I learned from my mom, who learned from her mom, and so on and so on. I don't think most people are every "taught" how to do it, they just watch and then do it. But what I found more interesting than anything is that there is an entire website devoted to just cooking corn on the cob. It's actually very informative and has methods for grilling, steaming, boiling, and even the microwave. So instead of giving you a detailed recipe I will just refer you to the site itself in the hope that maybe you might be a little curious also!


Corn on FoodistaCorn

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy 8th Anniversary!!!

Yep, 8 years ago today I married the man of my dreams, my best friend. Now if you really want the inside scoop, 14 years ago I went on my first date w/ that man, who would become my husband & who I knew I wanted to be the father of my children- yes even back then. May 17th has always been our anniversary (easy to remember) and on the day of our wedding, I walked down the aisle at exactly 4:30 pm, the time he picked me up that very first night! For tonight's special meal, I'm actually trying something new, and hoping it's a hit b/c who wants to strike out on their anniversary? And since tonight is Taekwondo for the boys, I had to do something that is easily reheated, but still wanted it to be something Adam would (hopefully) enjoy. The main course came from Real Mom's Kitchen and the picture she posted w/ it made my mouth water. I've had it on my "to make" list for a few weeks now and thought tonight would be the perfect chance. Dessert will also be quick, easy and is also new. I'm trying a chocolate mousse I found on cooks.com- 3 ingredients is my kind of dessert. So while my anniversary present to Adam has to stay a secret for now, my gift to all of you is a 2 for one special, dinner and dessert!! Happy Anniversary honey, I love you. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. You have given me so many gifts in 14 years, none more precious than our beautiful son, and there is nobody else I would want to grow old with :)

Easy Baked Tortellini

3 cups or 1 13 oz. bag fresh cheese tortellini (I couldn't find fresh, so I bought a 19 oz frozen bag)
1 24 oz. jar marinara sauce
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 11x7 inch baking pan. ( I will use 9x13 since I have more tortellini). Cook tortellini until almost done. You don't want it fully cooked b/c it will cook more in the oven. Drain and put in bowl.  Toss w/ 1 TBS butter to prevent sticking. Combine the marinara, cream and 1/2 c. Parmesan. Then add the pasta and gently toss until coated. Season w/ salt and pepper. Place into greased baking dish. Sprinkle w/ other 1/2 c. Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Easy Chocolate Mousse

1 4 oz. box chocolate  pudding
1 small container (8oz) Cool Whip
1/2 c. milk

Place chocolate pudding in mixing bowl. Pour milk into pudding and whisk until smooth and thick. Put whole container of Cool Whip in pudding mix and stir until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

Take Out At Home

Let's be really honest. Some days calling for a pizza or Chinese take out is just easier and well, most of the time it's really good :) But if we're being honest about that, we have to also be truthful about this, it's not always the best for us. Chinese food is sometimes filled w/ MSG and preservatives we can't even pronounce and while it's delicious at the time, some of us pay for it later! So last year when I was craving Chinese food I decided to try an at home version that was easy, economical and healthy. This is a Sandra Lee original and like most things she makes it is 70% store bought ingredients and 30% fresh ones. I have to admit, I don't use a lot of Sandra's recipes, not b/c I don't like them, but b/c when I try to watch her show, "Semi- Cooking", I can't get past the fact that her shirt matches the drapes, or the "tablescape" that requires a trip to the craft store. Her cooking ideas are great but some of her other ones just aren't me. Luckily I found this recipe online at foodnetwork.com so I didn't have to sit through another "cocktail time". The first time I made this Adam wondered where I had gotten it from- he didn't believe I had made it from scratch. That should tell you how yummy it is! I usually serve it some rice, or a packaged teryaki noodle found in the store. So put down the white take out boxes, grab some chopsticks and give it a try!!

Beef Stir Fry

1 sirloin or round steak, thinly sliced
1/2 c. sliced onion
1 TBS minced garlic ( 1-2 cloves)
1 12 oz. frozen vegetable stir fry mix
2 cans mushrooms
2 TBS teryaki sauce (I sometimes add a little more)
Assorted other veggies you like (This time I'm adding frozen shelled edamame)
Soy Sauce to taste
Vegetable oil

Heat enough vegetable oil in electric skillet to cover bottom to 350. Saute meat until almost done. (Can season w/ salt and pepper, but be careful w/ the salt if going to add soy later). Add onion and keep stirring until onion is soft. Add garlic (I grate mine) and stir. Add mushrooms, vegetable mix, and any other veggies if desired. Fry until veggies are almost done. Add teryaki and 1/8 c. water and simmer until flavors blend. Taste and add more teryaki and soy sauce if desired. Serves warm w/ rice or noodles.

Edamame on FoodistaEdamame

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Blog!!!

So while I knew it was around this time last year I began this blogging adventure, I did not realize it was May 13th :) One year later, I remember the apprehension I felt started it. I wondered "Will anybody read? Will anyone care? Will I get bored w/ it? Will it be something I start and then give up on?" I am happy to say all of those questions were totally unfounded and it is even more exciting today than 367 days ago. It's been such a learning experience and the overwhelming response has touched my heart and given me a sense of accomplishment I needed in my life and didn't even realize it. Thank you does not even cover the gratitude I have for all of you that read, commet, share, give me support, and offer me a forum to share my ideas w/ you. I still get excited each time someone says "Hey, I tried____ And it was fantastic." Or "I read your blog all the time and love it." What a lucky girl I am to have so many people around me willing to allow me to do something I love and share that w/ you. So, thank you 1000x over and please keep reading so one birthday can turn into many many more!

The Best Things Come In Small Packages

One of Adam's favorite sandwiches (and mine too) is a really really good Reuben, but unfortunately it's pretty hard to find one that is that perfect blend of flavors, and a lot of times places claim to have a great one only to disappoint us. There used to be a Schlotsky's Deli in Fort Wayne, and they had, hands down, the best Reuben we've ever had. Sadly they closed and since we haven't found one that quite lived up to their standards. It's funny to me  that I never thought to try to make them myself, but that's all changed now. I came upon this recipe on For The Love of Cooking and it was like light bulbs turning on, angels singing, a moment of clarity!! If you want something done right, do it yourself! So tonight I am going to try to capture some of that excellence we remember so well and see if I can master the Reuben!! I have to tell you though, I couldn't find any cocktail bread at the store that looked good, so I bought full size deli rye, and will be making "full size" sandwiches instead. But the recipe is exact to make the tiny ones. Is it wrong it's not even noon and I can't wait until supper??

Reuben Sliders

1 TBS mayonnaise
2 TBS ketchup
1-2 tsp sweet pickle relish
Cocktail rye bread
Sauerkraut- drained well
Swiss Cheese

Combine the mayo, ketchup and relish in a small bowl and mix well. Spread a bit of the ketchup mixture on each slice of cocktail rye bread. Layer one slice of bread w/ pastrami and add a bit of sauerkraut and top w/ some cheese. Preheat a skillet over medium heat (I will be using a griddle). Butter both slices of bread, if desired and cook 3-4 minutes until crispy and golden brown on both sides.

*NOTE* Obviously since I'm using larger slices of bread, the quantity of sauce needed will increase due to surface area. I am going to triple the recipe for the sauce to accommodate for this.

Beef Pastrami on FoodistaBeef Pastrami