Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If it looks plain it probably taste that way! PASTA PASTA

Pasta can be that quick fix meal for the family or even when entertaining on short notice. It cook quickly even when making a lot and can be spruced to perfection with just a few shakes of this and that.
Ok you have your basic ingredients pasta, sauce, and meat. All which can be purchased at the store and made in 10 mins of less if you have everything out. I highly recommend making your own sauce though. If you make your own cheese sauce or a red sauce you can jar it and use it over the week in pasta and lasagna. It does take a good bit more effort to make your own sauce but the taste difference is like WHAM BHAM that's good different.

Ok for tonight though lets say you just have store bought sauce, some pre cooked shrimp, and noodles. What can you do to make this more interesting...
Add a veggie.. broccoli, peas, or spinach
Hit it with some heat.. Chili powder sprinkled in
Sprinkle with love.. or in guy language ...sprinkle with cheese when served.
Serve with toast and Salad and you have a nice Italian restaurant style mill.
Once again did we mention you can make all of the above in less than 30 mins??
Mommy's plus pasta = Love

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cracker Barrel eat your heart out..

Eggs cooked in Sourdough toast. I guess this is a new twist on the typical eggs, bacon, and toast. I love french toast and this is a great way to enjoy your eggs and toast together. Don't forget to use sourdogh bread because it makes a world of difference.  I actually made this for dinner because I'm always to tired to make a big breakfast and having it for dinner in a nice shakeup from the meat and veggies we eat normally.  I always ordered this as a kid from Cracker Barrel because I thought it was so neat. Lets see the meal there cost $7 for one person and for $7 I can make enough eggs in toast for 10 people. Cooking at home no matter what you cook comes out healthier and cost efficent. Get inspired here or with cook books and commit to making one meal a day at home. You will see a world of difference in your attitude towards food.

Pork and Mushroom Kabobs...

These Kabobs were excellent grilled and covered with lemon juice. Also paired with buttery white rice with a little touch of lemon juice too. This a healthy and delicious dinner. The taste is light and very summery. This is a great date night meal if you and your man can both get into the kitchen and make those kabobs together. Also a good party meal because it can be easily made in mass. My husband hardly ever takes the time to tell me what his meal taste like but he kept repeating over and over this is soooooooo good. Date night is more fun when you make something special and when is the last time you had kabobed anything? Turn something you make any day into something special just by making it in a different way. I will have to keep this one on file for when I'm doing a healthy cooking week. ;-)

Kid friendly... Cauliflower Mac and cheese...

        If you loved Macaroni as a kid then you still love it as an adult, but maybe we'll dress it up with some veggies. I boiled Macaroni and Cauliflower and then put it in a casserole dish. The most daunting part of this recipe is melting your 8 ounces of Cheddar and 4 ounce of Parmesan just right  to mix evenly with a cup of sour cream. This gets mixed in evenly with the cooked mac and cauliflower. I'm sure you could throw in some more finely chopped veggies if you wanted to get your kid to eat them. The cheese and mac is a great disguise for the veggies.  You also can spruce it up with some Italian parsley but not matter how you dress it you still feel like a kid eating mac and cheese. This meal was very easy to make but once again I couldn't help but dirtying up several dishes. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer dish Delight.. Fried Shrimp and Avacado with Marie Rose Sauce

This dish was a perfect summer delight. Its just the right taste and textures for the summer. Avocado is a hit or miss with my taste buds but paired with the fried shrimp its the perfect mix of rough and spicy with smooth and fruity. I took every bite with a shrimp and a piece of Avocado drowned in Marie Rose Sauce. It was a good surprise for my tongue and a great mix from traditional dinners. This would be prefect to serve at a summer outdoor picnic or party. It could be easily made in mass. The shrimp is covered in flour and lightly seasoned with paprika,salt, and pepper. The avocado is seasoned with lime juice and Marie rose sauce.

Today  I made this for lunch with baby girl napping and I made a mess all over my counters. The meal took less than 20 mins to make if you don't include peeling your shrimp and the cleaning the powder and sauce off my counter only took about 5 mins. I smell pretty summery after squeezing limes and lemons so yay another added bonus. This is a great healthy meal to make on a diet if you don't fry the shrimp. The avocado isn't low in calories but the type of fat it has is very healthy for you.

One of the things that has been great during this project is I've manage to loose some weight eating these great meals! Also my grocery list is twice as long but my weekly bill has gone down $20. Also for once in my refrigerator, the veggie draws actually have veggies and not sodas in them. ;-)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Boo Hoo Im all alone with my Stew...

Tonight we had Beef and Ale stew...
I made a large stew for me and my husband to enjoy tonight and tomorrow. It was almost done simmering for three hours when he got called back into work. I was waiting for a night like this to come along. I'm already making these home cooked meals just for me and my husband but as fall comes my husbands work demands get greater and many nights I will be cooking for one. I will still make the entire batch but left overs never taste as good as fresh.

Ok on with the dinner.. The stew was very good and one of the first I have made in a long time. It seemed bland compared to the flavor varieties the night before however paired with some noodles this recipe is a great winter meal. You can make a big pot and eat it for several nights and I'm sure it would be a great way to get kids to eat veggies. Don't worry about the beer that's in it because all the alcohol cooks away and the beer taste is not left behind. I hate beer smell and taste so I promise its not there in the end.

One of the things I did like about this recipe was I could make the pot while my baby was taking a nap earlier in the afternoon and then I stuck it in the over. This stew stays in the oven for three hours after you take it off the stove top. So when it was dinner time it was nice and warm but I could do other things before dinner that needed to be done.

I took some picks of the ingredients rather than the actual meal since stew doesn't exactly make a pretty picture as a final product. I recommend this stew as a cheap meal for a large family or those who want left overs. This meal would be just the right pick for cooler weather to warm up the house and the heart.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who would of known... Salmon En Croute

This was a very easy prep meal with a beautiful presentation for Salmon. My husband Gabe has the eating capacity of a third grader. He told me when I started this project to just not tell him what was in the recipe and he could eat them. He hasn't complained once so far even with this salmon dish. Of course, loading the salmon with mozzarella did not hurt my chances. The taste was unexpectedly American and did not taste fishy at all. It almost seemed more like a salmon pizza. The taste was complimented well by the basil and tomatoes. The ingredients are not at first glance what you would put together but they all complimented each other in such a firecracker way. 

So what did I learn with this one?
- Great taste doesn't have to be cooked and prepped for hours.
- Everything taste better with cheese.
- If your husband won't eat olive paste on salmon then try a little spicy mustard.

Mama mia thats some good friggin lasagna

You know I doubted the taste of this recipe when I put carrots and celery in the sauce and wondered why I would use sour cream but this lasagna was amazing.There seriously are no other words. I closed my eyes with every bite. I had a friend over while I was making dinner and she also was in love. I think she even tried to go for thirds. One reason I have always chosen frozen lasagna over homemade is price. However this lasagna is going to feed my family twice as opposed to once with the frozen. I probably spent about $15 for all the ingredients and split over two days this meals come out at less than $8 to feed 3-4 people. (Depends on how much you want to pig out!)  I made this last night and had to fight myself to keep me from eating it for breakfast this morning. This is a great dish for the family or a party. I was so proud of this lasagna I wanted to pack it up in to go boxes and send it to other people to try. When is the last time you were so excited about your meal that you wanted to share it? Cooking it was not as scary as making that bird but it did have plenty of slicing and dicing. The sauce took me about an hour to make before I put it on the oven, given I was chatting it up with a friend and slapping her with cooked noodles. ( I thought It would taste good as some seasoning, haha.) Then it took about 20 mins to put together the the lasagna and it cooks for about an hour. So no, this is not a quick meal but I would make it if it even took all day just to enjoy that taste more often.
I fell in love all over again.

Cyndi being slapped with a noodle.  This reenactment almost captures her true reaction.

This bird died in honor...

I have some vegetarian friends so I apologize for the graphic nature of this picture. Between the rest of us meat eaters I have to say this chicken was delicious. This meal was a good size for the entire family and a healthy way to cook chicken and veggies everyone enjoyed. Prior to this meal I had only seen a entire chicken cooked not actually prepared one myself. Lets just say I really didn't need the things left stuffed in the chickens behind cavity however what I put back in was a great way to flavor the chicken. The chicken is stuffed with basil and a pricked lemon. Then the veggies and chicken were roasted together. After I made the chicken I attempted to make the gravy. Now maybe because my idea of a gravy being from Georgia and Jamie Oliver's idea of a gravy being a Brit is completely different the gravy seemed off or maybe I just screwed it up. However it did taste great made of beef stock and red wine but the portion seemed to great for the amount of veggies the recipe called for.

So what did I learn from this recipe?
- Don't be scared of a dead bird it won't cluck back at you
- Its ok to improvise a recipe when you don't have the right thing or a clue how to use the right thing
- Its ok to look lost at the grocery store in search of the right ingredients. I couldn't find whole basil and asked three workers and I stood at least 15 mins in the cheese department actually reading names over prices.
- If you cook anything for over an hour and the house fills up with yummy smells they will come.
- Also maybe this strange memory may go away: Every time I chop onions I think of burger king.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My foodie project ...

The idea of my foodie project is to help me explore the foods of other cooks and countries with in my own home. I have recently become a stay at home mom and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, I think every mother tends to put everyone else before herself. I also am a little more home bound than I would like to be. So this project is a combination of my love for food & cooking but also a way to do something for myself that benefits everyone. (aka Mom doesn't go crazy and everyone gets fed.) I get to explore my own passion while attracting friends for dinner and providing home cooked meals for my family. Meals that can't be eaten on the couch or eaten with out closing your eyes.
Today I made homemade lasagna for the first time and it was so good I had to close my eyes with every bite. I thought to myself I want to never eat food again that I can garble down without even considering the taste. Even the most cheese loaded homemade lasagna has to be better for you enjoyed one bite at a time than a fast food salad stuck down your throat at the speed of light. Today was my first day and I had some of the best food I've had in a long time and I made some great memories. I hope I can share my enthusiasm and passion with other moms struggling to find time for themselves, their family, and especially those having a hard time motivating themselves to choose an amazing home cooked meal over a convenient take out or frozen meal. Up until recently my idea of cooking was cooking a frozen lasagna. I know that some days are so busy and that's why I've determined to make at least one not three homemade meals a day. I guess cereal doesn't count? However I have tons of quick recipes for those challenging days. I hope that every meal makes me feel proud and every dinner seems like a dinner party. I hope to enjoy cooking as a passion and not an obligation. I'm going to try and cook one home cooked meal a day and see what difference it makes in my everyday life. Its similar to that movie Julia and Julia expect hopefully this blog won't have a disappointing ending and my main hope is for everyone to just come back to enjoying cooking.