Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

Vegetable Chili

In Comfort Food, Entrees, Leftovers on February 24, 2011 at 1:25 am

As you all already know, I LOVE chili and I really LOVE when there are a lot of leftovers. I normally make my chili with some kind of meat, but this was just too good a recipe to pass up. My friend, Steph sent me this recipe and I just had to give it a try. Check out the ingredients I used:

Ingredients

I started by adding all the canned ingredients (jalapeno peppers, garbanzo beans and the whole tomatoes) to the crockpot. Then, I added the garlic, cumin, salt, oregano and chili pepper.

Canned Good and Spices

Next, I set to work chopping up the red pepper.

Red Pepper

Once the red pepper was chopped and added to the crockpot I added the thinly sliced zucchini.

Add the Zucchini

The last item to go in was the chopped onion.

Onions In

I cooked the chili on low for 7 hours, and then topped with cheese before serving.

Ready to Serve

This was delicious, and despite the fact that I was concerned that it wouldn’t be spicy enough since there was no hot sauce in the recipe. This was an amazing treat! I was really glad to have changed up my traditional chili recipe. This was a definite…

Bon Appetit!

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Pomegranate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

In cookies, Dessert on February 22, 2011 at 1:24 am

Today was a GREAT cookies day! And I was able to uphold two of my New Year’s resolutions! The first was making a semi-healthy treat, of course I say that based on the fact that there was pomegranate in the cookies. I also took this recipe from a blog, Sargent Choice. The recipe was originally for Chocolate Cherry Cookies, but since I like pomegranate better, I thought I would substitute.  This was a quick and easy recipe with a delicious result that I will definitely be trying again, perhaps with different dried fruits. Let’s take a look at the ingredients:

Ingredients

First, I placed the dried pomegranate in a pot on the stove, then I added HOT water from the tap, until they were covered. I let them soak while I made the rest of the dough. I started with the dry ingredients, combining the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and blending them with a whisk.

Dry Ingredients

Once all the dry ingredients were combined, I melted the butter in the microwave and stirred it in, as well as the egg and vanilla extract using a hand mixer. After all the ingredients had been thoroughly blended together, I folded in the chocolate chips.

Dough

Then I folded in the dried pomegranate, once I had drained the water.

Pomegranate

Then I used a tablespoon to drop the dough on a cookie sheet.

Ready for the Oven

Once the oven was finished preheating to 350°F, I put the cookies into bake for 10 minutes. The cookies turned out soft and in my book slightly ‘healthy’ well as healthy as a cookie can be.

Cookies

I will definitely be making these quick and easy cookies again, and probably change it up with some different dried fruits. Hope you enjoy them as much as I am!

Bon Appetit!

Chicken, Pasta and Vegetable Stew

In Entrees, Leftovers on February 17, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Nothing says winter afternoon quite like something cooking in my slow-cooker. I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken and Pasta Soup on About.com, and based my stew off of it. Keep in mind I’m calling it a stew, because it is a very chunky soup. This is going to make for some very nice, hearty leftovers. Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 3  cans (14.5 ounce) of chicken broth
  • 1 pound diced cooked chicken
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with jalapenos with juice
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup (dry) small shells pasta
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

    Ingredients

I started by pouring the chicken broth, the can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos, basil, parsley and garlic powder into my slow cooker. I then chopped up the onion and added that to the slow cooker. Then I set to work cubing the chicken into bite-size pieces, that I then cooked on the stove before adding them to the slow cooker.

Chicken

Once all the ingredients were in the slow cooker I set it on low and let it cook for 5 hours, stirring about every two hours.

Cook on Low

When all the ingredients had been cooking for about 5 hours, I cooked the pasta and frozen vegetables on the as directed on their packaging and then added them to the slow cooker for an additional hour.

Pasta and Vegetables

Once everything had been cooking in the slow cooker for an hour, I served it in a soup bowl and topped it with a little cheese.

Ready to Serve

This turned out to be an easy and delicious, hearty stew, that will be leaving me with a few days of leftovers. This is definitely something I would love to come back to and play with adding some different spices to in the future. It’s basic enough that it is an easy go to, and will be even better with some soft warm bread tomorrow night, if I remember to pick some up. This recipe is a definate must, and an even bigger…

Bon Appetit!

Valentine’s Day Bark

In Dessert on February 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like a chocolate treat. With the stores full of everything from chocolate roses to heart shaped boxes of chocolate candies, I thought I would take a cue from them and make a chocolate Valentine’s Day treat for my co-workers. Since I had enjoyed working with chocolate so much when I made the Black and White Cookies last week, I looked for a recipe that would allow me a bit of a challenge versus just a traditional chocolate chip cookie (though there is nothing wrong with a chocolate chip cookies). I stumbled upon this recipe for Valentine’s Day Bark while surfing the Internet looking for Valentine’s Day recipes. I naturally altered it a little bit by using:

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces of red heart-shaped cinnamon candies

First, I preheated the oven to 200°F. While the oven warmed up I spread a sheet of wax paper over the bottom of a cookie sheet. I then poured the chocolate chips evenly over the cookie sheet.

24 Ounces of Chocolate Chips

Once the oven was done preheating I placed the chocolate chips in to melt for about 10 minutes, I checked them every few minutes to see how quickly they were melting.

Melted Chocolate

I sprinkled the red heart-shaped cinnamon candies evenly over the melted chocolate while it was still warm, then put it in the refrigerator to cool and harden.

Ready for the Refrigerator

Once the chocolate had cooled and hardened I broke it into pieces and placed it in tupperware to bring into work. I left it in the refrigerator, since my apartment gets warm and I didn’t want the chocolate to melt. Hope you enjoy this Valentine’s Day treat as much as I do and that everyone has a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Bark

Bon Appetit!

Black and White Cookies

In Dessert on February 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

Delicious, classic cookie with a holiday twist! I received this recipe as part of an email recipe exchange that one of my friends got me involved in. Of course black and white isn’t very Valentine’s Day-esk so I made them into black and red cookies, all I had to do was add a little food coloring. This simple recipe was easy to follow, but working with the chocolate took a fair amount of time so these are not the quickest cookies to make. They are however totally worth the time commitment. Let’s look at the ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (light) cream
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (18 ounces) package sugar cookie dough

Ingredients

I decided to make the dough from a package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix, but I’m sure frozen dough would work just as well. I started by following the directions on the sugar cookie package to make the sugar cookie dough. Butter, an egg and the mix combined in a large mixing bowl.

Sugar Cookie Mix

Once the dough was completely mixed I added a lot of red food coloring, until it was completely red. Next, I poured the cream into a small pot on the stove and slowly heated it until it was warm (about 3 minutes on medium).

Warm Cream

Once the cream was warm I added the chocolate and mixed until it was completely melted.

Melting Chocolate

I then poured the chocolate into a small bowl and placed it in the refrigerator until it was cool enough to work with (about 2 hours).

Chocolate

Waiting for the chocolate to cool was the most time consuming aspect of making these cookies. But once the chocolate cooled it was smooth sailing. I started working with it by using a teaspoon to make small balls of it that would later be placed in the center of the cookies. There was enough chocolate to make close to 30 cookies.

Chocolate for the Cookies

I then separated the cookie dough into tablespoon size balls, which also yielded close to 30 servings.

Red Cookie Dough

Once everything was prepped, I poured the sugar into an empty pie pan, and set to work on the cookies. First, I pressed the chocolate into the center of the red cookie dough and smoothed the edges, then I rolled the cookies in the sugar and placed them on a cookie sheet to bake.

Cookie

The dough was then baked at 350°F for 10 minutes.

Right out of the Oven

The result was a delicious Valentine’s Day treat that I am hoping my co-workers enjoy. This was a fun twist on the classic black and white cookie that I may turn to for another holiday. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!

Bon Appetit!

Happy Valentine's Day

Olive Oil and Lemon Marinade

In Entrees on February 9, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Most of the marinades I use are the result of me throwing ingredients in a pan and seeing what happens, this was no different. I decided I wanted to make some chicken for dinner on my spiffy George Foreman grill, and that I wanted to use olive oil in the marinade instead of a thick sauce. This thought process lead me to my spice rack, which lead me to this ingredient list:

Ingredients

Once I had trimmed the chicken breasts, I added the olive oil and lemon juice. Once the chicken was coated I distributed the oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper evenly over the chicken.

Marinade

I got started later in the afternoon with this process so I only left the chicken in the marinade for 4 hours, I would have preferred 6 hours. After 2 hours I turned the chicken to make sure it was marinating evenly.

Ready to Grill

Once, the chicken was done marinating, which in this case was when I was hungry for dinner I placed it on my George Foreman grill and it grilled evenly for about 4 minutes. The result was a real…

Bon Appetit!

Grilled Chicken

Lemon Bars

In Dessert on February 6, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Nothing quite like a fresh, light, summery dessert in the middle of winter. This one was definitely a delightful birthday treat for one of my co-workers. This recipe proves that birthdays are not just about cake and cupcakes! As I mentioned in my resolutions post, I’ve decided to try some recipes from different cooking blogs. I got this one from Recipes for Marilyfe As We Know It, which I will definitely be coming back to for more  tasty treat recipes. I followed this recipe for Lemon Bars to the letter. Let’s start with the ingredients:

Ingredients

I started by melting the butter in the microwave and then combining it with the sifted flour and the confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl to make the crust.

Lemon Bar Crust

Once all the ingredients for the crust were combined I pressed the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan, and baked at 350°F for 15 minutes. While the crust was baking I mixed together the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl, and added the eggs one at a time while mixing the ingredients together.

Lemon Filling

I then added the lemon juice, lemon peel and salt. When the crust was done baking I poured the entire mixture over the steaming crust.

Ready for the Oven

This was then baked for 30 minutes at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Out of the Oven

I prefer my lemon bars cold, so once this treat came out of the oven I covered it and put it in the freezer overnight. In the morning I transported them to work, and put them in the freezer there. When we broke them out to celebrate my co-worker’s birthday that afternoon there were some issues getting a knife through them, but we were very determined. This dessert was a big hit with my office and I would definitely make it again. I loved that I had all the ingredients except the lemon already and that it was quick and easy enough to make after I got home from a long day at work. This recipe is a definite must. Give it a try, and as always…

Bon Appetit!

Cowboy Stew

In Comfort Food, Entrees, Leftovers on January 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

There is only one word to describe today’s cooking experience…FIASCO! I should preface that with the fact that the food turned out AMAZINGLY, but the process of getting it moving was a FIASCO! Today was a very cold winter day in Beantown. Naturally my first thought was…comfort food. Originally I thought the way to go was  vegetarian chili, then I checked me email, and found a bunch of slow cooker recipes that my friend Steph had sent me. I saw this recipe, and I had to run to the store and pick up a few items :-). After I got back from the store I started getting everything together and when I tried to get the slow cooker down from a top shelf in my kitchen (you should probably know that I’m 5’2″ on a good day, it helps with the mental picture) it slipped and came crashing down on my head. Then it hit the floor, HARD, and the ceramic  part of it smashed into a lot of pieces all over my kitchen floor. My head is fine, though I do have a nice egg on it, and I had to borrow a slow cooker from a neighbor who came over to investigate the crash. Apparently it was that loud a crash.  But let’s get back to the recipe, which I am happy to report will last me the better part of a week in leftovers. Let’s take a look at what I picked up at the grocery store:

Ingredients

I started by browning the ground beef on the stove. While the beef browned I poured all the canned goods into the slow cooker (the one I borrowed, this is all after mine broke everywhere).

Canned Goods in The Slow Cooker

Once the beef had browned I drained the excess fat and added it to the slow cooker. Once everything else was combined I added a cup of water and the garlic cloves that I had minced.

Add the Beef

The stew then cooked on low for 9 hours. The recipe calls for 8-10 on low, and if you are in a hurry it can be 4-5 on high. My friend did note that the stew tastes better the longer it cooks, and since it was a cold, snowy day, I had the time to cook it for 9 hours. The result was FANTASTIC!

FANTASTIC! Cowboy Stew!

I will be more than happy to try this recipe again, though there are, as always, a few things I want to tweak about it.  I would love to try this with turkey instead of beef. I’d also like to turn up the heat, and add some diced jalapenos. I like my food spicy. I will also slice the potatoes at least in half next time, they were a little too big, and I think they would be better bite size.  Overall, it was FANTASTIC! A definite must for a cold day, especially when with a busy week ahead is set to follow. Stay tuned for more winter recipes, and probably a few good desserts too.  In the meantime…

Bon Appetit!

Monkey Bread

In Bread, Breakfast, Brunch on January 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm

In the spirit of maintaining my resolution to eat healthier this year, I turned to Hungry Girl for this low-calorie version of an old favorite.  My sister bought me 2 of the Hungry Girl cookbooks for Christmas this year, and I couldn’t resist checking out her website to see what healthier recipes she had for some of my favorite classic meals.  I was rewarded for my efforts when I found this recipe for Monkey Bread.  For those of you wondering what exactly Monkey Bread is, it’s also referred to as sticky bread.  It is typically made of dough that is baked in a cake pan at high heat after first being  coated in melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and sometimes chopped pecans.  It is traditionally served hot.

Hungry Girl‘s recipe for Monkey Bread calls for:

First, I combined 1 tbsp. Splenda and 1 tsp. cinnamon is a medium bowl.

Cinnamon and Splenda

Then, I places a small pot on the stove and placed the butter, syrup, brown sugar, 2 tbsp. of Splenda, and 1 tsp. cinnamon in it. I did not immediately heat it.

Ready to Heat

With the majority of the ingredients set aside for use later, I rolled out the dough on a clean, flat surface. Once I had sprinkled it with the baking soda I cut the sheet of dough widthwise into 6 strips of equal size. I then cut each strip into 4 squares.

Dough

I then rolled each square into a ball, and rolled 12 at a time in the Splenda and cinnamon mixture that I had set aside in the medium bowl. I then placed 4 dough balls each in each each cup of a muffin tin. Once this was done I heated the mixture on the stove. I constantly stirred the mixture until the butter was melted and the mixture was well blended into a gooey mixture.

Googey Mixture

Before sticking the muffin pan into the oven to bake I spooned the mixture evenly over the dough balls that were in the muffin tin. I then baked the Monkey Bread at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until the dough is puffy and firm.

YUM!

This was a HUGE success, and so easy to make. I will definitely be making this low-calorie treat again in the near future!

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Any cooking resolutions?

Bon Appetit!

Slow Cooker American Chop Suey

In Comfort Food, Entrees, Leftovers on January 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I stumbled upon this recipe for Slow Cooker American Chop Suey, while browsing the web for something to make in my slow cooker on a snowy, winter day.  Chili is always a GREAT go to, but I wanted something a little different. I also wanted to use ground turkey instead of ground beef, as a way to keep with my healthier eating resolution. So here are the ingredients I used:

I started by dicing the green pepper and onion into small pieces. I then cooked the ground turkey with the diced onion and diced green pepper in a large skillet.

Turkey, Green Pepper, and Onion in the Skillet

Once the meat was thoroughly cooked, I transferred the mixture into my slow cooker, and added the garlic powder, paprika, cheese, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes. Then it was cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours.

American Chop Suey

About 10 minutes before I was done cooking I added the cooked macaroni. This made a delicious and easy meal that will keep me very happily eating leftovers for a few days. You all know how much I love meals that leave me with leftovers. This will certainly be a wonderful slow cooker treat to try again, possibly with more spices to turn up the heat!

What do you like to make in your slow cooker? Any tips or recipes I should try?

See you all next time and in the meantime…

Bon Appetit!