Sunday, October 31, 2010
So, I don't know about the rest of you - but the weather where I live has been wonky. We were fortunate to have 70 degree weather well into mid October, and then a week of 50's. Then back to 70!! AAANNDD now we're back to low 50's. So, I'm getting a cold. Yay.
Where am I going with this? Well, on Sunday since I was feeling kind of crappish, my husband decided he would prepare dinner, even with his right arm having limited motion and ability to bear weight from the surgery. (Can't wait till he is healed!!)
He made something simple enough - pasta with meat sauce. He took some of our 93% ground beef and threw it in a skillet to brown. Once it was brown he added some sauce and let that simmer for a bit. Meanwhile, the pasta was boiling away.
Once the pasta was done, the meat sauce went on top (along with some Parmesan cheese for me and crushed red pepper flakes for him) and viola - dinner!
I do appreciate his gesture to make dinner - and my husband actually CAN cook when he wants to. Though, he is definitely the baker in the family - he bakes much better than I can. But he's made some other dinners in the past - generally using recipes off boxes of product we have in the house. And his making pasta on Sunday gave me the chance to rest for an hour.
Of course...I still had to do all the dishes. Wa, wa, waaaaa.
Today's Game Day Snack was a leftover affair for my husband and I. On Saturday night we had used a gift certificate to a pub near our house and ordered a few appetizers - spinach and artichoke dip as well as man n' cheese bites.
We ended up having leftovers of both and brought them home. While we were waiting for our entrees, however, we had talked about using the bread from the table and spooning some of the spinach and artichoke dip onto it and then topping it with a mac n' cheese bite.
It sounded delicious (deliciously fatty!) but we already had the appetizers wrapped up and ready to go so we opted to use that concoction as our Sunday Game Day Snack.
And that is EXACTLY what we did - and guess what? IT WAS GREAT! YUM!
If you'd like to create something similar, you can always pop into Trader Joes and get their frozen spinach and artichoke dip (theirs is my favorite!) and below are two links to mac n cheese bite recipes.
Paula Deen's recipe....Alton Brown's recipe.
Have you concocted any interesting snacks? Share!!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Since I don't work on Friday's, I decided to treat my co-workers to some Halloween cupcakes on Thursday, so I whipped up a few batches of mini cupcakes.
I used white icing and red and yellow food coloring gel to get a deep orange color for the icing. And I got it on the first try - how about that!! (My husband can attest, he watched me).
Then I used some Halloween sprinkles we had (black and purple with white ghosts) to garnish the top. We got these sprinkles at the Christmas Tree Shops last year after Halloween - 50% off!! Good thing sprinkles don't go bad, so I could save them for this year!
I know my co-workers will be excited to see these cupcakes and they are the perfect bite-sized Halloween treat for a pick-me-up at work!
Monday, October 25, 2010
In keeping with the Halloween theme this week, and complying with my husbands request for his favorite meal - my Hamburger Pie - I decided to get a little creative and make little individual "tarts" of hamburger pie with a monster face.
I followed my hamburger pie recipe loosely - I diced some onions and threw them in a saute pan before I added the 93% lean beef to brown. Once that was browned, I added the cream of mushroom soup along with shredded cheddar cheese.
While that was cooking, I unrolled a can of crescent roll dough and cut 8 circles. Four of the circles I left alone, and 4 I cut little monster faces out.
When the mixture was ready, I put a few spoonfuls onto each whole circle, put the monster face circle on top and pinched the sides closed.
I then took green food coloring and brushed it onto the top of the face...lastly adding a few dabs of red food coloring for blood.
I popped them in the oven at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes and poof! Something fun and creative to eat for dinner!!
Happy Halloween week!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
My husband and I have always wanted to play with the candy molds at the arts n crafts stores like Michael's. Every time we go in we see the bags of colored chocolate melts and we swear that one day we will make some.
Well, that day was over the weekend. My husband was out at a baseball show, so I was left alone to do the errands. Since the grocery store is right next to Michael's, I decided to splurge and I purchased a candy mold you can use with pretzels. I got finger bones!!
I decided to purchase white and green candy melts and give it a try. I wanted to make bloody bones and tried to use red food coloring on one of the bones, but it didn't come out the way I wanted just yet. But I had fun trying out my first 9 candy molds.
I did buy a decorator brush so I could make more intricate designs in the future.
This is a fun activity to do, and it hardly takes any time. Melt some chocolate, design your mold and pop it in the fridge for a half hour at the most.
So, Halloween is a week away and I decided to make my husband a fun little snack for football Sunday today.
He was out all morning at a baseball show so he didn't really eat lunch and I knew he would need a bigger snack. I found this adorable recipe on FamilyFun.Go.Com and I just had to make them!
This snack is a perfect family snack and is easy to make. The kids will love them and well, guys will eat anything relating to pizza!
Enjoy these pizza mummies!!
Red or green pepper
Cheese sticks or slices (I used string cheese and pulled pieces to use as the wrappings)
Heat the oven to 350º F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like).
Set olive slices in place for eyes and add bits of red or green pepper for pupils.
Lay strips of cheese across the muffin for the mummy's wrappings.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
In lieu of a Sunday Game Day Snack, today I am bringing you a Sunday Game Day Meal - something we do in our house sometimes.
We do have an HD TV in the area where our kitchen table is, so if there is still football on during dinner time, we can watch while eating. (Granted, there is no football on at our house this Sunday, as our LOVELY cable provider, Cablevision, decided to pull Fox off their air while they are renegotiating a deal with News Corp. My husband retreated to a bar to see the Giants game).
Anyway, back to the meal - MEXICAN NIGHT! Sometimes I prepare taco's...sometimes fajitas, quesadillas or fajita-dillas. Depends on my mood, but the ingredients are basically all the same.
I chop up some peppers and onions and throw them in a saute pan. Then I take some diced raw chicken and throw that in after a minutes, and let it cook up.
While it is cooking, I mix some taco seasoning in with water and pour it over the chicken and vegetables. I let all of that simmer over a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through.
If I am making quesadillas, I toast flour tortillas on a griddle for a few seconds on each side. Then I put all the filling onto half the tortilla, sprinkle some shredded cheddar over it, fold it in half and cut it into thirds.
If it is a fajita or taco night, I put the filling into a bowl, then have some shredded cheddar in another bowl, shredded lettuce in another, and then salsa and sour cream out - then we build our own tacos or fajitas.
We often make some sort of rice to accompany this meal. Sometimes I even use rice in my tacos too!
We love Mexican night - it could get messy but it's very enjoyable. What's your favorite meal to eat while watching football?
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The other night my husband and I created a new dish with a recipe we love and I have already talked about - my sweet and sour meatballs.
We decided to make a new kind of meatball sub - with a tropical flair. I made the meatballs as I normally do, and on the side, I sauteed up some peppers, onions and pineapple chunks.
Using a baguette, I gently toasted it and then first put the peppers, onions and pineapple in the bread - followed by the meatballs and then some extra sauce.
We were blown away at how tasty this was... and we are ready for more!
Don't you love when you try something different with something you make all the time and find out it is incredibly delicious?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Let's get one thing straight... I HATE (hated?) sweet potatoes. Never would touch them, don't like the taste of them plain.
But give them to me in the way the recipe describes and I'll eat my weight in them. The balsamic and brown sugar glaze is so delicious!
I got this recipe from my mom's best friend who is like my other family. We were over her house for Rosh Hashanah and she made this as one of the sides. As I sat at the table, shoveling piece after piece into my mouth, my husband and parents stared at me like I had 4 heads.
"I thought you didn't like sweet potatoes..." my husband commented and my mom quickly nodded in agreement. I shrugged - this recipe was super tasty.
I made them on Sunday night because we were going over to our neighbor's house for dinner - the entire bowl was demolished between the 4 of us. Success! (Thanks for the recipe Iris!)
It's pretty easy to make these - takes a little over an hour but most of that is baking time for the potatoes.
6 medium sized sweet potatoes - peeled and cut lengthwise into wedges
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Divide the potato wedges between 2 jelly roll pans.
In saucepan, heat sugar, vinegar, butter and salt with 1/4 cup water to a boil over high heat.
Divide mixture between 2 pans, toss with potatoes to coat.
Make sure the potatoes are spread evenly on the pans.
Roast potatoes 45 minutes until tender and the glaze is thick.
AND EAT!!! YUM!!!
The only thing I had a problem with was cutting the raw sweet potatoes. Anyone have a good way to cut these suckers? They are pretty tough.
Otherwise, these will be a staple in my house from now on!!
Today's game day snack is..... Spicy Pepperoni Cheese Fries!!!
My husband and I just made these and inhaled them in like, a matter of minutes. They were SO GOOD! We kind of want some more... but we're having an early dinner with friends so we should be good...
Anyway, here are the ingredients:
Frozen French Fries
Diced Pepperoni (or Italian Salami)
Spicy Queso Cheese (like the Tostito's kind) - we had a "medium" spice
First we cooked the french fries till they started getting warm (10 min).
Then we topped them with the cheese, pepperoni and scallions.
Back into the oven (375 F) for 5-10 minutes until desired warmth and crispness.
These are super easy to make!
(This is going to be a new staple at our house for when we have people over to watch the games or parties, perhaps!)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I decided to try making a tasty sauce for wings on my own. I'm not the biggest "wings" person, but I enjoy them occasionally. But not spicy or hot ones - I can't eat that kind of food at all (though my husband lives for it). I like sweet and savory wing sauces.
I found this recipe for "Candied Garlic Chicken Wings" and it looked interested but the comments said it was a little too sweet. So I modified it just slightly. Here is the recipe I used:
* 1 1/4 cups honey
* 6 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
* a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 pounds chicken wings
1. Heat honey, soy sauce, cider, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic in a saucepan until boiling.
2. Place the wings in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and pour the honey mixture over the chicken. Cover with foil. Marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
3. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 1 hour; turn the wings after 1/2 hour. Remove the foil cover, and bake for 15 minutes. Take the wings out of the sauce, and bake on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken wings, and cook for another 10 minutes.
I misread the recipe at first and made the mistake of trying to bake these after work - so we ate kinda late that night. Oops. We were starving. They came out well but they didn't have an overwhelming flavor. Yeah, they were sweet, but not sickeningly so, just didn't have a POW flavor that came at you to stand out.
Would I try wings again? Sure. Though I'll probably make a spicy batch for my husband and experiment with something else for myself.
This recipe is also good for Football Sundays - just have plenty of napkins on hand!!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
So... we had some ordinary ingredients in the house and I wanted to do something with them that was more than ordinary. We had some frozen ravioli and had purchased a package of sausage from Trader Joe's. We're not really sausage people but we like the chicken sausage from Trader Joe's.
My husband will eat almost any flavor - sweet or savory. Last time we got a spinach and cheese chicken sausage. It was OK...but I am more a sweet sausage person. I like the kind with apple in or something. This time we tried chicken sausage with mango in it and it was delicious!! Sausagey with a hint of sweetness in the end. Yum!
Anyway, I wanted to combine these two products. So I boiled up the ravioli and baked the sausage in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes.
When they were ready, I combined the two. My husband only wanted a red sauce, so he used some jarred Marinara that we had in the house and added some crushed red pepper flakes and parsley flakes.
I tend to shy away from red sauces a lot because they sometimes hurt my stomach - so I made a simple white sauce (recipe below) and grated some fresh Parmesan on top. I also added some parsley flakes.
The result (on both ends) was delicious! It was a simple meal that I was able to put together after work in about 20-25 minutes, but I dressed it up a bit so it didn't seem so ordinary.
Hooray for quick, easy and delicious meals!!
Have you created something quick and easy from random products in your kitchen?
Here is the white sauce recipe that I used for my pasta:
3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white wine (skip this and use 1 full cup of milk if you don't want wine)
1 tsp granulated onion powder
1/2 tsp granulated garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 TBSP Parmesan cheese - the bottle kind, not fresh
1/2 TBSP Italian seasoning
mix all ingredients in order of list in a saucepan over medium heat. more milk can be added if you want a thinner sauce.
So... a few weeks ago I actually "hosted" the Yom Kippur pre-fast dinner. I use the term loosely...it was only my husband and my parents. But I had to start small - it was the first time I was making multiple courses for a dinner.
I'm not the greatest multi-tasker, as I have discussed in a past blog. I tend to burn something when I am trying to work on something else. So this was a challenge.
I did well at first...I was off on the Thursday before so I spent 6 hours that day cooking and preparing as much as possible. On that Friday, I left work at 2 and spent about 2 more hours cooking and preparing.
I had a few boo boos - I made my matzo ball soup a little too watery and cooked the balls a little too long, but they weren't burned and they were edible. Then when I was reheating my potato crusted eggplant while we were eating our soup, I left it in a little too long and it was just a little crispier than it should have been - again not burned.
Overall, my parents and husband seemed to really enjoy everything I put out for them. So, I consider the night a success.
I can't imagine though, how people host more than 4!! My husband and I always share holidays and we go to his family for Thanksgiving one year and my "family" the next. (The term family is in quotes because my family is all in Florida - we eating with out surrogate family here on Long Island - a family I grew up with so they are like my second mom and dad and sisters that I don't have). When we are with my family, it's still pretty small - usually between 10-12 people. That's still sizable though! And one of the daughters always hosts the Yom Kippur break fast with something like 25 people in her house. Granted, she caters some of that, but she still bakes/cooks at least half of the entrees and desserts.
And my husband's family Thanksgiving is NUTS. There's something around 20-25 people there as well. I can't imagine trying to prepare, cook and host that many people in my house.
Maybe one day I'll get there. But I am content to stay small at the moment - starting slowly.
Do you ever host holidays?
Monday, October 4, 2010
So... my husband and I have a new obsession. It's called Moo La La and there is only ONE of these locations in the whole country right now - and it happens to exist 10 minutes from us on Long Island, NY.
Moo La La is Long Island's first self-serve frozen yogurt bar. AND IT IS SO FRICKIN GOOD.
I've already mentioned several times that my husband likes frozen treats immensely. I can deal with ice cream from time to time but I actually hate frozen yogurt. A few months ago I was meeting up with a childhood friend and she wanted to go to TCBY. I hate TCBY. But I went and forced some down :-) So when my mom gave us a coupon for this place to try, I was like, eh. But my husband was dying to try it so we went.
Well... let me just say, I am craving this as we speak, and we just ate it the previous two nights. The frozen yogurt does not taste like frozen yogurt - more like soft serve ice cream. They have 12 different flavors and they change a few daily. AND there is a huge bar full of toppings - everything from fruit to candy to mochi to syrups. The yogurt itself is also fat free!
It's pay by the ounce but it wasn't too bank breaking. For 9 ounces it's about $4 and change. I find this to be a better deal because you get your yogurt and toppings.. instead of paying $3.65 for a cup at Baskin Robbins with no toppings and that is smaller.
We were given a punch card as well - after 9 purchases you get 6 ounces free. Woo hoo!
I know there are a few self-serve frozen yogurt bars in NYC, and I am sure some in other big cities around the country, but this is a new trend emerging. And Moo La La is delicious.
The dangerous thing is that it is located 3 minutes away from where I work. Hmmm....
Tell me about your favorite food obsession of the moment!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
A few Saturdays ago, my husband and I were stuck in the house while the fence company was here installing our brand new fence. (bye bye ugly chain link fence, helllooooo new white PVC!)
I decided to try and bake something since I was kind of bored and a few nights earlier I was at a work function for my new job and the guys were joking that the new girl needed to buy lunch for everyone. Well, forget that, but I could bring in baked goods or something.
I was flipping through some cookbooks that friends had given me for my birthday and came across these cookie cake things. I had all of the ingredients in the house, so I decided to give it a go.
I made one error - you were supposed to bake them in cupcake pans (which I did) but I ALWAYS end up filling the baking cups too much. So my little cookies were a bit thick. My husband, when tasting the finished product, said it was good but a little dense. Yeah, well, they were super thick. Haha. At least they were edible!!
Anyway, the recipe below calls for apricot jam but honestly, this recipe is super adaptable to whatever kind of preserves/jam/jelly you like with chocolate. I could see strawberry tasting fabulous!!
They were easy enough but I am not sure if I personally will make them again - didn't turn out to be my favorite treat I've made. But they got good feedback from my husband and the guys at work. They had to be good - they inhaled them rather quickly...
Here is the recipe:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons apricot-orange marmalade or apricot jam
4 1/2 ounces of semisweet chocolate pieces
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease muffins tins, preferably non stick. (Or cheat and use baking cups like me!)
2. Stand a mixing bowl in hot water for a few minutes to heat through - but keep the inside of the bowl dry.
3. Put the sugar and eggs in the bowl and mix with a hand mixer until light a frothy, when the beaters leave a ribbon trail when lifted.
4. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir in gently using a large metal spoon.
5. Divide the mixture in the muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes until just firm and pale golden around the edges.
6. Cool on cooling rack.
7. Spoon a little jam on the center of each cookie. (Try to keep fruit chunks out of it).
8. Put chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Heat - stirring frequently - until melted and smooth. If you need more smoothness, toss in a sliver of shortening.
9. Spoon chocolate on top of each cookie and spread gently to the edges. Leave to set for at least 1 hour.
Game Day Snacks are back!! Sorry for it being late in the day - we had some visitors to the house earlier.
Anyway, today I threw something pretty quick and easy together. I made Kellogg's Corn Flakes Cheese Wafers. I saw the recipe on Food Network - Melissa D'Arabian did a commercial about them. Then I found the recipe listed below on the Kellogg's website.
These are bite sized appetizers that can be munched on while watching the game. While they take about 3 hours to make... 2 of that is sitting in the fridge. It takes about 10 minutes to prep the dough, 2 hours to refrigerate and 10 minutes to bake them.
While tasty alone.. they are a bit dry and need SOMETHING. It's a corn/cheesy bite, so anything could work - a spicy cheese sauce...a fruit spread.. salsa.
Give it a shot! Recipe below!!
* 2 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes® cereal
* 1 cup (4 oz.) finely shredded cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter*, softened and cut into small pieces
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt*
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 2/3 cup Kellogg's Corn Flakes® cereal
*Note: If desired, instead of using unsalted butter, use lightly salted butter and decrease the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
1. In food processor bowl process 2 cups KELLOGG'S CORN FLAKES cereal and cheese until crumbly. Add butter. Process until combined. Add flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Process until dough forms.
2. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 to 6 strokes. Shape into long rolls with 1-inch diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
3. Remove plastic wrap. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle crushed cereal on tops. Bake at 400°F about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Transfer to wire rack. Cool completely.