Friday, February 29, 2008

Sunday's Run Down

(Click above to link to the recipe)

foodblog 003

These cookies have whole-wheat pastry flour, dried fruit, walnuts, carrot puree, and cinnamon. They are full of great energy sustaining ingredients to get a day started off smoothly!


The batter is made, cookies are shaped, and they are individually frozen...ready to bake-off on a busy morning. I think every cook feel comforted by a freezer full of goodies; so my newest addition is quite satisfying.

Tuna Casserole**** and

Maple Squash Puree****

(Click above to link to the recipes)

I think the addition of sauteed mushrooms and broccoli florets to the casserole works really nice with the pasta and cream sauce.

When I served the maple squash I couldn't resist drizzling a little extra maple syrup over it and a sprinkle of chinese five spice or cinnamon.

Supper Group - Appetizer

(Click above to link to the recipe)

Tonight is our first Supper Group gathering; five couples will be meeting once a month with each of us bringing one part of the meal. The host makes the main dish and the others bring the appetizer, salad, side dish, and dessert.

For the kick-off tonight, all groups our gathering at the church for a community meal and mingle.

"Italian" theme

1. Main course - lasagna and wine
2. Appetizer - smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomato phyllo wrapped cigars and smoked mozzarella, kalamata tapenade phyllo wrapped cigars; ( cigars were the first appetizer to go; I think all were intrigued! )
3. Salad - field greens with mandarin oranges and sesame dressing
4. Side Dish - multi-grain bread
5. Dessert - decadent brownies with chocolate sauce

We had a great night! We got to meet several other folks from St. Luke's, had a nice conversation with our group and we look forward to getting to know them more over the next year. We meet again in mid-April!

Friday's Date Night Supper

Meatball and Pepper Hero*****
(from "The Food You Crave" by Ellie Krieger")
One of those irresistible, warm and chewy sandwiches…so big you may need a fork, yet healthy enough you won't need to feel guilty.
Turkey Meatballs with Quick And Spicy Tomato Sauce*****
(click above for meatball and sauce recipe)

Saute peppers and onions; slice and heat a whole grain, crusty loaf of bread in the oven; top with meatballs, peppers, sauce, and shredded cheese!Enjoy!

(Click above to link to the recipe)

The hardest part of this dessert is trying to decide whether to eat one or two...well...I made my decision ;p

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tomato Tortilla Soup****

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin
2 cans diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 lime
tortilla chips
sour cream

Saute onion, garlic, cumin in EVOO. Add tomatoes, broth, oregano - bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Squeeze in lime juice. Puree with hand blender. Stir in sour cream and serve with crushed tortilla chips.
- Ellie Krieger, The Food You Crave

I pulled a couple burritos from the freezer and we had a great meal. I had made a batch of them several weeks ago and the recipes reheating instructions work perfectly. These are a nice alternative to frozen pizza, which is what we would typically be grabbing at the last minute.

The other item I LOVE to have pre-made and waiting for me in the freezer are black bean burgers, previously posted here:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Slow Cooker Chicken Rustica*****

I love this new recipe because it is full of ingedients that you don't typically see in a slow cooker recipe. It is full of artichokes, mushrooms, and tomatoes...I would venture to say a few kalamata olives added as a garnish would be delicious...but then again it is quite good as is! This is another favorite along with Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans Stew, Brunswick Stew, Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham, Red Beans, Sausage and Rice, and Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) artichoke hearts, quartered
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
¼ c. nonfat dry milk
¼ c. flour
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup dry red wine
½ cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Place chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, and mushrooms into the slow cooker. Blend dry milk, flour, and spices; shake over previous slow cooker ingredients. Shake together red wine, chicken stock, and Dijon mustard; pour over the whole mixture. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve over pasta or rice, my choice is brown jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

*In place of dry ingredient mixture you can substitute a chicken gravy dry mix packet.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My cookbooks have moved downstairs and closer to me! I have more cookbooks than I desire to have flooded all over the kitchen; however, today I finally had the brilliant idea to move my frequently used ones down to the kitchen. The others for the time being will remain upstairs in our "excercise room" but they may be headed out the door in the near future. I have a lot of cabinets, and some were barely being it seems I have found the perfect fit!
And to conclude tonights posts :) Andy brought home my VERY FAVORITE candy, only available at Valentine’s, Easter, and Christmas…the seasonal Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it! What a sweet hubby!!!

Whole-Wheat Oat Bread*****

1 ½ cups warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup powdered nonfat dry milk
3 teaspoons dry yeast

1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon old-fashioned rolled oats, for top

Pour 1 cup oats into 1 ½ cups warm water and soak for 5-10 minutes. Place remaining ½ cup oats into a food processor and coarsely grind, set aside.

After the oats have soaked pour mixture into bread machine, along with oil, molasses, salt, and then the coarse ½ cup remaining oats. Place the flours, dry milk, and yeast into the bread machine. Set on dough cycle, press start.

When dough cycle is finished, take dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a loaf. Place in a greased bread pan; cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Brush dough with beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon rolled oats. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, reduce to 350 degrees F and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Adapted for the bread machine, for original method click here:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

(Click above to link to the recipe)
I continually go back to this chili time and time again; it’s become the household favorite. Typically, I vary the recipe by using different spices such as chipotle chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or in the case of tonight chhole masala. It’s also nice to substitute some of the liquid in the recipe with a lager or ale beer on occasion.

(I had trouble photographing this dish)

Romaine Hearts with Greek Dressing****

(Click above to link to the recipe)

A versatile, easy, and super quick salad that goes well with many dishes.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta *****

(Click above to link to the recipe)

This was surprisingly good, it's full of rich tomato, tangy feta cheese, and a touch of vibrant dill. I served this with brown jasmine rice but whole wheat orzo would work nicely too.

Sweet Cherry Rhubarb Crumble*****

this time I varied the fruit by using dark sweet cherries and rhubarb tossed with a little almond extract. Another favorite, previously posted, fruit combination is red raspberry and rhubarb!

I love this Crumble Topping - (link to the recipe)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tricolore Penne with Chicken****

recipe adapted from: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

12 oz whole-wheat penne
2 Tbsp EVOO
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Cook the pasta according to paskage directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Cook the garlic and tomatoes, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring about 5 minutes. Add the mixed salad greens, s&p and cook 1-2 minutes. Add pasta and pasta water; stir to combine. Add the basil as garnish.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers*****

4 red bell peppers
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp coriander
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. provolone cheese, grated (or pepperjack)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice a very thin layer from the base of the peppers, so they sit upright. Slice off top, just below stem, and remove ribs and seeds from top and bottom. Repeat. Chop tops, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, hat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, coriander, and chopped tops; season with s&p. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4-5 mins.Add quinoa, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 c. water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until water has absorbed, 11-13 mins. Remove from heat, stir in parsley, walnuts, and 3/4 c. cheese, season with s&p.

Dividing evenly, stuff peppers with quinoa mixture, place in 2 qt baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and top with remaining 1/4 c cheese; bake until cheese melts, 10-15 mins more.

Original Post:

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Florentine Macaroni and Cheese with Turkey Sausage Meatballs

OMG! I feel so sinful after eating this; it was so, so good. I rank this as one of the greats, its right up there with “My Quick Pastitsio”. The best part is that I have leftovers in the fridge!

This is so good I would definitely serve it for company; along with warm, crusty bread and a glass of sauvignon blanc. For dessert, I thing this would pair perfectly with something rich and chocolaty (decadent brownies, chocolate molton cakes, or a chocolate oreo cheesecake).

1 pound corkscrew whole wheat pasta
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
salt and pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped and finely chopped or 2 tsp dried
1 teaspoon anise or fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Penzey’s breakfast sausage blend, optional
1 egg
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 boxes thawed and drained, 10 ounces, chopped frozen spinach
3 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup 1% milk
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place a large pot of water on to boil for pasta.

While the water is coming to a boil, in a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, salt and pepper, thyme, anise/fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, sausage blend, egg, and bread crumbs. Form 8 large round meatballs, about 3 to 4-inches. Arrange on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast 17 to 18 minutes.

Once water has come to a boil, place a small handful of salt in the water and add the pasta to cook to al dente.

While the meatballs roast and pasta boils, in a medium sauce pot add extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and thicken 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmigiano and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Add spinach to the sauce.

Strain pasta leaving a couple tablespoons water in the pot for a moist sauce; return pasta to the pot. Add the spinach-white sauce to the pasta pot and stir in cubes of cream cheese. Serve pasta with 2 meatballs per person and extra Parmigiano Reggiano on top.

Recipe adapted from here.

Quick Homemade Pizza

Green Olive and Pepper Jack Cheese Pizza*****

Though I still make my whole-wheat pizza dough (in which I like to add ground flax seeds), I have also started purchasing pre-made dough in the refrigerator section at Trader Joe's for $.99 a ball!

1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough
4-5 ounces, jarred marinara sauce
4 ounces, grated pepper jack cheese
¼ cup sliced green olives

Leave dough out at room temperature for 10 minutes, this allows the yeast in the dough to relax and makes it easier to stretch. Once relaxed, place a tablespoon EVOO on top of dough and over your hands and stretch dough onto a pizza stone or sheet pan. Spoon over marinara sauce, sprinkle with cheese and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

We like to top our pizzas with Penzey’s pizza seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, hot sauce, and on occasion warmed marinara or ranch dressing for dipping.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tilapia with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Olives and Capers****

This dish was inspired by the following recipe:,,FOOD_9936_66434,00.html

I chose not to make a sauce with the fish and instead topped it with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and capers. I also strayed from the spinach called for in the above recipe and served it with roasted asparagus…this was quite enjoyable and simple to prepare.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Andy's Valentine Cookies

These were delicious as always! Baked until golden on the edges and still a little soft in the center - irresistible.

See this previous post for the recipe:

Slow Cooker Recipe

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup*****
The barley, cooked over a long period of time, adds a velvety texture as well as a nutty flavor to the soup. This soup is a warm and rich meal in a bowl.

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons EVOO oil
1 onion, chopped
8 oz button mushrooms, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium beef broth
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2/3 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves, garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; season beef with s&p, brown, and add to the slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients in order to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beef is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. Before serving, stir in the parsley.

To Make Ahead
The night before (or a day in advance), brown the beef and store in a container in the fridge. Wash and dice all the vegetables store in a seperate container in ther fridge; be sure to store the browned meat in one container and the vegetables in another container. In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker, then add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Proceed with the cooking insturctions above. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe.
(Click above to link to the recipe)

with roasted asparagus, cranberry-apricot compote, and multi-grain bread

Cranberry-Apricot Compote*****

You can make this in advance up to 5 days.

1 bag (3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
1 cup orange juice
½ tsp ground cinnamon, optional

Stir together cranberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and cranberries begin to pop, about 7 minutes.

Add the orange juice and apricots; simmer until thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.

Soft Multi-Grain Bread*****

1 cup lukewarm water

3 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 tablespoons molasses

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup rye flour

1 1/2 cups bread flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed above. Select dough setting on bread machine and hit start.

Once the cycle is complete, place the dough in a greased loaf pan, cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

(Click above to link to the recipe)

My suggestions:

- Add 1 tsp garlic powder when adding the vegetables to the pan, makes for a rich, flavoral broth in the end.

- Leave out the bacon.

- Instead of making the drop biscuits (though they are good too) I used whole-wheat buttermilk biscuits. I made these a few weekends ago and froze, tonight I just pulled them out of the freezer, brushed with milk, and some dried herbs. I thought they turned out quite well; I included the recipe below.

Ready to freeze or bake:

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits from 'Eating Well'

1/4 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces, 1 tablespoon milk, for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine buttermilk and oil. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or 2 knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Make a well in the center and gradually pour in the buttermilk mixture, stirring with a fork until just combined.

3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and sprinkle with a little flour. Lightly knead the dough 8 times, then pat or roll out to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Gather any scraps of dough and cut more rounds. (Place on a sheet pan and freeze, if desired at this point. Once frozen place waxed paper between each biscuit and seal in a freexer bag. Proceed with step 4 when ready to bake.)

4. Brush the tops with milk. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 16 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving.
Nutrition Information

Per biscuit
Calories: 104
Carbohydrates: 18g
Fat: 3g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1g
Protein: 3g
Cholesterol: 4mg
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Potassium: 35mg
Sodium: 216mg

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fridge Finds

(Click above to link to the recipe)
I was able to pull this meal together from the staples I keep on hand in the freezer and refridgerator. I like to keep phyllo dough, pie crust, and in this case puff pastry in the freezer. In the fridge I always have artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Supper

My 100th post!

(Click above to link to the recipe)

These are great as is, no recommended adjustments to this one! It already uses lean meat, baked fries, and a light cheese sauce. A great choice for game night!

Valentine's Day Dessert

(Click above to link to the recipe)

We made these last night after a homemade pizza dinner with another couple. They were a little messy on presentation, but easy to prepare, quick to bake, and so good. This is my pick for a Valentine's Day dessert.

Meeting Ellie Krieger!!!

Where do I even begin? The first time Ellie Krieger's new food show aired on Food Network "Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger" (currently airing Saturday's at 1pm) was the same spring day in 2006 that we were spending a lazy weekend at Lake Cumberland with The Winebarger's. Cooking healthfully had become my hobby several years prior, but I was ready to learn new techniques and skills that would enhance and compliment what I already new and believed. Needless to say, I fell in love with her. Since then I have made EVERY recipe that she has aired and everyone in her previous book "Small Changes, Big Results".

By the fall of 2006 I had even contacted an advisor at EKU, and was ready to enroll in courses to become a dietician. However, after reassessing my current life demands and what my goals in life really entailed, I decided I could make my dreams come true without taking out student loans and putting Andy and I into debt, which we were blessed to have not accumulated thus far.

One could basically say she has become my nutritionist, culinary teacher, personal trainer, and who I model my own families overall health after – truly my inspiration.

Yesterday, thanks to my thoughtful and super sweet husband who keeps me informed on current events, I met Ellie Krieger!! She was in Raleigh for her book tour! She came out (looked gorgeous) and spoke for about 30 minutes, then opened the floor to questions. During her speech she was recalling her Portobello Panini recipe as an example and couldn’t think of the last ingredient – sun dried tomatoes - who helped her out with the recall…yes, me :o) (I proved I was a true fan, ha ha) I also asked what was her overall preference of milks, skim or 1%? She said either was fine for most uses and whole milk and heavy whipping cream should be used in moderation. Then she personalized and signed both of her books that I brought. (She also said that I have a beautiful smile.)

I highly recommend her new book; she uses full-flavored, natural, nutrient rich ingredients. The food tastes so good, why wouldn’t someone choose to eat smartly and healthfully? “Ellie is a lover and proponent of good, fresh food, simply but deliciously prepared. And she's not about denial--no nonfat foods here, because when you take the fat out of natural foods, in go the chemicals.” I share and believe in this same philosophy myself.

Mardi Gras Recipes

Slow Cooker Creole Red Beans & Rice with Andouille Turkey Sausage

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage, links
3 (15 oz.) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 2/3 cups water
3 tbsp. sweet pepper sauce (or apricot jam)
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot sauce

1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice

Add all ingredients except rice to a crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Prepare rice according to package, I like brown basmati or jasmine. Serve red beans and sausage over rice.

(click on recipe name to link to the recipe)

This is the jambalya recipe I have used for a couple years,
I'm making this again Monday night to contine my Mardi Gras theme.

I converted it to a crockpot recipe:

1. Place all ingredients in order into your slow cooker except the rice and shrimp. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, the last 5 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. (Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.)

3. Prepare rice in a seperate sauce pan, according to package.