Saturday, January 31, 2009

Overnight Stay @ Kate's and Sloppy Joe's with Oven "Fries"

I arrived at Kate's house last night just in time for a pizza and steamed vegetable supper with her and the two 2 yr-old birthday boys (her twin boys).  Today, Kate and I split a Portobello Spinach Wrap and a cup of Southwestern Chicken Chili at Jason's Deli before seeing Revolutionary Road!  I had a great mini-trip with the Danko crew!  Thanks for having me!

Kate had some great snack items she'd made: Cherry-Chili Mini Cornbread Muffins (recipe to come), Crispy Cinnamon Garbanzo Beans (these would be great on salads and spiced different ways) and Glazed Lime Cupcakes (the best cupcake I've had in YEARS, I want to try this batter with maraschino cherries)! foodblog 018

After all the fun I'd had, I was excited to come home to see all my boys.  Last night was Andy's first night with the house to himself since we've been married!!  He goes on conference trips a couple times a year, but I'm always back home by evening.  He had a fun night all too himself, and he'll be getting another two nights in April when I fly to Ohio for my little brothers wedding. Andy said the dogs were wondering around the house lost without me in the evening and it was nice having a night without one another. It made me appreciate Andy and miss him that much more!  I was lucky to come home tonight to a sweet hubby and a clean house (laundry done, sheets changes, and our potato fries already cut and ready to bake).

...on to dinner...

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe's is one of our all time favorite Ellie Krieger recipes, along with her three bean and beef chili!  I served our "joe" mixture on top of an Arnold 100 calorie Sandwich Thin.

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Serves 8

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Oven "Fries"

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  • 3 large baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes. Remove the fries with a spatula and season with salt.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sage Rubbed Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw

This week’s Craving Ellie selection was chosen by  Jen B's Cooking Carveout Breach of the Recipeace.  I thought this was a great seasonal choice, and my CSA even had green cabbage as one of our choices this week - score!  We had boneless pork chops in the freezer and I always have granny smith apples at home.  I was pretty much set for this dish! 

Besides using boneless pork chops, I added crushed red pepper flakes to the slaw as it was wilting down.  I was pleasantly surprised by this dish, the pork and apples were my favorite parts - I honestly would have been happy with pork and sauteed apples and cinnamon.  We served this with Biltmore Estates Chardonnay which didn't hurt either!

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  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (3/4-inch) pork loin chops (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cut in 1/2, cored
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Combine the 3 teaspoons of the fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Rub this mixture all over the pork chops and let the chops sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice the onion, apple and cabbage and julienne the carrots (very thin sticks). foodblog 009

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and brown on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove. foodblog 006

Carefully wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining teaspoon oil over moderate heat and add the onion, apples and remaining teaspoon fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is soft and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, carrots, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until the cabbage and carrots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. foodblog 008 Add the broth and return the pork chops to the pan burying them in the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook just until the pork chops are just slightly blush in the center, 5 to 7 minutes longer.

To serve, arrange the warm slaw on individual plates and top with a pork chop and pan juices.

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Love to Singa

A friend of mine posted this on facebook a few days ago and I loved it!  Enjoy!

Click here

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Ham and Spiced Pumpkin Bread

This has a wonderful sage brown butter sauce that leaves your mouth wanting more!

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1 head cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound penne pasta
1/3 pound sliced boiled ham, cut into ribbons

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1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and toss; season with salt and pepper. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. foodblog 008
2. Meanwhile, in a small, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the butter is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the sage and remove from the heat. foodblog 005
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain and return the pasta to the pot. Stir in the ham, cauliflower and reserved pasta cooking water. Stir in the sage butter and season with salt and pepper.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray Magazine

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Dried Plums

I think Tina is the best healthy baker, I always love weekends when she has time to think up and prepare some new goody! This is Tina's recipe for Squash Dried Plum Bread. What's amazing about this loaf is it doesn't call for any oil. I was interested to see how this turned out and found it to be exactly what I was hoping it would be.

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Makes 1 loaf

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 8 ounces (1/2 can) pumpkin puree
  • 25 dried plums, halved - optional

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease loaf pan.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl; add in liquids and blend well.foodblog 006

3. Once mixed, pour batter into loaf pan.

4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until top is firm and a toothpick comes out clean.

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Light Italian Wedding Soup and Scrumptious Butternut Risotto Cakes

Mmmmm, yummy!  Both dishes tonight were wonderful!  The risotto mixture from last night was perfect for tonight's risotto cakes.  I can't wait for leftovers of each tomorrow!

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  • 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey (93 percent lean)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 heads escarole (2 pounds total), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Using 1 tablespoon for each, roll mixture into balls.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a simmer.foodblog 009 Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add as much escarole to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Thin soup with water if desired; season with salt and pepper. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.
Recipe from Everyday Food

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Risotto Cakes: (above - cheesy gooey center)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
  • 2 cups leftover risotto, chilled
  • 8 small cubes fontina cheese (about 11/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup panko or traditional bread crumbs

Stir the chives into the chilled risotto. Form into 8 patties, using about 1/4 cup risotto for each. Press a hole in the center of each patty and stuff with a cube of fontina; pat risotto around each hole to cover.

Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Lightly dredge each risotto cake in the crumbs, turning to coat evenly. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spritz with olive oil cooking spray and cook risotto cakes 3-4 minutes per side.

Recipe method from Food Network

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Italian Wedding Soup and Butternut Squash Risotto Cakes

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Ham

Thursday:  CeiMB - Sage-rubbed Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw

Friday: Overnight Trip to Kate's in Fayetteville, NC

Saturday: Sloppy Joe's and frozen vegetables

Super Bowl Sunday: Spicy Skinless Chicken Wings, leftover Joe's and Cracked Pepper Potato Chips

Butternut Squash Risotto

On weekends I typically gather and prep all my recipe ingredients a little before I actually plan to cook.

Here I've got the pan, recipe, microplane grater, and rice out. I also diced the onion and am letting the butternut squash puree thaw out a bit.

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We're having roasted brussel sprouts on the side. I've cleaned and chopped them and plan to toss with tumeric powder. (I was originally going to make this recipe, but decided I didn't need to consume the extra delicious yet unnecessary calories of bacon and cheese.)

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Onto the risotto...I made a few changes to the recipe and this time IT DIDN'T WORK. The butternut squash puree to rice ratio was out of whack and it turned almost to a thick soup. To combat the liquid I tossed in a box of couscous which did the trick but I totally lost the creaminess factor that makes risotto such a beautiful dish. It was good enough to eat, but I don't recommend my version - at least I would not qualify it as a risotto. If you want to try the dish, use the exact recipe that's at the very end of this post.

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  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used butternut squash puree I had previously prepared)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth, mixed with 1/2 cup water and heated
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried, plus more for garnish
  1. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until edges soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add rice; stir to coat. Add wine; cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, 35 to 40 minutes total.
  4. Stir in Parmesan, sage, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve immediately, garnished with more Parmesan and sage, if desired.
Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine

Now onto something more enjoyable...

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Sour Cherry and Rhubarb Crisp

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  • 1/4 cup oat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 4 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 pounds rhubarb, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 can tart cherries, drained (Kroger brand)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the topping: Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and work together with a fork or with your fingertips.

For the filling: Combine the rhubarb and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan. Add the sugar and flour and toss to blend. Cook until tender, 10 minutes. Stir in cherries.

Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the fruit mixture to the dish. Mix the wet topping ingredients with the dry and stir until thoroughly combined. Press the topping over the fruit, spray with cooking oil. Bake crumble the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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While the ingredients are out, I like to pre-make extra crumb topping and baking mixes that I use often. Here's my assembly:

Place sandwich baggies inside small drinking glasses. Fill with dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, salt).

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Seal baggies and place inside a freezer safe quart-sized bag (holds 4). Write on the outside the additional ingredients that need to be added once baking (brown sugar, apple sauce, OJ).

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Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Car Owners!! (and a Pre-made Dinner)

We decided on a 2009 Nissan Rogue!  We love the extra space for long trips we take and now (coincidently) we have two black autos.  

Nissan Rogue 2009 (3)

Nissan Rogue 2009 (4)

I awake early this morning and started cooking tonight's dinner.  I love waking up and immediately getting into the kitchen all by myself (as Andy sleeps).  I made a Goulash casserole for us and one for our neighbor's to thank them for watching our dogs last weekend.

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For lunch we had mixed greens with poppy seed dressing, sliced bananas, diced persimmon, and a sliced hard boiled egg.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Buffalo Blue Cheese Chicken Pizza

My husband's car finally kicked the bucket.  It turned 10 years old this year and only had 94,000 miles.  Yesterday, while driving into work the radiator hose blew and  everything leaked out onto the highway.  We spent a couple hundred to repair it, but with the disclaimer that there was still a chance of engine damage (which would cost $2,500 to replace).  Andy drove the car home safely and are fingers were crossed that all was well. 

This morning Andy got about half way to work when both his check engine and check gages light came on and his temperature gage went all the way to red.  He had it towed back to the auto shop and once the inspection was complete we got word it was a goner. 

(Here's the best photo I could find, taken in front of the house we built when we lived in KY on a very cold day.)  Goodbye "Bat Mobile" - Andy's had this car before we even started dating, which was back in 2001.


Bad side: We were hoping to wait another year before purchasing another car.  Good side: it's a great time to purchase a car with the economy in the gutter and car shopping is pretty exciting.

Tonight we looked at new and used models of the following:

  • Honda CRV                          
  • Nissan Rogue                   
  • Nissan Murano       
  • Toyota Matrix       
  • Pontiac Vibe            Pontiac Vibe

As you can see, we're interested in a small SUV that we can grow into.  I currently drive a Toyota Camry and the two of us + plus two beagles and luggage load the car up as is.  We're wanting this one to grow into a family car in the future.  I'll let you know what we decide to purchase.  If any of you have suggestions on small SUV's I'd love to hear them.

After all that, I still was wanting this pizza and told myself it could be easily whipped together even if I was getting cranky from my dinner being postponed a couple hours.  It's one of our favorite pizza combinations!

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  • whole wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup marina sauce
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken, pre-cooked
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Press out whole wheat pizza dough on a greased pizza stone. Mix your favorite pasta sauce with hot sauce, to taste. Spread sauce on the bottom of the dough, scatter pre-cooked ground chicken, thinly sliced red onion, shredded mozzarella, and a good sprinkling of blue cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

CEiMB: Chicken Cacciatore

This weeks CEiMB recipe is one that I've prepared and blogged about enjoying before.  Since it's been almost a year, I was glad to make Pantry Revisited's pick of the week for tonight's dinner.  It was even better tonight, I think mainly because I used fire roasted diced tomatoes!

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4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a saute pan over moderately-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken.

Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion and pepper, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and juice, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer the mixture covered for 10 minutes.

Return the chicken breasts to the pan and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 20 minutes longer.

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Recipe from Ellie Krieger

We had mashed turnips on the side.  I was a little uncertain of this dish, even timid to take a bite as it was my first time steaming and mashing a turnip.  I was pleasantly surprised, it was very mild and the roasted garlic and apple flavor came through nicely.

Mashed Turnips with Roasted Garlic

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1 lb Small turnips, peeled and quartered
1 Apple, cored and chopped
3 Garlic cloves, roasted and peeled
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Skim milk
1/4 tsp Salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Steam turnips over boiling water until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain turnips and place in a food processor or blender along with pear, garlic, and butter.

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Process until smooth, adding skim milk as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Click here for original recipe

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Exciting (and Snowy) Inauguration Day

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We've had a nice 2 inch snow fall in Durham.  I went into work this morning, but by 11 AM the snow was still falling and the roads were getting worse so I headed home to work the rest of the afternoon.

Drive into work

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Durham Centre roof top garden

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