Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pizza Night!!

So it was pizza night at cookbook club - and we had Lady "I can throw dough up in the air and still catch it in style" Patti :) She made our pizza making so much easier .....and then we had Lady "if I stay quiet maybe the other 6 girls won't hear the milk hit the floor" Anna :)  She made our pizza making OH, so much fun! ahhhh still laughing!!

Anyways - we made some AMAZING pizzas!!  We got 2 recipes from Our Best Bites, 1 Sodahl concoction, and 1 "I don't like toppings" Steph pizza!  They all were great - so try them out!!  We got all the crusts at Trader Joes - and let me tell ya, best crust I ever made!!  Only $1/pizza crust - and they come already seperated in a bag - so try it out!!

Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, and Feta
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Trader Joe pizza crust or flat bread
Alfredo sauce (either store bought from a jar or
home made Guiltless Alfredo Sauce, only need a tiny bit)
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Cooked chicken (we used 2 chicken breasts for 1 pizza)

Caramelized onions*
Feta cheese
Layer the above ingredients on flatbread and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!
* Thinly slice onions and saute them in a skillet on med-low heat with a couple of pats of butter.  After about 15 minutes when they’re nice and soft add a sprinkle of sugar (either brown or white) if you want to enhance the sweetness.  Continue cooking until they’re caramel colored.  It can take 20-30 minutes depending on the heat of your pan and the thickness of the onion.  You could make them ahead of time and just store them in the fridge.

Asian BBQ Chicken Pizza

**Fun part about this pizza is it's a "leftover option" from a couple nights ago!  So you use your leftover chicken thighs - and the marinade you set aside - and you have a whole new meal with the same ingredients :)

Trader Joe pizza crust / flatbread
mozzarella cheese
red onion
fresh cilantro
Batch of Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

Make a batch of Guiltless Alfredo Sauce and combine with reserved Asian bbq chicken marinade. The ratios depend on how saucy you like your pizza and how much you’re making. I use about 1/3 cup sauce with 1/2 tablespoon marinade for a small/medium sized pizza. This dough recipe makes 2 small/med pizzas. (You can just make a half batch of Alfredo sauce, or do a full batch and use the rest of it on pasta the next night!)

When it’s time to add toppings, spread sauce on pizza and then a layer of cheese. Top with chicken (I used 3 thighs for one small/med pizza) and sliced red onions, and then sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
When it’s done cooking and cheese is melted, remove from heat and sprinkle on chopped cilantro. Eat immediately!
Sodahl Concoction

Trader Joe pizza crust or flatbread
Canadian Bacon / Pepperoni
Red pizza sauce
Black olives (sliced)
Green Pepper (sliced)
Red onion (sliced)
Mozzarella cheese

Mix all on pizza crust - bake in oven on 350 for 10 minutes and yum yum in your tum :)

"I don't like toppings" Steph pizza

Trader Joe pizza crust or flatbread
Red pizza sauce
Alfredo sauce (Guiltless Alfredo Sauce or store bought)
Black olives (sliced)
Red onion (sliced)
Mozzarella cheese

Mix half pizza with everything - and the other half with SAUCE and CHEESE :)  Then just cut before serving - and even your picky pizza lovers will eat it (hehe)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple

So I actually found a rice that Ross LOVES!!  This is awesome, because I would literally make rice with every meal - but he gets sick of it.  He has already requested this twice - so YAY me :)

This takes really good with the Asian BBQ Chicken & Bacon-Wrapped Teriyaki Chicken Skewers.

Makes 2 servings

1 cup dry white rice, cooked in 2 cups water
2 tablespoons real butter
Juice from 1 large lime, or two smaller ones (taste as you go, I add a lot!)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
½ – ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. As soon as it’s done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add lime juice, pineapple, and cilantro. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

* You’ll want to serve this right away, if you don’t, the flavors tend to mellow a bit and you’ll probably need to add more lime juice because the rice kind of sucks it up. If you’re not quite ready to eat when your rice finishes cooking, just toss in the butter and keep a lid on it so it stays warm. Then right before you serve it, toss it all together.

Oh and don't forget the frozen veggies :) 
hehe - I think Ross thought I made them so he took a pic...

Asian BBQ Chicken

The great thing about this meal – besides that it tastes AWESOME – is that you can actually use the leftovers for another meal the following day!!  We are making pizzas at cookbook club Thursday, so as long as you reserve a couple spoonfuls of marinade prior to putting the chicken in AND 3 chicken thighs (cooked) – you have enough stuff to make the yummy Asian BBQ chicken Pizza for a “leftover meal”!!

I made this with the Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple !  Super yummy!!

1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C soy sauce
2 T lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t curry powder
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t grated fresh ginger
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Combine everything but the chicken in a small bowl. Whisk to dissolve brown sugar. Reserve a couple of spoonfuls of the marinade in a small bowl and place the rest, with the chicken, in a zip-lock bag. (If your chicken pieces are extra large and you feel like you need a little more marinade, you can always add a bit of water to stretch it.) Pop that bag in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, but overnight is best.

Preheat a grill (or an indoor grill pan or broiler). Spray cooking surface with cooking spray and place chicken on it to cook. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes

Um I just found my new favorite EVERYTHING!!  This entire meal was insane :-)  So yeah - best burger "BBQ Bacon Sliders with Blue Cheese" I've ever made FOR SURE....and in my top 10 I've actually eaten EVER!  and the twice baked potato - might not be Wildfire delicious, but it was close!!  SOOOO yummy!!  I can't wait to eat it for leftovers tomorrow.  For real - BEST dinner EVER!! 

Serves 8 - Our Best Bites

4 medium baking potatoes
½ cup sour cream
1 oz (1/4 cup) crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup milk or buttermilk
4 Tbs real butter, cut into chunks
¾ tsp salt
Dash pepper
½ t garlic powder
8 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Rub them lightly with a bit of shortening or vegetable oil (helps crisp the skin) and place directly on oven rack, or a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are done.

Remove potatoes and let cool just a bit. Cut each potato in half and hollow out each potato.  You may want to hold them with a potholder as they will still be hot!

Scoop out the insides and place in a bowl. Mash, and add butter, sour cream, blue cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Beat with a hand mixer until fluffy. Carefully spoon mixture back into potato shells. Place in a baking dish.  Return to hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove and sprinkle bacon and cheddar cheese over each potato- bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

BBQ Bacon Slides with Shoe String Onions

Um I just found my new favorite EVERYTHING!!  This entire meal was insane :-)  So yeah - best burger I've ever made FOR SURE....and in my top 10 I've actually eaten EVER!  and I made this with Stuffed Bleu Cheese Baked Potato - might not be Wildfire delicious, but it was close!!  SOOOO yummy!!  I can't wait to eat it for leftovers tomorrow.  For real - BEST dinner EVER!! 

BBQ Bacon Sliders with Blue Cheese
Serves 8 - Our Best Bites

11/2 lbs high-quality 85/15 ground Angus
1/2 C
BBQ sauce
(or your favorite bottled BBQ sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Crispy Shoe String Onions (see recipe below)
8-10 small white dinner rolls, or Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced in half and toasted if desired
8-10 crisp lettuce leaves
8-10 slices
bacon, cooked crisp

Garlicky Blue Cheese Spread
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese (not a blue cheese fan? Leave it out!)

Spread: mayonnaise, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and garlic. Mix well and stir in crumbled blue cheese. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Burgers: Heat a grill pan on the stove top, or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Combine beef, 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, salt and pepper. Divide and shape mixture into 8-10 3/4″-thick patties (keep the size of your buns in mind as wells the fact that the burgers will shrink quite a bit while cooking when shaping the patties). Grill for 2-3 minutes and then flip. Brush the top side of each burger with remaining sauce. Continue grilling for another 2 minutes and flip burgers again, brushing the other side with additional sauce. Continue to cook and baste until the internal temperature of the burgers reach 160-165 degrees.
To assemble: Lightly spread the bottom half of each bun with Garlicky Blue Cheese Spread and top with a lettuce leaf. Break each bacon piece in half and place on top of lettuce leaves. Place burger on top and drizzle with additional barbecue sauce if desired. Top with a small handful of Crispy Shoestring Onions. Spread remaining Garlicky Blue Cheese Spread on top halves of buns.
Crispy Shoestring Onions

6 oz onion slices (1 large onion)
1 egg
1 Tbs milk
3/4 C flour
1 tsp salt / pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp paprika
vegetable oil for frying

Whisk egg and milk together and put into a bowl.  Slice onion and put that in another bowl.  Heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees. Make sure to use a pot with sides (as opposed to a skillet style pan) so the oil doesn’t boil over when you add the onions). Working with a handful of onions at a time, dip in egg mixture and let excess drip off. Then dredge in flour and lightly toss to coat. Place onions in hot oil and cook until golden brown. Remove and place on folded paper towels to absorb oil. Repeat process until all onions are fried.

Yield: About 4 C of shoestring onions. Note that this is a lot! If you’re not going to use extra for snacking, you may want to half the recipe.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Extreme Grilled Cheese

Yeah so I know this is something everyone knows how to make -- BUT I totally made it a little better.....quickest / best meal out there (esp if you have a sandwich maker....lived off this thing in college!!)


So all you do is butter the bread - throw it in the sandwich maker....chop up some jalapenos and throw that on top of the cheese....cook and you have heaven in your mouth.  Make up some yummy tomato soup and you are all set!!  Try it - it's heaven :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sauteed Zucchini

The zucchini was awesome - so that is a new dish I'll try again soon.....but the Creamy Chicken with Rice - eh, I've had better.  The zucchini just had all the right flavors :)
Serves 6
Real Simple Cookbook
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the zucchini and cook, stirring twice, until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of oil and zucchini.

Return the first batch of zucchini to the skillet along with the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing gently, until garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

If you have leftovers - I think it would be good t o chop it up and put them on top of scrambled eggs the next am!!

Creamy Chicken and Rice

Worked out with Miss Linda tonight, so needed something that was quick and easy that could cook while we ran!  The Sauteed Zucchini was awesome - so that is a new dish I'll try again soon.....but the chicken - eh, I've had better.  It was really easy to make - and perfect for one person.  We doubled the recipe for 3 of us - and had WAY too much sauce....and since that's the unhealthy part, we didn't want tons of that on the chicken anyways.  It was good - just not great!

1 chicken breast (skinned)
1 tablespoon cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon Mrs Dash seasoning
salt and pepper
8oz sour cream
1/2 can cream of mushroom soup (or celery) - do not add water
1-2 cups white rice cooked

Measure out cracker crumbs, Mrs Dash, salt and pepper into small plastic baggie.  Cut any excess fat off chicken breast.  Put chicken breast in baggie with seasoning and shake until coated.  Take chicken breast out - and put on bottom of small casserole dish.  In a small bowl, combine sour cream and soup.  Pour mixture over chicken breast in casserole dish.  Cover with foil - and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

So decided to make some yummy pasta tonight!!  Best thing about this recipe - you can freeze half of it for a later date!  Sweet!!  Then you just need to take it out and heat it up, and you have a yummy meal!!  Plus - it's a super good recipe to use leftover chicken in.  Ro and I really liked it!!
Our Best Bites: Serves 4 (another 4 put in freezer)

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 cups whole milk (I just used 1% milk)
10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone* (6 ounces) OR1/2 cup mozzarella (I used mozzarella)
1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. If you’re going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.  While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown (3-4 minutes).  Use a little extra olive oil if needed.
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot (I just use the pot I cooked my pasta in), melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer.  Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes.  If freezing, place remaining parmesan cheese in a zip-top baggie.  If cooking, sprinkle on top.
Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Freezer instructions:
To freeze, prepare through step 4 and then let pasta cool.  Cover pan well with plastic wrap.  Place extra cheese in baggie (for topping) on top and then cover entire pan well with foil.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  To bake, preheat oven to 400.  Remove foil and plastic from pan and set cheese baggie aside.  Place foil back on pan and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove foil, stir pasta, and top with cheese.  Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly throughout.

Cucumber & Ham Sandwich

Another simple lunch idea is cucumber/ham sandwiches....I'm not a fan of cold cucs BUT I like them in this sandwich - probably helps that there is cream cheese involved :)
Cucumber (sliced)
Deli ham
Red onions (round slices)
Sandwich thins
Fat free cream cheese

Just spread cream cheese on the sandwich thin (or bread) - place deli ham and sliced cucs on top, and you have yumminess for lunch!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walleye and Artichoke

So I've been asked to put Walleye on the menu - so finally remembered and put it on there!!  Ross made that up - while I tried out a recipe I found in the Costco cookbook for artichokes.  Totally reminded me of my rents eating these - never really liked them when I was little, but this time around - they were really good :)  I had a better one than Ross, so I shared a little!!

Easy Baked Artichoke
1 whole artichoke, rinsed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 fresh garlic cloves
2 squares foil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spread artichoke petals open to season.  Between the petals, drizzle oil and vinegar - sprinkle salt and garlic on top.  Tightly double wrap and seal the seasoned artichoke with foil.  Place the foil-wrapped artichoke in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before unwrapping the artichoke.  Makes 1 serving.  You can easily bake more than one at a time - just increase ingredients as necessary.


Caught walleye (yeah mine is a crappie - but come on, I wanted to prove that I help sometimes!)
Shore lunch - Cajun style
Veggie oil

Fill skillet with veggie oil - cook on medium/high.  Dunk walleye in whisked eggs - cover in shore lunch - and put into skillet....cook until brown (turning once).

Wild Rice and Chicken Breast Salad

Since we had a non-drinking weekend again, I was very productive :)  Figured I would make up some lunches for the week - so all we had to do was "grab-n-go"!  Got this recipe from my very first cooking good for showers and stuff as a side dish too!!
Serves 4
1/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup wild rice
1 cup cooked chicken breast (diced)
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
1 tablespoon Lawry's
salt and pepper
3/4 cup miracle whip (lite)
1/2 cup cashews (whole or broken)
red grapes

Place the brown rice in saucepan with 2/3 cup water. Bring to boil, cover, simmer 30-40 minutes or until tender.  Rinse wild rice by placing in a strainer - running cold water over, lifting with fingers.  Place the wild rice in a saucepan with 1 1/4 cup water, bring to boil, reduce heat to summer - cover and cook for 40-50 minutes or until most of grains have split.

Cook chicken breast until juices run clear.  Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.  **I would recommend using left over chicken for this recipe....OR try pre-cooked chicken too**

Place brown rice, wild rice, diced chicken, and water chestnuts into container.  Sprinkle with Lawry's salt, add pepper to taste, moisten with miracle whip to coat.  Stir gently.  Cover and chill several hours - or overnight.  When ready to serve, stir in nuts and grapes (halved)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fresh Orange-Apple Chutney

Headed over to brothers house for dindin tonight, and Heidi made a YUMMY shrimp and veggie curry.  I made up the chutney to go with it - and it was spicy and great!!  Super easy to make too :)  This would also be good with quesadillas or pork/turkey.
Makes 2 cups
1/4 cup = 50 calories
1 1/2 navel oranges - cut all whit pith from oranges, following contour of fruit, and cut into 1/3 inch cubes
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/3 inch pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno chile
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon (generous) garam masala
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Place everything in medium bowl - and toss to blend.  Season to taste with salt.  DO AHEAD - can be made 8 hours ahead.  Cover and chill.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spinach Salad with Warm Onions and Crispy Salami

Got this from the "Real Simple" cookbook in the main entree salad section - and it was YUMMY!!  I didn't think Ross was going to like it - since it was just a salad for dindin, but he LOVED it and the 4 servings turned into 2 :)

Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 lb hard salami, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced into rounds
2 bunches spinach, thick stems removed (about 8 cups)
4 hard-boiled eggs

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the salami and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, the remaining tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to the skillet with the drippings.  Whisk to combine.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the salami.

Divide the spinach among plates and spoon the onion and salami over the top.  Serve with the eggs on top.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patty's Day Feast!

So it's St. Patrick's Day - and you are looking for some yummy food :)  We made up the traditional corn beef and cabbage!!  I let sir Irish Rossco make that....and then you can only eat GREEN food on the special day - so lady Leprechaun Lisa made up YUMMY jalapeno poppers (for real - OH, SO GOOD!!)

Corn Beef and Cabbage
Serves  6
Corn Beef

Basically just throw corn beef in boiling water (so that the water is covering the top of the corn beef) - and boil for 2.5 hours.  Then once the corn beef is done - take it out - and let sit while the cabbage cooks.  Put more water into pot and just drop cabbage in....boil until it's cooked.  Then sprinkle corn beef with the spice that comes with it - and eat up!!

Jalapeno Poppers
Jalapeno peppers
3 oz cream cheese (for about 7 small jalapeno peppers)
1 lb bacon
Split jalapeno pepper in half - spread cream cheese on it.  Cook bacon till it's cooked but not super crispy - wrap around jalapeno and secure with toothpick.  Then stick in oven at 350 for about 10 minutes - or until the bacon looks done.  Take it out and eat immediately - or stick back in oven to keep warm.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

So I have my bfast for the week (toast, avocado, laughing cow - see bfast posts)....and I needed something to pack for lunch quick in the am - so I made up some chicken salad sandwiches to bring with some grapes on the side.  Super easy to make ahead of time - and quick to put together and grab in the am.  I used sandwich thins so calorie count was a little lower :)
2 cup chopped, cooked chicken (I just buy canned chicken)
1/2 cup miracle whip (lite)
1/2 cup hardboiled eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red grapes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomatoe
6 croissants OR sandwich thins

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Zucchini Fries

Um awesome!!  Why I never made fries before - I have no idea....but these were awesome!!  We dipped them in horseradish sauce - and that was super good too!!
Serves 4
Our Best Bites
1 lb. zucchini
1/2 c. Italian-seasoned panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (the crumbly stuff, not shreds)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.  Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.  Whisk 2 eggs together in a shallow pie plate and set aside.

Cut the ends off the zucchini and then cut the zucchini in half so you have two short, stubby pieces. Set one piece on its end and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut that half in half, making 2 planks. Repeat with the remaining halves (so you’ll get 16 planks per zucchini).  Stack 2 planks on top of each other and cut into strips. Thicker strips will yield “meatier” fries with more zucchini flavor while thin strips will be crispy and taste virtually nothing like zucchini. When all the fries are cut, blot the pieces with a paper towel.

Working with a small handful at a time, dip the zucchini sticks in the egg, shake them to remove any excess, and then roll them in about 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs at a time, adding more as needed; you just don’t want to work with all the bread crumbs at once because they’ll soak up moisture from the egg and won’t stick to the zucchini. Place the coated strips on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the zucchini strips have been coated.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the prepared oven then remove from oven, flip the fries, and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the zucchini is not soggy and the coating is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately with pizza sauce, ranch dressing, or Ross liked horseradish sauce.

Who wants some Sloppy Joes....

So you can't go wrong with sloppy joes - but here is one of my favorite ways to prepare it!!  I always eat sloppy joes with cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and ripple potato chips.....don't knock it till you try it :)

Had my cousin Laura over tonight so I decided to do the "Ronhovde" sloppy recipe - and made this with some zucchini fries - um YUMMY!!  Try this out for sure!!

From Grandma Ronhovde: Serves 4

1lb hamburger
1/4 cup ketchup (put in extra)
3 Tablespoon water
Small onion
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worchestire
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon horseradish

Brown meat and onion together – then mix everything else in.  Simmer 30 min.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Roast Pork and Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette

So we had the rents over for dindin tonight, so wanted something yummy and quick to make!!  I ended up making home made mashed potatoes too - whooo sooo yummy!! (see the Turkey Day practice entry for that recipe!)  I got this recipe from my "Real Simple" cookbook - and I like this book because it combines the main entree with a complimentary veggie - so the whole meal went really well together.  We pretty much licked our plates clean - so it was the perfect amount for 4!  Enjoy!!

Serves 4
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 lbs)
salt and pepper
1 lb asparagus, tough end trimmed
3 shallots, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Heat oven to 400.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Season pork with salt and pepper - cook, turning until browned, about 5-6 min.  Transfer the skillet to oven and roast until pork is cooked through - about 12 -15 min.  Let rest for at least 5 min before slicing.

Meanwhile on a rimmed baking sheet - toss the asparagus, shallots, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper.  Arrange veggies in single layer and roast - turning once until tender - about 12 -15 min.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and remaining 1/3 cup olive oil. Serve pork with veggies and drizzle both with vinaigrette.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Frittata with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cream Cheese and Basil

Ahhhh nothing like waking up on a Sunday to some yummy bfast!!  This was super good - and really easy....and it looked / tasted like a fancy restaurant meal :)  Only recommendation would be to use less basil - unless you get fresh....the spice itself probably cut in half.  Hmmmm that was good!!
Serves 2
Bride & Groom cookbook
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion (about 1/2 cup)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/3/ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
1 oz cream cheese, crumbled
Hot sauce

Set rack about 8 inches from top of oven and preheat the broiler.

Melt the butter in 8 inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and season with the pinch of salt/pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and basil, reserving a little of each for garnishing.  Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir in gently to combine with the onion.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Scatter the cream cheese on top.  Cook until the eggs are set on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  While the eggs are cooking, lift an edge of the frittata with a spatula and let the uncooked eggs flow underneath.  Repeat in a few places.

When the eggs are almost cooked, put the skillet under the broiler.  Broil until the frittata is lightly browned and the eggs are set in the center, about 1 minute.  Garnish with the reserved sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  Season with hot sauce.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tortellini Sausage Soup

So I was being very productive today, so thought I would whip up some homemade soup!  This was awesome!!  Ross and Luke hung out tonight - while the ladies played at Meghan's bachelorette party, and both the men said they loved it too....they must have cause there is barely any left!!  Super easy - try it out!!
Serves 6 - Our Best Bites
3 links Italian sausage
4 cloves pressed garlic
1 onion, diced
½ cup water
2 cans chicken broth
½ c. apple cider (don’t leave this out!)
1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated (great way to use your food processor if you have one)
8-10 oz. package cheese tortellini (check the freezer section of your grocery store; if you can find it there, it will almost always be way cheaper than fresh tortellini. Also, Barilla makes a great dry cheese tortellini)
2 Tbsp. dried parsley

If you’re using link sausage, remove the casings and crumble into a large soup pot. To remove the casings, you can use a sharp knife to cut a slit down one side of the sausage and then peel back the casing.  Begin cooking sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. If your sausage is pretty fatty, you’ll want to drain it when it’s about halfway cooked. Meanwhile, chop onions and garlic and add to the sausage. Continue cooking until onions are translucent and your sausage is cooked. Your house will smell heavenly.

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, juice, water, chicken broth, carrots, oregano, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add parsley and zucchini and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

Add the tortellini and cook until tender, and then serve with bread and freshly-grated Parmesan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sour Cream Poppyseed Streusel Muffins

So at cookbook on Thursday we were too full to make these muffins - so I thought since the Sodahls were home this weekend, I would try them out for some breakfast sides!!  Now I love my bread - but I'm not usually fan of muffins....home cooked breads (banana bread...etc), but these muffins -- LOVE THEM!!  It's like a dessert after my bfast!!  Try them out and you will love them I promise!!
As you can see from the pic - I must have filled my cups too high because these turned into gigantor muffins, but just more loving for your belly!!

2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (trick to making this: take 1 tablespoon white vinegar and put in measuring cup - then add milk so it goes up to 1 cup....stir and let sit for 5 min)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8oz container light sour cream

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoon poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare streusel by combining the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  To prepare muffins, combine sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Combine buttermilk and remaining muffin ingredients in a small bowl and add to flour mixture, stirring until just moist.  Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups.  Sprinkle evenly with streusel mixture.  Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove muffins from pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

So it's the first Friday of Lent - so NO MEAT for the Sodahls :)  Figured it would be the perfect time to make this Pampered Chef cookbook meal - since Ross can't eat meat anyways!!  I thought it was really good - Ross thought it was a little bland, so maybe put some hot sauce on it!!  (I think that's his answer for everything)
Makes 6 servings (230 calories / serving)
4 oz package dried medium noodles
1 (9 1/4 oz) can tuna (water packed)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 (10 oz) package frozen cut green beans
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 cup shredded American or Swiss cheese (2 oz)

Cook noodles according to package - drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, drain and flake tuna.  Toss the butter with bread crumbs and set aside.

In a large saucepan combine green beans, mushrooms, sweet pepper, onion, celery, bouillon granules, garlic, and 1/2 cup water.  Bring to boiling - reduce heat.  Simmer; covered 5 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Meanwhile, stir together milk, cornstarch, and dry mustard.  Stir into veggie mixture.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat, then stir in cheese until melted.  Stir in noodles and tuna.

Spoon mixture into 2 quart casserole.  Sprinkle bread crumb mixture around outside edge.  Bake uncovered in 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Most important meal of the day!!

So it was cookbook club last night - and the theme was "Breakfast for Dinner".  Everything we tried was SUPER yummy - and I have little comments for each one!!  (See below)  One of my goals is to start eating breakfast every day - so the freezing options below are awesome!!  YUM!!  Eat up!!

English Muffins: Super good - and freezing them and pulling them out each am for bfast is super good idea!!  I'm in need for some quick / healthy breakfast options - so I loved this!!   I'm going to try to freeze them - so I'll let you know if they are soggy or if they hold up pretty good!!

Taquitos: I think this was everyone's favorite....and you can put whatever you want on these bad boys.  The dipping sauce was the best part :)  I think Ross would have drank that or dunked all the breakfast dishes in that!  Again, you can freeze these - so check that out too!!

Mini Quiche cups: I thought these were super good - and I kept thinking of how perfect they would be for a wedding / baby shower or something.  They were just so quaint and little - the perfect finger food for a brunch!  We went with using the ham instead of the foil liner - half of us thought that was good / other half would have preferred it without the ham - so play around with that!

Crescent Braid: So don't look at this and think "it's too hard" - it was actually really easy and a super cute / pretty idea for a brunch!!  It tasted really good!!  We thought it would taste better with sausage - instead of bacon, so next time I'm trying that.  Ross thought the Taquitos dip should go with this too :)

.English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes 12 servings
6 whole wheat English muffins
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
10 dashes Tabasco sauce
10-12 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
Whatever topping: green onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray liberally with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil or melted butter. Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and Tabasco sauce. Gently pull apart each English muffin and soak each side (like you would for French toast) in the egg mixture–you want the egg mixture to soak into the bread, but you don’t want the English muffin to be completely falling apart. Place the muffin, cut side up, on the baking sheet.

Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top and add any additional desired toppings and then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes and serve immediately.

FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: After baking, loosen them from the baking sheet with a spatula and then allow them to cool completely. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. When the pizzas are solid, transfer them to a large Ziploc freezer bag. To reheat, place on a plate and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes at a time until the pizza is heated through (actual time will depend on how powerful your microwave is).

Baked Breakfast Taquitos with Lime-Chipotle Dip
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes 16 servings
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
12 large eggs
1/2 cup Breakstone’s Sour Cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 tsp hot sauce
16 - 6″ flour tortillas
cooking spray or olive oil

Dipping Sauce:
1 1/2 cup Breakstone’s Sour Cream
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.  Spray with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Crack eggs into large mixing bowl.  Whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  When skillet is hot, add egg mixture to pan.  Using a rubber spatula, gently scrape bottom of pan and fold eggs over to scramble.  Remove from heat when slightly undercooked.  Add cheese, roasted red peppers, green onions, cilantro, and hot sauce to taste.  Gently fold to combine. 

Warm tortillas in microwave to ease rolling process.  Working with a few tortillas at a time, place a scant 1/4 cup egg mixture into the center of each one and roll up into a cylinder.  Place rolled tortillas on prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, so they are not touching each other.  When all tortillas are rolled and filled, lightly spray tops with cooking spray, or lightly brush with olive oil.  Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and crisp.

While taquitos are baking, coming 1 1/2 cup sour cream, lime juice, chipotle chili powder and kosher salt.  Stir to combine and store in fridge.  Remove taquitos from oven , let cool for 5 minutes, and then serve with dipping sauce.

Make Ahead Prep:  The egg mixture can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use.  You can also prepare the taquitos and instead of baking right away, cover tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight, or freeze for later use.  To prepare frozen taquitos, place (un-thawed) directly on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Follow original baking instructions, increasing time by 5 minutes or until taquitos are golden brown.

Mini Breakfast Quiches/ Baked Ham and Egg Cups
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes 12 servings
8 eggs
3/4 cup shredded low-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cottage cheese
5 oz frozen spinach, defrosted, water squeezed out and roughly chopped (that’s half a standard frozen box of spinach)
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1 oz finely diced ham, Canadian bacon, or crumbled bacon (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt / pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
foil muffin tin liners OR 12 slices ham

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl, combine all ingredients (except ham slices) and stir well.

If using ham slices, spray muffin tin with non cook spray and place one piece of ham in each well to form a bowl.    If using foil muffin liners, spray the insides of the liners with non-stick spray. 
Evenly divide egg mixture between the 12 muffin wells (about 1/4 C each), being careful to keep ingredients well dispersed.  You want them to fill right up to the top.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The tops should be puffed and just barely set on top. Eggs will sink after cooling.
Store them in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze them. When reheating in the microwave, make sure to take off the foil liner! And if you’re reheating from frozen, I try to take them out the night before so they can thaw in the fridge. Then when you microwave them, set them on a folded paper towel to drain excess moisture.

Easy Breakfast Crescent Braid
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes 12 servings 
1 roll Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations
Scrambled Eggs (used 3 eggs, 1 egg white, 1 1/2 tablespoon milk, salt/pepper)
4-5 strips bacon (sausage would be great too)
1 cup grated cheese
Hot sauce
Scramble eggs in a skillet. Since this will cook again in the oven, under cook your eggs. You want them to be cooked enough to hold together, but leave them a bit wet. Cook bacon strips and set aside. (I bake my bacon in the oven. Just lay flat on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 for about 12 minutes or until crisp)
Next, use a rolling pin and a lightly floured work surface to roll out the crescent dough to about 10 in x 12 in. Lay the eggs down the center of the rectangle, leaving room on both sides and the 2 ends, as pictured below. Top with bacon, cheese, and a couple shots of hot sauce if you want.

Use a pizza cutter to make cuts:
Fold over both ends:
Now starting on one end, bring the side pieces in and overlap them. You’ll want to alternate- one from the right, then one from the left and so on and so on.
Keep doing it until you get all the way to the end.
When you get to the end, just tuck where you can to make it pretty!

Bake according to package instructions. I believe it’s 375 for about 15-20 minutes - and actually, if you want it shiny on top, give it a quick egg wash before you bake. When it’s done, it should be golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Slice on a slight diagonal and eat immediately!