Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

These were Yummy!  Healthy!  and Easy! 

We will be making these again soon- I used chicken breasts cut into strips and crushed corn flakes (which Brayden LOVED helping me crush).

 Brayden helped me make Honey Mustard dipping sauce...delicious!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce ~ page 150

We really liked this!! I added thinly sliced grilled chicken on top to make it heartier. The only change I made was to use a little twist pasta instead of fettuccine. It is a little more kid friendly. I had my parents over for dinner and asked their opinion, Pops suggested cayenne pepper, which we tried and it really made the roasted red pepper flavors pop! Then my mom suggested maybe a veggie diced up in it. I think next time I will add some diced and sauteed zucchini mixed in the pasta sauce. I really think that would be good. I just ate the leftovers for lunch today ...yum! The flavors are even better today. I might even try it with shrimp next time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fettuccine Bolognese p. 163

Sorry no picture for this - I did take one but it got erased to make room for more football pictures! My husband didn't question why there were weird food pictures on the camera, he just erased them!

This recipe was easy and tasty although I would definitely make some changes for next time. Definitely liked all the vegetables in it!

First, not nearly enough tomatoes. I would double the amount of tomatoes used and also throw in a can of tomato sauce or paste or both!
Second, I don't think you can have a really good full flavored sauce without simmering it for at least an hour - Ellie calls for 5 minutes - so I simmered for an hour or so - I think it made it better but she's the expert, not me!

I used half and half instead of the evaporated milk just because I happened to have some - don't really think it matters what kind of milk because there is such a small amount.

Served with regular fettuccine because I didn't have the whole wheat on hand and my kids don't like the whole wheat.

Will make again but with more tomatoes!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New York Breakfast ~ page 25

Adam and I LOVE smoked salmon...apparently our 5 year old does too! She kept snatching bites off the counter! This open faced sandwich tasted terrific. My only complaint was that it was messy to eat, everything would fall off as I bit into it. Adam liked it better without the tomatoes since that is what kept falling off. I opted for just making it a yummy full sandwich as you can see in the picture below. I would definitely make this again! --Carissa

Darn you, multiple blogs!!!

That last post was meant for Carissa's blog over here...
They let me post when I cook the recipes out of their cookbook and I got mixed up! Sorry!!

Pumpkin Spice Bread ~ page 325

Well, Carissa's bread inspired me I guess, along with the 15 pound pumpkin I roasted and pureed! I made a giant batch of pumpkin soup as I was making this Pumpkin Spice Bread. I made a slew of modifications though, since I was wanting a healthier bread for the family and freezer. I used 2c regular flour plus 1c whole wheat plus 1/3c flaxmeal. Also subbed half the oil for applesauce, and added 1tsp baking powder to help with the whole wheat flour I used.

My pumpkin was much more runny than canned would have been, so I measured out 2 cups and let it drain a while.

Then I realized I'd be adding 1c of water back to the recipe, so I added to my pumpkin liquid to get to the 1 cup. And these are the random but delicious cakes I got... They were light and fluffy and moist - highly recommended!!

This last one is a vintage tin that bakes little loves about double the size of a muffin, maybe a little less. They were really cute and a nice portion size. It was handed down to me by Janice when she found it wouldn't fit in her new house's little oven!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Arugula, Carmelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza ~ page 173

These were delicious little pizzas. I didn't have arugula so I used spinach. I loved the caramelized onions. They add great flavor. This recipe calls for 2 oz of goat cheese for 4 pizzas...I used double that! Above I cut off a little piece of the goat cheese so you could see how much she wants to use in this just wasn't enough. I basically used one oz per pizza. Below is a pic of the pita bread that I use for little pizzas all the time. They are nice and thick. Kroger sells them. I will definitely make these again!! --Carissa

Monday, November 1, 2010

Energy Bars

I'm trying to stock my freezer for when baby comes sometime in the next week, and this recipe was so simple I had to try it. I didn't have dried apricots or sunflower seeds, so I used craisins and walnuts. I also had to use half honey after running out of maple syrup, but I think I got the general idea of the bar.

Don't expect anything fancy, this is just a dense energy bar. But this was just as good as a Cliff bar and the kids loved them. They're mostly for them anyway so I know I'll make them again, especially since it was such an easy food processor recipe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet and Sour Brisket

This one cooked very well, smelled yummy...none of us cared for it!  I made it to take to my sister-in-laws as a new baby meal, and it didn't get eaten. 

I think we are spoiled with BBQ in the South and we all enjoy a traditional brisket instead.

I won't be making this one again :(

Steak Tacos with Cucumber- Avocado Salsa

These were YUMMY!  I have a recipe for Tilapia Chile-Lime Tacos that are a similar twist on traditional tacos like this one that we love. 

I used flank steak instead of NY strip and it worked just fine.  We both really enjoyed the cinnamon in the marinade.

The cucumber-avocado salsa was great on the tacos and by itself with chips.  A great, healthier alternative to guacamole.

Asparagus with Lemon and Tarragon

We love asparagus around here...well, we used to!  Danny just informed me he is tired of it!  What can I say, he'll eat salad, green beans or asparagus!

Thought I'd try something new- I always grill ours in a bit of olive oil on the stove.  I did that and then put the sauce on it.  I thought it was yummy...Danny said it had too much lemon- guess I should have followed the recipe measurements instead of just guestimating )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuscan Roasted Chicken & Parmesan Mashed Potatoes. Pg. 262 & 210

For dinner tonight I made the Tuscan Roasted Chicken (and veggies) with Parmesan mashed potatoes for the side. 

We were not impressed with the main all.  It all has a light lemon flavor from the chicken and the rosemary helped give it a little more but otherwise it was just not our cup of tea.  The potatoes were good, but they weren't anything special. 

If anyone else makes this -- I hope you enjoy it more than my family! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Garlic Fries

I agree with the other reviews....these were yummy! My kids and husband gobbled them right up. I would definitely make these again! --Carissa

Monday, October 18, 2010

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip ~ page 73

I served this with veggies for dipping. It had great flavor, a nice change from regular old humus.
I rushed the garlic while it was roasting so it was pretty strong in garlic flavor. I think the garlic flavor would have mellowed out a bit if I had roasted it long enough. My kids gobbled it up. --Carissa

Garlic Fries Pg. 265

My husband is addicted I repeat, addicted to potatoes.  He has a problem. 

As I was tired of mashed/bundles/roasted/baked and otherwise I decided to give this a try! 

I got a little happy with the baking and over cooked these slightly but when I went back to the kitchen to get some more...I found my husband standing over the stove chowing down.  Needless to say, there were none left.  We'll be making these again!

I served this with oven roasted pork chops.  Yum!

Herbed Goat Cheese Dip Pg. 66

This week I decided to go semi healthy for the football gang that arrives in my home on Sundays and one of the things I made was the herbed goat cheese dip.  I did however make one modifications and would recommend another. 
I couldn't bring myself to add mint into this.  I didn't see a bunch of guys enjoying it (nor would I). 
For my taste, it had a bit too much thyme.  I would probably do half the amount it calls for.  Otherwise this was a hit.  It was gone within the 1st half of the game!

I served this with crackers and lots of raw veggies.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sage-Rubbed Pork chops with Warm Apple Slaw ~ page 195

This seemed like a nice Autumn dish to make for supper. I didn't have any sage, to my disappointment, so I used poultry seasoning, which has sage in it...but I think the pure sage would have been better. I liked the apple slaw a lot, but thought double the apple would have been nice in it.
I covered the browned chops with the slaw to simmer. I think the apple cider vinegar is nice in this dish...This is quite a pan full. I rated this dish as an 8.

Now, all that is my husband's review: he rated it a 2, and fussed through the whole meal. First off, he says he does not like simmered, slimy pork chops--he likes them deeply browned and dryish...and would have rather the chops have been grilled. Then, he thought the flavor was blah, so he rummaged in the fridge, and came up with a bottle of Schlotzsky's sauce and tried that...that wasn't right, so he looked again and came up with a jar of Tabasco hot pepper jelly, and that was better. (Actually, though I looked on disapprovingly, I did try the hot jelly on the chops, and thought that was pretty good.) We discussed some possible improvements on the recipe...but when it comes down to it, I guess I would not have the nerve to make this again, as my confidence can not hold up to this level of disdain. :) However, I did make a pumpkin pie for dessert and that redeemed the meal somewhat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Split Smoothie ~ page 42

This was my first recipe from Ellie's book. I have to admit this was a little different. Not bad, just different. I had never drank peanut butter before. My girls loved it and begged for more, so I made it again and added a few ice cubes to add some texture so I couldn't feel the peanut butter particles, and then I added a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it up a bit. The only sweetness it had was the banana. With the addition of the ice and honey it was really good, I would make it again that way.

The above picture is to show you the easiest way to clean your blender!! Just fill half way with warm water and a few squirts of dish soap, then blend for several seconds. Then just rinse and dry! I think a dishwasher can be kinda harsh on blenders, this will preserve all the parts longer. --Carissa

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Shallots p. 246

Ellie is right - the combination of these three ingredients is "much more than the sum of its parts." I just thought my favorite green beans were Ina's that she does with shallots. The addition of mushrooms makes this even more yummy. I used plain ol' sliced mushrooms - nothing fancy although I'm sure it would be really good with an assortment of different varieties (will try that the next time). What I really like about the shallots in this dish is that after they are really browned they taste like bacon - really, they do! What could be better - bacon taste without the fat and calories!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach & Couscous (p205)

I don’t think we’re doing too bad; we had spinach 3 nights last week & didn’t even complain about it. Shocking! For the couscous I used a tri-color mix which had hints of spinach (yes, more spinach) & paprika. I added the entire can of tomatoes & about 10 oz of spinach. We really liked the Mediterranean flare of this dish.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins (p21)

I took Lou Ann’s advice and made these muffins. I would agree with her, that they really don’t taste like they are low-fat at all; they were really yummy, especially with my morning coffee!

Monday, October 11, 2010

L.O.V.E. Wrap Sandwich (p96) and Tomato & Red Onion Salad (p130)

I loved this fresh & filling meal. For the L.O.V.E. sandwich I used left-over whole-wheat pitas from the Toasted Pita & Herb Salad, omitted the red pepper, & substituted spinach for the romaine lettuce. I think I probably cut my red onion slices a little too thick, so next time I will most likely chop them.
The Tomato & Red Onion Salad was great, but would have been even better if it was a complete caprese salad with some mozzarella (but I guess that would have added a lot more calories). I think using fresh basil really made this salad awesome.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Garlic" Fries

Yummy...that's all Brayden and Danny kept saying! 

These were finished baking before the rest of my meal was done, and they were almost completly eaten before I could get plates on the table.  I didn't cut mine thin enough so they were a little soft in the middle- but so yummy!  We'll be having these again before we do bagged frozen fries, for sure!

Roasted Salmon with Shallot- Grapefruit Sauce

No pictures got eaten too my 2 year old!  Brayden is a GREAT eater!  I do not complain at all about his eating habits...very healthy and he will try just about anything.  I knew he liked fish, but hadn't tried salmon yet.  I left the sauce off of his and he ate half of my piece and half of Danny's as well. 

Make sure you don't burn the shallots- it added a strange taste to the sauce, but besides for that- it was yummy!

I LOVED cooking the salmon this way.  I usually try grilling or sauteing it and it never seems to be just right- this was perfect!  I used pre-packaged individual salmon filets and they did great! 

Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta Cheese

 I had already put this on my planner to make this week, and when Darby said it was good, I couldn't wait to try it.  We love salads around here, and I am guilty of usually just opening a bag of lettuce and putting bottled light dressing on it.  This was super easy to make and VERY yummy!  We will be having this again.  All 3 of us enjoyed it.  The dressing was delicous!  It would be good on a regular spinach salad as well.

Of course, I made a few additions.  I added cucumber for a little more crunch.  And also added grilled chicken breasts.

I would not put as much red onion next time- it was a little much for us.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Christy Jordan

Hey Cookbook Bloggers!
For those of you that fell in love with the PW, I just wanted to share this with you. I read the article about Christy Jordan in Southern Living last week & have been all over her website, Jordan’s style is a lot like PW in her southern cooking and blogging. Her book goes on sale today and she will be in Houston for a book tour on 10/25. You can preview the book or check out the recipes from her website.

Here is a link that has a quick video introduction to Jordan at the bottom, as well as a way to purchase the book. If you loved the PW, I have a feeling you’re going to want this cookbook too!

I have ordered mine and I can’t wait to try out this cookbook!

Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts & Feta Cheese (p137) and Toasted Pita & Herb Salad (p142)

This pasta salad was soooo delicious! My husband & I both loved it! All of the ingredients mingled together so well. I used penne pasta, & EVOO for the dressing. The serving size is 2 cups which is a lot, & since this pasta is so filling you can probably cut the calorie report in half. Because this pasta salad isn’t creamy, it would probably be perfect for a picnic, BBQ, or any other hot outside event. Next time we have a potluck, I volunteer to bring this pasta salad!

For the herb salad I used spinach instead of romaine, doubled the scallions, & omitted the mint. You can probably use regular tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes; I did. The recipe says to chop the herbs, but I would suggest that you chop them finely. Also, depending on how much crunch you like, you probably don’t need as many pita “croutons.”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Confused about Cookware....

I have decided that I must have an Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven like everyone on the Food Network has! I have saved up my birthday money and I am ready to take the plunge. I can't decide what brand to get though. So I thought I'd ask you ladies what your opinion is. Should I go for the top of the line Le Crueset, or something cheaper like Giada's at Target, or what about Lodge at Walmart? That is only 3, there are many other brands out there. IKEA even has one now too! Do you ladies have any advice for me? Do any of you have a colored enamel pot?


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sesame-Teriyaki Chicken Thighs ~ page 209

This had great flavor, I did leave out the sesame seeds since I forgot to buy them. I would make this again except we aren't real crazy about chicken with the bone in...I guess I have never been one to want to gnaw on bones. It was a little messy and hard to eat, but I like said, great flavor. I'm not sure if breasts would dry out too much with this broiling method....maybe chicken tenderloins would be better? Any suggestions?

The recipe has you broiling the meat about 8 minutes a side. Well after just a couple minutes I could see I was gonna burn it, so I lowered my rack in the oven one level, which worked alot better. The kitchen was still getting smoky though, so I peaked in and the extra sauce that had dripped on my foil lined baking sheet was you can see in the picture! So I had to replace that foil with clean foil halfway through the cooking process.

I didn't have a broiler pan like she suggests so per my mom's advice used a cookie cooking rack, which seemed to do the trick as you can see in the last picture!
So, good recipe, but I will tweak it a little bit when I make it again.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Garlic fries (p265)

I really liked these fries. I served them with Spicy Buffalo Wings & homemade Cool Ranch sauce (the recipes for the wings & sauce were from Southern Living). I ended up dipping my fries in the ranch --> one bad & one good cancel each other out, right? I used garlic powder instead of garlic cloves & I think it was just fine that way. Oh, and a tip, make sure you don’t cut the potatoes too thin, or if you do, don’t keep them in the oven as long. I had a couple that were a little too skinny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

Sadly I have to say I think this is one of the worst things I've EVER made and Daniel agreed. It was very bland and somehow the chicken got very dry and I cooked it like she said. I did it all as the recipe stated and it did not come out well. Daniel only ate half of his and I ate three quarters and threw away the leftovers. So of course we were still hungry so we feasted on ice cream, cheese, grapes, and crackers!!:)

If anyone else has luck with this I'd be curious to see how!

Steak Tacos with Cucumber-Avacado Salsa (p184-185)

Already liking tacos, I think what made these awesome was the salsa. I LOVED the salsa; it was so refreshing! My husband didn’t like it, but I sure did; it’s pretty much all I remember about dinner last night. For the meat though, I would omit the cinnamon; it was just too weird for me I think. The recipe also suggests 3 cups of cabbage and I would say that you don’t need nearly that much. Definitely make this dinner if you get a chance!

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes ~ page 20

I made these the other day for my daughter's 3rd birthday that morning. I thought it would be a nice change from the boring bowl of cold cereal. She didn't like them, she said she didn't like the blueberries in them, I'm not really even sure if she would have liked them if they were berry-free. They did have a different kind of taste, but I didn't think it was bad, just healthy. My 5 year old only ate 1 pancake...that is a bad sign cuz she normally eats 6 pancakes! My husband took a bite and said it tasted like it had veggies in it! (although he did eat a stack of 4 pancakes himself.) Apparently not everyone likes the taste of buckwheat flour I guess.
Below is the stack I'm gonna have to eat myself since the rest of my family wasn't crazy about them. I froze them all for me since I didn't mind them. I thought Ellie's other pancakes were much better! The family gobbled those up when I made them. My advice is to try that other recipe before this one...-Carissa

Monday, September 27, 2010

Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes, pg 268, Peppercorn Pork with Wine Sauce

I am always on the lookout for new ways with sweet potatoes--something that does not involve the holidays and marshmallows (the only way I ate them for so many years!). I used yams in this recipe, but I think either one would be great. I enjoyed these a lot, although hubby rated them a bit lower than me (but maybe he just misses the marshmallows!). I served this with the Poppercorn Pork recipe that Carissa and Cathy loved, but my pork was a bit too thick, even when split, so that the outside was burning while the inside was pretty rare. Well, hubby has a phobia about rare pork, so he was not happy. But I think all my problems were from the thickness of my meat. We ate the more cooked edges, and the center was used for a Chinese stir-fry the next day, which worked out fine.

Oh, I did learn something interesting about pork (from the internet--does that make it true?) when I was trying to prove to hubby that he was not going to die from my rare pork...There have been only 4 cases of trichinosis in the US in the past year--and they were all attributed to wild game. The problems with pork were supposedly eliminated when pigs became pen raised on feed and grain, rather than scavenging and eating raw meat, like pigs used to do! ~janice

Crispy Chicken Fingers with Honey-Mustard Sauce (p. 200) and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes (p. 262)

Well, this is going to be my first somewhat negative review on a couple of Ellie's recipes. I loved the idea of the crispy chicken fingers, and I will be trying them again, but NOT with Corn Chex. Maybe I did something wrong, but they were not crispy at all (even though I let them sit on the baking sheet as the recipe suggested) and we just didn't like the taste of the Corn Chex. As for the parmesan mashed potatoes, they really didn't seem that different from regular mashed potatoes to any of us. I'm not sure that 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese is really enough to make an impact on the taste buds. On the upside, the honey-mustard sauce was excellent! Sweet and tangy from the mixture of the dijon and the honey - definitely worth throwing together for dipping or as a sandwich spread!!

Peppercorn Pork with Wine Sauce (p. 196)

After reading Carissa's review of this recipe, I decided we had to try it right away and she was right - it was incredible!! Easy to throw together and just delicious. I used a lot more dijon mustard and pepper than the recipe called for - one teaspoon of dijon just didn't seem like it would be enough for me (I LOVE mustard!), and we weren't disappointed. I did the wine sauce with a red wine and my grown-up tasters (my mom and hubbie) both liked it very much. I would be very interested to try it with a white wine next time - and there will most definitely be a next time with this recipe. :)

Mango Lassi (p43)

Apparently I’m not a fan of mangos, but my husband who does like mangos, didn’t like this drink either. Unfortunately, we just did not like this drink at all; we couldn’t even finish the one glass that we were sharing. If someone else has made this, please let me know if you have some tips.

Blueberry Buckwheat pancakes ~ page 20

These were not a huge hit at my house. I made them for my 3 year for breakfast on her birthday. She only had one bite. I thought they were fine, in fact I just warmed up a stack of these from the freezer for myself this morning. I don't know if it is the buckwheat that the kids didn't like or that my berries were a little on the tart side, My husband said they tasted like there were veggies hidden in there, although he did eat them, Below is a plate of all the leftovers to freeze for myself, since no one else will eat them! Sadly I wont be making these again. --Carissa

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart ~ page 98

This fun tart has all my favorite roasted vegetable flavors--eggplant, zucchini, tomato, and basil. It seemed like it took a long time to make, as I had keep going back to read directions. But after you have done this once, you can almost do it from memory.
The recipe called for a tart pan with a removable bottom...but I just had a spring-form pan, like for I used that, and it worked just fine. This is the crust pressed into the pan bottom.
I had to show off my pie weights--I bought them a year or more ago, and this was my first time I have actually had a chance to used them!
I think these long skinny eggplant work wonderful in this recipe.
Here it is out of the oven...
The flavor and appearance of the tart are wonderful. I do have an issue with the crust was dry, soft, and not that tasty I thought. I believe you just need more fat than what this calls for, in order to make a good crisp and tasty crust. Next time, I will use my own pressed butter pie crust recipe, but perhaps substitute some cornmeal like this recipe has for crunch. Except for the crust though--I really like this recipe! I served this as our Saturday light lunch. My husband says he would like just a bit more cheese next time.