Thursday, November 3, 2011

Zesty Red Clam Chowder

Even though the weather here isn't quite cold enough for us to need soup, I am still making soup about once a week because it is soup time; whether or not Texas weather cooperates.  This recipe I have kind of always wanted to try because I do love clam chowder, but I've only ever had the white variety.  After making it, I am now a red or white clam chowder kind of girl.

The ingredients:                                     

1 onion, diced; 3 slices of bacon, diced; 2 (6.5oz) cans minced clams (do not drain!); 1 large potato, peeled and chopped; 1 celery stalk, chopped; 1 (14.5oz) can whole tomatoes; 1 C canned crushed tomatoes; 2 Tbsp chopped parsley; 1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste; 1/4 tsp ground pepper.

I already had some bacon that I'd cooked the day before, so I just chopped it up...

and threw it into a large pot with my diced onions and a small swirl of oil.  Saute them until the onion is translucent. (You won't need oil if your bacon is uncooked due to the loveliness that is bacon grease.)

Then, take that very large potato and peel it (making sure to NOT PUT THE PEELS DOWN THE KITCHEN SINK BECAUSE IT WILL CLOG YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL...not that I have ever done such a thing, of course). Chop up that potato and celery.

Once the onion is sauteed, stir in the clams (with their juice)...

 potato, celery and 1 C of water; bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer once it's started boiling and cook until the potato is fork tender (about 10 minutes or so).  Once the potato is tender enough, throw in the whole and crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, salt, cayenne (I used the smallest dash since my girls were eating it too) and pepper.

While it is cooking, go ahead and use your spoon to break apart those whole tomatoes.  Then take a big whiff of your awesome dinner, cause it smells divine.

Once the soup is heated through, serve immediately!  I served mine with fruit; specifically a plum.
   Holy moly, this soup was yummy.  Evan added some extra cayenne pepper to his individual bowl and said it was great with the extra spice.  We ate this as left overs and it was even better!  This is definitely a soup I shall be adding to our usual menu rotation!!!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

When I purchased this spaghetti squash at the store:

the checkout lady asked me what in the world I planned on doing with it. She said she has seen people buying them and she knows they are edible, "!"

I told her it is actually ridiculously simple and I will explain to you exactly how I explained it to her.

You take the lovely yellow squash, you give it a quick rinse and you throw it into a preheated 375 degree oven for an hour and you are done.

I know!  It's ridiculously simple, right?!

You will know it is done because a sharp knife will pierce through it like butta. That's the most important part is to make sure it is cooked through.  If you can't slice through it easily, throw it back in for another 10 minutes.

Cut the squash in half and make the comment about how it must be related to pumpkins because the insides are almost identical! (It is, in fact, related to pumpkins.)

Just like you do a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and the gooey-ish inside.  Using a fork, you will be able to scrape the actual "meat" from the squash and it will separate like individual strands of spaghetti (hence the name). The scraping is the most time consuming part, just to warn you.

Once you have scraped out all the spaghetti squash, throw it onto a skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in some butter (about 2-3 Tbsp, depending on amount of squash), a couple of minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper and some fresh parsley or basil (about 1/4 C).  Give it a good stir and make sure it's all heated together.

Throw it all into a serving bowl and add some parmesan cheese on top (about 1/4 C or so) and stir it until the cheese has melted into the squash.  

I served ours with a salad because spaghetti squash is quite filling.

  My children were leery of the name, but both girls loved it.  Julia ate all of hers and she is 3.  It's supposed to have some crisp crunch to it, so don't be alarmed by the texture.  It's a lovely fall meal and you should definitely go out and try it (especially while they are in season and so cheap at the stores!).


Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week's Menu

This week, Evan is gone to Virginia (the state), so it's just me and the girls.  Meals will be a bit more kid friendly and simple.

Monday:  Little Stars with Butter and Parmesan

Tuesday:  Hash Brown Brunch Casserole

Wednesday: Crispy Chicken Nuggets
                    Tater Tots

Thursday: Hot dogs
                Mac n Cheese

Friday:  ?????

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower

I have stared at this recipe a million times in my cookbook as I try to figure out what to eat for the week.  It's such a simple recipe and I've always wanted to make it but it's just never made the list.

I finally gave it a chance.  Now, I must share it with you.  You will thank me for doing so, I promise.


1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets; 12 fresh sage leaves (or dried sage if you forgot to buy it at the grocery store); 3 Tbsp olive oil; Kosher salt; black pepper; 1 lb. gnocchi; 1/4 C. grated Parmesan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start by cutting up the cauliflower and throwing it into a small bowl.  Sprinkle it with the sage, oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Give it a good stir to make sure the cauliflower is coated.

Throw the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast (make sure and give it a shake so it doesn't stick and burn) until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender.  About 25-30 minutes.

(While the cauliflower is roasting, go ahead and get that pot of water boiling for the gnocchi.)

Mmm...roasted cauliflower.  I could eat the whole sheet of it by myself.  I'm sure my tummy would totally appreciate it later.

Gnocchi is one of my favorite foods.  It takes just minutes to cook.  Once the water is at a low boil (aka: not rolling), throw in the gnocchi and wait for it to float.  It'll take 4-6 minutes.

In your serving bowl, add the gnocchi and cauliflower together.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and give it a toss.  The cheese should melt a bit once it meets the hot gnocchi and cauliflower.

I served the Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower with canned peaches.

  This was simple and delicious.  It is a very mono-colored dish, but it tastes soooooo good.  And, because gnocchi is so filling, it was more than enough for 2 grown-ups and 2 kids (who also loved it!).  I'd double it if we were having company.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Chicken Parmesan
               Parmesan Popovers

Tuesday: Rigatoni with Sausage, Peppers & Onions

Wednesday: Baked Cod
                   Mediterranean Salad

Thursday: Spicy Tofu with Broccoli & Cashews

Friday: Zesty Red Clam Chowder

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pizza Bubble

Pizza Bubble.  Sounds a bit weird, right?  Well, I, personally, love pizza and variations of pizza, but Evan thought this meal sounded terrible.

Then, I made it, and he apologized.  

I got this recipe from my Aunt Delene last year when I asked for recipes from the people in my family in their own handwriting.  I had never had this dish before, but it is definitely one I will be making again since both my girls declared it delicious!!

(Please forgive me for the few short  pictures I have for this post.  I am so out of practice with this blog. Sorry.)

2 cans biscuits (8 or 10); 1 jar of pizza sauce; 1lb roll of sausage; 1lb shredded cheddar cheese; 1 onion, diced.  I added 2 small cans of mushrooms and would have added black olives if I had any as well. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 dish.

After dicing up the onion, brown the sausage and onion together.  Throw in any other pizza "toppings" you'd like to have in your pizza bubble (mushrooms, olives, pepperonis, peppers, etc.) Cook them until the sausage is no longer pink.

With kitchen scissors, cut up the biscuits.  I ended up using 1.5 cans of biscuits because I didn't want any of the biscuits overlapping and not getting cooked properly. (I then attempted to cook the other biscuits, forgot about them, and burned them. Don't worry, Evan laughed and then quoted Yosemite Sam by declaring, "My biscuits is burnin'! My biscuits is burnin'!"
Once the sausage is cooked and you've drained the grease, pour in the pizza sauce and stir it into the mixture, allowing it to warm through.  Once warmed, poor the pizza toppings on top of the biscuits.  Throw it in the oven for 20 minutes.
After the 20 minutes is up, sprinkle the cheese on top of the dish and cook another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
I served ours with steamed broccoli.
This was super yummy.  The biscuits cooked perfectly and didn't get soggy from the pizza toppings.  Next time I will be adding more veggies, but the mushrooms and sausage were really good.  Both my girls like it and ate it and even Evan admitted it was pretty good...for a casserole.   ;)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Chinese Chicken Salad

Tuesday: Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

Wednesday: Quick Ginger-Seasoned Sirloin Steak & Rice

Thursday: Shells with Broccoli Pesto

Friday: Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower
Fruit or vegetable

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This Week's Menu

Hi. I am back.

Now that I am into my second trimester, I can think about cooking and eating and not get all nauseous. So, I'm back here ready to share what's happening in my kitchen with you all.

Ooh, and for those of you who don't know, we moved to Texas at the end of July, so I have a new kitchen to cook in! With a GAS STOVE!!! I am so excited.

Here's this coming week's menu:

Monday: BBQ chicken
Wild rice
Steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff
Green beans

Wednesday: Pizza Bubble

Thursday: Taco Soup

Friday: Baked Chicken Parmesan
Garlic Bread

Saturday: Evan will be grilling for the weekend!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Chinese take out (yum)

Tuesday: Polish sausage & Pierogi Pot Stickers
Green beans

Wednesday: Kim!

Thursday: Chicken Enchiladas
Refried beans

Friday: Sloppy Joes
Corn on the cob
Mashed sweet potatoes

Saturday: Spinach Mushroom Salad

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Dinner at ITZ for Ebeth's Girl Scouts

Tuesday: Asparagus Frittata

Wednesday: Beef Stir Fry

Thursday: Portabella Mushroom Sandwiches

Friday: Fried Fish Sandwiches

Saturday: Baked Sesame Chicken

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Chicken & Two Cheese Pizza

Tuesday: Philly Cheesesteaks
Green beans

Wednesday: Jambalaya
I have no idea what to eat as a side for this...

Thursday: Rachel!

Friday: Chicken Fajitas

Saturday: Grilling!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have found the BEST recipe ever for soft chocolate chip cookies.

I don't know about you, but i totally love soft chocolate chip cookies compared to the crunchy ones. Now, of course, I will totally eat a million of the crunchy ones if that's all that around, but soft cookies? Mmmm....I'd definitely eat 2 million of those.

I made one batch of these and had friends over for coffee and chit chat and they oohed and ahhed about the cookies. Then my kids oohed and ahhed about the cookies. Then Evan oohed and ahhed about the cookies and before i knew it, they were gone. So, I *had* to make another batch and share the recipe with all of you!!

The ingredients:
3/4 C. butter, softened; 1 C. brown sugar; 1/2 C. white sugar; 1 tsp. baking soda; 6-12 oz chocolate chips (I used 12 cause I love chocolate); 3 eggs; scant tsp. of salt; 1 tsp. vanilla; 2 1/2 C. flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by creaming the sugars and the butter together until creamy.

Then, in a small bowl, take the baking soda...
and add 2 Tbsp. of HOT water. Stir together and then blend it into the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar.
Next, add the rest of the ingredients and mix until blended, but don't over mix!
Couldn't you lick that whole spatula clean?!
I heart cookie dough. It should be it's own food group and we should be required to eat three servings of it a day. I'm just saying.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are browned. the tops won't get very brown, which is a good thing. (I just channeled Martha Stewart there, did you notice?!)
Ta da! The perfect soft chocolate chip cookie!
This batch didn't last any longer than the first batch! I over cooked one sheet of cookies a bit, and they weren't as soft, but still so yummy.

When you store these cookies, keep them in an air tight container. I accidentally left half a dozen of the cookies out on a plate and they were not soft the next morning. Don't worry, I totally made the sacrifice and ate them so no one would be forced to eat a non-soft cookie.

I am a martyr.

Make these pronto and enjoy!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Week's Menu

Monday: Swedish Meatballs
Egg Noodles
German Green Beans

Tuesday: Chicken with Spinach & Mushrooms
Roasted Cauliflower

Wednesday: Chili-beef Quesadillas
Refried Beans

Thursday: Wild Rice & Beef Casserole
Carrots and Green Beans

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Spicy Tofu with Broccoli and Cashews

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chicken Pockets

So, you know how much I love the church recipe book I own. I used to own two or three church cookbooks, but the other two ended up having way more icky recipes than good ones, so they got donated to some poor soul who actually liked the weird, icky recipes those cook books offered.

May their families forgive me.

This recipe is from my beloved church cook book and we've actually eaten it a couple of times. Each time it's on the menu, Evan wrinkles his nose and says, "Have you made this before? Cause it sounds weird."

Yeah, Chicken Roll-ups is not a great name. It reminds me of Fruit Roll-ups and it's not fun to think of chicken in a leathery, fruity manner. Maybe Chicken Pockets is better? Hmmm...I shall ponder this name change...

But, this recipe is flipping awesome and easy to assemble. And if you don't microwave it to death, makes great leftovers!

The ingredients:
2-3 cans of crescent rolls; 4 C. cooked chicken; 3 oz. cream cheese; 2 Tbsp. butter; 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise; 1/2 C. chopped celery (which I did not have in my fridge, but thought I had, but totally needed, so make sure you buy it!); 1 Tbsp. pimento; 1 1/2 C. chopped green onions; 1 jar of chicken gravy. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by cooking your chicken. I always try to cut the chicken while it's raw and then cook it in small pieces cause it is a helluva lot faster than cooking whole pieces.
Chop up those green onions. I didn't quite chop a cup and a half due to me not liking green onions that much. You'd also be chopping the celery here too, if you didn't forget it like I did.
In a small mixing bowl throw in the pimentos, butter, cream cheese, mayo, celery and green onions.
Once it's done cooking, chop up the chicken even more.
Add it to the small mixing bowl and mix! mix! mix!
Now, with those crescent rolls, take them out of the can and take two triangles and smoosh the edges together to make a square. Please make sure the edges are sealed so there is no leakage.
Take a scoop of the chicken mixture and put it in the middle of the crescent roll square.
Wrap up the crescent roll like it's a present, making sure to seal the edges. I have no worries about prettiness with these because that is not how I roll and I'm just going to dump gravy over the whole thing anyway!
Once you've made all your chicken roll-ups, put them in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake them gravy-less for 10 minutes.
For the life of me, I could not find a stupid jar of chicken gravy at the store. So, I just used 4 cups of chicken broth and heated it in a pot. I mixed 2 Tbsp. of flour with 2 Tbsp. of cold water and whisked it into the hot chicken broth. I stirred it until it was a thick consistency. You might need to add more of the flour/water mixture as needed, but just remember it's Tbsp. for Tbsp. with that mixture.

Pour the gravy over the chicken roll-ups. Bake them an additional 30 minutes until they're browned like this:
I served ours with green beans and cooked carrots. You do not see cooked carrots on my plate due to my intense dislike of the taste of cooked carrots. (Seriously, they are so much better raw!)
Once he ate them again, Evan remembered that he did, in fact, enjoy this meal! It simple and delicious.

In fact, it was so good, that Julia insisted I take a picture of her eating hers.
It's also an easy meal to make and throw in the fridge to be cooked the next day or to cook and freeze for later consumption.