Friday, May 29, 2009

warm dijon potato salad with green beans

I regret that I don't have a picture of this really, really great potato salad. We made it for Memorial Day weekend to go with ribs. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough... but try it, its delicious.. and its great cold too. Thanks again and again and again Aubrey.. I wonder why I gain weight when I visit you...

3 pounds Yukon or baby white potatoes
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 shallot minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
30 grinds black pepper
1/3 cup packed finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least a couple inches. Salt the water generously, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Bring another pot of salted water to a boil and throw the beans in just for a minute or two until they turn bright green. Strain them and run them under cold water to stop the beans from cooking.
In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into roughly 1 inch chunks. Cut beans in half. Toss the potato chunks in the dressing and then toss in the green beans and the parsley.
recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman, Food Network

Thursday, May 28, 2009

chick pea dip

I spent Memorial Day weekend in San Diego with one of my favorite people, Aubrey. We love to cook, share recipes.. and go to the beach. We did plenty of both. This is a bikini friendly version of hummus, without the Tahini. As much as I love Tahini.. did you know it has, like 200 calories per tablespoon? Considering I can eat hummus with a spoon.. this is bad for the thighs. This recipe is just plain delicious... Thanks Aubrey!

1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained, rinsed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic
5-7 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
course salt and freshly ground pepper
a few drops hot sauce, to taste (I use Frank's Red Hot)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
dipper ideas: pretzels, gourmet chips, red bell pepper, cucumber,
celery, any veggie you like

Combine the chick peas, garlic, lemon zest and juice, thyme, salt and pepper and hot sauce in food processor. Turn processor on and stream in the extra-virgin olive oil. Transfer the dip t0 a dish and surround with veggies and chips.
this recipe was adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe.

Monday, May 25, 2009

menu #6

monday: brown rice salad
cole slaw

tuesday: zucchini strand spaghetti (with basil oil)
garlic bread

wednesday: spring panzanella

thursday: chicken caesar salad

friday: bbq pork on a bun
onion rings

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

15 minute fruit cobbler

It's been in the upper 90's here in California where I live.. whew! Last night I was trying to figure out something yummy to make for a quick desert.. I had some fresh cherries that I had picked up at a church fundraiser, and I had some frozen blueberries. I didnt have a lot of butter, so I was having a hard time finding a crust recipe. I had originally wanted to make some hand pies.. Anyway, after reading a few different recipes I came up with this. And it was really good. Only took me 15 minutes, and was just enough for us. I have a small family and always hate to have a trough of leftovers that don't get eaten. You could easily double this recipe. It was just enough for about 4 servings of 1/2 cup each. I topped it with vanilla ice cream and I my 20 month old daughter rolled her eyes, threw her head back and yelled "NUMMMMMEY!"

1 1/2 c. fruit. I used fresh, pitted and halved cherries, and frozen blueberries. about equal parts each
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbs. flour
dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven 400 degrees. In a saucepan, combine and cook on med-low heat until warm and bubbly and fruit has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

3/4 c. Bisquick
2 tbs. sugar
1/2 ts. cinnamon
3 tbs. milk
2 tbs butter, softened.
Combine all ingredients and mix until dough starts to form.
Pour fruit into a casserole dish. I did not grease mine. Top with dollops of dough, covering fruit as much as possible.
Place in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until top is just browning. Serve warm, with ice cream.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 18, 2009

pizza crust (from scratch!)

I did it! I did it! i finally made a good pizza crust - without the help of boboli or pilsbury!
i have been experimenting with some different recipes and different food blogs' techniques.
one site especially, smitten kitchen - she gave some great advice on her pizza dough. i think i have told you before, that i am not a baker. but i am realizing i want to be! pizza crust was one of those things that i was bound and determined to get right. i had absolutely no idea what dough should feel like, or not feel like. except that all of the recipes i have tried before turned out small, cause i couldn't get the dough to roll out - and they turned out puffy. so i guess i would tell you, if you have no point of reference as to what a dough should be, if a dough won't roll out - it's not right. if a dough won't stretch when you pull on it, it's not right.
follow her advice and you will get it right, just like i did!!
read below - and this recipe is all hers... my notes are italicized and bold
the picture below is my creation :)

Really Simple Pizza Dough
Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready.
1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.
(here's the great advice...) If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size.

Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. (my sister, elisabeth, also recommended cranking your oven to the very hottest setting - and i am now a believer!) Roll out the pizza, (i rolled out my dough on the counter and when i went to pull it off, it stuck to the counter. so i did as she suggested, i covered it back up with the plastic wrap, made my pizza sauce, came back, and it was as soft as ever! i was so happy!) toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like. (I always err on the side of skimpy with toppings so to not weight down the dough too much, or if I have multiple toppings, to keep them very thinly sliced.)

Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.
Posted by Picasa

menu #5

monday: california burgers
sweet potato fries

tuesday: herbed balsamic chicken with blue cheese
spinach salad
red potatoes

wednesday: mahi-mahi skewers
herbed & tomato couscous

thursday: chicken quesadilla's

friday: spaghetti & meatballs
garlic bread

Friday, May 15, 2009

pasta salad

yesterday i was inspired by the brown butter ravioli dinner that nancy posted. i love browned butter - i think it's the salt lover in me! - and even love it cold. so as nancy and i were instant messaging about how much we love brown butter, this pasta salad recipe started forming in my head! i know, right?
(i should tell you that all of these ingredients i had on hand. next time, i would probably choose a different pasta, just for the fun of it! i used whatever half full/empty box i had. also, if you have it, try some bell pepper - or goat cheese - or fresh mozzarella - or left over chicken! use up the stuff you have in your fridge or pantry - save some money!)
this recipe made 2 servings (or 1 big eater!) - i made it pretty much for myself today and tomorrow. so double it if your making it for more than yourself + a friend or spouse.
try it hot, too.
let me know how you like it!

here's the rough ingredients:
butter! (i used 3 T, +1 T for the onions and garlic)
1 large or 2 small cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped red onion

a couple of handfuls of pasta - i used fettuccine noodles that i broke into bite size pieces

half a large tomato, chopped
half a jar of drained atrichoke hearts, chopped
8-10 kalamata olives, chopped
a few slices of pepperoni, chopped

1 T balsamic vinegar
s & p to taste
top with parmesan cheese

first, get your water boiling and start cooking that pasta!

then, i started out by sauteing the 1 T butter, garlic and red onion on low heat, stirring occasionally. while that was cooking, i chopped my vegetables, then started the brown butter process. i warmed the pan on medium heat, then added the butter. let it foam and recede - about 3-4 minutes. once the butter starts turning brown, add the garlic and onion mixture. add the balsamic vinegar. set aside to cool.
drain your pasta.
combine the brown butter mixture and pasta.
let it cool for a few minutes. then add the vegetables and pepperoni.

refrigerate for at least an hour - longer if you have it!

top with parmesan cheese before serving.

i was saving this much for lunch the next day. but my youngest found it and ate it all!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter, Walnuts and Chicken

This dish sounded strange to me, but I watched it being prepared on the Food Network and it looked wonderful. To make the original dish a more complete meal, I used a spinach ravioli and topped it with a grilled chicken breast, served it with a green salad and garlic bread. It was soooo delicious and so easy and fast.

18 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli (cheese, mushroom or spinach)- I used spinach and ricotta
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1-2 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness, salt and pepper and dash of garlic powder to season.

Saute in evoo (or grill) pounded chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper until done. I used a grill pan. When chicken is done, brush with a bit of the balsamic vinegar, just to marinate. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ravioli and cook for 4-5 minutes, depending on package directions until done, but still firm.
Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When foam subsides, and butter starts to get a golden brown (about 3 minutes) remove from heat and let cool for about 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Transfer the ravioli to the saucepan with the vinegar sauce and sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Return to the platter, top with sliced chicken breast. Serve.
Serves 2-4
One of these days I will get a decent camera. Mine is used and abused by me, my husband and a 2 year old... these pics never come out as wonderful as the dish.. this one is awesome, don't let the photo scare you!!
recipe from Giada Di Laurentiis, Food Network, Everyday Italian
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 11, 2009

menu #4

monday: honey-teriyaki chicken
rice (with almond slivers)
cole slaw (with ginger dressing)

tuesday: CINCO DE MAYO!
chicken enchilada's (the red sauce kind)
spanish rice
black beans
& chips 'n guacamole/salsa, of course!

wednesday: grill pizza's
lots of toppings and fresh mozzarella

thursday: peppercorn pork chops
smashed red potatoes
green beans

friday: roast chicken salad with grapes and blue cheese
crusty bread

Monday, May 4, 2009

chile mandarin orange sauce

a fruity and spicy way to dress up a chicken breast or try it over beer battered fish in place of tartar sauce.

2 T fresh lemon juice (about the juice of one-half a medium lemon)
2 tsp red chili paste
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained and chopped
1 T chopped fresh cilantro

whisk together lemon juice and chili paste.
add mandarin oranges and cilantro and toss to combine.

serve over fish or chicken

robin miller 2007
quick fix meals with robin miller: fish and fowl gameplan, episode RM0608
copyright 2006 television food network

menu #3

monday: beer battered tilapia with chile mandarin orange sauce
red potatoes

tuesday: pannini (marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and deli pepperoni)
green salad

wednesday: hamburgers with blue cheese
sweet potato fries

thursday: penneBold & sausage with italian cream sauce
crusty bread

Sunday, May 3, 2009

skinny girl margarita

Did you know the average restaurant margarita has 700 calories??? We had visitors this weekend, and Aubrey brought along a new recipe for us to try.. the Skinny Girl Margarita!! This is a recipe from Bethenny Frankel. She is one of the Real Housewives of New York. I'm in love. It only has 3 ingredients! Now, its a sipper. You cant down it.. but that means you wont drink as much. There is no sugary syrup to add calories or a headache. The key is don't skimp on the quality of alcohol. The BEST part is?? IT ONLY HAS 100 CALORIES!

salt and sugar to line the rim, if desired (equal parts)
limes - use 1/2 lime or more per drink
Patron Silver Tequila

Directions: (per drink)
Cut lime in half. Rub some of the lime on the rim of the glass and dip in a mixture of equal parts sugar and salt.
Add ice to glass. Squeeze the lime into the glass. Use 1/2 lime per drink. Add 2 oz Tequila. Add 1/2 oz Cointreau. Finish with a lime wedge and serve.

Posted by Picasa

Homemade Playdough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
Food Coloring, if desired
Mix flour, salt, oil and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Slowly add water. Cook over medium heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff.

Turn out dough on parchment paper and let cool.

Knead dough with your hands until proper consistency.
Add food coloring, if desired. You can store this in a plastic container with a lid and it will keep "forever".
Posted by Picasa