Archive for April, 2008

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

April 30, 2008

White Bean Dip

Alex and I are big garlic fans. Really, really, REALLY big garlic fans. There are very few recipes that we make/eat that don’t have garlic in them. There is really no such thing as too much garlic in our opinion. That being said, I really wanted to try this recipe for White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip when I saw it in The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. It was really a delicious dip and very healthy. We ate it with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins but according to Ellie you should eat it with veggies. The garlic flavor wasn’t as powerful as we would have liked (probably because roasting it mellows the flavor) but we still enjoyed it. We will definitely make this again!

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip
Prep: 7 minutes Cook: 60 minutes
Makes 10 servings

Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 whole garlic heads
2 (16-ounce) cans canellini beans or other white beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Cover with aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30–40 minutes. (Make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

4. In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and lemon juice and process until smooth. Add the salt and white pepper. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

5. To serve, transfer to a bowl, garnish with the parsley leaves, and serve with vegetables. (Serving size: 1/4 cup)

Calories 145 (28% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 3g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 7g; Carbohydrate 20g; Sugars 0g; Fiber 4g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 94mg; Calcium 69mg.

White Bean Dip


Green Pea Soup

April 30, 2008

Green Pea Soup

In an effort to eat healthier after a couple weeks of eating out a lot, I looked for a couple recipes in my Ellie Krieger cookbook, The Food You Crave. This Green Pea Soup caught my attention and I thought it’d be the perfect thing to whip up for lunches this week since it’s light and you can eat it hot or cold. It was quite good and VERY easy. Even Alex liked it, which I did not expect! And at 95 calories per 1 1/4 cups it’s something I can feel good about eating!

Green Pea Soup
Source: The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (to make it vegetarian you can sub vegetable broth)
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-oz) bag frozen peas
4 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt, optional

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over moderately-low heat. Add the onion, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, tarragon, salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook just until defrosted.

In a blender, puree the soup in 2 batches until very smooth. If serving hot, return the soup to the pot and bring just to a simmer. If serving cold, transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Ladle into bowls. Stir the yogurt so that it is smooth and top each serving with a swirl of yogurt.

Nutrition Information
Nutritional Analysis per Serving Calories: 94
Total Fat: 2.5 grams Saturated Fat: 0
Protein: 7 grams Carbohydrates: 13 grams
Fiber: 3 grams

Green Pea Soup

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

April 30, 2008

Green Salad

This salad was DEL-ICIOUS and went perfectly with our Croque Madames! Alex is a HUGE fan of balsamic vinegar so I knew he would love it. And love it, he did! He filled 3/4 of his plate with salad, which is not typical for him! We will definitely continue to make this salad.

Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Source: Rachael Ray 2, 4, 6, 8 Cookbook

2 teaspoons strawberry jam
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 strawberries, sliced
4 cups chopped romaine or mixed greens of any kind

Place jam in a medium bowl and whisk in vinegar then extra-virgin olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the strawberries and greens to bowl and toss to coat evenly in dressing.

Croque Madame

April 30, 2008

Croque Madam

This is officially the first thing I made in the kitchen in our NEW HOUSE!! Yay! We found a beautiful house to rent and moved in last Sunday. The kitchen was the first thing I unpacked and organized because I was DYING to break it in. As I was unpacking my cookbooks I realized that I don’t use them nearly as much as I should to find recipes. Normally I get my recipe inspirations from the internet.

So I cracked open Rachael Ray’s 2, 4, 6, 8 30-Minute Meal Cookbook that I was given as a gift. The book is actually quite nice because it gives you recipes for 2, 4, 6, or 8 people. Since it was just going to be the two of us I looked in the just for 2 people section and found this recipe for Croque Madames. We were VERY pleased with this dinner. Satisfying and easy. Alex raved about the “gravy” as he called it which was actually a Bechamel Sauce. We had some sauce left over and he declared we “couldn’t waste it” so he spread the “gravy” on toast. I served these with the salad that she suggests in the book which will be my next post.

Croque Madam

Croque Madame

Source: Rachael Ray 2,4,6,8 Cookbook

* 6 tablespoons butter, divided
* 1 rounded tablespoon flour
* 1 cup milk
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 4 slices white bread (I used wheat)
* 2 large eggs
* 4 slices deli-cut ham, look for a dry ham rather than boiled
* 4 slices deli-sliced Swiss cheese, look for Emmentaler
* Parsley, chives or thyme (any or all on hand), chopped

Yields: 2 servings


For the bechamel sauce: Place a small sauce pot over medium-low heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or so. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a bubble then drop the heat to low. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon. When the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, crack the eggs and add them to the pan, keeping the whites separate from each other. Cook to desired doneness, sunny-side-up to over-hard.

While the eggs cook, generously butter bread with the remaining butter. Keeping buttered sides facing out, build ham and cheese sandwiches; spreading béchamel on the insides of the bread and using 2 slices of ham and cheese for each sandwich.

Heat a second skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches until golden, about 3-4 minutes, then turn. Cook them for 2 minutes more then transfer to plates, top with eggs and more sauce, garnish with herb of choice and serve with a knife and fork.

Cream Cheese Icing (oh and cupcakes too)

April 21, 2008

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

My parents decided to throw a party with a bunch of family this past weekend. I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to bake something else. Yay! I wanted something that would please all ages and be easy to eat at a party. I had also been dying to make some Carrot Cake Cupcakes so I found a recipe on Food Network’s website by Ina Garten. I totally trust Ina so I knew they would be great. However, one thing I love about browsing recipes online is that you can read the reviews of people who have tried the recipe before. Most of the reviews mentioned the same problems with the recipe and offered solutions so I read them and modified accordingly.

Everyone at the party seemed to really enjoy them. The cupcakes were sooo moist and delcious but the real star was the icing. My dad and Alex are both “icing people” so I piled it on for them and I think they both appreciated it. Alex even admitted that despite thinking that he disliked Carrot Cake, he REALLY enjoyed these. He even ate the last one for breakfast this morning!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Source: Food Network (Ina Garten)

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used 1/3 c. of applesauce and 1 c. of oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins (I omitted)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted)

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean (I just baked on 350 for 35 minutes and they turned out perfect). Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.


I’m Baaaaaack!

April 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, we made the drive from Arizona to Texas relatively unscathed. We are currently staying at my parent’s home in Katy until we find a house to move into in the Killeen area and it is GLORIOUS. Why, you ask? Because they have an OVEN and a DISHWASHER!! Amazing! Annnnd I’m not working right now so I have ALL DAY to bake and make up for lost time! Yesssss! OH and I actually have REAL PLATES to take pictures on instead of paper ones all the time. Can you tell I’m a little excited?

So for my baking debut on my blog I wanted to make something “classic”. I starred this recipe from What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen a few days ago and decided they would be perfect for my debut. The only problem I had is that my mom’s baking soda was a little old I think so they were pretty flat. But, to be honest, I kinda like ’em flat! 🙂

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
(Source: Magnolia Bakery Cookbook; found on the Smitten Kitchen blog)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (for sprinkling) sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (I used milk chocolate peanut butter swirl chips)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crissscross pattern (I used the back of a palette knife to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy with a nice tall glass of ice cold milk!


Movin’ On Up

April 13, 2008

Moving Graphic

I am just going to apologize for the lack of posts this past week and in the week to come. We are moving to Fort Hood, Texas! If you haven’t already figured it out, my husband is in the US Army and therefore moving is part of our lives now. For the past 3 months he has been stationed at Fort Huachuca, AZ and we have been living in a HOTEL ROOM without a dishwasher, oven, or a normal sized sink/refrigerator. It has been interesting to say the least. I will include some photos for your enjoyment.

Here is our microwave, cupboard (top left), pantry (bottom left), tiny sink, and mini-fridge:

Hotel Fridge

Here is our TEENY-TINY stovetop with two burners that won’t even fit two pans on them at the same time so really it’s only one burner (oh and notice the lack of oven):

Hotel Stovetop

Needless to say, I am SO READY to get out of this hotel room and into a normal sized living space and kitchen. We officially check out on Wednesday (April 16th) and then we will spend a couple of days staying at my parent’s house in Katy, TX. Then we will drive to Fort Hood and try to get our hands on a house to rent (with a nice kitchen of course!). Once we have found said house we will be renting a UHaul and moving all of our junk from Katy to Fort Hood. I am sure while we are staying at my parent’s house I will make use of finally having an oven for the first time in months and will (hopefully) blog about what I bake.

Please stay tuned for yummy oven-cooked goodness in the days to come. “See” yall in Texas!!

P.S. To avoid being labeled an ungrateful b*tch, I will say I am throughly going to miss having a free, hot breakfast in the hotel lounge every morning and having my bed made and the room tidied by the housekeepers while I’m at work every day!

Simple Tomato Sauce

April 6, 2008

No picture for this one but I just had to share the recipe because it was SO yummy and super easy. I made this Tomato Sauce to go with Chicken Parmesan tonight and I will definitely make this sauce again and again! I couldn’t believe how simple and tasty it turned out.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Source: Cooks Illustrated

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used Crushed Tomatoes w/ Italian Seasonings to save the step of pureeing the tomatoes)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (I used probably a full teaspoon)
1 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Pulse the tomatoes with their juices in a food processor until mostly smooth, about 10 1-second pulses; set aside (I omitted this entire step by using Crushed Tomatoes). Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with S&P to taste (I also seasoned with Garlic Salt).

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

April 6, 2008

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas

As I was planning this week’s menu, I just happened to stumble across this recipe of Rachael Ray’s on the Food Network’s website. I decided it sounded delicious so I put it on this week’s menu. Turned out I couldn’t wait to make them so I made them the very first night of the week. Alex RAVED about these. He insisted that these be made over and over again in the future.  I thought they were very very tasty but unfortunately there was one thing holding back my enjoyment of them. I made the very stupid mistake of actually reading what all goes into Chorizo. Don’t ever make this mistake if you think you like Chorizo like I did. The ingredients were disgusting and I just couldn’t seem to get over it. It even went so far as to make me almost gag when I was eating the delicious quesadillas, not because they didn’t taste great but because I kept thinking about what all was in the chorizo. Yuck! I really don’t know if I’ll ever to be able to eat the delicious mexican sausage again. Boooo! I will definitely make these again in the future but I will make mine with just the shrimp and the cheese. I think they would still be delicious this way but Alex refuses to let me leave the chorizo out of his quesadillas in the future (apparently the ingredient list didn’t affect him the way it did me). I also really like the Guacamole but Alex says he likes his version of Guacamole better…go figure. 🙂

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

Source: Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals

2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
A couple pinches salt
1/4 cup sour cream, 3 rounded tablespoonfuls
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, available in cans on specialty food aisle in Mexican section
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, sliced thin on an angle
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin and crushed
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, ask for easy-peels at fish counter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (12- inch) flour tortillas
1/2 pound, 2 cups, shredded pepper Jack cheese

Cut avocados all the way around with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pit, then spoon avocado flesh away from skin into a food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime, a couple of pinches salt, sour cream and chipotles in adobo. Pulse guacamole until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown chorizo 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan. Add oil, garlic, then shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook shrimp until pink, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and a large tortilla. Cook tortilla 30 seconds, then turn. Cover 1/2 of the tortilla with a couple of handfuls of cheese. Arrange a layer of chorizo and shrimp over the cheese and fold tortilla over. Press down gently with a spatula and cook tortilla a minute or so on each side to melt cheese and crisp. Remove quesadilla to large cutting board and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 5 wedges and transfer to plates with your spatula. Top wedges of quesadillas with liberal amounts of smoky guacamole.

Alex’s Turkey Burgers with Homemade Ketchup

April 6, 2008

Alex's Turkey Burgers

I used to think I didn’t like Turkey Burgers. I had tried making them for myself one time in college and they were NASTY. Luckily, I got married to The Turkey Burger Master and he has forever changed my opinion of Turkey Burgers. Almost every week I put Turkey Burgers on the menu because of two things: A) I know it means he will cook and I can be lazy and B) They are so darn delicious. He always experiments with the flavors a little bit and this week’s burgers were by far the tastiest yet. As a bonus, he even whipped up his own version of homemade ketchup because we didn’t have any on hand. Surprisingly, the homemade ketchup is what took these burgers over the top. What a stud!!

Alex’s Turkey Burgers with Homemade Ketchup

For the burger patties:

  • 1.25 pounds ground Turkey
  • 1/4 c. of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 a small Onion, chopped
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Lemon Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 1/4 tsp. Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 tsp. of Balsamic Vinegar

Mix the ingredients together with your hands and form into 4 equal size patties. Grill until done and then top with sliced cheese (we used Pepper Jack Cheese) and leave on grill until melted. Place burger patties on buns (we used Onion Buns from the Bakery section of grocery store) and top with red onion and Homemade Ketchup (see recipe below). Enjoy!

For the Homemade Ketchup:

  • 1 small can Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 c. Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • A little bit of water for thinning (as much as you like)

Mix all together and use the water to get it to your desired thinness. Spread on hamburger buns and enjoy!