Friday, June 24, 2011

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

I made Mexican Breakfast Casserole for Bradley and I to eat for breakfast this week. It's a great breakfast idea for when you have company, or just want something to eat all week. It lasted us about 5 days. My only problem with the recipe was that I couldn't find turkey sausage anywhere. I ended up using just regular low fat sausage which still had plenty of fat. The recipe goes in the casserole dish in layers. 

Here's a pic of the top layer before I poured in the eggs:

You have to plan ahead because the dish marinates overnight

Here's a pic of the dish right out the oven:

And here's a side view of my serving:

I always forget to add the salt and pepper while I mixing together the recipe and end up having to add a lot before I eat. 

Sous chef gives this recipe 1 thumb up! He especially liked having a hot breakfast all week. I did too, definitely a luxury in this house. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicken Salad with Orange Dijon Vinaigrette

This salad is so refreshing. I used some leftover chicken breast that we grilled on Memorial day so the prep and clean up were extremely easy. We actually had many of the ingredients already: chicken, grapes, pecans and all of the ingredients for the dressing. I don't think I've ever had Napa cabbage before using this cook book and I've decided that I love it! Its much thinner than cabbage so it's not as chewy. 

Doesn't it look delicious? 
I absolutely loved the orange dijon vinaigrette. I'm planning on using this instead of bottled salad dressing. Seriously you have to try it, page 37. 

Clean up was a cinch since I had already made the chicken. I just used a cutting board and a knife. Prep time was about 15 minutes. The cost is a little hard to calculate because I had the chicken in the freezer. Grapes are expensive right now and the napa cabbage was $3.50, but I have a ton leftover. 

Sous Chef says:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sirloin Strips with Marsala Sauce

I was flipping through the cookbook looking for something with mushrooms because I have a coupon for mushrooms that I really wanted to use before it expires. That's how I found this recipe. It turns out that i had coupons for a nice little meal. 

A coupon for the meat and the mushrooms! and a little side salad as well. 

I love any recipe with baby portabella mushrooms which means that I loved this recipe. It took about 20 minutes total cook time. I used rice as a side and started it first so it would be done once the meat was done and they finished exactly the same time. Rice orzo is a must with this recipe because the gravy it makes is delicious.

There's a super close up for you. We enjoyed it with a pre-bagged ceaser salad and the meal was delicious. The recipe made 3 servings for us, so Bradley had the leftovers the next day for lunch. It was just as good. 
Sous chef gives this recipe: 1 thumb up!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easy Edamame Salad

This recipe is going to be super easy once my tomato plants and herb garden start producing. Keep a bag of frozen shelled edamame in the freezer and the rest are ingredients I usually keep in stock in the fridge. 
This salad is light and refreshing. I could eat it alone for dinner, but Sous Chef needs a little more sustenance. I bought a huge thing of crumbled Feta cheese at Costco a few weeks ago and it seems no matter how much we eat, it never goes empty. 

It even looks summery!

I give it 2 thumbs up, Sous Chef gives it 1. I plan on making this many more times this summer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Margarita Shrimp

I'm back!!!!
The kitchen is all set up and stocked with wonderful ingredients! I'm ready to start eating healthy again. 
We still don't have a reliable internet source, they said that will take up to 3 months, but that's a different story. So in the mean time there is a corner upstairs that get wireless from somewhere that occasionally works. 

We celebrated our two year anniversary last week! Our celebratory dinner was Margarita Shrimp and some white rice with cilantro and lime (that one isn't in the cookbook, but I thought it would go quite nicely with the shrimp). 

The recipe appears simple, but it was kind of like making a roux for gumbo. You have to stir in the flour with olive oil and watch out because it might burn, especially on a gas stove (which I'm super excited about, but still getting used to).

The spicy advice says you can substitute orange juice for orange liqueur, which I did because we didn't not have any. I also failed to notice the line that says to marinate for an hour so that wasn't done either, but it came out quite nice. 

Sous Chef says:


There really wasn't much clean up, I used one pot and a cutting board. 
I planted some cilantro seeds outside and will definitely make this again when they start growing. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

sorry for the absence

I didn't forget about you all. I had to take a temporary break from cooking. We're moving this weekend so the kitchen is packed away in boxes. It's frozen pizzas and Chinese take out for us this week.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chili Con Carne

Well we went to Costco and bought 5 more pounds of lean ground beef, so I thought this recipe would be perfect as it calls for two pounds of ground sirloin. This was a very simple recipe. Most of the ingredients came from a can, otherwise they were spices that should be in your pantry.  The recipe has cocoa in it, which is unusual but somehow it works. The recipe makes 8 servings which means we ate it for four days. Very economical and not many dishes to clean since it all went into one pot. 
This recipe has 31g of protein which is quite impressive. 

Sous chef gave this recipe 1 thumb up!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pie

As noted in the previous post, I was elected to make dessert for Heath and Karen's BBQ last weekend. I thought I would make something chocolate for the chocolate lovers and something fruity for the non-chocolate lovers. Publix had their strawberries on sale last week so I made the Fresh Strawberry Pie. Publix always has the best strawberries from Florida at the beginning of the summer. I bought a ton of them. 

This pie was even easier than the last. You use an already made pie crust. The filling is a lemon gelatin mixture which holds everything together quite nicely. 

This is a picture of the gooey gelatin:
As you can tell it's really thick. 

Mix in the strawberries, pour it over the pie crust and refrigerate. Then you get this lovely looking piece of pie. It was great. Perfect for the summer. Jason loved it. He gave it two thumbs up, but everyone else was flocking towards the chocolate pie. 

Fudgy Brownie Pie

I have a little catching up to do. I made this fudgy brownie pie twice last week. Once for a BBQ at Heath and Karen's and it was so delicious I had to make it again for Mandy's 28th birthday (minus 2 ingredients: Dr. B doesn't do coffee and Mandy is allergic to nuts).

So we had it as it was meant to be at Heath and Karen's:

It's hard to tell from this picture, but there are three layers. The bottom layer is a brownie layer infused with coffee, and the middle layer is a pudding layer also infused with coffee. It's like an easy to bake tiramisu. It seriously took me about 30 minutes to make, includes cooking time. If you have the cookbook the recipe is page 65 and there is a picture...whi that ch is much better than mine. The brownie portion on the bottom is intended to be about half cooked, hard to do. 
Just FYI, it's much better with the coffee and the pecans. 

An aerial view - the red one is coming up next!

Needless to say, everyone including myself gave this two thumbs up!

P.S. I'm working on my picture taking skills

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ahi Tuna Tacos with Wasabi Cream and Mango Avacado Salsa

Hi Everyone!
We had a great summer-time dinner on this cold and rainy day in Nashville. It made me wish for sunshine even more. 
This recipe sounds really intimidating, but it actually took me about 20 minutes from start to finish. However, it certainly was not cheap, at least not this time of year. I actually cheated and used yellowfin tuna because that was all they had at Kroger...I'm not even sure what the difference is. I bought 2 tuna steaks frozen for $7. I cut them into little peices, placed them on a skillet with taco seasoning and olive oil and cooked for about 5 min. 

I was nervous because I've never cooked tuna before. It turned out pretty good, not as good as at a restaurant though. 

Next I made my Wasabi Cream Sauce. 
Who remembers our incident with the wasabi crab cakes? Well I was really careful to put just a tiny bit of wasabi paste this time, and it tasted much better. No sinus burning. 
I mixed it in the yogurt container so I didn't have to do extra dishes. 

Then the salsa. This part took the longest because of all of the chopping. Let me just say that I paid $2.25 for that avocado. I'm not sure why they're so expensive right now, but we won't be eating those for a while, so I told Bradley he better savor this one. 

This was the part that tasted like summer! Delicious!

I made a little assembly line and:
Sous chef gives them:
He was shy tonight. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

White Chocolate Blueberry Bundt Cake

This recipe is where the money's at!
I used some blueberry's that I had in the freezer that we picked at the Richmond's house last summer. Just like the title says, there's white chocolate morsels throughout the cake. As far as cakes go, this one's pretty easy. I've always wondered why you have to mix the dry ingredients before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. They're all going to be mixed together in the end, so what difference does it make?

The recipe says you can add pecans if desired, but I didn't have any so I left them out. It's really the almond glaze that makes the cake. I wasn't sure about spending $3.00 on the tiny bottle of almond extract, but it was worth it. I want to put it in everything!

I had to cook the cake for about 60 min. It seems that my oven always takes much longer than what the recipe says.  Bundt cakes are weird. You can't make the bottom, which is really the top, flat because it cooks upside down and the bottom rises. 

Side view:

Sous chef gives this one 2 thumbs up and said it's the best recipe for blueberry cake he's ever tasted (and with his parents growing blueberries, he's tasted plenty). 

Homestyle Chicken

Our church has a committee that makes dinner for new mothers, so sweet sous chef signed me up last weekend while I was out of town. He said he knew whatever I cooked would be delicious and that he would get the extras. I picked Homestyle Chicken and made a side of Oriental Pasta (per Bradley's request. I've made it before, it's in a previous post) and Blueberry pie for Dessert. The Homestyle Chicken was fairly easy. I had 12 chicken breast in the freezer so I was eager to use them. 
This is basically a chicken breast in an onion flavored gravy. It was quite tasty. If I make it again I would put it in the slow cooker. 

I realize that it doesn't look that fantastic. This is because the chicken is coated in flour and when I mixed it in the gravy it started peeling off. It tasted great though. 
Sous chef gave this 1 thumb up. 

Seared Scallops wrapped in Prosciutto

Okay folks, I'm sorry to say that this was the first recipe that I didn't like. But in all fairness to the recipe, I don't care for scallops. This recipe has 2 ingredients: scallops and prosciutto and the total cost for me was $20. I bought the scallops at Costco, which was probably my first mistake. Are you supposed to wash the scallops first? Well I didn't and they were gritty.  The recipe was super easy to prepare and cook. It took about 10 minutes to wrap them, and about 10 minutes to cook them. My advice to anyone making this recipe would be 1. don't buy the scallops at Costco, 2. rinse the scallops. 

Here's a photo. They look lovely:

I'm not going to give this one a rating because I knew I wouldn't like them before I even cooked them. 
Sous chef isn't a fan of scallops either unless they're wrapped in bacon dripping with grease at Bosco's. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barbecue Shrimp

I love Sundays! This morning after church we spent about 2 hours walking around Costco and tasting all of the samples. We also picked up the ingredients for a treat of a dish tomorrow night and the next few weeks. After Costco, we picked up our friend who is an international student at Vanderbilt, Shuai. He's from China. They connect the international students with local families to try to immerse them in our culture while they're in the United States. He's from a coastal city in China so I made the Barbecue Shrimp. 

I bought the headless, shell on shrimp from the freezer section because that was what was on sale at Kroger. A 2 lb bag was $7.99. I let them thaw overnight last night in the fridge. 

This is a super easy recipe and if you did a taste test with Mr B's Barbecue shrimp you wouldn't be able to tell too much of a difference, but your waisteline could. I looked up their recipe on-line, it has 2 sticks of butter in it. No wonder it's so delicious. Holly's recipe has no butter, consider yourself safe to sop up all of the drippings with bread. 

Mix all ingreadients into one large pan, boil, then add shrimp. Easy as that. 

We all soaked up all of the sauce at the bottom of the bowl with some ciabatta bread. They went very well together. Shuai altered his dish a little with about 2 tsp of cracked red pepper. He likes his food very spicy.

After much explaining of the rules, and some serious contemplating by Shuai, he gave it two thumbs up. Sous chef gives it one. 

Quick Lemon Blueberry Bread

I've been trying to make a quick loaf of bread each week. It's easy to cut a slice for breakfast before work. 
I made the blueberry bread with some frozen blueberries that we picked fresh at the Richmond's house last summer. This recipe was delicious. Very tart with the lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract, but I loved it. It even has a nice glaze that you pour over the top when it comes out the oven. 
My only comment is that I tried to use Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese and it wouldn't completely dissolve. If I were to make it again, which I'm sure I will, I'll use cream cheese. 

Sous chef gives this loaf 1 thumb up. Apparently he's not a big lemon person. That's the first I'm hearing of this. I give it two thumbs up. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Great Greek Meatballs with Orzo

A nice change from spaghetti and meatballs. 
I've said this before, but the last time I cooked with orzo pasta it congealed into one large lump of pasta, so I was extra careful while cooking it this time and it came out perfect!

This recipe gives you a little freedom to choose your marinara sauce. I used a jar of home canned tomatoes from the Richmond's garden in Clarksville. Guaranteed fresh and no preservatives. 

Since I used this, I had to turn it into a marinara with some onions and italian seasoning. 
The recipe was fairly easy. I've always hated forming all of those little meatballs. My hands turn to ice from the freezing meat, and you can't stir it up with a spoon, that never works, you have to use your cold hands to mush it all together. This recipe is pretty much spaghetti and meatballs, but uses orzo and feta cheese. 

It was quite tasty. It is supposed to make 6 servings, but Bradley had seconds each time he ate it so it only yielded 4 servings for us. It was very good. 
Sous Chef gives it: 
1 thumb up!

Speedy Chicken Chili

To quote sous chef "if there's one thing Holly does well, it's soups."
He's right about that. We had Speedy Chicken Chili this week because the canned vegetables were on sale for $.50 this week at Kroger, and there were 4 cans of vegetables in this recipe.

I just can't say enough how genius I think it is to use salsa in dishes like this. It adds so much flavor and spice, and you don't have to chop onions and bell peppers. 

It was hard to get a good picture because all of the good stuff kept sinking to the bottom of the bowl. 

This recipe made about 8 servings for Bradley and I, which was nice because that was 4 nights of cooking and cleaning pots that we didn't have to worry about. 
This dish was super easy to prepare. You can buy pre-cooked chicken and not have to do a thing, but I used frozen chicken. The dish only takes one large pot and that's about it. No clean up required, we put the pot in the fridge with the leftovers and enjoyed it all week. 
Sous chef gives this:
One thumb up!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Greek Shrimp

Before the invention of this cookbook I never cooked with shrimp. They were something special for eating out at restaurants, so I've really been enjoying eating the shrimp recipes. 
This dish was delicious and delightfully different from all of the others.

A healthy serving of vegetables is included with the tomatoes, peas, olives and onions. The recipe makes 6-8 servings, for us it was 6. We enjoyed it over angel hair pasta the first two nights, then basmati rice the 3rd night. I liked it best with the pasta, sous chef liked it best with the rice. Either way you serve it's still delicious, especially with the feta cheese on top!
Prep time was about 10 minutes. Everything came from the freezer or a can. All I had to do was chop an onion. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shrimp Dumplings with Asian Sauce

I was really nervous about making this recipe. It's quite tedious and unlike anything I've ever made before. 

First I had to google won ton wrappers because I haven't been able to find them at the store. My google search showed that you have to look in the refrigerated health food/soy section. That's where I found these:

Once I had all of my ingredients I put them in the food processor and made a spinach and shrimp paste:

Then I filled the won ton wrappers with the paste and twist the top:

A tip I figured out after I had finished was to wet the edges of the wrappers so they stick together easier. As you might imagine this part took a while. 
Once they're all filled and pinched you cook them in water:

Then serve them with the Asian sauce:

We had this dish with the left over Asian pasta I had made the night before. They went quite well together. 

I made the dumplings in the morning on a day off. It took about an hour to from start to finish, so definitely save this recipe for a day off. I had time to have the kitchen cleaned and once it was time for dinner it took about 15 minutes to prepare, all I had to do was boil them in the water and cover with asian sauce. 

Sous Chef not only gave this recipe two thumbs up, he said it was the best recipe in the cookbook thus far. Of course his favorite would be one of the hardest to prepare. 

The recipe made about 5 servings which brings the cost to $2.60 a serving. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

Sorry for the relative absence. Sous chef has been out of town this week. I cooked one recipe for myself that I didn't think he'd miss, but I was wrong. I've never heard of Italian Wedding Soup, but I googled it and apparently it's pretty common. There were a lot of different recipes for it. It's awesome! I had all of the ingredients at home, so no extra trips to the grocery (I left out the celery). Spinach and carrots leftover from recipe last week, pasta was on sale at Kroger for $.99 a carton a few weeks ago so I stocked up on all the pastas I thought I would ever need. For the broths, I like to use bouillon cubes because I can keep that stocked in the pantry without taking up much room. 

It includes a side recipe for mini meatballs that are delicious:

Combine all other ingredients into a large pot then add the meatballs. 
I love the orzo pasta in this soup. I've cooked with it once before and I accidently overcooked it making a big block of pasta. I've been afraid to use it again since that little incident. 

The recipe makes 12 servings and I've been eating about 2 servings a day. You can freeze some if you want, but I was saving some for when Bradley gets home. 

Calories: 153, fat: 3g. I love it!
I give it two thumbs up!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Oriental Pasta Salad

This pasta salad sounded delicious and I was super excited about making it. 
It has an asian twist and is packed with fruits and vegetables. 

I love managers special's at Kroger. They mark stuff way down when it's about to reach it's expiration date.

Just a side note, the package of the shredded cabbage said 16oz, which is two cups, but if you put it into a measuring cup its actually about 4 cups. I went ahead and put the whole package into the recipe because I didn't know what else I would do with it, but I was stumped. Plus the pasta only came in a 12 ounce package and I wanted to use all of it. 

This salad has a delicious and creative crispy topping which didn't quite work out like I had planned:
Some of it was salvageable. Be careful as it cooks fast. 

Look how much it made. We'll be eating this all week, which is fine by me. 

This is the dish with the topping and the special Asian Sauce. 

Sous chef gives this recipe 2 thumbs up. It was delicious and a great way to get a serving of vegetables.
I love the vegetarian dishes because they're so cheap. This recipe cost $5.91 total (the edamame was the majority of the cost), and it makes 8 servings totaling $0.73 a serving!

Carrot Pineapple Bread

This bread is similar to the morning muffins but way better!
I had all of the ingredients in the pantry except for the pineapple (I'm still using that first bag of coconut I bought when I started this blog). I had some carrots leftover from the shrimp and corn soup I made 2 weeks ago. It was actually quite easy to make. I want to know why you have to mix all of the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another before you mix them together. Seems to me liek you could just mix them all together in one bowl. 
Anyway, here's the final product:

I bought a new loaf pan that is a little larger. I didn't have to problem with the center not cooking this time. 
This bread makes a great breakfast. We've been eating it all weekend. 
Sous chef gives it 1 thumb up!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

French Onion Soup

This yummy French Onion Soup is the real thing!
I love French Onion soup, but I've always made it from the dry powder mixes with dehydrated onions when I make it at home. This was pretty easy to prepare, it only uses one pot, but there are a lot of ingredients that go into it. I made this Monday and have had it for leftovers two other nights this week. I love leftovers because there's no preparation, no clean up, and it can be ready in two minutes. Bradley on the other hand gets tired of them. 

All of the ingredients go into one large pot.

Then it goes into a bowl, top it with french bread and cheese and put in the oven on broil.
I wasn't sure if these dishes are oven safe, but they seemed to do okay.

I love it with the crispy bread and cheese on top!

Great meal, especially when it's cold out. 

Bradley gave it one thumb up. He said his reasoning is because he can make it himself without the recipe. Then he started naming all of the ingredients he would put in it and none of them were close! He's so adorable. I thought it was delicious and easy.