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. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

All I can say is I wish you could upload smells to this blog. This bread smelled so amazing you could even smell it outside.
Do any of you ever sneak in a little extra of your favorite ingredient? Anytime a recipe calls for chocolate chips I sneak in a bit extra. It's just too tempting. 
I was a little nervous that the bread would rise too much in the oven and start spilling over the top of the loaf dish. I was cutting it a little too close for comfort. That has happened to me before with angel food cake, which I will never make again, the $2 it cost at the store is very much worth it.

Here we are going into the oven...

Here we are coming out of the oven (yes, I know, I'm going to clean it today).
I used the spicy advice and substituted a little whole wheat flour, you can't even tell.

The bananas I used were pretty ripe, but not brown:

It looks burnt at the bottom, I had to cook for 80 minutes to get the center to cook. It doesn't taste burnt, I think that's just melted chocolate chips that give it the dark tint. 

There it is! The most perfect banana bread ever!
We had some for dessert last night with 2 scoops of ice cream, and again for breakfast this morning, minus the ice cream. It was delicious both ways. 
Sous chef says this is the best banana bread he has ever had. He's had a lot of banana bread too, it's one of his favorites. I guess that means he gives it two thumbs up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mexican Meatloaf

We're on a Mexican kick!

We had Mexican Meatloaf for dinner last night and the leftovers for lunch today. There's even enough left to have dinner one night this week!
This meatloaf was delicious and a piece of cake to make. It took me about 10 minutes to prepare. It did take a long time in the oven and sous chef and I were starving by the time it was ready. 
The recipe calls for 1.5lbs of beef, but I used 2 and just increased the rest of the ingredients a little. I just hate having extra stuff like that in the refrigerator and of course you can't just buy 1.5lbs of beef. I already told you about the beef in the freezer. Now there's 2 lbs left to use before May. I think we can handle that. 
This is what it looks like straight out of the looks much better once you add the topping.
 This looks much more appetizing doesn't it?

Slice it up and you've got a delicious meal!

We ate this with the leftover asparagus from the night before. They actually paired pretty well together.

The ingredients totaled $7 and it made 6 servings, $1.16 a serving. The nutrition information is the best part: 167 calories per serving and 5 grams of fat! I burned twice as many calories as that at the gym today! I'm going to say those cancel each other out and I can have extra banana chocolate chip bread...

Sous Chef gives this one:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Marinated Asparagus

To quote Holly Clegg, "give simple asparagus some spunk!" 
That's exactly what I did using this simple marinade. 
I love asparagus and don't really think they need much help to be delicious, so I was skeptical about this recipe. It was pretty yummy though. 
I feel like I need to explain the perfect grill marks on my asparagus. I used frozen grilled asparagus from Trader Joe's because that was what I had in the freezer. It's only $3.
I don't think there's a Trader Joe's in Louisiana, but for those of you who do have one, these asparagus are delicious, and all you have to do is thaw them in the microwave for 2 minutes. 

 Lay the asparagus in a dish, then mix them with the marinade below. 

The marinade is a garlicy, tangy, citrusy marinade and was very light. I added the rice so it would soak up the extra marinade. 

Served it with some previously frozen and marinated baked chicken (also from trader Joe's), and we had a well balanced, low fat meal. 

Sous chef gives this recipe 1 thumb up!

So easy to make.

Southwestern Rice

This delicious vegetarian dish was super easy to make and it completely "hit the spot" Monday night. 
The most involved part about making this dish is cooking the rice. I used brown rice for the first time ever. It came out great. Bradley doesn't like brown rice, so I didn't tell him that I used it to see if he would notice, and he didn't! I think a rice cooker is magical and an absolute must when cooking rice. 
The rest of the ingredients came out of a can. I didn't even have to chop anything because I had chopped green onions leftover from the shrimp and corn soup we had last week. 

You can see it makes a ton of food. The book says 8 servings, but we had quite an appetite this week so it made 6 servings for us. We took the spicy advice and made it into a burrito the second night using the leftover meat from the taco salads we had last week and leftover wraps from the BBQ chicken quesadillas. 

Sous chef gave this 2 thumbs up! (it took 50 minutes to bake in the oven and I think anything would have gotten 2 thumbs up he was so hungry), but it definitely deserves two thumbs up. 
I love vegetarian meals because they are so cheap. The ingredients for this meal cost $8 and with our hungry appetites it made 6 servings which is $1.30 per serving. Next time you hear someone say it's impossible to eat healthy food for a decent price refer them to Holly Clegg's cookbooks!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taco Salad

Honestly, I chose this recipe because I went to Costco last weekend and bought this huge thing of lettuce. It was only $3, which I thought was a really good deal, but between the two of us there's no way we can it eat all. I'll stick to Kroger for lettuce from now on.

While at Costco I also bought 5, 1 pound packages of lean ground beef for $10! That's $2 a pound! So we have a lot of beef in the freezer that expires May 11, 2011.

That being said this was the perfect recipe to use up some of the ingredients in the fridge and freezer.  I didn't have to make a trip to the store for any ingredients. I love when that happens! I didn't have any tomatoes, but we just did without.
The recipe took about 20 minutes from start to finish. It was super easy. 
I used a rice cooker for the rice, a cutting board and a pot to cook the meat in. Clean up took about 5 min. I love easy dinners on Sunday nights. 

You can't see the meat and rice mixture on the bottom pic, but it's there. 
For a salad this was pretty filling because of the rice. 
This recipe had 419 calories and 10 grams of fat, which is a bit more than Holly Clegg's recipes usually have. I guess the numbers came from the cheese and the rice. 
I loved it. It was easy to prepare and I had all of the ingredients in the fridge, some of which would have gone bad had we not used them (lettuce and sour cream).
Sous chef gives it 1 thumb up for taste but a sideways thumb for creativity. I give it one thumb up. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sweet Potato Cornmeal Biscuits

We had these yummy sweet potato and cornmeal biscuits for breakfast this morning. They were a little more difficult to make than I had anticipated. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry, including some Louisiana sweet potatoes. 
I even had a pastry blender. I didn't even know what this was, I had to google it. I use it to make chicken and egg salad. Who knew it was a "pastry blender."
So I mixed everything with my "pastry blender" then rolled it out on the counter.

Messy Bessy

It is near impossible to get this thing rolled into a square, which made for some funny looking corner biscuits. 
They tasted great, especially with some grape jelly or honey on top.

Sous chef gives these 1 thumb up!

German Chocolate Cake Squares

Did everyone get to watch the BCS championship game on Monday? 
We went to a friends house to watch it on his big screen HDTV. It was awesome!

I made the German Chocolate Cake Squares to share with everyone for dessert. They were quite a hit. 

These were a little difficult to make, it was a good thing I had the day off from work. They took about an hour from start to finish. I had to break down and buy the pecans, as well as parchment paper, and a box of cake mix. All of the other ingredients I had in the pantry. I feel like I've used coconut like crazy and still have almost half a bag left. So just to paint a mental picture of what they tasted like, imagine a layer of coconut and pecans, topped with a fluffy and moist chocolate cake, then a light and creamy chocolate frosting. Delicious! The recipe made a lot and the original plan was for Bradley to bring them to work with him ( my boss said I was fired if I brought anymore sweets to work), but we ended up eating them all ourselves (over an entire week of course).

Sous chef gave these 2 thumbs up, as did all of the folks that watched the game with us. Yay for the SEC!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Southwestern Shrimp, Corn and Sweet Potato Soup

We had another snowy day in Nashville, so I thought it was time for some more soup. 

Butters exploring the snow.

This soup was delicious and it only took me about 20 min to prepare. I used real Louisiana sweet potatoes that my grandmother sent me from St. Francisville. They are delicious. She buys them from the 4H club there in 20lb boxes. Much sweeter than the sweet potatoes that grow here in Nashville, smaller too which makes them easier to chop for soups. The onion and sweet potato were all that needed to be chopped. The rest of the ingredients came from a frozen bag or a can. I put them directly into one pot and let it boil for 20 min. Just be sure you use a large pot because this filled up my largest pot. It makes a lot of soup, 12 servings to be exact. 146 calories for 1 cup of soup and 1 gram of fat. If you're trying to lose some weight this is the way to go. It was very filling for that kind of nutritional information. 

Sous chef is from TN and he has never had shrimp and corn soup before. It was funny to see his reaction to the fact that shrimp and corn go so well together. We grew up eating this in my house. 

He gave the recipe 2 thumbs up, as did I. The flavoring is comparable to the soup they serve at the Chimes, minus the sweet potatoes.

Notice how large the green onions are in this cup. Just as a side note, they're not as good when they're that big.

This recipe cost $7 for the shrimp (I used frozen), $1 for the frozen corn, and $2.50 for the canned ingredients. The rest were spices that we had in the pantry already, and the sweet potatoes were free! That's $10.50 total, making this recipe a whopping 0.87 cents per serving. Unbelievable! Weight loss and money saving. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I wanted to make some more cookies for Bradley to put in his lunch box this week, but I ended up eating all of these myself. 

Mine aren't near as pretty as the ones in the cookbook, but I'm sure they tasted just as good. 
They were very light. A little messy to eat, I got crumbs all over the place, which of course Butters loves.  I'm going to be honest, I left out the pecans so I didn't have to go to the grocery store. Instead I put a few extra chocolate chips. They were still quite yummy. 
I give them one thumb up!

Stuffed Crab Poblano Peppers

I have been really excited to make this recipe! I always get stuffed poblano peppers when we eat out at Mexican restaurants, but those are deep fried, so I've never tried to make them at home before. 
This recipe used baked poblano peppers to cut calories. 
It's very unique. 

Start with your poblano's. I bought one extra because I always seem to end up with extra stuffing. 

Cut 'em in half and put in the stuffing which is a cream cheese/crab mixture:

Then wrap them in turkey bacon:

I actually liked the turkey bacon on this recipe. I said previously that I don't really like it. 


These were pretty easy to make. I made them Friday when I had the day off, so I was able to make them in the morning and store them in the fridge. 
They were quite expensive to make. I bought the crabmeat at costco for a whopping $12. It was really good crabmeat. The Poblano's were $3. $1.25 for the cream cheese. I already had the turkey bacon and the rest of the ingredients in the fridge. I would guess they cost about $20 total, it made 5 servings, making them $4 a serving. 
Bradley brought some to work Saturday night for dinner and he said all of the nurses were staring at them in Awe. He called me at 11pm to ask for the blog address so he could show them all of the other wonderful recipes we've made. 

Sous chef gives this one 2 thumbs up!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sous Chef

I'm so embarassed! I've been spelling sous chef wrong. We saw it written in a pamphlet and it was spelled Sous! Oops. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bok Choy Salad

Yummy! This salad is so unique and nutritious.
It's nice to change up lettuce for bok choy. The recipe has a dressing included which is soy sauce and rice vinegar based. It made quite a bit, so we've been putting it on salads the rest of the week.

There was a lot that went into making this little salad. You have to chop the bok choy and the green onions, toast the sliced almonds and mix up the dressing, all of which took me about 20 minutes.
We paired this salad with the potato soup and had a delicious soup and salad meal for dinner. 

Soux chef says:


Potato Soup

This recipe was unbelievably easy!
I hate chopping potatoes. It's genius to start with a bag of hash-browns! If you really want to make this easy, get a bag of frozen chopped onions, then all chopping would be completely eliminated. Throw all of your ingredients in one big pot and let it simmer. So easy!
I doubled the recipe and used the entire bag of hash-browns. This made 6 servings, which we've been enjoying all week. 
Next time I make this recipe I think I'll pre-cook the hash-browns in some boiling water for a few minutes to get some of the starch out. I thought the soup had a similar consistency to grits. You can add extra milk to make a thinner soup, but it still seemed a little starchy.

This dinner contains 215 calories and 0 fat. There's 46grams of carbs thought, not good for you atkins dieters. 

Soux Chef says:

Look at that face! Soux chef's mom has a recipe that he will remain faithful to (it has a brick of cream cheese in it, who wouldn't like that). He doesn't have to cook either recipe and he's not worried about saving calories and fat. I give it one thumb up. I love how easy it was to make and that it has no fat. 

German Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are delicious! I had all of the ingredients in the pantry except dark chocolate morsels, and I bought some fresh brown sugar (which I also bought an air tight container for and am waiting for a clay disc to come in the mail). I just used a little electric hand mixer to mix up all of the ingredients and then folded in the rest by hand. The recipe made about 30 cookies and they lasted us 3 days. Oops!
84 calories and 4 grams of fat per cookie, that's actually about the same as an oreo, but these have good fat (and lots of vitamins and antioxidants) from coconut and pecans. I found an article that discussed coconut's viral protection, including protection from the flu virus and common cold. I might start eating it in mass quantities over the next few months. How's that for rationalizing the quick disappearance of these cookies?

It was hard to get a good picture. Just a piece of advice, you don't want these to come out soft and gooey like you do chocolate chip cookies. The ones that I left in a little longer were actually better. 

Soux chef says:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

One Pot New Year's Day Meal

Bradley and I spent New Year's Eve in Eastman, GA at a wedding. I didn't get to make my New Year's dish for good luck until today. This dish literally took me 15 minutes to prepare, and about 10 minutes of that time was spent chopping cabbage. I used my Le Creuset pot (thanks Hart's). I was nervous about putting it in the oven, but the website says that it is safe with temperatures up to 375 degrees. It was the perfect size. I changed up two of the ingredients. I accidentally bought the tomatoes and green chilis that are meant for cooking chili so they had a little chili seasoning, and I had a pound of turkey in the freezer so I substituted that for the sirloin. My grandmother cooked the same dish yesterday and recommended adding salt and pepper to the meat, which I did. 
I layered all of my ingredients:

Cooked it for an hour and 15 minutes...

Bradley and I had a delicious lunch. It made quite a bit of food. I'm debating putting some of it in the freezer. 

Soux Chef gave it one thumb up. I gave it the same. It was an easy casserole, 

Marion was the first to try out the recipe so she sent an overview. Thanks Marion!

I made the one pot New Year’s Day meal on page 176.  (Too Hot In the Kitchen)  It was very good and very easy.  The hardest part was to chop the cabbage.   (I  did that the day before)  I made it in a heavy round magnolite roaster with a cover, and cooked it in the oven.  I    am getting ready to microwave some left-overs.  Wish you could come eat some with me.  It makes a lot.  I didn’t add any extra season,but if I made it again I would sprinkle a little salt and black pepper on the ground sirloin.   very easy meal.