February 29, 2012

Peppery Cod with Lemon Garlic Linguine - Guest at Strategic Shopping

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Today I am guest posting over at my friend Candy's blog - Strategic Shopping.  Candy and I are both Northern NY girls and have known each other for a long time now.  She is one of the few blogging friends that I personally know!  I was honored when Candy asked me to guest blog for her and I look forward to doing more posts with her and hope to have her share some of her wonderful shopping knowledge here on my site with you too!  I am grateful for the opportunity to share with my readers and Candy's readers simple, delicious, and frugal recipes!  Please visit her site to view my post and recipe for Peppery Cod with Lemon Garlic Linguine
I also am submitting this post to Ruth for Presto Pasta Nights.  This is a special week for Ruth as Presto Pasta Nights turns 5!  Please join in this celebration by visiting Ruth's blog Once Upon a Feast for a round up of delicious pasta meals on Friday!  Its not too late to participate this week either.  Ruth needs your information by end of the day on Thursday (tomorrow).  The guidelines for joining in on PPN can be found on the Presto Pasta Night's website.

PRINTABLE RECIPE for Peppery Cod with Lemon Garlic Linguini

February 27, 2012

Indian Spiced Butternut Squash Tri-Colored Quinoa Salad

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There are certain things I just crave all the time.  Butternut Squash, cilantro, quinoa, roasted cashews, Indian spices to name a few.  Ever since I was first introduced to Indian flavors I have been in love with them.  Unfortunately Grumpy is not but he no longer complains to me too much or says I can't cook anything with Indian spices when he is home.

A few weeks ago I went to the Honest Weight Food Co-Op and found a Quinoa Salad that was so yummy.  I decided then and there I would replicate it somewhat but never saved the container that it came in so I didn't have a list of ingredients that were in the salad.  I do remember thinking that I wished it was cilantro instead of basil in the salad - but the salad was still really yummy!
So I decided that I would still use the two main ingredients in their salad - the quinoa and butternut squash - and go with my own flavors.  I didn't have a butternut squash and hadn't remembered to buy one, but last week when we were visiting home my dad gave me a butternut squash from their garden.  Yes, I was grocery shopping in my parent's pantry again!

First thing Sunday morning I decided to throw together the recipe that I am sharing with you today.  Before I prepared it I wrote down ingredients that I thought would go really well in this salad and just put it together as I felt it should be.  While I didn't measure my ingredients (with the exception of spices) I have given estimates as to how much of everything else you should use.  I hope if you make this you enjoy it.  I know I will be enjoying it a couple of days this week for my lunch at work!

Indian Spiced Butternut Squash Tri-Colored Quinoa Salad
inspired by a salad made at Honest Weight Food Co-Op

Printable Recipe

2-1/2 cups tri-colored quinoa, cooked and cooled
3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed (black)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes - adjust according to your heat tolerance
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted cashews

Cook quinoa and set aside to cool.  I used 1-1/2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa, placed in a saucepan and brought to a boil.  Turned down to a very slow simmer and let it cook until water was absorbed.  I used about 1/2 of the cooked quinoa and put the rest in the freezer for another use later.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In oven safe skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil and mustard seed until mustard seeds begin to pop.  Turn down heat and add red pepper flakes, curry, cumin, and turmeric powder.  Stir, being very careful not to burn (best to make sure the heat has cooled down in the pan before placing the spices in).  Add squash and toss to coat.  Place skillet in oven and roast squash until just tender.  How long this will take will depend on how big you cut your squash cubes.  Toss squash intermittently and test for doneness.  I cubed my squash into about 1" square pieces and it took approximately  13-15 minutes to cook.  You don't want it to be mushy so keep a close eye on it.  Once squash is almost done, toss with a tablespoon of honey.  Return to oven for another minute to caramelize the squash some.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Mix the quinoa and squash (make sure to scrape the pan clean of ALL juices) then mix in chopped cilantro and chopped roasted unsalted cashews.  Enjoy!  This is good room temperature or cold!

February 25, 2012

Pot Roast and Onions

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Weekends and weather that bring a chill to the bone bring about dinners like this one was.  While it wasn't freezing cold by any normal February standards in New York, it was still chilly and the wind cut right through you.  When it's cold outside I think a lot of us love to have a crockpot meal going slowly all day long, filling the house with delicious aromas and making us look forward to dinner time while we laze around the house under comforters with books (or Kindle).

While we stayed home for most of the day we did venture out for about an hour to pick up some much needed groceries.  When we got home I set the potatoes to boil, prepped the asparagus to roast and poured a glass of Coyote Moon Twisted Sister Wine....the absolute best wine out there in my opinion!  This wine is made near Grumpy's hometown and just down the road from where my in-laws now live!  So, needless to say, I will visit every single time we go to see Grumpy's pop.  Just to be on the safe side though I joined their wine club when I was there last.  If you like wine, you definitely should try theirs out.  They are not paying me to say this.  I'm just sharing my love for this wine with you!

Pot Roast and Onions, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus with a glass (or two) of Twisted Sister Wine.  The perfect windy, cold weather match.  Try it, you'll like it!

Pot Roast and Onions
Slightly adapted from Diabetic Slow Cooker magazine

printable recipe

1- 2 to 2-1/2 pound boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cold water

Trim fat from beef if needed.  Place roast in large crock pot fat side up.  Top with onion wedges.  In measuring cup mix together tomato sauce, water, horseradish, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour over top of roast and onions.  Cover crock pot and turn heat to low for 8-10 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot and strain broth.  Remove as much fat as possible from top of broth.  In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons water until smooth.  Place broth in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Whisk flour/water mixture into boiling broth whisking constantly until thickened.

Serve roast with gravy and onions.  5 grams carbs per serving

February 24, 2012

Presto Pasta Nights #252

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Its a short week this week for Presto Pasta Nights.  Even I myself did not have time to make a pasta meal to post.  Grumpy and I headed up north for a 5 day trip to check out our home and meet with our realtor.  We have hopes that the house will sell this spring and its that time of year for people to start looking.  We are confident in our realtor - she's a real go getter and if anyone can sell this house for us, we believe she can!

This week we had three participants and they all are delicious looking and sounding dishes!  Without further adieu let's check them out!

Stash of The Spamwise Chronicles made Tagliatelle with Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese Sauce

Heather  of  Girlichef made  this  Roasted  Red  Pepper  and  Walnut  Pesto 

Tigerfish of  Teczcape -An  Escape  to Food  made  this  Vegetarian  Fried  Noodle  dish     

Definitely check them all out, each are unique in their own and look delicious!  Hopefully soon I'll be able to participate in PPN again soon (like next week!) as we are home this weekend and I'll have time to think about what to make.   

Next week's Presto Pasta Nights will be hosted by Ruth (the founder herself!) of Once Upon a Feast.    You can find the guidelines by visiting the PPN site and hope to see you there!

February 19, 2012

Basic Beef Stew

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Its been a while since I've made a beef stew.  Grumpy will mention it every once and a while but because I'm not a too much of a beef stew person, its easy to not think about making it.  However, when I was in the grocery store recently and was looking in the meat section, I saw that stew beef was on sale so I grabbed a package, thinking of Grumpy.

To me beef stew is basically pieces of beef with potatoes, carrots, peas, and onions in a gravy sauce.  Seriously, that is what it is isn't it?  When I told Grumpy I was going to "wing it" and just throw it together how I thought it should be, he became concerned.  I didn't buy what he always used before I came into his life: Stew Starter.  I don't have that kind of stuff in my cupboards.  Not because I wouldn't use it, but because I don't think of using it!  This girl was not brought up on quick and easy mixes so its not in my nature to think of using that stuff.  As it is, it turned out quite flavorful and when Grumpy was done eating he even said "that was really good."  He finished the left overs the next night and proclaimed that it was the best homemade one I've made.  Well, well.  Guess he shouldn't be so concerned about my cooking should he?  You know what they say about the hand that feeds you....
Beef Stew

Printable Recipe

1 lb beef stew meat
1 large clove garlic
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large carrots, chunked
3 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon gravy master
10 baby potatoes, cut in half
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup water
2 tablepoons flour

Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Add stew beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned, 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add onion and garlic to the same pan you cooked the beef in and cook 3-4 minutes or until onion becomes soft.  Add stew beef, beef broth, gravy master, potatoes, carrots, thyme and oregano to pan and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to low and gently boil the veggies until they are just tender.  Add frozen peas and simmer just a couple more minutes.  Mix the flour and water together until smooth then stir into gently boiling stew, it should thicken fairly quickly.  I served this with some Naan bread the at I bought and then heated on the griddle just before eating.  You will definitely want to serve this with some bread to sop up all the delicious gravy  :-)

February 16, 2012

Always in my heart

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Nine years ago today I lost a piece of my heart.  It breaks my heart to not have Nanny with me and I still think about her every. single. day.  She had such an impact on my life, who she was and how she was.  I'll never forget how she went on to everyone who would listen to her about the first pie I ever made and how it was the "best rhubarb pie" she had ever eaten.  I'm sure some of that was because I was her special little girl, her first grand baby.  Not that I'm any more special than all those who came after me.  I'm sure she had a special relationship with each and every one of her grandchildren.

Weekend mornings hopping in my car and driving around the corner to have breakfast with her, going shopping with her, making cookies and teddy bears, watching the Guiding Light and having dinner together when we were both alone.    She had the most beautiful and kind heart and she didn't like to see anyone hurt.  Nanny put up with a lot of "crap" from family issues - and I certainly gave her my own dose of it - but she took me into her heart and home and would have done anything for me because of her wonderful unconditional love.

I wish she were here today.  She would know that Grumpy and I are now married as well as her first great-grandson, Justin.  At least she knew that Justin and Kristina were together before she passed.  Grumpy and I were preparing to tell people that we were engaged to get married and just a week before we were to announce our engagement, she passed away.  She never knew that Grumpy was going to remain a permanent fixture in my life.  We didn't get to tell her.  She would be happy to know that Grumpy and I are still happily together after 12 years of being together and going on 8 of them married.  My Nanny.  I still have my memories but I sure wish I could cuddle up next to her again and smell the Avon Rich Moisture cream she wore every single day.  I just want to be held by her and feel the comfort of her love.  I miss her so much.

February 13, 2012

Baked Banana Donuts with Coconut/Almond Glaze

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What better way to start the week than with another not so bad for you baked good?  In my last post I shared with you my love for Peanut Butter and Julie's Quinoa cookie recipe.  I've been addicted to her blog for a while and while I make her recipes often, I never really blogged them before this last week when I blogged the Apricot Cashew Quinoa Breakfast cookies.  Yesterday I made her Heart-y Baked Banana Donuts with Coconut Glaze.  Mine weren't shaped like hearts because I don't have a heart donut pan but I'm telling you these are amazing, heart shaped or round!  I loved them and have proclaimed them the best baked donut I've made to present!

February 10, 2012

Apricot Cashew Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

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A blog that I love to read and make recipes from is Peanut Butter and Julie.  When I saw the recipe for Breakfast Cookies, I knew I would be making them.  Healthy and delicious AND I could eat them for breakfast because well, they were breakfast cookies!  :)

February 08, 2012

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles

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Last week I had the Lean Cuisine Thai Chicken and Noodles frozen meal for lunch a couple of days.  I loved it so much that the second day, when I went to the store to get it for lunch, I didn't even care that it wasn't on sale.  That is a sign of a good meal!  I am so addicted to anything that has peanut sauce and pasta that I started thinking that I could make something similar and I could probably even make it better.

I will definitely make this again but next time I will leave the chicken off my plate.  Grumpy can have it all.  I'd rather have some crispy tofu coated with that yummy sauce.  The frozen meal doesn't have cilantro or heat (at least if its in there I couldn't tell) but it is still really good.  Maybe a little sweeter than this one though.  In any case, its a great frozen meal to have on hand to take to work for lunch!
So now I have two versions of peanutty noodles that I can enjoy.  The Lean Cuisine one - for those days I need my fix and don't have the time and my homemade version.  Grumpy enjoyed the dish also.  He pretty much is happy when I make anything with pasta.  I've been using the Dreamfield pasta since we found out about his diabetes.  I'm not really certain if it makes a difference but it certainly tastes great.
This is my submission to this week's Presto Pasta Nights.  I missed it last week, and believe me, it was not on purpose.  I just didn't have an inspirational night last week when it came to pasta.  So, I am happy to be able to submit this week!  If your interested in joining in this week, you still have time.  You can get the information for submission on the Presto Pasta Night's webpage.
Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles
Other Thai Recipes you may enjoy!
Thai Coconut Noodles with Pan Seared Tilapia - Life Currents
Thai Basil Chicken - Rasa Malaysia (your going to find multitudes of awesome recipes here!)

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles

3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1 lbs chicken breast tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup julienned carrots
2 scallions, thinly sliced.
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon, packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 pound spaghetti
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
Chopped Cilantro (optional)
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

In a medium shallow glass dish combine the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, the 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate at least 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done following package instructions, drain and set aside until ready to assemble.

While pasta is cooking mix peanut sauce and cook chicken.  Place peanut butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds.  Remove peanut butter from microwave and whisk in 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons lime juice, broth, sugar, salt, and red-pepper flakes.  Set aside.

Heat a non-stick deep skillet over moderate heat. Stir-fry the chicken until browned and just done, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add carrots and scallions and stir fry one minute more.  Add the peanut sauce to the chicken and scallions and stir to coat.  Add pasta and toss with tongs to coat with sauce.  Top with the chopped peanuts and cilantro if desired.

Other Thai Inspired Recipes you may enjoy!
Sandie - A New York Foodie, Thai Lemon Shrimp
Marion- Our Life Tastes Good, Grilled Thai Chicken Thighs
Renee - Renee's Kitchen Adventures, Grilled Peanut Ginger Chicken
Michele - Flavor Mosaic, Texas Thai Tacos

February 07, 2012

Lordy, Lordy, Look who's FORTY!

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He gives me that sexy sneer all the time.  That's his way of telling me "I love you"   lol
Today I took the day off to especially be with the Grump.  Someone needs to be there to console him.  After all, he is starting a new decade.  Don't worry Grumpy.  40's aren't that bad.  At least now I'm not the only old buzzard in the house!  :o)
Oh Grumpy, what a gorgeous Bundt you have!
We'll be renewing his license and I will probably treat him to lunch.  We'll be getting haircuts and I'll probably bug him about going to the gym again (as I always do when we are off work at the same time) and today I'll have another tool to try to convince him.  You aren't getting any younger Grumpy....time to hit the treadmill.
All dressed up for the party
 I even made him a "good for you" treat for his lunch box this week.  A low-fat yummy Blueberry Poundcake with Lime Glaze.  His first words were "you ruined it by putting blueberries in it".  That was Sunday night as it was cooling on the rack.  His second words about the cake were last night and it was "that was pretty darn good considering there were blueberries in it".  There's hope for him after all.

Happy Birthday Grumpy.  I love you with all my heart and soul!

Blueberry Poundcake with Lime Glaze

2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsallted butter, softened
4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) carton vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Cooking spray
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add extracts and mix.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Take 2 tablespoons flour from the 3 cups of flour and add to blueberries in a small bowl and toss well. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberry mixture and  pour cake batter into a 10-inch tube pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and lime juice in a small bowl; drizzle over warm cake. Cut with a serrated knife.  

February 06, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf Sliders

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This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned the blog I was Born to Cook - written by Melissa.  I became familiar with Melissa's blog through the SRC, so its a fairly new blog to me.  Melissa is of Italian Heritage while her husband's family is Greek.  The best of both worlds in my opinion!  Therefore, she has a lot of pasta on her blog - which of course I LOVE.  But, wouldn't you know it, I went with something that had no pasta in it at all.

Grumpy would love Melissa's kitchen.  She has a lot of beef on her table - much more than I put on ours!  So, because he loves beef and he loves meatloaf with pickles in it, when I saw this recipe she had on her blog for Cheeseburger Meatloaf Muffins, I knew I would be using that recipe for my SRC post.  Of course, my mind always takes recipes I see in different directions a lot of the time, just like it does many other foodies out there.  I decided that I was going to make the meatloaf mixture without the cheese in it and turn it into slider patties topped with bacon and cheese.
Now that I've made this recipe I think next time I would put some of the cheese in the recipe along with pieces of crumbled up bacon and top it with more cheese and bacon.  How yum would that be; not to mention perfect since they already have the ketchup, mustard (my addition) and pickles in the mixture?  Sometimes I could kick myself for not thinking of something until after the fact.  Guess it just means I'll just have to make them again! 
Cheeseburger Meatloaf Sliders
adapted from I was Born to Cook

printable recipe

Cooking spray
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 cup Italian Flavored bread crumbs
1 egg
2 heaping tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Cheese slices for topping (optional)
Cooked bacon slices for topping (optional)

In a skillet  Heat oil in a skillet and saute onion until softened.

In a large bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, bread crumbs, egg and pickle relish. Mix in onion. Add beef and  mix all together.  I find that my ice cream scoop makes the perfect sized ball to shape into a slider.  I have a slider frying pan where you drop the ball into the cup and put the lid on - no shaping required because the pan does the work.  Both sides have grill marks on them but you don't have to flip the burgers!  No worry though, you can cook these on your stove top right in the frying pan too.  Just make sure to spray whatever pan you do use with cooking spray.

Toast slider buns and assemble burger topping with cheese and bacon.  Grumpy likes to put mayo and ketchup on his burger too, me I am a ketchup only girl!

Thank you Melissa for writing such a great blog filled with all kinds of recipes!

To check out all the other SRC submissions for this month, check out the links below!

February 04, 2012

Crispy Shrimp

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I have been cooking.  I have even been taking photos.  Its having the time to write about them lately that I don't seem to have.

I'm at my very best in the early morning.  On a daily (almost) basis I am up by 4 am and at the gym an hour later to work out for a good 50-70 minutes - depending on the day, how much time I have and what I need to accomplish before I leave for work in the morning.  So, no wonder I'm in bed and sleeping by 8 pm, right?  Seriously.  That is my life.  Sleep, work out, eat, work, sleep.  Its a vicious, vicious cycle.  I thought life was supposed to slow down after the kids were gone?

Well, when its not slow and you need something that will be tasty, quick, easy, and will satisfy the Grumpy with you, try this quick and easy crispy shrimp.  I very very rarely "fry" food, but this was fried in as little oil as possible in my non-stick pan.  It was also a little different as in the fact that we never eat breaded seafood of any type unless we eat out and then its usually Grumpy who gets it breaded.  I just knew that the evening I made this I was in no mood to hear a complaint about eating the "same thing" again.  It was also pretty easy to clean up!  I made this long enough ago that I'm not even sure I remember what I made to go with this shrimp - especially since I didn't photograph anything but the shrimp!  In any case, if you feel like something different and you don't want a messy clean up and you want it quick and tasty, here is your go to.  Feel free to sauce it up anyway you want.   We just dipped ours in cocktail sauce (that much I do remember) but you could buffalo it up, General Tso's it up, or even Sesame it up :)  Enjoy!
Crispy Shrimp

printable recipe

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
small amount of oil for frying

Rinse and pat shrimp dry (it will still be "wet" enough for the coating to stick - promise).  Place flour and desired amount of seasonings in ziploc gallon size bag.  Seal and shake to mix seasonings.  Add shrimp, seal bag, and toss to coat.   Remove shrimp from bag and place on platter, shaking excess flour mixture from shrimp.

Heat saucepan over medium heat with a small amount of oil.  When hot, place shrimp in pan.  To test oil to see if it is hot, flick a little bit of flour into the oil.  If it sizzles, it is ready.  Cook about 3 minutes then turn shrimp over and cook another 3 minutes more, or until shrimp looks "pink".  Serve with your favorite sauces.
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