Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Spinach-Cheese Calzone

Paired with a green salad this recipe made for a tasty meal.  I just made my own pizza dough since the grocery store didn’t have frozen pizza dough and only a multipack of frozen bread dough.  (I have a very small freezer).  I followed the recipe as directed but I added a few more items I thought would be good.  I had some mushrooms I needed to use up so I sliced and sauteed them to use.  I also had some hot link type sausage left from the package I bought for the chicken sausage sandwiches so I sliced it thin and sauteed that up too.  I opened a can of olives and sliced those.  Instead of one big Calzone I made two pretty good sized ones.  It took a little longer to cook than stated in the book but I also had stuffed it fuller.  We both thought it tasted really good and I think it would be fun to try different fillings.  This was a fun recipe to make and I think you would all enjoy it. 

Filling before the Calzone was folded over and sealed:

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Just put in the oven, sprinkled with parmesan cheese:

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Just baked…..ahhhhh, the aroma!

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Sliced to serve with filling oozing out:

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Fried Rice and Galette

I made these two recipes this past week and they made excellent leftovers.  We both liked the fried rice and I especially liked that it called for more vegetables than I usually put in fried rice.  I used chicken instead of the steak and I added more mushrooms than called for.  Other than that I followed the recipe as written.   We both thought the Galette was ok but I think it would be easier to just make a pie.  I did use the blueberries/peaches combination but I think I like Audrey’s suggestion of using all berries. I served it with vanilla frozen yogurt.  This made for a tasty meal and dessert.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

New Recipes and Updates

To help keep track of the recipes already chosen I have created a list on the right column.  If I missed any let me know or add them in! I also made a new schedule on the right as well. Let me know if your week doesn't work for you and we can rearrange. 

Garlicky Cream of Broccoli Soup pg19
* you can also use a variety of other veggies in place of the broccoli

4 cups fresh or thawed frozen broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups milk (1% or higher)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan, combine broccoli, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Pour in the broth and set the pan over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until veggies are knife-tender, about 10 minutes
2.  Using immersion blender, puree until smooth (or use regular blender and work in batches). Add milk and summer for 1 minute to heat through.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Spinach-Cheese Calzone pg 36
* Excellent substitutions for the spinach include thawed frozen broccoli, roasted red peppers, pepperoni, and/or hot Italian sausage

One 15-oz container of ricotta cheese
8 oz. mozzerella cheese, shredded
One 10-oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained well and squeezed dry
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb. fresh or frozen  bread or pizza dough, thawed according to package directions
2 Tb. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzerella, spinach, salt and pepper.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 15-inch circle. Spread the cheese mixture over one half of the circle, to within 1 inch of the edge. Lift the other side of the dough and fold it over, forming a half moon. Pinch the edges together to seal.
4. Transfer to a large baking sheet and sprinkle the top with the Parmesan. Bake until puffed up and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let stad for 5 minutes before slicing corsswise into thick slices.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Chicken & Sausage Sandwich

Woah! We both thought this dish was absolutely delicious!  The balsamic vinegar gave the chicken and sausage just the right amount of tang and the red peppers and onions were the perfect topper.  I sauteed the onions and peppers for longer than she said because I didn’t want the peppers to be crispy.  The onions ended up slightly carmelized and combined with the sweetness of the red peppers it was oh, so, yummy.   I used a hot beef sausage which added a slight bite.  The buns were hoagie sandwich type buns and I broiled them for a minute to crisp them up.  I think a crispier roll such as a toasted French roll would be good too or a sourdough roll.  The whole sandwich had a really good flavor and we both enjoyed it combined with a fruit salad.  For those of you who have not tried this recipe yet I encourage you to do so!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tonight we tried out the chicken sausage sandwiches and they turned out great.  After discussing with Sean we decided to make a few changes to the recipe.  Instead of cutting the chicken and sausage into chunks we decided to grill them whole on the bbq and then slice them up.  It seemd a little better for a sandwich to do it that way.  The sausage we used was a sweet turkey sausage, I thought it would be good with the red peppers and onions.  While they were cooking I sauteed the onions and red peppers in the electric skillet.  I planned on putting a little balsmic vinegar in too but I forgot.  Sean at this on a sub roll and it looked quite nice.  He really liked it and said that there isn't anything not to like with the chicken, sausage, and sandwich.  I ate it over rice since I didn't really feel like making a gluten free bread.  I liked it that way! I had planned to make corn on the cob with it but I forgot that too, must be the pregnancy brain!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Recipes for the week of March 14 - 20th

This is Jacki posting from Nika’s computer.  These two recipes ought to give someone heartburn :)

Chicken & Sausage Sandwiches with Fried Bell Peppers (#116)

2 Tblsp olive oil, divided
2 med. red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 cup onion sliced into half-moons
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 # boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup diced chorizo, andouille, or other cooked spicy sausage
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
4 long rolls (submarine or hoagie rolls)

1. Heat 1 Tblsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium –high heat.  Add the bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring, until
softened, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove the peppers and onion from the skillet and set aside.

2.  Heat the remaining 1 Tblsp oil in the same skillet over med-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the sausage and vinegar and cook for 1 minute to heat through. 

3. Using tongs, arrange the chicken mixture on the open rolls, tip with the fried peppers and onion, and serve


Grilled Orange Slices with Frozen Yogurt & Raspberry-Nutella Sauce (pg. 295)

Cooking spray
2 oranges, left unpeeled and sliced into 1/4-in-thick rounds
1/2 cup Nutella or chocolate syrup
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt

1. Coat an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray and preheat to medium high.

2. Arrange the orange slices on the hot grill and grill until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the Nutella and preserves.  Cover and microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, until warm.  Mix well to combine.

4.  Arrange the orange slices on shallow dessert plates and spoon the frozen yogurt over the top.  Top with the sauce and serve immediately.

Both of these recipes have some good suggestions for substitutions in the book but I am too lazy to type them in here.
I am not sure when I am going to get a chance to make these recipes and I still need to make the ones from last week but I am looking forward to all of them.    Jacki

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Audrey's Blueberry-Nectarine Galette

This was a hit with my family :) I followed the recipe, except that I bought frozen mixed berries and doubled the amount that the recipe called for. Because of that I also double the amount of the sugar mixture. It made a mess in the oven while I cooked it, but I just did the auto clean on the oven the next day and the mess was gone. We had vanilla ice cream with it and it sure tasted good. It isn't too sweet and maybe that is because I used berries instead of nectarines or peaches which I think are sweeter. I will have to try it with some peaches or nectarines next time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Audrey's Steak & Baby Portabella Fried Rice

I followed the recipe closely, except that I used baby portabella mushrooms instead of the shiitake. We like those and its what our grocery store has. I did marinate the meat for about 3 hours, even though the recipe didn't say to, as that is something that I usually do. I also used double the amount of meat called for, as my guys like their red meat :) I liked the recipe, but next time will use more rice, as I like more in ratio to the meat and veggies. All in all, I would cook this again.

Leslee's Fried Rice

Last night we enjoyed this meal but I made a few changes.  I used chicken for steak since I had a lot and just cut it into strips.  I didn't use any mushrooms because we aren't big fans but did put in the carrots and some string beans for the snow peas.  I cooked everything else as directed but probably didn't really follow the amounts suggested.  Sean and I both thought it was very good!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Heidi's Chile-Lime Steak

We had the steak last night for dinner. It actually marinated for closer to 48 hours since I wanted Kenton to grill this out and Connor and I got home pretty late Saturday night from a birthday party. The steak was good and the marinade wasn't very strong. Or I guess that I should say that it wasn't as strong as I thought it would be with the peppers. I followed the receipe and didn't make any changes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Recipes for week of March 7, 2010


Serves 4

I was in the mood for a lighter dish and I really like fried rice with veggies in it. Since this recipe didn't need a side dish with it, I chose a dessert instead. There are only about 3 dessert recipes left, so I chose one with lots of fruit in it. I hope that you enjoy both recipes. I am going to try them this weekend.

1 cup rice (white, basmati, or jasmine)
1 Tbl. olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. peeled & minced fresh ginger
8 oz. steak of your choice, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, chopped, or 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms or any mushroom variety
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white & green parts)

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the eggs are firm and set, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and set aside.
  3. To the same skillet, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the steak and cook until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots, snow peas, and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and bring to a simmer. Stir in the rice and heat through. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions.
  4. Slice the eggs into thin strips. Spoon the fried rice onto a serving platter, top with the eggs, and serve.


Serves 6

One 9-inch refrigerated piecrust

2 medium ripe nectarines or peaches, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (keep frozen until ready to use)

2 Tbl. sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. cornstarch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the piecrust onto a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch and toss to combine. Arrange the fruit mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. Pull up the sides of the crust slightly and fold over the filling, covering it somewhat, but leaving the center uncovered. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Check the cookbook for more information on the recipes. Enjoy!!

Hummmm risoto and Chile-Lime steak

As I got ready to make the risotto I realized that I only had one zucchini so I decided to add some mushrooms and it was perfect. Also I always add white whine to my risottos (my grandma taught me that). I didn’t have any gorgonzola and the boys are not big fans so I just sprinkled some good quality Romano before serving.
The Flank steak was amazing, I didn’t add the Serrano but since I still had the chipotle I added a tablespoon of that and it was nice and smoky but not too spicy.
To accompany the dish just had a simple salad with a lime dressing.
Both of these recipes are keepers.

Audrey's Chipotle Pork Soft Tacos, along with beans and rice

I have to say that this has been one of my favorite recipes so far. I followed the recipe, but did as Leslee suggested and cooked it in my slow cooker. It sure smelled good cooking all day long! When it was cooked, I use two forks and pulled the meat apart and then stirred it into the sauce and cooked it a bit longer. The meat was very tender and tasty.
I thought that there were a lot of ingredients for the beans and rice. I didn't know what pink beans were, so I used pinto beans. I found the recipe to be very tasty and colorful. I really liked it and good thing as I was the only one that would eat the leftovers :) Doug, Brock and I all tried the recipes and Doug said that they were okay, Brock liked the meat and I liked both recipes. We did eat the meat in the tortilla like a taco, like Sean did. I would definitely cook both recipes again. Good job picking them out!

Chipotle pork tacos and rice with beans and corn

Ok, Sooo I changed the recipe just a bit…
During Leon’s residency years in Iowa City, Iowa, we meet many great friends and one family in particular was the Ruelas, Yes they were from Mexico and made the most amazing dishes I ever tasted. One day after many bribing and bagging episodes Rafael Ruelas FINETELLY decided to share his secret recipe for “carnitas de Puerco” or shredded pork for tacos. Basically you get a pork shoulder roast and add all the ingredients Robin Miller has on her recipe excluding the caned tomatoes but adding cilantro, cumin and coriander. Cook it over night. The next day remove the fat and shred the meet. Save the leftovers on Ziploc bags and freeze for up to 6 months (if you can wait that long) It is delicious and I have been making this ever since. The meet is nice and moist and boy we love it on corn tortillas better than flour Enjoy.

Ps:- The both is delicious and you can use it to cook the rice just make sure to degrease it first.
Now the rice was okay but I did not care for the corn in there. I much prefer Rafael’s recipe for Spanish rice with smoked paprika. Hummmmmmmm so good.

Rosemary chicken and Twice baked potatoes finatelly!!!

I am so sorry to take so long to post this. I had made this dish the day we got the news of my nephew Mckay passing away. I had just finished taken the pictures when my mother in law called, so needless to say we didn't eat the food. It was a very easy dish to make. Since we were taking the boys skiing I decided to just chop up the potatos and bake it in the oven in a dish and it was delicius, I had planned on eating the left overs for breakfast with fryed eggs.
Maybe I will make this again someday.

Jacki’s Review of Marinated Meat, Risotto, Asparagus.

For the most part we liked this meal.  Rich really liked the Risotto.  I used chicken instead of steak since I had plenty of chicken and no steak.  I had fun making the marinade as I had never used a fresh chili pepper before.  It always sounded like too much work to seed etc.  But, I donned some gloves and seeded and chopped away!  I used a blender to mix it up and marinated it for about an hour or more so it had good flavor.  I cooked it on a grill pan.   The risotto took longer than 20 minutes to cook and at least 4 cups of liquid.  I watched Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals today and she made a risotto.  She heated her broth first so that might make a difference in the cooking time.  She also said you only need to stir it for a minute or two each time you add the liquid so you don’t need to be stirring constantly.  It is something I will experiment with the next time I make a risotto.  It was tasty and creamy though. I didn’t add the chives because I didn’t have any.  I wasn’t a big fan of the asparagus.  I really like asparagus but roasting it just seemed to kind of shrivel it up and it was crunchier than I prefer.   Maybe I needed to move the oven rack closer to the burner.  I also didn’t care for the garlic powder on it.  But, we both liked it well enough to eat it :)  These three meals made for a very tasty meal and leftovers.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Stuffed Peppers and Fruit Tart

We had the Stuffed Peppers and Fruit Tart last night and I thought they were both delicious.  Rich proclaimed them “ok”.  For the Stuffed Peppers I used red peppers and followed the recipe pretty much as written with a few minor changes.  I didn’t use any olive oil to brown the meat because I used a nonstick pan and it didn’t need it.  I used regular rice (about 1.5 cups cooked) instead of instant rice.  I used almost 2 cups of frozen corn which I cooked up in the microwave first instead of canned because I am not a big fan of canned corn.    I omitted the cilantro because I didn’t have any.  I did cook the red peppers in the microwave first for a few minutes to soften them just a little before stuffing and cooking them in the oven.  It was an easy dish to prepare and the flavor was really good with the rice, meat, beans, corn, and spices and sour cream. 

A yummy blend of textures, flavors and spices with gooey melted cheese on top!

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I followed the recipe for the fruit tart pretty much as directed also with a few minor changes.  I didn’t have a tart pan so I used a pie tin.  I made my own crust because I find it easier than wrangling with the premade- store bought ones.  I used the regular cream cheese and the final product was not thin at all, in fact it was maybe a bit too thick.  I only mixed it up with a fork so I think it would have been lighter if I would have used a mixer to whip some air in.  It was still really good though.  For the fruit I used fresh strawberries and blueberries.  I sprinkled a little sugar on them because I didn’t plan to use the apricot preserves since I didn’t have any and it worked out great although the apricot would have been a nice flavor to add also.  I put a plop of whip cream on top for the fun of it.  We both really enjoyed it although Rich thought the filling part was a little too sweet and we both agreed you could probably add less powdered sugar and it would still be really good.  This would be a good summer time recipe to use with fresh peaches, nectarines, berries etc.

Woah!  Makes you want to dig into the picture with a fork doesn’t it? :)

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our "Special" Meal

I must have told Summy I was making a special meal tonight because when we sat down she said "oh special meal!" 
I really like risotto even though it takes quite a bit of work to cook up! I cooked it up as directed but used much more liquid...probably close to 5 cups.  I didn't get the short grain rice so I probably used a bit more because the type of rice. 
While I cooked the risotto Sean grilled up the steak.  We used a london broil and I marinated it for about an hour and a half.  For the marinade I just chopped everything up but didn't use the food processor as directed.  It probably would have been better to marinate the steak for longer especially with the type that we used to get a bit more flavor. 
Instead of doing the roasted asparagus I made roasted green beans.  We have a big bag in the freezer and I thought they would be a perfect replacement. 
This whole meal was so good! The risotto was nice and creamy and the zucchini was a nice addition to it.  The steak was tasty although it didn't have a strong lime or chile flavor.  I could only slightly taste the spiciness from the seranno chili pepper.  The green beans were also good with the slivered almonds and garlic flavoring.  It all went together very nicely.  Sean also liked the meal and packed up the leftovers for his lunch tomorrow.  Summer decided to cooperate with this meal and told me it was " 'licious" which I will gladly take since last night she told me the chicken I made was "yucky."

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lazy Fruit Tart

We tried the fruit tart with vanilla cream from last week tonight.  I decided to make it without the crust since I wouldn't be able to eat it and make a smaller amount.  I made up half the sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla mixture.  We ate it in cups with some homemade freezer strawberry jam on top.  It was quite tasty and all three of us enjoyed it! Mine seemed a little runny to make into a pie but it might have been because I used fat free cream cheese.  It was quick and easy!