Friday, July 30, 2010

Leslee’s Review of Chicken with Eggplant, Capers, Black Olives.

It has been fun catching up all the recipes this week and has made my meal planning very easy! Last night we tried this recipe and I was a little nervous because I had never eaten or cooked eggplant before.  I imagined it as something gross, but it was just like a squash. It is probably not something I will cook with on a regular basis but fun to try out.  The only change to this recipe I made was omitting the capers because I forgot to buy them and I don’t really know what they are.  This was really tasty and perfect to serve over rice! I am planning to try out the potato salad that was chosen with this in a few days with a different main dish, so look forward to my review on that:)


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Leslee's Chicken with Chili con Queso Cream Sauce

Mmm this one was delicious! I followed this recipe exactly except for omitting the spinach and pimientos.  The cheese and 2% milk I used didn't quite combine like I expected them to, but the flavor was still good.  I served this with homemade spanish rice, lettuce, tomatoes, avacodos and a fruit salad. I thought the chili powder and the green chilies went together very nicely.  We will have to try this recipe again!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nika's pasta

Tonight I made the spinach fettuccini dish for myself. Actually I am eating it right now. Sterling won't be home for dinner so after feeding the kids pancakes and eggs and putting them to bed I made this for myself. I am the only mushroom fan in the house so I figured it would be much more enjoyable to just eat it in peace. I had everything on hand more or less. I used all regular mushrooms, no spinach fettuccini, just plain, but I added in chopped spinach. I did not use all of the broth or pasta because I didn't feel like the dish could handle it. I also didn't have any wine so I used red wine vinegar. I figured that would be good because it tastes good on spinach. I probably didn't add the full amount of spices, and of course I added extra parmesan. I think this tastes pretty good and would make it again. Hopefully I can try the eggplant dish next time I have a night to myself.

Catching Up: Penne with Chorizo & Sweet Peppers in Garlic Cream Sauce Review

I am a bit behind on my recipe making since we just had a big move with a vacation mixed in.  We are all settled now so I can get to work catching up! Last night I prepared this penne, sausage and sweet pepper dish because it seem like it would be rather quick and easy.  I was quite impressed that it only took me about 30 minutes start to finish plus I cut up a big fruit salad in there!
Here are most of the ingredients that I used.
I got the red pepper from the olive bar at the store and couldn't remember how much I needed but I probably should have got more. I am not a big fan of creamy pastas so instead of using the heavy cream I made a little mixture of 2% milk and Greek yogurt, probably only a couple tablespoons and added it at the end.  It was a substitution I found online and worked quite well.  It helped coat some of the flavors onto the pasta without adding alot of cream.  Sean and I both really liked this dish and Summy even seemed to enjoy it! The sausage we chose was suppose to be Hot but it wasn't very spicy but that worked out well for little Summer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Three Mushroom Spinach Fettuccini. Review of Mixed Cherry Tom. Salad

I made these two recipes tonight for dinner and they were both tasty.  I used regular fettuccini because the store I went to didn’t have any spinach fettuccini.  I also didn’t end up using the whole pound – probably only about 2/3 of it.  I didn’t use any Marsala wine because I didn’t have any but I put in a few splashes of sherry vinegar.  Next time I think I will put in a few more splashes of it – good flavor.  I also probably will add just a bit less of the thyme and oregano.  I like pasta dishes and love mushrooms so this was a good recipe for me.   Rich ate it without complaint so I guess that was a good sign too!

We both liked the tomato salad as well.  I used half grape tomatoes and half cucumber and made it a bit ahead of time so it could marinate in the red wine vinegar mixture.  Very good summer time salad. 

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I am looking forward to more reviews of these two recipes if anyone else gets a chance to make them. 

Jacki’s Review of Chicken w/ Eggplant, Capers, Black Olives. Review of Potato Salad

We had these two dishes the other night and I thought they were both good.  I followed the chicken recipe as directed except I omitted the capers because I forgot to buy them.  I also ended up using a can of stewed tomatoes instead of diced which wasn’t much different.  I enjoyed using the eggplant because it is not something I cook with very often.  Next time I will season the eggplant while it is cooking because it was a little bland.  I served the dish over rice to capture all the yummy juices. 

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I also made the Traditional Potato Salad.  I really liked the tang that the vinegar gave.  It was just enough vinegar to lightly coat the potatoes but it imparted a good flavor.  I didn’t know how I would like the Dijon mustard in the sauce since I usually use regular but it was really good.  I also didn’t add the celery or the relish.  I thought I had celery but it was rather old so I just tossed it.  I thought the dish had a good flavor and was even better as leftovers after the flavors blended and soaked into the potatoes.  I served it cold.

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I hope some of the rest of you will get a chance to try these two recipes and let us know what you think.

Saturday, July 24, 2010



1 lb. spinach or regular fettuccine
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced portabella mushroom caps (2-3 caps)
1 cup sliced oyster or cremini mushrooms
1 cup sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup sweet or dry Marsala wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the fettuccini according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the thyme and oregano and cook 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the Marsala and cook 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the fettuccine and toss to combine.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the Parmesan just before serving.


2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cups halved yellow cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 Tbl. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. olive oil

Salt & coarsely ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, vinegar, and oil, tossing to mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Word... Delicious!!

Yuuuuuuuuuummmmmy!!! Thumbs up for these recipes...

Today I made these recipes, and we really enjoyed this dish, I can't believe how tasty and easy to do it is. My husband enjoyed this food so much that he said " I know how much you love me because of this food"... lol.

I'm pretty sure these recipes will become part of our diet :)

I only did one change in the potato salad, that I preferred not to use the pickle relish, because I don't like it that much, and also because it isn't good for my stomach.

This time we took more pictures to share. I hope you enjoy this food as much as we did.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Recipes for the week of 7/18 to 7/24

Chicken with Eggplant, Capers & Black Olives (p. 86)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup canned pitted black olives, drained and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon drained thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. To the same skillet, add the eggplant, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring,until softened, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes, olives, capers, thyme, oregano andbay leaves. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, then partially cover the skillet and simmer until the chicken iscooked through, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves, stir in the basil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Traditional Potato Salad (p. 266)

2 pounds small red potatoes (8 to 10), quartered
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cup minced red onion
3 tablespoons pickle relish
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and pour over enough water to cover. Set the pan over high heat, bring to boil, and letboil until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add the vinegar and toss tocoat the potatoes.

2. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, celery, onion, relish, mustard, and parsley. Add to the potatoes and toss tocombine well. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the eggs and serve warm or chilled.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nika's Meals

On Saturday afternoon I made both of the dishes for this week and put them in the fridge. I thought we wouldn't need dinner last night because we were going to a bbq at a park but there was so much thunder and lightening that it was cancelled so luckily I could just heat up the pasta and we had an easy dinner.

The first pictures are for the quiche. I changed the recipe a bit. First of all, I did not want something so heavy so I made it crustless. For the filling I used three eggs instead of two and then ironically used up some of the cream from the pasta dish making it nice and fatty. For the filling we used three bell peppers from the garden and left over andouille sausage from the pasta dish. I also put mushrooms on my half. This evening for dinner I just put it in the oven from the fridge and cooked it for 25 minutes. I also used extra cheese but it was 2% milk cheese. This was really good and to copy my mom I made some french bread breadsticks with parmesean and garlic salt. We also served it with an orange julius and cucumber since it was kind of a light meal. Sterling, Max and I really enjoyed it. I would make it again.

The pasta dish was so good. Since the first recipe of the white bean and andouille soup I have really enjoyed using andouille sausage. Its the sort of sausage that has just the right amount of heat to it. Sterling does not care for chorizzo since his mission so this is what we use. I followed the directions but the jar of peppers I bought only made 1 cup and I only used 1 cup of sausage which was plenty. In the future I would like a few more red peppers in there. Everyone liked it and Max really wolfed it down. We would definitely make this again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Quiche

Tonight we had the Salad Bar Quiche with Cheddar & Parmesan
and we both thought it was quite good.  For the vegetables I used red bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms.  I chopped the pepper and onion, sliced and quartered the zucchini and sliced the mushrooms and then sauteed them all together in a little olive oil.  I also used the spinach listed in the ingredient list.  From reading the recipe it doesn’t sound like you need to sautee the veggies first but I was just worried they wouldn’t cook all the way. I also probably ended up using about 3 cups of veggies (before they were sauteed) instead of the 2 cups asked for.   The quiche had a good flavor with the oregano and Dijon mustard but you could substitute other spices as well.  I made my own pie crust and  knew it would take longer than 20 minutes to cook it.  I think I ended up cooking the quiche for about 35 to 40 minutes and for part of that time I turned up the temp to 400.  One option for faster cooking would be to precook the crust for about 10 minutes first.  This is a good, versatile recipe as you can vary the vegetables and spices used.  I made some homemade breadsticks and cubed up watermelon to go along with the quiche for our meal.  This was a fun recipe to make – I hope you all will get a chance to try it!

Fresh from the oven.

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Ready to eat – see, loaded with veggies.

Jacki's Pics 122

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jacki’s Review of Penne with Chorizo & Sweet Peppers in Garlic Cream Sauce

Ooooooh Baby!  This meal was GOOD!  How can you go wrong with heavy cream and sausage:)  We had this pasta dish  tonight for dinner and it was just a tad hard to stop eating it.  The recipe was pretty simple but I did make a few changes.  I did not use the whole pound of the penne.  I cooked the whole box but only ended up using about 2/3 – it just seemed like too much for the amount of sauce.  I used a hot beef link sausage because I had some in the freezer.  I also sauteed up some mushrooms and tossed them in – wonderful addition.   I don’t know what else to say except it was delicious – try it.

Ingredients assembled:

Jacki's Pics 110

Final dish before serving:

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Plated up and ready for dinner:

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recipes for week of 7/11 – 7/17

Penne with Chorizo & Sweet Peppers in Garlic Cream Sauce
(pg 71)

1 pound penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced chorizo or andouille sausage
2 cups chopped roasted red peppers (from water packed jar)
1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside in a large serving bowl.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the sausage and red peppers and cook for 2 minutes, until softened.  Reduce the heat to low, add the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 1 minute.
3. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the penne and sprinkle with the Parmesan just before serving.

Salad Bar Quiche with Cheddar & Parmesan (pg 40)

One 9-inch refrigerated pie crust
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
          well, and squeezed dry.
2 cups chopped mixed fresh or thawed frozen vegetables
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded mild or sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tblsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Press the pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie pan.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, vegetables, ricotta, Cheddar, milk, eggs, mustard, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Spoon the filling into the pie crust and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top.
4. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and the crust is golden brown, about 20 minute.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Recipe To Try

Chicken with Chili con Queso Cream Sauce

1 TBSP olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP ground cumin

Chili Con Queso Cream Sauce

1 1/4 cups milk (2% milk fat or higher works ebst)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained well, and squeezed dry
One 6-ounce jar chopped pimientos, drained
One 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a small bowl combine the chili powder and cumin; rub into both sides of the chicken. Add the chicken to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan over medium-low heat, combine the sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently and simmering until the cheese melts. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes.

We made this recipe on Sunday and it was really good. We used 2% milk and 2% milk cheese to make the sauce instead of regular cheese. My mom thought this might have prevented it from combining all the way but it was still a really good sauce anyway. I did not have any spinach so that was omitted which was greatly appreciated by Sterling. We served this over some spanish rice that I made with some tomato sauce, garlic and diced green chilis and also had tomatos, avocado, fresh salsa, sour cream and tortilla chips. I would highly recommend this meal and will be making it again. Hopefully soon! I don't have the picture handy but will add it on in a bit.

Leslee's Kabobs and Bean and Corn Salad

To celebrate 4th of July I made these Kabobs for dinner.  I really didn't follow anything from the recipe though because I was trying to just use up stuff we had instead of buying more.  I cut up chunks of chicken and marinated it in a homemade teriyaki marinade for several hours along with some red and green bell pepper, pineapple and onion.  When ever we make kabobs we usually put the meat and veggies on different skewers since the meat always needs longer.  Usually this eliminates the extra crispy veggies! We ate this with some "chicken rice" and watermelon.  Very tasty, and perfect for the summertime!

I made the Bean and Corn salad at the beginning of last week to accompany some grilled chicken but forgot to take a picture of it.  We actually tried this recipe in January I think, when I happened to be at my mom's house.  This time when I made it I used fresh corn, cut off the cob instead of the canned corn. It was very good!