Friday, September 30, 2011

Jacki’s Bacon Artichoke Penne Bake and Rolls.

I made the Penne Bake a couple of nights ago and we both thought it was very good.  I agree with Audrey – a lot of dirty dishes.  It takes longer to make than it seems like it will when reading through the recipes.  But, it was all worth it and the leftovers were very tasty as well.  I followed the recipes exactly as directed and it turned out great.  I used my microplane to grate the Parmesan cheese and it worked great – much better than my box grater.  I made the rolls several months ago before we started cooking out of this book.  They were very good but I had a hard time judging how much flour to add – the dough just seemed too sticky.  In the end I think I added too much because they were a little dry.  I would like to try the recipe again to see if I can get it right.  I liked Audrey’s idea of making breadsticks with it.  All good recipes to make again.

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Audrey's Bacon Chicken with Penne Bake and Breadsticks

Here is the dough ready to roll out and form.
I chose to make rolls and bread sticks.One thing I learned making these, I could do with less flour the next time I make these, even though they tasted very good. I found it a little hard to judge when I had put enough flour in. I know it wasn't as much as it called for.
Here they are fresh out of the oven and I had rubbed the butter over them. Everyone really liked the rolls and bread sticks. Next time, I will probably just make bread sticks as that is what we like. I made them Wednesday afternoon and then we had them with our chef salads for dinner. Then the next evening we had the leftovers with our pasta meal.
Here is the Penne Bake. I did it like the recipe called for, except I didn't use the artichoke hearts. Next time, I will leave out the chicken and use the artichoke hearts as Doug isn't a big eater of chicken. We did like the dish and I will fix it again. There were lots of dirty dishes with these recipes, so you might want to do some prep work beforehand :)
We are enjoying the recipes from this cookbook!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recipes for 9/25

I am getting farther and farther behind, but here are the recipes for this week:

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce 158
Bacon Artichoke with Penne 159
Dinner Rolls 34

I know someone already made the dinner rolls but they sounded good so I want to try them too! Have a great week!

Audrey's French Dip Sandwiches and Mushroom Caps

I got the chuck roast going in the crock pot that morning. Very simple and especially easy cleanup when you use the crock pot liners :) When the roast was done, I got started on the mushrooms. I got the ingredients all ready and mushrooms cleaned and stems twisted off and chopped.
Here's the mushroom's ready to go into the oven.
Here's my plate, ready to eat.
I just used rolls from the bakery and warmed them up on the griddle. I first put down the roast beef and then a slice of swiss cheese, added the broth in a bowl, a couple of mushrooms and I had a very tasty meal! I liked both recipes, but Doug and Brock didn't like the mushrooms as much. I think if I left out a few of the ingredients, they would like them better :)

Audrey's Sweet Shredded Pork, Creamy Dressing and Rice with Pineapple Meal

Here's the Pork Roast searing.
Now its in the crock pot in the sauce. After I had mixed up the sauce, I saw that I had accidentally put all the brown sugar in and didn't reserve any for afterwards :( Also, I messed up and put the green salsa(dressing) in instead of the regular salsa. I think that I was in too much of a hurry. It all tasted just fine in the end though.I got the dressing mixed up, but didn't take any pictures. Of course, since I had used the green salsa in the pork sauce, I had to use the regular salsa in the dressing. I thought it tasted very good and had nice flavors from all the different ingredients. I am really enjoying the use of limes and cilantro in these recipes. Next, I fixed the rice and that was very simple. The only thing that I would change in that is using maybe pineapple tidbits. I thought that the crushed pineapple didn't stand out enough in the rice.
Here's my plateful of all the tasty recipes. I chose to put the pork and dressing on top of the rice. Brock and Doug had theirs in flour tortillas and they didn't care for the rice. Brock and I liked the pork, but Doug found it too sweet :) I also took this meal to Brandon and Dana's since they had just gotten home from the hospital with baby Johnny. They liked the meal also. I will be fixing these recipes again!

Audrey's Chicken Cordon Bleu & Oven Roasted Broccoli

I started out getting the chicken all prepped and ready to go into the oven. I used mozzarella for the cheese and followed the directions for putting them together, rolled up and dipped and breaded.
Here they are all ready to go into the oven.
Next up is the broccoli which was very easy to do.
Here's my plate :) Brock and I were the only ones home to eat dinner that night and we both really liked the meal. The chicken was fairly easy to fix and tasted very good! I also liked the broccoli and the taste of the parmesan cheese on it. I served rice with the meal and thought that everything went together very nicely. I would fix these recipes again :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches

I made these sandwiches a few nights ago but had to make some changes. The Onion Soup Mix isn’t gluten free so I tried to add some dried onions and things to the broth to make it just as flavorful.  It was still good but I am sure the onion soup mix would have added a lot.  The sandwiches turned out delicious and the broth was perfect for a dip.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Audrey's Fettucine & Asparagus Meal

I started with getting the asparagus ready to cook and followed the recipe. I usually just use olive oil and then salt and pepper, so it was interesting to try it with balsamic vinegar.
Next, I got the zucchini & chicken grilling. Once that cooked and cooled I got them cut up. Meanwhile I was cooking the pasta.

Here's the pasta ready to eat :)
Here's my plate. I really liked the pasta dish and would fix it again. Dana tried some of it and liked it also, but the rest of the family thought that it was okay. I had lots of leftovers, but I enjoyed it for my lunches :) For the asparagus, we did decide that we prefer it without the balsamic vinegar, but you never know until you try it :)

Audrey's Asian Cabbage Salad, Easy Chocolate Mousse & Lemonade

Here is the Asian Salad. I thought that it was very tasty with all the veggies, nuts and chicken in it. I liked the use of the coleslaw mix to make it easier in preparing the salad. I couldn't find the sesame seeds in the store, but enjoyed the almonds. All in all, I thought that it was a very good salad.Here is the chocolate Mousse. It had a different taste and texture than chocolate pudding, so that was interesting. I think that I might have beat it too much with the mixer :( This was not a favorite recipe for me.We thought the lemonade was great! In fact I still fix it when I have lemons and limes as we really like lemonade. I like the option of making it strong or weaker. I usually use the 6 cups of water to the lemon-lime & sugar mix as we usually have ice in our drink.
I thought that all of these recipe's were fun to try and I will fix some of them again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jenny's Thai Peanut Noodle Salad and Pork, Rice, and Dressing

Sunday I made the Thai Salad. I made the dressing the day before just to cut back on things I would have to do after I got home from church on Sunday. I made the dressing as it says, but without cilantro...they were sold out at the grocery store...weird. The salad I made as the recipe calls for as well, but without chicken. It's a long story, but the chicken just didn't get made. I thought the salad was really pretty with all of the different colors of vegetables. My husband loved the salad. He added a lot of extra peanuts to his. I guess he liked them. And said it could have used the chicken. I was perfectly fine without the chicken, but I guess that's where we differ :) I liked the salad. Next time I would probably chop the nuts before adding them to the salad and also use less of the dressing. I poured the entire recipe of dressing on the salad without even thinking and it was a little too much for me, but my husband thought it was great, so maybe it was just me.

The pork, cilantro pineapple rice and green dressing I made a couple of weeks ago. I agree with Kim, I think it was my favorite of the cafe rio type pork recipes. It was so yummy! Al did the grocery shopping for me because I wasn't feeling that great and bought the pork roast with bone in. But it ended up being just fine. The meat fell right off the bone. I don't know why, but I was a little skeptical of the pineapple in the rice. Then I tasted it and thought it was great! I loved the flavor it added. My husband loved the rice too. I thought the dressing was good, but a little sour. Next time I would probably leave the green salsa out, or use my other recipe I have. Oh, I also made the PW Pico de Gallo and guacamole to go with this dinner. I never made them back when we were doing her cookbook. They were both yummy and a great addition to the dinner. Has anybody else been watching her show on food network?

I've really been enjoying this cookbook! I think overall the recipes have been really good. I'm excited for the roast beef sandwiches, and then I will also make the beef taquitos with some of the leftovers :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jacki’s French Dip Sandwiches, Spinach Parmesan Mushroom Caps

I made both of these recipes for dinner tonight and  loved them both – very tasty.  I cut both recipes in half since there are only two of us.    Sandwich first – I followed the recipe as directed.  Cooked it on high for about 5 hours and it was plenty shredable.  I served it on the rolls in the book (pg 32) but since it isn’t a selected recipe for this week I will not review except to say absolutely yummy!   I didn’t toast it in the oven since I served right when the rolls were hot from baking.  Next, the mushroom caps – also very good.  Again, I followed the recipe as directed except I left out the parsley because I didn’t have any.  I did end up cooking them longer than 10 minutes because I wanted the mushrooms to be a little softer.  It is easy to eat many more than one:)  Two more recipes I will definitely make again. 

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Recipes for the week

Let's try Spinach and Parmesan Mushroom Caps - pg 20 and
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches - pg 134
I have actually already fixed these and they were both very good.  I fixed the Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches last week but forgot to take pictures and the Mushroom Caps last night.  I'll put my pictures of the Mushroom Caps up later.  Hope everyone enjoys these!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes

I made this recipe last night and I will admit that it is what we ate for dinner.  I made the shortcake as directed but also made some gluten free cupcakes for me to try the strawberries and cream on.  After all this baking I just decided to call it a day and serve it for dinner:) I liked the lime flavor with the strawberries and coconut whipped cream was so tasty. It just had a hint of coconut so it was perfect.  We all loved this and Sean gave the shortbread a good review.  I don’t think he even knew it has sour cream in it!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jacki’s Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad and Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes/Coconut Cream

I made these two recipes for dinner tonight and I agree with Leslee, the salad was absolutely delicious.   But, I must add it was very time consuming even though I used the julienned carrots and sliced red/yellow peppers from the salad bar at the grocery store and a rotisserie chicken from Costco for the meat.  I also omitted the red cabbage even though I bought it but after cooking the pasta, making the salad dressing and prepping the other veggies I was just plain tired (and hungry) so I just omitted it to save time.  I used just romaine lettuce.  Next time I will cook the pasta, make the salad dressing, and prep some of the veggies ahead of time.  The salad was well worth all the work though so I hope all of you get a chance to make it. 

For the Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes I made the Sour Cream Pound Cake on pg 42 of the book.   It was good but watch the cooking time – it says 50 to 60 minutes and I checked mine after 45 and it was already a little over done but nothing the juices from the strawberries couldn’t moisten:).  I liked the tang of the lime mixed with the strawberries and the coconut was a nice change with the whipped cream.  It was fun to try something just a little bit different.  These recipes made for a really good meal.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heidi's shredded pork and cilantro pinapple rice

I fixed this a couple of weeks ago in the crockpot and I loved it!  The meat was excellent and I will fix it again FOR SURE.  I really liked the rice, but my family wasn't huge fans of it.  I had leftovers for lunch a couple of times.  It was actaully really good that I fixed this in the crockpot the day that I did.  I fixed it on Tuesday, August 30th.  That was the day before we had the big fires near our house.  There was a fire close-by so I started packing some of our things in case we needed to evacuate.  It was great that the dinner was pretty much ready to eat since we watched the news all late afternoon and evening. 

Leslee’s Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

Okay let me just start out by saying that this is one of the BEST meals I have ever eaten! Maybe that is a little dramatic but I thought it was so good! I made the salad with romaine lettuce and all the veggies except purple cabbage(I bought it but forgot to add it!).  I grilled up the chicken breasts on the BBQ and sliced them up to add with everything else.  The only other little change was with the dressing I added much less oil and a little more water and thought it was still just as flavorful. I used a gluten free fettuccini noodle instead of linguini but I think they are about the same.  The only problem was I probably should have cooked them just a bit longer but next time I will do that. 

So delicious!!


I still need to make the dessert but I wanted to get this review up since I loved it so much:)

Kim's review

Last night we made the beef taquitos. I made them exactly how they said in the recipe. I thought the chile in adobo sauce was a big waste of time. I bought the smallest can I could find and still wasted 99.9% of it. I wore gloves to get the pepper out, cut it in half, scrapped the seeds out and then minced 1/4 of a tsp. It just felt like a lot of work for such a small amount of pepper. Having said that, I could taste the smokey flavor while I was eating them. I think next time I will just use the seasoning they recommend in the cookbook. I thought they tasted good but needed something else, they were a little dry to me. So we mixed up some sour cream and salsa to dip them in and they were delicious. The mango salsa was really good and flavorful. When I bought all my ingredients at the store they were out of avocado, so I was missing that but it was still so yummy.

I made these cookies the other day and they were delicious. I thought they were THE BEST right out of the oven, when they were gooey and soft...YUM!!! This recipe made A LOT!

I also made the Cafe Rio pork, rice and cilantro dressing last week. I thought the pork was delicious! It was my favorite sweet pork recipe I've tried. The rice was really good as well. I wasn't a huge fan of the cilantro dressing though. It was a little tart for me. I don't know if that is the best was to describe the flavor, but something was off. I have another recipe that I like a little better, so I will probably stick to that one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Leslee’s Catch Up Meals

I finally got caught up on the recipes from the last few weeks.  We were out of town for a bit and then had some other craziness but I finally got to the store to get all the ingredients and got them made this weekend! First up in the Mexican Style Pork. 

I enjoy make the CafĂ© Rio style meals and this one was good.  It was a little different to use the enchilada sauce and I am not a huge fan of the flavor, but the pork turned out pretty good.  The rice was fluffy and had just a hint of flavor to it which I liked.  The dressing was easy to make although I like it a little thinner so would probably add some more milk next time but that is an easy fix. Altogether this meal was delicious!


The next day I planned to make the Beef Taquitos. I decided to just use my leftover pork but then as I was assembling them I realized it was so flavorful that I didn’t need to add all the extras.  In the end I just rolled up the pork with cheese so it wasn’t so much following that recipe.  I will try the real Chipotle Beef recipe soon and post about it, but ours ended up tasty too! I made the black bean and mango salsa and it was really good.  The mango I chose wasn’t too ripe but it was still really good to eat with chips or just by itself!


I had made the Chocolate Cookies several weeks ago for Sean and he really liked them.  I decided to try them out for myself the other day.  I followed the recipe but changed out the flour for some gluten free stuff and they turned out really tasty! I used a pb chip and chocolate chip combo in them that was delicious.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Recipes for September 11th Week

After going thru the book I finally chose several recipes. There are so many good ones to choose from its hard to limit yourself :) The new recipes are: Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad pg. 80 and Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes with Coconut Cream pg. 232. I thought that these would be good end of the summer recipes. Have fun cooking and I'm looking forward to hearing your reviews :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jacki’s Review of Black Bean Mango Salsa, Taquitos, PB/White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yum!  I thought these recipes made for a very good meal.  I will start with the Black Bean and Mango Salsa – loved it.  I just ate it with a spoon.  I didn’t make any changes to the recipe.  It had a very fresh and healthy taste.   I did change the recipe a bit for the Chipotle Beef Taquitos.  I used chicken instead of beef and I omitted the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and used a little bit of chipotle chili powder instead – much easier and less waste.  My tortillas were a bit thick so they didn’t roll up as tight but were still really tasty.  For the cheese I just used some pre-grated Mexican style cheese.  I served the taquito’ s and salsa with refried beans and some watermelon.  I made the cookies for dessert.  I first made these cookies a couple of weeks ago and they are so good – you must make them!

Isn’t that salsa just gorgeous looking?

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Yes, they are worth every calorie.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Recipes for the Week of 9/4

Hello! I am excited to pick the recipes this week. I have been using recipes from the OUR BEST BITES blog for about a year now and have enjoyed this cookbook so far. I have been cooking along despite my lack of posting. I will work on catching up in my posts.

This week I chose the Black Bean and Mango Salsa, page 13, the Chipotle Beef Taquitos, page 122,  and the Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chip Cookies, page 211. We actually made this for our big Sunday meal this afternoon so I will put up my review now.



This meal was quite tasty and enjoyed by all.  I used some roast type meat that I had already cooked in the slow cooker and frozen for tacos.  I added the spices to it but could not find the can of chipotles that I was sure I had in the pantry so I just went without.  This was probably less spicy for the kids anyway.  The corn tortillas were frozen so I was worried they would crack but I just wrapped them in a bunch of damp paper towels and microwaved them for a few minutes.  That did the trick nicely.  Also, I looked for some tasty Mexican cheese at Trader Joe’s when we were there last night but surprisingly they didn’t have any so I ended up using a little bit of mozzarella which was good.  The black bean and mango salsa was really good.  I thought the onion would be too strong but it was fine.  I fixed that first and let it chill while I made the rest of the food.   I had made the salad dressing last week but didn’t post about it  so it was in the fridge getting tastier and tastier.   This is actually one of my favorite salad dressings and I have been making a similar recipe for a few years.  I use the Kraft olive oil mayonnaise which has much less fat and calories than regular mayo but still a great taste and the same texture instead of being thinner like light mayo.   I add a bit extra cilantro and  use a few teaspoons of green Tabasco sauce to taste instead of the green salsa and hot sauce.    The green Tabasco has a softer taste than the red and can be found right by the other hot sauces.   I usually add 2 or 3 tomatillos to this recipe.  Those are the green tomato looking things with a a papery type leaf still attached and are usually found by the peppers in the produce section.  They have a unique and delicious flavor.   Anyway, we dipped our taquitos in the salsa and ranch and it was really good.

I made these cookies at my mom’s suggestion a few weeks ago, I am pretty sure they haven’t been chosen yet though.   They are really good.  Just the right blend of flavors   I sent a lot of them to work with my husband and they got good reviews from the co-workers.  Luckily I didn’t keep too many home since I wanted to eat them all! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Jacki’s Review of Shredded Pork, Lime-Cilantro-Pineapple Rice, Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

I made all three of these recipes for dinner tonight and loved them all.  For the Mexican-Style Sweet Shredded Pork I halved the recipe and used cranberry juice instead of apple juice because that is what I had.  Other than that I followed the recipe as directed.  Very tasty!  For the rice I used pineapple tidbits and just chopped them up instead of crushed because again, that is what I had.  Also very tasty.  For the Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette I used the white wine vinegar in it.  Another tasty recipe.  My only complaint about these recipes is chopping the cilantro – it is always a tedious job – the cilantro leaves stick to my fingers and the knife etc – any suggestions?  I guess it is worth it though because it sure tastes good.  My husband made tacos with the above for his meal using soft flour tortillas.  I put a scoop of rice on my plate, topped it with a serving of the shredded pork and then sprinkled on cheese and avocado with lettuce and tomato on the side with the Vinaigrette.  It made for a very good meal!

The Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette ready to chill in fridge.  I am planning on using some of the leftover to marinate some chicken.

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My plate – soooo good.  (those tomatoes were grown in our deer proof garden:)

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Jenny's Cordon Bleu, Roasted Broccoli, and BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad

I made the Cordon Bleu and roasted broccoli last night. It was a huge hit at my house. My husband LOVED the chicken. Avery really liked it too. She was a little skeptical at first when she saw it, but I told her it was ham, cheese, and chicken- all things she loves. After that she ate it all and told me how good it was. I used an Italian cheese blend for the cheese and panko for the bread crumbs. I love the crunch from the panko.

The broccoli was really good too. Al liked it...and he's not a huge vegetable person. I squeezed some lemon juice on top, but next time might even use a little more. I love that the Our Best Bites recipes seem to all use a lot of fresh citrus. I think it tastes so good!

I did serve the chicken and broccoli with a hollandaise sauce, after reading Tarin's review and I think the sauce went really well with both the chicken and the broccoli. It was a great addition.

Sunday night I made the Cobb Salad. I loved it. I thought it tasted so summery and fresh and I loved the BBQ chicken flavor in the salad. I ended up making the BBQ ranch as well. I love blue cheese, but I would have been the only one eating it at my house so I opted for the ranch. One time I will have to indulge myself and go with the blue cheese :) The BBQ ranch was really tasty though. It tasted like something you would get at a restaurant. I will for sure make this salad again too.