Friday, January 30, 2009

Look What My Kitchen Got!

Isn't she a BEAUT???? It was my 15 year wedding anniversary yesterday. All of my in-laws pitched in and bought me, um, er, I mean bought us, this Kitchen Aid stand mixer in silver! I almost fainted when I opened it!

I have always wanted a kitchen aid mixer but knew that I probably wouldn't own one unless I got a great deal on Craig's List. I didn't register for one of these things when I first got married because I didn't do the cooking...Scott did. But now that it has shifted and I do all the cooking, I have had my eye on one of these things for years.

Really folks, this is the mother of kitchen appliances (next to your fridge, stove and dishwasher of course). I seriously want to put a spot light on it! It's soooo beautiful and shiny. I don't even want to dirty it up but of course I fact I'm making pies in it tomorrow.
This is me coveting my new best friend.

I felt really bad about the gift being just for, er, I mean, us...and this is how the conversation went:

Jaime: OMG, OMG, OMG...are you freakin kidding me!

Scott: YEP, isn't it awesome!!?

Jaime: OMG, OMG, OMG...are you freakin kidding me?

Scott: Um, are you excited?

Jaime: OMG, OMG, OMG...are you kidding me??? YES!

Scott: I knew you would love it.

Jaime: I feel bad though, it's kinda for me...not you.

Scott: Are you crazy, I'm totally going to benefit from that...get cooking!

Thank you Roy and Donna (Dad and Mom), Kim and Matt and Maddie and Juliette, Tommy and Mandi and Ian, Christian, Elijah, Jamin, Jude and Ella, and Robert and Jennifer and Jack and Jonah!

From Scott and Jaime and Sydney, Gavin, Luke and Dylan...we love you guys and can't wait to eat yummy cookies and bread from our new addition to the family!

I'm actually thinking of naming it...any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spinach, White Bean and Turkey Sausage Soup

Another one of my favorite food blogs is Closet Cooking. Kevin is an amazing cook and has great photos! You have to go check him out. I cannot get enough of what he makes. I have mentioned in the past that I'm trying to stick to a South Beach Diet type of eating. When I saw his post for this soup, I nearly jumped for joy. It's perfect for Phase 1. No carbs, no sugar. I quickly ran out and bought the ingredients and made this soup. The taste is amazing and almost indescribable. It had such a refreshing clean taste to it and the sausage loads it with tons of flavor. Try it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Spinach, White Bean and Turkey Sausage Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage (casing removed and crumbled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups chicken stock
1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 bunch spinach (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink and set aside. Heat the oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red chili pepper flakes and saute for another minute. Add the sausage, stock, beans, oregano, and bay leaf and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer until it wilts. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bok Choy with Bacon

Anything with bacon is A-OK in my book. I really like bok choy and making it this way makes it even better. One of my favorite blog sites is Rookie Cookie and she just had a post where she talked about Pike Place Market. It made me remember a time we were there in Seattle. It was about 10 years ago. Scott and I were staying at a hotel that had a kitchen in the room. We went down to Pike Pike and bought two lobster tails and then went over to the butcher and bought a 1/2 lb of raw bacon pieces and then cruised over to the produce section and bought Bok Choy. (That place has everything!) We went back to our suite and cooked us up a fancy lobster dinner with Bok Choy and Bacon. It is one of my favorite meals and memories to this day. The food was so fresh. It was the first time I had ever had Bok Choy. I'm hooked!
Bok Choy with Bacon

Bok Choy
4 or 5 slices of bacon

I love this baby bok choy from Trader Joe's. It's cheap and just the right amount for my family. And it's easier to work with than the big bok choy.

Fry the bacon in a pan.
Remove the bacon and remove most of the grease. I would say leave about 2 tablespoons. Cut the big end off the bok choy and then cut the bok choy into big pieces (it shrinks when you cook it). Place all the bok choy into the pan and toss around to coat the bok choy really good with the bacon grease.
While that is cooking, cut the bacon into pieces. Once the bok choy wilts down to your likeness, add the bacon.
Cook for another few minutes and you're done. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Skillet Potatoes

Usually the day before G-DAY otherwise known as grocery day, my fridge is almost empty and the pantry shelves are longing to be filled again. I have a moment where I think, "what am I going to cook for dinner with next to nothing in the kitchen to cook"? I pull out the chicken breast I have and then check the pantry for an easy side item, I only find a few potatoes. So I have a couple chicken breasts and 4 potatoes....I put on my thinking cap and the bulb above my head goes off, skillet potatoes. Skillet potatoes were usually made in my parents kitchen for breakfast but I'm 32, 33 next week and darn it, I'm making them for dinner!!

I know the recipe is simple but it's a reminder that those lonely potatoes, onions, greens and whatever is in your kitchen could potentially be an awesome side, something even the children, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend and or visitor will eat.

So, here it is, my "version" of skillet potatoes...and oh boy, they are good.

3-4 potatoes to feed 2-3 people
diced garlic (optional)
diced onions (optional)
cooking oil
sea salt/kosher salt or table salt for those who yet to venture into the salt word
black pepper
Wash and lightly scrub your potatoes before cooking.
Cube your potatoes as evenly as you can so they cook at the same rate. Pour water over the potatoes and place your microwaveable bowl into the microwave and cook for 10 minutes on high or until potatoes are tender but NOT TOO tender as they will cook more on the stove top.
(See my potatoes cooking in my microwave? I tend to document everything!)
After draining the liquids, add your potatoes into a big skillet pan that has been already pre-heated and oil already added. If you want, you can add garlic or onions to the potatoes. I kept it simple this time around and added pepper and salt.

Keep cooking and flipping potatoes until golden brown and crispy. Dip in ketchup if desired.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The "South Beach" Sandwich

I should be on the South Beach diet, the Atkins Diet, the Zone, the Life Choice, Weight Watchers, the Dr. Phil Diet....the "I feel for ya Oprah" Diet, but I'm not. I'm not dieting yet because I can't even make it to the grocery store let alone nap during the day to make up for the hours I'm awake during the night feeding our daughter. I should be motivated by the fact that Jaime (my BBFF) and my little sister, Crystal are on the South Beach Diet but I'm not, remember I said before that I'm TOO TIRED??!! So, I named this yummy dish the South Beach Sandwich because I'm pretty sure you can't eat it and I dedicate it to the DBFF's Jaime and Crystal.

1-2 lbs of Ribeye, shaved (ask the butcher, he'll do it for free)
sliced mushrooms, I buy the prepackaged sliced shrooms to cut down on prep time
red onion, slided
cheese dip
worcestershire (1/4 cup)
hoagie bread

I buy the ribeye at Albertsons becaues the butcher will shave it for free. I take the meat and pull it apart in smaller peices before adding the worcestershire marinade.

Add the worcestershire sauce and let sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes before cooking.
Throw into a hot pan and cook until all the pink is gone.
(This is what the meat should look like before you add the onions and shrooms).

Move the meat aside and add the onions and shrooms and cook until tender.

Now mix them all together.

I like to toast my bread on a hot pan on the stove with some butter before adding the Cheese Whiz. Pile high the meat mix and enjoy! It's tasty!
-Lots of good eats

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beef Kebabs With Peanut Dipping Sauce

I got this recipe out of the South Beach Diet cookbook (I'm not sure I'm allowed to publish it on this blog but I'm going to until someone tells me differently). First let me say, HOLY SMOKES!..This was one tasty dish. The marinade for the meat was unbelievable and could be used for any meat in any recipe. Secondly, the peanut sauce is to die for! I ate it for 3 days with all the left over sirloin. You could eat it with a spoon just right from the's that good. I did use Splenda products in this. And to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Splenda but until my butt gets smaller, Splenda and Stevia are my new sweetener B.F.F's. If you are not concerned about your sugar intake, then you could easily add regular sugar and brown sugar and it would be just as good.

Beef Kebabs with Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 Tbls Brown Sugar substitute (Splenda)
2 Tbls Sugar Substitute (Splenda)
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2 lbs sirloin steak cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup creamy natural Peanut Butter
3/4 cup water
3 Tbls lime juice
1 Tbls Ginger, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1 green bell pepper, cut into squares
1 red bell pepper, cut into squares
1 large onion, cut into wedges

In a shall dish, combine half of the soy sauce, 1 Tbls of the brown sugar, 1 Tbls sugar and 2 of the pressed garlic cloves. Add the steak and stir to coat. let stand for 20 minutes, stirring once. (I put all my marinade ingredients in a freezer bag and placed my meat in there. This is how I marinate all of my meat and it works like a charm because it's easy to toss the meat around in the bag to get coated by the marinade)

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the peanut butter, water, lime juice, ginger, ground red pepper, the remaining half of the soy sauce, the remaining 1 Tbls brown sugar, the remaining 1 Tbls sugar and the remaining 2 cloves pressed garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Remove it from the heat.

Coat a grill rack with cooking spray. Preheat the grill to high.

Thread the steak, peppers, and onion onto four metal skewers (I used wooden ones). Place on the grill rack and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the steak is no longer pink. Serve with the peanut sauce.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Chocolate Kahlua Cake

I saw this recipe from Micah at Recipe Sharing. It sounded interesting so I thought I would try it out. I made it for a bridal shower I had. I had no clue what kind of frosting to put on it so I just whipped us some buttermilk glaze and poured it over the top. I'm not a chocolate cake fan so at first I didn't want to try it. But then my husband tried and said it was amazingly good. So I just had to sample it for myself. It was really really good. I liked it because it was dense. Also, the chocolate taste was so strong, it was great. I am on a diet so I only got a small nibble, but once I get skinny, I'm going to make this cake again and enjoy a very large piece.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
6-oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 cup of oil
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup Kahlua

Combine cake mix, pudding, sour cream, eggs, oil, and Kahlua. Mix until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest center of the cake comes out clean.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reader Submission Friday - Cha Cha Chicken Salad

We haven't seen R.S.F. in a very long time. We were inundated with recipes from people that really enjoyed the blog. And trust me, we are trying to get to all of them. In fact I'm backed up like 20 recipes right now that I need to people...PATIENCE, PATIENCE!

I had to submit this particular recipe though as soon as I could because it's just soooo amazingly good and I love how semi-homemade it is. It's easy and tasty. I love those two things together.

These pictures and recipe were sent in to me by Amber Dellisanti. We've had a shout out to her before. She has really taken to this blog and has made several recipes. She's cute as a button and we love her dearly.

P.S. And she's crafty...check out her Etsy store for adorable kid's items.

Cha Cha Chicken Salad

Package of Angel Hair Cabbage
1 Celery Stalk
2 Green Onions
Shredded rotisserie chicken or one or two cooked chicken breasts
Chow Mein Noodles
Cashews or Peanuts
3/4 cup Cha Cha Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
Just mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!
When I made this recipe for my family, I used peanuts and I added shelled Edamame. It was really good because it added even more crunch.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mexican Soup

It's a fact, when you have a new addition to the family, cooking is next to impossible. Between feedings, naps, diaper changes and the impossible shower...meals at times are based truly on convenience. Last week, my sweet Gillian kept Bart and I up a few nights in a row, all night long. I asked Bart to please call his mom over so she could come and help us out, all I needed was one night of rest. She did come to help and she came bearing gifts, one particular was this soup. It was so easy to make, Triston did the majority of the work. It's SO good, perfect for winter dinners and perfect for leftovers. Because I'm nursing, I couldn't eat this particular meal to avoid a fussy baby however it sure did please the rest of the family. (I did take a small spoonful bite and boy oh boy, it's delicious!)
One can of the following:
pinto beans
chili beans
corn (drain all liquids)
Rotelle tomatoes (mild or hot)
diced tomatoes
beef broth
1 pound of ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 package of taco seasoning mix
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
1 cup of water
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

Brown the beef and add onions. Let the onions sweat out it's liquids for 3-4 minutes before adding the meat/onions to your crock pot.

Start adding all the cans, such as the tomatoes.

Pinto beans.
Rotelle Tomatoes and corn (remember to drain all liquids out of the corn before adding).

Add beef broth.

Add the taco and ranch packets.

1 cup of water.

Stir and let simmer for an hour or so until flavors are well blended.

Serve with homemade tortilla chips or if you are pressed for time, store bought tortilla chips.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Salad

So as most of you know, I'm on a diet. No fun..I know! I have decided to go with South Beach Diet. I've done it in the past and lost weight and it's a heart healthy diet so I really like it. The first two weeks is horrible as you can have no sugar and no carbs. So that means, no candy, no bread. Surprisingly this time around with this diet, the first two weeks wasn't so bad. I found a few good blogs that cater to South Beachers which totally helps and I will list some of those recipes soon. But the first one I wanted to show you was actually a take off from one of my own recipes. One of my first posts on this blog was for my Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Pitas. Since I'm still on Phase 1, I can't have the pita. I love this dish so much, I thought I would try it as a salad. It was delish! I put the meatballs over the salad and used the Tzatziki sauce* as dressing. It was really good. Next time around, I might throw some olives in there and some Feta Cheese, which I am allowed to have. But even with just the lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, this salad was super filling. By the way, I lost 7 lbs in the first week...Not bad, huh?

Mediterranean Turkey Meatball Salad

1 pound Ground Turkey Breast
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dill

Combine turkey meatball ingredients, mix well. Shape into balls. Using non-stick skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray or a little olive oil, cook meatballs about 10 minutes or until brown and no longer pink in the center.** Combine sauce ingredients if making home made.

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or greek yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp fresh dill
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp black pepper
Salad ingredients:
Romaine hearts, rinsed and chopped
Sliced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
Sliced cucumbers
Other ingredients to add:
Feta Cheese
*I buy Tzatziki sauce from Trader Joe's when I don't have time to make it. It's just as good.

**You can freeze these meatballs and put them in a Ziploc freezer bag and have them on hand for future use. If I buy the sauce at Trader Joe's, this is one of the fastest meals I can make, no lie!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bridal Tea Party

My brother, Kenny, is getting married. We had a little tea party for my future sister-in-law, Charlene, this weekend. I was up all night baking. I love to take over the desserts department so even though I was having a blast, it was pure torture because I'm on a diet. Here's a little teaser of what's to come this week.

I made Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies which I already posted. I also made Amy's Pecan Tassie's (she's my husband's cousin and I love her to death...super cool chic...GO STEELERS!). I made Oreo Truffles, a Kahlua cake, and then I was lame and made from box mixes...cupcakes and brownie bites.

The next day at the party, I ordered scones from my most favorite bakery in Scottsdale, The Bread Basket. I made homemade Devonshire Cream and served them with Lemon Curd and Raspberry Jam (from Trader Joe's), as well. And I also buy little Lemon Bites from Costco...those things are just pure evil.

I will post the recipes this week....stay tuned!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

3 Minute Chocolate Cake

I found this cake online...I cannot remember where I found it, but it sounded so odd, I thought I would try it. One day Scott ran to the store to pick me up like "1" item so it was a quick trip. By the time he got back I had this little cake sitting out for him. He was dumbfounded. He couldn't believe I whipped this up while he was around the corner. I gotta be honest...I'm not a choclate cake fan which is weird because I'm a brownie fanatic...go figure. So of course, I didn't want to eat it. But Scott devoured it and said it was good. I didn't have anything to top it with so I grabbed some semi-sweet and regular milk chocolate chips and melted them in the microwave real quick and drizzled it over the top. This is the funniest little cake. First off, you make it in a coffe mug, secondly, it's the easiest recipe you'll ever make and thirdly, it's pretty ugly when you pull it out but if you dress it up a little, you could make it into a pretty little fancy piece of art. And to get your chocolate fix after only 3 doesn't get better than that. Try it out and tell me what you think.

Three Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake

4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
4 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp Cocoa
1 Egg
3 tbsp Milk
3 tbsp Oil
1 Mug

Mix flour, sugar and cocoa in a mug. Spoon in 1 egg. Add the milk and oil and mix well.Microwave on high for 3 minutes. It'll begin to rise and then settle down in the mug. Remove the cake from the mug onto a plate and enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Super Easy Shrimp Scampi

This dish is so delicious and so easy and SO fattening. Which of course means it's something I've been eating for quite some time. Even though, I will not be eating this anytime in my near future as I am on a diet...EEK! That's right folks, I'm dieting. So this might/maybe be my last posting for a FAT GUT BUSTING meal and I might move on to healthier things to post. BUT before you decide to stop checking our blog now...Jen is still on and I'm sure until she's done nursing sweet Gillian she'll have some yummy gooey food to post. So here's to you enjoying one of my family's favorite meals. My mom got this recipe from my mother-in-law, long before I was her daughter-in-law and made it for my family all the time. We call it Spaghetti Shrimp as we used Angel Hair Pasta or Thin Spaghetti but my mother in law always uses Fettuccine noodles. Try it will NOT be disappointed.

Shrimp Scampi

1 lb raw deveined shrimp
1 stick butter
4-5 cloves garlic, presses, minced
2 Tablespoons cornstarch in 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and Cracked Pepper, to taste

Boil your noodles first. When your noodles are almost al dente, melt butter in large skillet. Saute shrimp and garlic till they change color, just a few minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot, cooked fettuccine noodles, or mix together and serve.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

So as many of you know, Bart and I welcomed our second child into this world just a mere two weeks ago. While I was resting at home after having a c-section (yikes!), my mother-n-law made a family favorite, Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. It's so good, so easy and it taste oh so good. It calls for pumpkin and if your like my OBFF (online best friend forever), who doesn't care too much for pumpkin, great news, you hardly even taste the pumpkin or you can replace it with another cup of your favorite ingredient, like peanut butter! I suggest making two at once because it will disappear.

I guess in my OBFF's world, maternity leave is only 2 weeks....because here I am ready to blog again and cook again!

I know a lot of people are dieting, so you can use sugar free vanilla pudding, skim milk and sugar free/fat free cool whip to help keep the calories and sugar content low. I've had them both and they both taste oh so yummy.


1 package of vanilla pudding, instant is perfectly fine
3/4 of milk
1 carton of cool whip, 8 oz
1 cup of pumpkin (from the can)
1 graham cracker pie crust

First things first, add 3/4 cup of milk to the vanilla pudding and mix until it becomes thick.

Mix away!

Add your cup of pumpkin to the vanilla.

Mix the pumpkin with the pudding, as shown above.

Add the cool whip to the mix and mix well.

Once incorporated, put the mix into the pie crust and put in fridge for 30 minutes to really chill and set.