Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicken Parmesan: The Lazy Man's Edition.

It was 5:30 and dinner wasn't even started. The boys were starting to fight, whine, ect. and I knew I needed to get something on quickly. We have been eating vegetables the entire summer and I had a hankering for something a little heavier.

I defrosted some chicken and placed it in my cast-iron skillet with just the tiniest amount of olive oil. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic, and italian seasoning and put a lid on it. Heat on medium.

In the meantime, I started a pot to boil spaghetti. And I got a jar of spaghetti sauce out of the pantry and put it on the stove as well.

In 25 minutes, I had dinner.

After the chicken cooked, I cut it into strips and placed it on top of a bed of spaghetti. Topped it with sauce and shredded Mozzarella cheese, slid some garlic bread (from the extra loaf I keep in the freezer just to have on hand for exactly this reason) from the oven onto the plate along side a Caesar salad (which can be found here) and WAH-LA. Dinner was saved.

I suppose you could just call this Chicken Spaghetti because technically it is not Chicken Parmesan, but what's it matter to kids 6 and under? (And their Dad, for that matter)

It was simple and it turned out surprising very good. And it was so lazy, I don't feel compelled to retrieve the picture from my camera. (But I might do that later today).
What kind of lazy meals do you fix? (Because I need to add a few news ones to my repertoire)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Holy Hamburger!

photo: Nigel Cox

Has anyone seen the September cover of Bon Appetit? Oh. My. Gosh. I couldn't find a picture of the actual cover, but I think it is just a close up of the one above, which is a featured recipe in this month's magazine.

Any Bon Appetit lovers out there? I received a subscription a couple of years ago and just recently got suckered into another year. (They were giving a free cookbook with it). Right now, you can purchase a year for only $1 per issue. ONE DOLLAR PER ISSUE, folks.

I will admit that some of the recipes are over my head. They frequently feature ingredients that I can't even pronounce and preparation techniques that I wouldn't even know where to start.

But....once you get past that part, the recipes are pretty easy to follow. The photos are so tantalizing that your mouth will actually water and the inspiration the flows from the pages is not something you can just find anywhere.

So there is my justification for buying another subscription to a magazine I have only gotten a recipe out of once. But, it's worth it, I promise. And cookbooks are my thing.

Now on to that hamburger. I have been craving red meat something fierce. I usually don't eat much meat (yet I am not opposed to it), especially in the summertime, but lately I can't get enough. So hamburgers are on my to-do list for this week. And it's a happy time when hamburgers are on the menu.

I don't know if this is a plug for the magazine or the hamburger. My advice is to go for both. Your belly will thank you for the burger and your eyes will thank you for the magazine.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Suggestion: Sausage and Cabbage


This could easily be my most favorite meal. It is simple, it is delicious, and it is healthy. And it's a suggestion because it's kind of self-explanation instead of an actual recipe. I usually pair it with black-eyed peas and cornbread and I won't lie: my kids hate it.

Good thing I am one of those parents who make them eat it anyway. I don't make it very often because of this small inconvenience. And they've come around from crying to actually kind-of sort-of eating it so....I win.

Head of cabbage, chopped
Smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 in. chunks
Salt & Pepper

Set your stove on medium-high heat. Place the sausage into a deep pot (with a lid!) and put cabbage in on top. Place lid on and let cook for a few minutes. Use a fork or spatula and "toss" the cabbage and sausage, so the sausage doesn't burn on the bottom. Do this a few times, until cabbage is completely soft. Generously season with salt and pepper and you've got yourself a meal. Hopefully your kids like it more than mine!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Peachy Crumble


This was just what I needed. Actually, I'm lying. With two! sticks of butter and two! cups of sugar, it is most definitely not what what I or anyone else needs. But, it was so good. Seriously--like the best ever.

I had a ton of peaches siting on the window sill trying not to go bad, but we just couldn't eat them all. I jumped on Foodbuzz and found this recipe on the blog The Brown Eyed Baker.

I stayed true to the recipe for the most part, but added more cinnamon. And it is clear that the crumble part of the recipe would be good with any kind of filling: blueberries, blackberries, or pumpkin. I can't wait to make it with pumpkin!

Here's the recipe. If you try it, let me know about it. How'd you like it?

And check out Foodbuzz, too. Lots of great recipes and foodie blogs. While you're there, click on Project Food Blog and check out my contestant profile. I'm entered in a contest that will start in September...I'm going to need votes, so hopefully you all will get click-happy.

And in case you didn't read my facebook status this morning....I spilled O.J. off the top shelf in the fridge. Jackson spilled a whole bowl of cereal on the table, which leaked over the edge into the floor, and Bryce got into my laundry detergent and powder is all over the basement floor. Feel bad for me?  .....please?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pizza Quesadillas and the First Day of First Grade.

So I bought a quesadilla press last year at a yard sale for $3. I thought I would use it all the time, but guess what? I've used it maybe 3 times in a year. It's taking up space and I thought to myself that I had to start using it or it had to go.

A couple of weeks ago I bought stuff to make a homemade pizza, with a homemade crust. But, yeah right. It didn't happen, so I had pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese just sitting in the fridge taking up space. I also had some tortillas that needed to be used up.

Wah-la!

A whole new reason to use my quesadilla press! And a whole new reason for my kids to not complain when I serve them lunch!

It's a win-win!

And of course, you don't have to have a press to make a pizza quesadilla. A heated frying pan works just as well, just  be careful that the ingredients don't fall out when you flip it!

And....yesterday was Triston's first day of first grade!


He is getting so mature. When I picked him up he said it was the best day of his life! Which, being school # 3 for a first grader, I think is pretty cool.

But, I'm not going to lie...things go a little smoother around here when one of the boys is away, so I wasn't sad. Gasp.


And Jackson will actually still take a nap when Triston isn't around to distract, which means that I'm not so mean during the day. Hooray! (....mostly for Travis)


And can you BELIEVE that all the pools and splash parks are already closed for the year? It is still in the 90s here and I've got two littles still at home practically dying when they go outside. Not fair.


P.S. I've got the cutest little niece EVER. Take a look for yourself....


Adorbs.







Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another Cabbage Salad

my Mom, Triston, me. Jackson, and my Grandmother Lillian  -Christmas 2007


If there was one thing to know about my grandmother, it was that she was an accomplished cook. Feeding nine children every day is no small feat, and from what I can remember, it was not just any kind of food. It bordered gourmet meals every. night. It was her passion in life and one of things most missed when she succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease, which she has battled now for 5 years.

My mom inherited many of her prized cookbooks, and found in one a handwritten recipe for a coleslaw dish. My mom didn't hesitate to make it and we found that it is, well....awesome. But, it's not a creamy kind of coleslaw you might serve with fried fish (although it would certainly go), but more of a light cabbage salad, a perfect accompaniment to any summer dish.

Anyway, I couldn't get enough of it and so I'd like to share....


Lillian's Coleslaw Salad

1  large head of cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. dry mustard

After chopping vegetables, add salt and mix together in large bowl. Let sit in refrigerator for one hour, then drain excess water. Meanwhile, bring to boil last 5 ingredients until sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes, and set aside.  Pour liquid over vegetables and toss lightly to coat. You can eat right away, but tastes even better when chilled a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Squash and Corn Chowder


A good way to use squash. That was what I was looking for when I came across the recipe in Cooking Light. We had more than we could eat and I really hate it when perfectly good produce goes bad because we didn't have time to eat all of it.

So I planned to make this and invited my in-laws over. My sister-in-law and her husband opted out. Can you guess why? Well, they said it was because they had to visit his parents, but I am guessing it was because I said I was serving Squash and Corn Chowder.

But, they missed out because this Chowder was really good. Really. And if you find yourself with an over-abundance of squash (or not), you should make this, too. I served it with homemade Bruschetta. A perfect combination.

Here's the recipe from Cooking Light.


Monday, August 9, 2010

A Lesson Learned and a Giveaway!

Many times at the grocery store, my kids will start picking at the food we put in the cart. I can usually stall them before ripping open a bag of animal crackers, but the grapes are not always as lucky.

I always tell them after they've snuck a few, "We need to wash those BEFORE you eat them". But, you know little children just can't resist a big juicy grape starting right at them.

A few weeks ago, after I had said several times not to eat the grapes before we could get them home and wash them, we found this:


Yeah.

These two buggers were hiding out (dead already!) between the stems of the grapes. I don't know if the picture really does justice, because they were kind of huge.

I put them on a paper towel and called the boys in to see what I had found. I asked them to guess where I had found them and when I finally told them that they were in the grapes, they actually looked horrified.

Needless to say, we threw that batch out.

The next week when we were at the grocery store, Bryce was the only one who tried to eat the grapes, but stopped suddenly when Triston blurted out, "NO BRYCE! Remember the big bugs in the grapes last time?"

Lesson Learned.

Now, anyone who can correctly identify these bugs for me will be randomly selected to receive a copy of my new favorite CD, Habits by Neon Trees, featuring my favorite song, Animal. ***Winner is Teresa Young!

(And can we talk about how H-O-T the lead singer could be?)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Reason I'm in Love with PW.


Blackberry Cheesecake.

It was so freaking good.

But, it isn't my recipe. It belongs to the Pioneer Woman.

Thank goodness she shares.


BLT, The Proper Way

Photobucket


Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. It's a seemingly easy enough summer-time sandwich to make. Toast the bread, slather with mayo, and top with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Right?

Wrong! There are several must-haves for this sandwich to be in a perfected state.

Wheat or white bread.
Garden fresh tomatoes...no compromise here.
Big leafy Romaine Lettuce.
Quality Bacon.
REAL Mayo.
Salt and Pepper.
...and Hershey's Chocolate Syrup.

Start with your bacon. If you fry it on a griddle, you not only get evenly cooked bacon, you get straight bacon. No curled up gnarly looking pieces, and this is a good thing because you want it to lay flat across your bread. When the bacon is almost done, toast the bread. Slather real mayonnaise (and don't be stingy) on the bread as soon as it comes out of the toaster and generously sprinkle salt and pepper directly into the mayo. Top with romaine.

I choose romaine for several reasons. 1) It is healthier than its iceberg counterpart by having nearly double the amount of every vitamin and mineral they share,  2) It stays crispier in your fridge longer, and 3) It looks prettier.

After the romaine is placed, top with garden tomatoes and then your other piece of bread. We don't even eat BLT's unless we have fresh garden tomatoes. If you don't have your own garden, there are farmer's markets everywhere this time of year. Buy some tomatoes there if you have to, just don't buy them at the grocery store. Trust me on this one.



As for the chocolate syrup, we do not eat BLT's in our house without chocolate milk. I swear, it makes the whole sandwich even better. Is that weird? I just had the thought that that might be weird. But, seriously....it's awesome.

To make your BLT a dinner, add a fresh vegetable and fresh fruit for dessert. We usually do sweet corn-on-the-cob, cucumber slices, and fresh cantaloupe. Seriously, this is what I look forward to all year.

And that is how you do it!

Now go do it!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread


I found this recipe in the deep recesses of one of my cookbooks. My first cookbook, to be exact, so there's no telling where this recipe originated from or how long I've had it. It was scrawled out on an envelope. And it wasn't my handwriting.

But, I will say: I didn't love it. And here's why: I substituted 1 cup of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour. I did it on a whim. Maybe to make myself feel better just in case I ended up eating the whole loaf....it would have been partly whole-grain.

What? Don't judge me. It can happen, you know.

 I don't know. It was okay, but not how I imagined. But, I think the original is quite good. And I'll be keeping with that one from now on. And here it is.

2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 c. oil
2 t. vanilla
2 c. zucchini, shredded (I use a cheese grater)
3 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 T. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (I'm a dark chocolate fan, but use whatever kind you like)

Beat sugar and eggs until well mixed. Add oil and vanilla, mix, and then add shredded zucchini. Set aside. In another bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Pour dry mixture a little at a time into wet mixture until all is combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into 2 loaf pans and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

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