Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fresh Pasta Blend

I have a calendar from Krafts foods and Mom and I vowed we would make each recipe on that calendar within the month that it was posted. So, being that we are getting close to the end of March - we had to cook this one.

Here ya go:

1 bag whole wheat egg noodles

1 lb chicken breasts, diced

3/4 cup italian dressing

1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 bag baby spinach

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup mozz cheese

Boil water and cook egg noodles. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Saute chicken until done in the italian dressing.

When done, add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved pasta water. Toss the chicken mixture in with the cooked pasta. Add the spinach until wilted.

Add the crumbled bacon and mozz cheese on top.


It is good - use quality bacon and italian dressing as it adds a lot of flavor.

Taste of Lakeland - Dragon Buffet

Mom and I are on this weekly thing to taste new places in Lakeland. Dad doesn't like asian food much so Mom and I have to try new things in that arena.
We went to Dragon Buffet as many people we knew had suggested it to us as a good place to eat. It was cheap enough - 2 of us for lunch for 12.30. That's not bad. It wasn't that crowded and they had plenty of food on the buffet.
Chicken and broccoli was good. The boiled shrimp would have been better if they were peeled. The sweet and sour pineapple was great and I enjoyed the pork and mushrooms. Those were my fave. For dessert we had some lf ice cream and these almost coconut macaroon cookies, but they were fluffier than the usual flat cookies. They were yummy!
Then the problem came...Mom commented that there was a ladybug on the wall. Ah, how cute - they are all over the place down here. But, upon closer examination, it was a small roach. You know when there are small roaches around there are bigger roaches somewhere. I was grossed out, trying to hurry what I was doing so we could get out. Then the roach started crawling - right onto the table. I lept to my feet and said alright, we are going. Mom gently put her glass of water right on top of it.
We said we'd never go back there - no matter how good the coconut cookies are.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Taste of the Latin World

Since I've been in FL, I've gone to two Latin restaurants: Columbian in Ybor City and El Coqui in Lakeland.
The Columbian is my fave Latin (Spanish) restaurant and this one was in Ybor City (old Cuban cigar shipping doc. They bring you a big chunk of Cuban bread. I had the ropa vieja - it was great! I get other things, but that was great. I love that place! There is nothing like it!
Mom and I tried out El Coqui in Lakeland today. It means the frog I think in Spanish. It is a small PuertoRican restaurant in south Lakeland in a strip mall. We had the ropa vieja as well (not as good, too vinegary, as the Columbian), the yellow rice with red beans (which was seasoned very well), the tostones (which were great, but I put ketchup on them), and then the flan because they didn't have any tres leches cake. We will go back, but we won't have the ropa vieja again - we'll try something else.
I'll definitely have to go back to both of these again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Greene's and Grill

Went to this place at Millenia/Conroy (Orlando) last night with a good friend from college. We were both excited about it as she had heard from a friend that it was really good. There were some good points and not so good points. Here is the premise: a Moe's or Chipotle but a salad bar.
1. It was healthy (as long as you didn't get all the cream based dressings and cheeses as the toppings to your salad. I got the farmer's lettuce (romaine basically), craisins, mand oranges, green peppers, edamame, tomatoes, with citrus balsamic as my dressing. Then the grille on top that I chose was chicken. They mix it all up and serve it to you.
2. The grille had no flavor. The salad and the dressing I chose were quite good however.
3. We also got hummus and flat bread for our side (which of course cost extra). The hummus had a lime flavor to it, so I didn't really like it. The flat bread was more like a big tortilla that had been grilled, but in the mean time had been burnt in places, so it effected the whole taste.
4. The service was real good and the guy even came and cleared our place.
5. The restaurant was clean and bright/airy. It had quite a few people in by the time we left at 630.
6. The cost was the biggest downside. Mine was 12.50 for a salad (6.99), grille (2.50), and side. All I got was water. I could have gotten my salad much better and more of it at Sweet Tomatoes for 3 dollars less - and dessert and bread!

Anyway, the company was great, but maybe we'll pick a better place next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A newfound faith in Carrabba's

Dad and I took a break from the Ligonier Conference today and drove down Apopka Vineland and ate dinner at Carrabba's. (there may only be one of those letters in that word - my brain is almost done for the day).
I'm not a huge fan - but it was actually really good today.
The bread was very warm so that is always good.
The salad was great - even though it was just romaine and 2 olives - but the dressing made up for it.
We split the PorkChops Marsala. It was phenomenal! The mushroom and marsala sauce was perfect, not to wine-y. The mashed potatoes had the perfect touch of skin and garlic. The only bad thing I can say is that the sauteed brocoli was cold. It tastes like they had used soy sauce, which isn't too Italian - but I could have been wrong.
Our service by C was incredible and he always refilled my room temp water with lemon - no ice!
Maybe I'll try this restaurant again and see if other ones can live up to the one on Apopka Vineland.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cinnichip scones

Go Mom and me - we make a good team!
I made some scones early in the evening from the new Southern Living cookbook - baked oatmeal scones - not too good, just not a good flavor - they were missing something, don't know what.
But, then I decided not to give them away, but abotu 930p I still wanted to bring something to St. Aug today, so we put our heads together and while I was watching House, Mom put them together. They were a maple-cinnamon chip-pecan scone (I finally used my Hershey's Cinnamon chips). They were some of the best scones ever made by me (or Mom). I tasted them while I was talking to Melanie on the phone - so I have to bring her one. We may put a maple/10x sugar glaze on them today - but they are good just the way they are. They taste like my fave Fall ones from Starbucks.

Cinnichip scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick cold butter, chunked
2/3 cup skim milk
1 egg
2/3 cup cinnimon chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp maple extract

375, spray mini scone pan (or just be prepared to cut them out with biscuit cutters). Mix dry, cut in butter, stir in milk and egg. Add flavoring and additives. Spoon into scone pan. Bake for 18 minutes or until light brown.

Yummy! Don't eat them all at once.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Potatoes Max and Chocolate Footballs

Well, my Mom and I do like to cook together. While they were at church this morning I made lunch. We just had some frozen coconut shrimp (not worth the fat grams really), brussel sprouts (always a winner), and Potatoes Max - something I did up real quick.

Potatoes Max

Serves 4-6

Preheat oven to 405 (or somewhere around there). Line your cooking pan with aluminum foil to make for easy cleaning).

2 large baking pototoes (skin on, thinly sliced)

1 onion (thinly sliced in rings)

5 strips of bacon already cooked


Grated monterey jack cheese

Olive oil

Lay sliced potatoes on pan in single layer (or slightly overlapped). Sprinkle with salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil. Cook for about 25 minutes. Then lay onions on top and cook for another 10 minutes or until onions are slightly browned. Top with bacon and cheese and turn up heat to 450 for 5 minutes to broil the cheese. Serve immediately.

Then for dessert, we made some of Mark Tachmann's (411 in Chapel Hill) Crispy Chocolate Cake (which I will call chocolate footballs) - you know because you played football with those triangle folded pieces of paper when you were waiting for church or a family picnic to star - where you flicked it across the table and held up your hands in the shape of the goal posts (don't deny it).

Chocolate Footballs

Serves 6

5 sheets of phyllo dough

1/2 stick butter (and a brush)

Powdered sugar

6 pieces of chocolate cake cut in small squares (about 2x2)

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Roll out each piece of phyllo dough, one at a time, brushing with butter, sprinkle powdered sugar, do another one -stacking them on top of each other. Then cut a 3 inch slice, put a little bit of chocolate chips down on the low end (closest to you), then top with a piece of cake, then fold up (like you would a paper football or a flag). Make sure the seam is on the bottom.

Bake at 375 for about 11-13 minutes or until golden brown (our's took a little longer I think).

MG - they were so good - you definitely gotta make them (because I know you liked them that night as well).

Friday, March 02, 2007

First Days in FL

Well, this has been an interesting week being in FL. Not even a week really - 5 days.
But, the guy down the street who has known our family for about 40 years now has the BEST Strawberries - and you know it is Strawberry Season in the Winter Strawberry Cap of the World. They are so juicy and sweet. "Like you are eating candy" - Dad.
I ate at Sonny's. Their mac and cheese wasn't that great, but their bbq sauce and smoked meat beats any of that vinegar based junk they serve in NC - no offense to people up there who like it.
I introduced my family to Gwaltney's Center Cut 40% less fat bacon on our BLTs today. They loved it as well - it will soon become a Davidson household staple!
My Mom and I take turns cooking, she has done a lot of it though as I have been sick and she knows what is what. She made these great sauces the other day for a meeting at church so we have been enjoying them as well.
My parents tried Lychees - a fruit from SE Asia that I tried both in Indo and Thailand this past year. I love them - they liked them as well (even if they were canned).
I miss George's Hummus and Madhatters and Caribou and Chai's. But, July will come soon and I can partake and bring back some leftovers to FL!