Friday, February 27, 2009

Menu Week: March 2

This week my parents are here and there is a race this weekend. Can't wait! Here goes!

Monday: breakfast I'll make some baked oatmeal for my Mom to eat when she wakes up. She likes it! Lunch is Lotsa Pasta in honor of her birthday. Dinner is White Plains Chili and for Dad's bday in May - low-fat banana pudding. Good stuff!
Tuesday: Dad and I are going to Calistoga's for breakfast (steel cut oats). Lunch is a bbq place near Bardstown. Dinner will be chicken salad on greens - or leftover chili - or we'll go out somewhere.
Wednesday: Wild Eggs for breakfast, chicken salad on wheat for lunch, dinner will be egg white on greens (get things back to normal)
Thursday: Turkey something (out of the 2003 Cooking Light Book - it will be the recipe of the week. Hopefully good, I've got some turkey to use up!
Friday: Picking up some Fazolis on my way to friends' so I can eat some cards to get me ready for the Anthem 5k on Saturday.
Saturday: After the 5k, Sarah, Chuck and I will grab breakfast. Lunch is with Sarah and Chris - so looking forward to that. Dinner will be something light I hope!
Bring on spring peas, asparagus, almost farmers market, my fave stand reopens - can't wait for Spring to get here! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Taste of Louisville: Los Aztecas

I just enjoyed one of the best things I've ever had at a Mexican restaurant!
Los Aztecas is where Brandi I went today. It is a local chain, with this being their newest addition, right down off of Frankfort in the Clifton area.
I had the mushroom quesadilla which had mushrooms, green peppers, onions and cheese - yummy! Kinda a grilled cheese sandwich. I shared some of it with Brandi.
And their hot salsa was good - added the kick for the lunch!
Not the cheapest mexican food - but it was good. Reminded me of the spinach quesadillas at Las Mas in Wake Forest. It was my normal. This one wasn't as greasy or as fattening as that one was.

Taste of E-town: El Rodeo

This is where I did a DNOW session - El Rodeo in E-town. Probably not the best place to do it, but a change of scenery.
I got one of the platters. Way too much food and ended up leaving most of the rice, and the tortillas from my chicken enchilada and hard taco.
The best thing on the platter was the dismantled chili relleno. So good. Chili on the bottom, then hamburger, topped with melted cheese. Simply great! :)
The chips were good and served hot. Definitely thought their hot salsa left something to be desired, but the regular was ok.
There you go - good reason to go to E-town!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Easy Creamy Banana Pudding (2009.8)

Anastasia comes through again with the recipes. I made this tonight for a friend's birthday - his wife told me he really liked banana pudding - also one of my Dad's favorite desserts. I personally like the cold kind, non-baked. But, I know some people like the other baked meringue kind.

1 large vanilla pudding, instand, not sugar free
3 cups cold milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 carton cool whip
1 box Nilla wafers
4 bananas

This is easy and creamy and cold and good. Mix the first 4. Layer with the bananas and nilla wafers. I started with wafers, bananas, cream, repeat, end with decoration of wafers on top.

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These were pretty good - or as my friend said - "these are addicting"! I made these for a secretary breakfast we had at the school on Friday. Sara Foster came up with another winner, although I didn't toast the oats/

1 1/2 cup rolled oats ( I used them plain, not toasted)
2 1/2 cup flour
1 T powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

375 - sprayed muffin tin and top. Combine dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine. Add in oats and fold together just till mixed. Fold in chips.
Bake for 25-30 minutes (I think mine was about 355 for 26 minutes in a dark muffin tin).
I enjoyed these warm, but they were good at room temperature too! The semi-sweet chips are perfect for these - glad I stuck with them even though I usually like dark!

Rachael Ray's Winter Vegetable Stew (2009.7)

Rachael Ray is ok - definitely not my favorite. This soup is an example of that. I got this cookbook from my mentor, Phyllis. It is Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals 2. This is the winter vegetable stew (p. 112). Its ok - especially since it is going to be a cool week and I am really wanting vegetables. I added the broth, white blush wine, and some cut up roasted turkey breast. Everything else is almost the same...

Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped and quartered
16 oz mushrooms
1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (she had 2 cans of regular tomatoes)
1 cup homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp rosemary
1 cup chopped roasted turkey breast

Saute, heat vegetables through with broth and wine, add turkey and seasonings, simmer for about 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Menu week: February 23

This week will be leftovers and roasted chicken and turkey on salads. I ate a lot this weekend so I have to get back on track with eating right. Glad I don't have junk food in the house!
Monday: New Mexican place with Brandi - Los Aztecas - down Frankfort. I just had Mexican in E-town this weekend, but its a good cheap lunch. And Shiraz for dinner - I think I'll do a veggie kabob.
Tuesday: White Chicken Chili. Salad with egg white and chicken for dinner
Wednesday: Soup that I made on Sunday and salad for dinner. Maybe I'll get around to making those red velvet cake truffles this week for CG.
Thursday: Soup and then salad for dinner
Friday: Havana Rumba for lunch with the staff and salad with egg white and chicken for dinner.
Saturday: Leaving for AL to visit with family.
Sunday: AL
The recipe this week will be a banana pudding I am making for a friend's birthday. It is coming out of the Anastasia Baptist Church cookbook. From my home church in St. Augustine, FL. Looking forward to it - it should be pretty good! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Silky Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Cookie Topping

A friend had a birthday today and I celebrated it by making a pumpkin pie. I used a Foster's one found on her cafe www ( and added a ginger cookie crust to the top (just crumbled 1 one of her ginger cookies in a food processor). I like the change in texture.
Since I gave this pie away I do not know how the finished product tasted, but having a taste of the bowl was great - in Sara Foster fashion!

Foster Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Cookie Crumble Top

3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
15 oz can pumpkin
3 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 T flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 unbaked piecrust

325. Combine through milk, add butter. Add all dry and spices. Pour in unbaked crust and put on cookie sheet in oven. Cook 45-50 minutes. Till it is firm to the touch and doesn't wiggle in the middle.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Easy Warm Fruit Compote with Ginger Cookies

This was easy and good with a couple small adaptations from Rachael Ray's original recipe. I put it with Breyer's Slow Churned Vanilla Ice Cream and some of the Foster's Chewy Ginger Cookies I made this weekend. Made for a nice, light dessert.

1 15 oz can pitted sweet cherries, drained
zest and juice of one naval orange
palmful of dried cranberries
2 T amaretto
Ice cream
Ginger cookies

Put first 4 ingredients on stove and let simmer till the cranberries are plump. Ice cream, fruit, ginger cookie on side. I liked this.

Jalapeno Corn Muffins

You may get tired of all these Foster's recipes - but not if they are good, right? Come May I'll take some pictures of my favorite cafe and post them. I made these last night. The only thing I would do is cook them a little longer and maybe make more so they are smaller. These make huge muffins. I would try to make 18 instead of just 12 and have them normal size. But, they were full of flavor thanks to the scallions and jalapeno and cheesy goodness with the grated extra sharp cheddar! I paired with white chicken chili and my friends Mexican rice salad. Yummy!

1 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup canned corn
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 scallions, chopped

Mix dry. Stir wet, combine. Fold in corn, cheddar, scallions, and jalapeno. Grease muffins tins and top. Fill till full. Bake at 375 for 26-27 minutes. (that is accounting for wanting to bake them a little more, I originally only baked for 25).
Enjoy warm with butter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Ginger cookies. Don't usually like them. They don't have a lot of flavor and they are usually too hard. I now have a recipe I love. And yes, it is from Foster's Market Cookbook. They are supposed to be crispy, but mine are a little chewy - how I like them. I'm going to use these in two ways: with a cherry compote and ice cream tonight for dessert and then crushed for a crust of a key lime pie on Wednesday.

1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Cream, then dry. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes on slightly greased cookie sheets. I got 18 cookies. These are yummy. And they have multiple uses!

Chewy Coconut Macaroons

I have a friend who is a big Ina fan. Ina Garten - the Barefoot Contessa. I'm rarely home to watch her show on the food network - but do love the recipes that I have made by her. This one is no different.
I wanted an easy no-fail macaroon cookie for a friend who asked me to make them for her. i had never made them before so didn't know what to expect. Behold, some good, chewy, full of flavor coconut macaroons. Way to go Ina!

1 14 oz bag sweetened flake coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Mix first 3. Beat egg whites and salt to medium peak. Fold in. Bake at 325, on parchment paper for about 25 minutes, give or take depending how big you make them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Menu Week: February 15

This is a busy week of baking and then heading to Indianapolis for my first 5k - and its going to be cold! :)
Sunday - white chicken chili, jalapeno corn muffins (Fosters), cherry orange compote with ice cream and crispy gingersnaps (RR, Fosters)
Monday - Winter Vegetable Stew (plus chicken). This is my recipe of 2009 for the week. It is out of a RR cookbook that Phyllis gave me while I was in ATL over Memorial Day.
Tuesday - Silky Pumpkin Pie for a birthday present (Fosters)
Wednesday - Key Lime Pie with Walnut-Gingersnap crust (Fosters) for a going away lunch at work and Red Velvet Truffles for small group (because there was a slight change to small group last week)
Thursday - Leftovers of Winter Veggie Stew
Friday - Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip muffins for our breakfast at work. My goal is Fazolis
Saturday - Bagel with pb on my way to Indy for the Polar Bear 5k and then lunch at a fun place in Indianapolis - any suggestions?
Looking forward to bakin

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Amber Peavyhouse: Cheesy Sausage Penne

This is amazing. I tried just some of it that stuck to the aluminum foil last night and could have eaten the whole dish. I've gotten to know Amber here in Louisville, but we drive the same car and are both from the Central Florida area and both love to cook. We have to be friends right. This is also why I like hanging out with people who are good cooks - you get great recipes, you get challenged to make new things, and they also enjoy food. She is a great cook for her family and others in our community and in their neighborhood.
Amber and her husband, Matt, volunteer at our church and are both from the Tampa area - so we know many people in common. They have three cute kiddos. I've enjoyed hanging out with them.
So, make this, share it, eat it, enjoy it!

From Amber:

Sometime in the last few years I stumbled upon this recipe in a cooking magazine (can’t remember which one now) and I had to give it a try. This hearty meal is delicious! The first time I tried it I thought: this seems so obvious…who wouldn’t like a traditional pasta dish with the added twist of a cream cheese/sour cream sauce? Another plus is that it’s pretty simple and makes plenty. I often pair this with a salad and loaf of bread when taking a meal to a new mom. It stretches a long way and refrigerates well. Also, for a healthier alternative I have substituted the pasta with whole grain and the cheeses and sour cream with lighter varieties and it still tastes awesome. Hope you enjoy!

Cheesy Sausage Penne
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
16 oz penne
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. sour cream
4 green onions
2 cups shredded cheddar

Cook meat and garlic over medium heat and drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Cook pasta and drain. In small bowl combine cream cheese, sour cream and green onion. In a greased, shallow 3qt. Baking dish, layer half the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half of the cheddar cheese and repeat layers. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Foster's Chunky Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

One of the recipes I made this weekend were these great cookies from Foster's Market Cookbook. I still liked them days after I baked them. Had a great chew. People enjoyed them. The only thing I would say would maybe lessen the nutmeg and add more cinnamon, but they were good the way they were too. Tons of raisins in them!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
4 cups rolled oats
1 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I add the 1/2 from the original recipe)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (this I lowered from 1/2)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups raisins (I used dark because of the color contrast)

Cream, add flour and dry, fold in oats, fold in raisins. Bake on lightly greased, 12-14 minutes, 350 degrees.
Makes 2 dozen big cookies

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Herbed Polenta with Portabellos (2009.6)

Mixed reviews. That is how I would define this recipe.
The herbed polenta I used (the only kind I could find in Kroger, roasted garlic and herb) I didn't care for at all. It may have been better with homemade polenta, grits, angel hair (which I what I'll do with the leftovers), but the store bought refrigerated section polenta didn't cut it.
The mushroom mixture - ok, who doesn't like sauteed shrooms. Definitely one of my favorite savory foods.

Here you go, this was out of the Weight Watchers 15 Minutes Meals (p 71)

1 16 oz tube of herbed refrigerated polenta (found in produce section usually)
1 container sliced portabellos
1 onion, sliced
3 T parm cheese, grated
1/2 c white wine (they said red)
1/3 cup water
1 T balsamic
olive oil, 2 T unsalted butter

Saute slices of polenta till done (about 4 minutes on each side). They out on paper towel to drain. Add the shrooms, onions, seasonings, and liquid. Saute till done.
I'll use the rest of the shroom mixture sometime this weekend for a quick dinner at home - maybe Saturday night. It was yummy. I like the mix of the olive oil and butter to saute them in, then the white wine and balsamic. Rosemary rounds out the flavor.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Taste of a Chain Restaurant: PF Changs

I think I've been to PF Changs about 3 times in life. I know, for how good it is you would think I would go more. But, I haven't. Its too expensive. Usually I am in a place where there is a good cheap Asian fare place, but here in Louisville, there is no Charlie's or Chen's.
Tracy and I went last night. She had never had the PF Chang's experience.
We got the spring rolls as an appetizer - they were yummy.
I got the ginger chicken with broccoli, brown rice. I added heat to it - about a 5 - and it was warm, but not so warm that I couldn't taste the food. It was really good. The sauce was great and the meal cooked just right.
The side dish I ordered was the sauteed spinach in something...but it was way too salty so I didn't care for that.
Tracy got the szechuan (sp?) beef with vegetables - and it was mild, so no heat at all. It was ok. The beef was jerky style and I didn't care for that.
Tracy got the garlicky green beans and they were great.
We both definitely downed the water. And we had a great waitress, Jill, who kept us stocked with water! :)
So, is PF Chang's good - yes. Is it always worth the price - no. i like my 5$ lunch special good Chinese places! But, its good for an occassional night out.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Thai Lentil Soup

All the tastes of Thailand are in this soup - and it is very healthy. Two great combinations! You can either blend it all up (immersion or blender) or use a potato masher like I did.
My Mom gave me this recipe last week. My Dad, who doesn't like ginger or curry, said this was a keeper. I made it tonight - loved it. So, it is a yummy soup for sure!

Creamy Red Lentil and Squash Soup
2 T olive oil
2 small onion, chopped
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlice, crushed
Over medium heat, saute the onion, ginger and garlic until very soft and translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic.
2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
2 small to medium peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash
5 cups water
1 can (14oz) coconut milk (I used lite)
2 T curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 t nutmeg
2 tsp salt (definitely needed some more at the end, so you may want to up it or let each soup-eater taste themselves for the salt)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Note: Only red lentils will give the correct texture in this recpe. They will disintegrate during cooking. As a bonus they digest much easier than other lentil varieties.
Mom's note: After they were done, I put the soup by cupfuls while still hot into my blender and pureed it and then put it back in the pot until we ate it. I think it would be nice with a dollop of creme fresh or sour cream in the middle of the bowl. Enjoy- oh, I found the red lentils at WHOLE FOODS!
I just waited for all to get done, then took a potato masher to it. It is good!

Foster's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Again - a recipe from Foster's Market Cookbook. There should be one or two more this weekend as I'm baking 3 different cookie recipes for a gathering at the apt tomorrow night.
These cookies make a lot, have a great chew (thanks to the brown sugar exceeding the white sugar in the recipe), and have three different chocolate chips (something I like to do). They have a little crisp on the outside and chewy/soft on the inside - something a perfect chocolate chip cookie should have.

Foster's Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla (I forgot this till just now and they taste pretty good to me, but definitely will add)
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup each ss chocolate chunks, dark chocolate, white chocolate

Cream, eggs, dry, fold in chocolate. 350, greased, 15-18 minutes (don't overcook - I cooked mine for about 16 minutes, using an ice cream scoop to size the cookies).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Foster's Chocoholic Cookies

New cookbook - gotta love it. Foster's Market Cookbook is the first one put out by Sara Foster, owner of Foster's in Durham and Chapel Hill. I can't say I've had these cookies in the cafe, but I made them tonight. If you love chocolate - there is no doubt that you will love these. Definitely use high quality chocolate as it is the main star of these cookies. They make big cookies too, but not a lot. I only changed one thing - I don't like coffee, so I left out the espresso granules. They are just fine - believe me. Thank you Sara Foster!

Chocolate Whopper Cookies
6 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate chunks
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used ghiradelli - my fave), chopped
6 T unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 t good quality vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans, unsalted peanuts)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Melt the first two chocolates and butter together just until chocolate is melted, do not over cook. I had to finish melting/stirring in the butter off the stove - and it melted fine.
Mix two eggs and vanilla. Add the cooled chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients. Fold in nuts and chocolate.
Heaping T full (1/4 cup) onto 2 greased cooking sheets. Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or until not jiggly. Don't overbake or they will be dry. They are gooey when warm and are delicious!
Give these away quick! And they looked just like the pictures in the cookbook!

Chicken and Rice Casserole - Family Favorite

I love family favorite recipes. I would say - that during my middle school and high school - we had this at least 2-3 times on Sundays per month. This casserole was definitely easy and great for after church because we could set the oven timer and have it hot when we got home. It is a recipe in the first Plant City Primitive Baptist Cookbook, my copy is all stained and everything - actually it is Mom's copy.
I made it this evening to take to a family, who just lost their mom. I'll head it over there tomorrow after church.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

1 1/2 cup cooked rice (I used regular rice)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 stalks celery, halved, sliced
2 cups diced chicken
1 can healthy request cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup light mayo
1/2 medium onion
pinch of sea salt
pepper to taste
fried onion rings

Mix all together. Let sit overnight covered. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, uncover, bake 15 more minutes with fried onions on top. Enjoy!

Menu Week: February 9

This week is really busy, but most of it includes cooking - so it should be fun!
Monday - I am the RA where I live, so we are having our spring get-together. I'm using 2 cider mixes to make some Apple Cider. I just got the Foster's Market Cookbook in the mail so I am making three cookie recipes from the book: Chunky Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Raisin. Looking forward to seeing how the cookies turn out and getting the leftovers out of my house. My meals today will be lentil butternut squash soup and an egg white omelet with sauteed spinach and other vegetables.
Tuesday - Chicken salad for lunch and then heading to a friends' for dinner.
Wednesday - For the 2009 recipe of the week I picked out the 15 Minute Weight Watchers Cookbook. I am making a vegetarian meal of Herbed Polenta with Portabellos. For Community Group, in honor of Valentine's Day this weekend, I am making Red Velvet Cake Truffles.
Thursday - Lentil Soup and Chicken salad - I'm working in the housing office till late anyway and then will get some cardio in at night.
Friday - Lentil soup (I love leftovers) and then we are having our women's event. I am supposed to bring a sandwich - so I am making homemade pimiento cheese with some bread from Panera or Plehns.
So, for me it is a healthy eating week - I just gotta get the goodies outta my house! :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Roasted and Broiled Veggies on Greens (2009.5)

I love salads! There isn't a lot of food I don't like - but this salad had one of those things, and I thought I would give it another shot - eggplant. This time in a way I hadn't had it before - broiled. Nope, still didn't do anything for me.
But, the salad, recipe of the week out of Salad, cookbook of the week, was a winner. I bought mozzerrella balls to go in this salad, but accidently left them in the grocery bag over night - not a good thing. Since I had some shredded romano cheese - I used that. The Mozz balls would have been better, because the cold creaminess of the cheese would have been a great contrast to the vegetables. Yet, this was still good.
The winner of the salad - the roasted garlic on the roasted sweet potatoes. Roasted garlic is sweet and amazing! Roasted sweet potatoes - almost a comfort food - pop in your mouth goodness. Warm for a really cold night! I could have eaten the whole pan, but didn't. Still have two servings left.

Roasted Garlic, Sweet Potato, Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Salad
2 large cloves, zested (with a zester grater)
2 sweet potatoes, sliced and cubed
olive oil
2 large red pepper
1 eggplant
romano shredded cheese (or better yet, mozzerrella)
balsamic and olive oil as the dressing

375 toss garlic and potatoes in oil and roast for 30 minutes. Toss halfway. Turn broiler on and place sliced eggplant and sliced and seeded peppers on sheet pan for 10 minutes. Put on greens (I used my favorite, organic baby spinach leaves). Dress with balsamic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!