Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick Italian Spinach Pie

Ooooo! This was so yummy!

I'm a few days behind on posting because we had this on "Meatless Monday", but I still wanted to put it up. I was browsing around on the web for budget-friendly meals and came across this one. Brandon was a little skeptical about the fact that there was no meat involved, but he came around. If you'd like to try it too, visit the Kraft Recipes site. Just follow the instructions and enjoy!

P.S. Make sure you squeeze most of the moisture out of your spinach. I didn't and I think that's why it was a little watery right out of the oven. Still set up pretty well though.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A few new items

Short post today! We've been sick, sick, sick. Therefore, the culinary adventures have been a little more limited. At least I still cooked a little!

Homemade Beef Stroganoff

Homemade sausage & green pepper pizza - Yummo!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Sucker for Pictures

So it was the ad's fault. I wasn't really interested in making anything for dinner tonight - long day, wasn't into cooking, etc. Then I saw an ad for the Olive Garden with this great looking pasta with a garlic butter sauce on it and my stomach said it simply wouldn't tolerate anything else. I set to work when I got home to give it a shot and it wasn't too shabby. I'll try my best to recreate the recipe here since I have a tendency to toss things in. :) Served it up with some grilled tilapia fillets and peas. Mmmmm.

Creamy Garlic Sauce
1 T minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t parsley
2 T flour
1 cup milk
Lemon juice (squeezed from 1/4 lemon)
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T parmesan cheese

1. Saute garlic and parsley in the olive oil for 2 minutes.
2. Add flour and stir until it becomes smooth and bubbly, about 1 minute.
3. Add milk and stir constantly, over medium heat until sauce thickens.
4. Squeeze in juice from 1/4 lemon (about 1 T), salt, pepper , and parmesan.
5. Combine with pasta and serve.

I learned a trick recently about pasta sauce. If you mix in a 1/4 cup or so of the starchy water that the pasta was cooked in, the sauce will stick to your pasta rather than just run off onto the plate. It really works!

I also baked up some carrot cupcakes last night and frosted them with the required cream cheese frosting. Nothing from scratch here folks - consult the baking aisle at your local supermarket!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No recipes needed

Just good ol' meat and potatoes tonight! A little Farmland marinated pork loin, some sweet potatoes (yes, that's real butter) and broccoli. No experimentation or cookbook required, but sometimes the basics are just darn good!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cooking Binge

Tonight was a busy night! I had a couple of experiments that I wanted to try and finally a hassle-free night to do it.

First up - hot cocoa mix! Now I've been on this kick lately to find ways to make convenience foods from scratch and see if they are as good and more economical. We go through a lot of hot cocoa at our house - it's like our coffee - so I thought it would be a good one to try. As best I can tell it was really good, but it's sort of hard to say when you burn your tongue. Guess I'll have to try another cup tomorrow and wait a little longer for the taste test. The other cool thing about making your own is that you can alter the flavors and calorie content. The recipes I found suggest using different types of coffee creamer (french vanilla, hazelnut, etc) or adding things like cinnamon and chili powder. I think I'll keep tweaking, but I haven't worked out the cost factor yet - powdered milk is surprisingly expensive! Here's the recipe I used, but I halved it until I knew whether I liked it or not.

For dinner tonight I made Easy Italian Meatloaf. It was a great recipe from my Kraft Food & Family magazine. (Minor vent - this used to be a great free resource, but now they charge you $14 per year for it. Might be a different story if it wasn't just virtually a book of ads for Kraft products. Guess we'll see if it goes back free when no one subscribes.) The issues are available online though, so I can share the recipe with you! I really liked this nice twist on traditional meatloaf and the only change I made was to substitute half the ground beef with ground turkey for a healthier final product. It also makes a pretty big loaf, but you can't really half it without having half a can of diced tomatoes and half a box of stuffing left. Meatloaf sandwiches baby!

Last but not least was another experiment in saving some moolah - homemade granola. I love this stuff on yogurt and was going through boxes and boxes of Kashi for like $5 per box. I decided it was time to see if I could make something I liked and then customize it based on what's available for dried fruit and such. Tonight I tried rolled oats, steel cut oats, almonds, and a wonderful concoction of maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. Then I added a few bits of banana chips (very good addition!) It smelled like those stands in the mall where they roast the nuts and sort of tastes like them too. I like it, but think there's room for improvement!

I forgot the Mexican Skillet Lasagna!

Oh no! I forgot to post about a really great recipe that turned out just like I expected and even looked like the picture! If you like Mexican food and Italian, you'll like this. I was a little skeptical about mixing taco seasoning in with the spaghetti sauce, but it yielded an interesting mix of flavors that we really enjoyed. In fact, I didn't get to eat much of it because Brandon liked it so much!

I found the recipe in my January issue of the Cooking Club magazine, but you can find it here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mmmmm. Chicken Pot Pie.

It's cold and snowy outside - still - and I needed comfort food. And so began an adventure in chicken pot pie. I invited Brandon's parents over to share with us and it was wonderful! I had intended to use puff pastry on the top, but it turns out the box I had in the freezer was a year past it's expiration date and hard as a rock. So I ended up making a pastry from scratch instead. Remarkably this wasn't awful and turned out really good! Someday I'm gonna figure out how to make pie crust for real!