Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amazing Soup!

I wasn't going to post this recipe yet when I first tasted it. At first, I thought that I wanted to mess around with it a bit more, make it a bit better. But then I had three cups for lunch. And a bowl for breakfast. And it's the first thing I went for as a snack today. So I decided it must be pretty good as is. I got the recipe here. And the following is how I made it, pretty similar. If you like beans, this stuff is absolutely amazing. Dip a French baguette in it and you almost feel like you're treating yourself to Panera.

Pureed Black Bean Soup
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup bacon bits (the original calls for ham or bacon slices)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 – 1 1/2 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili
pepper to taste
1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
2 - 14.5 oz cans black beans

Cook onion and bacon in small amount of oil. Add garlic, then water and bouillon cube (or broth) and spices. Puree tomatoes and beans in blender and add to soup. Bring to boil and simmer about 5 minutes. Serve with French bread. (I'm sure it'd be great with sour cream or cheese and tortilla chips as originally suggested.)

Next time I may try puree just 3/4 of the beans and smashing the rest to make it a bit thicker...or maybe I'll just put a little bit less water. Regardless it's delicious!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spinach-Cheese Swirls

I'm not going to type this recipe out because it's already in cyber space, right here, but I did want to point them out to you because they are a delicious way to use up that remaining sheet of the puff pastry that you bought for the chocolate croissants. And since I didn't buy the right kind of puff pastry (i.e. all butter) the spinach cheese swirls actually tasted better than the chocolate croissants. I didn't realize anything could taste better than chocolate! ;o)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Zesty Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

This recipe is adapted from The Gooseberry Patch What's For Dinner? cookbook. When I told my mom what I was making for dinner, she said that's the same sort of dressing she's been using all summer for a new warm potato salad she's been serving. Once she told me that, I knew we'd like dinner because that potato salad is delish! And we did like dinner. I think we'll like it better when I follow the note below.

I hope you all try this. It's so yummy!!

Zesty Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 lb. potatoes, cut into about 1 inch cubes
1/3 c mayo
3 T Dijon mustard
1/8 t pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced

Grease a cookie sheet. Place chicken and potatoes on cookie sheet. Blend remain ingredients together and brush over chicken and potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.

*I wrote the directions as I made it tonight, but next time I'm going to cube the chicken also and then toss all the chicken and the potatoes in a bowl with the coating to get it covered better. Brushing it on top was not enough. I think I'd give the potatoes a 15 minute headstart and then throw the cubed chicken in too. I'm not sure how long the chicken would take to cook in such small pieces, so I can't give any specific directions. But man this stuff is tasty!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

These were delicious! They were also easy (if involved) and cute. And I even took a picture. Totally a make-ahead-and-bake-whenever kind of meal.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
2 c cottage cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg
1/8 t nutmeg
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

Spray 2 qt rectangular baking dish with nonstick spray. For filling, in a bowl stir together all ingredients, except the noodles. Spread about 1/3 c of filling on each noodle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, beginning at the short end. Place seam side down in dish, cover with foil, and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
14.5 oz canned tomatoes, undrained
1/2 t dried basil
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 t sugar

Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.

The sauce was okay, but I might save myself the trouble next time and just use my favorite spaghetti sauce (which is and always will be Prego).

More Chicken

I ought to have at least tried to take a picture of this one for you all because it really is a pretty dish, but my food pictures always turn out really poorly. I don't have a photographer's touch unfortunately.

I made Chicken and Penne with Basil Sauce from the new book last night. We all liked it, even Charles (it's dairy-free!), but I will still do things differently next time. I might skip the sauce all together and just throw the basil in with the chicken and vegggies. I don't like the taste or texture of so much cornstarch. Can you substitute flour for cornstarch? Will it thicken in the same way?

Also the recipe cautions not to replace the fresh basil called for with dried basil. It apparently will not taste as good.

Chicken and Penne with Basil Sauce
from Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook
1 1/4 c chicken broth
4 t cornstarch
1/8 t black pepper
2 c dried penne pasta
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil
12 oz chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin shreds
2 T Parmesan cheese
garnish - fresh basil

1. Stir together chicken brother, cornstarch, and black pepper. Set aside
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Cover; keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, spray an unheated large skillet with nonstick spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add sweet peppers and garlic. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet. Add oil, increase heat to med-high. Add chicken; cook 3-4 minutes until no longer pink. Stir broth mixture and add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return peppers to skillet; add basil shreds. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Toss with hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with additional basil as desired.
4 servings

Tonight's dinner: Spinach Lasagna Rolls from the same book. I'll let you know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Broccoli-Sausage Sauce

When my husband and I moved from Indiana to Missouri almost a year ago, I couldn't pack up all my food magazines; there were just too many. So I went through them all and torn out the recipes I liked. They were supposed to be organized neatly in a binder, but they still lay in a stack. I finally got around to looking through them and I found this recipe.

It's a pretty simple sauce, but delicious. The amount of sauce it makes is enough for 1 pound of pasta. I used rotini shaped pasta, but any short pasta will do - bow tie, shells, penne, etc.

Source: Family Circle - September 2004
Servings: 8

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (28 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch of broccolli or broccoli, cut in 1-inch pieces

1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook 5 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally. Add garlic, sausage and mushrooms; cook 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, paste, salt, oregano, nutmeg, pepper. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low and cooked, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli during the last 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anne's Favorite Pizza Sauce

Well, I did it. I found my new favorite pizza sauce. I've been working on perfecting a homemade pizza for our family because just like nearly everyone else, we really enjoy eating pizza but aren't so excited to spend the money on it. I'm sure we'll still order out here and there, but it's nice to know I can put pizza on our weekly menu if I feel so inclined.

While I was looking for the perfect sauce, I tried one that was way too spicy for me and one that was a little bit too sweet for me. I took a few ingredients from each recipe and came up with this one. And it was perfect for me. The best part is that Peter really liked it, too!

If you haven't found your own favorite pizza sauce, give this one a try.

Anne's Favorite Pizza Sauce
28 oz can tomato puree
3 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
4 cloves garlic, minced

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. (You might want to cover it because mine start splattering all over the place!) Reduce to a simmer. Simmer probably at least 15 minutes or so.
Makes enough for 3 or 4 14-inch pizzas. So you can just freeze whatever you don't use and use it next week. Your pizza will be that much quicker to make.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yummy Breakfast Link

I've recently declared Saturday to be Make-A-Fun-And-Delicious-Breakfast Day. I've got my shopping list ready to go, except I hadn't planned for anything fun on Saturday yet. Then I noticed these. That's what I'm hoping to put on my table on Saturday. Puff pastry and dark chocolate pieces have been added to my list now!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some tasty wholemeal soda bread

Hi everyone. This is my first post, obviously, but I'm really excited to be a part of this blog. I'm moving from Ireland to Istanbul, Turkey in a few days, and can't take all my cookbooks, so it will be great to check out your recipes to keep me going while I'm there. Here's a great Irish soda bread recipe that I love. Its quick and easy and I like it better than other soda breads I've tried to make. Oh, and sorry, its in metric and I don't have time to convert it at the moment. If you have a scale you'll be fine.


400g fine wholemeal flour
130g plain white flour
50g wheatgerm
30g pinhead (nibbed/kibbled) oats- use more jumbo oats if unavailable
30g jumbo oats
1tsp bread soda (heaped)
1tsp salt (heaped)
70ml sunflower oil (I've never tried it, but regular vegetable oil might work too)
550ml buttermilk (if you want to make this vegan or dairy-free, replace buttermilk with 275ml water & 275ml soymilk curdled with a squeeze of lemon juice)
A handful of toppings: oats/pinhead oats/pumpkin seeds/sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Brush baking tray with oil. Into a large mixing bowl, sift the brown and white flour and the bread soda. Add the wheatgerm, nibbed oats, jumbo oats and salt and combine thoroughly. Next, stir in the oil and distribute evenly.

Now make a well in the centre of the dry mix. If using buttermilk, pour it into the well. If using soymilk, first curdle the milk with lemon juice and the pour it, along with the water, into the well. Use your hand to gently fold the milk into the flour. It is important not to over-mix your soda bread, so use as little mixing as possible to bring everything together. It will be of quite a sloppy consistency.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead it into a round loaf. Use a knife to score a criss-cross shape across the top of the bread. Transfer to the flat baking tray and dust with a little flour. Pake in the centre of the oven for 45-60 minutes, until well-risen and browned on top. Turn it out onto a wire rack. Tap the base of the loaf with your fingers. If it makes a hollow sound, the loaf is cooked. Cover with a tea towel and leave on the rack to cool completely before slicing, quarter by quarter.

This recipe is from 'Cornucopia at home: The Cookbook' a collection of recipes from Dublin's Cornucopia Restaurant.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Book, New Recipe

While I was staying with my parents' last week, I found a new-to-me cookbook in their pantry: New Dieter's Cookbook. I browsed through it while I was there and it's full of fabulous pictures and fast, appealing recipes. I borrowed it. But my sister wanted to borrow it, too. So I promised her I would post each recipe as I made it.

The first recipe I tried was Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers. It was good, not great, but maybe you'll like it better than me. It appealed to me because I like nearly all the ingredients in it, and it was a new way to eat them. The dish looks really beautiful (not necessarily in my picture), but I think maybe the herbs are a wee bit intense for me or something. Anyway, here it is as I made it. You can alter it further to fit your appetite.

Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
nonstick cooking spray
2 c diced potatoes
1/2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 - 2 roasted red sweet peppers from a jar, diced
1 1/2 t dried basil (I will use less next time)
1 1/2 t dried oregano (less next time)
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
(The orginal recipe suggestions 2 T olives; I do not like olives.)

Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Preheat. Add chicken. Cook and stir 4 or 5 minutes until tender and no longer pink. Remove and set aside.
Add uncooked potatoes, sweet peppers, broth, herbs and spices to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered until potatoes are tender (10+ minutes). Stir in chicken (and olives). Heat through. Garnish with fresh oregano if desired.
Makes four servings.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Our neighbors introduced us to "Slush" which we immediately renamed (with much affection) "Sludge." It's amazing.

-mandarin oranges
-7up (pomegranate or cherry is best.)

I can't remember all my measurements, but I think I bought 5 cans each of pineapple and oranges, and just kept dumping them in until it looked like an even amount. I drained the oranges, not the pineapple. I used about half a banana because I think bananas are gross. So gross, in fact, that the second time I made it (with just one can each of pineapple and mandarin oranges) I left out the banana entirely.

So you dump all these in a freezeable container or a metal baking dish or something like that (depending on how much you want to make) and you mash it until it's mostly small chunks and juice. Then you freeze it. When it's time to consume, you cut it up into little chunks, put them in your glass, and drip some 7up over it. Mash it up with a spoon in your cup a little bit and it'll turn into a delicious slushie. You may need to keep your 7up with you so you can pour a little more in every few minutes. Don't make the mistake I first made, which was to put WAAAAY too much 7up in and so it was just like a fruited soft drink instead of a slushie. That was lame of me.