Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"If you like pina coladas..."

Then you'll love Pina Colada Shrimp!

Last night was family dinner night, and we had number 96 in Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook: Pina Colada Shrimp! I don't normally do shrimp, mostly because I don't have any real experience dealing with it, and most anytime I have it in a restaurant it is so overcooked it tastes and feels like eating a pencil eraser. I am happy to report though, that this shrimp meal was a success.

This shrimp dish was a blend of sweet and spicy. It was cooked with a combination of pineapple, coconut milk (I was able to find and use the real thing as opposed to the drink mixer the recipe called for), red pepper flakes and cilantro. I also opted for cleaned and precooked frozen shrimp. This way I saved myself some time by not having to clean, devein, and cook the shrimp. I could just warm them up and mix them into the sauce.

This was recipe that I probably would never have been brave enough to make without the inspiration of cooking though this book, and everyone agreed that its a keeper. I hope that the really scary recipes turn out to be as fun and successful as this one (or at least not terrible)! There will be two more meals this week (Tuesday and Wednesday nights), and then I will be off on vacation for the Memorial Weekend from Friday until Monday! Maybe there is a real Pina Colada in my future...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Buffalo Hot ... Burgers

Hello to all. I hope you had a nice weekend. We had (mostly) good weather, so there was a lot of yard work and gardening done at our house. We did however, take a break Sunday afternoon to have some good company and good food! Of course good weather at our house means grilling, and in addition to plain burgers and 'dogs, I made some Buffalo Turkey Burgers with Blue Cheese Dressing (number 260 in Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats Cookbook).

I'm not typically a huge fan of buffalo hot wings, but I have to tell you, the burger version is outstanding! The patties were flavorful and juicy and the sauces (buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese dressing) were the right balance of spicy and tangy. This recipe was easy to prepare and quick to disappear. I'll defiantly use this one again! More to come tomorrow!

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So, really. I haven't been cooking. This week has been nuts. Most of the nights this week I have had other plans around the dining hour, so my boys have been left to fend for themselves. Thank goodness for leftovers!

I have, however, been knitting (I'm always knitting) so how about a little show and tell? Right now my obsession has been socks. I love how you can take a wad of string (usually what it looks like after my cats or son has gotten a hold of it) and a couple of sticks and make something functional and fun. The possibilities are endless! And you know it will be something you can use when you're finished.

I completed a pair this weekend (it only took a handful of days from start to finish), and can't wait to make the next pair! You can find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/an-anklet-a-day
The yarn is Felici by Knit Picks in the color Coney Island (which has since been discontinued) and I only had to use one skein for the pair. Sweet!

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Boring Chicken

No sooner had I mentioned the thought of summer weather, did I wake up to this. Rain. Rain. Rain. That's ok though, because it's still pretty warm, and at least it's cooling off the house from the 80 degrees it was yesterday. I planted some more seeds yesterday in the garden, and hadn't gotten around to watering them, so the benefits of the rain are twin fold.

Sunday evening my father-in-law came for a visit and dinner, so it was a perfect opportunity to make dinner! We had a fun visit, he brought my son a t-ball tee and a bucket full of wiffle balls (which has since become the new obsession). And dinner? Well... dinner was pretty lame. I made Big, Thick, Hearty Thighs... (#50 from Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook). It was basically stewed chicken with some potatoes and peas. Stewed chicken is fine if you have it in a soup or if you are adding it to a casserole. But stewed chicken on it's own is pretty boring. And this was no exception. I was complaining to my mom about this and she so wisely told me that they couldn't all be good, we were bound to find some stinkers. I guess she's right.

In fact I think the leftovers will end up in a soup, either lentil or chicken noodle... what do you think?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"There's no I in team, but there is one in meat pie..."

Happy Saturday to you! Hope you week went well, and your weekend is even better. We are finally enjoying some warm weather. Spring can be fickle here in Washington, warm and sunny one minute and cold and wet the next! I think though, we are done with the cold and ramping up toward the heat of summer!

I have two meals to tell you about, so lets get going! We had brisket for dinner on Monday that left us with a TON of leftovers. We needed a plan, although it could have been eaten as is... it was delicious. What to do...? I had planned on preparing Aussie Meat Pies (#201 from Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats), and instead of going with the ground beef that the recipe called for I went with the leftover brisket. Can I say... FANTASTIC! What a great idea. It's always a great plan to reuse your leftovers and make them into another meal!
I fiddled with the recipe a little bit by making them into actual pies rather than the sandwich-like things that were called for. The recipe called for baking the crusts out and then topping them with the meat filling. Instead, I layered the crusts with the meat filling in the middle and pinched them shut around the edges. This really didn't take a whole lot more time, and the result was certainly a hit. We ended up with NO leftovers. A first for Rachel's generous meals.

Meal number two was certainly fancy, although not as tasty as the first. Don't get me wrong, it was "delish''... just not as "delish". We had Chicken No. 14,754- Chicken Bustard, a.k.a. Chicken in a Basil- Mustard Sauce (#295). I was a little wary because I'm not big on dijon mustard and things prepared in a lot of it, but it worked. I think the biggest reason this recipe turned out ok was because a couple of spoonfuls of pre-made basil pesto was added to the sauce at the end (by the way, I don't think I have ever had pesto before, and after trying it I can't tell you why- it is really quite good. I even spread some on the bread that was served along side). I served the chicken atop some orzo pasta to soak up the excess sauce, which also made for a pretty presentation. Overall, we decided it would be good enough to repeat, and recommend to you :)
Hope your weekend is fantastic, we are off to a birthday party... Happy B-day Dad!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lunch for the Ladies

This is going to be one of those weeks. The kind that gets out from under you and try as you might you won't be able to catch up to it as it snowballs down the hill. So far I only have one meal to tell you about, but I do intend on cooking again tonight so there will be something to share tomorrow.
Monday afternoons I host a knitting group at my house. It's just a small group of ladies. We knit, we chat, and then we eat. Usually I make a big pot of soup (especially when the winter weather is raging outside), but this week I decided to do something different. Recipe #1 in Rachel Ray's 365:No Repeats is a meat, egg, and cheese Scramblewich. Since our group was smaller than usual, I thought that would make for a good opportunity to have something different. I had some cooked ham in the freezer, and the left-over smoked gouda (from last week's mac-n-cheese), and quickly whipped up the sandwiches.
Overall, I would have to say the best part of this recipe would be that it's easy, and you most likely have everything you'd need already in your fridge. Meat, cheese, eggs, and bread. Simple as that. And the cost? For four it was only $1.57 a person (plus, as always, there were some leftovers).
See you tomorrow, and happy eating!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommas out there!! We are who we are because of you!

This is what my mommy got for her special day... I mosaic-ed a terra cotta flower pot with some shards of stained glass. Cool, huh? Second... FOOD! I've cooked twice more since my last post. The first time was Thursday night, which was game night for my hubs and his friends. I prepared Chicken Schnitzel (#132 from Rachel Ray's 365:No Repeats). I think the boys liked it- there wasn't any leftovers. Here is another recipe that requires the chicken breasts to butterflied and then pounded out as thin as possible. I was feelin' lazy so instead of spending the time and muscle, I sliced the chicken as thin as I could. I ended up getting about three thin slices across each chicken breast. This was a super simple meal requiring practically no prep- one could easily get this on the table in no time! One interesting thing about this particular recipe was that there is nutmeg in the breading. I thought would be a little weird, but it added a new dimension to this would be (otherwise) boring dish.

The second dish I prepared was Mac-n-Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower (5). This was a home run! Although, in the future I am planning on cutting most of the meals in half. This spicy mac-n-cheese (cayenne and paprika) could certainly feed a crowd! In fact there's enough leftovers for dinner tomorrow.

These two meals were the cheapest yet. The Chicken Schnitzel weighed in at $11.07 total, making it a whopping $2.77 a plate for four people. The Mac-n Smoked Gouda w/ cauliflower was $15.08 total. This dish would probably yield ten servings easily, making it $1.51 a serving. Nice!

Now I know what you're thinking... there's supposed to be one more meal. I haven't done the Veal Scallopine w/ Dijon Sauce, Asparagus, and Avocados (#189). The reason is simple... I can't find the veal! So until I do find it, or come up with an appropriate substitution, this meal is going back into the pool. Fear not though, I will be back!
Happy eating!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two for Two

Dinner number two was last night: Turkey Stroganoff Noodle Toss (recipe 341 in Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats) and the Red Caraway Cabbage from recipe 132. I believe this meal was a success, although not nearly as high on the list as Monday's dinner (the family was still raving about that one!). Definitely would do this again, especially the cabbage. I don't know what it is about cooked cabbage, but I love it! It's sweet and tender, and with the addition of red wine vinegar and granny smith apples, tart and tangy as well! Dinner totaled at $11.10 (including the meat) which for five ended up at $2.22 a head! Sweet!

One thing I have to say about Rachel's dinners is you can certainly feed a crowd. This dinner was supposed to feed 4, and we could feed four at least twice! In fact, the leftover cabbage is going to a pot-luck dinner tonight!
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

price shopper...

I am in awe of myself right now!

I just got back from the grocery store -I had to get the stuff for tonight and tomorrow's dinners. I made a list, grabbed my reusable shopping bags, and The Tot and off we went. Would you like to guess how much I spent? $15.65! For two meals! Granted I didn't have to buy any meat for the dishes since I had exactly what I needed in the freezer, but come on! I'm very impressed! I was so excited in fact that I had to call The Hubs as soon as I got home to share the news (A typical grocery stop for me is at least $30- if I'm lucky). I'm curious if this cooking thing is actually going to save me some mo-lah when all is said and done...

Anyway, I have to go uncover my child from his lunch which he decided would be more fun to paint on himself rather than eat. Who knew spaghetti could be so much fun (anyone who's had a two year old, that's who!)?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grand Slam

We definitely started off on the right foot! Last night was the first dish and it was excellent! Monday is Family Dinner Night- my parents, bro, and family friend all came over. I made Prosciutto, Garlic, and Herb Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Tarragon Pan Sauce. Yum! I have to admit I probably would have never chosen this had I been to my own devices, but man am I glad I did!

First, you pound out the chicken breasts until they are as thin as you can stand (I am not so patient so they were pretty thin not super thin). Then you spread prosciutto and garlic and herb cheese on top, roll 'em up and pan cook them. To top it all off you make a pan sauce with white wine and tarragon. Phew! We had asparagus and rice pilaf to go with. And of course some vino too! I think I'm going to have a full house every time I cook now!
I calculated the cost of the meal and it came out to $27.50 which ended up being $5.58 a plate- not bad for dinner for six people.
After our bellies were filled the boys were off to watch the basketball play-offs, and the girls went to work knitting cupcakes- Adorable and calorie-free!
Until next time... happy eating!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Day

Sunday is going to be my prep day. I'll begin this week by selecting 5 meals from Rachel Ray's 365: No Repeats using a random number generator (this will be easy, since all recipes are numbered). Grocery shopping to follow (whenever I get the chance), and then start the cooking engines!

Hub's birthday is this week, so we've already got an "Eat Out Nite" planned this week. As well as some WHL hockey games to attend and a book club meeting. Thank goodness I chose a book in that speed is the Number 1 Priority!

So here are this week's winners!

46- Prosciutto, Garlic and Herb Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Tarragon Pan Sauce
341- Turkey Stroganoff Noodle Toss
132- Chicken Schnitzel with Red Caraway Cabbage
5- Mac-n Smoked Gouda with Cauliflower
189- Veal Scallopine with Dijon Sauce Asparagus and Avocados

After each meal, I'll let you know the verdict: keep, toss, bury six feet under, or place on a pedestal. Don't know what will be when, so check in now and again and see what's going on!