Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Oh, for F*ck's Sake, Buy My House Pasta

As some of you are aware, J and I are moving.  With my latest promotion and his lack of employment, it doesn't make sense to live as far away from my job as we currently are.  As a result, we put our house on the market at the end of May to move closer to my job.  Originally, it was to cut the distance in half.  A crazy week in June later, I was only about 20 minutes away.  All good.
Buying and selling real estate is stressful.  You need to keep your house clean.  You're not really supposed to cook (not a huge problem, seeing as it was June and I was crazed).  You're supposed to remain unemotional and detached.  Yeah.  That doesn't always happen.
So early in July, the house was still on the market and being shown...a lot.  We had a couple come through twice and then make an offer.  It was ridiculously low.  Their parents were offering their input every step of the way.  Their agent was new and a total ditz.  And on, and on.
One week, I'd planned to make a pin from my boards on Pinterest (the lemon chicken and spaghetti in garlic gravy.  It still looks good) and bought all the ingredients.  After a trying day with the buyers wanting things they couldn't have (LIKE MY BBQ), I decided I couldn't take it anymore and didn't get off the couch in time to make the recipe.  I was also emotionally drained, and couldn't hack the thought of another restaurant.  When J asked what we were having for dinner, I told him I didn't know.  When he asked where we were going to eat, I told him at home, and to give me 30 minutes.  This is the result.
On the day that the idiot buyers take possession of my house, I present to you what I made that night, with the name that gained overwhelming support in my Facebook feed:  Oh, for F*ck's Sake, Buy My House Pasta.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toasted Sesame Ginger Grilled Salmon

We're working on healthy cooking/eating for J.  While this project has fallen a bit by the wayside while I clean out the freezer, I have promised that we will eat fish once a week.  With the help of Pinterest, that promise is coming to fruition.
This week, I decided to cook salmon on the grill.  I found a recipe, watched a tutorial on Youtube, and we were good to go.  I highly recommend the tutorial I watched.  It was dead simple to cook.
I present to you now How Sweet Eat's Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dinner with Friends: Upsidedown Black Forest Cake

I love a good dessert.  I also love an easy dessert.  Frankly, if I can share it with friends so much the better.
Everyday Food ran this recipe a couple of years ago as something to make for dessert with their Valentine's Cooking for Two menu.  Usually, I double everything and make plated desserts when I have people in .  It's easy enough for 4, and it's a large serving.  But I've never had anyone complain...or not finish.
I present to you now Everyday Food's Upsidedown Black Forest Cakes:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Go to Meal: Bake Thing

You know how there are things you make all the time that are time honoured recipes in your house?  Things that when you don't know what to make, you could always make that?  That's what Kraft Mexican Bake Thing is around here.
Once, back a long time ago, I was flipping through a Kraft What's Cooking magazine and came across this simple recipe that used Kraft Dinner, ground beef, cheese and salsa.  So easy, I made it one weekend.  So easy, I've kept making it.  I've subbed milk for the sour cream, but sour cream is better (it makes the whole thing thicker), I've crushed Tostitos and sprinkled them over the top (I love that).  Any taco seasoning and salsa will do, but I recommend Penzey's Bold taco seasoning and Pace Medium Picante Sauce.  It's pretty spicy like that, though.
The Kraft website give this dish the rather unexciting name, Taco Bake.  Our name comes from J's asking one time what we were having for dinner and my telling him, "You know, that Mexican Bake Thing from the Kraft magazine."  The legend was born.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Healthy Brunch: Breakfast Egg Pitas

We're on the healthy eating trail.  I keep pushing the Choice Menus book on J, simply because there's a great deal of variety and a good deal of food in each menu.  A couple of weeks ago, J had a doctor's appointment at 1:15 that was about an hour away from home.  I convinced him that brunch was the answer!  We had breakfast at 10, with protein to keep us going until we got home.
I present to you now the centrepiece of this menu, Breakfast Egg Pitas:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shepherdopolous Pie

In the theme of all things healthy, I've been trolling for recipes.  In the theme of cleaning out my freezer, there have been some rather stringent requirements around what we eat.
According to the inscription in the front, I got my copy of Looneyspoons for my 24th birthday.  Their broccoli-cheddar soup is my go to recipe, but I've never made many other things from the book.  With J's new health requirements, that is about to change. 
For those familiar with Looneyspoons, and its successors Crazyplates and Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, it's a cookbook of lowfat recipes with huge taste and a huge helping of puns.  The book is old enough that some recipes are a little outdated for current nutrition trends, but as a basic book it's got some good ideas.
This is one of them.  I present to you now Shepherdopolous Pie:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Baked Fish en Papillote

J has been told to lose weight.  Frankly, I probably have more to lose than he does.  We find that eating at home has helped us in the past year to shed a *little*.  I can fit into clothes that didn't fit this time last year, but there's a long way to go.
One thing that he has been told to eat is fish; at least twice per week.  I'm not a fan.  I've told J that I will try really hard to cook fish once per week.  I spent some time on Pinterest, looking for possible recipes.  I polled my friends on facebook for the ways they like to cook fish.  I also spent some time reading.
A cookbook that I have from some point in my past is put out by the Canadian Diabetes Association called, Choice Menus.  We have spent time studying the meals, looking for things we like and things we'd like to try.  This was our first choice out of the book.
I present to you now Baked Fish en Papillote:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Homestyle Classic: Peach Cobbler

When my mother in law passed away, my sisters in law cleaned out her kitchen.  They left me a pile of cookbooks that they didn't want to go through and a kit to make pumpkin loaves because they knew I liked to cook.  I took a couple of small magazines, the loaf kit (which was delicious...I made mini loaves that we shared with friends), and one cookbook, Betty Crocker's Ultimate Bisquick Cookbook.  Yeah.
I bought a box of Bisquick and tried a few things, nothing which really thrilled us.  But then I made this cobbler.  As I said in the past, I made peach cobbler once a year.  J will tolerate it, and I love it the first night, and then reheated to pretend that it's still the first night.
I present to you now Peach Cobbler:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Go To Meal: Saucy Mexican Chicken

According to the What's Cooking that this recipe was in, this is a heart healthy recipe.  I would agree that it probably is.  The black beans add fibre, the tomatoes have lycopene, and the chicken pieces aren't that large.  It does get better the more cheese you add to it too.
I have a mostly hate relationship with low fat cheese.  I think it comes from living in France and eating the good stuff for too long.  Low fat cheese doesn't really melt, and I always question what it's *really* made of.  But there's enough other stuff to counterbalance the cheese, and this is delicious on a bed of rice with a side of green veg like broccoli.
I present to you now the as healthy as you want it to be Saucy Mexican Chicken from What's Cooking:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Treat to Share: S'more Cookies

We went to the cottage with my parents in July.  While my father has lost his appetite as a side effect of his cancer, the rest of us did not suffer the same fate.  Mom and I planned a general menu, and we each brought half of the food.  Not shockingly, I brought most of the meat out of my stores in the freezer.  Somehow, we really didn't think about dessert.
Dessert is a hugely important part of meals with my family.  My mother is not done a meal until there is dessert.  It can be a piece of fruit, or a cookie; but there has to be something.  I took these with me to the cottage.  The three of us who were eating powered through the tin over the course of the week.  I've taken them to potlucks, and girls nights.  They always disappear.
While J will tell you that you need 2, I find one to be quite sufficient.  From the July/August 2009 issue of Everday Food, I present to you now S'more Cookies:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Planning: August 7-12, 2012

First, Happy Anniversary to my parents, who don't read my blog!!  41 years is impressive!  If J and I make it 41 years, he will be 83.  I will be 75.  Wow.
Enough of that.  On to cooking.
This week, we're in crunch mode for cleaning out the freezer.  I have taken stock, and it's crazy what I keep in my freezer.  I have enough nuts to last a long, long time.  I think I found 2 zucchini breads in the bottom.  I keep working on using up the meat I've bought.  I decided not to refreeze my ice cream maker, and I've removed a basket.  I want to remove the other basket by next week, and be in a position to unplug and defrost.  We'll see.
This week, we're here, and we're both working on the healthy while using things up.  It's a bit of a mish mash, depending on what my true goal is.  That would be cleaning out the freezer.  Ahem.

Tuesday:  Greek Shepherd's Pie and salad from the Looney Spoons cookbook.  It sounds tasty.  Probably Peach Sherbet for dessert.

Wednesday:  Grilled Sesame Soy Salmon, rice, vegetables, and salad.  I've promised J we'll eat fish once a week.  Upsidedown Black Forest Cakes for me.

Thursday:  Leftover Shepherd's Pie

Friday:  Shake n Bake chicken drumsticks, potato wedges, vegetables and salad.

Saturday:  Grilled Steak, baked potatoes, vegetables, and salad.

Sunday:  Leftover Chicken

Lunches this week will be sandwiches, pitas, and possibly hot dogs, seeing as I want them out of my freezer; along with assorted vegetables and fruit.

Good plan.  We'll have to see how it comes together.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Go To Meal: Crockpot Lasagna

We've established that I'm a control freak, and that I have issues getting dinner on the table, even in summer apparently.  As a result, it's nice to have things that are simple, last a few days, and are delicious.  Bonus points if my husband can start them and have dinner ready when I get home.
Here is a case in point.  If the crockpot is ready, he can plug it in and make sure dinner's ready for us.  I'm always on the search for new recipes for the crockpot that are good, easy. and look appetizing.  Sometimes, I find the chicken rubbery, the roasts all taste the same, and everything's brown.  This is not one of those recipes.  It comes out perfectly every time.  And like a real lasagna, the first slice or two always looks, in the inimitable words of my mother, predigested.  There's an image you want to think about while reading about food.  Yeah.  Moving on.
This originally came from What's Cooking, the Kraft magazine.  I've made it with beef, but the pictures here are the one I made while cleaning out my freezer, so it's made with 1 lb bulk sausage.  It was good too.
I present to you now Kraft's Crockpot Lasagna:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pintertest Kitchen: Peach Sorbet

While I am a big fan of fruit, J is not so much.  Every year, I buy a basket of peaches at the farmer's market because I can't resist.  Then, I realize that I can't possibly eat an entire basket of peaches myself before I've made a habitat for mold on my counter, and I end up making peach cobbler, a dessert that J will tolerate.  I like it the first day when it's still warm, but after as much.  So I put it in the microwave and reheat it a bit to pretend that it just came out of the oven.  This year, after I made peach cobbler (a recipe for another time), I still had 7 peaches left in the basket.  I turned to the recipes I pinned to use up the rest of these gems before I lost the mold battle.
This is what I picked:
I present to you now Peach Sorbet:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cool Treat: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I love ice cream.  So does J.  One of the best frivolous investments we have made is in the ice cream attachment for our Kitchen Aid mixer.  A few times per summer, I haul it out of its place of residency in our freezer and make ice cream.
It's funny...I find that a container of the homemade stuff lasts us longer than a container I buy at the store.  Maybe it's the fact that it's harder in the freezer.  Maybe it's the fact that it's richer and we don't need as much.  Maybe it's a figment of my imagination.  But whatever the reason, it's always fun when there's a Tupperware container full of ice cream for an evening treat in the freezer.
One of the blogs that I found by way of Pinterest and her amazing Stuffed Mexican Pasta Shells recipe is The Way to His Heart.  She makes a ton of ice creams, and this is her "go to flavour."  I have to admit it's good, but I think I like Nutella ice cream better.

I present to you now The Way to His Heart's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: