Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bacon & Spinach Pasta Carbonara

8 oz pasta (I used Rotini)
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 c onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 tbsp white wine
2-3 c spinach
1/4 c cilantro
parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Brown bacon in a skillet, then add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Mix the eggs with the wine, salt, and pepper. Add the drained pasta, egg mixture, spinach and cilantro and cook for just a little bit more, stirring constantly, until spinach is slightly wilted. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Adapted from Tiny Morsels

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Fried Pineapple Rice

This was one of those "clean your fridge and pantry out" type of meals. I just started throwing things together and hoping they would come out allright. I'm quite proud of how this dish turned out, considering I am usually lost without a recipe. I think the sausage may have been a little out of place, but other than that, this was the perfect middle-of-the-week meal. This would also be a good side dish without the meat.
2 turkey sausage links, sliced
1 chicken breast, diced
1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 c onion
1 1/2 c rice, cooked
2 eggs
1/2 c toasted almonds
1/2 c peas
1 c pineapple, chopped
Slice and brown the sausage and chicken breast in a skillet. Add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry until cooked through and all flavors are nicely mingled.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Steak Bites

I'm not very good at making steaks. I always seem to either over or under cook them to a ridiculous degree. These little steak bites are perfect because the size makes it easy to control the level of done-ness. They're also a nice kid-friendly size (though my red meat phobic child didn't touch them)!
sirloin steak
garlic powder
2 tbsp butter
Trim all visible fat and gristle off the steak and cut into bite size pieces. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic powder on your meat and let sit for 20-30 minutes. The salt needs this amount of time to season the meat. If you leave it on any shorter, it may simply dry it out. Heat up butter in a skillet over high heat (the pan needs to be HOT!) until it starts to turn brown. Dump enough of the meat so that there is only a single layer in the pan. Cook for 30-45 seconds, flip and cook another 30-45 seconds. Remove to a plate, add more butter to the pan and repeat process until the rest of the meat is cooked. Use the leftover butter as a gravy for mashed potatoes or pour over the served steak.
  • I know it sounds like an incredibly short time to cook the meat, but remember that it will continue cooking after you remove it to the pan. Cook it as directed and it will be perfect medium rare deliciousness. (Trust me, I cooked it longer and some of the pieces were overcooked!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Black Tie Mousse Cake

Along with the breadsticks and Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden, this is my most ordered and most looked-forward-to part of my meal. When I heard that this month's Cooking Club theme with my MOMS Club was Chocolate Iron Chef, I knew that this dessert would be my dish. This is so good it's not even funny. I try to ignore the fact that one slice is an entire daily allowance of fat.

If you're looking for an easy recipe, this is the wrong one for you. This is a 4 layer cake and takes quite a bit of work. If you are willing to put in 4 or 5 hours, this is so so worth it!

Cake layer
1 box deviled food cake mix
Mousse layer
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp boiling water
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
4oz cream cheese, cubed
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp sugar

Custard layer
3 egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 3/4 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing layer
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
18 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Cake layer
Prepare cake according to package directions. Let cool and cut in half. Press into the bottom of a springform pan.

Mousse layer
Melt chocolate and cream cheese together, then let cool. Add cold water to gelatin and let sit for 1 minute before adding boiling water. Stir until dissolved and clear, the let cool. Whip cream and sugar together. Once the cream starts to thicken, add the gelatin and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 of the cream to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Fold in the remaining cream, spread over the cake layer, and put in the freezer to set while you prepare the custard layer.

Custard layer
Beat egg yolks until pale. Beat in sugar, flour and gelatin until well mixed. Bring cream and vanilla extract to a boil. (Be careful not to burn!) Slowly add cream mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Pour entire mixture through a strainer back into the pan and cook until custard begins to thicken. Cool slightly, pour over the mousse layer, and return to freezer to set while you prepare the icing layer.

Icing layer
Bring butter and cream to a boil, pour over chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, and let cool and harden a bit. Remove the cake from the freezer, and remove the collar from the springform pan. Cover top & sides with icing and sprinkle the top with extra chocolate chips. Refrigerate until set and then serve. Enjoy!

  • Eat this responsibly. Friends don't let friends eat half a cake in less than a week!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Meatloaf

I know that everyone has their own special family recipe for meatloaf, but this is mine. It's simple, straightforward, fast, and relatively likeable due to it's use of barbecue sauce instead of ketchup and it's lack of vegetables. I personally don't like veggies in my meatloaf, it's like having veggies in a hamburger. Yuck. If you are looking for ways to sneak veggies in, I think substituting some sort of pureed veggie for the ketchup would do the trick.


1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)

1 egg

3/4 c breadcrumbs

1/4 c ketchup

1/2 c barbecue sauce


Mix all ingredients together except barbecue sauce, put in a loaf pan, and cover with barbecue sauce. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. To make it more kid friendly, set apart a small amount and cut shapes using cookie cutters. Bake these on a baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

So Good They Taste Like They're Deep Fried Oven Fries

Whew! Yes that's a long title, but it is completely accurate. Every time I've made oven fries before they have been just ok. They're always a little mushy and they taste nothing like the deep fried sticks of artery clogging yumminess that you get at fast food joints. Not these. I followed this recipe and they came out perfectly golden and slightly crispy. These were a hit with the entire family!

russet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries or wedges
olive oil
cooking spray
salt and pepper

Soak potatoes in hot water for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with a small amount of olive oil and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 475 degree oven for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-20 minutes. Flip the fries over and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden and crisp. When finished, place on a paper towel to drain any additional grease and serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I decided to try my hand at homemade chicken nuggets for Michaela's birthday dinner. I've seen this on several different blogs, but my recipe is most like this one from Itty Bitty Bistro. It's rare that I make a meal that everyone in the family likes, so I was super happy when Michaela munched these down and Philip said they were as good as McDonalds. :)
2 chicken breasts
1 egg
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
Cut off all visible fat from chicken and cut into strips. Place chicken in food processor and grind until the texture is that of ground meat. Meanwhile, mix the bread crumbs, flaxseed, and parmesan in a bowl. Put the egg in a seperate bowl and whisk. Roll the ground chicken into balls, dip them in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mix. Place on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate Banana Oatmeal Cups

My little one turned two yesterday, so in honor of her birthday, I made her these oatmeal cups for breakfast. They were a big hit! Don't expect these to be a muffin like consistency. It's basically baked oatmeal, but it is a really really yummy breakfast, and the chocolate chips just makes you feel like you are eating dessert for breakfast. This would be a great snack too!

3 over ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chocolate soy milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups old fashioned or rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together and put in lightly sprayed or lined muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Cool on wire racks. Makes 12-15 cups.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Real World Wednesday - Breakfast Casserole

Every once in a while I like to make breakfast for dinner. It's usually less work than dinner, and is something I always know my family will like. I adapted this recipe from one given to me by a friend's mom. She had made this for a brunch baby shower and I instantly fell in love!
15 oz frozen country style hash browns (or fresh grated)
1 lb sausage, cooked and crumbled
8 eggs
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
10 oz cheese, grated & divided (I use cheddar and either Monterrey or Pepper jack)
1/2 cup green chile, roasted, peeled & chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together, except 5 oz of cheese. Pour into an 8 x 8 casserole dish that has lightly been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese and cook in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
  • I always have leftovers, and that's OK! Spend an extra couple minutes after dinner putting together burritos with the leftovers and you'll have breakfast for the rest of the week!
  • I love making this meal for new moms. Take this, along with some fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls for dessert and this is the perfect meal!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thinking Outside of the...Orange?

This isn't really a recipe post. I just wanted to show how sometimes when you are trying to get food into a toddler, you have to think a little bit outside of the box.

Michaela regularly eats yogurt for a snack, so I decided to punch it up a little and make this Banana Avocado Mousse for her snack yesterday. I was too lazy to actually blend it, so it didn't look quite as appetizing as I was expecting. After taking one look at it, I knew I would have to be creative in getting her to eat it. Luckily, I had just juiced an orange for her to drink, so I scooped a little bit into a used orange cup and served it to her with a spoon.

It worked! After staring at it for a few minutes in interest, she finally took a bite.

"Num num owange mama!"

"No baby, it's in an orange cup, but it's banana and avocado."

*Looking at me in confusion*

"Num num banana mama! Num num owange!"

This post is participating in the Big Words, Little Foodies meme. Head on over to Food with Kid Appeal to hear more funny stories of what kids say when trying new foods.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thin Mint Cupcakes

I have an unhealthy obsession with Girl Scout cookies. Given the chance, I would eat en entire box of Thin Mints in one sitting. I can eat half a container of Samoa ice cream before I finally force myself to stop and save some for later. So you can see how when I saw this recipe for Thin Mint cupcakes, I had no chance. I had to make them. These were quite good. I made the mistake of forgetting to add the crumbled cookies to the batter until it was already in the cupcake liners. I did my best adding them in, but I think this would have a much more consistent taste if I had done it from the beginning.

3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 sleeve Thin Mint cookies or 1/2 package Keebler Grasshopper cookies, crushed

Sift together dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix together until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the crushed cookies and scrape down the sides of the bowl until all batter is well mixed. Fill lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when touched. Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting. Makes 20-26.

  • In the original post, there is a recipe for mint frosting. I just used half a container of store-bought cream cheese frosting and added 1 tablespoon of peppermint extract.
  • I think you could achieve a similar taste by adding crushed Thin Mints to a boxed chocolate cake mix.

*Sorry for the previous messed up entries in your feed reader. Blogger was freaking out on me!