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*All recipes on this blog (unless otherwise noted) are Martha Stewart's from the Everyday Food Cookbooks here and here, they are not my own. If other than this I will post links to the recipes or indicate that they are originals*

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not good date food...

I guess we really like garlic, but again I will warn you this is not date food, unless your date is a vampire and you are trying to ward him off...then this would be a great meal for your date!  I'm still in the Halloween mood! :)  Anyway this is another meal that spends the majority of its cooking time in the oven, not needing any babysitting.  So if you will be around the house and have about an hour to wait for your dinner, but don't feel like putting much effort into it, this is your meal!  Served with some fresh bread and a veggie, a very staple meal.

Garlic Roasted Chicken Breasts
4 heads garlic
8 sprigs fresh oregano
2 whole roaster chicken breasts (i just used bone in chicken breasts)
2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.  Slice tops from garlic heads, reserving the bottoms; arrange tops, cut sides down, in center of an 11x17in roasting pan.  Place 1 sprig of oregano over each garlic top and arrange the chicken breasts over the garlic. 

Place reserved garlic bottoms, cut sides up, next to the chicken in the pan.  Drizzle chicken and garlic bottoms with the olive oil.   Season the chicken with salt and pepper; place remaining 4 sprigs of oregano on top.

Roast for 30 min; turn garlic bottoms cut sides down, and rotate pan.  Continue roasting chicken until meat is 165 degrees, about 30 min more.  
Pour pan juices over the chicken to serve. 

Logan Rating: ****


 Last Sunday we had a few people over for the coveted Vikings/Packer game.  While the result was NOT what we expected or wanted, I did make purple and gold spaghetti and meatballs!  I made the pasta like I usually do, but just added food coloring to the dough, it turned out great and it was still just as delicious as ever.  This spaghetti and meatball recipe is good, but it really is nothing special.  I ended up adding some red pepper flakes to add some flavor.  Try it out though, the meatballs, I thought were really good.
ENJOY and don't forget to cheer on the VIKES!

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
3 T olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 med onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 lb ground turkey (at least 93% lean)
1 lb spaghetti

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over med high heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 1 min.  Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, and thyme, and season  with S&P.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered for 20-25 min.  
Meanwhile make meatballs; in a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, 1 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper with a fork.  Stir in the onion, breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley.  Add turkey and mix until combined.  Form the mixture into 1 1/2 in balls.
Add meatballs to skillet and spoon sauce over to coat.  Simmer over med until meatballs are just cooked through, about 8 min.
While meatballs simmer, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water.  Drain pasta and transfer to skillet.  Serve with more cheese.
Serves 6. 

Logan Rating: ***

Wild Rice Soup!

I made this soup for a supper club pumpkin carving party hosted by our friends Dave and Kate.  Dave made some kickass chili for the evening, and surprisingly this soup went really well also, so it must have been pretty good!  I thought it was really delicious myself and people at the party had good things to say about it so that means you should try it too!  It is a great fall soup, a classic, really hearty and delicious.  We got a free head of cabbage at the farmers market, so many of the recipes this week, randomly have cabbage added to them, you don't have to add it, but it was a pretty delicious addition.  I was so excited when we got that little head of cabbage...I mean how often do you just randomly get free stuff these days?  NEVER!  It held my head high while carrying that cabbage home! ;)  

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 T olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cans chicken broth
2/3 cup wild rice blend
2 1/2 cups water
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped.

In a large pot, heat oil over med heat.  Add onion and season with S&P.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 3-5 min.  Add chicken broth, rice, and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 35 min.

Add chicken, carrots, and celery.  Return to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until veggies are tender and chicken is opaque throughout, about 15 min.  Transfer chicken to a cutting board, shred with two forks.
Return chicken to pot; season soup with salt and pepper.  
Serves 4 as a main course 

Logan Rating: **
(hes lame...this was at least 3 stars)

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Doesn't this look delicious?? My mouth is watering just looking at the picture!  It was delicious and extremely easy, so even you people out there that don't think you can can do this!  I shared this meal with a good friend and sent Logan to class with a "to-go box".  We all 3 enjoyed it, it was a perfect fall meal.  The recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic, which was delicious, but I would advise not to make this for a date unless you have an emergency toothbrush nearby.  I served this with couscous but you could serve it with rice, or just eat it as is if you want.  It will take about 45 minutes total to prepare, but it spends most of that time in the oven, so you can sit on the couch and enjoy your favorite show or do whatever you need to do.  The recipe calls for prunes, but since I only had a few I also added dried figs and it was SO certainly don't have to do both but if you have them throw them both in.  And don't skip the dried fruit, I know it sounds weird, but it totally makes the dish!!!  
Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onion
4 bone in breast halves ( I used boneless, because it's what we had on hand)
1 lb carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut diagonally
6 garlic cloves
1 med red onion, halved, cut into 1/2 in wedges
3/4 cup pitted prunes, quartered lengthwise
cous cous for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 450.  Place chicken on rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange carrots, garlic and onion around chicken; season with S&P.  Roast for 10 min.  Toss prunes with the veggies.  Continue roasting until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 min more.  

2 cups couscous
2 T olive oil
2 1/2 cups boiling water

Put couscous, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a large bowl.  Add olive oil and stir with fork to coat evenly.
Stir on third of boiling water into couscous.  Cover remaining water to keep hot.
Press couscous gently with back of fork.  Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 3 min.  Repeat with the remaining water in 2 additions.
Break up any clumps with fork or your fingers. 

Logan Rating: ***

Another lost recipe

This is one that I made a long time ago, that I guess I forgot about because I don't have pictures of it, so I apologize for that.  It was good, nothing amazing, but very good heat which is always a plus in our house.  I substituted fat free half & half for the heavy cream, I just can't do heavy cream, makes me cringe how much fat it has in it.  Other than that I followed the recipe and got a pretty tasty chicken meal.  The nice thing about this one is that it only has 6 ingredients and most of them are common things that you always have your house, the poblanos are probably the only thing you'd have to buy.  Serve this with rice mixed with chopped fresh cilantro and scallions and you have a quick and easy meal.   Hope you enjoy this one...I think I might make it again when I don't have much time to make a meal (since its so quick), we seem to always have chicken laying around.

Chicken with Poblano Cream Sauce
1 poblano chile
2 T canola oil (or olive)
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup heavy cream 
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6oz each)

Roast chile over a as burner or under a broiler, until charred all over.  Wrap in a paper towel, let steam in there for 5 min.  Rub off the skin; remove the seeds and ribs.  Chop coarsely. 
Heat 1 T of oil in small saucepan over med heat; add onion and garlic; cook until soft, 5-7 min.  Add chile and cream.
Puree in a blender; add water if too thick. Season with S&P.
Season chicken with S&P, heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over med-high heat.  Cook until golden, 4-5 min per side.  Serve with sauce.  

Logan Rating: ****


Here are some pics from our Halloween party last night! It was so much fun to make all these gory treats.  Hope you all have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  
ALSO there is an update coming, sorry it's been so long, life has been absolutely hectic for the last week!

Mozzarella stick fingers with green pepper nails

Apple mouths with almond teeth

Peanut butter balls covered in white chocolate

Fudge shop keebler cookies with a Hershey kiss on top

Salsa dip
Puff pasty filled with guacamole (food coloring on top)
Asparagus wrapped in prociutto

Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Birthday dinner and Birthday CAKE!

I just wanted to share with you all the amazing meal and cake that I made for my future husband's (I hate the word fiance) birthday.  I spent a long time slaving over the cake so luckily it was AMAZING!  I highly recommend you try this, however be careful you may be inclined to eat the whole thing in one sitting!  For the meal I roasted potatoes and shallots in the oven and made some lemon/thyme green beans.  The meat was an amazingly tender filet mignon from the Omaha steaks package we got from Logan's mom for his bday!  I made a red wine sauce that I could probably put on any slab of meat!  Ok onto the photos!

While I'm blogging this its taking every ounce of will power that I have to not go and get a fork and dive into this cake!!!

This doesn't count towards the challenge, but who cares, it was amazing!

Improving on a classic

Are you confused?  Looking at this thinking, what the heck is it??  Well its meatloaf!  Yup, good old meatloaf.  I don't know why I've never seen this before, because apparently people do it all the time, but its a meatloaf sandwich.  Does it look huge in the picture?  Because it was gargantuan, not the sandwich from Jimmy John's, but just REALLY huge.  So meatloaf is one of my absolute favorite things, once again this is probably because I can use exorbitant amounts of ketchup, but nonetheless this meal was pretty great.  I am rather sad to say that it beats my moms meatloaf that I grew up on, in fact I can't believe she didn't think to put all these yummy veggies in...seems like a great way to hide them from kids.  I wouldn't have known the difference, I would have just covered it with ketchup anyway, which is also a vegetable...that is my excuse for using so much of it.  So here's the deal people, this is delicious, easy and quick to prepare.  It does take about 40 min in the oven though, so make sure you account for that cooking time.  Also they are actually supposed to be 4 mini turkey meatloaves, but who has mini loaf pans??? Not me!  So mine is a regular meat loaf.  Although I do like mini things, so maybe I should invest in some mini loaf pans...any of you have them? 

Mini Turkey Meatloaves
1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 slice sandwich bread
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 T tomato chili sauce (I used ketchup...come on people what did you expect!?)
1 large egg
1 tsp dried sage

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large skillet heat oil over low.  Add onion, carrot and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently until veggies are tender, about 10 min.  Transfer veggies to a large bowl, crumble in bread; add milk and 2 T chili sauce (KETCHUP!) and stir to combine.  

Add turkey, egg, and sage; season with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper.  Using your hands, gently mix to combine (this is the fun part).  Divide meat mixture into four equal parts and shape into each loaf pan...or use one regular loaf pan. 
Rub remaining 1/4 cup chili sauce over tops of loaves, dividing equally.  Bake until they reach 165, about 40-45 min.

Logan Rating: ****

I might go so far as to say, yuck

Well its happened again, only for the second time in over 150 recipes might I add, but this one was really NO GOOD.  I thought it had great potential and was totally planning on loving it, even after Logan said he didn't like it, but unfortunately it really just wasn't good.  That's my opinion though, maybe if you tried it you would enjoy it.  I think what it came down to for me is that I'm not a fan of garbanzo beans cooked this way.  I love them baked and crunchy, but was not a fan of their texture and flavor cooked in this manner. Everything about this recipe on paper looked amazing, the ingredients, the name, the was all so promising!  Then I tried it and I wasn't even able to finish...that says something.  I guess while taking on this challenge I've also become the recipe guinea you never have to cook this meal and be disappointed.  That's probably the worst spend the time cooking and then have nothing good to show for it, huge bummer.  This is probably why I ended up eating a bowl of ice cream after dinner...I know, I have great coping mechanisms, very healthy!
ENJOY!...or I guess DON'T enjoy!

Mediterranean Chicken Stew
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves cut into 3/4 in chunks
3 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2 in pieces
2 T chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp of oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook turning occasionally until golden, 3-4 min.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to med low add remaining oil.  Add garlic, and cook stirring about 30 sec.  Add chickpeas and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 min.

Add tomatoes; cook over medium heat until starting to break down, 3-4 min.  Add olives, vinegar and chicken along with any accumulated juices; toss until warmed through, about 1 min.  Stir in parsley.  Serve over polenta.  

Logan Rating: Zero Stars

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Black Bean Soup

I was very nervous about this one...because while Logan is beginning to dabble in the bean world he is certainly not a bean lover and this soup is almost entirely black beans.  So you could see where my worry came from...  BUT much to my surprise the non bean lover, LOVED this soup!  So there is hope for all your non bean lovers out there.  I must say that he is a pretty open minded eater, so not every bean hater will love this soup, but it's definitely worth a try.  While this soup makes a lot, next time I think I would halve it because I wasn't a huge fan of the leftover...mainly because I ran out of the accompaniments that went along with the soup.  The really nice thing about this soup is that it is really quick.  A lot of soups take about an hour or more to cook, this one 30 min total and you'll be ready to that's good news.  Also add more jalapeno if you like it really spicy because while it claims to be spicy, it wasn't that spicy in our opinions.  Next time I will definitely add more.  

Spicy Black Bean Soup
1 piece (8oz) cooked ham, in one 1/2 in thick slice
1 T olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
3 cans (15.5oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups water
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

In a large pot, cook ham over med heat until browned on both sides, 4-5 min.  Transfer to a plate/cutting board.
Reduce heat to med and add oil.  Cook onion, stirring until lightly browned, 2-3 min.  Add jalapeno, garlic, cumin and oregano; cook, stirring until fragrant 1-2 min.  Add beans and water; simmer 10 min.
Remove from heat; stir in cilantro.  Using immersion or regular blender puree mixture until smooth.  Remember if using a regular blender don't fill more than half way.  Add water if needed to thin out soup.
Garnish with ham cubes, jalapeno, and cilantro...I added sour cream, YUM!

Logan Rating: ***


I promise I did not make that word up, that is really what this dish is called and its delicious!  I was first introduced to pastitsio about a year ago when I started experimenting with different cookbooks.  I made it one night and Logan and I both loved it!  The cinnamon in this dish is what really makes it a pastitsio, it sounds weird, but it is so good.  It's an awesome change of pace from your average Italian pasta dish, you must try it.  You can also use spaghetti noodles instead of penne and then you just layer it will the meat instead of mixing it all together.  I urge you to try this, its easy and a great staple to add to your basket of tricks.  Plus AGAIN you're cooking with red wine, which means you can drink it while your cooking, which always makes for a great recipe!

1 lb penne
2 lbs ground lamb (I used ground turkey)
2 onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups water
6 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Bring a pot of water to boil; add salt.  Cook pasta, drain.
Meanwhile, cook meat in a large saucepan over med heat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6-8 min.  Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 min.  Drain off fat, if necessary. 
Add wine to meat, cook over medium heat until almost all liquid evaporates, about 5 min.

Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon and water; simmer until thickened about 15 min.  Season with S&P.
Meanwhile, make bechamel sauce.  Melt butter over med heat.  Whisk in flour until incorporated; cook, whisking, 1 min.  IN a slow, steady stream, whisk in milk until completely smooth.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture is bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 min.  Stir in cayenne and parm.
Add pasta to meat; transfer to a 9x13 backing dish.  Pour bechamel over the top, smoothing with back of spoon until level.  
Bake until browned in spots, 35-40 min.  Remove from oven and let cook 15 min before serving (this is essential or it will just fall apart on you).

Logan Rating: ****

Diner Dinner

For some reason this meal reminds me of something you would get at a greasy diner...however it really wasn't very greasy, isn't that great?!  I don't make steak very often, because, well it's just too expensive to buy the good stuff and the bad stuff is just REALLY bad.  However you will be seeing much more steak in the near future, because my future mother in law sent us a serious supply of Omaha steaks (if you don't know what these are, I'm sorry!) for Logan's birthday.  When I got the big white box filled with dry ice and assorted meats I felt like it was my birthday all over again! :)  Thanks Leslie!  Anyway this was a good dinner, these fries were pretty awesome as oven fries go.  The steak was nothing special but good.  And well I loved it because I was able to use about a lb of ketchup (ok not really that would be a little excessive).  Although after looking at these photos again, I'm realizing how "brown" this meal was...maybe next time I'd add a veggie or something...sorry the pictures are bland, but I promise the meal is not!  P.S. this is really quick, minus the cooking time for the fries, but those can be thrown in and then you can continue on whatever you need to do.

Pan Fried Shell Steak
4 shell steaks (8oz each, 3/4 in thick)
1 T unsalted butter (or you could use olive oil)
1/2 cup water
watercress for garnish (this is ridiculous in my opinion...I don't put things on a plate you can't eat..WEIRD)

Pat steaks dry with paper towels.  Season both sides with S&P.  Heat a skillet over high heat, melt butter, swirling to coat bottom of pan.  Cook steaks 7-8 min for med-rare (depending on the thickness of your steak), turning once.  Transfer to plate.
Remove skillet from heat; add water and scrape browned bits from pan with a wooden spoon.  Season pan sauce with S&P.  Serve steaks with sauce spooned over top.

Serves 4.

Paprika Steak Fries
2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed
3 T oil, such as safflower
2 tsp paprika

Preheat oven to 450.  Halve potatoes crosswise; cut into 1 in wide wedges.  On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with oil and paprika, and season with S&P.  Arrange in a single layer.

Roast, turning halfway through, until fork tender and browned, about 50 min.  Serve hot.
Serves 4. 

Logan Rating: ***