Friday, August 31, 2012

Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake

We tried this cake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours cookbook, and although it wasn't my favorite chocolate cake, it was still really good. I thought the addition of cherry jam was very interesting, and the frosting was a very nice consistency. The calories for 1/16 of the loaf are 338, and we all gave the cake an 8, because it just wasn't really chocolate cake :) This was quite easy to make, and easy to assemble as well.  I had terrible light, so the picture isn't great and you can't see the cherry jam levels very well, sorry :(
Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
 
1/3 cup best-quality red raspberry or cherry jam-for filling (I used cherry)
1 teaspoon water
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 1/2 x 5 inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on the top of one another. (I used two baking sheets)
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each one goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream. Still working on a low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear into the batter, Give the batter a last stir with a sturdy rubber spatula and scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. If, after about 45 minutes, the cake looks as if its browning too quickly, cover it losely with a foil tent. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for about 5 minutes before turning it out on the to rack. Cool to room temperature upside down.
Bring the jam and water to a boil over low heat or in a microwave oven. Stir to smooth it, and keep at hand.
The top of the cake will become the bottom layer, so if it is uneven and your cake rocks a bit on the counter, turn it right side up and use a long serrated knife to level it. Using the serrated knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers. Put the first layer (originally the top of the cake) cut side up on a long serving plate and spread half of the jam over it. Cover with the middle layer and spread that layer with the remaining jam. Lift the top layer into place, cut side down. Use a small pastry brush to chase away any crumbs on the top or sides of the cake.
Fit a heatproof bowl into a pan of gently simmering water, add the chocolate and warm, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Still working over the hot water, stir in the sour cream. Don’t be concerned if the cream tightens-just keep stirring gently and the frosting will become smooth and glossy.
Remove from the heat and cover the sides and top of the cake with the still warm frosting.
Serve with a bit of whipped cream and if you’d like a pitcher of the Smooth & Tangy Chocolate Sauce.
If you want to serve the cake with a sauce that is perfectly matched to it, double the frosting recipe and use half for the frosting and the other half to make a sauce.
For the sauce: bring about 1 cup whole milk (amount is your preference of consistency) almost to a boil. Put the bowl of extra frosting back over the pan of hot water and gently whisk in the hot milk a little at a time, adding as much as you want to get the desired consistency. The sauce is ready to use when it is as thick or thin as you’d like and perfectly smooth. You can make the sauce in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days; just warm it gently before serving.

We didn't serve it with the sauce or the cream, but I think it would probably be better with both.
Tomorrow we're having some chocolate chip cookie sweet rolls from PW.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

We had Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes this morning.  I had to change the recipe just a little, I didn't have any flax seeds, and I added a lot more coconut milk than the 1 3/4 c milk the recipe called for.  These were thick, hearty, semi-healthy pancakes, since I added 1 T brown sugar instead of the 1 T flax seed, they aren't super healthy, but they tasted good.  Noah gave them a 9, and Owen and I gave them an 8.  The baking powder flavor was a little strong for me, but they did rise nicely.  Anyway, these are a healthy alternative to the usual pancake.  Notice the butter and no syrup.  I still don't like syrup, so I eat my pancakes/waffles/ french toast with just butter.  Weird I know but delicious :)
Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chicken Roulades with Chorizo and Manchego

We had one delicious dinner tonight.  Aaron and I loved this.  It was so amazing.  It is called Chicken Roulades with Chorizo and Manchego from Anne Burrell, and although we couldn't find manchego, this was still so great.  Aaron and I gave it a perfect 10, Noah gave it a 9 because he said it was too spicy, and Owen gave it an 8.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to add monterey jack instead of manchego, and to add a lot less olive oil than the recipe called for.  My chicken isn't super brown all over because I didn't want to use more than 1 tablespoon of olive oil to brown the chicken in, but that didn't affect the flavor for us.  I also cut down on the flour and eggs for the breading, I never use as much as the recipe calls for.  The way I made it I made 6 rolls and each one with the sauce was 426 calories.  This is just amazingly flavorful, tender, moist, and really it's not very difficult.  I made the rolls earlier in the day when I had some energy, and then just had to cook them up and make the sauce at dinner time.  Great recipe!  We'll be having this one again for sure.

Tomorrow we're having some pumpkin pancakes, some of my favorite things in this world.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shrimp Fried Rice and Fried Zucchini


First today we had shrimp fried rice, and this is a recipe we all enjoy. I put a little more rice than usual and a little less soy sauce, so Aaron said it lacked flavor (it did), so he gave it a 6, I gave it an 8, and the boys gave it a perfect 10. They love that dish. Here is the recipe from Jaden Hair, we love it.

Perfect Shrimp Fried Rice 8 servings, 287 calories/serving

 
4cups leftover, previously chilled cooked rice

1/2 lb small raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 t salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 t cornstarch

2 T high-heat cooking oil, divided

3 eggs, beaten

2 scallions, minced

1 T soy sauce or 2 t fish sauce

3/4 c frozen peas and carrots, defrosted

1 t sesame oil

 

1. Gently separate the rice grains with a fork, taking care not to smush the delicate grains.  In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper and cornstarch.  Let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.

2 Set a wok on high heat.  Add 1 T of the cooking oil and swirl to coat the wok.  Add the shrimp, quickly spreading it out around the cooking surface area so they are not overlapping.  Let fry, untouched for 30 seconds, or until almost cooked through.  Remove the shrimp from the wok to a plate, leaving as much oil in the wok as possible.

3. Turn the heat to medium and let the wok heat up again.  Add the eggs, stirring in a quick motion to scramble the eggs.  When the eggs are almost cooked through (they should still be slightly runny in the middle), dish out of the wok in to the same plate as the shrimp.

4. Use paper towels to wipe the same pan clean and return it to high heat.  Add the remaining 1 T cooking oil and swirl to coat.  When the oil is hot, add the green onions and cook, about 15-30 seconds.  Add the rice and stir well to mix in the green onions throughout.  Spread the rice all around the wok surface area and let the rice heat up, untouched until you hear the bottoms of the grains sizzle, about 1 minute.  Use a spatula to toss the rice, again spreading the rice out over the surface of wok and let cook for 1 minute.

5 Drizzle the fish sauce or soy sauce all around the rice and toss.  Add the peas, carrots, eggs, shrimp and sesame oil, tossing to mix the rice evenly with all the ingredients.  Repeat the tossing, spreading and 1 minute frying until each and every grain of rice is heated through.  Taste and adjust with additional soy sauce if needed.

 
For veggie we had some fried zucchini from Giada de Laurentiis's cookbook Everyday Pasta.  We gave this an 8, who doesn't like fried stuff?  Here's the recipe
 
Fried Zucchini 32 slices, 126/slice
1 ½  c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ c panko
¾ t salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch strips
Olive oil, for deep-frying
Stir 1 ½ c of the Parmesan cheese, the panko, and salt together in a medium bowl to blend.  Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to break them up.  Working in batches, dip the zucchini sticks in the eggs to coat them completely, allowing the excess egg to drip back into the bowl.  Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely.  Place the coated zucchini strips on a baking sheet. 
Heat 2 inches of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350.  Working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.
Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter.  Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ c of Parmesan cheese and serve.
 
Aaron helped me out with this, thanks honey!
 
Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish and a cornbread panzanella.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Funfetti Cookies

Cookie of the week is...Funfetti Cookies!  The boys loved these.  They are fun and colorful, easy to make, and taste great.  I got 24 cookies out of this recipe, so I must've made them smaller than I was supposed to, but they are still quite large.  The calories for one cookie are 169, and although they have a great flavor with the almond extract and the vanilla (hooray for the Mexican vanilla Aaron brought me home this past weekend), I found the texture to be a little off.  I think the cornstarch wasn't my favorite addition, but it didn't seem to affect the boys' enjoyment at all.  They gave them a perfect 10, and I gave them an 8.  Aaron didn't have any.
Tomorrow we're having a pasta dish.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken Bacon Wraps, Bean Salad, and Mashed Potatoes

For dinner we had some really great recipes. The first recipe, Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps from Paula Deen were such a big hit, they disappeared before I could take a picture.  These were delicious, fast to eat, and fun.  Look at the link for a picture, that's just what they look like.  Aaron gave them a perfect 10, the boys and I gave them a 9.  I wish I would've salted the chicken before wrapping it in bacon, but other than that I thought they were awesome.  The calories for the recipe the way it was written are for 24 rolls, about 63 calories per roll.  They are actually much less than that though, because I used maybe 1/4 of the brown sugar mixture, which would lower the calories quite a bit.  Fun and not too calorific!  We like that kind of food around here. :)

Next comes our veggie.  My parents brought me a bunch of veggies from their garden, so I looked for a recipe online that would use both zucchini and green beans, but wasn't a soup.  There aren't that many, surprisingly.  This Keeping up with the Beans salad was delicious, and uses tons of veggies, so we really liked it.  We gave it a 9, and the dressing was great.  I used less than it called for, especially less balsamic vinegar, because we're not huge fans of vinegar around here.  Anyway, this is a great salad to make for all those veggies coming out of your ears days.  The calories will vary based on what kinds of veggies you use, but for 10 servings, ours was 189 calories per serving, and they are big servings.


Last of all we had some garlic mashed potatoes.  They are Guy Fieri's Johnny Garlic's Famous Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes.  The boys and I really liked them, but Aaron said they had a funky flavor.  Go figure.  I'm not sure what was wrong.  The boys and I gave them 8, and Aaron gave them a 4.  Oh well.  I cut the garlic down to 4 cloves rather than 4 tablespoons of garlic, and I only used 1 T olive oil, and only 6 potatoes, rather than 5 pounds of potatoes.  We got six servings out of this, and each serving was 143 calories.  Hopefully you'll like these as much as the boys and I did, and not like Aaron did :)


Tomorrow we're having shrimp fried rice and fried zucchini.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mini Shrimp Calzones

We had these Mini Shrimp Calzones tonight, and we all enjoyed them.  It's helpful that we all enjoy shrimp, and these were tasty.  I cut down on the cheese, we only used two cups rather than 3, and I used only 1 T of olive oil.  Also, I used tomato sauce rather than diced tomatoes.  I used the pizza dough Giada put with the recipe, and I didn't think it worked well.  I liked the flavor, but after 1 1/2 hours my dough still hadn't risen.  I used the yeast in another recipe, and it worked fine, so I'm not sure why the dough didnt' rise, but it didn't.  Other than that the recipe worked great, and it really had great flavor.  The calories for 1/6 of the recipe the way I prepared it are 436/serving.  I think I'll play with this and try different combinations, because I liked how simple it was and how cheesy it was :).  We love cheese around here.  As Noah says, "cheese is my favorite food, after fried shrimp."  I love that kid :).  We all gave this an 8, and it was a great dinner with some green veggies.
Tomorrow we're having some chicken and potatoes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hamburgers

We had hamburgers tonight, and these are fun and easy.  I made my own hamburger buns using this easy recipe, and we had fun eating them.  We found the buns too crunchy on top, we like the super soft hamburger buns usually, you know, the $1 for 8 of them store brand ones, so these were a little different from what we were used to.  However, they turned out pretty well, and the only change I made was to not add the sesame seeds.  We gave the buns and hamburgers an 8, and the calories for each bun, I made 21 instead of 18, were 103/bun.  With the hamburgers, the calories were 229.
Pan Fried Hamburgers
1/2 lb ground beef
salt, onion powder, pepper
1/2 c cheese, grated

Mix together and cook on a griddle or in a pan.  Serve.

I know that's not even a recipe, but it turned out well, so I want to remember it.  We really enjoyed it, and Cook's Illustrated recommended grating the cheese into the hamburger meat rather than laying it on top, and I like how it turned out.  We had some oven fries with this as well as the corn, and the boys just gobbled everything up.

Tomorrow we're having some mini calzones and panzanella.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cheesy Pasta Bake

We had this pasta dish with my parents yesterday.  I made it for a hearty lunch for them, and it was a success.  This was the portion size, and it was 255 calories/serving.  We all gave it a 9, it was really hearty, flavorful, and just plain satisfying, if not very pretty :).  Here's the recipe, which has lots of estimations, you can play with the spices, etc., yourself.
Cheesy Pasta Bake

6 oz pasta
1 t olive oil
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomato
1/4 c tomato paste
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c spinach
basil, onion powder, season salt, salt, pepper, red pepper, oregano, all to taste
1 c ricotta cheese (more or less)
1 c grated parmesan cheese
1 c mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8x8 pan.  Boil pasta in salted water until almost al dente (still quite firm).  Heat the olive oil in a large pan, then add in onions and garlic.  Stir and add in some salt.  Cook until tender.  Add in the tomato paste, and cook for a few minutes.  Add in the tomatoes and desired spices and bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes.  While the sauce is simmering, mix together all the ricotta, and half the parmesan and mozzarella and some onion powder.  Remove the sauce from the heat, add in the spinach, then mix in the ricotta mixture.  Pour into the prepared baking dish, then top with the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella.  Bake for a while, about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and cheese is browning.  Serve.

These are all approximates, make to your specifications.

Tomorrow we're having some hamburgers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zucchini and Nutella Swirl Muffins

We had these delicious muffins today, Zucchini and Nutella Swirl Muffins, and they were really good.  We were pleasantly surprised.  I was a little worried as I was making them last night, the dough was more like cookie dough rather than muffin batter.  I actually had to fold in the zucchini rather than stir it in.  However, despite my worries, these are terrific.  They are moist, flavorful, and the hint of nutella really adds a lot.  The recipe calls for an extra large egg, and I only had large eggs, so I added just a little bit of vanilla for some extra moisture.  I love me some vanilla :)  These are a great way to use up zucchini, and we'll have them again soon.  They are super easy to make, especially if you already have shredded zucchini.  Owen, Oma and Noah gave these a 9, and Opa and I gave them an 8.  Each muffin (12 muffins) is 255 calories.
Tomorrow we're having that pasta bake.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oatmeal Butterscotch Caramel Cookies

Our cookie of the week is Oatmeal Butterscotch Caramel Cookies.  These were really good!  I used homemade caramel sauce which I had leftover, and these turned out great!  We all liked them, Owen gave them an 8, Noah and I gave them a 9, and Aaron gave them a 7, but again, they aren't chocolate chip so that's a good score for him.  I made 48 cookies, which is one dozen more than the recipe said, so the calories were 128/cookie.  I like that these have oatmeal in them, I love any kind of oatmeal cookie, and these didn't disappoint.
Tomorrow we're having some muffins.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Roasted Corn Salad

Today we had Pioneer Woman's Roasted Corn Salad and we had high hopes for this.  You can find the recipe in her first cookbook.  Our high hopes were not fulfilled.  We scored this lower than anything we've ever had, only a 2.  We grilled everything just like the recipe said, the only change I made was to cut everything in half, and it was just not enjoyable.  We had to make ourselves force it down.  We couldn't even taste the corn, and the onions overpowered everything, as did the balsamic vinegar.  I'm not going to post the recipe, because I don't think anyone should make it.  Sorry PW, I love almost all of your recipes, this one just didn't cut it for me. :( 
For 1/6 of the total, the calories were 208.
Tomorrow we're having a pasta bake.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

We had bananas foster bread pudding today.  This was a yummy, easy recipe, and Owen and Aaron gave it a 7, and Noah and I gave it an 8.  The changes I made were
1. I cut the recipe in half
2. I didn't add the rum flavoring, since I don't have any, and added more vanilla
3. I used cinnamon rolls as my bread choice
This made the bananas less prominent, which I didn't like, but Aaron and Owen both liked it without as much banana, so I guess it's accroding to preference.  I like that it was seriously quick to make, and tasted great, not too sweet.  The calories for 1/8 of the total, which is a pretty big piece, are 351/slice.
Tomorrow we're having a corn salad.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Braciole, Frozen Hot Chocolate, Snickerdoodle Truffles and Creme Brulee

We had lots of fun new food today, and we'll start with dinner. We had braciole from Anne Burrell, and this was a delicious meal.  I cut the recipe in half, except for the sauce, and we served it with pasta.  I cooked it in the crockpot, and so I'm not sure if that's why there wasn't quite enough flavor, or if it was the recipe, but I felt like the filling didn't have enough flavor.  We all gave this an 8, and the calories for one roll with lots of sauce are 451.  The sauce in this picture looks yellow/green and oily, but it was really yummy and not greasy.  Oh well.
Next we had the frozen hot chocolate we've planned on having a few days. This was a disappointment. It was too icy and not chocolatey enough. I gave it a 3, Aaron gave it a 5, Noah gave it an 8, and Owen gave it a 6.  I think we'll just have some cold chocolate milk next time and save the dirty dishes and work.  The calories were 167 for 1/4 of the recipe using skim milk.  Noah enjoyed it the most, as you can see from this cute picture :).


For dessert we had snickerdoodle creme brulee and it was divine.  Aaron only gave it a 6 because he said it was too rich, but man the rest of us really liked it.  Noah and I gave it a 9, and Owen gave it an 8.  The first picture is of the snickerdoodle cookie dough truffles, which you need for the creme brulee.  Owen and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  The calories for 1 truffle, I made 28 of them, were 134/truffle.  The calories for the creme brulee, I made 8 of them with 1 truffle in the bottom of each dish, were 344/brulee.  Yum! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend, we're having a bread pudding tomorrow.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Quintuple Chocolate Brownies from Dorie Greenspan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used bittersweet)
2 Tablespoons prepared strong coffee (I used chocolate syrup and a little more cocoa powder)
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces premium- quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought milk choc. chips
1 c chopped nuts (I didn't use since Owen can't take them to school)
6 ounces premium- quality white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 cup store- bought white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil (I used an 8x8 pan, and cooked them a little longer), butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted- you don't want the ingredients to get so hot they separate, so keep an eye on the bowl. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.
Using a whisk or a rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don't beat too vigorously- you don't want to add air to the batter- and don't be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter. If you're not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest for at least 30 minutes.
Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place the brownies back into the pan to cool.
Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream just to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth.
Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze in the other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don't worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the sides later (or not). Refrigerate the brownies for at least 30 minutes, or until the glaze is firm.
Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2 1/4 inches on a side.

What can I say about these brownies?  They are so insanely chocolate, so intense in flavor, there are just no words.  They were too chocolatey even for me, and that's why Aaron gave them a 7, and the boys and I didn't give them a perfect 10, we gave them a 9.  They are so chocolatey.  If you love chocolate, or have a chocolate lover in your house, these are for you.  I would love to eat these, but next time I'll cut them smaller, more like 32, because the brownie size was overpowering with chocolate.  Yum, but wow!!!
For 16 brownies, each one had 317 calories the way I made them.

Tomorrow we're having iced hot chocolate, bracchiole, and snickerdoodle creme brulee.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Bread

We had cinnamon roll pumpkin bread today, and it was a great recipe.  The only change I made was instead of maple flavoring and coffee, I added a little 100% maple syrup, about 1 teaspoon.  The calories for 1/8 of the bread were 260, and I gave it a 9, Noah gave it a 9, and Owen gave it an 8.  I love that this came together quickly, is not super sweet, and is moist and flavorful.  I'll make this again soon.
Tomorrow we're having iced hot chocolate.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cranberry Mustard Chicken

We had chicken tenderloins with cranberry mustard sauce tonight.  This was not a fabulous dinner.  Although very low in calories, it didn't have tons of flavor, and the cranberries didn't really stand out very much.  Aaron gave it a 5, I gave it a 6, and the boys both gave it an 8.  It was very fast and easy to make, and low in calories, one tenderloin with sauce and 3/4 c of rice was 353 calories, but we won't be having it again.  I used more chicken broth instead of the wine in the recipe.

Tomorrow we're having some pumpkin bread.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken and Rice, Blueberry Yogurt Waffles, and Blackberry Ice Cream

We had a lot of yummy food today, because today my little guy had his first day of preschool! Hooray! This is his second year with Mrs. Caffrey, and he loves going to school and having fun there. He decided he wanted blackberry ice cream, blueberry waffles for breakfast, and chicken and rice for dinner. First we have the ice cream, from the Pioneer Woman. Here's the recipe, it's easy and creamy and has great texture.  We added chocolate chips like it said to in the cookbook, and this turned out really well.  Noah gave it a perfect 10, I gave it a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave it an 8.  The only change I made was to use lime instead of lemon, because that's what I had, and I strained the custard after cooking it.  I also refrigerated the custard before churning it because my ice cream mixer has to have the custard cold.  The calories for 1/12 of the total, which is about 1/2 cup, are 320.

The waffles were really good. They are Blueberry Yogurt Waffles from Two Peas and Their Pod. I like that they used whole wheat flour and the yogurt instead of oil. I used blueberry Greek yogurt instead of plain, and they were sweet and delicious. I gave them an 8, Noah gave them a perfect 10, and Owen gave them a 7 because he doesn't like blueberries very much. They are 165 calories/waffle when you make 16 waffles.
And last we had chicken and rice which I started making after marrying Aaron because it was his favorite food my Mother-in-law makes.  I have changed it through the years to make it more what I enjoy, but it's still pretty much the same thing Aaron grew up eating.
Chicken Casserole (or Chicken and Rice as we call it)
(This is how I make it)
1 lb chicken breasts
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
green onions
seasoned salt
thyme
cayenne pepper
Any other spices you feel like adding
1-2 T sour cream
Throw everything in the crockpot except for the sour cream.  Mix it all together and cook on low for at least 4 hours.  Add in sour cream 30 minutes before serving.  Serve over rice.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

The boys give this a perfect 10, Aaron gives this between an 8 and a 10 depending on how I make it, and I give it a 5.  I'm not a huge fan of it, but my boys really love it so we have it every so often.
The calories with rice are 315/serving.
Tomorrow we're having another chicken and rice dish, but it's not the same :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fish and Scones


We had some really yummy food tonight.  We had my favorite fish recipe, Easy Baked Parmesan Tilapia, which is my go to recipe because it's fast, easy, and only 150 calories per serving (a serving is what is pictured).  I love eating this fish.  I give it a perfect 10, Aaron gives it a 7 because he doesn't like fish very much, and same with Noah, and Owen gave the fish an 8.
Our bread was more popular with the guys, Bacon, Cheddar and Chive Scones, it received an 8 from Aaron, Noah and I and a 9 from Owen.  For 1/4 of the halved recipe (I cut the recipe in 1/2), the calories were 418.  This bread had lots of flavor, but I rolled it out too thin, so it didn't rise like it's supposed to.  The crispy bread still tasted good and we all enjoyed it.

Tomorrow we're having the Tunell special :) chicken and rice and some blackberry ice cream.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fresh Fruit Tart With Pastry Cream


I love pastry cream.  It's a sickness.  I could probably eat an entire bowl of it, just for fun.  I wouldn't, but I could. :)  Anyway, I knew I would love this tart, and having it look so pretty and summery, and having a cute little four year old help me is even better.  This was a sweet pastry crust, a pastry cream, and then just fruit glazed with apple jelly.  It was delcious.  Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, and Aaron and Owen gave it an 8.  Aaron and Owen liked the crust best, I liked the pastry cream the best, and Noah liked all the fruit the best.  Something for everyone I guess.  The recipes (tart, crust, and cream) all came from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe cookbook.  Here are the recipes:
Sweet Pastry Dough
1 large egg yolk
1/2 t vanilla
1 T heavy cream
1 1/4 c flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 c powdered sugar
1/4 t salt
8 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Whisk together the yolk, cream, and vanilla and set aside.  Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together.  Turn the dough onto plastic wrap, and press into a six-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Unwrap and roll out between 2 lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap.  Transfer the dough to a tart pan.  Ease the dough into the corners, and remove excess from the outside.  Set the dough-lined tart panon a large plate and freeze for 30 mintues.
Heat the oven to 375.  Set the pan on a baking sheet, press a square of foil into the frozen tart shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time.  Remove from oven and carefully remove the foil and weights.  Bake until a deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.  Cool completely.

Pastry Cream
2 c half-and-half
1/2 c sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
3 T cornstarch
4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Heat the half-and-half, 6 T sugar and the salt in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the remaining 2 T sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture to temper.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

You assemble the tart crust first, then pastry cream, then pretty fruit, then glaze it with 1/2 c of warmed jelly (I used apple).  It's so pretty, and definitely delicious.

Tomorrow we're having fish and savory scones.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Great Grain Muffins, and Make Ahead Muffin Melts

So I was cleaning out a bunch of jalapenos in order to make jalapeno poppers, and I used this butter knife, which hasn't been used in the 10 years Aaron and I have been married. This knife works great for cleaning out jalapenos, and will be my new jalapeno knife :) Just thought I would share! Anyway, we tried some breakfast food today, and the recipes were only mildly successful.

First, the muffins we had were healthy, relatively low in calories, easy to make, and pretty good. They come out of the Dorie Greenspan, Baking from my home to yours cookbook. They are called great grain muffins, and they are definitely worth making, a not too sweet breakfast muffin. We gave them an 8, and we made 15 muffins from the recipe, and each muffin was 189 calories. Here's the recipe:

Great Grains Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk ( I used milk and vinegar)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup quartered moist, plump prunes or other dried fruits (cut up as necessary) and/or chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cornmeal, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda andsalt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, eggs and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough–if the batter is a bit lumpy, that’s fine. Stir in the fruit or nuts, if you’re using them. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then carefully lift each muffin out of its mold and onto the rack to cool.
We also had some muffin melts from the Pioneer Woman. I thought that Aaron would really enjoy them, so I tried them, although they are not my favorite.

The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman's second cookbook, and it was a pretty good recipe, especially if you like eggs, which I just really don't, and here is another recipe to prove to me why I really don't like eggs.
Aaron seemed to enjoy it, he gave it a 7, as did the rest of us.  The calories with a slice of bread, which is how we had planned on having it, were 459 for 1/12 of the recipe.  I used a mayo/mustard blend as well as regular mayo to cut down on the calories.
As you can see from the picture, we used crackers instead of bread, because my bread was moldy.  Stinker!  I have to make more bread now, and all that delicious bread had to get thrown away.  I'm pretty disappointed about that, but oh well.  I bet this would taste really good on bread. :)

Tomorrow we're having a fruit tart with pastry cream, and I can't wait, because I could eat pastry cream for the rest of my life and be happy.  Yum :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Velvet Coconut Doughnuts


We had some delicious donuts/muffins today.  They are Red Velvet Coconut Doughnuts and they are too good.  Owen, Noah and I gave them a perfect 10, Aaron gave them a 6, since he doesn't like cake.  He ate more than one of the mini muffins, so he must have liked them okay :).  This was an easy recipe, and the frosting is delicious, although it made way more than we needed for the recipe.  I made a couple of changes to the recipe, I put in one less tablespoon flour, and added an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder, I changed the amount of oil to 1/4 c and added in 1/2 c sour cream, and I added in a lot of food coloring, because I like the deep red color.  I also didn't garnish with coconut, because I didn't think they needed it.  I love how these are traditional red velvet, but still with the coconut extract have something extra.  It really adds to the doughnuts.  Since I don't have two donut pans, I made 6 donuts, 12 mini muffins, and 3 regular sized muffins.  I had a hard time figuring out calories for these, because of the multiple sizes of the food and because we only used 2/3 of the frosting, approximately.  Anyway, if you follow the recipe with my changes and have only 12 donuts, and use all the frosting, the calories are 458/donut.  If not, the calories for the big muffins and the donuts with all the frosting are 367/donut and 229/mini muffin.  Who knows what the calories are with the smaller amount of frosting we used, but it's definitely less than what I put here since the frosting is where all the calories come from.  These are so moist and tender, and worth every calorie.  Yum! 
Tomorrow we're having some healthier muffins and some breakfast food.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avocado Enchiladas and Blueberry Cake


Today we had Brown Sugar Blueberry Plain Cake from Dorie Greenspan.  This was a great cake. So far everything I have made from her Baking from my home to yours cookbook has been outstanding, and this is just another hit. I gave it a 9, the boys gave it a perfect 10, and the only reason it didn't get a 10 from me is because the blueberries all sank to the bottom. Part of this I think is because I didn't have the right size of pan, and so I had to use a smaller pan and the batter was a lot deeper, but that was why it earned a 9 from me. The calories were 230 for 12 servings, and this just had such a soft, moist texture and a light, summery flavor. Here's the recipe:
Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake from Dorie Greenspan
1 1/3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon (optional-I used it)
1/8 t plus a pinch of salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c whole milk (I used 3/8 c coconut milk, 1/8 c cream)
1 pint blueberries, fresh, preferably or frozen and not thawed
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (I used 1/4 c)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375.  Generously butter an 11x7 (I used 8x8) baking pan and place it on a baking sheet. 
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and the 1/8 t salt.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form firm, glossy peaks.  Gently scrape the whites into a clean bowl.  Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment.  Put the butter and sugar in the mixer bowl, and beat on medium speed until creamy.  Add the egg yolks and beat 2 minutes more.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, then all of the milk  and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, adding each new batch as soon as the previous batch has been incorporated.
Switch to a large rubber spatula and lighten the batter by stirring in about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites.  Fold in the rest of the whites, working as gently as you can.  Still working with as light a hand as possible, fold in the blueberries, an dscrape the batter into the prepared pan. 
Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes (mine went for almost 50 because of the smaller pan), or until a knife comes out clean.  Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before dusting the top with the sugar and serving warm.

This is best while still warm, but it's still really great the next day too.  We really enjoyed this, and we'll have it again.

Now on to dinner.
I had seen a recipe online called Avocado Enchiladas, and I thought it sounded wonderful, so I bookmarked it.  While planning my menu, I put this one on and just glanced at the ingredients before grocery shopping.  I had salsa verde, tortillas, and just needed to buy the fresh ingredients.  Unfortunately, I didn't check amounts and so I couldn't make the recipe as written.  So I used some of this recipe, but I made up my own recipe.  Here's my take on avocado enchiladas.
Avocado Enchiladas Casserole
10 corn tortillas
1 1/4  c salsa verde
1 can el pato
1 1/4 c cream
3 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
1/2 lemon juice
2 key limes, juiced
1 T cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T honey
8-10 oz monterrey jack cheese

Mix together the salsa verde, cream, and 1/2 c el pato.  Pour some in the bottom of the pan, then tear up 5 of the corn tortillas and dip them in the sauce.  Mix together the avocados, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the avocado mixture over the tortillas, then put half the cheese over the avocado mixture.  Tear up the remaining 5 tortillas and soak them in the remaining sauce.  Pour the remaining el pato over the top, then top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  Serve.

This was pretty good, and had lots of flavor.  We all gave it an 8, except for Noah who gave it a perfect 10.  The calories for 1/16 of the total casserole were 235/serving.

Tomorrow we're having some donuts.  Hooray!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Roman Style Chicken and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Our dinner tonight was found at www.foodnetwork.com and it was Roman Style Chicken from Giada de Laurentis.  The boys really liked this, and I thought it had nice flavor, but it's not really my kind of chicken, nor is it Aaron's.  He gave it a 6, I gave it an 8, and Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10, because they love eating their drumsticks.  The calories for a thigh were 297, with 1/4 of the sauce.  I cut the recipe in half, using only 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs.  This was a simple, quick dinner, and makes a great family meal.  This however, was not the highlight of the meal.
Anne Burrell's Heirloom Tomato Salad with Warm Goat Cheese was the real star.  The recipe I linked to is just a little different from the one I used in her cookbook, in the cookbook she uses basil instead of oregano, and she doesn't use the baguette, just smears the goat cheese that has been warmed in the oven for 8-10 minutes on the top of the salad, as you see in my picture.  The calories for a cut in half salad with four servings out of it were about 200/serving.  We LOVED this.  I can't tell you how much we ate of this.  Aaron said he wishes I hadn't made any chicken, and to have Aaron wish for no meat in our dinner has never happened, not once.  So yeah, make this salad.  Even the boys liked the salad, they thought the goat cheese was really good.  Aaron and I gave the salad a perfect 10, Owen gave it a 7, and Noah gave it an 8.  I didn't have any arugula, so I just used romaine, arugula would look prettier and taste great.

Tomorrow we're having a blueberry cake and some avocado enchiladas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Savory Chicken Hash

Our dinner tonight was pretty good, and very easy. The recipe is Savory Chicken Hash from Aaron McCargo Jr., and it's a great weeknight dinner since it's so little work.  I cooked my chicken tenders in the crockpot earlier today, and then just chopped them up for dinner.  I only used one green pepper instead of one yellow and one red, and I didn't add very much cayenne, because of our kids.  The hash had lots of flavor, and I liked the little bit of lemon, but I don't think that it was particularly wonderful.  Aaron and I gave it a 7, and Noah and Owen gave it a 9.  Funny guys.  They both thought it was a little spicy, even with just 1/8 t of cayenne.  The calories on this for 1/6 of the total were 209, so not high at all. 

Tomorrow we're trying another chicken dish and a tomato salad.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dulce de Leche Duos

One nice thing about this goal I have to make something new everyday is using my cookbooks. I have lots of cookbooks, and I would think how nice it would be to try something new, and then never use the cookbooks. Now that has changed. I've had Baking From My Home To Yours with Dorie Greenspan for years, and I'm just now making a dent. I think I had only tried two or three things from this great cookbook, but now I've already tried a few new recipes, and there are going to be many more on their way.
Today's recipe is called Dulce de Leche Duos, and these are fabulous. They have a consistency almost like Little Debbie's oatmeal pies, but unlike those, these cookies are a little crisper, and not so cloyingly sweet.  Here's the recipe:
Dulce De Leche Duos from Dorie Greenspan
2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c store-bought dulce de leche, plus more for filling
3/4 packed light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until soft.  Add the 3/4 c dulce de leche and both sugars and continue to beat until light an dfluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Don't be concerned if the mixture looks a little curdled--it will smooth out when the flour mixture goes in.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disapper into the batter.
Spoon the dough onto the baking sheets, using a heaping teaspoon of dough for each cookie and leaving 2 inches between them.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes (I did 10), rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point.  The cookies should be honey brown with a light sugar crust, but they will still be soft, so remove the sheets from the oven but don't touch the cookies for another minute or two.  Then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, making sure you cool the baking sheets before spooning the dough onto them.
When the cookies are completely cool, spread the flat bottoms of half the cookies with a small amount of dulce de leche, and sandwich with the flat sides of the remaining cookies.

  I love these. I've eaten far too many of them already. The calories for these, if you get the full 60 cookies or 30 sandwiches, are 162/cookie. We only got 57 cookies, so our calories were 175/cookie. Noah and I gave these a perfect 10, and I'll see after school what Owen gave them. Also, I didn't use very much of the dulce de leche to sandwich, just enough to stick the sides together really.

Tomorrow we're having that chicken dish I said we were having today.

Owen gave them a perfect 10 as well, and Aaron gave them a 6, no surprise there.  No chocolate chips means lower score :).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lamb Tagine and Cheesecake!

So we had dinner tonight, hoping for an exotic dish, and we didn't quite get what we were hoping for. We had lamb tagine with couscous, and it was really delicious with tender lamb, which I love, but I was hoping for more spice, or something. Here's the recipe:
Lamb Tagine from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe cookbook
2 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
Salt and pepper
3 T olive oil (I only used 2)
2 medium-large onions
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 T flour
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t corinader
1/8 t cayenne (optional)
2 1/4 c chicken broth
14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 c dried apricots or other dried fruit (I used prunes) roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
15 oz canned chickpeas
1/4 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c toasted slivered almonds (optional--I didn't use)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300.  Season the lamb generously with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat 1 T of the oil in a large oven-proof pan over medium-high heat until shimmering.  cook the meat until well browned.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 oil, and swirl to coat the pan bottom.  Add the onions and 1/4 t salt and cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the pot bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until  fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and cayeene (if using) and stir until the onions are evenly coated and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
4.  Gradually add the broth, scraping the pot bottom and edges with a wooden sppon to loosen the remaining browned bits and spices, and stirring until the flour is dissolved and the liquid is thick.  Stir in the tomatoes, prunes, bay leave, and cilantro sprigs and bring to a simmer.  Add the brownded lamb and accumulated juices in the bowl, pushing down the meat to submerge the pieces.  Return to a simmer, cover the pot, and place it in the oven.  Cook for 1 1/4 hours.
5. Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the chickpeas.  Cover and return the pot to the oven.  Cook until the meat is tender and the chickpeas are heated through, about 15 minutes.  Spoon off any fat that rises to the top if serving immediately, and if not, stew can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
6. Discard the bay leaves and cilantro sprigs.  Stir in the minced cilantro and adjust the seasonings.  Serve immediately with couscous or basamati rice.

So the calories on this without the rice or couscous were 304/serving for 8 servings. The boys, Aaron included, gave it an 8, and I gave it a 7. It was good, just not what I was hoping for.

So the cheesecake we made because we had guests for dinner, and so the boys voted for this dessert. I was going to make this on my birthday for myself, but they decided we had to try it now. This was amazing. It was Junior's Devil's Food Cheesecake, and it was worth the calories, which were out of control :).  For 1/32 of the cake, yes I'm serious, the calories were 492. Sigh. This was heavenly, the frosting Aaron said was the best he has ever had, and it was so rich and creamy and chocolatey and great. Aaron gave it a 9, and he doesn't like cake or cheesecake, so go figure. The boys and I gave it a perfect 10. Too bad it is sooo crazy bad for us.  Sorry about the uninspiring picture, it really looks better and tastes better than that, I just didn't get a good picture.  So in spite of the bad picture, I suggest making it anyway :).


Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Coffee Cake and Shrimp and Potatoes

Happy Saturday! We love Saturdays around here, not only for the fact that we can eat lots of yummy food, but also because we have no school!!! Saturdays let us eat fun breakfast food we don't have time for during the week. Take this coffee cake for instance. It's called Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, but I used strawberry lime jam instead, since that is our homemade jam we had.  This was a typical coffee cake, not fabulous, but a nice sweet brunch food.  We gave it 7 stars, and the calories for 24 slices were 196/slice.  I kept everything else the same inside the recipe besides substituting out the jam.

Now on to dinner. We had some delicious dinner food tonight, shrimp and potatoes are some of our favorite things anyway, but then trying them in different ways makes things even better (at least most of the time :)). Paul's Barbequed Shrimp is the name of the shrimp recipe, and they really are fabulous.
Aaron said these are his new all-time favorite shrimp, so obviously he gives them a perfect 10. I gave them a 9, and Owen and Noah gave them an 8, because they have a spicy kick to them. I love the ease of shrimp, being able to get them on the table in under 15 minutes is such a treat for a mom, and having my family be such huge fans of it also helps. Anyway, the calories on these, since I cut back on the butter is 250 calories for 4 oz of shrimp, or 1/4 of the recipe.  Instead of using rosemary, thyme, and oregano, I just substituted in 3/4 t poultry seasoning, and I cut down quite a bit on the cayenne because of my little guys.  These were great how we made them.
The potatoes might just be my perfect dinner.  If they weren't so fattening and full of bad things, I could eat these every day and be happy.  We used the mashed potatoes recipe from Our Best bites found here, and in their cookbook they have a loaded variation that we used.  Follow the basic mashed potatoes recipe and add in
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 oz chopped bacon
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t garlic powder

Whip the potatoes with the sour cream, salt and spices, then mix in the extras by hand. 

These are so good.  Owen and I gave them a perfect 10, Noah gave them a 9, and Aaron gave them a 7 since they were too "chunky--especially the bacon".  Go figure :)  The calories for the potatoes the way we made them were 313 calories for 1/6 of the total.  Anyway, we all really enjoyed our dinner, and thanks to my dad for the awesome corn on the cob we've been eating straight from his garden.  Yum!

Tomorrow we're having lamb tagine and couscous and a devil's food cheesecake that the boys requested.  I'm going to have to work out more than usual this week I think :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Tortellini Lasagna Casserole

We love red sauces in our family, and if they have sausage in them, all the better for Aaron. I knew this recipe would be a hit with everyone, and it was. We had Tortellini Lasagna Casserole, which is made in the crockpot.  It's fast, easy, and so worth the wait.  It was rated a perfect 10 from everyone.
The only changes I made were to add cheese to the top of the casserole, only about one ounce, and I used the ricotta instead of cottage cheese.  Someday I'll have a pasta maker, and can make our tortellini here at home, but since I don't have a pasta maker, I had to use store-bought tortellini, which is still really, really great.  I used homemade marinara sauce, and this just turned out so well.  The calories for 1/8 of the casserole are 493 calories. 
Tomorrow we're having some shrimp and potatoes, and a blueberry cake.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chili-Lime Steak Salad

We had Chili-Lime Steak Salad tonight, and it was delish! This was a fast, fresh meal, and I love the crisp veggies with the really juicy, flavorful steak.  The steak was my favorite part, and we just really enjoyed it.
Aaron gave it an 8, Noah and Owen and I gave the salad a 9 and the steak a perfect 10. This salad, which we split into 6 servings, with all the dressing and everything was 499 calories/serving. If you don't like ranch, like I don't, the dressing won't be a big hit, but Aaron and Noah both really liked it.


Tomorrow we're having a pasta dish.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Key Lime Donuts

We had key liime cream cheese donuts today for breakfast, and they were only okay.
They were easy and fast to make, but they weren't anything special, and we won't have them again. They received a 7 from all of us, and they were 286 calories per donut. Tomorrow we're having a steak salad.