Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chicken Kiev

It's Sonia, again.  Today's recipe was Alton Brown's Chicken Kiev.  We all enjoyed it, but while it tasted good, it was frustrating to get it to work well.  It wouldn't stay rolled once I tried dipping it in the egg and panko and then of course when I cooked it, it came open even more.    We all gave it an 8.  We will have it again sometime, but I may try tying it up with string next time.  Here is the recipe and link.

Chicken Kiev

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning chicken
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 large whole eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
2 cups Japanese bread crumbs (panko), plus 1/4 cup for filling
Vegetable oil, for frying

Combine butter, parsley, tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place mixture on plastic wrap or waxed paper and roll into small log; place in freezer.

Place chicken breasts, 1 at a time, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Squirt chicken lightly with water and squirt the top of the plastic wrap as well. Pound to no less than 1/8-inch thickness. Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper.

Lay 1 chicken breast on a new piece of plastic wrap and place 1/4 of the compound butter and 1 tablespoon bread crumbs in the center of each breast. Using the plastic wrap to assist, fold in ends of breast and roll breast into a log, completely enclosing the butter; roll very tightly. Repeat with each breast. Place chicken in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

Place egg and water mixture in 1 pie pan and 2 cups bread crumbs in a different pie pan.

Heat 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat until oil reaches 375 degrees F.

Dip each breast in the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs. Gently place each breast in oil, sealed-side down, and cook until golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove to a cooling rack set in sheet pan and allow to drain for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4  calories about 700

alton brown -

Friday, September 28, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had whole wheat chocolate chip cookies!  These cookies were surprisingly good.  I wasn't sure we would like them, because they used whole wheat flour and coconut oil, things I'm not used to having in cookies.  However, these were super tasty, and cripsy too.  I like soft, chewy cookies better, but these turned out to be great, and the boys and Aaron liked them especially.  They gave them a 9, and I gave them an 8.The calories were approximately 175/cookie, but at least they had some redeeming qualities, like whole wheat flour right? 
More baked goods coming up this next week :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coffee Cake Muffins

We had some yummy muffins today.  My boys are on fall break right now, so we get to have leisurely breakfasts instead of the rushed ones we are used to.  We had hot muffins for breakfast, and we used up some of my cold cereal supply, so two positivies :)  These were easy to make, and came together quite quickly, but I made some changes to the recipe.  The original recipe is called Maple Coffee Cake Muffins, but I didn't have the maple and brown sugar cereal since I don't love maple, so I used original frosted mini wheat, I added in some cinnamon with the dry ingredients and the streusely topping, and I added some vanilla and almond extracts to the wet ingredients.  This gave the muffins plenty of flavor, and the calories only went up to 180/muffin with regular buttermilk and my add-ins.  If you are looking forward to getting rid of cereal, this is a great way to do it!  Owen and I both gave it an 8, and Noah gave them a 0 because I had to wake him up to eat, and somehow he's turned out exactly like Aaron and is a grump if you wake him up :)  Oh well.  These really are good, and a pretty healthy breakfast.  I won't say what I'm going to post next, because the truth is I'm doing terribly at sticking with my plan.  So surprise for the next entry!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two for the Price of One

Hi there, this is Vicki's sister, Sonia, helping out with Tunell Family Meals while Vicki is feeling uninterested in cooking. :)  I will be helping out from time to time until she gets to feeling better.  Today you get two recipes - how's that for a deal?

We had Beef with Barley Soup and Bloomin' Onion Bread.  My husband gave the soup a 6.5 (he's not much of a soup man) and the bread a 6.  He said it had good texture, but was lacking in taste.  My daughter gave the soup a 6  and the bread an 8.  I gave the soup an 8 (I liked it) and the bread a 5.  I thought it was okay, but nothing worth noting.  Here are the recipes.

Beef with Barley Soup

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Beef Cubes (for Stew)
1 whole Large Onion, Medium Diced
2 cloves Minced Garlic
2 whole Carrots, Smaller Ends Cut Into Rounds, Larger Ends Diced
2 whole Potatoes, Large Dice
1-1/2 teaspoons Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon Sea Salt (or To Taste)
Ground Black Pepper To Taste
6 cups Beef Stock
2 cups Water Or As Needed
1/2 cup Pearl Barley
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 can (14.5 Oz. Size) Diced Tomatoes

Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil.  Brown the beef cubes for three minutes in the oil, then add the onions and garlic. Lower the heat to medium low and cook until the onions are cooked and just start to caramelize. Stir as needed to keep onions and garlic from burning. Lower heat if necessary; drizzle a little more olive oil if needed to keep food from sticking.  Add everything except the tomatoes to the pot and stir well. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil, then turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust heat as necessary to keep soup at  a slow simmer. If the soup thickens too much, add a little more water or broth. Taste to correct seasonings, then add tomatoes and simmer for another hour. Remove bay leaf before serving.  serves 8  from  by Terri @ that's some good cookin'   The calories for this were about 350.  (We only made a half batch since there are only three of us.)

The only things I did differently was to use 1) dried minced onions instead of fresh onions, 2) beef bouillion and more water instead of beef stock, 3) regular salt instead of sea salt/seasoned salt, 4) leftover pot roast beef meat instead of beef cubes for stew, 5) added a little bit of leftover green pepper.

Bloomin' Onion Bread

1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Insert cheese slices between cuts. Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.  serves 8 from  Calories per serving were about 450.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Velvet Brownie Swirl Cake

We had a Velvet Brownie Swirl Cake, and it was really good.  This was not very difficult to make, and it turns out so pretty when it's done.  It's moist and has lots of flavor.  It's called velvet because it's essentially a red velvet cake without the red food coloring.  This had 368 calories for 1/24 of the cake, and we gave it an 8, and Aaron even enjoyed it.  Like I said, this wasn't difficult, and it definitely tasted great.

Tomorrow we're having pasta with broccoli, sausage and peppers.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Shrimp with Garlic Lemon Butter

Tonight was a quick and easy dinner.  We had Shrimp with Garlic Lemon Butter from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook.  This was good, and a big hit especially with Owen.  He gave it a perfect 10, Noah gave it an 8, and Aaron and I gave it a 7.  The calories for 1/4 pound of shrimp were 253.  Here's the recipe:
Shrimp with Garlic Lemon Butter
1 lb shrimp
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 pinch sugar
2 T olive oil

3 T butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T lemon juice
1 T parsley
1/8 t salt

Shell and devein shrimp.  Mix the shrimp with the salt, pepper and sugar.

Heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat.  Cook half of the shrimp until almost done, about 40 seconds.  Remove and heat the other 1 T olive oil and then add the second half of the shrimp.  Cook until almost done, then return all the shrimp to the pan.
Meanwhile, beat the butter till fluffy, add in the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and the salt. 
Add the garlic butter to the pan with the remaining shrimp and cook until shrimp are cooked through.


Super simple, and a quick healthy weeknight meal.

Tomorrow we're having something sweet :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

We had Pasta with Bolognese Sauce from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook for dinner tonight.  This was something new for all of us to try, and it was different than I expected it to be, and it was a fun change for us.  I think we'll probably stick to our normal meaty tomato sauce, but this was a great change.  I like that it is sweeter and less tomatoe-y, and I like how much meat there was.  We all gave it an 8, and for 1/8 of the total the calories were 405.  Here's the recipe:
Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (I used dried oyster mushrooms, since that's all I could find)
1/2 c water
1 1/4 c sweet white wine (I used 1 c chicken broth and 1/4 c wine vinegar)
1/2 small carrot, peeled
1/2 small onion, peeled
3 oz pancetta (I used 3 slices bacon)
28 oz canned tomatoes
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 t sugar
1 1/4 lbs ground meat (I used 1 lb ground beef)
1 1/2 c whole milk
2 T tomato paste
1/8 t pepper
1 lb pasta (I used 1/2 lb pasta)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

1. Rinse the dried porcini mushrooms in a small strainer under cool running water; drain.  Add the mushrooms and water to a small bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds.  Let stand until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.  Lift the mushrooms from the liquid with a fork and mince.  Pour the liquid through a small strainer lined with a single sheet of paper towel set over a measuring cup.  Reserve the mushrooms and strained soaking liquid separately.
2. Bring the wine to simmer in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the wine is reduce to 2 T, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, pulse the carrot in a food processor, about 10 1-second pulses.  Add the onion; pulse until the vegetables are broken down into 1/8 inch pieces, about ten 1-second pulses.  Transfer the vegetables to a small bowl.  Process the softened mushrooms until well ground, about 15 seconds.  Transfer the porcini to the bowl with the carrot and onion.  Process the pancetta until the pieces are no longer than 1/4 inch, 30-35 seconds; transfer to a small bowl.  Pulse the tomatoes with their juice until chopped fine, six to eight 1-second pulses.
4.  Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; when the foaming subsides, add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot, onion, and porcini; cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot, onion, and porcini; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the ground meat, breaking the meat into 1-inch pieces with a wooden spoon, about 1 minute.  Add the milk and stir to break the meat into 1/2-inch bits; bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring to break up the meat into small pieces, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to sizzle, 18-20 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until combined, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, reserved porcini soaking liquid, 1/4 t salt, and the pepper; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened but still moist, 12-15 minutes.  Stir in the reduced wine and simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.
5.  Meanwhile, bring water to a boil, add 1 T salt and the pasta of your choice.  Cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/4 c pasta cooking water and put pasta in serving dish.  Add the cooking water and 2 c sauce; toss well.  Divide the pasta between individual bowls and top with more sauce.  Serve immediately , passing the parmesan separately.

This is nice because unlike traditional bolognese sauce, this can be made in an hour, and so it works as a weeknight meal if desired.  We all liked it, and it was fun to try a new sauce.

Monday we're having the shrimp.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chicken and Rice

We have lots of chicken and rice in this house, since both of those things are well loved in this family :)  This was a one pot meal, which I love, and although it took a while for everything to cook, it still was a manageable week night meal.  This comes from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe cookbook.
Chicken and Rice with Chilies and Lime
1 cut up chicken (I just used 4 bone-in, skin-on thighs)
Salt and Pepper
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped (I took out seeds and ribs)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 t cumin
2 t coriander
1 t chili powder
1 1/2 c long grain white rice
14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained, 1/2 c liquid reserved
1/2 c dry white wine (I used chicken broth)
2 c water
1/4 c cilantro leaves
3 T lime juice

1. Sprinkle the chicken pieces liberally on both sides with salt an dpepper.  Heat the oil until shimmering in a large, heavy nonreactive Dutch oven over high heat.  Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook, without moving them, until well browned, about 6 minutes.  Turn the chicken pieces and cook, again without moving them, until well browned on the second side, about 6 minutes longer.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Pour all but 2 T of the fat from the pan, return it to the burner, and reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onion and jalapeno and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cumin, coriander and chili powder, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.  Stir in the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until coated and glistening, about 1 minute.  Stir in the tomatoes with the reserved liquid, the wine or broth, 1 t salt and the water, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  Return the chicken thighs and legs (if using) to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.  Add the chicken breast pieces(if using) and stir the ingredients gently until the rice is thoroughly mixed.  Cover and simmer until both the rice and chicken are tender, 10-15 minutes longer.  Stir in the cilantro and lime juice, cover, and rest dish for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

This was a huge hit with the boys, they gobbled it up, but Aaron and I felt it was a little lacking in the flavor department.  I think we could've upped the spices, and I don't think removing all the ribs and seeds was necessary.  The boys really liked the flavor so I'm not sure if I needed to change it or not :).  The calories for 1/4 of the rice and chicken, which is a lot of rice, is 505.  If you used more chicken, this would spread the rice out more and be less calories.  Aaron gave it a 6, because he doesn't like bone-on chicken, and because of the previously mentioned flavor, and the boys and I gave it an 8, on my part because of the ease of the recipe as well as the flavor.

Tomorrow we're having salmon cakes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We love lasagna in this family, and although this is not a great picture of it, this is our favorite lasagna recipe.  We gave it a perfect 10 all around, so hooray!  The serving size is a 4 1/2 inch square, and it's 451 calories for that.  This is not a low calorie food, but it definitely tastes good.  I've made this so everyone thinks this is the best recipe for lasagna, and although you might not agree that it's the best, it's still really great :)

1 lb italian sausage
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 14.5 oz cans crushed or diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste (more or less)
Spices to taste
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 c grated parmesan cheese, divided
12 oz pesto (homemade or store-bought, I use homemade)
8-9 lasagna noodles, ready to bake
1 lb mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend, grated

Brown sausage, onion, and garlic.  Drain, add in spices (I use oregano, basil, marjoram, salt, and pepper), and tomato paste.  Cook for a few minutes, then add in the canned tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. 
While sauce is simmering, mix together ricotta cheese, 1/2 c parmesan, and the pesto. 
To assemble, put a little sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then a layer of noodles, then ricotta half the ricotta mixture, then mozzarella cheese, then sauce.  Repeat, and top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly, and rest before serving.

I like using the no bake noodles, which is why I use so much sauce.  I also don't like eggs so I don't use eggs in my ricotta mixture.  I also find it freezes better for another meal if I don't use the eggs.

Tomorrow we're having some chicken and rice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Halibut and Green Beans

Tonight we had dinner made by Aaron, and it was fabulous!  Thanks honey!!!  We had Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks with Anchovy-Garlic Butter with Lemon and Parsley from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook.  This was a quick and easy dish to make, and had tons of flavor.  Halibut is a treat for us, it's really expensive so we just eat salmon or tilapia usually, but I found these steaks on sale and bought them.  Here's the recipe:

Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks
2 T olive oil
2 Halibut Steaks
Preheat oven to 425.  Heat the oil in a 12 inche skillet over high heat until the oil just begins to smoke.  Sprinkle both sides of the halibut steaks generously with salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and swirl the oil to coat the pan.  Carefully lay the steaks in the pan and sear, without moving them, until spotty brown, about 4 minutes.  Off the heat, flip the steaks over in the pan.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, and the fish flakes loosen and the fish is opaque, about 9 minutes.  Serve immediately with flavored butter.

Anchovy-Garlic Butter with Lemon and Parsley
4 T unsalted butter, softened
1 anchovy fillet, minced to a paste
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 t lemon juice
2 T minced parsley
1/2 t salt
Beat the butter with a fork until light and fluffy.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Dollop a portion of the butter over the hot pieces of cooked fish and allow the butter to melt.  Serve immediately.

So this was only 263 calories per serving, including the butter, and this was delicious!  Noah and I gave it a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave it an 8.  It had great flavor, and we really liked it. 
Now on to the green beans.  We used the recipe from the Pioneer Woman for her Green Bean Casserole, and Aaron and I really liked it.  Aaron thought he wouldn't, but it was really good and flavorful.  The boys thought it was a little too spicy, but Aaron and I thought it added interest to the casserole.  Soooo good.  This was 291 for 1/8 of the total, and although it was more complicated and took longer to make, it is definitely worth the time.  I would cook the green beans longer, but other than that I wouldn't change anything about this recipe.  I gave it a 9, Aaron gave it an 8, Owen gave it a 6, and Noah gave it a 5. 

Tomorrow we're having lasagna.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apple Cider Oatmeal

I love oatmeal for breakfast.  Maybe it's the fact that I ate it so often growing up, and compared to lumpy cream of wheat and cracked wheat mush, oatmeal was the clear winner, or maybe it's just such a treat to have something healthy and filling that tastes so good.  Either way, I could eat oatmeal every day.  We don't, but I could :).  I've wanted to try this recipe for a while, doesnt' Apple Cider Oatmeal sound delicious?  Well, it was really good, Owen and I both gave it a 7, and Noah, who only likes fruit n cream instant oatmeal, gave it a 3.  I think he liked it better than that, he ate it quite well, he just was mad at me because it wasn't the instant stuff...sigh :)  Anyway, this is a really quick recipe to put together.  I made a double serving, since three of us were eating it, and I cooked it on the stove.  I used quick oats because we were already running behind our usual get ready for school schedule, so I needed this to cook quickly.  Also, I used a fuji apple because I didn't have any granny smith, and I didn't add nuts because I don't like nuts :).  I also added 2 T brown sugar at the end.  The wheat germ added some nice density to the oatmeal, it was a really hearty breakfast.  The calories for 1 serving were 234 the way I made it, since I took two servings and divided it in 3.  If you only made it into two servings, the calories were 350. 
Tomorrow we're finally having that fish and green beans.  I promise :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

No Cook Tomato Sauce with Pasta and Fresh Mozzarella

This was a great summer dinner, it's still quite summery here in Tucson, even though I see fall recipes all over the internet right now, we're still feeling the heat here :).  Anyway, the tomatoes, and green onions came out of our garden, and we had some carrots from our garden as a veggie.  We really like eating garden food!  This was a fabulous quick dinner, the longest part was cooking the pasta, unless you plan on making your own mozzarella, which I have done, but I didn't do it this time.  I bought fresh mozzarella from our deli at Fry's.  I got this recipe out of Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe cookbook.
No Cook Tomato Sauce with Pasta and Fresh Mozzarella
1 lb pasta (they recommend fussili, I used rotini)
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
Salt and Pepper

Cook pasta according to directions, salting well.  Mix together the tomatoes, green onions, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Drain the pasta, then add the tomato mixture to the pasta.  Add in the mozzarella and serve.

This tasted fresh and wonderful, and like I said it came together super quickly.  We all gave it an 8, and the calories for 1/8 of the total were 412. 

Sundays are going to be a no post day around here, so I'll only post 6 times per week.
Tomorrow we're having fish and green beans.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


We had something today that could maybe be called gyros, but I don't really think they are.  Anyway, I don't know what to call it, but whatever it was, it was good.  We used the pitas we had a few weeks ago, they were excellent even after being frozen.  I am never buying pitas again, these were just soooo much better.  Anyway, I just used 1 lb of ground lamb with 1 T of Cavender's Greek Seasoning.  This came together in 10 minutes, with just warming up the pitas on the griddle, cooking the meat, and cutting up the lettuce and tomato.  I didn't even have cucumbers to make tzatziki sauce, so we just used some ranch or caesar dressing to moisten up the pitas a little, and some feta cheese.  The calories for this were 350 with all the ingredients, so fast, and relatively healthy.  We all gave this an 8.  And see the watermelon on the dish there?  That is a delicious desert king watermelon out of our garden.  Yummy!
Tomorrow we're having a pasta dish.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

These are a really fast pancake, great for Saturday mornings.  I like them, they are just not fabulous.  I made 12 pancakes from this recipe, and the calories per pancake are 70.  I like that the batter comes together so quickly, but I don't like how eggy they taste.  The boys said it tasted like they were eating eggs flavored with other things, but that it was okay because they like eggs.  They gave them a 7, and I gave them a 6, because I really don't like eggs :).  This recipe is in the Pioneer Woman's first cookbook, and here it is:
Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes

1 c sour cream
7 T flour
1T sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 t vanilla

Heat up a griddle.  Mix sour cream, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together.  Stir until mostly combined.  In a small bowl mix together the eggs and vanilla, then add that gently to the sour cream mixture, and stir until mostly combined.  Cook over medium heat.  Serve with desired toppings.

Tomorrow we're finally having some lamb, but probably not the risotto...sigh...maybe I'll be in the mood to cook risotto soon :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oatmeal Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

We had some Oatmeal Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, and these were very good.  The boys gave them an 8, and I gave them a 9.  I thought the flavor, and the relative healthiness of the pancake made them something special.  I didn't make the glaze, these were sweet enough with out the extra sugar and calories, although I am sure they would be even better with it :).  I made 18 pancakes with this recipe, and each pancake was 131 calories.  The only tip I have is to make sure to not over cook this, the sugar carmelizes very quickly and if not watched closely these will burn.  Great breakfast or brunch!

Tomorrow we're having that lamb and risotto, I hope :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Honey Garlic Chicken and Garlic-Lemon Green Beans with Toasted Bread Crumbs

This was a really great dinner tonight.  Everyone except for Noah really enoyed it.  We gave the chicken, Honey Garlic Chicken, an 8 (Owen and I), Aaron gave it a 7, and Noah gave it a 5.  We used four thighs, and the calories for one serving, or one fourth, were 303.  This was fast and easy, and tasted really good.  We'll have this again.  I used frozen thighs, and it was done in just over five hours.
Our green beans were from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook, and just like all their recipes, this turned out great.  I cooked it a little longer than the recipe called for, and I used panko instead of fresh bread crumbs, but other than that I followed the recipe.  Aaron and I gave the beans an 8, and Owen and Noah gave them a 7.  The calories for 1/4 of the recipe, which is quite a big serving, were 195.  Here's the recipe:
Garlic-Lemon Green Beans with Toasted Bread Crumbs
2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, each slice torn into quarters (I used 1/2 c panko because I just didn't want to do more dishes)
3 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper
2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 t flour
1/8 t red pepper flakes
1 t minced fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed
1 c chicken broth
1 T lemon juice

1. Process the bread in a food processor to even, fine crumbs.  (I obviously omitted this step.  I just melted the butter and stirred the panko into it.)  Heat 1 T of the butter in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat; when melted, add teh bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/4 t salt, 1/8 t pepper, and the cheese; set aside.
2.  Wipe out the skillet.  Add the remaining 2 T butter, the garlic, and 1/4 t salt; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden, 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the flour, red pepper flakes, and thyme, then toss in the green beans.  Add the chicken broth and increase the heat to medium-high; cover and cook until the beans are partly tender but still crisp at the center, about 4 minutes.  Uncover an dcook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and serve.

Again, I cooked this longer than it said, because we like our beans pretty tender, and this was great!

Tomorrow we're having some lamb and risotto.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Italian Cream Cake

"This was a triumph. I'm making a note here huge success. It's hard to overstate my satisfaction." That's for all my Portal friends out there :)
But seriously, today is my dad's birthday!!!  We had a great dinner out, and then had this cake from The Pioneer Woman called Billie's Italian Cream Cake.  I changed the walnuts to pecans, since I can't stand walnuts, and I find pecans, in baked goods, to be pretty good.  This cake is amazing.  So great.  I love the nuts and coconut in the frosting, and the yummy moist cake.  The calories on this are out of control, but man does it taste good.  My parents, Owen, Noah and I all gave the cake a perfect 10, and Aaron, the cake hater, gave it a 7 :).  The calories for 1/32 of the cake are 401.  Ouch!  Still, birthdays are special, and this was a great cake.  Thanks Pioneer Woman!!!

Tomorrow we're having some chicken and green beans.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pork and Beans!

We laughed when we realized we were having pork and beans tonight.  That is not what it tasted like, but it really is what we had.  I made the beans using a recipe from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook, and I altered it because I don't like leaving food cooking on my stove top for hours at a time.  Here's the recipe the way I made it, and it's called White Beans with Garlic, Sage and Tomatoes.

Pork and White Beans with Garlic, Sage, and Tomatoes7 1/2 c water
1 lb great northern beans
2 small carrots, chopped in fourths
1 onion, chopped in half, not peeled
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic, top chopped off so cloves are exposed
1/4 c olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1/4 c sage, roughly chopped
28 oz canned tomatoes
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into medallions

In a large crockpot, place beans, water, carrots, onion, head of garlic, and 1 t salt.  Cook on high for 4 hours, then turn to low.  Cook until 1/2 hour before ready to serve dinner.  When beans are done, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, then remove the garlic head and set aside.  Drain the beans, discard the bay leaves, the onion, and the carrots.  Smoosh out the soft garlic into the beans, and set aside.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced garlic and the sage to the oil, and shake the pan to evenly brown the garlic and sage.  Add in the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes.  Salt and pepper the pork to taste, then add the pork, the reserved bean water, and the bean mixture to the tomatoes.  Cook for about 20 mintues, stirring occasionally, until the beans have thickened and the pork is cooked through.  Serve.

Noah and I really enjoyed this, he gave it a 9 and I gave it an 8.  Aaron only gave it a 5, he felt it was bland, and Owen gave it a 6 but I can't tell you his reasons ;).  The calories for 1/8 of the total were 260 per serving.

Tomorrow I'm making a cake for my Dad's birthday...yummy :)  I love good excuses to make cake!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Triple Chip Chocolate Chunk Cookies

We tried these yummy cookies today!  They are great, and I followed the recipe exactly.  Aaron gave them an 8, because he didn't love the butterscotch flavor, and the rest of us gave them a 9, because they are delicious!  Great texture and flavor.  The calories for 24 cookies is 203/cookie, but we made more than 24 cookies, we got 36 cookies so the calories were 136/cookie. 

Tomorrow we're having a pork recipe.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gingery Stir-Fired Chicken and Bok Choy

We are going through Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe Cookbook and trying new things right now, and so tonight we had a stir fry.  Aaron doesn't love stir fry, so he only gave this a 6, but he said, and I agree, the chicken was great.  Noah and I gave it an 8, and if we had had peanut oil, I think it would've been even better.  The calories for this recipe, with rice, are 334.  This is a quick dinner, and tastes fresh and delicious, just like all of Cook's Illustrated's recipes do :).  Here's the recipe, and even though it looks like a lot of steps, it's actually not difficult or time-consuming.

Marinated Velveted Chicken for Stir-Fry from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c dry sherry (I used 1 T red wine vinegar and 3/8 c chicken broth)
1 c water
1 lb skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 T sesame oil
1 T cornstarch
1 T flour

1. Combine the soy sauce, sherry, and water in a medium bowl; add chicken and stir to break up the clumps.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
2. Mix the sesame oil, cornstarch, and flour together ina medium bowl until smooth.  Drain the chicken in a mesh strainer.  Toss the chicken in the conrstarch-flour mixture until evenly coated.  Use immediately in the Bok Choy stir-fry.

Gingery Stir-Fried Chicken and Bok Choy from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook
1/4 c chicken broth
2 T dry sherry (I used vinegar and water)
1 T soy sauce
1 T oyster sauce
1/2 t sesame oil
1 t cornstarch
1 t sugar
1/4 t red pepper flakes
4 t minced fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove minced
2 T and 2 t peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1 recipe marinated velveted chicken for stir fry
1 small head bok choy (about 1 pound), washed and dried, stalks and greens separated, stalks cut on the bias into 1/4-inch slices and greens cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 small red pepper (I used 1/2 a green pepper), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips

1. Whisk the chicken broth, sherry, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 t of the minced ginger in a small bowl.  Combine the remaining 2 t ginger, the garlic, and 1 t peanut oil in another small bowl.
2. Heat 2 t peanut oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of the chicken in a flat, even layer.  Cook, without stirring but gently separating the pieces, until golden brown on the first side, about 1 minute; turn the chicken pieces over and cook until lightly browned on the second side, about 30 seconds.  Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl.  Repeat with an additional 2 t peanut oil and the remaining chicken.
3. Add 1 T peanut oil to the now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking.  Add teh bok choy stalks and red bell pepper; stir-fry until they begin to brown, about 1 minute.  Push the remaining vegetables to the sides of the skillet to clear the center; add the garlic-ginger mixture to the clearing and cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, 15-20 seconds, then stir the mixture into the stalks and continue to cook until the stalks are tender-crisp, about 30 seconds longer.  Stir in the bok choy greens and cook until they begin to wilt, about 30 seconds.  Return the chicken to the skillet.  Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately with rice.

If you get everything prepared while the chicken is marinating, this goes into the pan and is ready in at most 10 mintues.  This tastes great and is super easy.

Tomorrow we're having another chicken dish, and some potatoes and green beans.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

This is a terrible picture.  I know, and I apologize.  These were going out the door to someone's house and we were running late, so no good picture at all today.  However, these were pretty yummy little meatballs.  They are originally called Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs, but I didn't have any turkey so they were made with chicken.  I put some chicken tenders, and all the meatball ingredients into my food processor.  I ground them all together, then formed the meatballs around the cheese.  I should've flipped them halfway through the cooking time, but I didn't think one side would get dark while the other didn't really brown.  These aren't burnt, they just don't look nice.  Anyway, although I didn't love the texture of these meatballs, the flavor was great.  I thought the texture was not quite meaty enough, and a little too wet, if that makes sense.  I think that maybe some bread crumbs or something might have given it a better consistency.  With the pasta the calories were approximately 450 per serving, using a homemade sauce.  Hopefully if you try this you'll get the right consistency.  Aaron and I both gave them an 8, and the boys didn't try any. 

Tomorrow we're having another chicken dish.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Rouladen and Rotkohl

So I was sooo excited for dinner tonight, and I thought everyone was going to love this.  Turns out, I'm the only one that loved this.  This just brings back memories of Germany, and I really began to love food and cooking while I was there.  My host mother was an awesome cook, and rouladen, or beef rolls, were some of my favorite things, and rotkohl, or red cabbage, was definitely one of my favorite things.I followed the basic rotkohl recipe I found on the internet, and tweaked it a little bit.  I thought it needed more sugar and vinegar, and it could've definitely used more bacon, bacon grease, and flavorings.  I added more vinegar and sugar, and more salt and seasonings, but I didn't add any more bacon or grease.  The calories are about 150 per serving with the changes I made, if you eat a really big serving, but I think the calories for 1/16 of the total rather than 1/8 are only about 75, so fairly healthy.  This wasn't perfect, but it was Rotkohl and I'm happy to have it.  I'll be freezing it to stuff my holiday birds with, yummy!!!  Noah gave this a 2, he really didn't like it, Aaron gave it a 3, he also didn't like it, Owen gave it a 6, he thought it was okay, and I gave it an 8, because it wasn't perfect like it is in Germany, but it was still really good.
Next comes the rouladen, which fared better for us.  Noah and I gave them a 9, Aaron gave them a 7, and Owen gave them an 8.  I was worried the pickles would make the boys not like them, but they didn't mind them at all.  The calories for 1 rouladen are 426, and man they taste great ;).  Here's the recipe I used, it's just a variation of other recipes you can find all over the internet.

4 steaks, pounded thin
4 t dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 onions, sliced
4 pickle spears, chopped
4 slices bacon, cut in half
2 c beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 dashes magi
2 T sour cream
1 t corn starch

Take steaks and season with salt and pepper.  Put 1 teaspoon of mustard on each steak, then lay 2 halves of bacon side by side on the steak.  Put in onions and pickles, then roll up the meat and secure with a toothpick (Aaron accidentally threw out my toothpicks so I couldn't secure my rolls, stinker!).  Brown the steaks in a little bacon grease with the rest of the onions, and then add in the 2 c of beef broth, bay leaf, magi, and any other seasonings.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for at least 1 hour.  When ready to serve, remove the rouladen from the sauce and bring the sauce to a boil.  Add in cornstarch mixed in cold water, thicken the gravy, then strain out the onions.  Add in the sour cream to the gravy, and season to taste.  Serve with the rouladen.

At least I was happy with dinner, even if no one else was.  We probably won't have this again, even though I was happy to have this.

Tomorrow we're having a chicken dish.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes and Salad

Tonight we had Greek Style Chicken and Potatoes from, and we all enjoyed this.  We gave it an 8, and the calories for 1/4 of it, since we only used 4 thighs, and 3 T of olive oil was 423 calories per serving.This is a great recipe, but I like to add about 4-5 cloves of garlic along with the olive oil and lemon juice, and I brine the chicken for at least 1/2 hour in salty water to add more flavor. 
For our salad, we had a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis's Everyday Pasta cookbook called Anytime Vegetable Salad.  We made 6 servings out of this, and each serving was 156 calories.

Anytime Vegetable Salad

2 c frozen edamame, shelled (I used steam in the bag, so I'm not sure how much I used)
8 oz thin green beans, trimmed
9 oz yellow wax beans, trimmed (i just used more green beans)
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1 t salt, plus more to taste
¾ t freshly ground black pepper
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ c halved cherry tomatoes
2 t chopped fresh basil or tarragon
1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves

Cook the edamame in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain.  Rinse under cold water, then drain well and pat dry.  Repeat with the green beans and yellow beans.  Leave the green and yellow beans whole or cut them crosswise into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces.

Whisk the vinegar, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.  Gradually whisk in the oil.  Add the beans, tomatoes, basil, and thyme, and toss to coat.  Season the salad to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve.
We thought this was only okay.  Aaron and I gave it a 5, and Owen and Noah gave it a 6, but neither one enjoyed it very much. 
Tomorrow we're having rouladen and rotkohl.  Yummy!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shrimp and Noodles

We had shrimp and noodles tonight.  That's what our boys call this, and they love it.  We all really enjoy it.  Aaron and I gave it a 9, and Owen and Noah gave it a perfect 10.  If you have your shrimp shelled, like I did thanks Mom :), this comes together in about 10-15 minutes.  It's a great week night meal, and my kids just gobble it up.  The calories for 1/6 of the total are 355, and that's using skim milk.
Shrimp and Noodles

1/2  cup milk
2 T butter
½ pint cream
¼ tsp poultry seasoning
¼ tsp cayenne (adjusted to taste)
1/4 tsp onion powder  1 T garlic salt, scant tablespooon
8 oz bowtie pasta
1 lb shrimp

Mortar spices well. Put cream and milk in pan with butter and ½ spice mixture. Thicken and reduce, and set aside. Cook pasta to the al dente stage.  Sauté shrimp in pan sprayed with cooking spray, with remaining spice mixture. Mix shrimp, sauce, and pasta together and serve.
We only wish the sauce were thicker, the same way it gets the second day.  That's why Aaron and I give it a 9.  We also had delicious corn with this, thanks also to Mom and Dad, you guys are so great :)
Tomorrow we're having a chicken and potatoes dish and a vegetable salad.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Chicken Shawarma

Yummy Chicken Shawarma!  We had this easy recipe today, and all of us except my dad really enjoyed it.  My mom, Aaron, Noah and I gave it a 9, Owen gave it an 8, and my dad gave it a 5.  It was too spicy for him, and he didn't love the sauce.  However, he did love my homemade pitas, which were also my favorite part of the meal.  I found the recipe on, they are fresh pita bread from Julia Child, and they were amazing.   These had great flavor, were soft and waarm and so great tasting.  We all really liked these, they all got 9.  Even if you don't want to brave the shawarma, which is definitely worth a try, the pitas are easy and so great.  The calories for the pitas are 153/pita, and the shawarma meal with all the toppings but without the pita calories are 215 for 1/8 of the meal.  We got 8 servings out of the meal instead of 4.
Tomorrow we're having a shrimp recipe.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cornbread Panzanella

We tried this cornbread panzanella recently, and we really enjoy bread salad.  The cornbread added a different element, and although we enjoyed this, I like traditional panzanella better.  I thought this dressing was a little lemon heavy.  This is an easy salad to make, and very summery with fresh tomatoes and basil. This comes from Giada's cookbook Everyday Pasta.

Cornbread Panzanella from Giada de Laurentiis

1 lb cornbread, cut into cubes

1 c halved cherry tomatoes

1 c cubed fontina cheese

½ hothouse cucumber, quartered and sliced

½ c chopped fresh basil


2/3 c extra-virgin olive oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 2 lemons

1 t kosher salt

1 t pepper

Combine the cornbread, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber, and basil in a large bowl. 

Ina small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, and juice, salt and pepper.  Stir together and pour over the salad.  Toss very gently to combine.  Serve immediately.
This is 452 calories per serving when you split it into 8 servings, which is about a 1 to 1 1/2 c serving.  We all gave this an 8.
The shrimp recipe I mentioned yesterday will be up soon, but tomorrow we're trying chicken shawarma.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sweet Rolls

We had Chocolate Chip Cookie Sweet Rolls, and they were sooo good.  Go Pioneer Woman!  I love her original cinnamon rolls, so it's no surprise that these are so amazing as well.  Even Aaron, a sweet roll nay sayer, gave these a 9.  Hooray!  We all gave them a 9, they are so delicious, and we'll have them again for sure.  For 1 roll, the calories are 365, I got 24 rolls just like the recipe said.  These are moist, and too good for our diet.  Her pictures are much better than mine, I can't seem to get good light in our kitchen, so check out her pictures, not mine.  Sigh...anyway, try these, you'll thank the Pioneer Woman :)

Tomorrow we're having a shrimp dish.