Friday, February 27, 2015

MIchael Symon's Broccoli, Bacon and Cheddar Pasta

So although Aaron didn't like this, the rest of us really did.  I found this in 5 in 5 cookbook, and Michael Symon describes this as a take on broccoli with cheese sauce, and I agree that's what it tastes like.  Noah gave it a perfect 10, Owen and I gave it a 9, Jonah seemed to really like it, but Aaron gave it a 4, oh well.  Anyway, each serving, for 8 servings, was 497 calories.  Here's what to do:

13 oz penne (my box was that size and whole grain, use a full package of whatever kind you would like)
6 T bacon fat (reserved from cooking bacon)
8 slices bacon
1 bag steamed broccoli, about 3 cups
3/4 c pine nuts
8 oz shredded aged cheddar cheese
dash of red pepper flakes

Cook penne according to directions for al dente pasta.  Reserve 1 c pasta water, and set aside.

Cook the bacon until crisp, then add in the pine nuts and broccoli, cooking about 2 minutes.  Add in the reserved pasta water and deglaze the pan, then add in the cheddar and red pepper flakes.  Stir in the pasta, then serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are ones I have made forever, and they are the ones from the back of the Craisins box/bag.  Here is a link to the recipe, I only add one thing in, 1 t vanilla or almond extract (I like almond the best), and otherwise I follow the recipe exactly.  I get about 35 cookies, and each cookie is 113 calories.  These are a perfect 10 at our house, and truthfully, they aren't that bad for you, what with the Craisins and oats, and the lower calorie count.  Try them, my kids love them!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Steak Fajita Bowls

So I got the idea for this recipe from the Family Favorite Recipes  cookbook (that is the cookbook you asked about Mother), but I kind of did my own thing.  I loved the Taco Bell steak bowls from a long time ago, these are kind of similar, I think I will make them more like that next time.  Each serving, the way I made it, was 422 calories, but there will be tons of rice left over.  Noah and I gave this a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave it an 8.  Here's what to do:

1 lb fajita meat (my grocery store has it all chopped up ready to go, I get it when it goes on sale)
1/2 can El Pato
1/2 lime, juiced or more to taste
1 T fajita seasoning
cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

1 recipe Pioneer Woman's rice casserole (more like 1/8 of the recipe, lots of rice leftovers :))
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

desired toppings, cheese avocado, etc.

Marinate the meat with the salsa, lime, fajita, salt, and spices to taste for a few hours.

Make the rice casserole according to the recipe instructions, but add in the beans along with the tomatoes and Rotel.  Cook an extra few mintues.

When ready to cook, cook the meat with the peppers and onions, then serve with the rice and eat.

Friday, February 20, 2015


I found this recipe in my Favorite Family Recipes cookbook, and you can find the original recipe here.  I made some changes, so I will post the recipe the way I made it.  The boys and Aaron gave it a perfect 10, Jonah didn't like it, and I gave it an 8.  Each serving with 3 meatballs and gravy was 441 calories.  Here's what to do:
1 lb ground beef (leanest possible)
1 lb ground pork
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 t onion powder (at least)
4 T flour
1 egg
1/2 t salt
1/4 t sage
1/2 t thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c milk
6 T butter

3-4 T flour
1 c whole milk
1 beef bullion cube
seasonings to taste

Mix together the beef, pork, bread crumbs, onion powder, flour, egg, salt, sage, thyme, garlic and milk.  Form into 24 meatballs, then smash them a little until they look like fat hamburgers.  Melt the butter in a large skillet, and cook until the meatballs are well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.  When all the meatballs have been cooked, using the same skillet, whisk in the flour to the drippings/remaining butter.  Stir in the milk and beef cube and whisk constantly.  Mine cooked extremely quickly, and I added quite a bit of water to get a thin enough gravy.  Season to taste and serve with the meatballs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Michael Symon's Bacon and Tomato Pasta

So the boys and I loved this, and the second day Aaron had it he also really enjoyed it.  Noah and I gave it a perfect 10, and Owen gave it a 9, and if the way Jonah gobbled it up was any indication, I would say he gave it a perfect 10 as well.  Aaron gave this a 7 the first night, but he said he really enjoyed it for lunch the next day.  I found this in Michael Symon's 5 in 5 cookbook, and it was so great.  I will be trying it again with Heirloom tomatoes in the summer time.  This comes together super quickly if you have everything prepared ahead of time, so a great weeknight meal!  Each serving was about 400 calories (it was hard to know exactly how much bacon fat there was) for eight servings, and here's what to do:

1 lb angel hair pasta
1 c diced bacon
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 c medium-diced tomatoes (I used around 6 roma tomatoes I think)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c torn fresh basil leaves
1 T extra-virgin olive oil for finisher

Cook the pasta in well salted water until al dente, reserving 1 c pasta water.  Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp, reserving all the drippings.  Add the garlic, then the tomatoes, and stir and cook for about 1 minute.  Add in the pasta and the reserved pasta water, then stir in the basil, Parmesan and olive oil.  Season and serve.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yammie's Noshery White Chocolate Mousse Truffle Cake

So this was a hit at our house, but I wish I hadn't followed the recipe as closely as I did.  Here is the original recipe, and it is delicious.  I will post it the way I wish I had made it, as well as incorporating the changes I made in the beginning.  I gave myself the first piece, so my picture is not great of the piece on my plate, but the next pieces came out well, so don't worry about your cake falling apart.  This received a perfect 10 from everyone at Owen's birthday party, it was really delicious, and I am glad it turned out as well as it did.  While I was making it, I was worried it wouldn't turn out, because cooking your eggs in a double boiler rather than tempering them never turns out well.  This would've been much less hassle and turned out with a smoother mousse if I hadn't cooked the eggs directly.  Anyway, each piece was 447 calories for 1/16 of the cake, and just follow the recipe for the chocolate cake found at the link, I didn't change anything there, except you can change the coffee to more cocoa powder.  Here's what I would do for the mousse:

6 oz good quality white chocolate
6 T butter
4 egg yolks
2 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c cream, plus 2 T cream

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks are thick and pale yellow in color.  In a pan, melt the white chocolate and butter, stirring until everything is melted.  Add in the 2 T cream, stirring well, and slowly add more cream if the mixture is too thick.  Temper the egg yolks, until half the chocolate is mixed into the egg yolks, then return the eggs to the pan with the cream.  When the eggs have gotten hot and cooked, set aside the chocolate mixture to cool.  When completely cool, whip the remaining cream into stiff peaks, then fold in the white chocolate mixture.  Top the cake layer in the spring form pan, then let cool for at least four hours before serving, preferably over night.

Try my way or the original recipe method, either one makes the eggs safe, and you can decide which works better for you!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cook's Illustrated's Cheese Danishes

letter fold

folding the corners into a square

finished product

So here is my next difficult undertaking of pastries, and it turned out really well.  I think I could do better next time, they didn't rise quite as well as I think they should have, because I didn't let my yeast warm up before using it, but these were still the best danishes I have ever had, and they were so delicious.  Aaron gave them a 9, and the rest of us gave them a perfect 10.  I want to try them again with fruit, I think they will be better for a second go around, and they will taste better for Aaron with a different filling :).  Anyway, although these do take all day, they aren't really that difficult to make. I found these in my new Cook's Illustrated Baking cookbook, and I love how the instructions are so clear as to make everything work.  Each danish was 506 calories, and I have added some extra pictures to make the folding job easier.  Here's what to do:

1/3 c warm whole milk
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t instant yeast
3/4 t salt

12 T unsalted butter, cut into 3 equal pieces, chilled
1 T flour

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
5 t milk
1 t lemon juice

1 c powdered sugar
1 T milk

Mix milk and egg together.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 1 1/4 c flour, sugar, yeast and salt on low speed.  Slowly add the milk mixture and mix about 2 minutes more.  Knead the dough about 8 minutes more, checking to see if the dough needs flour after about five minutes, if it is too sticky or doesn't come together.  Grease a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Lay butter pieces side by side on parchment paper.  Sprinkle the 1 T flour over it, then cover with another parchment piece.  Gently pound the butter with a rolling pin until butter is softened and flour is fully incorporated, then roll it into a 5-inch square.  Wrap the square in plastic and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll the chilled dough into a nine inch square on a floured surface.  Place chilled butter square diagonally in center of dough.  Fold the corners of dough up over butter square so the corners meet in the middle and seal seams.  Gently tap the dough with your rolling pin, starting from the center and working outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften.  Gently roll dough into an 11-inch square.  Fold dough into thirds like a letter (first picture), then fold the rectangle into thirds to form a square (second picture).  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for two hours.  Repeat the rolling and folding another time and refrigerate another two hours before using.  When ready to make your individual danish, choose your filling, we made a cream cheese filling, and make it ahead of time so it cools.  Make the glaze by mixing all ingredients together.  Make the icing by mixing all ingredients together.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll danish into a 15 inch square and cut dough into 9 equal pieces.  Place cooled filling in the center of the dough, then fold the corners together.  Place the danishes on the parchment lined cookie sheet, then let rise in a warm place, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Bake danish about 15-20 minutes, then brush with glaze.  Let the danish cool completely, then drizzle with icing.  Let the icing set about 20 minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Best Bites' Chunky Monkey Pancakes

So this was a great breakfast treat.  Here is the recipe for these banana chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter syrup, and they received a perfect 10 here in our house.  These are so good, and the only change I made was to use regular chocolate chips, about a hanful, and not toss them with the 2 t flour first.  I make chocolate chip pancakes all the time, and adding another step and more flour for calories doesn't help these pancakes any.  So, since the syrup is high in calories as are the pancakes, we made 18 pancakes with syrup and each one was 246 calories.  I found this recipe in Our Best Bites' second cookbook, but follow the link it is the same!  Yummy pancakes :).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Best Ever Indian Cookbook's Pork Balchao

This was super delicious, and since I always love slow cooked meats, we made this soon after I received the Best Ever Indian Cookbook.  I love changing things to the crockpot when possible, it makes dinner time so much less stressful.  We served this with rice pilaf, and each serving, there were six, was around 250.  We all gave this a 9, and although I was worried, it isn't at all too spicy.  This was easy, and smelled delicious.  You have to be vigilant while cooking the spices before putting it in the crockpot, but otherwise this is really simple.  Here's what I did:

4 T vegetable oil
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T minced garlic
1 t cinnamon (a little less)
2 dried red chilies, torn (you could add more if you wanted it spicier)
4 cloves
2 t cumin
10 black peppercorns
1 lb pork loin, cubed and seasoned with salt
1 t turmeric
1 c water
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1/2 t chili powder
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 t salt
1 t sugar
2 T cider vinegar

In a spice grinder, grind up the cinnamon, chilies, cloves, cumin, and peppercorns.  Heat 2 T oil in a large pan, and add the ginger and garlic.  Fry for 30 seconds, then add in the blended up spices and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.  Add in the pork and turmeric and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly.  Dump everything in the crockpot.  In the same pan, heat up the remaining 2 T oil if needed and fry the onion for 8-9 minutes.  Add them to the crockpot along with the salt, sugar and vinegar.  Let cook at least four hours, but more if you would like.  Mine cooked for about 6 hours.  Serve with rice.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Flour Too's Mushroom and Leek Lasagna

So unlike Aaron, I love different pastas and lasagna.  If it were up to Aaron, we would always have my lasagna, and we would have it more often :).  Anyway, I found this Mushroom and Leek lasagna recipe in Flour, Too, and I decided to try it.  I made very few changes, but I did add bacon to have some meat, because my family has to have meat :).  Each serving, for 16 servings, was 367 calories. Aaron gave this a 7, Owen gave this an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 9.   Here's what to do:

10 dry lasagna noodles
1 c fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
1 c whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
6 pieces bacon plus bacon fat reserved
1 lb mushrooms, chopped (I used a mixture)
5 garlic cloves, smashed
4 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced and rinsed well
2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes

6 T unsalted butter
1/3 c flour
4 c whole milk (I used a mixture of 1% milk, half and half and heavy cream, since I was running out of whole milk :))
salt and pepper
dash of nutmeg

3 c shredded mozzarella

Cook the lasagna noodles in well salted water and set aside.
Combine the goat cheese, ricotta, basil, half of the mozzarella and salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Crisp the bacon, remove to a plate, then in the remaining fat (about 1/4 c), cook the mushrooms and leeks with salt and garlic.  Add the tomatoes and bacon and season well, then let cook and reduce a little.  Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the butter, make a roux with the flour, and then slowly stir in the milk and whisk constantly.  After the bechamel thickens, season to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large pan, spread half of the bechamel on the bottom, then lay 5 of the noodles.  Scatter half of the tomato mixture over the noodles, then top with half of the goat cheese mixture, then top with another layer of noodles, the rest of the mushrooms, the rest of the goat cheese, then the rest of the bechamel, then top with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake for about 1 hour, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Best Ever Indian Fish Fillets in a Chili Sauce

We really enjoyed this fish recipe, it had a great flavor with the sauce, and it was pretty easy to make.  We had it with delicious rice pilaf, and we really liked this.  I used tilapia, our go to fish :), and this was really easy.  For five of us, each serving was 114 calories.  Here's what to do:

12 oz fish (I used tilapia)
2 T lemon juice
1 T cilantro
1 T oil

1 t grated fresh ginger
2 T tomato paste
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1 T chili sauce
1 T malt vinegar
1 1/4 c water

In a large dish with a lid, mix together the lemon juice, cilantro, and oil.  Season the salt well, and marinate it for a few hours.  When ready to cook, heat the broiler to high and broil for 5-7 minutes.  While the fish is broiling, mix together the ginger, tomato paste, sugar, salt, chili sauce, malt vinegar and water in a small pan, and bring to a boil.  Let it simmer while the fish sets, then serve with the fish.  Serve with rice (we served with rice pilaf).

Monday, February 2, 2015

Michael Symon's Parmesan, Tomato and Prosciutto Frittata

Today, nine years ago, my Owen was born, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life to hold my first boy for the very first time.  He's such a special guy, I love him.  Anyway, he picked this as his favorite meal we've had in the last little while, so this is what I am featuring today.  This was another great one from Michael Symon, from his 5 in 5 cookbook, and it was ridiculously easy and delicious.  We all gave this a 9, and I love the flavors in this.  We cut this into six, and each serving was only 241 calories.  Here's what to do:

2 T olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
salt and pepper
8 large eggs
1/4 c heavy gream
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 oz thinly sliced Prosciutto

Preheat the broiler on high.
Over medium-high heat, cook the olive oil and tomatoes with a pinch of salt.  Cook about one minute.
Whisk together the eggs and cream, season them with salt and pepper, and add the eggs to the tomatoes, about 2 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Top with the Parmesan, put it under the broiler, and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Top with the Prosciutto and serve.