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Friday, October 15, 2010

Baked Eggplant

I have made eggplant parm before.  The problem has always been, though, that frying eggplant improperly, as I’ve invariably done, left me with little circular pieces of heart attack on a plate. 

So this time, I decided to at least try and bake it – just to see if I could. I’d paid a very good price for some small eggplants, so if it failed, it wasn’t a huge loss.  Here’s what I did…

2 eggplants, each one could fit in the palm of my hand – about 1 lb.
2 eggs, scrambled
1/4 c. flour
garlic powder
salt & pepper
panko bread crumbs
lemon juice
water

The day before, I peeled the eggplants.  Then I sliced them into 1/2 inch slices.  To prevent them from browning, I dipped each slice in a bowl of cold water that I’d mixed approximately 2-3 Tbs. of lemon juice in.

I then lay them in a colander to dry for most of the day.  Before bed, I put the now dry slices in a zipper bag in the fridge.

The next day, I took them out and they were still a nice white color, and they were DRY.

I put about 1/4 cup of flour into a bowl.  In a 2nd bowl, I scrambled 2 eggs.  In a 3rd bowl, I put about 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs that I’d seasoned with garlic powder, salt & pepper.

First, dredge the eggplant slices in flour.  This helps the egg stick to them, and also helps to keep them from absorbing too much egg and getting soggy.

Next, drag the floured slices through the egg, then into the bread crumbs.

Place each slice onto a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with some sort of cooking spray.

I baked mine in a 375° oven for about 30 minutes or so – testing them with a fork every few minutes.   When the fork went in without resistence, I knew they were done.

They came out so well just like that, I ate a couple of slices just plain! Each of my kids did too!

Of course, I reallllllly wanted sauce and cheese on them, so I did that next – spreading just a spoon full of sauce on each round, a slice of mozzarella cheese  on each, and then popped them back into the oven just long enough to melt the cheese. 

In the past, I’ve always felt guilty about ordering an eggplant parmesan sandwich in a restaurant because of all the fat that’s been absorbed into the eggplant by the frying method.  But I’ll tell you what!  THIS eggplant that I made with my own two hands?  COMPLETELY guilt free – and absolutely better than any restaurant dish I’ve ever ordered. Hands down!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I want to go to Hillshire Farm (review + giveaway!)

Every morning, I wake up and make lunch for my husband to take to work.  It saves lots of money and I also can keep an eye on what he’s eating when he’s not home!

For years, I bought deli lunch meat – but over the last couple of years, the prices have skyrocketed!  I started looking for alternatives (that weren’t pb&j), and found Hillshire Farm® has a line of pre-packaged deli meats that were just perfect for my needs, and cost less (most of the time).

2008_21a 150

I try to change up what I put in his lunch box frequently enough because otherwise, boredom sets in and ya know, pretty soon he’s trading his lunch with other kids at the lunch room table and all of a sudden, my healthy lunch I’ve packed gets traded for pizza and beer.

Kidding! LOL

I wanted to share with you a yummy combination I came up with this week that we both loved, featuring Hillshire Farm®’s new variety packs!

Unfortunately, because I make his lunches so early in the morning, I didn’t take pictures of the finished product, but trust me, it looked DELISH!

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 slices Hillshire Farm® Variety Pack Oven Roasted Turkey (ultra thin)
  • 2 slices Hillshire Farm® Variety Pack Honey Ham (ultra thin)
  • 2-3 leaves fresh basil,
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato

On the first slice of bread, place 2 slices of turkey or ham on the bread. Then layer the tomato, lettuce and other 2 slices of turkey or ham.  On the second slice of bread, swipe a very thin layer of mayonnaise.  (I only used mayo because that’s what glues the basil to the bread.)  Pull the basil into small pieces and put those pieces into the mayo – then place that piece of bread on top of your sandwich.  The flavors, wow.  It’s low fat, it’s low cal, it’s HIGH taste.  Delicious!  My husband’s only regret that he had to eat it in a car while on the job, so basically, he wolfed it down.  But it’ll definitely find it’s way into his lunch box again – and mine as well!  I made mine with just the turkey and again, it was delicious.  You’d never know the lunch meat came from a package.   It tastes like it was just sliced.

Here’s some more info about Hillshire Farm Lunchmeat:

  • Hillshire Farm is challenging consumers that their lunchmeat tastes fresher than you think pre-packaged lunchmeat can taste
    • Hillshire Farm is available in dozens of varieties including Deli Select Ultra Thin and Deli Select Premium Hearty Slices

    • Our premium quality lunchmeat is made with no by-products or artificial flavors
  • Hillshire Farm is launching a new Lower Sodium line of lunchmeats Hillshire Farm Deli Select Ultra products featuring the American Heart Association heart-check mark

  • Hillshire Farm is offered in a double-sealed, re-sealable tub that is designed to lock in freshness and great taste.  No package keeps lunchmeat fresher, longer
  • Hillshire Farm products can be purchased in the lunchmeat aisle at grocery stores nationwide


Freshness Tips:
  • To keep sandwiches crispy and delicious, place a single layer of premium quality lunchmeat on each slice of bread, then spreading the condiments on those. The meat creates a barrier between the bread and the rest of the ingredients. Cheese also works nicely as a barrier.
  • One rule of thumb is to never place tomatoes directly on the cheese – the juice from the tomatoes will make the cheese soft and cause the bread to become soggy. Instead, place tomatoes in between lettuce slices. Cucumbers are also great alternatives for lettuce.
  • To defend against sogginess, pack the separates and let the kids make the sandwiches at school. Bread goes in one bag or container, meat and vegetables in another, and throw in little restaurant packets of mayo or mustard.
  • The Fresh Squad suggests insulated lunch bags as the best choice for school lunches. You can also pack lunchmeat in re-sealable and re-usable tubs.  Some insulated lunch bags are equipped with freezer packs.  If not, try freezing juice boxes or reusable bottled waters instead of adding freezer packs. The boxes or bottles will thaw to provide a refreshing beverage and keep the sandwich fresh.
  • Be sure to choose the right bread for your sandwich. Keep in mind that the more moisture in the fillings, the drier and denser the bread should be. Breads with thick crusts work perfectly, or swap your regular bread for flour tortillas, bagels, English muffins or pitas. Grill or toast the bread to add crunch and flavor.
  • Keep wet ingredients from making your sandwiches soggy by adding a light layer of butter to the bread.
  • Get creative with cookie cutters for fun sandwich shapes!

Recipes:
Strawberry Lower Sodium Turkey Wrap
Prep Time:   10 minutes                                               
Makes: 1 serving (1 wrap)
Ingredients:
1      whole wheat tortilla (8-inch)
1/4   cup baby spinach leaves
4      slices Hillshire Farm® Lower Sodium Oven Roasted Turkey
1/4   cup strawberry slices
1      tablespoon chopped red onion
1      teaspoon poppy seed salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon chopped toasted pecans (optional)
Directions:
1.    Top tortilla with spinach, strawberries and red onion. Drizzle with poppy seed
      dressing and top with pecans, if desired.
2.    Roll-up and serve immediately or wrap and plastic wrap and refrigerate until
      ready to serve.


Cuban-Style Ham Sandwich
Prep Time:   10 minutes                                               
Makes: 1 serving (1 sandwich)
Ingredients:
1      whole wheat French bread roll, split
2      teaspoons Dijon mustard
1      lettuce leaf
2      slices Hillshire Farm® Hearty Slices Virginia Brand Ham
1      slice Swiss cheese, cut in half diagonally
6      slices dill pickle
Directions:
1.   Spread both sides of roll with mustard. Top one side with lettuce, ham,
     cheese and pickles.  Serve immediately.
Cook’s Tip: To serve warm. Wrap sandwich in foil and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes or until sandwich is warm and cheese is melted.


Italian Roast Beef Sandwich
Prep Time:   10 minutes                                               
Makes: 1 serving (1 sandwich)
Ingredients:
1      French bread roll, split
2      teaspoons Italian salad dressing
1      Romaine lettuce leaf
4      slices plum tomatoes
4      slices Hillshire Farm® Ultra Thin Roast Beef
1      slice Mozzarella cheese, cut in half diagonally
4      thin strips roasted red pepper
Directions:
1.   Spread both sides of roll with Italian salad dressing. Top one side of roll with lettuce, tomato, roast beef, cheese and pepper strips.  Serve immediately.


Turkey BLT Sandwich
Prep Time:   10 minutes                                               
Makes: 1 serving (1 sandwich)
Ingredients:
2      slices whole wheat bread
2      tablespoons mayonnaise
1      lettuce leaf
2      tomato slices
2      slices Hillshire Farm® Ultra Thin Oven Roasted Turkey
2      slices Fully Cooked Jimmy Dean® Bacon, crisply cooked
3      thin slices avocado
Directions:
1.   Spread both bread slices with mayonnaise.
2.   Top one bread slice mayonnaise side up with lettuce, tomato, turkey, bacon,
     avocado and second slice of bread. Serve immediately.


 

I hope you try some of these delicious recipes – and I have a great giveaway to help you get started!

Would you like to try one of Hillshire Farm yummy products? I have COUPONS! for free product – which is like… The BEST kind of coupon, right?  Want one? Just leave a comment, and let me know what your favorite sandwich recipe is.  PB & J?  Ham & cheese?   I will pick 5! winners to receive 2 coupons each for their yummy creations.

Be specific – don’t tell me a big mac!  Give me ingredients!  I’ll draw winners on Friday, October 15th.


Disclosure:  I received coupons for product to review for this posting. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Raspberry Muffins

My family & I headed to a local farm this past weekend for their annual Fall/Pumpkin festival.  So did most of the eastern seaboard, apparently, because there were tons of people there – all in line for one thing or another.  But we lucked out because we’d gone primarily for raspberry picking, and we wound up being the only ones to do so!  Unfortunately, we apparently got there a week too late, so pickings (literally) were slim, but we did manage to bring home a quart of yummy fresh raspberries.

Raspberries that then sat in the refrigerator while everyone waited for the magical raspberry fairy to show up and DO something with.  This morning, she did!

I’d originally thought about doing apple muffins, as we also have a FULL supply of apples in the house right now, but I thought – the raspberries have a much shorter shelf life than the apples, so the raspberries would have to be sacrificed to our breakfast muffin diety.

Here’s what I did:

Raspberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375° F. First cream together the egg, margarine and sugar.   In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg/margarine/sugar mixer slowly, adding the milk as well.  Once the batter is mixed well, gently fold in the raspberries – do not use your mixer for this.  Just use a silicone spatula or something equivalent that won’t destroy your fruit.

Spray your muffin tins or use paper liners.  Fill them (I used my 1/4 cup measuring cup) and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Let them cool longer than the whopping 2 minutes we did – otherwise, they’ll stick and you’ll have to scoop them out LOL

Enjoy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Food Fun

 

1. What time do you wake up on a normal work/school day?

Typically, I’m up around 6:30am


2. Do you eat breakfast?

Usually.


3. Do you like traditional breakfast foods? Which ones?

Yes, love bacon, ham, eggs, toast – whatever.


4. Do you prefer lunch/supper foods for breakfast? Which ones?

I will eat anything that’s easy and doesn’t make a lot of noise to make, since I’m up early. If I’ve made something for dinner the night before and there’s some leftover, I might eat that.


5. Do you ever eat breakfast for supper?

Pretty much never.

6. What are your favorite breakfast foods?
Poached eggs, ham, toast – or a bacon, tomato & cheese omelets. Yummmmmy.  Oh, and crispy homefries with all of it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(not so) Wordless Wednesday – Apple Butter

 

DSC_2039-2

Living in West Virginia, it is simply not possible to notice when apple season rolls around. There’s almost as many apple trees as corn stalks as people, I swear.

Last year, we found a great place to buy bushels of apples at a great price. So the first thing I did with them was to make apple sauce and apple butter.  I say that in that order because, according to www.pickyourown.org, that’s the order you need.  You make apple butter FROM apple sauce. 

I used their delicious recipe for the applesauce and apple butter, jarred it and finally, this weekend, popped the top on the last jar.  My only regret in this was using such big jars because we do not use it all that often and so it goes to waste.  However, you live and learn, right? So this year’s batch will go into smaller jars and get to be used up quickly!

This weekend, I baked some biscuits (not from scratch) and woke my family up to this.  IT WAS DELICIOUS!  Follow the link to pickyourown.org and make some this season.

Visit my other Wordless over at Coming to a Nursery Near You as well :)  Be sure to sign the Linky


Monday, September 06, 2010

Tomato Basil Turkey Burgers

One of the best parts of summer is having tomatoes at the ready for whenever I feel like having something with tomato. Simple enough, no?  So when I picked up some turkey burgers to cook on the grill this Labor Day weekend, my first thought was “hmm… what do I put on them?” because well… turkey can be kind of bland.

My tomato crop in the garden has been rather lacking, but I managed to find a couple, and pulled a few basil leaves off the basil plant.  I was then ready for dinner!

I had bought the 93% lean turkey, and knew I’d have to watch them carefully because there’s not a lot of fat in there to burn off.  As soon as I put them on the grill, I sprinkled them with a McCormick’s roasted garlic and red pepper seasoning, sort of as an insurance policy.  Then I sliced my tomatoes, washed the basil and sprayed the buns with some non-stick spray.  After I flipped the burgers, I put the buns on the top level of the grill. 

After a few minutes – long enough to toast the buns a bit, I placed the basil leaves on the burger patties, and then placed the tomato slices on top of them – to keep them on there.  I closed the grill, ran in the house for the cheese.  I then topped the burgers with a slice of provolone cheese. 

DSC_1989On the bun, I just used some Kraft Olive Oil light mayo and this thing was TO DIE for.  Like, it was so good, I’m making them again tonight good.  Neglible amount of fat, huge on taste, and at about a buck a piece, not TOO bad on the wallet. Especially when you consider what a restaurant charges for something like this!

Yay me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Italian Grilled Chicken & Mrs Dash

One of the toughest part of getting older is, for my husband and I at least, to cut down on the things that we've always enjoyed.   Salt, of course, is one of those things that makes EVERYTHING taste better, but does NOT do nice things for things like blood pressure – and of course, we’re both heavily cursed with family histories. So that means that we have to be especially mindful of our salt intake on a daily basis as well as educating our children about the dangers of excess so that they grow up healthier than we have.

Mrs. Dash has helped us do that.   Creating flavorful low-sodium meals for our family, without having them reaching for the salt shaker the minute the food hits their mouths, is made much easier with the variety of products that Mrs. Dash has available.  My favorite – or I should say, ONE of my favorites, is the italian medley, which I use in any manner of ways, including this one.

Grilled Italian Chicken

  • 1 lb (or more) boneless chicken breast
  • Mrs. Dash Italian Medley

Heat your grill up at least 5-7 minutes to be sure the grate is nice and hot.  While it’s heating, sprinkle the Mrs. Dash Italian Medley seasoning blend over the chicken breasts, both front and backside.  Once the grill is hot, place the chicken on the grill.  Leave it there for at least 5 minutes – do not mess with it.  Leave it alone!  After about 5 minutes, the chicken will have seared well on the grates and should be readily released when you grab it with your tongs.  Flip it and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F.

Enjoy! 

I serve this with a salad and everyone just LOVES it.  You could also serve it with some nice (no salt added) pasta sauce and pasta.  Let it cool and throw it in a salad.  There’s no limit!

I know I can be assured that the Mrs. Dash seasoning blend I choose for whatever I’m cooking will be safe for us to use, and it’s one less thing I have to worry about.  Win Win!


I wrote this blog post while participating in the Mrs. Dash and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.  Thank you!


Flavorful, Family Meal IdeasMore Mrs. Dash Recipes

Monday, August 23, 2010

Basil Lillet Slush

You’re probably thinking “wha…?”.  I would have been too, had I heard that name before I actually HAD the drink.  Let me explain.

2 weeks ago (wow, time flies), I attended BlogHer, a big blogging conference in New York City.  About 2 weeks before the conference, I received an invitation to attend a blogger’s night out party at … get this… MARTHA STEWART’S PLACE!  Ok, not her HOUSE, but at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.  Impressive, no?

 

invite I was so psyched!  A roof top party in New York?  The photographer in me said HELL YEAH!

Well, the weather said hell no.  So it was held inside one of their studios, and it was packed to the gills with bloggers of all walks. For me personally, I had no idea how I’d made the invite list, as I’d never even talked about Martha before, have I?  But hey, I was there.  As I showed you previously, the food was amazing.  The swag (gifts) was amazing. The view – amazing. 

In fact, several of us were waiting outside our hotel for a taxi that evening – to go to Martha.  A man approached us and asked if we’d like a limo.  We collectively rolled our eyes and went back to sweating.  The guy was serious, and only wanted $5 per PERSON to take us to the location – which was across the city – at RUSH HOUR.  So 8-1/2  of us jumped out of the taxi line and took A LIMO to the Martha Stewart party, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, the party was amazing (as long as you weren’t claustrophobic), and one of the DRINKS served was green.  I was dubious – especially when they said it was BASIL.

Because of the crowd, it was difficult to hear the bartender list the ingredients, but I figured hey, I love basil – vodka – ok… and it’s free,  why not try it.

THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION of that night. Ok, maybe not the whole night, but damned close. Anyone who asked me about the party that night, and the rest of the weekend – that’s the first thing I told them about – the BASIL drink. LOL

Because I don’t want to get sued by Martha, I’m just going to give the link to the drink – but seriously, go – read – make – drink.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quickie Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

I love fast lunches.  Because we home school, we have lunch (and breakfast… and dinner) every single day.  But because we do that, the choices can get pretty boring. This was something I just sort of made up that turned out to be such a crowd pleaser, there was NONE left.  That’s a rare feat in my house.

  • Suddenly Salad – Bacon & Ranch flavor
  • 1/4 c low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 c Kraft olive oil mayo
  • 1 c. leftover chicken, diced

Boil the pasta as directed.  While that’s cooking, mix the seasoning mix that comes with the salad with the sour cream and mayo.  (I’ve tweaked the directions that came with the salad to lower the fat content.)  Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and rinse with cold water. Be sure to drain it thoroughly.  Toss with the seasoning mix and chicken, and you’re done!  This is a great recipe that you can do in the morning and just put in the fridge for later.  15 minutes and you’re done!

It’s also great for “hiding” vegetables in plain site. Although it does come with some veggies, I always toss in more, just for the fun of it (insert evil laugh here). 

Enjoy!

pasta

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ BlogHer edition

I don’t normally post Wordless Wednesdays here, but I attended the huge blogging conference called BlogHer. One of the events I was fortunate to be invited to was the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Bloggers’ Nite Out Party. O M G.  So here’s my food edition!

cake 

cakes

flatbread

sliders

More wordless wednesday fun here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What’s better than a campfire?

S’MORES, of course!

When we moved to West Virginia last year, one of the first things we did was buy one of those firepit things for the back yard.  It’s our first backyard, afterall, so we wanted to enjoy it fully!

So now, every time we have a fire, my kids ask me to make s’mores.  How can I say no? 

It’s such a simple request, really.  All I need is some Hershey chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers – and they’re on their way to JOY!

LOL

Smoresproductscopy

My kids get to roasting their marshmallows while I prepare the crackers and chocolate.  I use one square per cracker, because I am FRUGAL and like to make things last.  They (murder) toast their marshmallows and then bring them to me when they’re still nice and hot, so it will melt the chocolate and then I squish it all together with the 2nd cracker.  They they snatch it out of my hands and gobble it up!  I maybe – MAYBE  - get one or two but they can plow through the entire bag of marshmallows in less than an hour (if I let them).  It’s a fun time and they love it!

 

Mom Bloggers Club wants to know what YOUR favorite way to make s’mores is (and this post is an entry)!    Visit them here, and of course, be sure to visit http://www.smoressmiles.com/ where you can instantly win 1 of thousands of prizes!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Zucchini Pancakes

Oh, the zucchini.  When planning and planting our garden this year, I wanted to plant the things that I frequently would purchase at the farmer’s market in New Hampshire when we lived there.  Being that there are simply NONE here that are actually held at a convenient time (i.e. weekend), I wanted and needed those homegrown veggies in my back yard.

Oh did I get them!  The plan was for zucchini, summer squash, watermelon, corn, tomatoes, green beans – and of course, the kids HAD to plant pumpkins.  Well – I planted for the size of the garden, NOT the size of our family.  So now, the squash and zucchini have come in IN SPADES and I’m struggling to find ways to use them before they go to waste.

I LOVE zucchini, but my family not so much.  I seriously underestimated just how “not so much” meant until I started trying to feed it to them EVERY.Single.Night.  Ok, so then I started looking for recipes, and this one stuck because I figured, if it doesn’t LOOK like zucchini, maybe that will work!

And it mostly did for them.  For me? TOTALLY.

I adapted this recipe from cooks.com, though.

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1950,138191-232201,00.html

I used about 2 cups of grated zucchini  - which was about ONE zucchini (seriously!)

1 1/2 c. grated zucchini (absorb moisture in paper towel, if too wet)
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
Optional: onion, garlic salt, parsley, cheese for flavor

 

I put the zucchini in some paper towel and squeeeeeezed all those green juices out of there.

Also, because I was making enough for 5 to go with dinner, I basically doubled the recipe, and it wound up making about 10 pancakes.

Grate the zucchini and then squeeze out the juice.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg, flour and baking powder. At this stage, if you’re going for add-ins such as what I did, add it now.  When everything else is blended, add the zucchini.  Thi consistency should resemble pancake batter.

Heat your skillet and add some sort of something so these don’t stick.  I used canola oil.

Pour the batter into the size you want – they don’t spread unless you help them – which helps them cook evenly as well.  Cook until browned on each side.

I also added about 1/4 of a small onion, and chopped it tiny, tiny, tiny – but the onion definitely added something yummy to it!  I also added about 2 tsp of minced (from the jar) garlic.  Salt and pepper, of course.  So so easy to make, and then as suggested, I served them with sour cream. I loved the addition of the sour cream – the kids, not so much – but what do THEY know? :)

Next time, I’ll add some parmesan cheese, I think – just didn’t have any that night.

Definitely worth the “effort” and simply an awesome way of disguising veggies at dinner!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Food from Home

I'm getting ready to go "home" for my 25th high school reunion.  Home, for me, is Rhode Island.  Although it's hard to believe, I haven't lived in Rhode Island in nearly 10 years. Although I've visited, there's only so much time in a weekend (which is as long as any visit typically is) to be able to do and see everything you miss about the place you called home for so many years. 

This time, though, I'll be visiting without my hubby & kids and am fully planning on hitting some of those food hotspots that I miss so much.

pizzaaaaa One of them is a bakery called D. Palmieri's, a place that makes *the best* pizza in the whole universe.  Not the pepperoni & cheese kind of pizza, just strips of dough topped with an ulcer-inducing sauce that's just .. Mmmmm... worth it.

 

As a Rhode Islander, I've also got a special place in my heart for seafood, so I WILL be going out for something fresh and caught that morning, somewhere along the water.  No definitive plans on that yet but I know it will have begun the morning with at least 6 legs. 

weinahhhhh Also potentially on my list would be NY System hot weiners.  These are a certain kind of hot dog (not a ballpark type dog), steamed and then kept warm on a hot grill. They're thrown into a bun that's been steamed as well - and then topped with a meat sauce that's hard to duplicate, although we've tried a number of times.  It's a Rhode Island thing, truly.

dels Seeing as I'll only be there for 2-1/2 days, there won't be a lot of extra time to grab a bit of everything I miss about RI, but if I do nothing else, I MUST get some Del's.  Dels is sort of like frozen lemonade to all you NON Rhode Islanders, but much more nuanced and no matter how long it's been, it's always on my list. Unfortunately, that list is always too long for my short visits!

 

Dels, D. Palmieri's and weiners (weinahs) - 3 tastes of home.

What food reminds you of home?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Couponing

I *love* couponing. Now, that's not to say that I've very good at it. I'm not even going to pretend to be organized enough to do it with any sort of regularity. BUT when I DO do it, it's AWESOME. I love coming home with something that I've paid next to nothing for because I had a coupon to match up to a store sale - and even better, a store sale AND a store coupon. 

I admit, too, that remembering to buy the Sunday paper isn't one of my strong suits either.  So online coupons are what rock my world, and my bank account.  If you're a long-time reader of mine, you might even remember I used to have a banner ad over there on the sidebar for coupons.  I took it off because no one was using it - but I'm giving it another go because - seriously - stores have really changed the way they look at these "online" things, and realize that they're making money from them too - so I almost never encounter that "Oh, we don't take "THOSE" kinds of coupons" anymore.

So the next time you're getting ready to hit the grocery store or even just Wal-Mart or Target, hit me up first - check out what coupons there are. It could be something F R E E! :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quick Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

2-3 lbs center cut pork chops

1 box pork flavored stuffing (Stove Top or similar)

1-2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 small shallot

1 tsp olive oil

 

This recipe was quite literally thrown together in about 15 minutes. It was delicious, and my family and visiting family loved it.

  1. Mince the shallots.
  2. Peel and core the apples. I used gala, and I’d suggest not using a tart apples.
  3. Chop the apples into dime sized pieces.
  4. Sauté the shallots and apples in a tsp of olive oil, just until the shallots are translucent.
  5. Prepare the stuffing as directed on the box.  As soon as the stuffing is finished (i.e. before it “sets”), gently toss the apple & shallot mixture with the stuffing mix, cover the pan again and let it sit while you prepare the pork chops.

At this point, you can decide if you want to split the pork chops. If they’re about an inch thick, you could butterfly them (slice them down the side to create a pocket).  I did this, but my pork chops weren’t an inch thick, so it wasn’t pretty LOL

I then stuffed the pocket with 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing mix.  Once they were done, I salt & peppered the tops of the chops and put them in a 350 oven for approximately 30 minutes.  Because the chops weren’t quit thick enough, though, I

As I was making 2 batches of these, the 2nd batch, I simply layered the stuffing mix into the bottom of a glass baking dish.  I placed the pork chops on top of the stuffing, sprinkled salt and pepper and put in a 350 oven for approximately 30 minutes. 

At 30 minutes, check them with a thermometer.  You don’t want to overcook the meat!

When they’re finished, take them out and cover with foil.  Until you’re ready to serve them, this will keep everything moist.  The stuffing will cling to the pork chops, so I  stuffing side up.  As with the previous batch, delicious!

Enjoy :)

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

Head over to my family blog, Coming to a Nursery Near You to find out about it, and enter to win tons of prizes!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food trip Friday PLUS Photo Friday

I like doing memes from time to time, and these are both pretty new to me.  Food Trip Friday is where you post a food – any kind of food.   Photo Friday is where you post a photo that represents the word of the week – this week’s word is PLEASURE.  Food is pleasure to me, AS IS photography.  Two of my favorite things – food and photography!  So here ya go!

If you are new to my blog, welcome!  Please take a moment to click on the “follow” or join my facebook fan page if you like what you see.    The more, the merrier!

I chose this photo because of the colors in the photo, which I love, but also because it demonstrates the complexities of cooking, which I love as well!  A twofer!

spices

And, of course, because this IS a recipe blog, afterall, the recipe that this came from!

I decided to (re)do another of my favorites from my blog, the Grilled Southwest Chicken recipe that I’d gotten from an old blogging friend, Karen – formally of Pediascribe – but now blogging at Forgiven & Loved.

 

In any case, it was a hit then, but not so much of a hit this time.  I think it’s because I tried to tweak it by adding a new favorite of mine, LIME, and doubling the spice/oil mixture.  IT didn’t work – do NOT try it. LOL  Follow THIS recipe instead :)

 

Grilled Southwest Chicken

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp each cumin, oregano & chili powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon(ish) lime juice.  DO NOT USE LOL
salt & pepper to taste

steps Mix the spices in a bowl together with the oil. 



Poke chicken breasts with a fork.


In a zipper-type bag, place chicken breasts and spice mixture. Mush together so that each breast is coated. I let mine sit for about 10 minutes while the grill heated up.

Grill the chicken approximately 10 minutes on one side, flip and another 5 on the other.

chicky

Be sure to visit my other blog, Coming to a Nursery Near You, for my other take on the photo friday theme as well :)  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grilled chicken salad, redux

I don't think it gets much easier than this, truly.  I've made grilled chicken salad before, but this may be my new favorite.

Sunday morning, I woke up and knew it was going to be a busy day. My son's first hockey game of the year was Sunday afternoon, and I had errands to run, shopping to do, and my husband did too.  So I took a package of McCormick's Grill Mates Baja Citrus Marinade, mixed it (per the directions) and threw in 4 boneless chicken breasts, which I'd poked a few times with a fork.  It all went into a large zipper bag and into the fridge for the rest of the day.

8 hours later, at 6 pm, I had turned on the grill to a medium flame.  Once it was heated, I put the chicken on and closed the top.  I went to work assembling my salad, which was (admittedly) lacking in ingredients.  But a half a head of iceberg, some croutons and some Roma tomatoes later, and it looked good anyway.  Not very exotic, but it had been a LONG day.

The chicken took at least 20-25 minutes to cook.  But ALL I had to do was turn them, and once they registered the appropriate 165 on the thermometer, they were ready to go.  I sliced them up, placed them on our salad, topped with some spray on salad dressing (vinaigrette, actually) and mmmmMMmm - combined with another version of my new favorite flatbreads, it was a delicious and SIMPLE dinner!

The chicken came out so juicy and so full of flavor - my kids loved it as well.  Next time, I'll make it and slice it for wraps - Yum!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My foray into Grilled Flatbread

Ever since my first experience with grilled flatbreads, being on the buying end of them, I've been enamored with them.  However,  not enough to attempt them on our little tabletop grill that we had.

Just as soon as we moved south to West Virginia, into a house with a deck, I've been obsessed with buying a real, normal grill, and grilled flatbreads were one of my many, many reasons for wanting one.

Well, 2 weeks ago, we became the proud owners of our very first grown-up toy, a two burner grill that now resides on our deck.

In the 2 weeks since the grill joined our family, I've made steak (one of the best in my LIFE, btw), grilled veggies, burgers, burgers and more burgers, and of course, hot dogs.  But no flat breads.  I was a little intimidated, because HELLO? putting dough on a grill?  A HOT grill? How in the heck do they DO that?

I looked up a basic recipe for grilled flatbreads, and when my son nagged me for the 99,000th time, I gave in and wrote it down.
Today, though, I decided to make it.  I don't even know why, because I'd already made lunch and we'd already eaten THAT.  But I suppose it was the fact that I was also making peanut butter play dough that I decided hey, why not try it.  It's a beautiful day, perfect for the grill.

As much as I LOVED the flatbreads we used ot get at the LIttleton Farmer's Market, they weren't exactly brimming with healthy, nutricious stuff.  Sure, you could get them with just tomato, but they were also topped with quite a bit of oil, and my stomach not being what I'd call healthy, I didn't want to do that.  So these flatbreads weren't exactly like what we'd had there, but they came out delicious anyway, and will definitely become a staple in our menu.

Basic flatbread recipe:

1-1/3 c. flour.  I used white flour today, but will definitely be experimenting with whole wheat next time.
1/2 tsp. yeast.  I think I used the wrong kind the first time, because it didn't rise, but the 2nd one didn't either. I think I don't have the right yeast, period.
1/2 c. water
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt - I used Lawry's garlic salt

Mix the water with the yeast and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should get frosthy.

While that is setting, mix together the flour, salt and olive oil.  Once the yeast mixture is frothy, mix that into the flour mixture and knead for 2 minutes.  I figure that at this point, I'll add other herbs to the dough once I settle on what I want to use.  For now, though, just using the garlic salt gave the bread a really good taste so that eating it all by itself was still very tasty.  Sit the dough in a warm place, covered with plastic wrap. 

Meanwhile, I heated my grill on high.  The temp got to about 200 degrees or so, I believe.  I only used one burner.  Once the dough had risen, I cut it into 4 sections.  One by one, I rolled it out to a verrrry thin sheet, , lightly brushed it with olive oil, lifted the lid to the grill and, while holding my breath, placed it directly onto the grill's grill.    The heat, though, was such that my dough didn't sag through!  I was thrilled!  I closed the top and waited, MAYYYYBe a minute or so, and checked it, just to be sure.  It was fine.  The edges were getting toasty, and so I took my spatula and checked it's bottom.  It was also getting nicely brown, so at that point, I flipped it.  It probably took about 2 minutes per side, but of course, your grill, and mileage, may vary.

After the first one, where I found that the taste by itself was excellent, I decided to experiment, and while the second one was cooking, I sliced some roma tomato very thinly and put them on the 2nd side.  For the 3rd, I put some more tomato AND some thinly sliced basil.  For #4, I used freshly grated parmesan and more basil.

Unfortunately, I got so distracted with my toppings that I let the flatbreads cook a little too much, but even though they were a bit crunchy, they still turned out wonderfully!

I can't wait to try new ingredients and new toppings and you can be sure, I'll share them with you!




I think I need this book next:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Canned Food Alliance’s message

Did you know that, in some cases, canned foods are actually MORE nutritious for us than their fresh, and typically much more costly counterparts?  I didn’t.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that fresher is ALWAYS better.  Turns out, after watching a video from the Canned Food Alliance that, I was wrong.  Or at least, slightly uneducated.

Did you know that canned pumpkin contains almost
3x the amount of Vitamin A than fresh cooked pumpkin?

Beyond being much easier on the wallet and shopping bill, canned foods last longer and are a big time saver when to a busy person’s day in the kitchen – or especially a busy, not-quite-as-experienced-in-the-kitchen person’s day in the kitchen(ette). 

The process of canning foods has been so perfected that the foods that go into the cans are even fresher when they’re finally cooked (in the can) than the ones that you’ve bought that may have come from across the country!

TwitterMoms has asked us to take a look at this really informative video (that you can watch from my sidebar to the left here) from the Canned Food Alliance and blog about our favorite recipe using at least 2 canned food items.  That’s pretty easy for me, since my cupboard (and recycling bin) is typically full of cans!

If you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you’ll know that I do rely on canned foods, especially on those nights when I’m caught off-guard by the “OMG, it’s 4 o’clock and I haven’t taken anything out for dinner” panic.

Here’s one of my family’s absolute FAVORITE meals, and one that I can literally throw together in less than an hour, usually in the morning, so it can ‘stew’ all day – but I’ve also been known to throw this together at 4pm and serve it at 5:15!

It’s also very cost effective, in that the veggies all can come from cans!

My ALL TIME FAVORITE Beef Stew

  • 1 16oz can sliced carrots

  • 2 16 oz cans potatoes (you can use whole or sliced)

  • 1 4oz. can peas

  • 2 lbs. stew meat – this particular time, I left the chunks big.

  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks

  • 2-4 Tbls flour or corn starch

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a big pot, brown the onions in the olive oil.  Add the stew beef and brown it.  It does not have to be cooked through.  Add water to cover the beef (plus maybe an extra inch).  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for a few hours. There’s really no wrong way to do so, as long as the meat becomes tender.  Add the carrots midway through.   After about 2 hours of simmer, add the peas and carrots.   Bring back to a boil.

In a bowl, add the 2-4 Tbls of flour and whisk a small amount of water into it until you’ve got a smooth mixture.  Slowly add this to the boiling stew – this will thicken your stew.  But be sure to do it slowly, and continue to stir as you add, or you’ll have chunks of flour in your stew. NOT COOL!

It’s really easy, and wonderfully YUMMY! :) 

As for spices –I add salt & pepper when I'm cooking the meat - but I leave this up to you and your preference. 

There you have it. It’s so hearty and incredibly delicious, especially paired with some yummy bread!


About Canned Food Alliance

The Canned Food Alliance is a partnership of the American Iron and Steel Institute’s Steel Packaging Council, the Can Manufacturers Institute, select food processors and affiliate members.  The CFA serves as a resource for information on the nutrition, convenience, contemporary appeal and versatility of canned food.  The CFA is a proud supporter of the Produce for Better Health Foundation and the Fruits and Veggies More Matters program.  For hundreds of mealtime solutions, visit www.mealtime.org.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Fridge Scampi

Yet another witty title, eh?

There are no shortage of low-fat shrimp scampi recipes. But if you’re like me and you just, out of the blue, decide that you want to make shrimp scampi, chances are you’ll not have everything that’s called for in the given recipe.  That was the situation when I came up with tonight’s dinner.

Most low fat scampi recipes call for butter, wine, chicken broth, shrimp, parsley, garlic, perhaps some olive oil.   

I had a handful of frozen shrimp (small, size 55-60 cocktail shrimp left over from New Year’s LOL)

I had garlic.

I had grape tomatoes.

I had wilted parsley.

I had no wine.

I had no chicken broth and didn’t feel like mixing any up from the package.

I came up with my own version.

First, I lightly browned 2 cloves of garlic in a pan with about a teaspoon of unsalted butter while I put some water on to boil for angel hair.

Once the garlic was nice & happy, I tossed the tomatoes in – probably 10-15 of them.  They danced around the pan while I finished taking the tails off the defrosted shrimp.   (WHY do they leave them on?!)

Once the tomatoes began to soften, I added the shrimp and and tossed them together with the rest of the pan, trying to make sure everything was coated in the garlic/butter/tomatoey goodness.  Since my shrimp were already precooked, once they were heated, they were done.  I shut the pan off and waited for the angel hair to finish.

Once the pasta was done, I strained it and then drizzled roughly a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into the same pan I’d boiled the pasta in.  When the pasta was drained thoroughly, I added it back to the pan and tossed to coat with the EVOO.  I then dumped the shrimp/tomato/garlic/butter madness into the same pan as the pasta and again, lightly tossed them together, coating everything with pan juices.  It was beautiful.

 

DSC_7398

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest Post: Breakfast Soft Tacos

Recently, I came across Simple Daily Recipes, and I was immediately drawn to the beautiful photos and delicious recipes that the site’s author, Jill McKeever, offers.  She’d mentioned that she was looking to do some guest posts, and while it’s not something I normally do, it’s not for lack of WANT!  So I jumped at the chance to have her do something here on My Tasty Space.  The following is Jill’s post.  Enjoy!

Also, if you happen to come visit via Jill’s blog, welcome!  I hope you’ll take a look around, perhaps follow me or friend me on facebook. I love meeting new people and getting comments!

Thanks Jill!

 

breakfast-soft-taco-my-tasty-space

Breakfast Soft Tacos

During the week or on the weekends, you always have time to make Breakfast Soft Tacos.  You can easily make them from any leftover sautéed vegetables or thinly sliced fresh vegetables.  The time saving trick is tossing them in the pan with the eggs and milk and scrambling them all together. 

HERE'S ALL IT TAKES

To make 2 healthy size tacos

1 teaspoon butter or use non-stick spray for pan

2 tablespoons thinly sliced yellow onion

2 eggs

2 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon favorite chunky salsa

a good pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

10 baby spinach leaves or 1/4 cup spinach

2 flour tortillas

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or your favorite sharp cheese

Over medium heat, melt the butter in a small fry pan.  Add onions, eggs, milk, salsa, and seasonings; scramble together.  When the eggs first begin to set, stir in spinach; continue scrambling eggs until fully set, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle pan over medium high heat.  Warm one tortilla for 30 seconds, checking that the griddle is not too hot to burn the tortilla.  Flip and layer one half with cheese and scrambled eggs.  If you wish to add more salsa, this is the time to do it.  Use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half and continue heating until tortilla is lightly crispy.  If you like your tortilla crunchy, keep cooking and flipping until you have crunchy breakfast quesadillas.  Those rock!

Try this recipe; I guarantee you'll be full until lunchtime. 

Recipe and photo by Jill McKeever at SimpleDailyRecipes.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

Challenges

My enjoyment in cooking, and specifically in cooking healthy meals has become a real challenge.  It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting as much as I used to, because it’s just so hard sometimes to come up with alternatives for the favorites I’ve always used.  The list of things I can’t eat seems to grow more and more, which – when you’re a foodie like me, is just depressing!

I can’t eat/use:

  • onions
  • peppers
  • milk or cream
  • ANYTHING high in fat

As a result, I’ve been forced away from some of the things I’ve always enjoyed, like STUFFED PEPPERS, sausage and peppers, sausage and potatoes, even my favored American Chop Suey, has changed because of the whole NO ONIONS thing.  IT SUCKS!

So, too, is the stomach problems I’ve developed in the last couple of years since my gallbladder removal and hernia repair surgery.  It seems that it made things worse, instead of better!

As a result, I’ve been eating low-fat as much as I can, as often as I can.  This often means that I’ve cooked something completely different for my family if it’s too high in fat – which, it seems, I have a very low threshhold for, and me eating a microwave-baked potato  with some low-fat cheese and sour cream. Yah, not much fun, especially for a food blogger.

Of course, one of the POSITIVE effects of this is that I did lose some weight, and I HAVE been actively seeking out and creating recipes that are low enough in fat for me to eat, that are still yummy and enticing to my kids and husband!  They’ve learned to enjoy Boca Burgers, mainly out of my need for BURGERS once in a while, and my 6 year old daughter, who was watching me make myself a salad for lunch last week, purposely asked for and made herself a salad as well – of SPINACH, broccoli and low-fat cheese! 

I’ve also learned how much more rewarding it is to buy frozen vegetables and cook them in some veggie broth, than to buy canned veggies, which have been cooked processed!  Plus, it’s MUCH cheaper, and I’m ALL ABOUT THE CHEAP!

So, I hope you will stick around, maybe say HELLO, offer some advice about my goofy problems.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spanish Rice & Chicken Casserole

Ok, I really don’t know what to call this recipe, but it’s so good, you won’t care what the name is.

I was feeding my family of 5, so these are the amounts I used to make probably twice as much as I really needed, but YAY for leftovers!

Spanish Rice & Chicken Casserole

  • 2 boxes (store brand) Spanish rice mix
  • 1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes (zesty style)
  • 2 half chicken breasts, boneless
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • flour tortillas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 really big skillet!

First off, I sliced the chicken breasts into 1/4” medallions and then sauteed them in the skillet with a very light coating of butter.  Once they’d started cooking, I added one package of Spanish rice seasoning mix to the pan and coated the chicken.  I cooked the chicken for approximately 3 minutes, then removed it from the pan to a plate.

Next, I prepared the rest of the Spanish rice as directed but because I only had 1 can of stewed tomatoes, that’s all I used.  Once the rice had been “browned”, I added the seasoning mix, water, tomatoes according to package. I also added the chicken back into the mixture, along with the cup of frozen corn and cup of frozen spinach.  I added these things in because well, corn goes great with mexican anything, and they’d never notice the spinach and they could definitely use the added nutrients!

I let the huge mixture cook for probably 30 minutes or until the juices had all be absorbed by the rice, and then I topped it with maybe 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar.  I heated up some tortillas in the microwave and my family chose whether they’d have it on that or in the bowl or both.  It was DELICIOUS, both of my kids wanted 2nds – and even though there was some spiciness from the “zesty” tomatoes, they both agreed that it was awesome.

Now I like to figure this out, too

spanish rice mix x 2 - $2

can of tomatoes x 1 - $1

1 lb chicken  - $2

frozen veggies - $1

tortillas - $1

$7 for a full, satisfying and nutritious meal that served my 5, plus 2nds, plus still PLENTY for today’s lunch!

The ooos and ahhhs of a well-fed family?  PRICELESS! LOL

DSC_7300

Notes:  I’ve made this similarly with hamburger before, but now that I’m thinking about it, I would bet it would be great with pork as well.