Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stuffed Shells

Yes another fabulous photo. Yesterday Cheryl came over and we made these stuffed shells together - her brilliant idea. They came out verrrry tasty and it was a good thing too because we burned the garlic bread to a crisp while we were watching American Idol. Seriously, it looked like charcoal. The hardest part of making the shells was getting them out of the boiling water and getting the boiling water out of them, before we could stuff them. But we perfected a new method and it was smooth sailing from there on out. It made lots and I think we'll both be making them again sometime. Yum!

Best Thing BEFORE Sliced Bread

Today I'd like introduce a guest blogger, my partner Brianna.

Hundreds of years of baking genes from both sides of the family came together last night in homemade bread. My grandmother's recipe, scribbled on a scrap of paper a few years ago from a phone call to her. Her amounts are approximate ("about a third"), the instructions by feel ("not hot enough to burn your hand") and the time frame about 3 hours from start to my mouth. But it's well-worth the time and energy. My great-grandmother's bread spoon hung above me on the wall, worn at an angle from the generations of use, blessing my bread as I kneaded away. Just as she made it - no breadmaker, no special mix or flour, just my wooden bread spoon, a bowl, my grandmother's loaf pans, and my hands. Grad school doesn't usually
give me the luxury of such time, but I had it last night, and now I have the beautiful loaves to show that not everything that tastes good needs a fancy gadget or exotic ingredients. Sometimes tried and true works just as well.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Squash Risotto

We love risotto - it's creamy, cheesy, ricy - what's not to like!? I've posted a risotto before and tried other kinds but they were not so great. This is the one I have made a bunch of times. I'm no risotto connoisseur but I just love it with butternut squash in it. This time I added dried cranberries to it too which was a great idea if I do say so myself. Risotto does take a while because you have to wait for the rice to absorb the liquid, but it's actually not that hard to do. And you can drink the rest of the wine while you wait. Yet another unappetizing photo here, but that's why I made it nice and small. Trust me, I highly recommend it!

Chicken Casserole

Courtesy of the Campbell family, I made Chicken Casserole tonight. Incredibly easy and I have food to feed an army!

I did change the recipe a teansey tiny bit. I added a bit of paprika to the mixture as well as some salt. I also had a tremendous amount of chicken to use up so my chicken to rice proportions are a bit off. But I was expecting that...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Starbucks reinvented

So when I was in LA, I decided to try and pick up some food before going to the airport. I was running kind of late, so Starbucks became my only option aside from whatever they had at the airport (which is always $5 more expensive than it should be!). To my surprise, I picked up a really great cold curry chicken salad on couscous and now I've been dying to find it again.

Starbucks describes it as a white chicken in a Thai-style curry made with mango, coconut, and diced pineapple, lime, cilantro, bell peppers, and apples on a bed of coucous. Delicious.

I tried to search for a recipe, and yahoo answers brought up this one that seems to originate in England (read the recipe and you'll see why!) A few modifications (no apricots) and the addition of some curried mayo with apples and celery with a jaunt in the fridge, and I found a pretty good substitute. Now I just need the couscous!

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4
This fruity chicken curry dish is sure to set the taste buds tingling. This recipe is ideal for entertaining, as preparing it the night before will make it taste even better!

4 British chicken skinless chicken fillets, cubed
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ inch ginger, crushed
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
a handful of semi dried apricots chopped
1 clove
¼ tsp peppercorns

1. Mix the vinegar, curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, ginger and sugar together.

2. Add the chicken and mix. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions. Cook until beginning to colour golden.

4. Add the cloves and peppercorns and colour for 30 seconds.

5. Add the chicken and marinade into the pan with the onions and simmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

6. Add the apricots, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.

7. Serve with pilau rice and chutneys.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Something to use up my macaroni

Since the Superbowl, I've had about a 1/2 lb. of macaroni noodles sitting around, unused. The other day I decided to search for a recipe to use them up. Something other than mac and cheese. And something other than just boiling them and putting a sauce on top.

Here's the recipe that inspired my creation: Dunbar Macaroni with Beef.

I revised it a bit, mainly to use ground beef, since I didnt want to wait an hour for it become tender. Here's what I did:

- cooked the noodles in boiling water.
-in a pot i ground the beef and then added the onions.
-i then added the beef broth, tomato, etc and let it simmer for a bit.
-i mixed them all together in the caserole dish, put the breadcrumbs and cheese on top
-baked it for 25 mins.

SUPER EASY. Very cheap. Fed a lot of people easily. It fed me, my 2 rooomates, and then I had leftovers good for 2 lunches. Not bad for a total cost of under $10.

Portobello, Broccoli, and Red-Pepper Melts

Again from Everyday Food Magazine, last Friday, I made Portobello, Broccoli, and Red-Pepper Melts. Super easy and pretty healthy. The hardest part was having the patience to cut the veggies when you're hungry! We made them in the toaster oven, so there was almost nothing to clean up when we were done. Sonal and I decided this was the perfect dinner after a long day of work when you want something, quick, easy and healthy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easy Peanut Butter Cups

Based on the recommendation of a friend, I recently got a subscription to Everyday Food Magazine. It was super cheap and filled with good recipes.

The first one I tried was for Easy Peanut Butter Cups. They came out really well. I took my own picture and will add it to the post, but for now, I've included their pic.

Overall, their recipe was super easy to do -- you only need a microwave (and the willpower not to eat up all the yummy melted chocolate)! Everyone at work said they tasted better that Reese's.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pumpkin Pasta

This is Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Pasta. Sarah Z. came over this weekend and we were looking for something vegan and interesting. We were skeptical at first, I mean pumpkin with pasta? But it was delicious! What we couldn't figure out was why we needed to bake it in the casserole dish after adding the pumpkin/pesto/kale mixture to the pasta. It didn't seem like it changed anything. Or did it?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Roasted Pasta alla Norma

I have no idea who Norma is but apparently she makes a tasty pasta with roasted stuff in it. I got the recipe from Rachael Ray and it was simple and tasty. It has roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic. Plus basil and ricotta. (I love ricotta!) The roasting took a little while but you don't have to watch it or anything. I was very skeptical about eggplant in pasta but it turns out I like it! I used canned instead of fresh tomatoes but it worked fine. Surprised by the good quality of the picture? Yeah, I got it from Rach. Mine did pretty much look like that though, but without the well-lit kitchen and the attractive blue bowl.

I am very intrigued by fresh herbs. Can you use dried instead or no way? Why are they so expensive for such a small amount? I think the answer might be I should start growing my own. Probably not any time soon but I'll keep it in mind. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Roast Lamb

Can you believe it? I actually roasted a leg of lamb. It turned out it wasn't that hard. I never would have gotten the idea if it weren't for Matt - thanks for the recipe! It wasn't really as pink as it looks in the photo, though a few pieces in the middle were pretty pink and I wondered if I should have cooked it longer. Maybe next time, though if I do this again it will only be if I have a lot of people coming over. That leg cost a lot! And we've been eating it for three days already! I didn't really think it through when I decided to do it, maybe you can tell. I even used the rosemary to make some veggies like Matt said which were really good with the lamb. Plus, as an added bonus, I finally got to use my mortar and pestle!