Friday, March 25, 2011

Italian Vegetable Soup

This recipe is probably my all time favorite soup. I call it Italian because I was inspired by it from a Pasta e Fagioli recipe. I don't know if its technically Italian but in my kitchen it is :) I kind of tweaked it to the way we like it, and I make it OFTEN. Its unbelievably easy, and not expensive to make at all.

* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2-3 carrots, diced
* 2-3 celery ribs, diced
* 1 small-medium onion, diced
* 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
* 1 bay leaf
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 4 cups chicken stock
* 2 cups water
* 1 cup (give or take) any small pasta
* 3/4 a can of green beans (or the whole can if you like)
* 1 lemon juiced and zested
* Parsley sprinkled in at the end, not to much
* Shredded Parmesan cheese to top
* Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute until vegetables are soft, around 8-10 minutes.

Add tomato paste and garlic, cook for around 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, juice and zest the lemon. Set aside.

Add the stock and water, bring to a boil. Add the pasta, and turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the green beans, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Discard the bay leaf. Serve and top with shredded Parmesan cheese!


Monday, March 14, 2011

My homemade meat sauce

I love to make my own spaghetti sauce. But, every once and awhile if I don't feel like making it or don't have any frozen, I will use the jars. I personally just love cooking, so I really enjoy making it homemade, and of course, everything is better homemade right?

What I like with this, is that I can make a large batch of this, and have 2 more dinners worth that I can freeze.

This can also be very versatile as well. I have done this sauce without meat before, and I usually add some green bell pepper to it also but just didn't have any on hand which I made this. So here is my recipe:

*1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
*1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
*1 can tomato paste
*2 carrots, diced
*2 celery sticks, diced
*1 small onion diced (or half of a large onion)
*garlic cloves minced (however many you like, I do 4-5)
*1 pound ground beef or turkey
*salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (optional of course)
*few tablespoons olive oil

In a medium pot or large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and ground beef. Brown the beef, and drain liquid.

Once liquid is drained, add the garlic. (adding garlic too early in the cooking process can burn the garlic, and no one likes burned garlic)

Let cook for about a minute or two, and add most of the can of tomato paste. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the plum tomatoes. Or, you can also buy crushed tomatoes if you do not have a food processor.

Let the tomato paste cook down for at least 5-7 minutes.

Then add the tomato puree (or can of crushed tomatoes), the jar of tomato sauce, and your spices, you can do those to taste.

Let simmer for AT LEAST an hour. Closer to two even makes it better. I like to add a screen on the top of my pot so it doesn't splatter all over my kitchen :)

Then, cook your pasta and serve! Depending on how many people your feeding you should have extra that you can freeze. For two people I always have at least 2 more dinners worth I can freeze.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Breakfast for dinner Frittata

So last night I decided to make breakfast for dinner. :) But of course, this Frittata can be made for breakfast as well, and would be great for a brunch as well! It can be totally tweaked and changed and you can pretty much put anything you want in it. But here is the way I made mine :)

*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 small onion diced
*1 small green bell pepper diced
*handful give or take of fresh spinach lightly chopped
*2 cups frozen diced potatoes
*4 eggs
*2 egg whites
*Salt and pepper to taste (I also used a sprinkle of cayenne pepper)
*shredded cheese to top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For this meal you will need an oven safe pan, I didn't have a PAN but I had a medium pot that was oven safe so that is what I had to go with.

Heat oil in the oven safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced potatoes, onions and bell pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes. Then, add the chopped spinach, and cook for 1minute.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg whites and spices together. I also always add a splash of milk to my eggs, it makes them more light and fluffy.

After the onions =and potatoes have cooked for 5-7 minutes and you have added your spinach, pour the egg mixture into the pan and distribute evenly. Don't stir it all together. Tilt the pan if needed to distribute the eggs.

Cook for about 6 minutes, until the edges look dry but the top still looks wet.

Sprinkle with cheese and put into the oven for around 5 minutes, or until the top is fully cooked, and the cheese has melted.

And serve! :) This should easily serve 3-5 people, depending on the size of your servings.

I didn't have any on hand but diced ham would go GREAT in this dish.

My husband also topped his with some salsa and sour cream which he loved.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cupcake Crisis Averted!...Kinda

So, about a week ago I was house sitting for my parents who were on a little vacation. While I was there, it was my best friends boyfriends birthday. So, I invited them to come over and I would make cupcakes and whatnot. Well, last year my parents had bought this house, but my mother needed A LOT of new kitchen items so during the move, we tossed a bunch of things and went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy replacements. So, back to the story. The night before my husband (who drove down to spend the weekend with me there) and I went to the store to get the items for the cupcakes. He picked out the frosting, and I totally forgot, that I can only pipe the frosting the way I like to with the WHIPPED version. The other ones are too thick. So the day comes and I go to make the cupcakes, and no muffin pans. We TORE the kitchen apart. I called my mom, her and my dad both SWORE they had some. Nope. Not one. Well, I didn't want to just bake a sheet cake, spread some frosting on and give it to him. That's plain...and boring. So I looked in her pantry to find something I could possibly decorate the sheet cake with, and all she had was hot pink sprinkles. Hm, not so good for the tough cowboyish guy coming over! But she did have foil cupcake liners. we thought MAYBE it might work if we set the cupcake liners IN the cake pan. My husband rolled foil into balls to stick in between all the cupcakes in case when they baked the liner wouldn't stand up. So I filled the cupcake liners and hoped for the best. Surprisingly it actually WORKED! Well, sorta. They weren't perfectly round cupcakes, but cupcakes none the less. Then when I went put the frosting in the bag to pipe the cupcakes, I then realized we bought the wrong frosting. SO, I wasn't able to frost them the way I wanted to. I needed SOMETHING else to go on the cupcakes, they were too plain. Again, I couldn't use the hot pink sprinkles, so my only option was to mix some milk with powdered sugar and drizzle it over the cupcakes. Crisis number 2, averted! They weren't exactly the way I wanted them to turn out. But they were yummy anyway.

SO, now you know, if you are ever in a situation like I was with no muffin pans, you just can make your own! ;)

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of them frosted! Oops!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whats for dinner- Fettuccine Alfredo

So I have never been a huge fan of fettuccine Alfredo. I never order it from restaurants and have never made it at home. But, my husband loves it so I figured I would try it out. I have seen many different recipes and variations for this meal, and this is the way I made it. However, I will note next time, I will use a little less cream cheese. It was a tad thick. But delicious none the less.

Here is the recipe:

*1/2 cup salted butter
*3 tablespoons minced garlic (give or take, you know I love my garlic)
*8 oz package cream cheese (take note, personally we found this a tad thick, next time I will add a little less)
*1 cup half and half
*1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
*1 pound fettuccine pasta
*1/4 cup or so peas
*Salt and pepper to taste

Fill large pot with water, and turn on high heat, come to a boil.

In a large pan, melt butter and add the garlic. Saute around 4-5 minutes. On low-medium heat, add cream cheese, let it melt and come together with butter and garlic.

By this point, water should be boiling. Add noodles.

Add half and half and pepper (however much you want) to sauce. Let simmer around 10 minutes. If you want to add peas like I did, cook peas then once cooked add to the sauce. Once noodles are done and sauce has cooked, turn heat off and add the cheese to the sauce. Drain noodles. Toss together! Even better if served with garlic bread.

I was so surprised how EASY and DELICIOUS this was! Of course, you can not add the peas, OR, you can also add grilled chicken which would be great.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Help Save Roo!

Friends, PLEASE read this story about this 11 month old Boston Terrier who suffers from a treatable condition called demodex mange.

Thank you!

Roo's Story & Chip In Page

Roo's Facebook

Please spread the word!