Archive for April, 2009

Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel 2

April 28, 2009

It should be noted for posterity that not a single contractor came to my house today.

– The plumber has a guy out sick and is behind (I really am trying to be nice and not hope he has swine flu)
– The demolition guys can’t finish until the plumber caps the sink/shower
– The electrician can’t come in until the plumber caps the sink/shower and the demo guys get rid of the sink/tub
– And most importantly…I cannot SHOWER until the plumber comes and hooks up our temporary shower in the basement.

I’ve become amazing adept at showering with a bucket of water and my loofah.



Step Away From Food: Bathroom Remodel

April 27, 2009

For those wondering what this looks like (*wave* hi beth *wave*) here is “before” (aka when we moved in Oct 2008) and day 1 of bathroom remodel.

Yes, yes I did shower out of my kitchen sink this evening. Thanks for asking.

Menu Mondays

April 27, 2009

I love having DH make our meats on the grill. To hell with those who say it’ll give me cancer! 😛
Saturday: We had friends over — we provided german potato salad, hot dogs (with fixin’s for chili dogs), hamburgers (lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, ketchup, mustard), and friends brought chips, drinks, and yummy dessert!
Sunday: no cooking — out enjoying the weather, and picking up supplies in anticipation of my bathroom demolition monday morning. eek!
Monday: steak on the grill, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, rice pilaf
Tuesday: leftovers from the weekend grill-a-thon
Wednesday: oil and vinegar marinated chicken on the grill, potatoes (or potato salad, if we’re still eating it by then), green beans
Thursday: spaghetti with meat sauce, salads
Friday: leftovers

"Ice Cream" Cone Party Favor

April 23, 2009

Aren’t these adorable?? My mom had them for our Easter dinner, so I thought I’d share them with you. She purchased them from a woman who makes and sells them as little favors.

I don’t have any instructions on how it’s put together, but we dissected one and came up with the following:

Melt chocolate in a double boiler, or, in the microwave.

Dip a large marshmallow into the chocolate, and then place in a small, child-sized ice cream cone, chocolate side down (probably have to go to a restaurant supply for the cones..they’re pretty small?). This will keep the marshmallo adhered to the cone once it’s dry. Then, gently take your marshmallow that’s uncoated, and coat with chocolate. Either by dipping, or drizzling over. Add sprinkles, and let harden.


The pen is to give you an idea of size…hope it works!

Menu Mondays

April 20, 2009

DH (finally!) got a grill this weekend, so in honor of him and his excitement for grilling, I’ve incorporated several ‘grill nights’ into our menu this week.

Sunday: lemon coconut bread for my co-workers, bread for DH’s lunches this week, and a strawberry cream dessert DH requested
Monday: steak (on the grill!), cauliflower with cheese sauce, rice pilaf
Tuesday: spaghetti with meat sauce, salad
Wednesday: spicy honey chicken (grill?), herbed baby red potatoes, green beans
Thursday: burgers (grill?), waffle fries, baked beans
Friday: finishing up the inevitable pile of leftovers from the week

Trying new sauces…

April 19, 2009

My own homemade spaghetti sauce is good, but, DH isn’t the biggest fan of it. I thought it’d be fun to choose a few from the blogs I read, and try them.

The first one I made was from smitten kitchen. I doubled her recipe, because she warned it didn’t make a lot….but somehow ended up with 3 containers full of sauce.

So luckily, we liked this one — because we’ll be eating it several times!

I changed it from a spaghetti-and-meatballs recipe, to just a meat sauce recipe. I love meatballs, but sometimes it’s just easier when the meat’s in the sauce.

Spaghetti Sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 lb 80% lean ground beef (a little fat makes the sauce taste better)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
3 tsp minced garlic
2 pinches red pepper flake
1 cup good red wine (I used some tomato sauce because i dont like to cook with wine)
29 oz. can pureed tomatoes
29 oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

– Brown beef in large stockpot; remove to bowl and set aside
– In same stockpot, heat olive oil, then add onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 minutes
– Add the garlic and red papper flakes and cook for 1 minute
– Add the wine (or tomato sauce), and move heat to high, scraping up all the brown bits from the meat. If using wine, cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. If using tomato sauce, just turn heat back down to medium and continue
– Stir in tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper
– Simmer sauce as long as you like…at least 30 minutes. I simmered it for an hour.


April 19, 2009

These “enchiladas” have been floating around on a lot of the blogs I read, and EVERYONE has enjoyed them!

We gave them a shot as well, and found them to be delicious. They reeeeeeeeeally aren’t enchiladas…I’m not sure they have a single authentic ingredient…but they’re still amazing.

This recipe also makes a lot more food than it looks. We had ben-chiladas for dinner three times, and poor DH ate some for lunches as well! We enjoyed them plain the first night, but found on subsequent re-heating nights that the filling kind of congeals…so we added some canned enchilada sauce to our leftovers and it was delicious all over again!

To reheat, Annie recommends 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes

(Annie’s Eats)

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
8 oz. ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
jar of salsa (i used fresh)
shredded mexican cheese blend (as much as you want…anywhere from 2-4 cups!)

– Cook chicken breasts by preferred method, set aside to cool. When cool, shred or cube chicken (I skipped this step by baking my chicken and shredding it a few days before I made them)
– In a large mixing bowl, combine half the sour cream, and half the ranch dressing
– In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and the rest of the ranch dressing
– Stir both until well combined, then add shredded or cubed chicken to the large mixing bowl and mix well
– Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease a 9″x13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed — it was needed for us)
– Take 1 tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp of the sauce from the small bowl; spreading over the tortillas in an even layer
– Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla, and top with salsa and cheese to taste
– Roll up the tortilla and place it seam-side down in your prepared baking dish
– Repeat until all ingredients are used up (Mine made 12 bursting-at-the-seams enchiladas on 10″ tortillas with 4 chicken breasts)
– Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla)
– Allow to cool a few minutes before serving

Grilled Baby Red Potatoes with Herbs

April 19, 2009

This is pretty simple, but so delicious….

Grilled Baby Red Potatoes with Herbs
(Mrs Sac’s Purple Kitchen)

8 baby red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tbsp coarsly chopped fresh parsley

– In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, pepper, and garlic salt
– Spray a sheet of tin foil with olive oil or cooking spray, and spread the potatoes into thin layers (2-3 potatoes thick)
– Add any additional seasonings you enjoy, and fold up the tin foil, making a little packet on all sides
– Grill over medium heat, carefully flipping over once
– Cook for about 15-20 minutes
– Remove from grill and add fresh parsley before serving

Lemon Coconut Bread

April 19, 2009

I thought this combination sounded heavenly, so I baked up two loaves of this over the weekend. I took one into my co-workers….I may keep the other one!

Lemon Coconut Bread

*Note: This bread is delicious on it’s own, but toasted and slathered with butter it is a-ma-z-i-n-g!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (lowfat is fine)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened…it truly doesn’t matter)
1/3 cup butter, melted
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan
– In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
– Stir in sugar and coconut
– In a medium bowl, or large measuring cup, whisj together the eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla
– Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture
– Stir until just combined and only a few streaks of flour remain
– Add in melted butter and stir until just smooth; being careful not to overmix
– Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
– Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing
– Makes 1 loaf

Spicy Honey Chicken

April 19, 2009

The picture above is DH’s handiwork…or rather, DHGM (Dear Husband-Grill Master) as he’s been requested to be called on my blog 🙂

I got this one from Leigh — her recipes are always fantastic!

Since DHGM finally, FINALLY was able to buy a grill (he’s so happy!), I included a lot of grill-friendly recipes in this week.

This chicken can be done inside, under the broiler, or outside, on the grill. I love those flexible recipes!
Spicy Honey Chicken
*Note: You can change the “spicy” aspect of this recipe by how much cayenne pepper you put in!)
8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (I used chicken thighs, but bone in, and some leftover boneless breasts)

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
– Combine the first six, ‘rub’ ingredients in a bowl and mix well
– Clean excess fat from chicken pieces and add pieces to bowl of spices, rubbing to coat
– Brush grill surface lightly with olive oil, and grill chicken for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through
– Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring until well combined
– Brush mixture onto chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling
– Since the glaze is sugar-based, you’l need to turn the heat down so your chicken doesn’t burn; leave it on the grill a fw moments to caramelize
– You can also use these steps inside, under your broiler