Friday, November 12, 2010

Pepperoni Portobello Pizzas

Last night's meal was Pepperoni Portobello Pizzas with leftover bean soup from the night before. These were really quick and delicious, but I could have probably eaten three or four. Also, I couldn't find the mushrooms as cheap as I probably needed to for meeting the price per serving listed in the recipe. But it's still a good, healthy, quick meal for when you need one. Even the baby wanted more!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

White-Bean Zucchini Soup

Last night we had White-Bean Zucchini Soup, and it was a hit! The baby kept squealing for more, and John particularly enjoyed the slight crunch that the zucchini added. I also threw ingredients into the bread maker for cornbread which paired well with the soup. This is a very quick dinner, as long as you follow the directions (which I didn't do)!

To keep the ingredients fresh and be sure that I knew exactly what was in the soup, I made the beans by simmering them for three hours with a chopped onions, a couple strips of bacon, salt, and pepper. (As a bonus, I made a little extra so I can use the beans for a chili recipe in a couple days.) Also, instead of chicken broth, I used the liquid made from making the beans which was already well seasoned. Once the beans were done, it was easy to add everything else to the pot and call dinner done in time to let the baby play in the backyard while I raked some leaves before John got home. This could be a veggie meal if you use veggie broth and take out the bacon, but it was good just as it is!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Distractions and Changes

A cute little kid has been occupying most of my time lately. We do eat dinner, and we even cook most nights (or have leftovers). In order to give myself the chance of updating our recipes more regularly, I will now link to the recipe I used and eliminate pictures unless I have extra time available. Sorry to make it less interesting, but it's the best chance to update this site. I'll try to note any changes I made in the text since I'm not writing out the full recipe with them.

We're also exploring the world of no eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, seeds, and seafood. I think that's everything; it's hard to remember it all. Hopefully it'll be temporary, but those are the doctor's orders for now. Anyway, I enjoy chicken nuggets/tenders and fries on occasion, but since the pre-prepared versions have egg in them or are fried with things that include one of the above "bad" foods, I decided to try out making them myself last night.

The Chicken Nuggets and Sweet Fries worked out pretty well except everything could have been crispier. Next time I'll try a slightly higher temperature from the beginning instead of waiting until later in the baking process to increase it. Also, to maintain the desired "no egg" meal, I substituted a combination of mustard and honey instead of honey mustard which I now know has mayonnaise in it (bad food). Next time I'll use more to give the chicken better flavor.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Little Ratatouille

To prevent having Sammy think I'm referring to him as a rat, I've been calling him my little Ratatouille. But the real reason for the name was that it took me almost all of the meal preparation time to remember Remy's name! Nevertheless, my little Ratatouille was a star last night. He had a front row seat with Chefs Brewer, and he enjoyed nearly every moment of it. Rotating between the baby carrier and the bumbo seat, he was happy to watch the workings in the kitchen. Ratatouille and I manned ingredient retrieval duty, as well as food processor and snow pea trimming duty, to keep the little boy away from anything dangerous, while John took charge of all work involving exposed knives or fire.

Last night we all (since Sammy's help was essential) cooked Barbequed Pork Fried Rice and even prepped ingredients for a couple other meals this week! It was our first time cooking brown rice in the rice cooker. We've rarely had brown rice in the past, but I read that if you double the amount of water that you'd normally use for white rice, the rice cooker can also cook brown rice. We gave it a try, and it worked well. It just takes quite a bit more time for it to finish compared to how long white rice normally cooks.

We enjoyed the flavors in this meal. We were hesitant about adding ketchup to the mixture for the pork but did it anyway, and it helped with the BBQyness of the pork.

Barbecued Pork Fried Rice

(adapted from Gourmet by way of Culinary in the Desert)


Pork Loin:
1/4 C hoisin sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp ketchup
1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
16 oz center-cut boneless pork loin, trimmed

Seasoning Liquid:
3 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Vegetables and Rice:
1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
3 medium leeks, halved and thinly sliced
8 oz snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
5 cups brown rice, cooked and chilled

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare barbecued pork loin:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, ketchup, and five-spiced powder. Add pork, turning to coat.
  2. Place pork onto a small baking pan lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Place into the oven and bake until a meat thermometer registers 150 F to 155 F. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Cut pork into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare seasoning liquid: In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.

Prepare vegetables and rice:
  1. In a large 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
  2. Add leeks and ginger. Stir-fry until leeks begin to soften, about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
  3. Stir in snow peas. Add rice wine, and stir-fry until snow peas are crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add rice and pork. Cook, stirring frequently until thoroughly heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in seasoning liquid, tossing well to coat evenly.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

I discussed this recipe here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup and Pasta

It's been awhile since my last post. We've cooked real meals far less in the last year between buying a house, preparing for the baby to come, and now being with Sam in the evenings after work. Despite everything that's going on, we're doing what we can to resume more healthy eating.

To add to some leftover pasta, I decided to make Butternut Squash Soup so we'd have enough food for dinner. I got this recipe and the can of squash from my aunt. She made it while we were visiting in New York, and I really enjoyed it, so she sent me what I needed to make it at home. While Sam was taking a short nap, I was able to chop veggies, and then I finished off the rest of the recipe with him looking on in the sling. It was quick to come together and didn't require too much with two hands, so I was able to finish. I'd say this recipe is baby friendly and tasty, too!

Next time, I may blend the veggies in a food processor after cooking them. Also, I may reduce the half and half a little more and substitute with more milk to reduce the sweetness a tiny bit. This was my first attempt at making soup, and this was a great first recipe since it's so easy.

Butternut Squash Soup

14 oz. chicken stock
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. pepper
15 oz. can of butternut squash
1 C half and half
1 C skim milk


  1. In a large pot, add chicken stock, onion, carrots, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
  2. Stir in butternut squash, half and half, and milk.
  3. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes and then serve.

Yield: 6 servings

I discussed this recipe here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

No Sauce Challenge

I really enjoy eating pasta. Unfortunately, many times with pasta you also get tomato sauce, which doesn't agree with Sam's stomach. So, I've been having to figure out ways to be able to at pasta (and pizza, another favorite) without tomato sauce and still keep it interesting. Thursday night we were in need of a trip to the grocery store but also wanted to have a good meal (without tomato sauce). We found this White Cheese and Sausage Pasta recipe which did the trick to satisfy our stomachs with standard ingredients we have in our pantry, fridge, and freezer even when we don't really have any food around.

White Cheese and Sausage Pasta

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 lb Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
Cooking spray
2 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 C skim milk
1 lb ziti, cooked and hot
3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

  1. Place a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
  2. Cook sausage until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and set aside. Wipe drippings from pan with a paper towel.
  3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add flour, and stir with a whisk. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Cook until thick (about 8 minutes), then remove from heat.
  4. Combine sauce, sausage, pasta, Parmesan, and salt in a large bowl. Spoon mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  5. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: 6 servings

I discussed this recipe here.