Sunday, December 28, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Cake

D and I went to see his parents in Mid December.  I was talking to his mother about what I was making for Christmas Dessert (German Chocolate Cheesecake Cake) when she informed me she didn't like Cheesecake.  #&*$! What am I going to make her?  D did some investigating and found out she likes blueberry pie.  Of course, a blueberry pie would have helped our waistlines as neither of us likes it, but I really hate making pies, and D's face seemed to indicate that he wanted no part of that in our house.  So after some research (or googling), I found this recipe.  D said that it sounded good.

It was really easy to make, except the batter was really thick.  The frosting made just enough to cover the cake, so don't keep tasting the frosting or you won't have enough to cover the cake.  Seriously, it made JUST enough.

So the taste?  D's mom said it was good. I thought it tasted like a blueberry muffin with good frosting.  My brother decided it was breakfast cake.  D liked it as well.  Neither D nor I tasted the lemon, but maybe it is the season and they aren't flavorful?  I'm not really sure.

Considering this didn't have my 3 requirements to bake a cake (chocolate, cream cheese or liquor), I thought it was really good.  I need to make it in the spring or summer to test out the lemon.

Photo by ALB

Blueberry Lemon Cake

Source: "Alice's Tea Cup" - Blueberry Lemon Cake printed by NY Daily News
Makes one 8-inch, 3-layer cake (I used 3 9-inch pans, and they were just thinner layers.

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (used regular salt, because Kosher salt didn't go through the sifter)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature (used salted)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (mixed fresh and bottled)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 1/2 cups blueberries (used ~3 cups frozen, that were partially thawed)

The Yummiest Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature (used salted)
1 pound confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature (was cold)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly butter and flour three 8-inch round nonstick cake pans. In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.

2. In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest, and mix until smooth. Add the eggs, mixing them in one at a time until fully combined. With the mixer set to the lowest speed, alternate adding the dry mixture and the buttermilk, and mix until the batter is smooth, scraping the bowl down occasionally. Use a spatula to gently fold in the blueberries.  (The batter was really thick, and I had to use the spatula to even out the batter)

3. Fill the three cake pans evenly with batter and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. (I rotated the cakes at 11:30 minutes and cooked another 11:30). Set aside on a wire rack to cool completely before removing from the pans.

4. To build the cake, spread some of the frosting over the layers, and stack the layers; then frost the sides of the cake.

For Yummiest Buttercream Frosting

With a mixer on medium speed, cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners' sugar a little bit at a time, alternating with splashes of the milk and the vanilla. Mix until the frosting is smooth.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo and Lime

So Cooking Light emailed this recipe last week, I think.  I looked at the ingredients, and we had the majority of them except for the Spanish Chorizo and Cilantro.  Now, knowing our grocery store, I knew Spanish Chorizo was not going to be had. I also noticed Mexican Chorizo would taste fine with this, and easy to get.

D made it. It was easy he said.  It was similar to the Black Bean-Tomato Soup with Cilantro-Lime Cream, but he said easier.

It was flavorful and spicy.  I would have again.

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo and Lime

Photo by ALB

Smoky chorizo and bright lime add depth to a soup made quick with canned beans.
Yield: Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 ounces Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (used Mexican chorizo)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (used green)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted black beans, rinsed, drained, and coarsely mashed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chorizo; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove chorizo from pan (do not wipe pan). Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oregano and next 4 ingredients (through salt); cook 30 seconds. Stir in stock and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cooked chorizo and juice. Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 287; Fat: 12.5g; Saturated fat: 4.6g; Monounsaturated fat: 5.6g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1g; Protein: 16.4g; Carbohydrate: 27.1g; Fiber: 7.7g; Cholesterol: 27mg; Iron: 2.8mg; Sodium: 514mg; Calcium: 119mg

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2013

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

So I think my friend NCBeaches told me about this recipe. If she didn't, I will give her credit for telling me about the Slow Roasted Italian.

Anyway, back to the potatoes. I have made mashed potatoes in the crockpot for holidays before and honestly it works so well. You have no one in the Meat Preparer's way because potatoes seem to have to be made at the last minute so they aren't cold. I was going to make these (because honestly I don't remember how I made the potatoes I made previously and it was before I started this blog), but I have a leg injury at the moment so D made them.

We halved the recipe, and there was still leftovers after 4 adults ate. They had a good garlic taste (I assume D added more), and more importantly, they were HOT!

When asking D about the ease, he said they were quite possibly the easiest mashed potatoes he ever made. He said if you wanted to get fancy to either change the cream cheese to flavored cream cheese or something like Camembert or Brie.

We'll have again.

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes in foreground- Photo by ALB

Recipe by The Slow Roasted Italian
SERVES 12 | ACTIVE TIME 20 Min | TOTAL TIME 3 Hours 20 Minutes

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened (used salted)
5 pounds red potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese (used light)
1/2 cup sour cream (used light)
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Butter inside of crock with butter and leave remaining butter on the bottom of the dish. Add potatoes and cover. Cook on high 3 hours or 5-6 hours on low.

Remove cover, once potatoes are fork tender (meaning they break apart when you put a fork into a potato), add milk and cream. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2014


So I said previously that D and I had been sick with food poisoning or something the week before Thanksgiving.  Although we know it didn't cause it, the last meal we had included sausage, so we wanted no part of sausage.

Now my brother is the Dip King, and usually we all joyfully welcome sausage to any meal. However, this year, no.  So Bro and I looked and found 3 recipes and D picked this of those.

I assume this was easy because Bro was in our kitchen and needed no help (you know how not being in your own kitchen is).

The result was delicious.   It wasn't until we got about half way through that we finally figured out it would be awesome atop of hot dogs, but we had none (and then is when I remembered to get a picture).  So we continued to demolish this with tortilla chips.  I'd have this again.


Photo by ALB

From Pinch of Yum 
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 24 (or 4)

3 cups prepared chili, or 2 cans (like Hormel)
1 block cream cheese (I used light)
3 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 can black beans
chili powder, cumin, or cayenne to taste
cilantro for topping (didn't use)
tortilla chips for dipping

In microwaveable safe bowl (or a Dutch Oven on the stove), melt first 3 ingredients. Stir well until blended together. Add black beans and seasoning, if desired. Transfer to a mini-crocvkpot for serving. Serve with cilantro and chips!

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Thanksgiving!  As usual, a holiday in our house that is not traditional.  I'm allergic to turkey, and neither D nor I like ham.  So we usually have unusual meals.  Christmas falls into this category too.  We have had Pastitsio, Tacos, Jambalaya, Sausage, and other oddities.  This year, I decided I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving.  However, D and I both got some weird food poisoning that lasted an entire week, and by the time Sunday before Thanksgiving rolled around, thinking about food was not a priority (I may have told my brother we not even have it).

So back to traditional Thanksgiving.  Our menu got abbreviated, but I REALLY wanted pecan pie.   Then I remembered my dad had asked about cheesecake in August when I saw him.  He doesn't usually ask for anything on the menus (my brother, D, and I plan the menus), so I felt obliged.  And then I remembered I found a recipe that would satisfy my dad and me.  PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE.

First, it was SIMPLE to make, provided you have a food processor.  The recipe was from Heidi's So-Called Life. This was only going to be my 2nd attempt at a cheesecake, and they still intimidate me.  However, she took into consideration everything.

Just make it.
Photo by ALB

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

From Heidi's So-Called Life
Servings: 1-10 depending on what size piece you cut

1 ¾ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
Photo by ALB
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ cup butter, melted

Pecan Filling:
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup dark corn syrup
⅓ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (used low-fat, because I find it creamier)
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 eggs
⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine wafer crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Pecan Filling:
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into crust and set aside.

Photo by ALB

Cheesecake Filling:
Reduce oven to 325°. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add brown sugar and flour and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Stir in cream and vanilla. Pour over pecan filling. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 1 hour. Remove from oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let cool. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Photo by ALB

The IMPORTANT Part from Heidi's So-Called Life 
I always end up having a mushy crust whenever I try to do a water bath for my cheesecakes - I guess I just don't wrap the pan well enough in foil. This time I had a Pyrex dish filled with very hot water on the bottom rack while the cheesecake baked on the top rack, and I did not have a single crack!
(ALB's note- It worked. I had 1 small crack compared to my first cheesecake that had a huge one across the middle!)

Photo by ALB
So good that I had a slice for breakfast on Friday!

Photo by ALB

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

So I liked this recipe because it was fast.  I assume it was easy, since they usually go hand-in-hand. D made it.

I would have again.  We had with Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes.

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 breast half and 2 tablespoons sauce)
Cost Per Serving:$2.36

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
1/2 cup beer (used a Budweiser)
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent. Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 245; Fat: 4.5g; Saturated fat: 0.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 2g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1g; Protein: 40g; Carbohydrate: 7.8g; Fiber: 0.2g; Cholesterol: 99mg; Iron: 1.6mg; Sodium: 544mg; Calcium: 27mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2012

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Like most roasted potatoes, these smell better than they actually are.  They were good, but I didn't feel they were anything special.  However, unlike usual, I refrained from putting ketchup on them (I put ketchup on most "French Fry-like" potatoes).

I'd still have them again.  We had with Chicken with Beer and Honey.

Roasted Parmesan Rosemary Potatoes

Photo by ALB

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes

1.50 lb(s), New Red Potato With Skin
3.00 tbsp., Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2.00 tbsp, Cheese - Parmesan, shredded
1.00 tbsp, Spices - Rosemary, fresh
0.25 tsp, Salt - Coarse Kosher
0.25 tsp(s), Spices - Pepper, black

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix potatoes, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread potato mixture over prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven until potatoes are golden brown and tender, stirring once, about 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 221; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 2 mg; Sodium: 194 mg; Potassium: 781 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 27 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 2 g; Protein: 4 g;

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

D and I were looking for a beef slow-cooker recipe and I found this.  He agreed.

He said in terms of easiness, it was very simple.

Taste-wise, it was delicious.  I have no idea if it compares to a Chicago Sandwich, but it was good enough for me.  Coincidentally, my friend Delane had sent me homemade relish from Chicago.  So we put that on.  D also put Giardiniera on his, but I did not, since I don't like olives.  I put pepperoncini on mine.

We would definitely have again.  We had with Tater Tots.

Tangy Italian Beef Sandwiches

Photo by ALB
Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 sandwich and about 2 tablespoons sauce)
Hands-on: 15 Minutes
Total: 8 Hours, 15 Minutes

3 banana peppers
Cooking spray
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
7 bottled pepperoncini peppers, chopped
2 1/4 pounds chuck roast, trimmed and halved
8 (1 1/2-ounce) sandwich rolls, toasted

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 6 minutes or until blackened in spots, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Add vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, and red pepper; stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and chopped pepperoncini.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until beef is very tender. Remove beef from cooker; shred with 2 forks. Stir beef and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into cooking liquid. Divide beef mixture evenly among sandwich rolls, spooning out with a slotted spoon. Serve any extra sauce for dipping.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 356; Fat: 15.9g; Saturated fat: 6g; Monounsaturated fat: 6.4g; Polyunsaturated fat: 1.3g; Protein: 26.2g; Carbohydrate: 24.7g; Fiber: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 86mg; Iron: 3.5mg; Sodium: 588mg; Calcium: 94mg

Cooking Light DECEMBER 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

It's Cauliflower, which is one of my favorite vegetables.  It was good.  I would have again.

We had with Mushroom Asiago Chicken.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Photo by ALB

Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield:5 to 6 cups roasted cauliflower florets, 6 to 8 servings (We got 4 servings)

5 to 6 cups cauliflower florets, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (from 1 medium cauliflower)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (used 2 TBSP)
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Chopped chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the cauliflower florets in a large saute pan or a roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, and season with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place the saute/roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even roasting. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately while still warm.

Nutritional Information from MyFitnessPal
Calories: 132; Total Fat: 8 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 3 mg; Sodium: 701 mg; Potassium: 664 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 6 g

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

I found this recipe from NCBeaches.  It looked good so D and I decided to try it.

We typically don't buy Asiago (use Parm), but we did this time, and I'm glad we did.  It was rich and flavorful, but not overpowering.  We would have again.

We had with Pasta and Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice.

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

Photo by ALB

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Makes 5-6 servings (we got 4)

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs fresh thyme or3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Cut each chicken breast into thirds by first cutting each breast in half crosswise, then set the thinner half aside. Slice the thicker part of the breast in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board) to produce 2 more thin cutlets. Cover the chicken breast pieces with a sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a small skillet until all of the pieces are about ¼" thick. Lightly season each cutlet on both sides with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt about 2 Tbsp unsalted butter. Add as many cutlets as will fit comfortably into the skillet, but be sure not to overcrowd the pan. Sauté for about 5 minutes until golden brown on the first side, then flip and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate and cover lightly with foil. Repeat with remaining chicken cutlets.

When all of the chicken is cooked, add remaining butter to the skillet along with the mushrooms and ½ tsp salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and become softened. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour white wine (or ½ cup chicken broth) into the skillet and stir to scrape up anything that is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the wine has nearly all evaporated, add ¾ cup chicken broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 10–15 minutes at a rapid simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in heavy cream. Sprinkle the Asiago cheese over the top of the sauce and stir constantly until the cheese melts. Nestle the chicken back into the skillet and allow it to simmer in the sauce just until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has slightly thickened. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve right away, either all by itself, or spooned over pasta or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

D found this one.  There was a lot going on with the flavors but it was really good.  Would have again.

Smoked Sausage Cassoulet

Photo by ALB

This hearty soup is exploding with flavors. Meat lovers will crave this bacon-packed and sausage-enriched delight. For a thicker consistency, let the cassoulet stand 30 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup cassoulet, 1 teaspoon cheese, and 1 teaspoon parsley)

2 bacon slices
2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound lean boneless pork loin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 teaspoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
8 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in crumbled bacon, salt, pepper, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

2. Place half of beans in a large bowl; mash with a potato masher until chunky. Add remaining half of beans, pork, and sausage; stir well. Place half of bean mixture in a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker; top with half of tomato mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 249; Calories from fat: 0.0%; Fat: 7.6g; Saturated fat: 2.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 3.2g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g; Protein: 22.2g; Carbohydrate: 23.8g; Fiber: 4.6g; Cholesterol: 48mg; Iron: 2.9mg; Sodium: 627mg; Calcium: 89mg

Oxmoor House SEPTEMBER 2012

Pagash AKA Pierogi Pizza

So my friend Lisa Marie gave me this recipe awhile ago.  She got it from Bonbons and Biscotti.  I had never heard of such a thing.  Being that I love pierogies, I decided D and I should have it.  D made it (shocker, I know...) and it was everything I hoped it would be.  The only thing differently I would have done is sautee the onions for  few minutes before putting on the pizza to get the raw flavor out of them.

You should have it.

Pagash AKA Pierogi Pizza

Photos by ALB

1 package Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast and the ingredients listed on the package for preparation or you could by a pizza dough ball in your local bakery
2 cups mashed potatoes with 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese added (we used Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes and added cheese)
4-6 Tbsp butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, sliced into very thin rings
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

(This is a step we skipped by buying Simply Potatoes Mashed Potatoes).  Prepare potatoes and allow to cool slightly, about 1 hour. It is best to make the potatoes a little dry especially if you normally make them very whipped. A thick, creamy mashed potato is best. I normally peel and boil about 5 medium size russet potatoes, cut them into uniform squares, cover them in water and boil them until fork tender. I then drain them and add 1/4 cup milk and 4 Tbsp salted butter. I add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. I then mash until smooth. Add the cheese and allow to sit covered so the cheese can melt. This recipe makes more then the suggested 2 cups but I love leftovers. As I suggested you can use your own recipe here. If you like to add sour cream or other ingredients feel free. Just remember, you want the potatoes so be thick.

After your potatoes have cooled for about 1 hour it is time to make the crust. I follow the directions on the package for preparation. The one change it do make is I hand toss the dough and then roll it onto a pizza stone. I then par bake the crust for about 6 minutes at 425 degrees. Since I do not have a pizza oven at my house (and who does), I like to par bake the crust so it is browned on the bottom and it allows for a much more durable layer to hold all the potatoes and cheese.

While the crust is baking I melt my butter in the microwave in a small mug and add the 3 cloves of minced garlic to make a garlic butter sauce. Also add the Italian Seasoning. After taking the crust out of the oven.

I spread the garlic butter all over the crust. I then add the mashed potatoes over the butter. Spread them evenly (like icing) with a rubber scraper or offset knife. I then layer on the onion ringd. Then the 3 types of cheese.

Place the pizza in the oven and bake at 425 for 15-17 minute. At this time, I set the oven to Broil and allow the pizza in the oven until the cheese is slightly brown; about 3-4 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool 8-10 minutes before cutting. The potatoes will solidify a little and you will have pretty slices.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

I found this recipe on my cousin's Pinterest Page.  D and I are always looking at new-to-us ingredients and artichokes fit the bill.  He made it while I was doing something, but I don't remember what.

It was not what either of us expected.  We both liked it but I thought it would have lemon. He thought it needed white wine.  He finally figured out I thought it was going to taste like Chicken Piccata.  It definitely picks up more flavor as a left over.

After figuring out the NI, I'm not sure if we'll have again.  It was good, but not sure "that" good.

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Photo by ALB
8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained, and quartered
2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces angel-hair pasta
1/2 cup parsley leaves

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a dish.

Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently swirl to combine, and bring just to a boil. Remove skillet from heat. Swirl in butter, and cover to keep warm.

Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.

Everyday Food, March 2009

Nutritional Information from MyFitnessPal

Friday, October 10, 2014

Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese

D and I were trying to decide what to eat for dinner 2 nights before a big run (21 miles).  We knew we should be carbing up, by eating more carbs, but not by eating huge portions.  We saw this recipe on Pinterest from my friend Linda, and decided to try it.  Looking over the ingredients, we also decided to add some onions and peppers.

It was very loose when it was finished, but we both knew it would tighten up over time, which it did. Over all it was very good.  I would have again.

Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese

Photo by ALB

Adapted from The Slow Roasted Italian
Serves 7
Serving Size: 1.5 cup

Cooking Spray
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
¼ cup (4 Tbsp) butter
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3½ cups + 2 Tbsp 2% milk (divided)
8 ounces dried elbow pasta
1 pound thick cut deli roast beef, chopped
12 ounces provolone cheese, shredded (divided)
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Hoagie Spread for topping (not in NI)

In a pan over medium high with cooking spray, brown onions and peppers until soft.

In a Dutch Oven, over medium high heat, add butter, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add 3½ cups of milk, then cover.

Once milk starts bubbling add pasta. Allow to bubble for 4-5 minutes, until pasta is almost cooked though, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, chop beef into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Add beef to skillet and stir to combine. Allow to bubble for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile in a resealable jar create slurry; combine 2 Tbsp milk and 2 Tbsp flour. Shake until well combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to broil (broil-high).

Stir 8 ounces provolone cheese and Parmesan cheese into Dutch Oven. Add slurry. Stir to combine. Add peppers and onions. Stir to combine. If mac and cheese is too thick, add a splash of milk and stir, repeat until it is loosened up. *cheese sauce with thicken as it cools

Sprinkle with remaining 4 ounces of cheese. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted and golden browned. Top with Hoagie

Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 563; Carbs: 36; Fat: 30; Protein: 38; Sodium: 1187; Fiber: 2

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chorizo Queso Fundido

So I love Queso Fundido, but I don't get it often, because unlike queso dip it is just a big blob of cheese, whereas Queso Dip is more of a sauce.  Looking around on Pinterest, I found a recipe.  Well, let's just say I never need to have it at a restaurant again.

It took D all of 5 minutes to make.  He probably should have taken 6 minutes, because the cheese wasn't completely melted, but eh.  I think I liked it better than D.  True to form, it sat in my stomach like a big blob of cheese, but of course I'll have again.

Chorizo Queso Fundido

Photo by ALB

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 small skillet of dip
Serving size: a couple of chips dipped this cheesy dip,  (I say 4)

 1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded queso quesadilla cheese or oaxaca
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces chorizo (used 9)
Tortilla chips for dipping (not used in Nutritional Information)

Heat the oven to broil.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the chorizo and garlic and cook through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet (small) or ceramic dish, add the cheese and broil until melted (Ours was browned but not completely melted...the microwave would fix that). Top with drained chorizo and serve immediately with chips. notes

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 378; Carbs: 4; Fat: 29; Protein: 23; Sodium: 823: Fiber: 1

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuscan-Style Garlic-Herb Pork Chops

So D and I have been training for a marathon which means we have been eating lots of casseroles (left overs) and pasta or crock-pot meals, since we both run after work but before dinner (and come home ravenous).  But periodically you want a "real" dinner.  This would qualify.  And it was quick.

Overall the rosemary stuck out the most, probably because it was the freshest (it was from the garden).  I thought the bean salad needed some salt and maybe some balsamic, but it could be because we didn't have the olives that go in it, since I hate olives.  The pork reminded me of a Tuscan version of Chimichurri.

Overall, I would have again.

Tuscan-Style Garlic-Herb Pork Chops

Photo by ALB

These grilled chops rest in and absorb an herb vinaigrette for a few minutes while you mix what might be the easiest side dish ever--a toss of white beans, briny green olives, and fresh spinach that matches up beautifully with the juicy pork chops.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 pork chop, 1 tablespoon dressing, and about 3/4 cup beans)
Hands-on: 8 Minutes
Total: 20 Minutes

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons thinly sliced sage leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 packed cup baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
12 green olives, pitted and finely chopped (2 ounces) (didn't use)

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat.

2. Combine 2 teaspoons oil, 2 tablespoons parsley, sage, vinegar, rosemary, and half of garlic on a large plate or serving platter; set aside.

3. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes. Turn pork chops over; grill 3 minutes or until done. Transfer chops to serving platter; turn to coat in herb mixture.

4. Combine lemon rind, juice, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beans, remaining garlic, spinach, green onions, and olives; stir to combine. Serve with pork chops. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley to garnish.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 328; Fat: 14.8g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Monounsaturated fat: 7.8g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2g; Protein: 29g; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 5g; Cholesterol: 71mg; Iron: 3mg; Sodium: 570mg; Calcium: 89mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Cheddar

So I must have missed the memo on quinoa.  The whole world seems to love it, but never talks about the price.  Kroger sells 2 kinds.  One is never stocked at $7.49/12 oz, and the other one is always there at $9.99/lb.  We have bought it once a few years ago, but because I scoffed at the price we haven't since. 

But it seems to have gotten more popular and again, no one chats about the price, so I put this casserole on the list.  The price hasn't come down, but I was busy scoffing at the price of a rump roast at $6.99/lb and had already crossed that off my grocery list while shopping that I didn't feel like going to cross this off, put everything back and go get the rump roast.  So quinoa it was.

Basically this is broccoli rice casserole with chicken.  It is pretty good.  I would totally have again, except with rice.  We had with a Caesar Salad.

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Cheddar

Photo by ALB
In our updated riff on chicken-rice casserole, whole-grain quinoa stands in for the typical white rice. It's a modern interpretation that still has loads of old-school comfort-food appeal.

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
Hands-on: 20 Minutes
Total: 55 Minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cups water
1 (12-ounce) package microwave-in-bag fresh broccoli florets
Cooking spray
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup canola mayonnaise
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add quinoa; cook 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add 1 1/4 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Cook broccoli in microwave according to package directions, reducing cook time to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally; remove from pan.

5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, stock, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Add Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, and mayonnaise. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheddar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese melts.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 449; Fat: 21.3g; Saturated fat: 6.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 4.5g; Protein: 34g; Carbohydrate: 29g; Fiber: 4g; Cholesterol: 75mg; Iron: 3mg; Sodium: 668mg; Calcium: 333mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tortellini Spinach Casserole

D and I saw this recipe and thought it was a lot of spinach. So we decided to reduce a box.

I think I liked it more than D. There was a lot of cheese. D thought there should be more milk. We think the spinach absorbed a lot of the liquid. I did get cheese stuck to the roof of my mouth.

For left overs we added red sauce.

Tortellini Spinach Casserole

Photo by ALB
12 Servings
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min.

1 package (19 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 pound brick cheese, cubed
3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (used 2 boxes) 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in 1/4 cup butter until mushrooms are tender. Remove and keep warm.

In same skillet, combine milk and remaining butter. Bring to a gentle boil; stir in brick cheese until smooth. Drain tortellini; place in a large bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture and spinach. Add cheese sauce and toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Nutritional Information
281 calories, 19 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 64 mg cholesterol, 378 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 15 g protein.

Taste of Home 2014

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

So I pretty much love the Homesick Texan.  D's mom got me the cookbook (or should I say him since he does the cooking) for Christmas and so far everything as been really good.  This was no exception. Spicy macaroni and cheese.  D said the only thing that would make it better would be bacon.

Will have again.

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

Photo by ALB

From Lisa Fain, The Homesick Texan
Serves 8

2 Poblano chiles
8 ounces elbow pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (used regular)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk (used 2% milk)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups white cheddar, grated (12 ozs)
1/2 cup cotija cheese

Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch long pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to your package's directions ad then drain the pasta. (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; cook for 5 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.

In a pot (you can use the pot the pasta cooked in or you can do this while the pasta boils), on low heat melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened a bit but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles. Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.

Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and well combined into the sauce. (If the sauce has cooled too much and the cheese won't melt, return the pot to low heat on the stove seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. If however, the sauce gets too thick, like a custard, you can thin it by stirring in milk, a teaspoon at a time.) Pour sauce over pasta and top with the remaining half of the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (using our ingredients)
Calories: 351; Carbs: 26; Fat: 20; Protein: 18; Sodium: 432; Fiber: 1

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chicken Bacon Pasta

So D and I saw this recipe and wanted it but oh the ingredients!  Half-pound of bacon, heavy cream and cream cheese?  We both decided to have it after a long run because it had to be so much.  Well, I built it and although high, I was surprised it was lower in calories than I expected.

It had a lot of flavor and was creamy.  I would have again.  We had no side.

Chicken Bacon Pasta

Photo by ALB

Servings: 4
From Plain Chicken

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese (used light)
1/4 cup shredded 5-Blend Italian Cheese
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 grilled chicken breast, sliced (14 oz, raw)

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done (according to package instructions).

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon, and add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Top with grilled chicken.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 627; Fat:30; Carbs: 46; Protein: 42; Sodium: 392; Fiber: 2

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

I have long said I don't like fruit and meat combined.  So I guess since it was liquid, I didn't equate cider to apples.  I should have.  This was disgusting.  It tasted like Apple Pie with Chicken. 

I will eat my leftovers because I'm cheap, but I will never have again.

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

With chicken cutlets and boil-in-bag rice, this unique take on the chicken-and-rice dinner couldn’t be easier (or faster!) to make.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and about 1/2 cup rice)
Total: 20 Minutes

1 (3.5-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. While rice cooks, melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 333; Fat: 13g; Saturated fat: 4.4g; Monounsaturated fat: 4.9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2.2g; Protein: 29.1g; Carbohydrate: 24.2g; Fiber: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 81mg; Iron: 1.5mg; Sodium: 601mg; Calcium: 23mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2010

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Broccoli, Pancetta, and Parmesan Frittata

This was a pretty disappointing dish.  It was a bit dry, which was fine, but it lacked flavor.  It needed salt, which if you look at the ingredients, you'd go, "Really?"  And it needed more cheese.

The positives were that for 2 servings the calories weren't horrendous, and it came out of the dish pretty.  But I wouldn't have again.

Broccoli, Pancetta, and Parmesan Frittata

Baked frittatas are like overstuffed omelets that you don't have to worry about flipping. To save time, you can microwave the broccoli florets in a covered microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 wedges)
Hands-on:25 Minutes
Total:34 Minutes

6 ounces small broccoli florets (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of grated whole nutmeg
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 cup sliced sweet onion

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook broccoli florets in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water; drain broccoli well.

3. Combine thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

4. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add pancetta; cook 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broccoli; sauté 1 minute. Add egg mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with pancetta. Place pan in oven; bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until center is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Nutritional Information 
Calories: 221; Fat: 13.7g; Saturated fat: 4.9g; Monounsaturated fat: 5.1g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2.2g; Protein: 17g; Carbohydrate: 7g; Fiber: 2g; Cholesterol: 380mg; Iron: 2mg; Sodium: 547mg; Calcium: 166mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2014

Hungarian Beef Goulash

So we used to eat goulash a lot when I was little. In my head it was stroganoff with onions, so I didn't like it.  Since I haven't had it in over 25 years, I'm not really sure what it tasted like, but I'm 100% positive it didn't taste like this.

Both D and I liked it but thought it tasted like Rye Bread, probably due to the caraway seeds.  We both thought it would be excellent as an open faced sandwich with a HUGE piece of Swiss Cheese melted on it.  Alas, we had it with egg noodles, and still survived.

I'm not sure about him, but I would have again. Leftovers were good too.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

This streamlined goulash skips the step of browning the beef, and instead coats it in a spice crust to give it a rich mahogany hue. This saucy dish is a natural served over whole-wheat egg noodles. Or, for something different, try prepared potato gnocchi or spaetzle.

8 servings, about 1 cup each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 4 1/2-8 hours

2 pounds beef stew meat, (such as chuck), trimmed and cubed
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2-2 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika, (or a mixture of the two), preferably Hungarian (see Ingredient Note)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Crush caraway seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the beef with the spice mixture and toss to coat well. Top with onion and bell pepper.

Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Pour over the beef and vegetables. Place bay leaves on top. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours on high or 7 to 7 1/2 hours on low.

Discard the bay leaves; skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Per serving : 180 Calories; 5 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 48 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 25 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 250 mg Sodium; 298 mg Potassium

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

 Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months. | Prep ahead: Trim beef and coat with spice mixture. Prepare vegetables. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Refrigerate in separate covered containers for up to 1 day.

Ingredient Note: Paprika specifically labeled as “Hungarian” is worth seeking out for this dish because it delivers a fuller, richer flavor than regular or Spanish paprika. Find it at specialty-foods store or online at and

From EatingWell: January/February 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bacon and Avocado Macaroni Salad

So D either developed or just never expressed his dislike of lime juice.  If something calls for 1 TBSP, he seems to half it and even then his review of whatever is, "Too much lime."  I don't think that can be possible so it makes things interesting.  Anyway I came across this recipe and said, "Lemon juice and it's different."  So we tried it.

Different is an apt description.  It wasn't bad.  It wasn't great.  It was different.  I thought there was too much lemon.  Our avocado was mushy so we put it in the dressing.  Well, avocado, lemon and thyme...well it's different.  I could have again, but definitely not with anything involving cumin.  Of course, I could see subbing cumin in for the thyme and it would be less "different."


Bacon and Avocado Macaroni Salad

From Damn Delicious
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings

12 ounces elbows pasta
5 slices bacon, diced
2 avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

To make the dressing, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and thyme in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. In a large bowl, combine pasta, bacon, avocado, lemon-thyme dressing, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately, garnished with thyme. Adapted from The Cozy Apron

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

So I pinned this recipe when I first got on pinterest, of course thinking, "Who in their right mind would make Hamburger Rolls?"  Then in the spring, I started growing jalapenos and started thinking it wasn't a bad idea.

So I showed D, and he said, "You're making them, right?"  Of course.  So I did.  They took awhile (mostly waiting time), but were pretty easy to make.  Of course I had no idea how sticky the dough was supposed to be and was sure I messed up, but I kept going.

They were a little flat, but I think I punched them too low.   They were roll-like in consistency, easy to slice, and held up to a chicken burger with salsa and guacamole.  I would make again.

We had with Green Chili Chicken Burgers.

Photo by ALB

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures

1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I used a packet of Fleischman's yeast...didn't measure)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large jalapeños (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped (I used 2 because they were homegrown and spicier than the grocery stores)
1 cup hot water (100-110 F) (I boiled it and then let it sit for a few minutes)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature (Divided)

Add the yeast, flour, sugar, salt, cheese and jalapenos to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Beat briefly on low speed to combine.

Dry ingredients mixed

In a measuring cup, whisk the water, oil and 1 of the eggs together until combined (I didn't see the 1 and used both eggs...make sure to tempure the eggs and water if you didn't take the temperature of the water, as to not cook the eggs). With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients and continue mixing until the dough comes together (you may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice). The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and cling to the bottom – you may need to add a little flour or water to achieve the right consistency (every time I’ve made this recipe I’ve needed to add 2-4 tablespoons of flour). Knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl.

Dough prior to rising

Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 75-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to your work surface and divide in half. Divide each of the two pieces into 4 or 5 equal pieces, depending on whether you want oversized or more traditional rolls. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Space the rolls about 1/2 to 1-inch apart – you want the edges to bake together in the oven.

Cover the pan with a damp towel, and allow the rolls to rise for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make egg wash. Brush the rolls with the egg wash.

About to go in the oven

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are deep golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes.

Store in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature, or wrap tightly and freeze.

Makes 8-10 rolls

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pinto Bean and Hominy Salad

So earlier this year I noticed I can't eat grocery store bakery cookies (think the cookies in the clear plastic containers).  I don't know what they put in them (Publix, Sam's, Kroger, Costco), but an hour after eating one, I'm doubled over in gut-wrenching pain.  The solution?  Make my own cookies and stop eating theirs. 

Well come spring, I noticed the same thing was happening with corn.  Not with HFCS, but ears of corn, frozen corn, canned corn and popcorn  (doesn't matter organic or non).  This is not good as I love corn, and a lot of foods we have involve corn.   I thought about substituting hominy in some recipes to see if it was the shell, but never got around to it. 

Lo and behold, Homesick Texan goes and posts this recipe.  And we finally got around to planning to have it.  It was really good.  I love pinto beans and all the flavors meshed well.  Definitely will have again, especially since I was left gut-pain free.

We had with left-over Jalapeno and Beer Brined Pork.

Pinto Bean and Hominy Salad

From Homesick Texan

Photo by ALB

4 cups cooked pinto beans, drained or 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can hominy, drained
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil (used 3)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled or 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

In a large bowl, add the pinto beans, hominy, red onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, red bell pepper, and jalapeño. Toss until well combined.

Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and smoked paprika. Pour over the beans and stir until evenly distributed. Stir in the Cotija or feta cheese. Add salt to taste.

While you can serve it immediately, it tastes better if covered and chilled for at least an hour.

Nutritional Information from My Fitness Pal (6 Servings)
Calories: 237; Carbs: 29; Fat: 9; Protein: 7; Sodium: 526; Fiber: 8

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

I'm always looking for new ways to make cauliflower and broccoli because they are my favorite 2 vegetables.  I believe NCBeaches posted this to her Pinterest page, and I repinned it.  If that's not the case, I don't know where I found it. 

Anyway D made it, and it came together very quickly.  He thought it tasted like sweet vinegar and I thought it tasted like Russian Dressing.  Both of us liked it but neither tasted the Old Bay (so maybe more next time?).

We had with Bottle O' Beer Chicken Thighs
Would have again.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Photo by ALB

Number of servings: 4
Adapted from Melissa d'Arabian

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
2 slices bacon, cut in small pieces, cooked to crisp
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (we used Hellman's)
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay (perhaps use more)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place the bacon, broccoli, cauliflower and onions in a large salad bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking to make an emulsion. Mix in the mayonnaise and seafood seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss.

Nutritional Information from My Fitness Pal
Calories: 140; Carbs: 13; Fat: 9; Sat Fat: 1; Protein: 3; Sodium: 627; Fiber: 2; Sugar: 6

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta

So a couple of years ago, the only place we could find gnocchi was at the Dekalb Farmer's Market.  Even Whole Foods didn't carry it.  Since then, we never really ate it because it was so hard to find.  However, I've notice that Kroger started carrying it.  Then CL emailed me this recipe. 

I shared with D and we decided to have it.  It was really good, although there is a strong vinegar flavor, which D looked at me oddly when I said that.  It must be the lemon juice.  I still tasted it in the left overs, but like I said, I liked it.

Would have again.

Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta

Photo by ALB

Pancetta is cured unsmoked Italian bacon available at the grocery deli counter. It gives this elegant dish a deep, savory note. If you can't find gnocchi, substitute another short pasta.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups gnocchi mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese)
Total:30 Minutes

1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi (such as Vigo)
2 ounces pancetta, cut into thin strips (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Keep warm.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.

3. Add shallots and asparagus to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add gnocchi, pancetta, reserved cooking liquid, juice, salt, and pepper to pan; cook 1 minute. Serve with cheese.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 277; Calories from fat: 21%; Fat: 6.5g; Saturated fat: 3.1g; Monounsaturated fat: 2.5g; Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g; Protein: 11.2g; Carbohydrate: 43.7g; Fiber: 2.6g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Iron: 2.6mg; Sodium: 932mg; Calcium: 110mg

Cooking Light APRIL 2008

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Cheesy Bread

Another Pinterest find.

When I saw this recipe, it reminded me of the Basic Beer Bread Recipe that we make, but slightly different.  I saw in the original blog that buttemilk was subbed for the beer, but I decided we should sub the beer back.  So we did. 

D made it.  There was some issue of it coming out of the pan, so I suggest Parchment Paper or grease the hell out of the pan.  Also it was a little doughy even thought the toothpicks came out clean when testing.  So I suggest 55 minutes. 

The taste was outstanding, and we both had trouble with not eating more than 2 pieces.  We had to quickly wrap up the rest.  I'm guessing it is 16 servings but I think we sliced ours thinner so we will have more. 

Overall, I would have again.

Photo by ALB

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Cheesy Bread

Servings: 16
Adapted from Call Me PMC

8-10 slices bacon, after cooked and chopped you'll need 2 cups
3 (363 grams) cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup diced jalapeno, this will be about 1 large jalapeno, I diced seeds as well
2 cups mild cheddar cheese
12 ounce beer (Used Budweiser)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees

2. Spray 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray (or use Parchment Paper).

3. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, jalapenos, bacon and cheese. Stir to combine.

4. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine. (You can use a mixer for this, just be careful not to over-mix.)

5. Add cream cheese mixture, 1 tablespoon oil and beer and mix until just combined, don't over-mix.

6. Pour mixture into loaf pan.

7. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until top is browned (Probably bake 55 minutes next time).

8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack, cool 5 minutes before removing.

9.Serve warm or at room temperature.

Photo by ALB

Nutritional Information from My Fitness Pal
Calories: 223; Carbs: 21; Fat: 11; Protein: 8; Sodium: 478; Fiber: 1

Ingredients Used
Smithfield Bacon - Hometown Original, 8 slices (19g): 400 Calories
Generic - All-Purpose Flour (Cup), 3 cup: 1,365 Calories
Kroger - Baking Powder, 3 teaspoon: 0 Calories
Spices - Salt, table, 1 tsp: 0 Calories
Domino Sugar - White Sugar, 6 Teaspoon: 90 Calories
Aldi - Fit & Active - Light Cream Cheese, 8 oz: 560 Calories
Peppers - Jalapeno, raw, 1 pepper: 4 Calories
Kroger - Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese 8 oz: 880 Calories
Budweiser - Beer, 12 oz. (355g): 145 Calories
Oil - Vegetable, canola, 1 tbsp : 124 Calories