Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mediterranean Linguine with Basil & Tomatoes

I found this recipe on allrecipes. I didn't have exactly everything it called for but I made it work. I liked it, but I do think 1) a little less EVOO wouldn't hurt and 2) my crushed red pepper is STRONG.

1 16oz box of linguine (I used an *almost* full box of whole wheat thin spaghetti, its what I had)
1 tbs salt
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil (to me, this was a little much when eating but make your own assumptions)
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half (recipe called for 2, I had 1 - I think 1 was fine)
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
dry basil (recipe says 18 fresh leaves cut in strips - I had dry basil so i just shook it over top a few times...very precise meauring, I know)
3/4 C grated parmesan cheese (recipe says more for garnish but I say nah)

  1. Heat 6 qts water to boiling.
  2. Add pasta & salt to the water, cook until noodles are the texture you like (I'm an al dente kind of girl).
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  4. Add tomatoes & garlic to the heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally. (recipe says 2 minutes but I like them a little more cooked).
  5. Stir in vinegar & red pepper flakes.
  6. Drain pasta & add to the skillet.
  7. Cook and stir for 1 minute until pasta is coated.
  8. Season with salt & pepper.
  9. Stir in basil & cheese.
  10. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

I am a sucker for Italian food. I am also addicted to The Frisky, so when I saw this recipe I knew it would be worth a try.
I didn't modify it much, I used shredded mozz instead of fresh but it was still delicious to me.
It is a little labor intensive but worth it. It also was enough for dinner (for boyf & I) and FIVE gladware containers for lunches. FIVE.

1 medium-large eggplant (her recipe called for 2, but I think my medium eggplant was bigger than hers)
1 - 32oz jar of marinara sauce (I used Kirkland...Costco FTW)
3 eggs
3/4C flour
1.5C panko bread crumbs
1/3C parmesan cheese
A few handfuls of shredded mozz (specific measurement I know, but I am a cheese fiend - you may not be)
olive oil

  1. Cut eggplant into slices. (Thickness is up to you, mine were inconsistent sizes and turned out fine).
  2. Toss eggplant slices in 1.5 tsp of salt in a colander (strainer) over a bowl and let them sit/drain for 30 minutes. (recipe says skipping this will make the eggplant rubbery...I didn't want to chance that so I did it!).
  3. While your eggplant is draining, prepare your breading bowls.
  4. In bowl #1, combine flour with a few sprinkles of salt and pepper.
  5. In bowl #2, crack & whisk the eggs.
  6. In bowl #3, combine panko and parmesan.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. In pot (with lid!) heat marinara sauce on low heat, stirring occassionally.
  9. In frying pan, heat olive oil - no lies (and very unhealthy) I used a good deal of oil because things cook quicker.
  10. Work each piece of eggplant through the assembly line - flour-> egg -> breadcrumbs.
  11. Cook on both sides (flipping once) and drain finished eggplant on plate lined with a paper towel.
  12. Line 9x13 pan with layer of marinara.
  13. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer, cover with sauce and sprinkle with desired amount of mozzarella.
  14. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by sauce and cheese. Continue until out of eggplant (eggplant, sauce, cheese, eggplant, sauce, cheese).
  15. Bake uncovered until sauce is bubbling and cheese has completely melted (about 10 minutes for me).
  16. Eat plain or over pasta.
  17. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crockpot BBQ Chicken & Veggies

I am making a serious effort to utilize my crockpot more, it is just so convenient and requires so little work to make something delicious.
I made this recipe for dinner last night and it made enough for 4 meals (lunch & dinner for myself and the boyf).
I had about 3.5 hours between coming home from work (and tossing the food in the crockpot) and coming home from yoga. The chicken was totally cooked (probably also helped that it was thin sliced).
I think if you were to use regular sliced chicken breasts, there would be no problem cooking it for longer.
We ate ours plain (just the chicken and veggies), but I think it would be great over rice or maybe with some pasta on the side.

1.5C BBQ sauce (I used 1/4C of Sweet Baby Rays and 1.25C Kraft because thats what I had)
1 green pepper
1 white onion
1 tsp minced garlic (I have a giant tub of minced garlic from Costco to make life easier, but I think 1 tsp is equivalent to 4 cloves minced)
1 package of thin sliced chicken breasts (somewhere around 5 breasts - I think the packs are usually between 1 & 2lbs)

  1. Chop up onion and pepper. Size is really subject to personal preference - I made them more like strips (think sausage & peppers sized veggies) rather than little chunks
  2. Throw all the ingredients into the crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 3.5 hours. (Thats the time frame I had, I'm sure you could do high for shorter (1-2hrs) or low for longer and all would still be well in the world).
  4. Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Onion Dip

I love onion dip. Plain and simple. On chips, pretzels, veggies...just about all things that get dipped. I used this recipe from Alton Brown with very minimal changes. LOVE.

2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion (I picked a middle of the road sized one)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 - 160z container light sour cream
3/4C mayonaisse (I used Duke's - full fat)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper (found at Giant, not at Super Walmart)
1/2 tsp sea salt

  1. In saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add onions and 1/4 tsp of sea salt.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. (Alton says 20, mine were black by 15.)
  4. Remove pan from burner to cool. (I transferred the onions to a bowl and stuck them in the fridge to speed the process along).
  5. In large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
  6. After onions have cooled (don't have to be cold but don't want them to be hot), add to sour cream mixture.
  7. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld.
  8. Stir before serving. (I stirred periodically in the refrigerating period to get all the oniony goodness distributed).
  9. Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

Found this recipe on Pinterest, here.
Butter + salted caramel = DEEEEEEELICIOUS.

for crust
4 sticks of butter, room temperature
1C sugar
1.5C powdered sugar
2 tbs vanilla
4C all purpose flour

for filling
1 - 14oz bag of caramels unwrapped
1/3C of heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray 9x13 pan with pam.
  3. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add vanilla and flour to butter mixture until dough forms.
  5. Press 1/3 of dough mixture evenly across the greased pan.
  6. Bake crust for 20 minutes, remove from oven when done.
  7. Place remaining dough into the refrigerator.
  8. Combine caramels and cream into a microwave safe bowl.
  9. Microwave on high for 1 minute, remove and stir.
  10. If not complete melted, microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth and melted.
  11. Pour caramel onto crust.
  12. Sprinkle salt over caramel.
  13. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and crumble evenly over caramel.
  14. Return pan to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  15. Let cool and then cut into bars.
  16. Enjoy!

Honey Apple Sangria

This is my first attempt at sangria, it tastes like fall.
It is this recipe with a few modifications.
You can have extra fruits to garnish the sangria, I did not.

1 Fuji Apple
1/2C peach schnapps
2 - 750mL bottles of chardonnay
1/4C honey
1 orange - quartered
1 lime - quartered
1 lemon - quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
2 quarter size slices of fresh ginger
3 whole cloves
1 - 10oz bottle of club soda

  1. Core and chop the apple into pieces.
  2. Combine all ingredients (minus club soda) in a large bowl.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I sit it in the fridge overnight).
  4. Strain sangria into pitcher or punch bowl for serving.
  5. Squeeze orange, lime, and lemon into sangria.
  6. Add bottle of club soda.
  7. Stir gently to combine ingredients.
  8. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Crockpot Brown Sugar Pork Loin

I served this with the Cranberry Side Dish.
I love my crockpot and I love trying new things.
I found this recipe here, and made some changes because I don't like my crockpot meats to have a crust.

1 boneless pork loin - fat trimmed off (mine was about 2lbs, but the recipe says it can be up to 6lbs)
salt & pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled & halved
1C brown sugar
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

  1. Rub garlic halves all over the pork loin.
  2. Toss garlic & pork into crockpot.
  3. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
  4. Use fork to poke holes all over the pork.
  5. In a bowl combine brown sugar, dijon mustard, & balsamic vinegar.
  6. Rub mixture all over pork loin.
  7. Cover crockpot & cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours (If I'm home, I like to periodically spoon some juice from the crockpot back on top of the meat but its not necessary).
  8. Enjoy!

Cranberry Sauce

I found this recipe here, and only made one minor tweak.
I have served this with pork loin, as well as a (the most important) side at Thanksgiving.
I also used fresh cranberries as Costco has had a 48oz bag as of late, but I'm sure frozen would work fine maybe just cook it a little longer.

6C fresh cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and chopped up
1/4C orange juice
2C sugar
2 tbs Peach Schnapps

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a 4qt (or larger) dish, mix together all ingredients until apples and cranberries are thoroughly coated.
  3. Cover dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven & stir.
  6. Serve hot, cold, or somewhere in between (it tastes good at all temps).
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Fudge

I tried to make pumpkin fudge 2 weekends ago and it was a major flop. I tried to follow this recipe and flopped big time. It had the consistency of taffy even after sitting in the fridge AND freezer. It also looked to have separated into a layer of white chocolate and a layer for orange. I failed.

I tried again, this time modifying the recipe, and it tastes like heaven.
2C sugar
1C brown sugar
12 tbs butter
2/3C evaporated milk
1/2C canned pumpkin
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12oz bag (1.5C) of white chocolate chips
7oz jar (1.5C) of fluff 
1.5 tsp vanilla

  1. Line 9x13 pan with wax paper.
  2. Heat a medium-large sauce pan.
  3. Add sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter, and pumpkin pie spice to sauce pan.
  4. Bring ingredients to a boil. Let boil for 12 minutes over medium heat, stirring regularly.
  5. Remove sauce pan from heat and quickly stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and fluff until smooth and blended.
  6. Pour immediately into a 9x13 pan.
  7. Let cool/harden. I waited until it cooled, cut it up then put it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  8. Enjoy!