Saturday, August 20, 2011

Zucchini, Corn, and Basil Penne with Bacon

The food blogger that I stole this from described this as "Summer in a Bowl". I think it's a pretty accurate description!

Fresh corn on the cob? Zucchini? Homemade basil pesto? Topped with my husband's beloved bacon? Yes please!

This had to be a pretty healthy meal, except for the bacon. Even that is limited to one strip per plate. I used the "healthy" penne with extra protein- it's the stuff that I usually buy especially for my son, who could go without meat (protein) most days.

This was a pretty light pasta dish. I almost thought it lacked flavor but I think I'm used to Pioneer Woman's heavy, creamy, and buttery pasta sauces. Jim told me, No, this is good!

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce

with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and white rice.

I love love Coconut anything. This was a pretty simple recipe, making a crumb mixture and dipping the chicken in first some beaten eggs and then the crumbs. Bake for 40 minutes and you're done! The apricot sauce I needed to revise a bit- the amount of Dijon mustard was overpowering so I did add a bunch more apricot preserves than the recipe states.

Brussel sprouts have been looking fantastic at the grocery store so I picked up a pound of those without a plan. I quickly looked up how to roast them (I've done it before, but couldn't quite remember) and luckily it was at the same oven temperature as the chicken. I love when things work out like that :)

We would make this Coconut Chicken again. We actually will do that soon since I still have plenty of apricot preserves left! I also told my husband that this is a good recipe for him to make on a day when he's available to start cooking. (Usually our weekday meals, when I'm working, are 30 minute meals. This takes a bit longer than that with the prep and cooking time.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Slow Cooker Beef Dip Sandwiches with caramelized onions

We usually cheat with French Dip sandwiches 'round here. I buy Angus roast beef from the deli and au jus in a jar. I saw this recipe and thought this was my chance to make it "homemade".

The beef smelled heavenly all day. It slow cooked for 8 hours in beef broth, Lipton onion mix, and an au jus packet mix. The resulting au jus was a bit much, I think next time I would do without the au jus packet. I think Lipton mix is much too processed anyway, but I have yet to find a good substitute. (Note to self: keep looking!)

The beef fell apart and made for good leftovers. I sliced the beef in pretty thick pieces and assembled the sandwiches with some caramelized onions and provolone cheese. A quick few minutes in the broiler heated it all up and toasted the bread slightly. YUM.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes for Dad

When James and I have a secret we used hushed voices and whisper loudly to each other, within Jim's earshot, "Shhhhh!!! Don't tell him the secret!" So it would be pretty hard for Jim not to know that something is in the works.

We made James' Daddy some special birthday cupcakes. Of course James thought they should be Star Wars cupcakes and they should be chocolate.

I did most of the measuring and running around. James got to stand on his stool and smile prettily :)

Jim took this picture, so obviously he's on to us.

James rolled his head around like the mixer. Faster faster!

A good chef always tastes as he goes.

Yum. Cake batter. (But not too much.)

The cupcakes need to cool. Time to play for a bit.

Later, frosting.

Decorating. "This one is for Daddy."

I have these SW stencils. They didn't work so well on this sticky frosting. The stencil stuck to the frosting and didn't lift off well. I should have known. I'll use the stencils next time on a firmer frosting, like buttercream.

James prefers his cupcakes plain so we didn't decorate all of them.

Jim was a good sport and walked into the kitchen covering his eyes.


James is so proud of himself. Good work!

And mellow, fluffy and moist chocolate cupcakes with simple white frosting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Danger Ahead!

My child is going to grow up thinking that his Mom can whip up cookies in just 15 minutes. I guess it's going to be true! This is a great recipe and I love that I can make just enough for the three of us to be satisfied, and not a whole tempting batch that sits on the counter or in the freezer for midnight (okay, 8:00, we're old here) munchies.

These One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies for Two (errrrr, Three) were simple and delicious! I never know what to use for shortening but in this recipe I did use some Smart Balance spread and it worked well. Yay!

The recipe made 4 medium-large cookies. Here is my one cookie-

James tackled one cookie, happily. And we left these two for Dad. Actually James didn't count fast enough to see that there were two left. I didn't think James needed two cookies so I told Jim to get his share out of the kitchen fast :)

I'm going to try and start posting printable recipes for y'all. This is a great recipe to start doing this with and you'll enjoy it if you make it!


HaHa! I just labeled these healthy because I figure it's better than making a whole batch of 2-3 dozen!

And you should always just have chocolate chips laying around your house...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin

Easy easy meal. I followed this recipe and let our pork tenderloin marinate overnight. The marinade was just a matter of dumping a bunch of ingredients in a ziploc with the tenderloin. Done!

The rest of the meal was kid friendly. Our little boy has been under the weather and barely eating enough to keep a bird alive so I was pretty confident he'd eat his beloved macaroni shells and "little trees".

Anyway, back to the pork... It was extremely tender and delicious. I don't know if a lot of the flavors made it through the grilling but the blackened crust held on to a lot of the flavors and every so often a bite would be packed with lime or salty flavor. We agreed that we would make this again, with no changes.

Jim reported that the grilling was a breeze. 24 minutes total, turning the tenderloin a quarter turn every 6 minutes.

I did think about boiling the marinade left in the ziploc for a sauce. It's worth a try!


I've realized that I need quite a few things to always be in my pantry and/or fridge. Here they are:

unsalted butter
buttermilk (pancake balls & coleslaw)
sliced almonds (coleslaw)
craisins (coleslaw)
mini chocolate chips (baking & pancake balls)
soy sauce
fresh ginger (various Asian inspired meals & ginger tea lemonade)
lemons & limes
heavy cream (PW recipes, ice cream, to make salted caramel... :)

Classic Fajitas & Corn with Spicy Chili Butter

I picked out this next recipe. It really just appealed and it seemed like a good recipe to have under our belts if we ever have a dinner party. The meat and vegetables needed almost no prep which is awesome.

I wish I would have made my own guacamole (the avocados at the store were not ripe) or salsa but maybe next time. I even joked that I should've made my own tortillas!

Jim is becoming a master chef. And isn't he cute in this shirt? (Note: he bought the shirt to amuse James. He said he wouldn't really wear this shirt out in public, too cutesy. I hope he doesn't mind my 5 blog readers seeing it :)

I should have taken some pictures of the grilling in action. The flank steak grilled quickly and easily, the vegetables blackened just a bit, and now the steak is being sliced. Yum.

No editing. Just fabulous natural colors!

I didn't do much for this meal. We ended up boiling the corn and not grilling it because Jim was already doing a bit on the grill, I didn't want him overwhelmed. I made the spicy chili butter on the stovetop. I LOVED it. The spice and lime juice were wonderful!

Delicious! And plenty for leftovers :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Classic Patty Melts on Rye

I've really enjoyed Jim's grilling lately!

He's been inspired by his newest cookbook but for this recipe he turned to another book that he has- Weber's Way to Grill. This was a pretty easy recipe, for both Jim and ME. I only had to make the coleslaw :)

These were probably a pretty basic burger but the rye bread, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese really, really added to it. Wow. I didn't even know I liked rye bread! Good job Jim, for picking out a great recipe :)

The money shot-

This recipe is from one of our cookbooks but I found the recipe online.

Banana Bread Cookies

I grew tired of making banana bread with our overripe bananas. I found a recipe for these cookies and thought they'd be a good change. They were like mini fluffy banana breads! I froze most of them, just like I normally do with banana bread.

Raspberry Coconut Pops

I was so excited to try this recipe. I love love love coconut. The raspberries kinda sorta overpowered this popsicle but it wasn't unpleasant. The coconut flakes added a great texture. Just yum.


I've also blogged about this dinner before. This one is seriously in our regular meal rotations. It feels like a very indulgent meal with the pan fried chicken, pasta, and heavy cream. It is. It doesn't appear on our plates too often but it's a good option!

The mushrooms reduce down a LOT.

Mmmm.... butter and olive oil... pan fried chicken...

Lunch for Jim

We didn't have much for food in the house, we thought, and so when Jim went outside to mow the lawn I found something to make.

Egg salad sandwiches. My Mom used to make them a lot when I was young, and I was trying to think... does she put black olives in them? Sure, why not. Pickles? Yeah, that was it. In they go. Jalapenos? I wish I had some. Celery? Yeah, I have it. Grey Poupon? But of course.

They turned out really well. No exact recipe, just threw a bunch of things in the bowl. I was careful not to use too much mayo though and my eggs were cooked perfectly.

Watermelon Margarita

We had so much watermelon that I just HAD TO find a way to use it :)

This recipe was just okay. I will keep looking for a better recipe. We sure didn't complain about a drinky drink.


Mmmmm... Pioneer Woman's Lemon Basil Pasta (with chicken).

Blueberry Muffins

I'm not convinced I liked these muffins. I do admit that I should give them a try because I did make a substitution that may have made a difference.

I read that you can substitute greek yogurt for sour cream in some recipes. I figured it would make it healthier too. Well, the muffins were very soft. You would think that's a good thing! I do like my muffins tops to be a bit crispy. Maybe I needed to let them bake a bit longer?

They look pretty though :)

Yes, I do need to make these again. I just saw on the original blog that they are a Baking Illustrated recipe. It should be THE best recipe. I will re-blog if and when I make these again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

German Chocolate Layer Cake

My husband's family came over for a belated birthday celebration dinner on Sunday. I asked him to choose a cake for his day. I was happy that he asked for German Chocolate- I mean, I just don't get to bake with coconut often enough!

I didn't show Jim the cake but just put in the fridge. You can see that the cake looks GOOD.

4 thin layers of moist chocolate cake and loads of coconut pecan filling.

The chocolate cake was very light- not too chocolatey. It was made with a bit of espresso powder for a deep, not too sweet taste. The filling was made lots of egg yolks, sugar, and butter. It is gooey and delicious.

Even after our dinner guests we are left with half of the cake. What to do??? :)

The recipe is from one of my best cookbooks, Baking Illustrated, but I found the recipe online.