Friday, March 02, 2007

It's been a while....

I can't believe how long it's been since my last post - well, I have had my baby and I'm finally getting back to cooking - although I still can't seem to get caught up on sleep :) The other night I made an easy and tasty pasta side dish to go with our fish sticks for Ash Wednesday - here is the recipe:

2 garlic cloves - minced
3 plum tomatoes - chopped
dried oregano
dried basil
frozen corn
grated cheese
olive oil

Sauté the garlic in a bit of olive oil. When the garlic is slightly brown, add in the plum tomatoes, a dash of salt and pepper, and the oregano and basil to taste. Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti. When the spaghetti is done, add into the tomato mixture and stir in your frozen corn (amount to your liking). I served this with grated cheese sprinkled over the top.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Baked Eggplant Sandwiches

About a week ago I went to another local farmstand and in their surplus bin they had 6 sweet green peppers (made wonderful pepper and cheese sandwiches for 2 nights of dinners) and one good size eggplant for only $2. I decided to bread eggplant slices and bake them until crispy and serve them in a sandwich with slices of crusty italian bread, ranch dressing, tomato slices and lettuce. I actually ran out of room on my baking sheets so I had to freeze the remainder of the eggplant and hopefully one night soon I will be able to roast it with some other veggies and add it to couscous for a quick side dish. Here's my recipe for the baked eggplant:

1 egg
1 egg white
1 3/4-1 lb eggplant, cut into slices
1/2 cup finely crushed italian & whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Step 1 - Spray baking sheet(s) with cooking spray
Step 2 - Whisk together egg and egg white
Step 3 - Combine breadcrumbs with grated cheese
Step 4 - Dip each eggplant slice in egg and then breading mixture, place in single layer on baking sheets
Step 5 - Spray the tops of each eggplant with cooking spray
Step 6 - Bake eggplant for 15 minutes and then turn each slice over and bake an additional 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fresh from the Farmers Market

I made this recipe about a week ago after stopping by my local farmers market - there's nothing like fresh veggies and fruit from area farmers. I altered the recipe slightly from the one provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Fresh Beans with Basil and Pasta

Serves 2-3

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1 lb green or yellow beans, trimmed
1 small boiling onion, sliced
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
pasta of your choice

Step 1 - Heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add in beans and onions, cover. Cook for 5 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender.
Step 2 - While beans are cooking, begin cooking your pasta
Step 3 - When done, mix pasta with beans. Top with basil and cook for an additional minute, covered. Serve warm.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm Back in the Kitchen

It's taken quite a long time, but I'm finally back to cooking and enjoying more than bland food for my meals. This past weekend I made Penne with Pine Nuts and Zucchini from a magazine called Healthy Cooking that I found at Borders and served it with my own Baked Chicken Tenders. The recipes for both follow:

Penne with Pine Nuts and Zucchini
Adapted from Healthy Cooking Magazine

Serves 4-6

1/2 lb penne pasta
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced into thin rounds, then in half
3-4 medium zucchini, but into bite size chunks
sea salt
black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Step 1 - Cook pasta according to package directions.
Step 2 - While penne is cooking, combine olive oil and pine nuts in a large skillet cooking on medium heat until nuts start to turn golden.
Step 3 - Add garlic, zucchini, and a dash of both salt and pepper. Cook, tossing gently until zucchini softens slightly.
Step 4 - Remove 1/3 of the nuts and zucchini - purée in a blender. Return purée to skillet.
Step 5 - When pasta is done, remove 1/2 cup of cooking water and set aside. Drain pasta and add to skillet with reserved water.
Step 6 - Cook on low heat until water evaporates, stirring mixture well to coat.
Step 7 - Stir in cheese and add in a bit more salt and pepper if desired for taste.
Ready to serve

Baked Chicken Tenders

Serves 3-5 (depending on number of tenders in package)

1 package of chicken tenders (mine was 1.25 lbs)
olive oil
plain panko breadcrumbs
fresh oregano

In a shallow dish I combined bread crumbs with finely chopped fresh oregano and enough olive oil to coat the bread crumbs. I coated each chicken tender on both sides and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cooked thru and bread crumbs have started to turn golden brown.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Feeling Under the Weather...

I haven't been doing much cooking lately that's worthy of being posted. I've been trying to eat blander foods these past weeks as I'm now pregnant. While I'm excited about this new chapter in life with my husband, my stomach is definitely saying "NO" to experimenting with new recipes. I'm at the stage where no food sounds good to me.

I have found that I can't drink a glass of milk anymore - so to make sure I'm getting my milk/dairy in me, I have to make a milkshake with my dinner each night (milk, Breyers Light Double Churned Vanilla Bean ice cream, and a dash of vanilla extract). Mid-morning, I eat crackers with slices of cheese on them. For fruit these past few days, it's been apple sauce or mandarin oranges in pear juice. I sure hope this part of the pregnancy ends soon - I don't like not being able to make fun and exciting dinners and desserts. I did read online that ginger can help - must be why I keep reaching for the gingerale :) I also read that anything with lemons can also help overcome the nausea (maybe that's why I can only drink water with a lemon slice added). This morning I remembered that I had a frozen lemonade concentrate in the freezer, so I made myself some pink lemonade. This actually helped quite a bit. For dessert tonight, I made a loaf of Lemon Poppy Seed Bread. If it comes out good, I'll post the recipe for you this week.

I'm just praying for a healthy pregnancy that one day soon will let me spend more time in the kitchen cooking...I did read that nausea is a sign that things are going well - not sure who came up with that finding, but I'll accept it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Free Shipping at Kitchen Etc.

Just found out about an exclusive offer that I can pass along to my readers from Kitchen Etc. From now until April 8, 2006, you can receive Free Shipping on Shipments Over $25. You will need to use coupon code C93925 at checkout. What a great way to treat yourself to some cookware or bakeware you've been wanting.

Be sure to come back as I'll be posting a recipe in the coming days for delicious oat bran cookies.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My Urge to Bake on Saturday

Not sure what came over me last Saturday, but I wanted to do lots of baking for dinner (of course this meant lots of dishes as a result, but I didn't mind). I decided to try the all natural fish sticks I found when I went to the supermarket recently (sorry I can't remember the brand right now - but, I'll write about them again when I pick up another package on the next trip to the store). To go with the fish sticks (which were very good), I served honey glazed baby carrots, couscous and freshly baked corn bread muffins. I even made dessert, oatmeal raisin cookies - I tried a different recipe then I usually use, and they didn't quite hold together like I'm used to, but they still turned out delicious and were nice and crispy (even the next day).
If you have a favorite corn bread or oatmeal raisin recipe that you would like to share, please post it here

Here's the recipes:

Corn Bread Muffins
recipe is from the back of the Hodgson Mill Yellow Corn Meal bag

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt (recipe called for 1/2 tsp)
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Should Yield 12, I only got 11

Step 1 - Mix corn meal, unbleached flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Step 2 - In another bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and vegetable oil. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Let the mixture sit in bowl for 5 minutes.
Step 3 - Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins (either lined with muffin cup liners or sprayed with no-stick cooking spray). Fill 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops of muffins are golden brown.
Step 4 - Remove muffins and serve immediately or cool on a wire rack.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
recipe is from the cookbook cook's library Baking

4 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins

Yields between 12-15
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1 - Cream the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Step 2 - Add the beaten egg and mix until thoroughly blended.
Step 3 - Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together into the creamed mixture. Mix well. Add the oats and raisins. Mix to form a dough.
Step 4 - Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. (I had a problem as the dough became warmer, the mixture didn't want to stick together as easily - I'm also thinking that 2 cups of oats may be slightly too much - I'll have to play around with the ingredients the next time I make them, I might try adding in some cinnamon too)
Step 5 - Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Step 6 - Remove the cookies and let cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack and cooling completely before serving.