Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuna Melt and Salad

Tonight was an easy dinner because of Halloween. Tuna melts to the rescue! I opened and drained three cans of tuna. Then I put it in a bowl with some lowfat mayo, sliced green onions (the green parts), and some sweet relish. I mixed it all together and put some on english muffin halves. I put them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes while I shredded some sharp cheese and made the salad. I took them out of the oven, added some shredded cheese to the top of each muffin half, and popped them back into the oven for another 5 minutes-ish until the cheese melted. These were very good, easy, and filling.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Polenta with Ragu and Mixed Vegetables

I sauteed a pound of mild Italian sausage removed from their casings in about a tablespoon of olive oil. I added one shallot, diced. After the meat was cooked I added about 2 cloves of minced garlic. Then I added one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes (undrained), one 15 ounce can of kidney beans (drained and rinsed well), and one 28 ounce can of Trader Joe's Sugo di Pomodoro (see previous post). I mixed that all together and added about a teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried basil. I let it simmer for about 45 minutes while I got the rest of the meal together. I heated up the vegetables. Also, I sliced some polenta (the kind already made and formed in a tube). I browned it in a sauté pan with a bit of olive oil.

The whole family was very happy with this meal. The boys had misgivings about the polenta (they have not liked it in the past) but they decided they liked it quite a bit!

I will definitely make this again. Plus, it was so simple.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli

Tonight's dinner was a meal that I love but don't fix it very often for obvious reasons (loads of fat!). I did use a jarred sauce from Trader Joe's for it but it was yummy anyway. I paired it with Costco's garlic bread which is not laden with butter like grocery store garlic bread but, rather, it has pieces of roasted garlic in it. I love it!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, and Mixed Vegetables

I made Cook's Illustrated version of meatloaf without the bacon and I liked it much more. We had just enough potatoes left to make the right amount of mashed potatoes for the family. Also, I used up some mixed vegetables and the tail end of a bag of green beans.

Fairly uninspired except for the meatloaf, which everyone loved!

Mary and Alex Cook Breakfast

This morning we decided to get creative, it being Sunday morning and all. The Williams-Sonoma Spiced Pecan Pumpkin waffle and pancake mix had been sitting on my counter in its attractive tin for a couple of weeks so we decided to make it.

These were very good!

One batch of the mix made eight waffles. They had just the right amount of sweetness. We all ate them plain; no butter nor syrup. There is a note on the tin that you could have it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a dessert. That would be wonderful!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Cookies

I think I have created the cookies. You know, the ultimate cookies. The cookies I can confidently bring to our annual cookie party. And, because I am generous, I will share the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Cookies

Makes 24 Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped caramel squares
24 miniature peanut butter cups


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.

3. Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda; stir into peanut butter mixture.

4. Mix in the chocolate chips and caramel pieces.

5. Form into "patties". Press a peanut butter cup into the bottom of the cookie. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 10 minutes (I had the convection fan on). Let cool for a few minutes on sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: I cut caramel squares into sixths. I may cut them into thirds next time given the size of the cookie. Also, take care not to let the caramel pieces stick to each other too much.

Mario Batali's Frozen Pasta Dish

It's Mario Batali's pasta that we found in Costco.

So, yeah. I love this and it's our second-to-last box. To my knowledge, it's not available at Costco anymore.

Also, I clearly need to work on my photography skills. Not only is there an unsightly paper towel in the background but the broccoli are upside down! I figure I'll get better as I photograph more and more food.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Coo-OO-kie Crisp!

Today my friend/coworker and I went to PF Changs for lunch. We ate so much that I wasn't hungry until about quarter to nine. So I had a bowl of cereal. Perfection. The kids had burritos or corn dogs (depending on the child) earlier this evening.

I like how in this picture you can see a little snippet of my dog's back.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beef, Vegetable, and Shells Skillet

Dinner tonight is courtesy of Kraft.

I made the Beef, Vegetable and Shells Skillet from the Kraft Food & Family website. This was actually pretty edible! I didn't use shells, as you can see; I used macaroni. Also, the frozen vegetable mix I used was asparagus stir fry (no noodles, only veggies). I thought that mix was pretty darned good in it.

This dinner was quick and easy to make for the family. I would definitely make it again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin, Macaroni & Cheese, and Broccoli

Tonight's dinner was a no-brainer. Unwrap the tenderloin, pop it in the oven. Boil water, make the mac & cheese. Heat up the broccoli. This was definitely your basic kid-friendly dinner at my house. Still, it was yummy and satisfying even if it wasn't gourmet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Take-Out Lasagne

Tonight we had beef lasagne from pasta & co. It was all right.

The best comment of the night came from Alex who said, "It's okay. Yours is much better, though." Awwww!! It was $40 for a rather large tray and I don't feel it was worth it at all.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccoli

Tonight I cooked pasta.

I put some water on to boil while I cooked the sausages (they're fairly persnickety to cut raw). The water boiled around the time the sausages were done so I put the farfalle in the water to cook while I prepared the sauce.

I used some red wine (Kestrel's Lady in Red) to deglaze the pan. Then I added some minced shallots and minced garlic. I let that cook for a while and then I put in two diced roma tomatoes. After that cooked for a few minutes I added a 28 oz. can of Trader Joe's Sugo di Pomodoro. I added some salt and pepper, some oregano, and a little red pepper flakes. While that all simmered nicely I cut up some broccoli from the vegetable delivery. I added the cut broccoli to the pasta water about 2 minutes before the pasta was done. I drained the pasta and tossed it with the sauce. I served it with some freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano.

It was delicious!!

As for the seems a bit bright and tannic for my tastes. It makes my mouth want to pucker and it's a little hard to swallow. This was a gift and I wouldn't buy it again. Too bad, because it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth (haha, literally) for Kestral Vintners.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chicken, Golden Nugget Squash, and Spinach

I'll go from the mundane and okay to the sublime.

Spinach was leaf spinach out of the bag (frozen). I jazzed it up by adding salt, minced onion, curry powder. It was all right but Bill mentioned it'd probably be better with some slivered almonds. He's probably right.

The Golden Nugget squash was roasted in the oven with melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. We took it out of the oven and mashed it with milk, a little butter, and salt. It was good, I thought. The kids thought otherwise. We're just not big squash people. I bought this one because the flavor was reputed to be mild. I was happy that was correct. Also, the squash was not so big so it didn't make a lot. It did fulfill a mashed potato yearning, though.

The chicken was fantastic. I brined it for 30 minutes then rinsed it and patted it dry. After that, I rubbed it with Tom Douglas' Rub With Love, chicken version:

I let them sit while the olive oil heated up in the pan. I put them in, skin side down, to sear for 5 minutes. Then I flipped them and let them sear on the other side for 3 minutes. After that, I slipped the pan into a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. The chicken was moist and delicious! Definitely a victory for that!

I'm comfortably full and happy.

Cookies - Round 1

100 Grand Peanut Butter Cup PB Cookies

I need a better name!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed lightly
1 large egg, beaten
4 fun-size 100 Grand candy bars, chopped
Mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and candy bars until blended together. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop batter by the tablespoon on to the cookie sheet (I had 9 per sheet). Gently press a mini peanut butter into each cookie. Bake for about 12 minutes and then let cool on the parchment paper.

This is a good start. I really think these do need some sort of flour, in which case they will then need more liquid. Hmmm. I liked them and they had good flavor but they were a bit crumbly, which is why I think I need the flour. Truth be told, I'm not much of a baker. I need to find a good cookie for the annual cookie party coming up mid-December.


I've been so inspired reading other people's cooking blogs that I knew I had to create one myself. I mean, why not? I cook most days of the week and at least once a week I am creative.

I do also have a LiveJournal account and have posted food results there. I'm going to transfer over a couple of them to get me started but I really want to start fresh and include photos with every meal/item made.