Monday, January 28, 2008

Week 39 Menu

Monday - California Vegetarian Chili
Tuesday - Tostadas
Wednesday - Mom's Potato Soup
Thursday - Fondue
Friday - dinner with friends
Saturday - Macaroni & Cheese
Sunday - Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Caramel-Coconut-Pecan Brownies

After tasting these brownies I began to refer to them as Oh-My-Goodness-Brownies. It is an easy recipe (don't be intimidated by the picture) - you make the plain brownie batter, pour it into the pan and then top it with the yummy extras. The great thing about that is that if you have someone in your family that doesn't like coconut or pecans, then it's easy to make adjustments.

I'm not going to bother re-typing the recipe to my blog but here's the link:

Caramel-Coconut-Pecan Brownies


Week 38 Menu

Monday - BBQ Chicken
Tuesday - Feta Penne
Wednesday - Goulash
Thursday - busy out
Friday - Slow Cooker Korean Ribs
Saturday - eat out (yes, again!)
Sunday - Orange Chicken

Friday, January 18, 2008

Poppy Seed Bread

At breakfast this morning I was flipping through one of my cookbooks and found this recipe for Poppy Seed Bread. Since I have a huge container of poppy seeds (why? It was the same price as the small container) I thought I would try it out. It's an easy recipe and makes a great dessert bread.

Janell's Poppy Seed Bread
Lion House Classics Cook Book

1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp poppy seeds (I did 1 full tsp)

Grease and flour one loaf pan and set aside. In large mixing bowl, cream butter, oil, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Add to first mixture and blend well, but do not overmix. (Overmixing causes tunnels and a coarse texture.) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve plain or ice with Orange Almond Icing.

Orange Almond Icing**

1 Tablespoon orange juice
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar.

In small bowl, mix all ingredients together.

**I made a double batch of the icing. When cake was finished baking, I let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes, turned it out onto a rack and drizzled the icing over the top. It absorbed nicely and made the bread wonderfully moist. (Man I hate that word, "moist.")

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brunch Foccacia

This is another recipe that I saw on the food network one day. I made enough changes though, to re-name it and post it here.

Brunch Foccacia
adapted from Lemon and Basil Eggs over Foccacia

1 large loaf foccacia or french bread (I used store-bought french)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large eggs, or 4 medium
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup milk (I used 3/4 cup milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream)
optional: 1/2 cup of diced ham or bacon pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the top off of the loaf and hollow out the bread inside with your hands. Tear the inside bread into 1-inch
pieces and set aside (reserve for later.) Drizzle the inside of the loaf with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, or a piece of foil, and toast for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the cheeses (save 1/4 cup of the cheddar for the top), salt, pepper, and milk. Whisk to combine. Stir in the reserved bread pieces. If you're using ham/bacon, add it in now.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the toasted loaf. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup). Bake until the eggs have cooked, about 35-45 minutes.

Cut the loaf into slices (about 6-8) and serve

Breakfast Fruit Pizza

I am an impressionable pregnant woman. I admit it. It is bad for me to watch the food network too much; I find dozens of things that look so good I MUST make them immediately. This was one of those recipes. Fortunately for my family, it's a very good recipe. As I baked/cooked, my husband was on hand to be my photographer and document my efforts.

Breakfast (Fruit) Pizza
from the show Everyday Italian
original recipe here

1 storebought pizza dough (I used Rhodes)

2 Tablespoons butter, melted
4 Tablespoons cinnamon-sugar (see recipe below)
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 Tablespoon heavy cream (I used more like 2 Tbsp)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I used 4 Tbsp)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups mixed berries / fruit in season

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

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough to a
thickness of about 1/4 inch. Transfer the pizza dough to the lined baking sheet and brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar mixture and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Cool the pizza crust on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the mascarpone cheese, cream, lemon juice and zest. (I also added 2 tsp of granulated sugar at this point to sweeten it a bit more.)

ONCE THE CRUST IS COOLED, spread the cheese mixture over the cooled crust. Top with mixed berries/fruit and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar (I skipped this.) Slice like a pizza and serve.


1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Stir to combine. Set aside in a small serving bowl.

Big, beautiful strawberries in January? You bet! It was heaven...a little bit of June in the middle of winter.

The finished pizza(s). I made two small ones instead of one larger one, and oooohhh they were good!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Creamy Vegetable Soup

Tonight's recipe was supposed to be Edamame Corn Chowder. In the end, I didn't have edamame to put in, and it wasn't much like a "chowder." I added a few more veggies to make it a more substantial meal, so I've re-named it and here's the very delicious, finished recipe.

Creamy Vegetable Soup

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth
2-3 red potatoes, chopped
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 can (15 oz) creamed corn
1 cup frozen baby Lima beans
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped bacon pieces and cook until bacon is crisp to your liking, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon (let it drain on paper towels) and pour off most of the fat from the pan (leave about 1 Tablespoon).

Add onion and cook until soft (4-5 minutes). Add chicken broth, chopped potatoes, chopped carrot, and Italian seasoning. Cover and simmer only 4 or 5 additional minutes - don't let the potatoes get too soft yet.

Add frozen baby Lima beans, creamed corn and heavy cream. Cover and simmer an additional 4-5 minutes until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.

To serve, scoop into bowls and top with bacon pieces. I also thought some grated Parmesan cheese would be good, but I ate my soup too quickly before I remembered to put some on.

Week 37 Menu

Monday - Edamame Corn Chowder / Creamy Vegetable Soup
Tuesday - Fettuccine Alfredo & steamed broccoli
Wednesday - Raspberry Chicken
Thursday - Macaroni & Cheese
Friday - Tacos
Saturday - eat out
Sunday - Vegetable Frittata

Friday, January 11, 2008

Asian Salmon

Tonight's recipe was Eli's Asian Salmon - a recipe I found on the website. We're not big fish eaters, and when I do cook fish, I prefer to not have my house smell like it for days. This recipe fills that requirement, and it was delicious!

I made a half-batch of marinade and used it on my one pound of salmon. The salmon cooked quickly in the oven, and gave me a few minutes to toss together some Sesame Ginger Noodles. A great meal in a few minutes!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Orange Chicken - Success at Last!

After a long quest for a great orange chicken recipe, I have finally found success! Here is my solution:

Take a trip to Costco and buy a box of Orange Chicken from the freezer section. Now wait! Don't laugh yet - I'm not done. I used just the chicken from this box and I made my own sauce from scratch. This chicken is wonderful - crispy, easy to cook, and no "questionables." The sauce recipe is a supposed "clone" from Panda Express. We loved it!

Here is the recipe, including the directions for cooking the frozen chicken.

Orange Chicken


1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced water chestnuts
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 rounded tsp chopped green onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp arrowroot**
4 1/2 Tablespoons water

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch, arrowroot and 4 1/2 Tbsp water. Stir often while bringing mixture to a boil. When sauce reaches a boil, remove it from heat.

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with arrowroot. Add 4 1/2 Tablespoons of cool water. Stir until cornstarch and arrowroot have dissolved. Pour this mixture into the sauce and set the pan over high heat. When sauce begins to bubble and thicken, cover and remove it from heat.

Cook chicken according to directions on package:
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a non-stick skillet on med-high heat.

Remove chicken from bag. Place frozen chicken in a skillet and cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn chicken continuously to heat evenly until crispy and golden in color.

Pour sauce over chicken and bring to a simmer. Serve over rice.

*This makes a lot of sauce! If you like a lot of sauce for your rice (like us) then make the whole sauce recipe and cook with 1 bag of chicken (from box). If you are serving to more people, you can use two bags of chicken with this one sauce recipe.

**Arrowroot is similar to cornstarch, but better for you and thickens at a lower temperature than cornstarch. Here's a link with some interesting information about arrowroot. I found mine in the spice section of my regular grocery store. If are unable to find any arrowroot, I'm sure you could substitute cornstarch.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lousy, Lousy Me

All I have to say is that you guys are really patient. This hasn't been much of a food blog lately, has it? Well I've hit my half-way mark of this pregnancy so my appetite is back - bring on the cooking!

This week's menu has several new recipes including a new recipe for Orange Chicken. I have yet to find one that I'm happy with, but this recipe claims to be a clone of the Panda Express Orange Chicken. Worth a shot! (I'll share the recipe if it's successful.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Week 37 Menu

Monday - Orange Chicken (new recipe)
Tuesday -
Pesto Chicken Florentine
Wednesday -
busy, busy day - eat out!
Thursday -
Baked Ziti (new recipe)
Friday -
Eli's Asian Salmon & steamed carrots
Saturday -
Edamame Corn Chowder
Sunday -
Brunch Foccacia & Breakfast Pizza