Posts tagged ‘photo’

April 6, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup


Last week was cold and rainy – so we made soup several times. This was our favorite – note the kids’ spinach in yet another dish!

I adapted this recipe from Slow Cooker Favorites Made Healthy. The recipe instructions were to make your own meatballs – I cheated and bought frozen turkey meatballs. I just threw the frozen meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker, topped them with chopped fennel & onion, minced garlic, dried basil & oregano, and chicken broth. Then turned the cooker to low and left it for 10 hours. The orzo cooked for about 5 minutes at the end, and I put the fresh spinach in the bottom of everyone’s bowls before serving, so it wouldn’t overcook.

Delish! I don’t normally cook with fennel and I loved it in this soup. I sold it to the kids as “meatball soup” and they dug in. Made great leftovers, too.

April 5, 2011

Sneaky Chef: Mini Pizzas


We made these pizzas off a combination of two Sneaky Chef recipes: Tomato Sauce and Power Pizzas. I made the sauce in advance, and it’s delish on its own – looking forward to using it on pasta! Instead of using full-size pocketless pitas for the crust, we got mini pitas with pockets, then split them open, so we got two crusts out of each pita.

KG spread the sauce on the crust, then topped each one with a whole basil leaf. W then dropped on the cheese.

We have made these a couple of times – great thing about getting the mini pitas is that they go far when split open like this! The kids love making the pizzas themselves, and the little pizzas are the perfect size for them to eat. And this is a 20 minute dinner! We turn the oven on, prep the pizzas, and by the time the oven is heated, we’re ready to bake. Eight minutes in the oven, two minutes to cool, and dinner is served.

Our sides for the meal were two of the kids favorites: spinach and pineapple. So the kids got dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fresh fruit, whole wheat, and low-fat cheese in one meal – Win!

March 22, 2011

Sneaky Chef: P B & J muffins; Hi-Fi Fish Sticks

I am very behind on updating this blog – my apologies! We have now made four different Sneaky Chef recipes, and here are reviews of two:

1) PB&J muffins


I used almond butter instead of peanut butter, as we haven’t introduced W (age 2) to peanuts yet. I also used what I thought was fairly thick jam (Polaner All Fruit), but as you can see, it still melted into the muffins quite a lot. I also made 12 muffins instead of the 8 the recipe called for, since that’s what’s in a normal muffin pan.  These were pretty darn yummy. KG loved making them – she helped stir, put the batter in the muffin pan, and put the jelly, too.

These muffins are (not surprisingly) super-filling. We had them for breakfast before church and no one complained about being hungry until lunch – a definite win in my book!

2) Hi-Fi Fish Sticks


I owe this meal to In the Kitchen with Audrey – I liked her idea so much I had to try it. I did, however, switch things around. I baked the fish and fried the hush puppies. The fish sticks were good – everyone really liked the breading, which contains ground almonds. The hush puppies, which I made with chopped spinach, were a huge hit.

The surprise win of the meal was the salad – the kids went nuts for baby spinach. KG thinks it’s basil, which she loves, and really likes that each leaf has a “handle.” We’ve had spinach several times since, and both kids still are enjoying it!

March 15, 2011

Culture clash sandwich


Came home late Sunday night, so didn’t have time to go grocery shopping this weekend. What to do for Monday night dinner?

I dug some ground beef out of the freezer, flipped through the cookbook to the meatloaf section, and found a recipe that met these requirements: a) I could throw it together fairly quickly for the slow cooker and b) I had most of the ingredients.

This “meatloaf” called for salsa instead of the tomatoes/ketchup/sauce components, plus some chopped raw onion & oregano. It also called for oats instead of breadcrumbs, but I didn’t have oats, so I used panko instead. Worked great.

I also added some cheddar cheese on top after the meatloaf had come to 165, and let that melt on; then poured a bit more salsa on top (as per the directions).

The final result was this “culture clash” meatloaf sandwich. Delicious! The kids had their meatloaf with polenta and topped everything with more cheese.

March 9, 2011

Not-my-Nana’s Lasagna


(Had to take a bite before snapping the pic. Too yummy!)

As I was flipping through my cookbook while doing menu planning last weekend, I happened across the America’s Test Kitchen lasagna recipe.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m Italian (half, actually). So I should be able to make rockin’ lasagna without a recipe. But I can’t. I’ve tried. And as much as I’m sure my Nana would kill me for not remembering how she made lasagna, I don’t. Sigh.

This recipe seemed pretty easy… it even called for no-boil lasagna noodles. Now, whenever I’ve made lasagna before, I’ve always used traditional noodles, par-boiling them and then trying to make nice neat layers with sticky wet pasta. Not my forte. No-boil noodles seemed like cheating. Well, I have to say that this is one cheat I’m going to use from now on.

N0-boil noodles are so easy to use, it’s ridiculous. First off, they aren’t a giant sticky glob that has to be unraveled, and which then rips into shreds. They are nice even planks. Second, they don’t have those curly edges (at least the ones we bought didn’t) which makes layering even easier. Finally, they are perfectly sized to cook within a 9×13 pan.

I made half beef and half spinach lasagna – carefully segregating the parts as Lent is here. Just finished a piece of the spinach section for my Ash Wednesday lunch, as a matter of fact. Which is the best thing about lasagna – not only is it the classic make-ahead meal, it re-heats wonderfully.

I think, thanks to my new friends the no-boil noodles, lasagna is going to be making a regular occurence at our dinner table.

March 5, 2011

Turnip chips redux


As promised in my original post on turnip chips, here is a photo from the 2nd batch, shown as part of today’s lunch.

This batch wasn’t quite as pretty… I cut them a bit thicker and they took longer to cook. Ah well, live and learn. They were still delish!

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February 4, 2011

Tuna Salad “Faces”


Tonight’s dinner for the kids comes from the book “Silly Snacks,” which KG was given for Xmas. KG and I went through and picked out our faves.

And she though they looked great… but that the cucumber tasted “yuck.” So I ended up scraping the tuna salad back out and putting it on the bread they had with the “faces,” which she then ate. W would only try the plain cucumber (not a fan).

Guess this one’s going on the do-not-make list for a while too.

February 3, 2011

Anadama bread


The kids & I were home yesterday due to Snowmaggedon 2011. What to do with two kids when you’re stuck inside all day? I turned to my old friend, the America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and paged to the “bread” section. I had one packet of yeast left from my weekend of bread making, and what better use for it than to show off  some fun food chemistry to the kiddies?

I let KG pick out what type of bread we were making. I think she picked this one b/c it’s fun to say: “Anadama!” According to folklore, the name came from a farmer saying “Anna, damn it” in response to getting served the same boring food over and over. LOL.

The kids loved watching the yeast bubble up in the water, and declared that the smell of the yeast was “yum.” KG was able to stir the cornmeal on the stove, add in the molasses (more stirring) and pour the measured ingredients into the stand mixer. She loved doing that, but got bored watching the machine knead. W thought the kneading was the best part 🙂 After the dough had risen, they helped me shape the loaf and put it into the pan for the 2nd rise.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe I used online, but this one is similar, except that ATK calls for milk & butter to cook the cornmeal in:

Plan to serve this both with dinner (slow cooker roasted pork & apples) tonight and to eat with my soup leftovers from earlier in the week.

More on Anadama bread on wikipedia:

Final review from kiddies: Nom!

February 3, 2011

Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

From my Twitter:

Totally need to double the recipe the next time I make this mac & cheese. OMG nomz.

Here’s the pic, and the recipe!imageMac & Cheese is not very photogenic, esp. when I’m trying to take a pic of what it looked like in the pot. But this dish was amazing. The kids each had three servings and I had two.

The recipe, once again, came from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook. But since I was able to find it already posted on the web, I’m re-posting below. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk
One 15-ounce can evaporated skim milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese, such as Oregon Tillamook, Vermont colby, or Wisconsin longhorn
8 ounces elbow macaroni (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine the low-fat and evaporated milks, egg, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the cheese and macaroni; gently stir with a rubber spatula to coat evenly with the milk and cheese mixture. Pour into the crock pot. Sprinkle the Parmesan on the top. (Edited – the original recipe said to mix everything in the crock pot. Don’t do that, it defeats the purpose of coating the pot with spray.)

2 Cover and cook on LOW until the custard is set in the center and the pasta is tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Do not cook more than 4 hours, as the sides will dry out and burn.

Macaroni and Italian Cheese: For the cheddar, substitute a combination of 1 cup of shredded fontina (4ounces) and 1/2 cup of diced or shredded mozzarella (2 ounces).

Macaroni and Swiss Cheese: Substitute an equal amount of shredded Gruyere or Emmenthalar cheese for the cheddar.

Macaroni and Blue Cheese: Add 1/2 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola (2 ounces), Stilton, Roquefort, or American blue cheese to the cheddar and macaroni.

My notes: I went with regular old shredded sharp cheddar cheese from the grocery store. And I left out the salt, since cheese has a lot of salt anyways. Turned out great! The texture is definitely similar to what you get from a baked mac & cheese. The prep took me exactly 2 minutes, and that’s with W’s “help.” If I were to change anything, I think I’d stir about halfway through to redistribute the cheddar. But it was a definite crowd-pleaser as-is.

February 2, 2011

Broccoli soup and challah


Tonight’s dinner, as above. Sadly, probably won’t make it again for a while. KG had cheered for excitement every time I mentioned this dinner, helped me pick out the broccoli, etc. But when I set the bowl in front of her, she declared, “yuck.” Sigh.

I, however, loved it. The recipe is from my fave slow cooker cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, and is lemony, garlic, and delicious.

The challah, which I made over the course of the weekend, is from another cookbook that I can’t live without, The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Even though I haven’t had time to actually watch America’s Test Kitchen since the kids came along, their cookbook is still the first place I turn for anything that’s not slow cooked.