Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roasted Vegetable and Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

This sauce can be made in stages and assembled quickly later. I roasted the veggies the day before I made the sauce and then threw everything together into a pot later to simmer. This turned out really good, super flavorful and rich - I really liked the taste the roasting gave the veggies. 

I also posted a picture of what the vegetables looked like post roasting because until I started roasting veggies I had no idea how they should look and truthfully they look kind of strange, so yes this really is how they should look slightly shriveled and a little soft. 
Veggies after roasting

I think this meal would be yummy served with a nice red wine like a Pinot Noir. (I also recommend drinking said wine while putting this together ^_^). 

Roasted Vegetable and Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
2 Tomatoes
2 Zucchini
16 oz. Italian Sausage
1 24 oz. Jar Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (I usually use Classico or Barilla brand)
1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes (The fire roasted ones by dole are good in this)
2 teas. Basil
1 ½ teas. Tarragon
1 teas. Oregano
3 Generous Squirts Sriracha Chili Sauce (also known as "rooster" sauce)
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta cooked according to package directions
Cut bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and zucchini into large pieces to roast. Toss with olive oil, pepper, and salt and layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 430° for 20 minutes then check to see if the vegetables are starting to brown, roast for about another 10 minutes until vegetables start to brown/blacken and remove from oven. Let cool, dice up and set aside. Brown sausage in frying pan and put into a pot with the roasted vegetables, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, and spices and cook on low for about an hour or until flavors have melded. Serve over pasta.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Squash, Zucchini, and Chicken Saute

I made this simple saute a few days ago. It is great as is but it can also be served over pasta or rice. If you do that I would recommend adding in a little white wine or broth so that there is some sauce to coat the pasta or rice. Tonight I am making a new roasted veggie and sausage pasta sauce. Will post once I see how it turns out!

Happy cooking!

Squash, Zucchini, and Chicken Sauté
2 Yellow Squash diced
2 Zucchini sliced
2 Bell Peppers diced
3-4 Chicken Breasts chopped
½ Onion diced
3 tabl. Garlic minced
2 teas. Basil
2 teas. Tarragon
½ teas. Cayenne Pepper
Olive Oil
Sauté onions, garlic, and chicken until chicken is browned and cooked through. Add in bell peppers, zucchini, squash, and spices and sauté until squash and zucchini are soft. Serve over pasta if desired. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oatmeal Wheat Sandwich Rolls

Dough at the end of mixing

These tasty rolls are worth the time it takes to make a yeast dough. They have a sweet and nutty flavor that makes them perfect for sandwiches of any kind or just with some butter and honey. I found the recipe for these years ago and have modified it a little by adding whole wheat flour to make them a little healthier and more filling.

These rolls last for days without getting dried out and they freeze very well. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Wheat Sandwich Rolls
2 1/3 cup Water (divided)
1 cup uncooked Oatmeal (I wouldn't use instant)
3 tabl. Butter
2/3 cups Brown Sugar (not packed - you can cut down on the sugar if you want)
1 1/2 teas. Salt
1 teas. Sugar (to proof yeast
2 (1/4 oz each) packets Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
4 - 4 1/2 cups White Flour

The finished product! Yum!
Put two cups of the water in a saucepan to boil and add in oatmeal and butter when it reaches the boiling point. Continue boiling for one minute. Meanwhile Heat 1/3 cup water to 120 - 130 degrees (hot enough to proof yeast but not so much as to kill it) and add in sugar; stir and sprinkle yeast over top. Set aside yeast mixture to proof (yeast will bubble and rise) for about 5 minutes. Pour Oatmeal mixture into a mixing bowl and add in brown sugar and salt. Let cool until it is cool enough to add the yeast mixture in without killing the yeast. Put in three cups of flour (whole and white flour) and mix thoroughly. Gradually add in more flour until the dough is smooth enough to handle (not too sticky) then knead the dough on a hard surface, sprinkling flour on as needed for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic (not sticky). Put dough in a greased mixing bowl turning dough once so that the top is greased and set in a warm non-drafty place to rise until doubled (about an hour). Once dough has doubled punch down and divide it into 24 balls. Shape balls up into little rounded disks and put on two 13x9 cookie sheets to rise again until rolls have doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Once rolls have doubled heat oven to 350 degrees and bake rolls for about 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mango Paneer Curry

Some of the fresh ingredients used
It looks odd close-up but it tastes so good!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of cooking for a group of people, as I had company for dinner and so I decided to make this curry. Normally I use chicken but I have been wanting to experiment with paneer (a type of cheese used in Indian cooking) and one of my guests was vegetarian so I went ahead and stopped by this adorable Indian Grocery and picked some up.

While I was there the lady running the store recommended a spice mix for the paneer curry that did not disappoint, it was spicy, a little sweet, and savory all at the same time and worked great paired with the mango and other ingredients. I absolutely love this meal! Have fun making this!

Mango Paneer Curry
14 oz. Paneer (fresh cheese) diced
1 Green Pepper diced fine
1 Red Pepper diced fine
1 Onion diced fine
3 Tomatoes diced fine
2-3 Mangoes diced fine
5 Thai or Serrano Peppers – seeded and finely chopped
1 15oz. can Coconut Milk
1 package (1.76 oz) Paneer Tika Mix (Rasoi Magic Brand is the one I used)*
2-4 tsp. Garam Masala powder
4-5 whole Cardamom
4-5 whole Cloves
Basmati Rice
Heat frying pan to medium high and brown paneer on both sides (you don't have to use oil to brown but I spritzed on the pan). Meanwhile chop up onions, mangoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and Serrano peppers. Remove paneer from pan and put in onions, bell peppers, and Serrano peppers. Sauté until browned and sticking to bottom of skillet and then put in tomatoes and mangoes. Sauté for a while until tomatoes start to break down (about 10-15 minutes). Meanwhile mix together coconut milk and paneer tika mix and pour into skillet. Add in paneer and cook on low until the flavors are blended together. Serve over Basmati rice. 
This also tastes good with a sweet Riesling wine as an accompaniment.  
*This is what the packaging looks like: http://www.rasoimagic.com/paneer_tikka.html

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Mushroom Fettucini

The Fettucini ready to eat!
My basic ingredients assembled along with my glass of wine

On Friday's I like to have a real sit-down dinner with my boyfriend since he works evenings every day except for Friday, so I thought I would make this yummy vegetarian fettucini dish. I had him pick up some Chardonnay on the way home from work to even out the sauce; previously I used tomato sauce but I think the wine adds a more subtile finish to the dish and provides a good excuse to get my drink on. :) 

The other thing I love about this dish is that it uses both fresh and cheep ingredients, it probably cost about 7 bucks tops to make and if you needed to pinch pennies further you could substitute canned tomatoes and mushrooms for fresh. Also, this doesn't take too long to prepare, only about 45 minutes from start to finish, since it is basically all chopping up and dumping into one big skillet. 

Enjoy making this tasty meal!

Fresh Tomato, Onion, and Mushroom Fettucini
4 Tomatoes chopped
1 Onion chopped
2 or more cups baby portabella mushrooms chopped
1 cup White Wine (Chardonnay) 
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ box Fettucini pasta cooked according to package directions
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 teas. Cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 ½ teas. Basil
1 ½ teas. Tarragon
1 teas. Oregano
Sauté Onion in a large skillet in olive oil – when onion begins to caramelize sprinkle on brown sugar and add in mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes then add tomatoes, garlic, and other spices. Cook about 15 minutes (or until tomatoes are soft but have not lost all shape). Add in wine – cook on low for about 5-10 more minutes or until flavors have mellowed. While in the last few minutes of cooking, boil pasta. Stir into sauce and serve. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sautéed Vegetable Pasta Sauce with Ground Turkey

Some of the fresh veggies I used 
I started messing around with creating a pasta sauce that was more veggie intensive a few months ago and came up with this. It is now one of my most favorite dishes. It is super healthy, delicious, and makes a large batch ideal for freezing. You could easily make this completely vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and using more veggies. Also, if you don't have one of the vegetables listed you can substitute another that you think would go well in a pasta sauce. The last time I made this I had some extra portabella mushrooms lying around so I added them in along with everything else. 

Happy cooking!

Sautéed Vegetable Turkey Pasta Sauce
1 Zucchini sliced
1 Summer Squash sliced
1 Eggplant sliced and quartered and peeled*
1 Onion diced
2 Tomatoes diced (optional)
2 Red Bell Peppers diced
16 oz Ground Turkey
1 ½ - 2 Jars pre-made Tomato based pasta sauce (preferably low salt and sugar)**
3-4 Generous Squirts Sriracha Chili Sauce
1 ½ tbl. Tarragon
1 ½ tbl. Basil
2 teas. Oregano
Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Whole Wheat Pasta cooked according to package directions

Put spices and pre-made pasta sauce into a large pot and begin to heat on low. Then brown onions and ground turkey and put it in the sauce. Roast eggplant at 450 for 20 minutes and add to sauce. Saute the zucchinin, squash, and red bell peppers together until they start to soften and brown/caramelize and then add them to the pot. Add diced tomatoes to the pot and put in Siriachi chili sauce until food reaches desired spiciness. Cook until tomatoes have softened or the sauces flavors has melded (about 30-60 minutes) and serve over whole wheat pasta.
** May substitute plain tomato sauce but if you do I recommend adding extra spices 
* You may substitute more zucchini or squash instead of using eggplant if you wish

Fudgy Frozen Brownies

I have been in a baking mood lately and was craving some chocolate so I decided to make these brownies. I have been baking these ever since I found the recipe when I was a teenager but I recently decided to revamp it by decreasing the eggs, using half brown sugar, and adding in sour cream. These taste even better with the alterations, if I do say so myself. As it happens my boyfriend isn't the brownie fan I am so the last time I made these I decided to freeze them. Of course after they were frozen I got a craving and decided to try them frozen because I was too impatient to wait for a brownie to thaw - I was in for a pleasant surprise, these brownies are even tastier frozen then they are while warm!


Fudgy Frozen Brownies
2 Eggs
1 cup Brown Sugar (not packed)
1 cup Sugar
1 ½ teas. Vanilla
½ cup Butter melted
¼ cup Sour Cream
1 ½ cups Flour
¾ cup Baking Cocoa
1 ¼ teas. Salt
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla thoroughly in a bowl. Add in melted butter and sour cream and mix together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 13x9 inch pan and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until knife comes out slightly sticky when inserted into brownies. Freeze and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Easy Roasted Vegetables

The vegetables before they went into the oven

These vegetables go with everything and I probably make them at least once a week. My boyfriend loves these veggies and will eat an entire tray of them if I allow it. This is such a simple and healthy recipe - two qualities in recipes that I always enjoy seeing paired up.

Easy Roasted Vegetables
2 Summer Squash thickly sliced
2-3 Zucchini thickly sliced
Lowry’s Seasoning
Cracked pepper
Olive oil
Toss summer squash and zucchini with olive oil and seasoning to taste. Lay vegetables out in a single layer on a large cookie sheet (10x15) and bake at 430 for 20 minutes turning once (or until slightly crispy and browned on edges). 

Sally Lunn Batter Bread

This bread is a no knead yeast bread so it is simple to make. It has an amazing delicate buttery taste and pairs well with almost anything. I found the recipe in a Taste of Home magazine years ago - I'm not sure what issue.

Sally Lunn Batter Bread
1 packet (1/4 oz) Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm Water (110-115 degrees)
1 cup warm Milk (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup Butter softened
1/4 cup Sugar
2 teas. Salt
3 Eggs
5 1/2 - 6 cups flour

In a glass measuring cup heat water and milk to 110-115 degrees (where it is warm to the touch) and mix in a teaspoon of sugar, then pour in yeast packet and wait about 5 minutes to proof the yeast (this means that the yeast mixture will start to rise and bubble a little and ensures that your yeast is still good). Once yeast is proofed pour into a mixing bowl with butter, remaining sugar, salt, and eggs. Then mix in approximately 3 cups of flour to make a batter and gradually add in the rest of the flour until you have a soft slightly sticky dough. Let rise covered in a warm place with no drafts until doubled, about an hour. Mix or punch dough down and put into a greased and floured tube pan (I just lifted the dough out of the mixing bowl with my hands and laid it in the tube pan). Let rise in pan for an hour, or until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then loosen edges with a knife and remove from pan to cool completely.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chili Roasted Potatoes and Onion

Roasted potatoes and onions all hot and crispy
Mmmm. Just made my sweet and spicy roasted potatoes for dinner along with my boyfriend's mom's special cole slaw. These potatoes are so simple to make but are just delicious and go with pretty much anything. Since I was in a cooking mood I also made my tasty veggie heavy spaghetti sauce, but I will post that recipe later.
This dish before it was cooked - in case you were curious

Chili Roasted Potatoes and Onion
6 Red Potatoes chopped
2 Onions chopped
1-2 tabl. Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 tabl. Brown Sugar
Cayenne pepper to taste (if you want a little extra kick)
Olive oil
Toss potatoes and onions with spices, sugar, and olive oil and spread into a 15’x10’ pan. Roast for 30 minutes at 430° turning after 20 minutes in the oven. Let cool slightly and serve.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sauteed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Onions

I made this delicious dish last week and my boyfriend liked it so much we made it again the next day; which if you know him is a huge deal because he absolutely hates to cook and will avoid it at all costs.

His usual idea of making a meal is to have a bowl of cereal but he said that this dish was so good he actually wanted to learn how to make it (with me guiding him along of course, I didn't want the kitchen to catch fire - that actually happened once).

The butter is what really gives this meal it's rich carmelly flavor so I wouldn't recommend substituting anything else for it.  

Sautéed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Onions
5-7 medium Red Potatoes cubed (don’t peel skins)
10 oz (approx) fresh Green Beans/Broccoli (could use frozen)
1-2 Onions chopped
4 tbs (approx) Butter (Can start with less but add more if it is not enough)
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Optional: 4 chicken breasts chopped
Microwave potatoes for about 5 minutes in a little bit of water to partially cook them. Put butter in a skillet on medium high heat and sauté onions and potatoes. Add in green beans or brocolli after potatoes and onions begin to caramelize and sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste throughout cooking. (I usually go pretty heavy on the pepper). Stir frequently but allow mixture to stick to the bottom of the pan somewhat so that everything caramelizes. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. 
Note: If you decide to use chicken cook chicken completely first and add when you put the brocolli or green beans in with the potatoes and onions.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mac and Cheese with a Bite

Mmmm. Just sitting down with a bowl of mac and cheese and steamed broccoli to watch Gossip Girl reruns. I added some cayenne to the the simple roux sauce for an extra kick and it provides just the right amount of spice to go with the rich cheese flavor. Enjoy!

Mac and Cheese with a Bite
1 lb. Whole Wheat Rotini
4 oz. Colby-Jack 2% Cheese shredded
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
1 1/2 cups 1% Milk
3 tabl. Butter
4 tabl. Flour
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 teas. Cayenne Pepper
Boil Pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan melt butter over low heat and slowly mix in flour after butter is melted. Begin adding milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, as the flour and butter mixture will thicken too much if not thinned; let roux come to a slow boil and boil for one minute then add in shredded cheese and spices. Mix until cheese is melted then pour in pasta. Serve after pasta has been coated with the roux. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mushroom, Spinach, and Onion Quiche

I found this quiche recipe a while back on another cooking blog, called Confabulation in the Kitchen, and modified it to suit my tastes. Instead of a crust I just sliced up some potatoes to put on the bottom; if you prefer a crust by all means use one, but I thought this was an excellent way to cut down the calories and fat on this quiche. 

I also took the time to estimate the calories in this recipe in case you are curious. One quiche (this recipe makes two so it is great if you want leftovers for a few days) is about 1440 calories and 1/6 of the quiche is about 240 calories. 

As far as substitutions go, I have swapped yogurt for sour cream and cream cheese of the ricotta when I ran out and still wanted to make this and it came out just fine, so don't be afraid to mix it up a little. 

Below is the recipe, enjoy!

Mushroom, Spinach, and Onion Quiche
Two 9” Pie Plates
2-3 cups of fresh chopped Spinach
1 Onion chopped
1 container of Portabella Mushrooms chopped
2-3 Cubano peppers chopped
2 tabl. minced Garlic
2 Red Potatoes thinly sliced
7 Eggs
1 1/2 cups 1% Milk
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 tabl. Flour
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese (reduced fat works just fine)
Olive Oil for sauteing 
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Spray pie plates with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil. Lay sliced potatoes on bottom of pie plates. Finely chop any remaining potato and sauté with onion, pepper, garlic, and mushrooms (season with salt and pepper) until browned and mix in flour until all vegetables are coated. Beat eggs, milk, ricotta cheese, sour cream, and 2 cups of cheese together and put in spinach and sautéed vegetables. Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes and pour filling over it. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes and 350 for 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting. May be served warm or cold.

Introduction: me and the food I make


This is my first time starting a blog so I am excited to see what it will be like. I love to cook and my friends have been after me for a while now to share my recipes and cooking know-how so here goes. I am not a professional chef or anything but I have been in the kitchen since I was three and collecting recipes (not that I followed them) from the time I was a teenager.

I moved to Florida this summer to follow my lovely partner who just landed his first teaching job. Unfortunately I have yet to find a job so I have plenty of time to write down recipes and my thoughts. I have no experience as a photographer so the shots of my food aren't going to be all that polished but they will look realistic.

Lately I have been obsessed with cutting down on my meat intake so quite a few of my recipes will be vegetarian. It has been a blast trying out new veggies and planning meals that don't revolved around meat; it has made me realize how dominated American meals usually are by meat products - everything else seems to fall by the wayside.

I word of warning. I am very much a "pinch of this, dab of that" kind of cook. I never measure spices and I eyeball everything and frequently change up any recipe I have devised. I have begun trying to estimate how much spice I put in my food but most of my recipes will be estimates of what you should use. I believe that half the fun of being in a kitchen is experimenting and tasting until you like the result, so have fun! However, if you happen to have a question about my measurements or if my instructions aren't clear, I will be happy to elaborate.

Well, that is enough for an introductory post! Thank's for reading...