Welcome Fellow Food Enthusiasts

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Steak and [Sweet] Potatoes

image thanks to this site, not an image of our dinner - but similar, yes
 I got home from my long run yesterday and thought I was going to die.  Getting old stinks. In my twenties, I could run a marathon without taking a single drink nor eating any food during the race. Now, I need to bring water with me if I run more than 4 hours, I dehydrate that quickly. And more than 6 miles on the road, I really should bring food with me. I've never been a goo person, so I am trying to find ways to get back to where I can run further without food.  I'm OK bringing my camelback for water, but eating isn't really something I'd like to do.

So when I got home and was wondering if I should call family to say my last goodbyes, I googled recommended running diets, and found the same thing on many of the lists - sweet potatoes.  If you watched the 2008 or 2012 Summer Olympics, you know that the Jamaican runners claim the secret of their success is yams.  While sweet potatoes and yams are different things, I figure I'll give it a try. So this week, before the Ragnar I am running in Zions National Park this weekend, I'm experimenting with sweet potato recipes.

I was also craving steak after my run, so I found a new marinade recipe online and a sweet potato recipe in my new Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook for dinner tonight. First, the steak:

I bought four steaks from Costco. I don't have a super great butcher near me, so I hoped theirs would be OK. I made the marinade the night before so that the flavors would blend well before using on the meat. I used my tenderizing hammer before marinating.  I added the marinade this morning and marinated for 8-9 hours before grilling.  I pulled the steaks out of the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling and hammered them out again, and let them sit in the marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking. The temperature on my grill was between 475 and 500 degrees. I cooked them for 8 minutes on each side (they were thick steaks). There was a nice pink in the middle, but I'd say they were medium well. They were nice and juicy and tender.  Oh, the marinade. Here's the recipe:

2/3 c soy sauce (gluten free, if needed
1 c olive oil
2/3 c fresh lemon juice (I think I used 5 lemons)
1/2 c Worcestershire sauce
3 T garlic powder
6 T dried basil
3 T dried parsley flakes
2 t ground white pepper
1/2 hot pepper sauce (I used Sriracha hot chili sauce)
2 t dried garlic (I used dried sliced garlic that I have)

The recipe (found here) says to add it all to a blender and mix it up.  I think that is a good idea if you are making the marinade right before using, to blend the flavors well.  I didn't blend mine. Like I said, I mixed it together the night before and refrigerated the sauce. I added the sauce to the steaks, tenderized steaks, in a gallon Ziploc and put them back in the fridge for 8 hours.

Now, to the potatoes.  I actually prepared the potatoes, and put them in the oven. The cook time is 45 minutes. So I put them in the oven, and waited 15 minutes. I then went out back to turn on the grill and let it warm up for 15 minutes.  Then I put the steaks on the grill cook, 8 minutes eat side. I found the potatoes were done after about 35 minutes though, so I turned off the oven but kept the potatoes in the oven until we ate.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spices from My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow (my changes in italics)

2 medium sweet potatoes (she recommends peeled, I just washed well and sliced with them on.  She recommends 1/3" slices, I used my adjustable slicer with my safety gloves purchased after an accident involving the upper corner of my thumb earlier this year. I used the 3.0 setting for the thickest slices it makes. 
1/3 c Vermont maple syrup
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1 large orange I didn't have an orange in the fridge, out of season, so I used 1/2 c OJ
1 star anise I didn't have this, so not sure of the taste it will add in this recipe

 Preheat oven to 375.
Line casserole dish with parchment paper.
Slice potatoes. Lay potato slices out in baking dish. Because I sliced more thinly, I just used an 8x8 corning with a lid, lined with parchment.
Mix the sauce ingredients together.  If using thick slices, pour sauce over slices.  I added half my thin slices to the sauce, stirred well to coat all the slices, and then put those slices in my baking dish and repeated with the other half.  I then poured the extra sauce atop and covered.
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  My thin slices were done by the time I checked them at  35 minutes - so check your thick slices too.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Linguine Limone Parmeggiano

Thanks to this site for photo

Summer is pretty much over, though I'm still waiting for the Indian summer to begin, since you know it will.  I did collect some new cookbooks over the summer.  I spent much of the summer cooking from websites. And I will try to make a better effort to blog the yummy stuff I try. Photos, however, those  I will not promise to include.  One of the books I bought was "my father's daughter" - Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. The book was highlighted in an article I read in Self. I tried this recipe for her dad's pancakes.  I totally recommend this recipe as well. Awesome pancakes, and I like the idea of making the batter the night before.

The recipe I tried tonight was for her spaghetti limone parmeggiano.  I used linguine noodles tonight, thus the name of the entry.   Ready in 15 minutes, it is so yummy!  Here's the recipe:

1lb pasta noodles
1 lemon
1 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 T olive oil
3-5 T pasta water
A handful of basil leaves

While you bring the water to a boil and you cook the pasta, make the sauce.

Use a bowl large enough to hold a pound of cooked pasta and mix it with the sauce. Zest the whole lemon into the bowl (I roll my lemons before I zest and juice them, not sure if it really helps, but it always makes for yummy lemon flavor.) Cut the lemon in half and juice each half. Paltrow recommends using the hand grater used to grate the zest as the strainer when juicing the lemon to save on dirty dishes. I gave it a try, it worked great.

Add cheese, pepper and olive oil to bowl. Tear the basil leaves (I used about 15 nice sized leaves) and stir into the sauce.  Once the pasta is cooked, I added 1/4 c pasta water to the sauce and stirred it in.

Drain pasta and add to bowl, and mix with sauce.  Serve right away.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolate Parfait.....YUM

This stuff is DELISH. It will fulfill your chocolate cravings! The best thing about it is it is SO easy to make.

For the crust:
1 cup chopped nuts (can be almonds or walnuts)
1 square of butter
1 cup of flour

Melt butter and add nuts and flour. Mix well and press into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Cheese filling:
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat until creamy. Spread carefully onto crust.

Pudding filling:
1 3 1/2 oz instant vanilla pudding
1 3 1/2 oz instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk

Use a whisk to mix well until pudding thickens and spread on top of cheese filling.

Topping: top with another container of 8 oz cool whip. Garnish with Hershey's chocolate bar-grated.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Scottish Eggs

Would anyone dare try this unusual food? I dare ya! I was SO skeptical to try until my husband made me try it. After coaxing and begging me to "just take one bite", I did and I instantly fell in love. We, or he did, came across this recipe from a friend and knowing my talented cook of a husband, he came up with his own recipe for this stuff. It is SO SO good!

12 hard-boiled eggs
2 tubes mild sausage
1 5 oz bag shredded parmesan cheese
1 box Chicken in a Biskut crackers
2 T Italian seasoning

Grind down 1 bag of shredded parmesan cheese (it will make one cup), then grind down 3/4 of the box of crackers. Then grind the parmesan and the crackers together to make a fine texture. I use the Magic Bullet to do this.

In a large bowl, add sausage. Pour about 3/4 of parmesan/crackers mixture, then add italian seasoning. Mix thoroughly.

Peel shells off eggs. Wrap each eggs with sausage mixture until whole egg is covered completely. Try not to make the sausage layer too thick or they won't cook evenly. The egg with sausage ball should be smaller than a tennis ball. Use the remaining parmesan/cracker mixture to lightly coat each ball.

Place aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and lightly grease. Place the balls on the sheet and bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until well cooked.

You may have leftover sausage and you can just cook those just like a sausage patty. They are good!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

southwest macaroni & cheese.

my family devoured this tonight. my kids both loved it. even my picky husband had seconds {and maybe thirds}.

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup pepper jack or other peppered cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked corn
1/2 can diced green chiles {or more, if you like!}

cook & drain macaroni. in a medium saucepan, melt butter. blend in flour and then milk. cook and stir until sauce thickens. add salt, pepper, garlic powder & cheese. heat and stir until cheese is melted. add corn and green chiles. combine with macaroni. pour into casserole dish & sprinkle with more cheese. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

serve with salsa & beans, or whatever else your heart desires.

chewy low fat banana nut oatmeal cookies.

{how is that for a title, eh? sorry for the un-amazing pic!}

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (1 small banana)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

combine dry ingredients. separately, cream butter & sugar. add egg, then banana & vanilla. stir in dry ingredients & oats. combine well, then add nuts. drop in heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment or wax paper lined sheets. {as you can see, i didn't do that. i just made sure the pan was well greased.} bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes {most always done at 8 minutes}. cool on sheet 3-4 minutes. transfer to wire rack.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Braided Spaghetti Bread

* 1 loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
* 6 oz spaghetti, cooked
* 1 cup thick spaghetti sauce
* 1/2 pound brown ground beef or 1/2 pound cooked Italian Sausage
* 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
* 1 egg white
* shredded Parmesan cheese
*Parsley flakes

Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray or sprinkle counter with flour. Roll loaf or combined dinner rolls into a 12x16 inch rectangle. Carefully place onto greased baking sheet. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rest. Cook spaghetti according to package. Drain and let cool slightly. Mix spaghetti sauce and ground beef with the spaghetti. Remove wrap from dough. Place spaghetti mixture lengthwise in a 4-inch strip down the center of dough. Add cubed mozzarella cheese on top of mixture. Make cuts 1 1/2 inches apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Begin braid by folding top and bottom strips toward filling. Then braid strips left over right, right over left. Finish by pulling last strip over and tucking under braid. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley. You can also add garlic powder. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and slice to serve.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Double Chocolate Mousse Dessert Cups

These delicious little cups were a hit at our Super Bowl party last night.  And the best part about them??  SUPER easy to make.  You can mix up the mousse and serve it out of bowls if you want, but I had these cute little graham cracker crusts on hand, so I decided to make little mousse cups.  And since they are mini cups, it's totally kosher to eat more than one right?? 

Double Chocolate Mousse Dessert Cups
(Recipe adapted from JELL-O)

1 1/2 cups cold fat-free milk, divided
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 large package (2.1 oz.) Jello Chocolate fat free sugar free instant pudding
1 1/2 cups whipping cream or fat free cool whip (I prefer the taste of home whipped cream, but if you are looking for less calories, fat free cool whip is the way to go)

Microwave 1 cup milk and chocolate chips in a bowl for 2 minutes; stir with a whisk and keep heating until chocolate is melted.  Add remaining cold milk and dry pudding mix.  Beat for 2 minutes with a hand mixer.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow mousse to set up.  Just prior to serving, stir 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream or cool whip into the chocolate mousse mixture.  I put it back in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, then used a large cookie or ice cream scoop to fill my graham cracker cups.  You can garnish with a dollop of whip cream and some chocolate chips or fresh raspberries.

***For extra deliciousness, I put a few chocolate chips in the bottom of the cups before filling with mousse.  There is something about having a little bit of a crunch with the smooth consistency of the mousse that makes me happy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Chicken & Broccoli Hugs

Want a super easy, yummy dinner?  My sister-in-law taught me this one.  Only 5 ingredients.

1 can rolled crescent dough
2 cups chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups broccoli, cooked (I steam mine)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
Salt & pepper

Place chicken, broccoli and cheese--at the proportion you want--in the middle of each doughy triangle.  Fold up the sides, line up on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 until golden brown.

While they are cooking, heat up the cream of chicken soup in a medium saucepan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Use this as a dipping sauce for your rolls.

P.S. Something I learned this from my friend while she was in culinary school was to always season my meat, and it has made a difference in the taste of my food for sure.  So when making this dish, salt and pepper your chicken too!