Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinner Fail & a Delicious Recipe

I'm sure that the recipe below, when prepared correctly, is delicious. Even when prepared incorrectly it was still tasty just packed a very big punch. My mistake was misreading tsp as tbsp. Normally this wouldn't make too big of a difference but when dealing with crushed red pepper it was a big mistake. Arrabiata sauce, called angry sauce, is a classic tomato sauce with a heat fueled by crushed red peppers. Instead of adding a little kick, my mistake had our sauce packing a whomping punch. It was still edible but had my nose running because of the heat. Stick with the tsp recommendation and this will be delicious!

This recipe is from Confections of a Foodie Bride, at

Fiery Arrabiata Pasta Sauce

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 tsp rosemary, dried
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed redpeper flakes
28 oz can of tomatoes
parsley to garnish (optional)
Parmesan to garnish (optional)
cooked pasta

Add the onion, garlic, EVOO and butter to a heated sauce pan and saute until the onions are clear. Add rosemary, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I used to refer to blondies as the brownies without chocolate. However, while blondies might be similar to their darker counterpart, they are still a dessert of their own. They don't depend on chocolate for their flavor. Their flavor comes from brown sugar and any extras you choose to add. I choose butterscotch chips this time and was able to throw these together in under 10 minutes. Plus, it makes a nice small batch!

This recipe is from Anytime I go on her website I get an irresistible urge to bake! Check it out!

6-7 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Add Ins (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate or butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds
1/2 cup M & M candies or chopped Reese's PB cups
1/4 cup toffee pieces
1/2 tsp mint extract in addition to or in place of vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 8x8 pan with foil and spray lightly with PAM. In a large microwaveable safe mixing bowl, melt the butter. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Add salt, stir in flour and baking powder. Mix in any additions.

Pour into prepared pan and spread mixture evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cooking.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicken Cheese Lasagna

My Taste of Home cookbook is probably the best cookbook I own. I received it as a birthday present from my mother-in-law and it has yet to disappoint. This recipe was no different. It was a nice change from our normal lasagna and the cream sauce was perfect! If you are having company over this is a perfect dish to serve!

1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove,minced
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp each dried basil oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 tbsp minced parsley
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drain
2 packages, 10 oz each, frozen spinach thawed and well drained
2 cups cubed cooked chicken

In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter til tender. Stir in flour and salt; cook until bubbly. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; boil for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, basil oregano and pepper; set aside. In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, parsley and remaining mozzarella; set aside. Spread a quarter of the cheese sauce into a greased 13x9x2 in baking dish; cover with 3 noodles.

Top with half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach and half of the chicken. Cover with a quarter of cheese sauce and three noodles. Repeat layers of ricotta mixture, spinach, chicken and cheese sauce. Cover with remaining noodles and cheese sauce. Sprinkle remaining parmesan over all. Bake, uncovered, at 350º for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cooking. Yields 12 servings.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not Your Average Hamburger Helper...

One dish I was never a fan of growing up was Hamburger Helper. I don't know what it is about it; I just didn't like it. Luckily, my mom didn't serve it. My husband on the other hand loves hamburger helper. When I found this recipe on, I was reminded of HH but decided to give the homemade version a try. Most of the ingredients were in my pantry or refrigerator and it was a quick fix!

Creamy Taco Mac

1 lb ground beef
8 oz dry pasta, 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
4 tbsp mild taco seasoning
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
cheddar cheese (optional)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta. Reserve one cup of water. Over medium heat, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Add taco seasoning and diced tomatoes and cook over low heat for 4 minutes. Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese and sour cream. Stir until the cheeses are melted. Simmer over low heat for a few more minutes and then top with cheddar cheese and serve!

Philly Cheesesteaks

While back home in Georgia, I experienced the deliciousness that is a Philly Cheesesteak. My brother-in-law cooked these for us for dinner one night and I was hooked. The melted cheese combined with the crisp onions and peppers was addicting. I decided to to make these for dinner this week and the hubby was definitely pleased with the result. It's such an easy recipe for a delicious result.

1 loaf of Italian or French bread
1 large green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/2 lb of rib eye (or if you're bad like us you can use frozen Steakums :))
Your choice of cheese, either provolone or American
salt, pepper, and garlic to salt

Turn oven to warm and heat bread. Heat vegetable oil in skillet and saute diced green pepper and onion (about 5 minutes). Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic to suit your tastes. Add meat and cook until thoroughly cooked through.

At this point, you can either layer the different ingredients onto the warm bread or combine them in the skillet and lay the cheese on top to melt. Layer the ingredients on the bread and serve warm!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekly Meal List

I haven't done one of these in awhile even though I had intended to throw our list up here every week. Hopefully this week will get me back on track!

Monday: Beef and cheese manicotti
Tuesday: Caesar Salad Sandwiches
Wednesday: Philly Cheesesteaks
Thursday: Creamy Taco Mac
Friday: Date Night
Saturday: Grilling Out
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner

I'll be posting a few of these recipes this week so be sure to check back for them!

Have a great week :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Enchi-ritos is what Neil and I named one of our favorite meals. They are enchiladas but with flour tortillas instead of corn. Technically, they could be considered burritos, but we use enchilada sauce. This is an original recipe, although it wasn't that hard to create :) No picture for these because they disappear too quickly!

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup onion chopped (or more whatever suits your tastes)
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
pack of taco seasoning
shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of enchilada sauce

Optional add ins:
Mexican Rice or Yellow Rice
Refried beans
1 can of green chile peppers
1 can of sliced black olives drained
Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium high heat, cook the ground beef and chopped onion until evenly browned. Add taco seasoning according to directions. Meanwhile, pour half of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. On each tortilla, place a small amount of ground beef mixture, cheese, and any optional add ins that you want. Tightly roll the tortillas and place them seam side down in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Potato Salad

Neil was planning to cook hamburgers for us so I planned a traditional summer dish that I had yet to try: potato salad. Potato salad, like pasta salad, is another seemingly easy recipe that I knew the basics for but I wasn't sure what brought it all together. The easiest and most traditional recipe I found was on It was very easy to prepare and delicious. Next time, I might up the vinegar just a smidge and reduce the celery. Other than that, if you are looking for a traditional potato salad, this is it!

2 lbs Idaho Potatoes, peeled and diced (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup mayonnaise or light mayonnaise
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallion (optional)
1/2 cup chopped hard-boiled egg (optional
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, chives or dill (optional)

Place potatoes in large pot and add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook 13-15 minutes or until Potatoes are tender. Drain. In a large bowl, combine mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, celery and optional add-ins. Toss to coat thoroughly.


Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This week has been pretty low key on the cooking front. I was feeling a little tired from our vacation and getting ready to go back to school so our meals weren't anything fancy. This recipe was definitely my favorite though.
I love mac and cheese but the boxed kind just doesn't cut it for me. I found this recipe at and am in love with it. It was super easy and gave me a chance to use my new grater that I got for my birthday!
It does make a lot of mac and cheese though! We had this as our main meal one night, Neil has taken it to lunch twice, and we had it as a side another night! But this is a definitely a meal that tastes even better reheated the second night.

Bread Crumb Topping:
6 slices white sandwich bread (good-quality, about 6 ounces), torn into rough pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces

Pasta and Cheese:
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 cups milk
8 ounces Monterey
Jack cheese , shredded (2 cups)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt

For the bread crumbs: Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are no larger than 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.

For the pasta and cheese: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender. Drain pasta and set aside in colander.

In now-empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne (if using) and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken). Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.

Transfer mixture to broiler-safe 9-by 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm Back :)

Our family on vacation in Daytona, Florida

Sorry for the long hiatus. Blogging has taken a backseat these past few weeks to our vacation home to Georgia. While I didn't blog, I definitely kept up with the food part. I love vacation but the amount of food you eat combined with the lack of physical activity doesn't look to good on the scale when you come home. But it's vacation so it's okay :)

I got two new cookbooks while I was home. The first one Appetizers Finger Foods Buffets andParties was an impulse buy at Borders. It was sitting right out in front of the store and when I flipped through a few pages and saw tons of thing I'd love to try I knew I had to get it. The next one was a complete surprise and I'm excited to try it. For my birthday, my Uncles girlfriend, Abby, gifted me with The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook Kit. She knew we had a dog, Lucy, and she knew about my food blog. So she combined the two into the book! I can't wait to try some of the recipes and I know Lucy will be excited. It even came with cute cookie cutters in the shapes of fire hydrants, bones, and a squirrel! I'll be trying these out in a post sometime soon.

Another food related thing I found fun about our vacation was that each couple took a turn in the kitchen and cooked for us, with the exception of my mom and dad who enjoyed not having to cook. My younger sister, Carrie, and her boyfriend, Robert, took the first turn and cooked up a huge meal of chicken and shrimp fettucini alfredo, chicken chowder (none of us really liked clam), and some cheddar garlic biscuits. The next night my older sister, Dana, and her fiance, TJ, delighted our senses with frozen chicken fingers and salad. FOr anyone who knows my about Dana's cooking skills, this was a delicious meal :) My husband and I treated everyone to some Mexican stuffed shells, yellow rice, and chips and queso. It's always nice to have a home-cooked meal on vacation and eating in allowed us more time on the beach instead of getting ready to go out to dinner.

I promise I'll update with new recipes this week!