Tuesday, August 30, 2011

23 by 23

A lot of bloggers I follow are doing a 25 by 25 (or 30 by 30) challenge. Basically, it's 25 (30) things they want to make by the time they turn 25 (30). I'm a big procrastinator-I once wrote a paper on procrastination for my junior English class and turned it in late-but the thought of having 3 years to accomplish a list of things makes my heart start pounding. I'm not big on commitment, at least not committing to this type of thing. I had no problem committing the rest of my life to the hubs but committing myself to making this stuff in 2 years is too much time and I'll get bored and be over it.

I like to make big lists and then never accomplish them. We'll never buy a fixer upper house because I'll come up with this huge list of things we need to make it fabulous and then I'll just sit down in the middle of the room and freak out about all the things on the list we have to do. I'm pretty sure that's one quality Neil wishes I didn't have but he has learned to love it, or at least tolerate it.

Anyways, I'm pretty proud of the fact that I'm still here blogging away more than a year after first starting this blog. But then I look at my 2011 Goals for this Blog (that I updated here) and realize I haven't completed half of them even though the year is almost 2/3 over. So it may seem kind of silly for me to commit myself to an even bigger to do list in a shorter amount of time but I'm doing it!*

23 by 23

1. Pizza Dough
2. Sour Dough Bread
3. Croissants
4. Pretzels
5. Donuts
6. Cinnamon Rolls
7. Cream Puffs
8. Cannoli
9. Royal Icing Cookies
10. Homemade Girl Scout Cookies
11. Homemade Ice Cream
12. A Decorated Cake
13. Tamales
14. Queso Blanco
15. Carne Asada
16. Huevos Rancheros
17 Beef Bourguignon
18. Chicken and Dumplings like my Nanny makes
19. Vodka Sauce
20. Ribs
21. Fish and Chips
22. Something from my Pinterest "Yum" board
23. Another thing from my Pinterest "Yum" board

*If I don't finish this by next July I reserve the right to turn this into a 25 by 25 and give myself another 2 years to finish it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2011 Food/Blog Goals Updated

Since it's already September (well almost) I decided I should probably take a look at those goals I made back in January, you know, since I've had over 8 months to work on them. Plus, I have another post related to them coming up tomorrow. So, here goes!

I've italicized those that are in progress and bolded those I've finished.

My 10 Food/Blog Goals for 2011

1. Post at least twice a week-okay so I failed at this one. But I've posted 66 times in 2011 and at 2 posts a week that's 33 weeks. And we're on week 35 (I think) so technically if we are going by averages I still have a chance to complete this.

2. Host a Giveaway-well I've bought the stuff, does that count? Not all of it but I've bought two very useful kitchen things and now I'm just looking for something big and good to add to it.

3. Do a Blog Makeover-Complete! What do you think of the new look? Do you like it? Do you miss the pink goodness that always made me want to shop at Victoria's Secret? Anything I should add or change?

4. Join Some Kind of Blogging Group-Complete! I participate in the Recipe Swap hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking with my What's Cooking Girls. I don't participate every week because sometimes life gets way too busy and I don't want to commit and not follow through but I have definitely joined a group!

5. Host a dinner party- This one is still in the works. We've had plenty of people over for dinner but haven't hosted a real party yet. 4 months left.

6. Work with yeast- Nope, haven't started it yet. But hopefully soon!

7. Tamales- this is another fail on my part to complete this list but I'm going to try for it by the end of the year.

8. Dog Treats- I've bought plenty of bags of Snausages and rawhide for Lucy. Doesn't count? Oh well.

9. Grill More- Fail. I have another month of super nice weather here in So Cal so maybe I can stuff a summer's worth of grilling into one month.

10. Royal Icing-I predict decorated cookies in the near future (if 3 months can be considered near)

2/10. One fifth. Twenty percent completed. I submit to you the evidence that I'm horrible with resolutions. At least another 2/10 are halfway there. That means I'm 4/10 or two fifths or almost 40 % done. That sounds better.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekly Meal List

Monday: Arroz Con Pollo
Tuesday: Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce
Wednesday: Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Thursday: Chipotle Steak Salad
Friday: Six Can Tortilla Soup
Saturday: Bacon, Eggs, and Waffles
Sunday: Pork Chops with Apples and Cheese Grits

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recipe Swap: Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs

The theme for this recipe swap was "Italian." Considering I'm like 1/8th Sicilian, I was excited. I love love love Italian food, more than Snooki from Jersey Shore loves to tan, and that girl LOVES to tan.

Anyways, I can always use some more pasta recipes and this one is a keeper. I received this one from the Jey of Cooking. I knew it would be good since I've made a few of her recipes before and they have all been delicious.

Updated 8/29: Here is the link for the Italian Recipe Swap Roundup.

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs

Baked Meatballs
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup Panko
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
splash of milk
splash of Worcestershire
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425º. Combine ingredients and mix by hand. Form into balls and place on a lightly oiled, foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-25 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 jar pasta sauce
1 box rigatoni, cooked al dente
16 oz bag of baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 container ricotta
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 container baby mozzarella balls, halved
Baked Meatballs (see above recipe)
1 pinch Nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350º. Warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add sauce and cook and additional 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, parsley, ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg. Add pasta, meatballs, and sauce and mix to combine. Reserve some sauce for serving.

Transfer to baking dish and top with mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until browned, about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Basil Shrimp Orzo

Ever since making Orzo with Watermelon and Feta for the Recipe Swap, orzo has made quite a few appearances on our grocery list. Usually it's so I can make us a batch of the watermelon/feta dish (it really is a perfect summer lunch) but every now and then I try out a new recipe. Anything with shrimp usually earns me an A from Neil and this one was accompanied by a thumbs up since his mouth was full.

Basil Shrimp Orzo

8 oz orzo
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can diced tomatoes with garlic and basil
20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
1.5 tbsp tomato paste
Parmesan cheese

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, saute your onions and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes. After about 3 minutes, add the shrimp in. Next, add the diced tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium and cover skillet. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until mixture is heated through.

Turn off the heat and add the orzo to the skillet. Sprinkle with Parmesan and mix together. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

I thought I had blogged this one a long time ago but when I found these pictures while cleaning out my iPhoto I realized I hadn't! The first time I made this recipe, I substituted the mini shells with stuffed shells-Neil's a big fan of food he can eat with his hands. This time, since it was just for me, I made it easier on myself by just using the mini shells.

Baked Shells with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Meat Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1.25 lbs ground beef
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup pesto
1 pound pasta shells
2 cups shredded mozzarella
6 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400º. Coat a 15 x 10 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until meat is no longer pink. Drain if needed.Add the tomatoes and salt to the pan and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in pesto.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and toss with sauce. Put half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining pasta mixture and cheese.

Bake until bubbling and slightly brown on top, about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekly Meal List

Lots of chicken on the menu this week!

Monday: Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs
Tuesday: Sesame Chicken
Wednesday: Homemade Pizza
Thursday: Salsa Chicken
Friday: Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers
Sunday: BBQ with Friends

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Meal List

Monday: Chili Spaghetti
Tuesday: BBQ Chicken with Corn on the Cob
Wednesday: Meat Loaf with Mashed Potatoes
Thursday: Chicken Stir-fry
Saturday: Peppery London Broil
Sunday: Homemade Pizza

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mozzarella and Pesto Crescent Tarts

These were supposed to be for a baby shower. We were all asked to bring something and I thought I would bring these. Unfortunately, I absentmindedly put white instead of red onion on the grocery list and completely forgot to buy pesto. I brought a fruit platter instead and Neil and I enjoyed these with our spaghetti bolognese. These were delicious!

Mozzarella and Pesto Crescent Tarts

1 8oz can Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 tbsp basil pesto
2 medium tomatoes, seeded, sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425º. Unroll the dough into 2 long rectangles. Place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Firmly press the perforations to seal. Spread each rectangle with 1 tbsp of pesto. Top each with tomatoes, onion, and rosemary. Sprinkle each with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Cut each into crosswise slices. Serve warm or cool. Enjoy!