Monday, September 29, 2008

Pasta Puttanesca

I've also loved Puttanesca, but it isn't something I make often. In fact, since starting this blog more than 2 years ago, I've only made it once. I had black olives that needed to be used up and I needed a quick meal after a rough day at work, so it made sense.

I love the saltiness of this meal, between the capers, anchovies and olives. It was quick and easy, which was good since I'm in some pain right now. I've been planning a huge conference at work that starts this week (I'll be gone Wednesday to Sunday) and today I was rushing around trying to get some things done while my lunch was heating up. I was carrying a heavy box and ended up falling down the stairs. I twisted both my ankles, I already have a bruise on my left side and back and the back of my left thigh hurts as well. Basically my whole body is starting to ache. Good times!
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Roast Chicken Dinner

We needed something fun for Sunday dinner, especially because the weather this weekend was so horrid. It was cool, but the humidity was something like 95%. I hate that sticky feeling. SP thought it would be good to dry out the house with the oven, so he suggested a roast chicken dinner.

I rubbed the chicken with a rosemary and thyme butter, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and cooked it at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then turned the oven down to 350 to finish cooking the chicken for 2 more hours.

I cooked up more of the red potatoes to make smashed potatoes and steamed some broccoli. Once the chicken was done I made gravy using the drippings and some chicken broth. It was a fantastic meal.
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Bacon 'n' Egg Quesadilla

I loved these breakfast quesadillas so much I made myself another one for breakfast on Sunday.

I put a little more cheese in this time and just look at how gooey and fantastic it is. The yolks were perfectly cooked and the bacon was crispy. It's just a fantastic meal all around.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mushroom Pizza

We needed something for dinner last night and pizza seemed like a good idea since we had very little in the house. We also had some mushrooms on the verge of going bad so I used them all for the pizza:

SP made a quick sauce using some of the tomatoes my mom and I canned this summer and I also threw on some sliced black olives.
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Cheese Quesadilla

Yesterday we wanted an afternoon snack but didn't have much in the house. SP bought some amazingly good cheddar cheese last week so I thought quesadillas would be great.

I kept them simple with shredded cheddar cheese (I seasoned mine with garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper but SP wanted just cheese in his). I diced some grape tomatoes from my garden and mixed them with a little chopped cilantro, salt and pepper and lemon juice. We had the quesadillas with the tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream for a fantastic, easy snack.
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Meatloaf Muffins with Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans

As much as I hate to admit it, the weather is changing. Fall has arrived and it's time to put away the summer recipes for more homey, cold-weather meals. On Thursday I made one of my favorite comfort food meals - meatloaf muffins:

I usually throw whatever sounds good into my meatloaf, along with the requisite breadcrumbs and egg. This time it was some onion, red pepper, a jalapeno and a little chipotle salsa. I put the muffins into a greased muffin tin and top each muffin with a little ketchup. They bake for 35 minutes at 425 degrees.

While the meatloaf muffins cooked I scrubbed some red potatoes and cooked them for smashed potatoes, which I made with sour cream, butter, scallions, salt and pepper and a splash of milk. I love leaving the skins on when making mashed potatoes. I also picked up some green beans at the farmers market (the last day for the market by my!) so we had those steamed.
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Chicken Spanakopita Burgers, Fries with Yogurt Sauce

I printed this recipe for Chicken Spanakopita Burgers awhile ago but never got around to making them. After the success of the Chicken Cobb Burger I decided to finally give this meal a try.

I assembled and froze the burgers on Sunday since I knew I'd be working late last week. They cooked up perfectly:

... topped with tomato, sliced cucumber and red onion. SP had misread the list and didn't buy me roasted red peppers, so I improvised and made a black olive and parsley mayo instead. We had waffle fries in the freezer so I cooked those until they were nice and crispy:

It was a good, simple meal, especially making the burgers ahead of time. I think if the burgers had been grilled they would have been even better, but the flavors were still great.

The one thing I'd do differently is decrease the amount for the sauces. As it is I used only 4 ounces of Greek yogurt and it made a ton of sauce.
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Mac & Cheese with Arugula Salad

I had little bits of various cheeses to use up and I knew I'd be busy at work because of my upcoming conference, so I made a mac & cheese on Sunday to have during the week. I made the cheese sauce using blue, cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. I also made a fresh bread crumb topping using 3 slices of bread and thyme, rosemary, chives, basil and parsley:

On Monday I took it out of the fridge when I got home, popped it in the oven and 30 minutes later we were sitting down to dinner. While the mac & cheese cooked I sliced some mushrooms and red onion and tossed it with arugula for a quick salad:

I loved having an easy dinner on the table so quickly with minimal effort. I think I'm going to get back into the weekend prep this winter.

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Sausage Pizza

On Sunday we had pizza for dinner:

I used the rest of the sausage and onion I had cooked and frozen and some sauce I'd also frozen. It was another great pizza, but I wish the photo was better. Stupid diminishing daylight.
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Chicken Nachos

Last Sunday we wanted an afternoon snack. I needed ground chicken for a meal later in the week and SP had bought me more then enough, so we used some of it to make chicken nachos:

SP cooked the chicken with some cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper. I made the nachos using shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, diced tomatoes from our garden, cilantro, chopped scallions, a little chipotle salsa and sour cream. They were fantastic.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bacon 'n' Egg Quesadilla

I saw this recipe in the October issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. It looked so good I decided to try it for breakfast.

I left out the black beans since neither of us is a fan and the avocado mash because I forgot to put it on the shopping list. For the quesadillas I used a combo of Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses. I also chopped up some grape tomatoes from my garden and mixed them with minced red onion, cilantro and lemon juice for a fresh salasa, which we had in addition to some sour cream.

I absolutely loved these quesadillas. They're basically a breakfast sandwich in a different package. You usually you see scrambled eggs in breakfast quesadillas, but these were made with fried so the beautiful bursty yolks made a sauce with the sour cream and tomatoes. The cheese and bacon were fantastic as well. I will definitely make these again.

Bacon 'n' Egg Quesadilla
Everyday with Rachael Ray

8 medium flour tortillas
2 hass avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound bacon
8 large eggs
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 15 1/2 ounce can black beans, rinsed

Place the tortillas in the oven in two stacks; heat to 200 degrees . In a bowl, mash the avocados with the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Working in batches, in a nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the skillet, reserving the rest of the fat. Cut the bacon strips in half.

Working in 2 batches, in the skillet, cook the eggs over easy; transfer to a platter. Reserve the skillet.

Lay the tortillas on a work surface. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup cheese; top with beans, 1 egg and bacon strips, then fold to enclose.

In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat over medium heat, add 4 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Repeat with more bacon fat and the remaining quesadillas; serve with the avocado mash.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

E for Excellent

Friday was a good day for me in the blogging world. Lisa over at Lime in the Coconut gave me the E for Excellent blog award. I'm really feeling the love in the foodie blogging community these days! Thank you so much, Lisa!

I'm going to pass this award along to:

Brooke at ...and a cookie for dessert
Melissa at Alosha's Kitchen (even though I know she's already gotten it)
Colleen at Cooking This and That
Jenn at Jenn and Food, Perfect Together
Kelly at Kelly Cooks...and Other Amazing Feats
Mary Ellen at Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
Amy at Skinny Food by Amy
Dani at The Average Cook
Katie at A Byootaful Life
Joelen at Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Now it's your turn to spread the love. Please find at least 10 more blogs of any kind which you deem to be excellent (but if you only know of a few, that's OK too). Post about the blogs you picked, linking back to me and to them. Once you’ve posted, return here to let me know your post is up, and of course let your 10 award winners know too.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Finest Foodies Friday

I just got an email from my buddy Melissa over at Alosha's Kitchen...that sneaky girl nominated me for one of the new Foodie Blogroll features Finest Foodies Fridays. I am beyond honored to be nominated! I'm seriously grinning from ear to ear. That Melissa, she really knows how to make a girl feel special. :)

To anyone stopping by to check out A Taste of Home Cooking because of the mention on Finest Foodies Friday, hello and welcome! I hope you like what you see. Feel free to pull up a chair and stay awhile.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cashew Chicken

I saw this recipe for Cashew Chicken on the blog of one of the girls on my cooking board. It seemed like an easy enough recipe for a weeknight, especially since SP loves Cashew Chicken.

I loved the colors in this dish and the flavors were good. I followed the recipe pretty closely, although I did add more cashews because we really like them. SP thought it should have been sweeter, but I liked the spiciness from the red pepper flakes. I think next time I'll double the recipe so we have more leftovers.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles

We have a lot of ground beef in the freezer so I thought Swedish Meatballs would be fun:

It took me awhile to roll all these mini meatballs, but the effort was worth it. This is a great, easy meal with wonderful flavors.
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Spaghetti Carbonara

I've been thinking about Spaghetti Carbonara lately so I put it on the list for this week.

As I was reheating the leftovers of this dinner for my lunch today I got to thinking about my history with spaghetti carbonara. I had my first bowl of carbonara in England, of all places, with my very dear friend Big S (who I know reads this blog but rarely comments...everyone wave hello to Big S.) She and I both love food and while we were in Norwich for our junior year abroad she discovered Pinocchio's on St. Benedicts Street. Unfortunately they don't have a website, but trust me it's a cute place. I'm fairly certain she had never had carbonara before either and we split a plate, without bacon in her portion since she's a vegetarian. It was heaven, rich and creamy and fantastic. I was hooked. After leaving England I promptly forgot all about carbonara until I saw Lidia make it on her show one day. I started making it again and I've been a fan ever since.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Roast Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary

One of my favorite cooking buddies is Katie over at Good Things Catered. I love her simple recipes and excellent taste in all things cooking and entertaining. She posted this recipe for Roasted Chicken Breast with Lemon, Garlic, Rosemary and Seasoned Potatoes back in March and I've had it in the back of my mind to make as soon as the weather changed. Then I got sick of waiting so despite the heat wave we've been having, I made this for dinner tonight since we had all the ingredients on hand.

This is such a simple meal but look at that presentation. Gorgeous. My plate didn't look quite as good because of the gravy:

... which didn't look nearly as great as it tasted. I served the chicken and potatoes with some steamed green beans I got at the farmers market last week. Delicious. SP could not stop raving about this meal. Definitely something I will be making again and again. Thanks Katie!!

Roasted Chicken Breast with Lemon, Garlic, Rosemary, and Potatoes
Slightly Modified from Good Things Catered

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
Zest of 1/2 large lemon, 1/2 sliced, 1/2 juiced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped off
7 sprigs of fresh thyme, leave stripped off
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 russet potatoes, washed thoroughly and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line large baking pan with foil for easy cleanup.

Pat chicken breasts dry, season liberally with salt and ground pepper, and place at least one to two inches apart in pan. Chop the rosemary, thyme and parsley together and divide in half. In small bowl combine 2 tablespoons butter, lemon zest, garlic, half the rosemary, thyme and parsley mixture and stir with spoon to thoroughly combine. With back of spoon, spread butter mixture on top of chicken breasts evenly. Slice reserved lemon and place slices in pan around the chicken.

In medium bowl place cubed potato and toss with olive oil, the rest of the rosemary, thyme and parsley, salt and pepper. Scatter potatoes around chicken breasts. Place baking dish in oven and cook about 30-40 minutes or until thickest portion of chicken breast has reached 175 degrees. Remove from oven, take chicken breasts out of pan onto a warm serving platter and tent with foil. Take one pinch more of salt to sprinkle over potatoes, toss and place back in oven for 5-10 minutes. Remove potatoes and place on platter with chicken.

Put any drippings from the roasting pan into a small pot and add 2 tablespoons butter and lemon juice. Once the butter has melted whisk in flour and then add 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cup milk. Whisk until starts to boil and thicken, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve over chicken and potatoes.
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Grilled Dinner

On Sunday it was so incredibly hot we didn't want to cook inside. I had a lot of veggies in the fridge from last week's farmers market so I made skewers using cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini and red onion and cooked them on the grill:

... so they would get that fantastic charred flavor:

I also sliced some of the tomatoes from my garden:

... and we had some beet, goat cheese and arugula salad:

I thought I took pictures of the mini burgers, but my plate shot is all I've got:

The burgers were fantastically juicy, with a good char flavor. We kept it simple with soft, pillowy potato rolls, mayo and ketchup. It was a fantastic, easy dinner.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thai Green Curry Chicken

I wanted to experiment with green curry again. Once again I used things I had on hand, which meant this curry had chicken breasts, bamboo shoots, onion, red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms:

I cooked all the vegetables in a pan until they were soft, then I added a few heaping spoonfuls of green curry paste and toasted it in the pan until it was fragrant. Then I added maybe 1/2 cup of chicken broth and two cans of coconut milk to make the sauce. Once the sauce was simmering I added the chicken and let it poach in the sauce. Last time I made this dish there wasn't enough sauce so I doubled the amount and it was a little too soupy. Still a work in progress, but the flavors were excellent.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Chicken Cobb Sandwiches

I liked the Chicken Cobb Burgers so much that I decided to make the recipe again as a chicken sandwich:

I hoped the sandwiches would be easier to eat then the burgers, but unfortunately SP bought really small hamburger buns (I wasn't specific when I made the shopping list) so I had to cut the chicken into small pieces. I melted the blue cheese on top of each piece and like last time made the avocado into guacamole and the dressing into a mayo-based spread. It was still messy but so, so good.
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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Since we had leftover biscuits from dinner on Saturday I made sausage gravy for breakfast on Sunday:

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Peaches and Ice Cream

I bought peaches at the farmers market a few weeks ago with the intention of eating them with ice cream, but we kept putting it off. They ended up overripe and some were a little tart, but they were still good. We had them with vanilla ice cream:

I cooked the peaches like my mom and I have done in the past, with a little OJ and brown sugar:

... until they made a syrup.
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Fried Chicken Dinner

On Saturday it was pouring rain so we couldn't grill. We had leftover buttermilk in the fridge so SP asked for fried chicken. I didn't feel like standing over the stove frying the chicken so I decided to try Ina's recipe for Oven Fried Chicken:

It worked out great. You fry the chicken for a few minutes and then finish it in the oven. The outside got nice and crispy and I had 30 minutes to get the mashed potatoes and corn together without stressing. Our only complaint was that the coating wasn't very thick. Next time I'll double coat with the buttermilk and flour.

Earlier in the day SP made buttermilk biscuits:

I cooked some corn on the cob:

... and we had mashed potatoes to round out the meal:

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Saturday, September 06, 2008


As Tropical Storm Hanna heads our way, I wanted a hearty breakfast.

I had a hankering for fried eggs, bacon and hash browns so I started by peeling and shredding one potato and cooking it in a thin layer in a nonstick skilet with some oil until it was golden brown and crispy:

Once the hash browns and bacon were cooked I fried two eggs:

... and finished my plate with some chopped tomato seasoned with salt and pepper.
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Grilled Pizza Friday

When I was at my parent's house last weekend SP experimented with grilled pizza. He said it went so well we decided to try it this weekend for Pizza Friday. We kept it simple with a basic mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza.

Since grilled pizza (especially on a charcoal grill) is a quick process, I got all the ingredients together before we started cooking:

I wanted slices of fresh tomato on my pizza and we used basil from the garden and fresh, milky mozzarella. I also made a quick tomato sauce using two jars of tomatoes my mom and I canned last summer. I also divided the dough into four pieces and rolled them out nice and thin.

We started by grilling the dough until it was partially cooked and starting to char, then removed each piece to a plate so we could build the pizzas:

I spread a thin layer of sauce over each piece of dough, then scattered some basil leaves and pieces of fresh mozzarella:

On one pizza I put the slices of tomato:

... and then we put the pizzas back on the grill and covered it to melt the cheese and finish cooking the dough.

Our grill is on the small side so we could only cook one pizza at a time. By the time the last pizza was cooked I'd run out of daylight to photograph with.

We loved the grilled flavor of the pizza. It's a totally different flavor then regular pizza.
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