Sunday, January 27, 2013

Super Bowl Round-Up

Guess what....Super Bowl is only one week away! While Dusty will be all wrapped up in the big game, I'll be over in the corner eating my delicious football food and paying attention only during the commercials. Just like every other Super Bowl Sunday for the past 24 years of my life.

Besides the commercials, I love the seriously awesome grub I make for the big game. It's a total blow out of all things cheesy, good and/or sinful. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to make yet, but I know it's going to be amazing and big game worthy.

Are you hosting a Super Bowl Party?

Do you want something more exciting than just chips and salsa???

Here are my go-to Super Bowl dishes that will be a game winner and crowd pleaser!

Looking through this list of food, drinks and treats makes me that much more excited for next Sunday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hearty Vegetable Mexican Soup with Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread {Soup Week}

Happy Soup Week!
I made some soup for you.
Some really healthy, hearty, and flavorful soup!
Not to mention, some of the best cornbread you have ever tasted in your life!

This week in the blogging world, my favorite group of ladies have gathered together to bring you a week full of delicious soups and such that will warm you up. 

So many soups! Which one to make next?!?!
Check out these links throughout the week to see the wonderful soup creations these talented ladies have created....

Katie of Hill Country Cook: 3 Bean & Spinach Soup + Le Creuset GIVEAWAY!
Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic: Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Bread Bowls

Madeline of Munching in the Mitten: Garbage Soup
Mads of La Petite Pancake: Gnocci Pesto Soup 


Megan of Wanna Be A Country Cleaver: 40 Clove Garlic Chicken Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Lauren of Climbing Grier Mountain: Sunchoke Soup with Gorgonzola and Honey Crostini



Don't all of those look fantastic!?!?
Such a great selection of wonderful soups!

Hearty Vegetable Mexican Soup
{Serves 4-6}

-1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
-1/2 Yellow Onion-diced
-1 Medium Zucchini-diced
-1 Medium Yellow Squash-diced
-1 Red Bell Pepper-diced
-4 ounces sliced Mushrooms
-1 tbsp minced Garlic
-15 ounce can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-14 ounce can Diced Tomatoes
-1 cup Fat Free Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
-1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
-1 tbsp Lime Juice
-1 tsp Cumin
-1 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Pepper
-Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese & Green Onion (for garnish)

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook and stir until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the minced garlic, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Then add in the rest of the ingredients (chickpeas to pepper) to the dutch oven. Stir to combine and bring the soup to a simmer until hot. 

Serve the soup into individuals bowls and garnish with sour cream, cheese and green onions.

Recipe Adapted from Picky-Palate 

Now let's not forget about this guy!
This cornbread is truly amazing and perfect with this soup.
You are going to love it!

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
{Makes 9}

-1-1/2 cups Flour
-1/2 cup Cornmeal
-2 tbsp Sugar
-1 tbsp Baking Powder
-1 tsp Salt
-1 cup Milk
-2 Eggs - lightly beaten
-1/2 cup Butter - melted
-1-1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese - divided
-1 Green Onion - chopped
-1 tbsp seeded and diced Jalapeno Pepper

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk, eggs and melted butter. With a spoon or spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the lumps are just dissolved. Gently mix in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, green onion and jalapeno pepper. Allow the mixture to rest in the bowl for 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) and grease a 8x8 baking pan. 

Pour the batter into the baking dish, smooth the top and sprinkle on evenly the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack and cut into 9 equal squares. Delicious! Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Time Comfort Foods

After a freakishly warm December, the nasty snow and freezing winds of winter have finally arrived. I hate it because snow = stuck car. I drive a Ford Focus and it always gets stuck and slides around. Living in Montana means I have developed amazing defensive winter driving skills. But seeing how I hate using my amazing defensive driving skills, I like to be a homebody as much as I can and stay off the the roads.

So when it's freezing outside and snowing, I like to cuddle on the couch with Dusty and my blanket and eat hearty comfort foods that warm the soul.

Here is a collection of my favorite winter time comfort foods...

What are your favorite comfort foods? 
Stay warm!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fancy Potatoes

Nursing school started up again this week. Good-bye free time! Good-bye life. It's been fun while it lasted. After looking through the course syllabus for my classes, I don't think this semester going to be hard, but it's going to be busy. Very busy.

I'll have class all day on Monday and Tuesday, clinicals on Wednesday and Thursday, and then two 12 hours shifts of work on Friday and Saturday. That means I get Sundays to grocery shop, do laundry and homework. Sounds fun, right? No wonder there is a nursing shortage. They sure make it hard to become one!

With this in mind, my weekly menu-planning has become very strategic and now I have gotten Dusty involved. I plan the meals for the nights I can cook and he plans for the nights that I work. Let me tell you what, after a 12 hour shift at the hospital, it is awesome to walk in the door to a home cooked meal made by your man. I'm a lucky girl.

On the menu this week:
Sunday: Roast Chicken, Sauteed Carrots & Fancy Potatoes
Monday: Chili with Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread
Tuesday: Leftover Chili & Cornbread
Wednesday: Fish Tacos & Mexican Rice
Thursday: Shrimp Penne Vodka Pasta, Salad & Garlic Toast
Friday: Tuna Casserole (made by Dusty)
Saturday: Leftover Casserole

Last night (Sunday) I made the most delicious Roast Chicken. I don't know why I never roast chickens on a regular basis. They are so easy to cook and seriously amazing. What I loved just as much as the roast chicken were these Fancy Potatoes...

Tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside, these fancy potatoes look and taste really impressive on your dinner plate! 

Fancy Potatoes
{Serves 4}

-8 medium sized Golden Potatoes (approximately 2 pounds)
-2 tbsp STAR Olive Oil with Roasted Garlic
-2 tsp Kosher Salt
-1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
-1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
-Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Cut the bottoms off one side of the potato so that they lie flat. Make 1/8" slices across the potatoes, but don't cut all the way through! Only cut down about 1/4" from the bottom. 

Place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, pepper and dried rosemary. Using your hands, rub the potatoes down with the olive oil and spices and also so that it gets between the potatoes slices. Place the potatoes on the greased baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes until tender and crispy on top. Enjoy!

Variations: You can substitute the roasted garlic olive oil for regular EVOO or you could omit the dried rosemary and use STAR's Olive Oil with Fresh Rosemary instead. These potatoes are really versatile!
Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

Friday, January 11, 2013

Peanut Asian Noodle Salad

Somehow this week I ended up eating a ton of seafood. I didn't plan on it, but it happened. I'm not complaining or anything because it was fantastic and delicious!

On Monday I made a penne vodka pasta with shrimp, then on Tuesday I went to a seriously fun and amazingly good sushi party. A bunch of my nursing school friends got together and made homemade sushi. We made everything from nigiri, sashimi to soft shell crab rolls with lime and honey. Oh my gawd it was to die for! My friend Rosa is the queen of sushi and I learned so much from her. It was a blast!

Then on Wednesday, Dusty and I went out to Bistro Enzo for his birthday where we both had the dinner special, which ended up being seared scallops with a trout-corn risotto and an avocado, tomato, lime chutney (so good!).

Since I menu plan each week, it also just so happens that I planned for Thursday (last night) to be Asian-Panko Salmon with this Peanut Asian Noodle Salad....

I absolutely love this side dish! 

It's perfect to serve along with salmon or chicken. If you want to have it as a main course, you could easily roast some shrimp or cooked chicken, and toss it in the salad.

Peanut Noodle Asian Salad
{Serves 4 side dish or 2 main course}

-6 oz Spaghetti
-1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
-1-1/2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
-2 tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
-1 tbsp Sesame Oil
-1 tsp Honey
-1/2 tsp minced Garlic
-1/4 tsp fresh grated Ginger
-2 tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
-1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds-divided
-4 ounces Sugar Snap Peas
-1 Red Bell Pepper-thinly sliced
-1 Green Onion-thinly sliced

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente in a large pot of salted water. Once cooked, drain and set aside. 

While the noodles are cooking, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the sugar snap peas in the boiling water for 4 minutes until crisp tender and then shock them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain and set aside.

To make the peanut dressing: 
In a small bowl combine the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, peanut butter and 2 tsp of toasted sesame seeds. Whisk the ingredients together and set aside.

To serve:
In a serving bowl combine the spaghetti noodles, sugar snap peas, red bell peppers, 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, green onions and peanut dressing. Toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.


*Recipe Inspired & Adapted by Ina Garten, Food

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Perfect Omelet

Yesterday morning when I woke up and made breakfast, I didn't expect that I would be making the most perfect omelet I have ever encountered in my life.

Like I had said in my previous post, I bought two new Barefoot Contessa cookbooks that I absolutely love. The recipes are earthly, sophisticated, elegant and simple, yet challenging. Everything I love about cooking. I've read them both cover-to-cover and have incorporated a handful of her recipes into my weekly menu planning already.

When I saw the recipe for Omelet for 2, I instantly knew that I must make it since I only cook for two on a daily basis for Dusty and myself. Rarely do you find a recipe for two! Such a rare creature in the culinary world! Everything is for 4, 6 or 8 servings, which means I'm constantly doing math and division on a daily basis.

So back to yesterday.

Dusty and I slept in because it's Sunday, and that is what you do on Sunday. I rolled out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make breakfast and approximately 30 minutes later I pulled my omelet out of the oven. I snapped this picture for Instagram, not knowing what I was just about to encounter....

The perfect omelet.

I split the omelet in half, gave Dusty his half of the omelet and took a bite of mine. After only one bite, I knew I was in for something amazing so I ran over to the window to get another picture with my iphone. I kept thinking, I must share this recipe! I don't care how nice the photo looks, I gotta do a post on this omelet! The world must taste this omelet!!!

Thanks to Ina Garten and her wonderful Omelet for 2 recipe, I was a culinary goddess in Dusty's eyes that morning. He kept singing my praises all morning and gave me a huge kiss just for making him the best omelet he has ever had in his life. I pretty much felt like a rock star and I want all of you to make this omelet for your loved ones so that you can be culinary gods/goddess's for your family too!

I'm not kidding. This omelet is goooood! The eggs were fluffy, but not to eggy. The cheese was cheesy, but not too cheesy. The flavors from the potatoes, bacon, jalapeno and two types of onions were just absolutely perfect. What I love most is that the ingredients are so simple and pretty much everyone has them in their refrigerator already!

Do yourself a favor and make this omelet for breakfast! You are going to love it. 

Omelet for 2: by Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home
{Serves 2}

-1/4 lb Bacon
-1 tbsp unsalted Butter
-1 cup medium-diced Yukon Gold Potatoes
-1/2 cup chopped Yellow Onion
-1 tbsp minced Jalapeno Pepper
-5 extra-large Eggs 
-2 tbsp Milk or Cream
-1 tsp Kosher Salt
-1/2 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
-1/4 cup chopped Scallions, white and green parts
-4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar Cheese, diced, plus grate cheese for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bacon crosswise in 1-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in an 8 inch ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan, then add the potato and yellow onion. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the onion starts to brown and the potato is tender but firm. Add the jalapeno pepper and cook for 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together with a fork. Stir in the scallions and diced cheddar. When the potato is cooked, add the bacon to the pan and pour over the egg mixture. Place the pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the omelet puffs and eggs are almost cooked in the center. Sprinkle with a handful of grated Cheddar and bake for another minute. Serve hot directly from the pan.

*Some changes I made to the recipe...
I used salted butter, shredded (not diced) cheddar cheese and large eggs instead of extra-large. Also, I used a 10 inch pan because that is what I had. The changes I made to the original recipe were delicious and perfect because I worked with what I had in my kitchen. That's what cooking is all about! 

If you want the recipe to serve more than 2, you can easily cut it into thirds or fourths. I would just maybe serve the omelet along with a fruit salad, sliced oranges or strawberries to go along with it.

I can't wait for you to make this for breakfast!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Glazed Strawberries

Happy New Year Everyone! 
This is my first recipe post for 2013 and believe me, it's a good one.

Dusty and I went up north to spend Christmas and New Years' with Dusty's family on the farm for the past couple of weeks. We had so much fun hanging out, relaxing and eating so much food! While we were there we spent a day in the "big city" where we did some post-Christmas shopping and went to go see some new release movies. The boys went to see Django and us girls went to see Les Miserables.

Before the movies started we decided to kill some time at the neighboring Barnes & Noble. As usual, I made a bee-line for the cookbook section (go figure, surprise-surprise!) and purchased two Ina Garten cookbooks, Barefoot Contessa At Home and Foolproof. I absolutely love these books and have spent the past few days reading her books like a novel. I've read them cover-to-cover and can't wait to cook everything! Her recipes are so simple but elegant, which is my absolute favorite style of cooking.

One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Panna Cotta with Balsamic Berries from that At Home cookbook. I have previously assisted in making panna cotta when I use to assist in culinary classes, but never made it myself. Plus, I just recently posted a recipes for Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Berries. This recipe looked divine and I wanted to add my own twist and changes to it....hence, Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Glazed Strawberries!

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Balsamic Glazed Strawberries
{Serves 4}

-1 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
-1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream
-1 cup Vanilla Bean Tillamook Yogurt (or any other vanilla yogurt)
-1 tbsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or 1 Vanilla Bean)
-6 tbsp Sugar
-1 pint fresh Strawberries-sliced
-1 tbsp Star Fine Foods Balsamic Vinegar
-1-1/2 tsp White Granulated Sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 tsp of gelatin powder onto 1-1/2 tbsp cold water. Stir to combine and set aside until dissolved, 10 minutes.

In a bowl, stir to combine 3/4 cup heavy cream, yogurt, and vanilla bean paste. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 3/4 cup heavy cream with the 6 tbsp of sugar. Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, remove the saucepan from heat and add in the gelatin from the small bowl and stir to incorporate and dissolve.

Pour the hot cream mixture into the cold cream-yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Pour evenly into 4 small ramekins and place in the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

1 hour before serving the dessert, slice 1 pint of strawberries and place them in a bowl. Combine the strawberries with 1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar and 1-1/2 tsp of sugar. Gently stir to combine so that the strawberries soak up all the juices and flavors.

When you are ready to serve, run a butter knife around each dessert in the ramekin and dip the bottom of ramekin into a bowl of hot water. This will loosen the panna cotta from the ramekin and allow it to easy release. Invert each ramkin onto small individual serving plates. The panna cotta should easily release onto the plate, but you may have to help it out and jiggle a little bit.

Surround the panna cotta with the balsamic glazed strawberries and serve!

Your guests are going to be so impressed with this dessert!

Recipe Inspired & Adapted from Ina Gartens Barefoot Contessa at home
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...