Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I love Gaaaarrlic bread. ♥

Not just the title, also the name of the recipe I forgot to post yesterday.  Last night with the stuffed peppers I made our favorite garlic bread.  Warning, this is NOT a light recipe. But who wants light garlic bread anyway?  It's supposed to be buttery, garlicky, and toasty.

I know what you're thinkin' who needs a 'recipe' for garlic bread, ummmm I do.  I know it's simple enough but I still seek out recipes for it.  After finding this one we stopped. Actually, I was just a helper on this recipe the first time it was made in our home.  My little GP's went to the library to find a recipe book geared towards them and they picked out Emeril's "There's a Chef in My Soup!"  We found a couple of really good recipes in there, if you have kids check it out.

Now, I'm not the cheesy bread type, okay maybe a little parm, but not the gooey mozzarella cheese.  Nope,  just garlic and seasoned butter and more butter and more garlic.  Oh and a little more buttery garlic, and I'm a happy girl.  I love garlic bread.  It makes me happy, it makes my GP's happy, and hopefully it will make you happy to, unless of course you don't like garlic, then you are out of luck here today.

                        I Love Gaaahlic Bread

  1   loaf French or Italian bread -- about 22 inches long
  12  tablespoons  unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) softened
  2   tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  1/2 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  2   teaspoons  Baby Bam (or any cajun seasoning you like)
  2   teaspoons  minced garlic
  1   teaspoon  dried parsley
  1/4 teaspoon  salt

Make sure the oven rack is in the center position and preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Using a serrated bread knife, carefully cut the bread in half lengthwise. Lay the two halves of the bread cut side up on the lined baking sheet.

Place the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together with a spatula.

Spread the butter mixture evenly onto the cut sides of each loaf half. (This will thickly coat your bread, I don't use all of it, just enough to slather the bread)

Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the sheet from the oven.

Carefully slice the bread diagonally and serve immediately.

Yield: 1 large loaf, serving 6 to 8 as a side dish

Adapted from Emeril and his book  "There's a Chef in My Soup!"

Tizzy Sig

Monday, April 26, 2010

Obsessing over stuffed peppers.......

I just can't do it.  No matter how hard I've tried with Photoshop, I can't make this picture of my stuffed peppers look as good as they tasted.  I've tried for over an hour, but there is only so much a chick can do with her little point and click camera (Cannon or Nikon fairy,if you are out there, please pay me a visit with one of your beautiful camera's...... I promise to love it, care for it, and put it to good use.) 

My husband said, "quit obsessing, no one eats the photo, just post your recipe."  So as hard as it is for me, I will do just that.  

Tonight was my husbands birthday and he requested stuffed peppers.  We already did the night out on the town this past weekend so tonight he wanted some homemade comfort food.  These are one of his favorites and I rarely make them.  Maybe it's because the little GP's only eat the inside and leave the poor lonely pepper on the plate,  maybe it's because they are pretty labor intensive, or maybe  I am so busy finding new recipes to try that I've over looked them.  What ever the case, these are worth the steps involved, at least my hubby thinks so.  And now that I've reminded him how good they are, I can bet I'll be making them a lot more often.

 Melissa's Stuffed Peppers

  6     green bell peppers

  1     can  tomato paste -- (6 oz)
  6     oz  water (I use the tomato paste can and stir the water to get the last bits of paste)
  1     tablespoon  brown sugar
  1     tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
  2     tablespoons  vegetable oil
  1     cup  finely chopped yellow onions
  1     tsp  dried oregano
  1     tablespoon  minced garlic
  1     pound  lean ground beef
  1     teaspoon  salt
  1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
  1/2  cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  2     cups  cooked long or medium-grain white rice
  2     cans  stewed tomatoes (I prefer DelMonte and I whirl them in my food processor to make them smooth) or you can use 2 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
 1/2   cup  shredded mild flavored cheese like mozzarella -- monterey jack/colby, or a mild cheddar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Rinse peppers under cold water. Slice the top 1/4 inch off each pepper; remove seeds and membranes. Chop edible part of tops to equal 1 cup chopped peppers, and set aside. If the peppers won't stand up straight, take a small slice off the bottom with a paring knife to make a flat surface, try to remove as little as possible.   In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain on either a wire rack or paper towels.  If you don't have your rice already cooked, you could use this pepper water to cook your rice in.  I've used it for instant rice when I didn't want to dirty another pot.

Combine tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell pepper tops, cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, garlic, salt, black pepper, and  cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. *Very important, remove pan from heat and drain any visible fat from the pan, then return it to the heat. Otherwise you will have greasy peppers.  Add the rice, parmesan cheese, and tomato paste mixture, stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.  Depending on your cheese and tomato paste you may need a bit more salt.

Spray with a casserole or baking dish with Pam or lightly oil, then pour in stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce.  Depending on the size of you pan, you may not need all of it.  Pour in enough sauce so that it comes up to the bottom of the pepper about a half of an inch.  Set the parboiled peppers into the prepared pan so they are evenly spaced and surrounded by sauce..  Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture. Spread a spoonful of the sauce over the top of each pepper.   Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, about 30 to 35 minutes. Spoon a little tomato sauce over each stuffed pepper and sprinkle with shredded cheese; bake 8 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Serve the peppers with spoonfuls of tomato sauce from pan. Makes 6 servings.

Tizzy Sig

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I *love* meatloaf.

No need for a screw driver and plumber's helper, my family will shove it in all by themselves.  My daughter will love that.  I think I will keep that statement.  She reads my blog now, and I hear "Mommmmmmm" when she thinks I'm embarrassing her.  Is it bad that I find joy in that?

Anywho, back to cookin'.  My family loves meatloaf, well this meatloaf anyway.  In fact they love it so much when I turned around to get my picture ready for the blog, there were only these two, puny, little pieces left.   From now on nobody eats till I get my blog shot. 

This really is a terrific meatloaf, dare I say the "Perfect Meatloaf"  since that is the name of the cookbook I found  this recipe in by Pam Anderson. She was the executive editor for Cooks Illustrated at one time.  She wrote a cookbook called "The Perfect Recipe." She has some near perfect recipes in her book.  If you haven't picked it up you should.  Not only is this little gem in there, but a recipe for Prime Rib where you dry age the roast in the frig, turns out "perfect" every time.  Her apple pie filling in the cookbook is also my families favorite for apple pie.

With this meatloaf I served another Cooking Light recipe, Asiago, Potato, and Bacon Gratin.  The perfect meal to get you ready for bathing suit weather.......that my friends, is sarcasm.  Hey, I served it with broccoli, not that the guys touched it.  That just left more for us girls. 

These potatoes are really rich tasting but you only use 1% milk.  I did not follow the recipe completely, do I ever?  No, not usually.  When I came to the part where you coat the shallots (oh I didn't have shallots so I used a small onion and 2 cloves of garlic since I doubled the recipe) with flour and then add the milk, it turned into a disaster.  I can do a roux and add liquid without lumps, but for some reason since there wasn't any fat on the shallots I could not get rid of them.   It was so lumpy I had to toss it and do it the easy way with cornstarch as the thickener.  Just added half the amount they call for in place of the flour and stirred it into the cold milk.   Easy and lump~less..  

Since bathing suit weather is upon us here in Florida, I ditched the bacon on the meatloaf.  I've made this meatloaf a million times and it's good with or without the bacon.  I think I prefer it without the bacon because it's a little more healthy.  Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have sauteed the onions in a little bacon fat if I was going for healthy???  I don't care...... "bacon, is good for me."  ....anyone see that episode of Trading Spouses?

So here they are, my families favorite meatloaf and scalloped potatoes (well the light version anyway), hopefully they will be yours too. ;}

 The Perfect Meatloaf (Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze)

Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider or white vinegar ( I used cider)
Meat Loaf
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon dried thyme (I use a smidge less)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black paper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 up milk, buttermilk or low-fat plain yogurt
2 pounds meat-loaf mix (2 parts ground chuck, 1 part ground veal, 1 part ground pork) 
2/3 cups crushed saltine crackers (about 16) or quick oatmeal or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced parsley
6 ounces thin-sliced bacon

Glaze: Mix all ingredients and set aside. (Make extra glaze, it’s better than plain ol' ketchup)

Meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add onions and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.

Mix eggs with thyme, salt and pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and milk or yogurt. In a large bowl add egg mixture to the ground chuck, pork, and veal. Next add oatmeal or crackers, which ever you prefer, parsley, cooked onion and garlic; mix with a fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to the bowl. (If mixture does stick, add additional milk, a couple tablespoons at a time and continue stirring (until mixture stops sticking).

Turn the meat mixture onto a work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into a loaf approximately 9x5 inches.

To bake free-form: Cover a wire rack with foil, prick the foil in several places with a fork to allow drainage. Place rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy cleanup. Set formed loaf on rack. Brush loaf all over with glaze, then arrange the bacon slices, crosswise, over the loaf. Overlap them slightly and tuck under the loaf to prevent curling. (Free - form is the only way to go!)

Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160F. This will take about an hour. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and Serve.

NOTES : Skip bacon and use this alternative way to cook:  Adjust the oven racks to the upper (about 4-inches away from broiler elements) and middle positions and heat the broiler. Transfer the meat mixture to the prepared baking sheet and shape it into a 9- by 5-inch loaf. Broil on the upper rack until well browned, about 5 minutes. Brush 2 tablespoons of glaze over the top and sides of the loaf and then return to the oven and broil for another 2 minutes.

Transfer the meatloaf to the middle rack and brush with the remaining glaze. Change the oven temperature to bake at 350 degrees and bake the meatloaf for 40 to 45 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer the meatloaf to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice and serve, passing the cooked glaze at the table.

Recipe Source: adapted  from Pam Anderson "The Perfect Recipe Cookbook"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Asiago, Potato, and Bacon Gratin

  • 1 1/2  pounds  peeled Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2  tablespoons  minced shallots ( I subbed in onion and a clove of garlic when I'm out of shallot)
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 4  bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Drain. Sprinkle potatoes evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside and keep warm. (Okay, okay, I didn't follow this step either, I salted the water instead.)

Heat a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sprinkle flour over shallots. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 9 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt, Asiago, chives, pepper, and bacon.

Arrange half of potato slices in an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour half of cheese sauce over potato slices. Top with remaining potato slices and cheese sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Tizzy Sig

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yes, I know it's a salad, but it's a great salad!

Caesar salad, one of my favorite things to eat.  As much as I love to eat them, they are usually not that healthy.  I like creamy Caesar salads, and that means mayo, and too much mayo is a no- no, unless you want to be round like a Ho-Ho.  No wait, Ho Ho's aren't round, Ding Dong's are round., and have creamy centers.  Mmmmm creamy centers ....creamy centers make me happy.

Back to salads.  How are we supposed to think about salads when we were just talking about creamy caked filled goodness?  Because if you eat more salads you can treat yourself to more cakes.  Ahhh, see there ya go.  Now, I ♥ Caesar salads.  My husband used to ♥ them too, until one day when we decided to go to a fancy schmancy restaurant where they let him know exactly what was in that yummy dressing.  See my hubby isn't a foodie.  He's perfectly happy left in the dark as to what ingredients go in the dishes I make, unless we are talking mushrooms, I swear he can smell a mushroom a mile away.

So there we are sitting in this very nice restaurant, both ordering our Caesar salad to start, and out comes our salads, with two little anchovy filets looking my husband right in the eye.  Those beady eyed  little buggers ruined him for good on my favorite salad.  He looked at me and asked why they were on top of his salad, so the secret was out.  Yes there is anchovy in the dressing.  From then on he refused to eat it.  If there is one person who hates fish more than myself it's him, oh and all of my GP's for that matter.

But tonight he decided to be brave and let me fix him one.  So I whipped out one of my favorite recipes for a Caesar, Cooking Light's Creamy Caesar Salad with Spicy Croutons.  I added a grilled chicken breast to make it a complete meal.  Just take your favorite cajun spice rub and sprinkle it on the chicken, drizzle with a little olive oil and throw it on a grill, grill pan, Foreman, or saute it, doesn't matter it's all good.

This dressing is made with a fat free mayo, which I despise usually, but in this dressing I can deal with it.  It makes the dressing a little zippy.  Not a fan, use light or go full fat it's your waist line so do whatcha like.  If you aren't a fan of anchovy, skip it, throw in a half a clove of garlic instead.  Won't exactly be a Caesar, but why should you miss all the fun?

This salad is yummy.   Make it and let me know what you think.

 Creamy Caesar Salad with Spicy Croutons

1  garlic clove, halved
1/2  cup  nonfat mayonnaise
2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
2  teaspoons  Dijon mustard
2  teaspoons  white wine Worcestershire sauce
1  teaspoon  anchovy paste
1/4  teaspoon  pepper
2  teaspoons  olive oil
3/4  teaspoon  Cajun seasoning
1  garlic clove, minced
2  cups  (3/4-inch) sourdough bread cubes
18  cups  torn romaine lettuce
1/3  cup  (1 1/3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Drop the garlic halves through the opening in blender lid with blender on; process until minced (I grated my garlic into the dressing, you can also press it if you have a garlic press, or use a food processor for this.) Add mayonnaise and the next 5 ingredients (mayonnaise through pepper); process until well-blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Combine oil, Cajun seasoning, and minced garlic in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 20 seconds. Add bread cubes; toss gently to coat. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Mine were done in 10 minutes so watch these babies.)

Place lettuce in a large bowl. Add dressing; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese, and top with croutons.

Yield: 6 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light
Calories: 137 (27% from fat)  Fat: 4.1g (sat 1.3g,mono 1.6g,poly 0.4g)  Protein: 7.7g
Carbohydrate: 18.2g  Fiber: 4.1g  Cholesterol: 4mg  Iron: 3mg  Sodium: 836mg
Calcium: 176mg

Tizzy Sig

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stir fry Sunday

Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein  (well sort of.)

First let me say, I am not a food stylist.  I am not a photographer.  I am not a chef.  I am a total amateur at all three.  In fact I am such an amateur that my first day of food blogging I forgot to check my camera and make sure it had a battery.  I was so excited, my first recipe entry into my new blog, went to take my first photo and of course my camera was dead.  So this lovely photo is brought to you by my husbands Blackberry (thanks T! ♥)  Not the prettiest photo, but this blog is a work in progress.  

Now on to the recipe...........
Today was a lazy day, the only thing lazier than the day was me. I wanted to make something quick to feed my little guinea pigs (who from this post forward I will affectionately refer to as the GPs, my daughter will be so pleased.) Now, I mean guinea pigs in the nicest way possible.  I really do have the best family that anyone who likes to experiment with recipes could have.  My husband and youngest are always willing to try new things, my older daughter and son, not so much. 

My family loves Chinese and one of their favorites is lo mein.  I'm always on the hunt for a good lo mein recipe.  Tonight I think I found it. Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein from Cooking Light, October 2003.  Now before you run away screaming about hating broccoli, no need to fear, there is no broccoli here.  Hmmm, funny.   

I love broccoli, my daughters love broccoli, the men in my life HATE broccoli.  I planned to cook it separately but my grocery store only had the prepackaged stuff today.  I hate prepackaged produce.  Especially when it is turning brown inside the package.  How I wish I still had Wegmans nearby.

So, since I wasn't using broccoli, I figured why not add some peppers and onions.  Not that the two picky GPs like peppers or onions, but I solved that problem by making two separate batches.  Which I would have done anyway because I doubled the recipe.  I also doubled the sauce. I know Cooking Light is trying to keep the dish lighter and a little more healthy by cutting down on the sodium/fat/calories, but when I was reading the reviews of the dish others stated there just wasn't enough sauce. So I doubled it.  I'm glad I did.   It was the perfect amount. 

Doubling the sauce and omitting the broccoli wasn't my only change.  I also changed up the order in which I cooked the stir fry.  I started with the meat first.  A quick saute and then off the heat and into a bowl. Make sure your pan is nice and hot so you can get some good caramelization.  No one likes grey meat.  It isn't pretty and it most certainly is not tasty.  Oh and you can sub any cut of beef you would normally grill or pan fry.  You could even use chicken, or do an all veg, it's your lo mein, add what you want no one is judging you. 

After the meat was done, I added the onion and peppers to the pan, then the ginger/garlic for 30 seconds, then the sauce. After the sauce the noodles joined the pot, and then the meat.  Quick toss around to coat everything and it's dinner time!

Once prepped this dish came together in about 10 minutes.  All in all this recipe is a definite keeper. The sauce has a nice balance of flavor.  A little heat, a little sweet, a little salty.  It all works perfectly together.  My daughter said "it doesn't taste exactly like the Chinese place, maybe a little better."  Coming from the pickiest of all the GPs, I'd say that was a pretty nice compliment.  

So after that long drawn out post, I give you Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein (sort of)

Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein
4  cups  hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
1  tablespoon  peanut oil
1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
4  garlic cloves, minced
3  cups  chopped broccoli (or 1 green pepper like I used)
1 1/2  cups  vertically sliced onion
1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut across the grain into long, thin strips
3  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
2  tablespoons  brown sugar
1  tablespoon  oyster sauce
1  tablespoon  chile paste with garlic

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Combine pasta and sesame oil, tossing well to coat.

While pasta cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add broccoli and onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add steak, and sauté 5 minutes or until done. Add pasta mixture, soy sauce, and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until lo mein is thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
Nutritional Information
Calories: 327 (26% from fat)
Fat: 9.3g (sat 3g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.6g)
Protein: 21.7g
Carbohydrate: 39.1g
Fiber: 2.9g
Cholesterol: 36mg
Iron: 3.6mg
Sodium: 382mg
Calcium: 47mg

Marion Winik, Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003


Friday, April 9, 2010

Testing, testing, 1.2.3......

Meet Humpty.  My husbands Easter egg creation this year.  Notice the blood, my husband is all about the details.  Fitting that I choose an egg for my first post.  I'm getting a little carried away with the whole chick theme.

Anywho, welcome to my blog.  I'm Tizzy, I love to cook.  I love finding new recipes online and testing them out on my family, the guinea pigs.  Thankfully, we haven't had too many disasters, and hopefully we won't have many more. In my family we have a couple picky eaters and a couple of adventurous eaters.  We try to eat healthfully when we can, but I'm not going to turn down a piece of fried chicken if it made it's way on to my plate, or a big ol' brownie for that matter.  Life is too short to deprive yourself.  I splurge on occasion, maybe on too many occasions, but that is a discussion for another time.  A much later time.  

 I'm starting this blog to share recipes that I have found around the web either on other blogs, forums, or in cookbooks, and magazines.  I will warn you now, if you are looking for a great fish dish, this isn't the blog for you.  We don't do fish.  Maybe some shellfish, but anything with fins will not be cooked in this kitchen.  Sorry, we all have our dislikes.  My family has a lot of them.  

I am a self taught cook who loves to learn new things.  By starting this blog, maybe I can pass on a thing or two.  Who knows, maybe my kids will read it and want to learn to cook, maybe no one will read it and I will be talking to myself.  Doesn't matter.   I'll enjoy the adventure.  Really isn't that all that matters anyway?