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Archive for July, 2009

How I get my husband to eat broccoli

My husband can be quite picky about the weirdest things. Pesto? YUM! Sour cream? Meh. Tomato? Eh. Zucchini? OMG GROSS! Slowly but surely I am trying to get him to expand his horizons. Broccoli is one of those foods that is hit or miss with him. He will not eat it raw and it can NOT be soggy or mushy. This is the easiest and tastiest way for me to get him to willingly eat his vegetables.

Oven Roasted Broccoli with Cheesy Pasta

  • 16 oz. cooked pasta (Before draining, reserve some pasta water!)
  • 2/3 cup reserved water from pasta
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into pieces
  • 4 TB butter
  • 4 wedges Laughing cow cheese (I used Garlic and Herb flavored)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Set a pot of water to boil . Add in pasta. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over LOW heat. Toss in minced garlic. Let the oil heat for about five minutes. Stir the garlic occasionally so it will not burn. Strain the oil into a mixing bowl. Reserve the garlic and return to the pan with the butter and laughing cow cheese and set skillet to medium low heat. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli with the oil. Mix until broccoli is throughly coated. Shake off excess oil and lay broccoli out on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until barely browned.

While broccoli is roasting, whisk the butter and the cheese wedges until the laughing cow starts to melt. Add in starchy pasta water. Whisk until sauce is smooth. Let it simmer for a minute or two and stir in parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Toss is hot past and stir to combine. Serve broccoli over the cheesy pasta.

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My mission…

I consider myself a pretty good cook. I can tackle most recipes thrown my way. I can bake my own bread. I can make my own butter. Give me a bag of fresh herbs and I can come up with something great. But of all the things I know how to cook, one of Jordan’s favorite recipes is none other than Taco Cups. What are taco cups you may ask. Taco cups are refrigerated biscuit dough with taco meat cooked in muffin tins. Period. It blows my mind that of ALL the things I know how to cook, this is one of his favorite.  So one night, we are sitting at the table eating taco cups when Jordan comes up with an idea:

Jordan: You know what would be awesome?!
Me: What?
Jordan: Cornbread cups!
Me: Yeah I guess that would be.
Jordan: Can you make them?
Me: I don’t really know if it would be the same. Biscuit dough and cornbread batter are different textures.
Jordan: I bet you could do it.

Little did I know this innocent little conversation would come back to haunt me for the last six months. Everytime I would bring home some cornbread mix, Jordan would innocently ask “Are you going to try and make me cornbread cups?!”. Poor thing. I have tossed so many alternate ideas his way.

Me: What if I made cornbread muffins and then hollowed them out and filled them with the mixture?
Jordan:Noooo. I want you to make them JUST LIKE taco cups. But with cornbread.

Me: What if I put batter on the bottom, filling in the middle, and then more batter on top.
Jordan: No, that’s not really a cup.

Me:What if I mix the meat into the cornbread and make mexican cornbread.
Jordan: No, I want the filling in the middle.

I have even enlisted the help of my friend Tara to help me come up with ideas. Our conversations usually go something like this.

Me: Jordan wants me to convert the taco cups recipe into cornbread cups.
Tara: Does he know that’s not possible?
Me: No.
Tara: Poor thing. What if you tried _______?
Me: I suggested that. But he wants it just like taco cups. But with cornbread.
Tara: Well you are screwed.

Poor Jordan has almost given up on the cornbread cup dream. It’s gotten to the point where he won’t even request taco cups anymore. Well folks, to prove what an awesome wife and I am, I will be attempting to make cornbread cups this weekend. I am going to try three different techniques and will report back to let you know if I succeed. Does anyone out there have any advice? Words of encouragement? I am hoping to not end up a dream crusher this weekend.  I told Jordan about my plans for this weekend:

Me: Guess what I am going to attempt this weekend?  
Jordan: I’m scared. What? Seducing me in lingerie every night? 
Me: CORNBREAD CUPS!   
Jordan: Awesome!
Me: Are you excited? 
Jordan: Very excited. Especially if both come true.
Me: I promise to try and make your cornbread cup dream a reality. 
Jordan:  What about the other one?   
Me: One mission at a time.
Jordan: Oh ok. Deal!

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Chai Latte Cake

This is one of those recipes that every always asks me about and I am almost embarressed to admit how easy it is. Everyone is always suprised it started off as a cake mix!

Chai Latte Cake

For frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan. Mix cake mix, chai concentrate, oil, spices and eggs in large bowl at low speed for 30 seconds. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter in pan and bake 32-35 minutes. Allow to cool before frosting.

For frosting: Beat cream cheese and softened butter with electric mixer until combined. Add chai and spices.  Slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until creamy.

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Southwest Pasta Salad

I have been meaning to post this recipe for a week. I have been a blog slacker. I also forgot to take pictures. Two strikes for me! I first made this for my brother in law’s high school graduation party. Everyone kept asking for the recipe but to be honest I had no idea what I put in it! All I could tell them was, 1.) Go to Central Market, 2.) Buy what looks good, 3.) Make something with the good stuff. Second time around, I made sure I at least jotted down what I put in it. This recipe makes a ton of pasta so its good for a crowd! I think it tastes better the second day. Yum!

  • 1 box rotini pasta, cooked
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (optional, add as much spice as you can handle)

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Prep the veggies while the pasta is cooking. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water. Combine pasta with vegetables and stir to combine. Add dressing (recipe below)slowly mixing as you go. Do not add too much! Just enough to keep the salad moistened.  Refrigerate for an hour. Add more dressing if needed.

For the dressing

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 TB cumin
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Pour everything except the olive oil into a blender . With the blender running, gradually drizzle in the oil.

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Autopilot

I have been meaning to update the blog every single day. I have a few new recipes to post. But lately, I have just been feeling out of it. Maybe it’s because I started out the week sick (note to self, Frosty’s are the devil). It just seems as if I have been running on autopilot. Just going through the motions. Sometimes I feel like if I am just watching my life go by. Each day escaping me. I’m in a funk. I’m hot, and cranky and just all around feeling very meh. Anyone else get like this?

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An ode to my mother in law

Growing up, I was always surrounded by great food. My grandmothers, mother, aunts, uncles are all top notch cooks. My mother in law is no exception. She makes a mean pumpkin cheesecake. Her lasagna is divine. But of all the things she makes, this one is our favorite. When Jordan and I started dating, he kept raving about this dish that his mother would make that they called “Martha’s”. When I finally tasted it for the first time, it lived up to the hype. I guess if I had to describe it I would compare it to a lasagna but in casserole form. My mother in law says she never makes it the same way twice. So even though she gave me the basic recipe, it is open to interpretation. Here is my take on her classic.

Aunt Martha’s Company Casserole
Source: Adapted from a recipe from my mother in law

  • 16 oz egg noodles
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 26 oz. tomato sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 16 oz cottage cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 TB Garlic powder
  • 1 TB Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook noodles until al dente. Do not over cook! You want them to have a little bit of a bite to them. While noodles are cooking, saute ground beef, onions, peppers, until meat is cooked through. Add sauce and spices and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes.  In a seperate bowl, combine the cheeses and sour cream.  Grease a  9×13 pan and layer beginning with sauce, then noodles, then cheeses and repeat ending with a layer of sauce.   Sprinkle with parmesan.  Bake 45 minutes at 375. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes and then enjoy!

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Scene: Last night at dinner. Just sitting down to a lovely meal of pesto pasta salad made with tortellini,  fresh pesto and diced tomatoes served on a bed of green leaf lettuce.

Jordan: Fresh pesto! I have not had fresh pesto in a long time.

Me: I know, this is a treat.

Jordan: So… what is this?

Me: Pesto pasta salad.

Jordan: (Takes bite) It’s… cold.

Me: It’s pasta salad. It’s served cold.

Jordan: Are there tomatoes in here?

Me: Yes.

Jordan: And lettuce?

Me: Yep.

Jordan: Oh. Ok. Do I have to eat the tomatoes?

Me: Yes.

Jordan: Oh. ok.

A few minutes pass. I look up and see Jordan chewing and wincing.

Me: What are you doing?!

Jordan: Well, uh, I gathered all the tomatoes and ate them in one bite so I could just get it over with.

Me: You are so weird!

Jordan: You sure did hide a lot of lettuce at the bottom of the bowl.

Me: Ok, so in your opinion what would you change about dinner tonight?

Jordan: The pesto is yummy! So is the pasta. Just next time, could you leave out the vegetables?

Me: I guess. (Pulls out camera to take a picture)

Jordan: What are you doing?!

Me: I’m taking a picture of you.

Jordan: Is it for your blog? I don’t want my face on the internet.

Me: You are on facebook.  (Snaps picture)

Jordan: But that’s different!

Me: Fine then. I won’t put you on the blog.

Jordan: If you do, at least cover my face!

Me: With what?

Jordan: This! (Grabs box of cheese crackers)

Me: You are so weird

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