Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Penne, Pasta, Pine Nuts, Peppers, and Parmesan! Say that 5 times fast! :)

I'm not sure what's gotten into me but I've been feeling crafty lately. So I went to Michaels and Target and picked up a few things.  I'll do a few future blogs showing you the crafts with the beads and yarn but for now I will show you what the nail polish was for.

I ordered some earrings from Jewelmint (Jewelmint is kinda like another monthly subscription but kinda different.  Each month they come out with around 12 new pieces of jewelry.  Each month you pick which piece you want.  Each piece costs 29.99 and each piece is (supposedly) worth at least $90.  If you don't see a piece you don't like you can "skip the month" and your credit card will not be charged.)

Anyway, I ordered some earrings from Jewelmint and they were kind of bland.  I thought they would be a lot more fun if they were a different color.  I imagined wearing the earrings with jeans and a white t-shirt with some other jewelry in silver and turquoise.  So I picked up this Sally Hansen polish and went to work!

I put a piece of tape across the bottom of the triangle so I wouldn't get any polish on the silver part.  Here's a picture after one earring was painted.

And here is the bracelet (in the middle) that gave me the color inspiration.  Now sure why I put the other bracelet in the picture?  Just got carried away I guess?!

On to the recipe . . . 

This is a recipe Dave and I have made many, many times.  It's basically pasta, vegetables, nuts, and cheese!  Pretty simple . . . although there is a LOT of chopping involved.  So it's a little time consuming.  If your husband is home to help the preparation time goes way quicker ;)

Start by roasting some pine nuts over the stove top on low heat.  We usually put it on number 3 on the setting knob and just let them slowly roast the entire time we're cooking the pasta and chopping the veggies.

Chop up 1 medium (or 2 small) zucchini, 3 sweet peppers (I usually use a mix of red and yellow), a big handful or shitake mushrooms, and about 10 - 15 grape or cherry tomatoes. 

You'll need about 8 oz of pasta and prepare it as directed on package.  While the pasta is cooking, place some olive oil and a skillet set to medium heat.  Place the peppers and shitake mushrooms in the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes.  Along with the peppers and mushrooms you should also add onions to the skillet.  I'm not a huge onion fan so I usually don't add much at all.  You can add however much you want.

After 4 minutes add the zucchini and tomatoes and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until soft.  Then add 2 cloves of garlic and stir for 1 minute.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta is finished drain it (reserve 1/4 cup of the water that the pasta was cooked in) and then place the noodles back into the pot.  Add the veggies to the pot.

Add a handful of chopped basil and stir it all together.  If the pasta seems dry at all you can add the water that you saved from cooking the pasta.

Now for the fun part . . .


And cheese!!!

The pine nuts and parmesan cheese totally make this meal!  Dave and I just top ours with however much nuts and cheese we want.  We don't measure it out.

You know I always forget to take a picture of the VERY final presentation.  Halfway through Dave's dinner I was like "Can I take a picture?"  So you'll have to pardon the hairy arm in this pic!  It's very good, but like I said, the nuts and cheese totally make the meal.  It's like and refreshing!  We usually get about 3 or 4 servings out of it.

I made a few changes to it but the original recipe came from here:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dinner and Dessert: 2 new recipes!

Why is the weekend over already?!? Is it just me or does it seem like this weekend flew by? I think it's just because I was so busy! I feel like I got a lot done. . . including a trying out a couple new recipes.

Here's one of the recipes. It's Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Spring Peas. I found it over at Skinnytaste.com

Start by mixing 1 large tomato, 3 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup of cilantro in your magic bullet (food processor, etc.)

Then brown your ground turkey (about 20 oz.) over the stove top in a skillet. Add in your chopped scallions. I think the original recipe called for 4 scallions. I honestly didn't pay attention to that at all. I just used the whole bundle of scallions which was probably more like 7. Whoops! Between that and the extra cilantro (the original recipe only called for 1/4 cup) this dish was super flavorful and tasty!

Add in one 8 oz can of tomato sauce.

Then add in 2 medium potatoes, chopped.

Add in the sauce that we made at the beginning (the tomato, cilantro, and garlic).

Finish off by adding in 1 cup of peas, 1/2 cup water, cumin and salt, to taste. Turn heat down the medium/low and cover for around 30 minutes. Possibly longer depending on how you cut the potatoes. We thought it would only take about 25 minutes to cook but our potatoes were still not finished. We let it cook for an additional 5 - 8 minutes.

Don't hate me. . . I forgot to take a picture of the end product! I tend to do that alot! I think because I'm always so hungry and so antsy to try it that I just dive right in before I think to snap a pic! But it really didn't look all that different when it was finished!

Dave and I both really liked this meal! Dave said it was really flavorful and gave me a fist bump in between bites! Haha! Seriously though!

*This meal is about 4 servings.

Ok, onto the next recipe! Remember those yummy cookie dough balls from the other week? Well, I created a another version! I actually like these even more! They're so good!

So this version is Peanut Butter! :) I got the idea to do this from another recipe I made FOREVER ago! It was actually the first recipe I ever made on my own and it was way back in the summer after my senior year of High School. I was working at the YMCA and we would always have these pot luck lunches and I made these peanut butter and honey balls. I remember that I loved them and I have always wanted to try to find that recipe again but . . . no luck.

So anyway, between the previous post with the chocolate chip cookie dough balls and the vague memory of the peanut butter balls from about 10 years ago I came up with these babies. . .

I always make a half batch just because my magic bullet is small. If you want to make more at a time just double the recipe. Start with a 1/3 cup oats, a 1/3 cup of walnuts, and 1/3 cup of peanuts. Blend together!

add an 1/8 of a cup of honey . . .

(these pics are so out of order!)

Here are some of the ingredients . . . anyway, back to the recipe . . .

add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. I've been using the vanilla my sister brought back from Haiti! It is awesome! You can also add a dash of salt if you wish. Mix everything together and roll into balls.

And you're done! YUM! Here's a pic of the peanut butter balls next to the chocolate chip balls. Since the peanut butter balls are less chunky (maybe because there are no chips in in them?) it seems like they make a lot more than the others.

Here's a more close up pic so you can see the size comparison. Both recipes are great but I think I like the peanut butter kind just a wee bit more! They're good as both a dessert and a snack! I definitely recommend making these babies! :)


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A delicious Mediterranean Dinner and some super yummy cookie dough balls!

Hello there!

I tried two new recipes last night and they were both very good! The first one was a little bit time consuming. I'm glad Dave was home to help me with it. I could have made it alone but it went quicker with his help.

I changed the recipe a bit . . . mainly because I didn't have two of the correct ingredients but it actually was really good and really flavorful anyway!

The first recipe is a Mediterranean Chicken Spinach and Rice Bake. Here is where the original recipe came from:

*Note: Use the biggest baking dish you have! I think I used a 13x9 and that was too small. I had to skimp on some of the ingredients to make it all fit.

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. You'll need 2 pounds of frozen spinach. Let it partly thaw and then lay 1 pound of it on the bottom of a greased baking pan.

The recipe called for 2-3 plum tomatoes but my Kroger was out of plum tomatoes so I bought cherry instead. It said to de-seed them . . . which is a lot more tedious to do to about 30 little cherry tomatoes then to 2-3 big plum tomatoes! But I didn't mind. I find that kind of thing a little therapeutic.

The recipe also called for 2-3 tomatillos . . . again, my Kroger was out of them so I just used 3 Green Tomatoes. I got online and searched the difference between the two and I didn't really find an answer about the difference between their taste. All I learned was that the taste of the two are very different from each other. I have no idea what the dish would have tasted like if I used tomatillos but I know I loved the green tomatoes! They were sweet and so good!

Layer half the spinach, half the green tomatoes, half the cherry tomatoes, half the garlic (the recipe calls for 6 cloves of garlic which is equal to 6 teaspoons of garlic. So at this point you spread 3 teaspoons of it on this layer), and sprinkle on some sea salt and lemon pepper seasoning.

Spread 2 or 3 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese and 2 oz of crumbled goat cheese across the vegetables. Then scatter the chopped up grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 of them) over the cheese.

Then spread 2 cups of cooked brown rice on top. I use the Minute rice that comes in two 1 cup servings that you just pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. You can kind of see the mushrooms in this pic too. I forgot to take a picture before I poured the rice on top. Saute 2 large portebello mushrooms (sliced) in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and a about a table spoon or two of balsamic vinegar until tender.

Next your supposed to layer the other half of the spinach, cherry tomatoes, green tomatoes, and lemon pepper seasoning again. I wasn't able to use the full amount of vegetables because it was already overflowing out of the pan! Then sprinkle with the remaining 2-3 oz of mozzarella cheese and 2 oz of goat cheese and bake in the oven for 25 - 35 minutes.

The final product! It was SO good! I'm excited to have the leftovers tomorrow! The original recipe said it made 6 servings, which it did but since we had to leave out a decent amount of the second layer of veggies I think it would have probably made 7 or 8 servings if I used a bigger pan and was able to use the full amount of everything. This a good meal to make for a get-together.

. . . you thought this post was done! Oh no! There is still dessert! Mmmmmm! Raw Cookie Dough Bites. These pictures might be kind of odd. Half of the pics are in the Magic Bullet and the other half are in a bowl. I didn't think my Magic Bullet would be able to hold all of the ingredients so I divided the recipe into two batches. So some pictures are from the first batch and some the second.

First, process 2/3 cup raw almonds, 2/3 cup raw walnuts and 2/3 cup oats into a fine meal.

Than add a dash (about a 1/4 of a teaspoon) of cinnamon, and a dash (about an 1/8th of a teaspoon) to the fine meal and and just pulse a few times to mix it in or just use a spoon to mix it in good.

Then add a 1/4 cup raw agave nectar and 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. I used my vanilla from Haiti again :) Pulse a few times (or use a spoon) to mix the wet and dry ingredients.

Add in 3 tablespoons of mini dark chocolate chips. Of course you can use more than that if you want! Hee hee!

Mmmmmm! So good! now roll the "dough" into balls. Place in the freezer to harden. Keep them stored in the freezer.

These things are seriously so good! I think they taste exactly like Samoas! You know what I'm talking about? The Girl Scout cookie with chocolate, coconut, and caramel. They don't have caramel or coconut in them but somehow they taste exactly like Samoas to me! They are awesome! And I really don't feel guilty about eating them!

Here's where the original recipe came from:

Hope you enjoy the recipes! :)