Monday, April 26, 2010

Recipe: Spaghetti Carbonara alla Mario


This is one of my favorites! We have a lot of spaghetti noodles (we like to buy a large package of wheat ones from Costco--they're seriously taste so much better than normal ones!) and I love spaghetti and all (especially her easy spaghetti recipe!), but I wanted to try something different. So the other day I did!
This one is from the Food Nanny and let me say this dish is delish! ;)

Spaghetti Carbonara alla Mario

8 oz uncooked spaghetti noodles
2 eggs
8 strips of bacon or 2 slices pancetta (Italian bacon), diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, eat the eggs in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it is cooked through but not crisp. Remove it from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Leave bacon fat in pan and add the olive oil. Heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until you smell the aroma. Careful not to burn garlic. Remove from heat. Return bacon to the pan.
4. When spaghetti is cooked, lift it out of the water with tongues and put it in the saucepan with the bacon. Measure 2 cups of pasta water and discard the rest. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot pasta water over the spaghetti and use tongs to turn the spaghetti over several times. Add the beaten egg and continue stirring quickly to cook the egg.
5. When the water is almost evaporated, add the salt, black pepper and cheese. Stir until well-mixed. When the cheese is mostly melted, take the pan off the heat.
6. Divide the carbonara between four plates and serve immediately. Pass the crushed red pepper.
Serve with Italian bread and a green vegetable or salad of your choice....and, of course, ENJOY!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Scones


I always thought scones must be difficult to make because I'd only seen them sold in pretty glass displays at bread stores...well, they're not only easy, they're delicious when fresh! They're a fun way to change up breakfast or snack.
There are a lot of recipes out there, but this is my favorite way to make them. I made them this morning. Y-U-M. ;) This recipe makes four. ENJOY!

Chocolate Chip Scones
2 c unsifted self-rising all-purpose flour
-OR-2 c all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt mixed togehter
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1/2 c milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease baking sheet.
2. In large bowl, combine flour and sugar. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. In small bowl, combine milk, egg, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients along with chocolate chips and mix with fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.
4. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 5 or 6 times. With lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 7-inch round. Cut into 4 wedges.
5. Place scones, 1 inch apart, on greased baking sheet. Pierce tops with tines of fork.
6. In small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg and 1 Tbsp milk. Brush over scones. Mix 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over scones.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HOT TAMALES!

Yesterday I met up with a couple of friends to make tamales. We began at 9 a.m. and when I left at 7:30 p.m. they weren't quite finished! :D It was a looooong grueling process, but fun...although my back hurts like nothing else from it. ;)

This is Lauri (in the apron). I'll just say she's AMAZING in the kitchen. Boss. I worked with her (standing where the chick in black is) extracting juice from New Mexican chilies.

Rebecca and Allison worked the masa...hours of kneading while I poured stuff in. Fun times.

The end process, putting them together. It's the easiest, but takes so loooooooooooooong. I had to leave mine to steam for 1 1/2 hours...I hope I can get them today! :D
We decided to name ourselves the "Hot Tamales" and make our own aprons and everything...and although I won't be here to make them tamales with them again, I'll still be part of the club. ;) And who knows, maybe I'll start my own Hot Tamale club in Pennsylvania! :D

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe: Southwest Pasta


I got this recipe from my brotha from a different Motha, Thomas. He got it from a lady while living in Mississippi, so it REALLY comes from the south :D And it's sooooo good and easy.

SOUTHWEST PASTA DISH

2 cans cream of chicken soup (16 oz) (or 1 family size)
1 can Rotel tomatoes (or any brand of diced tomatoes with green chilies)
8 oz cream cheese
1 c chicken broth (optional--I've never used it)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Stir frequently on low heat. When cream cheese is mostly melted it is finished.
Serve with any noodles of your choice--I prefer fettuccine or egg noodles.
Best when served with baked boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Put the chicken in to bake before starting the pasta. When there's 10 minutes until the chicken is done, season each breast with garlic salt and spoon salsa over each.
DE-LISH. :D Enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Recipe: SALSA!


I had to put an exclamation mark after SALSA! because it's soooooo dang good. Seriously. It's another gem I've plucked it out of the Food Nanny recipe book. I should probably slow down sharing her recipes before she sues me or something, but SUE ME I just had to share this one! I've been really impressed with her Mexican food secion...Probably because she gets a lot of recipes from a Mexican lady-friend of the family. :D She's also travelled around the world looking for the best foreign recipes...that's why her Italian food section is divine, also. :D

SALSA!
16 Roma tomatoes, or tomatoes of your choice
2 jalapeno chiles
2 serrano chiles
1 small white onion
8 whole garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (I used table salt)
1 Tbsp cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to low broil (450). Place the whole tomatoes and chiles on a cookie sheet and place under broiler. Broil for 6 minutes on each side, or until tomatoes and peppers are blackened. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan. Reset the oven to bake at 450 degrees.
2. Slice the onion 1/2 inch thick and lay out hte slices on another sheet pan. Peel the garlic and add the whole cloves to the pan. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, turning often, until the onion and garlic are soft and browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, snip cilantro leaves, discarding the stems, to fill one cup loosely with leaves. Chop the leaves and set aside.
4. Prepare the tomatoes over the sheet pan to reserve the juice. Lift off the tomato skin and cut out the small core, discard. Set pan with tomatoes aside.
5. Cut the serranos down the middle and scrape out the seeds with a pointed spoon. Discard the seeds and cut the serranos in half crosswise. Cut hte jalapenos into thirds, leaving the seeds intact. Put the chiles into the blender or food processor with a metal blade. Add the onions and garlic. Pulse just to mince the vegetables. Transfer them to a medium bowl.
6. Put the tomatoes and any juice in the food processor or blender and pulse until crushed (not pureed). Add the tomatoes to the chile-onion mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well-blended. Add the cilantro, salt, and vinegar and mix well.
7. Store left-overs in fridge. To freeze, fill quart-size resealable freezer bags with the desired amount. Freeze up to 5 months. To thaw, let stand at room temperature 30 to 40 minutes.

This makes a lot so you can freeze it, since you've made the effort, or half it. :D Either way you won't regret the little bit of time it takes! :D

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recipe: Beef Stroganoff


Here I'll share another Food Nanny recipe: Beef Stroganoff. I've had stroganoff a few times in my lifetime, and it's always been good enough to eat even thought it's always on the bland side.
WELL, I tried the Food Nanny's recipe last night (photo above) and WOW. It's SO tasty! I loved it, and although Alan wasn't as thrilled about it as I was, it was dang good. :D
It was under her Monday meals, which she calls "Comfort Food". She says she makes comfort food to help them get over the feeling of the weekend gone and help them start another week of school, work, etc.
Without further ado....

BEEF STROGANOFF
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner

2 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium white onion (although I always use sweet onions), chopped
2 lbs beef sirloin
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 c beef broth
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp cream or milk
2 c sour cream
1 12-oz package extra-wide noodles or other pasta

1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until it is soft.
2. Trim the fat from the meat and cut meat into 1/4-inch strips. Add to the an and cook and stir until browned. Add the mushrooms, broth, salt, nutmeg, basil, cayenne, and pepper. Bring to a boil and immediately decrease the heat to low. Simmer until all but about 1/2 cup liquid remains, about 40 minutes.
(You can do steps 1 & 2 ahead of time, if you have to.)
3. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
4. Stir in the cream or milk and sour cream into the meat mixture. Cook 1 minute more. Serve immediately over the cooked noodles.

Serve with a green vegetable or a green salad. It's not necessary to serve bread with such a heavy dish, although a slice of crusty bread adds a crunchy texture to this "soft" meal...ENJOY!

Tuesday we had our second trip to the Children's Museum with Alan's cousin, Jenny. She's so fun to hang with...and the boys LOVE the place. I mean, how couldn't they? It was made entirely for them! Here's a little video of the artsy area. :D Cute boys...
video

Monday, April 12, 2010

ZOO & Fun Learning Time

This past weekend Alan's parents came to visit us. We had a lot of fun! Friday night we had yuuuuuummy burritos at Gordito's w/his parents and aunt and uncle. Saturday we went to the zoo! It was fun times! :D

Family Fun Time at the Zoo. :)

An awesome bear that was giving us a show through the glass...there's something so cool about being so close to such a huge animal!...and it was HUGE!

The bear's friend. :) He was huge, also. :)

Popping our head out of a cave hole in a fun play area for the kids...big and small. :D

This orangutan walked right up to us and sat and ate its orange peal for a while. :D It was so fun!

Alan got Christian a Nerf gun recently and the other day Miles was walking around with a dart on his head. HA! Alan's acting like he'd shot him in the forehead. I love Miles' face b/c it looks like Alan actually HAD. HA! Funny boys.

I'm looking for things to do with Christian (3 yrs old) that will help him learn but that will also be fun for the both of us...and Miles (1 yr old), if he's awake. :)
Here's a good website I found:
http://www.toddler-activities-at-home.com/
It gave me the idea to make a collage of things Christian likes to do. We had fun doing that today. :) Anyone have any fun ideas?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

AGING


This is a picture of my eyes...well...kind of, but not really. The original picture I sent to my friend Lori had daaark circles and freckled spots and tooooons of wrinkles...then Lori worked her magic with Photoshop and wa-lah! Here's a magazine-worthy image of my eyes. HA!
I don't mind aging, I really don't, but there's something sad about knowing that however many years ago I didn't NEED to Photoshop my face. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Recipe: Apple Crisp


So I hope you'll pardon my sudden desire to put a recipe a day. :) I realized I've found some really delicious recipes and I'd like to share! There are so many different recipes floating around--and probably some yummier than what I've found--but these are pretty darn good. Take this apple crisp recipe, for example...it's the best apple crisp I've tasted in my 32 years of life! Granted I haven't had a LOT of it, but trust me...it's good. :D
So try it if you'd like, otherwise drool over the picture. HA! :D Bon appetit! :D

Apple Crisp
4 medium apples in the variety of your choice (e.i. Granny Smith
with Fujii, Gala, or Jonagold)
3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 to 1 c sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/3 c to 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces (the recipe
asks for 1/2 c, but I find it's way too much!)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8x8-inch baking dish
2. Peal and core the apples and cut them into thin slices.
Spread the slices in the prepared baking dish.
3. Combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) in a medium
bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until the
mixture is crumbly. Spread evenly over the apples.
4. Bake uncovered until golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

To double this recipe, bake it in a 9x13-inch pan for 50 to 60
minutes. Enjoy! Serve warm with ice cream (and caramel sauce for extra deliciousness!). :D

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Time



Easter was fun! I hid eggs all over the downstairs and the boys had fun finding them! We had a couple of hunts...and enjoyed watching Conference on byutv.edu. :) Fun times!
On another note, Miles is walking! It's bitter/sweet. You never think they'll be able to sit up and you blink and they do. You never think they'll crawl, but they do...You never think they'll be big enough to walk and they do. At least they'll never be big enough for SCHOOL, oh no. They'll be my little boys forever. ;)
video

Recipe: Delicious Chicken Tacos


I've discovered the BESTEST and TASTIEST way to make tacos! Alan is one who will eat anything I make and be satisfied, sending a, "Thank you, hon," my way as he goes to rinse his dish...But when I made these for the first time he groaned and said something to the effect of, "It makes me want to cry to know we've never eaten this before." ;)

Last year (2009) my oldest sister, Francine, gave all us girls--her three sisters and our mom--a recipe book called "The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner". It inspired me to make a weekly menu and shop for needed ingredients at the beginning of the week. With a menu and needed ingredients on hand, making dinner is SOOOOO MUUUUCH more enjoyable!! :D
The author, Liz Edmunds, wants to bring back family dinner time; which is a very important time to spend as a family. Families that have dinner together generally have less "problems". A lot of recipes have a suggested conversation starter for your kids...I believe she has a show now...It's just plain a good idea, but mainly her recipes are awesome! There have only been three recipes I've tried that I didn't love...and I'm hard to please! Overall I've been really happy with the book. So here's the first recipe of hers I'll share...give it a try!

Chicken Tacos
From "The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner" cookbook

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 Tbsp chopped onion
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
salt, ground black pepper, garlic salt
12 corn tortillas
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
shredded cheese
sour cream
fresh spinach, thinly sliced
salsa
lime wedges

Heat butter and oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions and stir until onions are tender and chicken is tender and no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
Decrease the heat to low and stir in the tomato and cilantro. Add water (or chicken broth) if the mixture seems too dry. Season generously with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Cook about 2 minutes. Cover and turn off heat.

I've found these are best served with fresh corn tortillas. Your Latino Market year you should have Instant Corn Masa Flour. Directions are on the bag. They're easy to make, but do take a little bit of time to flatten and cook each one. If serving with store-bought tortillas warm them in the microwave.
You can fry your tortillas one-by-one in 3/4 c vegetable oil over medium-high heat, shaping the tortilla as you go.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pie in the sky


I got this delicious pizza dough recipe from my friend, Melanie. :) I haven't found a pizza dough quite as tasty as this one! It does tend to be a bit dense, so if anyone knows of a recipe that has lighter dough (but still tastes as good), please share! The pizza in the pic has BB-Que sauce, cooked chicken chunks, bacon (cooked and broken into pieces) and pineapple. The pizza dough is raw here...it rises a lot when it's baked. I like putting the ingredients under the cheese so they don't dry out as it bakes.
It's fun to make pizzas with the kids because they love to add their own toppings; and honestly I do too! :D This recipe makes one large pizza, or you could split it up into a few individual sized pizzas.

PIZZA DOUGH
Preheat oven to 425; Spray pizza pan

3/4 c warm water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
Put warm water in bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Sprinkle salt on top of yeast. Wait a few minutes for yeast to melt down a little.

3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive (or other) oil
1 egg
Add ingredients to yeast mixture and stir for one minute.

2 c flour (+/-)
Add up to one more cup of flour. Knead dough 6-10 minutes. Use flour to spread on pizza pan. Add preferred sauce and toppings. Bake 425 for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is browned.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recipe: YUMMY OREO TRUFFLES


My dear friend, Emily, made these for a book group one day and I about died...of overdose because I couldn't stop eating them! :D They're soooo good. I mean, look down at the ingredients...they're fattening! That's how you know they're going to be delicious. They have the perfect texture and they taste divine.
SO, I thought I'd share the recipe. You're going to have to excuse the photo I took...I had a bit of a battle with white chocolate chips (I could NOT find white almond bark to save my life!) and lost. :D Make them for an event or share them with a neighbor. They're easy and delicious; you'll instantly be popular. :D Enjoy!

YUMMY Oreo Truffles
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 package of oreos
milk melting chocolates
white melting chocolates

Grind up Oreos until fine (a food processor is best, but a blender works ok too). Mix in cream cheese and vanilla (I use my hands to do this part).
Roll into balls and put in freezer 20-30 min. Coat in melted chocolate (use a toothpick to pick up the balls up and dip into the chocolate), drizzle melted white chocolate on the top (for decoration; make sure to cover up the toothpick holes).
Put them back in the freezer/fridge until they are ready to be served. (If they start to get too warm, the inner Oreo-ness starts to expand and it squeezes out of the hard chocolate coating. It looks odd, so it's best to keep them cold until right before they are eaten.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Recipe: Easiest PB Cookies Ever


If you like peanut butter, you'll like these. And the recipe is so easy!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies
Preheat oven to 350
1 c. Peanut Butter (brand of your choice, or homemade)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (PB chips are good, also)

Mix ingredients together and drop on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. I like them slightly undercooked and non-flattened, but you can flatten them with a fork before baking if you'd like. I love them. And it's nice not to have to bring out all the extra ingredients!
If you know anyone who loves peanut butter (as I do) or who's on a glutten-free diet, do share!