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Friday, July 24, 2009

what made this happy, messy face?

fresh basil of course!

okay, maybe not. it was pastor ryan's homemade bolognese sauce (from the pioneer woman cooks, with a few changes of course) and mommy's homemade noodles. but the fresh basil rocked. i'm growing it in a pot outside my front door and it's fabulous. do yourself a favor. grow some. here's mine. and i kill everything. i call it my "black thumb". apparently basil is easy!

i can't even tell you how good this sauce was. please make some. please.

ryan’s bolognese
from the pioneer woman cooks
makes tons

1 1/2 cups grated carrots

1 zucchini, grated
1 large red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef (i want to try ground turkey next time)
2 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
2 tablespoons dried basil flakes (i used fresh because i'm growing it - soooo yummy!
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 cup milk
fresh Parmesan cheese

heat oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. add grated carrots, zucchini and onions and cook for a few minutes.
make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the ground beef. cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.
throw in oregano and basil. use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine.
when the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. add tomato paste and let it heat.
add garlic and stir to combine.
aake a well in the center of the mixture and add chicken broth. stir together.
add worcestershire and stir.
add canned tomatoes.
finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

homemade noodles

ala better homes and gardens' red checker cook book

makes 1 lb (normal size box of pasta)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 beaten egg yolks

1 beaten egg

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

1. in a large bowl stir together 1 3/4 cup of the flour and the salt. make a well in the center of the flour mixture. in a small bowl stir together egg yolks, whole egg and oil. add egg mixture to flour mixture; mix well.

2. sprinkle kneading surface with the remaining 1/4 cup flour. turn dough out onto floured surface. knead until dough is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total). cover and let dough rest for 10 minutes.

3. divide dough into 4 equal portions. on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a 12x9-inch rectangle (about 1/16 inch thick). let stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes. lightly dust dough with flour. loosely roll dough into a spiral; cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. shake the strands to separate; cut into 2-3-inch lengths.

4. to serve immediately, cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until tender but still firm, allowing 1 to 2 more minutes for dried or frozen noodles. drain.

5. to store cut noodles, spread them on a wire cooling rack. let noodles dryu about 1 hour or until completely dry. place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. ot dry noodles for at least 1 hour and place them in a freezer bag or freezer container; freeze up to 8 months.

don't be intimidated by this make-your-own-noodles gig. it's easier than it seems - i promise.

the recipe makes about 1 lb - the size of a normal box of pasta which usually makes leftovers for our 3 the following day. we have no leftovers with these. soooooo good. enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

chicken black bean tostadas with cilantro lime drizzle

so we're on a very extended summer vacation and i'm hardly ever home these days. please excuse the lack of posting. we had these babies for dinner tonight and man, were they good!! put your own twist on them or enjoy them just like we did.

chicken black bean tostadas with cilantro lime drizzle
6 servings

1 bone-in chicken breast, skinned, cooked and shredded (i cooked mine about like this plus lime juice)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
lime juice, spices of choice (i used cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder)
corn tortillas
tomatoes, chopped
your favorite fresh or homemade salsa
shredded romaine lettuce
sour cream, guacamole or other toppings you like
cilantro lime drizzle (1/2 cup light ranch dressing run through your blender or food processor with a few handfuls of cilantro and a few squeezes of lime juice)

1. prepare chicken ahead [optional] and store in fridge until ready to cook. combine shredded chicken, beans, a few squeezes of lime juice and spices of choice in a sauce pan. cover and let heat on medium/low until hot.
2. heat tortillas until hot and slightly crispy in skillet or in oven at 450.
3. top tortillas with chicken bean mixture, then with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and any other desired toppings. drizzle cilantro lime dressing over the top.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

i'm eating this right now... mmmm....

i see lots of food bloggers that adapt recipes from cooking light, so i thought i'd try one. dang, it's good. definitely a success. hope you like it!

mexican chicken casserole
adapted from cooking light

2-3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (depends on how big your chicken breasts are)
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided
1 3/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts (about 2)
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 large roma tomatoes, chopped (i had them in my fridge and they needed to get used)
2 large dollops fat free sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (i used cheddar jack)
4 ounces light cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) can green enchilada sauce
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips)

1. combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. add chicken; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once. remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. shred meat with two forks, and set aside.

2. preheat oven to 350°.

3. heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add 1 can of chiles and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, tomatoes, sour cream, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well and cook until cheeses are melted. stir in shredded chicken; cook 2 minutes. remove from heat.

4. place 4 tortillas (i sliced mine in half to help them cover the pan better) in the bottom of a 13x9 inch casserole dish coated with cooking spray. spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture. sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. let stand 10 minutes before serving.

i had mine with my favorite red taco sauce. completely delicious!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!