Friday, October 31, 2008

turkey 101...

Happy November!!

You know what that means...

Thanksgiving (serious cooking) is just around the corner.

I've had a couple of requests to share tips for cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

I've done this several times (sometimes the outcome was fantastic...sometimes a flop). I will offer up the things that have worked for me in the past, and hopefully give a few fool-proof, easy suggestions.

First things first.

The bird.

I've tried cooking turkey MANY different ways (seriously, just about every technique Martha has suggested, I've tried). Surprisingly, this way was the easiest and best tasting. Who knew?? I'll never go back. If they ever stop making these bags, they had better be replaced with something truly amazing because these things ROCK!

Next up...stuffing the bird!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

vegetable soup...

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 of a small onion; diced
1 cup carrots; sliced
2 garlic cloves; minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups diced nappa cabbage
1 cup green beans; cut into 2 in. pieces
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt

Cook onions and carrots in olive oil over med high heat until onions are tender. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
(2 cups= 1pt)

This made the whole house smell good!! Such a perfect lunch or dinner in the Fall & Winter. It didn't make a large amount, so next time I would probably double it. I think it would be great with white or kidney beans, and/or a little pasta. Give it a try! It will warm you through and through!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

pasta with brown butter & mizithra...

12 oz uncooked pasta
1/2 cup butter
mizithra cheese

Cook pasta until al dente. Melt butter in a small skillet over med to med high heat. Once bubbles start to form & butter turns a light golden brown, scrape milk solids off of the top and discard. Remove from heat. Pour butter & a sprinkle of cheese over pasta. Serve.

Three ingredients. Three ingredients. Three ingredients.
Love it!
This comes together so quickly. What more can I say about browned butter except that it is fabulous. If you frequently dine at the Spaghetti Factory, you've probably either seen or tried this dish.
A little goes a long way with the butter and the cheese. Start sparingly. Most grocery stores have a specialty cheese case, so it shouldn't be hard to find a small wedge of mizithra.
(1 cup pasta, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp cheese= 8 pts)

Friday, October 17, 2008

peanut butter kisses...

1/2 cup butter; room temp
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg; room temp
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Hershey Kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and peanut butter. Mix in both sugars, vanilla and egg. Combine dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add to peanut butter mixture & mix just until combined. Roll dough into 1" balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 min. Remove from oven and immediately press Hershey Kiss into center of cookie.

I was initially looking for the Hershey Kisses that look like Candy Corn to make these cookies...but I couldn't find them anywhere. I am still on the hunt, though and when I find them I'll just have to remake the cookies. Bummer.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ravioli with balsamic brown butter...

18 to 20 oz ravioli (cheese, mushroom, or squash) fresh or frozen
6 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan 

 Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.
One of the best things about this recipe was how fast and easy it was to put together. The sauce is VERY rich, so go easy on it. You can always add more. Perfect for a quick dinner!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

{light} broccoli cheese soup & corn bread...

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, minced
16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
29 oz canned chicken broth
4 oz Kraft Velveeta Light Reduced-Fat cheese, cut into cubes
1/2 cup fat-free skim milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, until soft. Add broccoli and broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 minutes, until broccoli is tender.
Reduce heat to low, add cheese and stir until cheese melts; stir in milk and garlic powder.
Whisk together water and cornstarch. Add mixture to pan and simmer 2 minutes, until thick.
(1 1/2 cups 4 pts)

{light} cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 3/4 oz cream-style corn, canned
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large egg white(s)
2 tsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.
Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well with a fork, then make a well in the center; set aside.
Combine creamed corn, buttermilk, egg whites and oil in a medium bowl; mix until blended. Fold mixture into dry ingredients; mix until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.Bake until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Serves 8.
(3 pts)

Good, good dinner. This soup, being light, did not sacrifice taste or creaminess at all. It really hits the spot on a cold day. The corn bread...good, but a little bland. It was very, very moist, but needed just a little sugar (2-3 tsp).

Thursday, October 9, 2008


1 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar, + 2 tablespoons for rolling cookies
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°. Line or grease baking sheets and set aside.
Combine flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until smooth.
Mix together cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pinch dough into walnut-sized pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon/sugar mixture, and place on baking sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for one minute, then cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes about 32 cookies.

These are easy, and oh sooo good. They remind me of a cinnamon sugar doughnut. They look a little different from traditional snickerdoodles, but that's what I loved about them.
I got the recipe from a great site, Bake or Break. She even does a chocolate version of these cookies. YUM!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

4 bean chili...

12 oz extra lean ground beef
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can kidney beans; drained & rinsed
1 can black beans; drained & rinsed
1 can great northern beans; drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans (do not drain)
2 15oz cans tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper

Brown ground beef & onions. Add garlic & cook about 30 seconds. Add beans & tomato sauce & stir to mix well. Add chili powder and pepper. Simmer over med-low heat 20-30 min until beans are tender. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, green onions, etc.

Make a little cornbread, cozy up by a fire & enjoy!
Perfect for Fall!
(1 1/2 cups-7pts)

Friday, October 3, 2008

fall snack mix...

Crispix cereal
candy corn

Mix together. Store in an air-tight container (if there's any left!)

This is just an idea of many variations to this mix. I just put in the stuff we like in ours. Throw in some raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, etc. This is such a great snack to have on hand for the kids & neighbor kids that go in and out of the door all afternoon...Also perfect for a weekend in front of the tv ;). Perfect for kids Bingo!!