Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I've mentioned before how we have a large Sunday dinner around 3pm. Well, today after watching a DVR'd episode of Pioneer Woman, my husband and I headed to Wegmans to grab the ingredients for dinner. We used her recipe for Bruschetta and Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks.

What was on the menu?

 Bruschetta - this is a great recipe and different than what Italians usually do since the bread was fried in butter. I usually grill the bread after brushing it with olive oil. Note, i didn't use grape tomatoes, but vine ripened plum tomatoes. Rich, but oh, so good.

Skirt Steak - on sale so be purchased several packages for my carnivore son and husband. My son doesn't consider it a meal unless there is meat. We grilled the meat in a very hot cast iron pan with a grill like bottom using Montana Steak Seasoning (Our grill happened to be out of gas)

Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks - Oh my goodness. This recipe is so, so good. I followed the recipe to a tee and it turned out great. I added a tossed salad made from greens picked fresh from our garden and we had a wonderful Sunday dinner.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fried Pickles

Okay, I'm a little scattered going from fresh mozzarella cheese to fried pickles a decidedly southern treat, but what the hell.

I've eaten fried pickles in restaurants, but have never tried to make them. Until this week. My daughter wanted to try them, so off I went to the grocery store to pick up pickles.  I followed a recipe I found online at Moore Babies Blog

They tasted great - there was a salty, sour and spicy mix that was great with the dipping sauce.  I also like how they were oven baked instead of fried.

A few things I would do differently - use larger dill pickles, mine were too small. Also, since the recipe calls for Panko bread crumbs, I would grind then a little finer. Some people use corn meal which works nicely, as well.

Overall, those who were adventurous enough to try them, liked them!

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

The first time I tasted fresh mozzarella was in Ovindoli, Italy. My father-in-law's home town just north of Rome. Never had I tasted something so refreshing and delicious. A thick slice of cheese on a slice of freshly baked Italian bread-heaven.

I've seen a few post on Pinterest that discuss making cheese and I was curious. So this weekend, I'm going to venture into the world of cheese making. While I've made ricotta cheese (simple and wonderful), the idea of kneading and pulling cheese seems very foreign.

But we love fresh mozzarella and use it frequently.  I replace regular mozzarella for chicken parm. I use it on pizza, bread, in pasta salads and there is a great bean salad with fresh mozzarella.

I'll keep you posted (pun intended) with pictures and how the adventure went.

Here are some recipes to try:

Heart, Hands, Home Blog - I'm using this recipe

Friday, August 17, 2012


There is nothing better than veggies fresh from the garden.  Our garden is quite the accidental garden, necessary because of my daughter's AP Biology summer homework. She needed to grow something, anything, and document the process all summer.

Well, we haven't had a garden since the playset went up and I really missed it. I grew herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  I loved cutting fresh lettuce to make a salad each night, so good.  The only problem was the cucumbers and tomatoes all ripened at the same time and I would pass them out to neighbors.

Here's an image of my fresh lettuce that we had for a late lunch today. Tender and fresh, what a great salad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Julia Child would have been 100 years old today.  What an amazing cook, person, and contributor to the culinary movement.  Even with all of the current chefs whom are popular today, Julia Child has made a lasting impression on cooking as we know it.  Also, she was one of the first culinary stars on television.

I personally love the book Julie and Julia and how we got to know Julia Child and her husband.  Cute, cute movie.

Happy Birthday, Julia! And Bon Appetit!

Friday, August 10, 2012

National S'mores Day

Who knew there was a National S'mores Day! August 10th is the official day.  We love s'mores in our family.  Lately, I've seen various combinations that look fun.

Picture one is from A Wedding Story Blog picture two Classic Chaos and picture three from Homestead Survival

Quick Breads!

My father-in-law dropped off some veggies from his garden and there was a couple of zucchinis.  In my opinion the best recipe for zucchinis is zucchini bread.  So I whipped up the recipe I found here - Southern Cooking at after looking through all of my cookbooks.  Even my Betty Crocker didn't have a recipe, which I was surprised.

Anyway, I reduced the sugar just a bit, about 1/4 cup because 1 3/4 cups of sugar is a lot.  They turned out great and since I had to borrow 3 eggs from a neighbor for my last minute baking expedition and I'd made omelets for breakfast, I'll send one of the mini loaves over to them.

I love the rich cinnamony flavor and the moist texture.  I'm hoping the zucchini makes these loaves healthier. Maybe part of the vegetable group.

Pampered Chef Mini Loaf Pan
I used my Pampered Chef mini loaf stoneware. Stoneware is one of my favorite baking ware. Cleans easily, makes a nice crust and only gets better with age. 

My pizza baking stone is nearly black from use, but that just makes it better and nothing sticks.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friday Dinner

Photo from Living Light Blog

I love cooking on the weekend. Starting Friday a good dinner and then a relaxed Saturday and a big Sunday morning breakfast or brunch. Usually on Sundays we a big breakfast of eggs & toast, pancakes (love Pioneer Woman's recipe), sour cream waffles, dutch babies, or something I cooked up from one recipe or another.

Then for dinner, which we usually eat around 3pm, and usually a big pasta dish, pot roast, chicken pot pie, the list is long.

This Friday, I'm going to try Rachael Ray's Southwestern Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake.  Looks like an interesting tweak on traditional pasta bakes that I'll pair with salad and fruit. The recipe was posted on Pinterest by a blogger. Here's the link and I'll let you know how it taste! Recipe Link

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Crockpot/Frozen Meals

I've been wanting to do this for a while, cook up a storm for a day and create enough frozen meals to feed my family. I've scoured several crock pot sites and a few of my own recipes and I'm ready to do it. I'll keep you posted to when I embark on this adventure and I'll provide a shopping list as well.

Here's what I plan to cook and freeze:
Vegetable Lasagna - my recipe
Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with Chicken - Happy Little Elephant's blog
Teriyaki Chicken - The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis blog
Pork Sirloin Roast with Spicy Peanut Sauce - Kalyn's Kitchen blog
Hamburger Soup - my recipe
Chicken Pot Pie - my recipe
Giada's Pot Roast - Everyday Italian
Chicken Tortilla Soup - Pioneer Woman
And - seasoned beef for tacos, nachos, and tortillas - shredded chicken, and steaks for my carnivore son.

There are freeze staples that are always in my freezer.  Frozen blueberries, Cubes of frozen herbs such as parsley and basil (basil is mixed with olive oil or made into pesto), raviolis, sausage, bread, butter (yes, you can freeze butter), steaks (both thin and thick), and hamburger patties that I make up myself.