Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tilapia Pasta

From: Better Homes and Gardens magazine

8 oz dried linguine
12 oz fresh or frzoen tilapia fillets, thawed if frozen
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and chopped
6 cloves garlic, minded
1 Tbsp capers
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp snipped fresh Italian parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Set pasta and water aside.

Season fish with 1/8 tsp salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add tilapia, cook about 6 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove; set aside.

Add remaining oil to skillet. Add onion and fennel. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic, capers, and Italian seasoning; cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce and reserved pasta water. Bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Stir in pasta and fish, breaking up fish slightly. Sprinkle with parsley.

Thumbs up! I actually love tilapia because it doesn't have that "fishy" flavor that so many fish have. I also love pasta and pasta sauce, so I knew this was going to be a winner. I left out the fennel and capers and it still had a great flavor.

Chewy Fudgy Homemade Brownies

From: Sally's Baking Addiction

  • 1/2 cup (115g) salted butter
  • 8 ounces (228g) coarsely chopped quality semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (80g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (11g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Or melt in a medium microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring after each, in the microwave. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides, or grease it. Set aside.

Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-36 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs when the brownies are done. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on them after 30 minutes and use the toothpick test to see when yours are finished.

Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once cooled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut.

Thumbs up! Okay, when I first tasted these brownies I thought they had too much chocolate in them. I could only eat one because it was so rich. But the next day, I figured I'd try one again. I popped it in the microwave for about 8 seconds - oh my gracious - to die for! These were so much better the second day, in my opinion. I will definitely be making these again. This is my favorite homemade brownie recipe I've tried. 

Crockpot Chili

From: All the Cooks

2 lbs hamburger, browned, drained
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
5 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cup beef broth
28 oz chopped tomatoes
32 oz kidney beans, cooked
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients and cook in the crockpot all day on low.

You had me at "combine all ingredients and cook all day." In other words - don't touch it, don't stir it, leave it alone. In fact, I let mine cook overnight while I slept. Now that's my kind of cooking! I love chili and this was a great recipe that didn't disappoint. I would definitely make it again. (I substituted venison for the hamburger in this recipe).

Hearty Hamburger Soup


  1. Brown ground beef and onion in a large pot. Drain if needed.
  2. Add spices and onion soup mix.
  3. Stir in water, tomato sauce and soy sauce. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the potatoes bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until potatoes and carrots are tender about 30 minutes. (Add more water if needed).
  5. Season to taste with garlic salt.
  6. Serve with shredded parmesan cheese and sour cream.

Thumbs up! I love hamburger soups and this one did not disappoint. What a great comfort food.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Brown Sugar Pancakes

From: Rachael Ray

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  

In a large bowl, whisk the milk and eggs. Whisk in the vanilla and the melted butter.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three additions, whisking until smooth. (The batter will be thin.) Stir in 2 tbsp. brown sugar.

Melt some butter in the skillet. Using a ladle, pour some batter into the skillet, forming circles. Cook until the surface bubbles and the edges are browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until browned on the bottom, about 30 seconds longer. Sprinkle with some of the remaining 1 tbsp. brown sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter and brown sugar.

Thumbs up! I'm not a big fan of pancakes, but my kids and my husband love having them for weekend breakfasts or weeknight dinners if I forget to plan something (*ahem*...). I made these brown sugar pancakes for dinner tonight, though, and I have to say I really liked them. I think the kids did too, because they each ate 4 or 5. They are a little sweeter than my other recipe (which is basically the same as this except without the brown sugar) so maybe that's why I liked them a bit more. They definitely weren't sickeningly sweet. I will definitely make these again in the future. And yes - feel free to add in chocolate (my daughter and husband are chocolate fanatics) or any fruit that you usually would!    

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hearty Lasagna Soup

From: An old index card

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried parsley
3 1/2 cups beef broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups uncooked mafalda or corkscrew pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the beef, onion, garlic and parsley in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until the beef is browned, stirring often. Pour off any fat.

Stir the broth, tomatoes and Italian seasoning in the saucepan and heat to a boil.

Stir the pasta in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Stir in the cheese. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.

Thumbs up! I liked this soup a lot. I used venison instead of beef, crushed tomatoes instead of diced, and elbow macaroni instead of corkscrew. I thought this soup was yummy and filling. My only problem with it is that I had to add a ton of water while it was cooking because the pasta soaked up so much of it. So in the end I wish I had added a little more tomato flavoring to it. It was still great though, and I would definitely make this again in the future. I also appreciated the fact that I had every ingredient in the pantry already! 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Taco Rice

From: An old index card

1 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
1 1/2 cups medium salsa
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups rice

Brown the beef and onion in a skillet. Add the salsa, tomato sauce and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.  Make the rice and serve the beef mixture over rice.

Thumbs up! Listen, I know the picture isn't pretty, but I loved this recipe. I used ground venison instead of beef, and pasta sauce instead of tomato sauce. Other than that I didn't change anything about the recipe. It was incredibly simple to toss together and had a great flavor! I'll definitely be making this again. I think it would even be great in burritos or tacos.