Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mamma Mia Pasta

From: Southern Living 1995 Annual cookbook

6 oz rotelle pasta, uncooked
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 14 oz can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside. Cook garlic and onion in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until tender. Add tomatoes and next 6 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Add Parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Pour over cooked pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Thumbs up!! Honestly this was such a yummy sauce. It was perfect for me because only myself and my son eat spaghetti sauce - my hubby and daughter like their noodles with just butter and mozzarella cheese! I probably would double this recipe the next time I make it, because I didn't have any leftover. Other than that I wouldn't change a thing. Delicious! And I was able to use fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market instead of canned - I just added about 1/4 cup of water to make it into a sauce.

Nutella Swirl Brownies

From: Mixed together a recipe from here and here

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 square unsweetened chocolate
1 square semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup Nutella

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until soft and creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs and chocolate, mixing well. Add flour to butter mixture, mixing well. Spoon batter into an 8-inch square pan. Heat the Nutella for about 20 seconds in a small bowl in the microwave, just enough to soften it enough to swirl over the batter. Drop by the spoonful over the batter, swirling it a bit with the spoon or the tip of a knife. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until just set and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Thumbs up! Oh, delicious! I wanted to make Nutella swirl brownies but I didn't have the amount of baking chocolate called for in this recipe. So I looked through my old brownies recipes and found this one. It only called for 2 oz of baking chocolate so I used my only ounce of unsweetened and one ounce of semisweet. These brownies are so yummy! The Nutella doesn't stand out a ton but it does add a nice texture and flavor to the brownies. These brownies are so yummy too, very chewy and delicious! I definitely recommend this recipe, or the original Nutella-swirl recipe even though I haven't tested that one yet. I'll test it in the future, I assure you. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

From: Here

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (more if fresh)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 9 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini (cheese or meat filled)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot or large saucepan. Add the onion, zucchini, and carrot. Saute over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes, and salt to the pot. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a low boil. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook it for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in the parsley and pepper during the last minute or so. Makes about 5 servings.

Thumbs up! Oh my goodness, what a simple and delicious recipe! I love tortellini soups. I didn't change a thing about this recipe and I wouldn't in the future either. Highly recommend!! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spaghetti with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

From: The "Pasta" Food and Wine Cookbook

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs tomatoes, about 4, peeled, seeded and chopped
3/4 lb spaghetti
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the eggplant with 2 Tbsp of the oil, 1/4 tsp of the salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread the eggplant out on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Add the tomatoes, the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Increase the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain. Toss the pasta with the eggplant, tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella and serve at once.

What I did differently from the recipe:
I, unfortunately, do not keep fresh mozzarella on hand (and couldn't afford to purchase it just for this one recipe), so I used shredded. Trust me - it was marvelous anyway.

What I'll do differently next time:
I halved the recipe because our whole family is not a fan of sauces on spaghetti. Next time I will not cut the recipe in half. It was so good, I wish I had leftovers!

Thumbs up! Great new way to use eggplant (I tend to always make eggplant parmesan or baked eggplant chips) and a great way to dress up spaghetti. Absolutely delicious and I would definitely make this again in the future!  

Baked Hushpuppies

From: Southern Living 1995 cookbook

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup AP flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Set dry mixture aside.

Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring well; add to dry mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Coat miniature muffin tins with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into each muffin cup. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until done.

Neutral. I didn't change anything from the recipe but both Stephen and I agreed these tasted just like cornbread. Still on the lookout for a great hushpuppies recipe! Although if you like cornbread this is a really easy, low-maintenance recipe to try!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eggplant Tomato Bake

From: Here

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 tomato, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Arrange eggplant rounds on the cookie sheet and sprinkle Parmesan over the eggplant. Layer one slice of tomato on top of each eggplant round. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese again. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

What I did differently from this recipe:

What I'll do differently next time:

Thumbs up! Oh, yummy goodness. I had an eggplant that was about to go bad and I have enough in the freezer so I really wanted to try a new recipe. This was so good and simple! Only my 18-month old would eat them with me but I kind of assumed that would be the case with my picky eaters! :)  

Asian Sugar Snap Peas

From: Here

1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed
3 Tbsp garlic flavored olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
2 drops chili oil
1/4 tsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Preheat the oven broiler, and move oven rack into the top position.  Place the snap peas onto a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread the snap peas out into a single layer. Broil the snap peas in the preheated oven until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, brown sugar, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. When the snap peas come out of the oven, toss them immediately with the sauce. 

What I did differently from the recipe:
I just got a very small amount of snap peas from our food co-op box last week. We had stir-fry for dinner one night, so I wanted to use these snap peas before they went bad. I adjusted all the quantities of ingredients based on how many peas I had. I didn't have garlic flavored olive oil (and I've never even heard of that!) so I put in olive oil and juice from minced garlic. I left out the chili oil because I don't have that on hand, and I left out the sesame seeds because I don't really enjoy too much of the sesame flavor.

Thumbs up!! The stir-fry was delicious and being able to heap these onto my plate just made it even better. Stephen didn't like the flavor because of the sesame oil - if you don't like peanut butter you won't like these! But I thought it was a delicious addition to the meal!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

From: Here

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined. Place flour and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Scoop a large spoonful of dough and flatten it into the palm of your hand. Add in some nutella into the middle, about 1-2 tsp. Then fold cookie dough back up so that it seals and covers the nutella entirely. Bake for about 10-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Looking like regular ol' cookies:


 "Nom, nom, nom!"

What I did differently from this recipe:
Well, at first I halved the recipe because usually cookie recipes make so many. Unfortunately, though, I was supposed to be making these as a dessert for my parents after lunch tomorrow... by bedtime there were only two cookies left! Oops. So I made some more, and this time I did NOT cut the recipe in half. I believe the halved recipe made 10-12, but it would definitely depend on how large you make your cookies. The original author of this recipe stated that the original recipe made a dozen cookies for her.

A resounding thumbs up! I had heard of Nutella before, mainly because my college roomie was obsessed with it but I never actually tried it until last week at my parent's house. Mom and I had both gotten a very good price on Nutella and she told me I just had to try it. After one spoonful - I knew these cookies were our destiny for this week's lunch! Go make them. Now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


From: My Mom

1 1/2 lb ground beef (not cooked)
1 cup oats
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup onion
1 egg
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Put in loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

What I did differently from this recipe:
It is blasphemy to think I would change this recipe.

Thumbs up!! It wasn't 1000% like my mom's but I'm sure it never will be!! It was close enough that this is going to become a staple food around here! Thank you Mom!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Discarding Kitchen Grease

This is a really great post from Hallee the Homemaker on why it's important to discard carefully of your kitchen grease. Take a look at those pictures - you'll probably change up some things in your kitchen!