Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday Pot Roast

This is a first for me... I have never made a pot roast though it was a dish my mom made on Sundays quite frequently.  We would have our Sunday dinner at 1 p.m. and then later in the night, sandwiches with the leftover beef.  Since I recently purchased a new "tool of the trade" - a Dutch oven and it came with a recipe for this roast, I decided to give it a try.  Mr. John was happy since he also grew up with the same meal.

Recipe from the Food Network
(Printable recipe)

First the roast was generously sprinkled with fresh pepper and kosher salt

Rolled in flour and seared on all sides (then removed and set aside)

Onions and garlic are sauteed and simmered with wine

Tomatoes are hand crushed, some herbs are added to the mixture along with beef, covered and in the oven for about 90 minutes

Fresh parsley, thyme and bay leaves are nestled in the broth

Carrots, celery and potatoes are added and cooked about another 45 minutes with the roast

This hit the spot tonight... glad I gave it a try!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Club Night

Last night was book club night at Sue's.  We had a wonderful cake made by Mrs. B - not only cute looking but very delicious as well!  We had read A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.... Can't say it was one of my favorites and just realized today that was a movie in 1997 starring Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Sue set a pretty spring table, had "party favors" and offered some good wine!  Fun night.  Next up we will be reading The Likeness by Tana French sequel of Into the Woods.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shrimp Trio

For dinner tonight, I was in the mood for a little grilling and a lot of easy...  On the way home from work I stopped at Target and bought a bag of jumbo shrimp (luckily they were mostly thawed).  Since they were so big, I used 2 skewers to thread them and used 3 different topppings...

The BBQ sauce went on when they were mostly cooked so the sauce wouldn't burn

They only needed about 7-8 minutes on the grill.  I served over rice pilaf with a side of green beans - from prep to table about 15 minutes.  Quick, easy and pretty healthy - Mr. John and I liked the cajun and BBQ the best.

...and speaking of shrimp - does anyone miss Red Lobster in downtown Rochester?  I do!  Can't drive to the mall during lunch time to get a cheddar biscuit fix!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Happy Administrative Assistant Day!

When I'm not cooking in the kitchen, I love being creative in other ways.  I offered to help come up with an idea for an administrative area.  It is spring, flowers are available, and it is all about color!  I shopped at Home Depot and Hobby Lobby and found the coolest stuff that I hope will brighten someone's day!

The area also decided to get gift cards to a local yogurt shop, I found these ice cream cups at JoAnn's Fabric to present them in. 

Can't wait for the the girls to get to their offices and hope they have a nice day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A New Name and New Look....

....same old me!  I've been working on this little project for awhile - enlisting friends and family to help me.  A big shout out to my daughter Danielle who worked on my new header (she has a degree in graphic design).  I was looking for something new, fresh looking and really wanted to go with this name.  It was my original choice a year ago but I really couldn't tell you why I didn't pick it then...

I may still be working out some bugs this week.... Like it, love it, or you don't like change?  I would love to hear from you (email link on right nav).

Oh, and now I'm on FB too... I am getting so techy!

Prior name:  Recipes for Life

Spring Green Salad with Pear Vinaigrette

I love a tasty salad and this one really hit the spot.  Recently the administrator I work with gave me a bottle of Pear Chardonnay Vinegar  from California.  I knew I wanted to make a special salad and create a vinaigrette to top it off.  

The salad ingredients

The vinaigrette was made with the following ingredients

-1 T honey
-1/4 cup Chardonnay
-1/4 tsp minced garlic
-1 tsp Dijon mustard
-1/4 cup Pear Chardonnay Vinegar
-1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
-1/8 tsp sea salt
-1/4 cup olive oil
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small food processor; when mixed well, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well blended.  Serve over salad

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pasta and Lentil Soup

Have any of you had lentils?  This was a first for me....eating and cooking with them.  If I had to give them (lentils) a taste description, I would say they taste a little like garbanzo beans...  The soup was good especially during the drizzly afternoon.

The ingredients

I found this recipe from the Food Network
(link to recipe here)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Penne with Vodka Sauce
This is my second attempt to make a vodka sauce.  The first time was a few years ago and I thought I would kick it up a notch by using Absolut Peppar Vodka... well, let's just say that ended up in the circular file (way too strong and peppery!) and I have been timid ever since.

So now fast forward to 2012 and I found a recipe in the Food Network magazine.  I was pretty sure I had vodka in the house, and I did, but no cheap stuff - only my last bottle of Shakers (I recently found out this Minnesota made vodka company is out of business... if anyone spots a bottle, let me know).  I debated - do I head over to Mrs. B's with my measuring cup and ask to borrow a half cup of sugar vodka or use what I have.  I decided to go with what I had.

The ingredients

The dish turned out very good!  Just the right amount of flavor - Mr. John really liked it... we have leftovers and I think this will reheat well.
Recipe slightly adapted from the Food Network Magazine

Penne with Vodka Sauce Serves: 4 Calories: na Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : Food Network magazine March 2011

 -1 minced shallot
-2 T butter
-1 clove minced garlic
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-1/2 cup vodka
-28 oz canned crush tomatoes
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup romano or parm cheese
-1/4 cup torn basil leaves -12 oz penne pasta

1. Cook penne
2. Sauté shallot in butter about 3 minutes over medium heat; add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté another 30 seconds
3. Add vodka and tomatoes and some salt; simmer and stir occasionally about 7 minutes
4. Stir in heavy cream and simmer about 3 minutes; stir in grated cheese and basil; toss with cooked penne