Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's a .....

...boy and he is due in May!  No, not in my family :-) but Kristina's good friend Monica who was in her wedding last fall.  Kristina put on the shower today and it was a really fun time and nice for Monica to be surrounded by her family and friends.  Do you find that more new parents today want to know the sex before the birth?  Back in day we maybe could find out with the ultrasound but almost everyone I know just found out at the birth.  Though when Danielle was born, the intern first said "It's a boy,..... no wait, it's girl!"  I'm thinking a cord was in the way.

Back to the shower... Kristina had planned quite a spread - party subs from Subway, pasta salad, veggies and dip, buffalo chicken dip, fruit.... I brought deviled eggs and cucumbers sandwiches (and lots of white serving dishes.....I have a few)



These sandwiches were the easiest.  Take 8 oz. of cream cheese, mix in a package of dry Italian seasoning mix, spread on cocktail bread and topped with a thin cucumber - best to assemble right before eating but you can make spread up to a day ahead.


Kristina had a couple of games... one was guess the number of Trix in the baby bottle.... 1329 if you want to know!


This game was cute - we divided up into teams and were handed a frozen cup of water in a dixie cup with a plastic baby... our goal was to get the baby out and the first team to do so yelled  "My water broke!"  Pretty funny watching grown women race to a sink or using hot coffee, or trying to smash it in a towel.  The team I was on won and we used hot water


After the games and gifts, we had dessert







It was a great shower and I wish all the best to Cory and Monica and their new arrival - Baby N - though they know the sex, the name is in the vault until the big day!

And one more item, Kristina and Benj made this towel cake (with a beany baby from her past - see knew they would come in handy some day!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

Please take my word for it and don't judge this recipe on looks alone.  While this soup was not easy to take a picture of (a real blah color), it was very delicious!  If I had a smell-o-rama, you would love it! Ginger, soy and sesame oil really are quite flavorable together....  It says it serves 4 but Mr. John and I split it... but at only 154 calories a serving, it was a calorie bargain!

Recipe adapted from BH&G Chicken Dinners


Hot and Sour Chicken Soup Serves: 4 Calories: 154 Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : BH&G Chicken Dinners

Ingredients:
-5 ozs fresh shiitake mushroom, thinly sliced – no stems
-1T fesh grated ginger
-1 clove minced garlic
-2t olive oil
 -32 oz chicken broth
-2T rice vinegar
-2T soy sauce
-1/2 t crushed red pepper
-1 cup shredded cooked chicken
-2 cups shredded napa cabbage
-2 T water
-1T cornstarch
-1t sesame oil

Preparation:
1. In large saucepan, heat oil and cook mushrooms, ginger and garlic for 4 minutes
2. Stir in broth, vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper; bring to boil
3. Stir in chicken and cabbage – simmer uncovered 5 minutes
4. In small bowl combine water and cornstarch; add to soup and stir for about 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil

Notes:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Skillet Shrimp and Orzo Casserole

Skillet Shrimp and Orzo Pasta
What do you get when you cross shrimp with orzo pasta?  Something yummy!  I must confess (again) I bought one two new cookbooks this past week.  But this time they were kinda gifts from people who gave me Amazon gift cards.  I especially was drawn to America's Test Kitchen Pasta Revolution.  Not only does it have some great recipes but it also provides many helpful tips.  So here was my first choice!

The ingredients



A must for this recipe is a skillet that is oven proof.  After cooking most of the ingredients on the stove, it is finished off in the oven in the same pan.

Veggies are sauteed


Orzo is browned and then broth is added


Tomatoes and peas are tossed in


The shrimp is nestled in, topped with feta and baked about 15 minutes



Done!


Stayed tuned - I know I'll be trying more recipes from this cookbook!
Printable Recipe


Skillet Shrimp and Orzo Serves: 2 Calories: 570 Prep Time to Table: 40 minutes
Recipe : ATK Pasta Revolution

 Ingredients:
-8 ozs extra large shrimp, cleaned, deveined
-S&P
-1 T olive oil
-3 T chopped red onion (fine)
-1/2 red pepper chopped about ½”
-1 clove garlic minced
-1/2 t oregano
-6 ozs orzo
-1 ½ cups chicken broth
-1/2 cup drained canned diced tomatoes (reserve ¼ cup juice)
-1/2 cup frozen peas
-1 oz feta cheese crumbled
-2 T sliced green onions
-lemon wedges

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and have rack in middle
2. Pat shrimp dry and season with S&P – set aside until needed
3. Heat oil in large skillet that is oven proof. Add red onion and red pepper and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano for 30 seconds. Stir in orzo and cook stirring often until orzo is golden brown (about 4 minutes)
4. Stir in broth and tomato juice and simmer about 10-12 minutes (orzo should be al dente). Stir in tomatoes and peas. Arrange shrimp on top pushing down slightly, top with feta
5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until shrimp is cooked – about 15 minutes
6. Sprinkle with green onions and serve with lemon (squeeze on top)

Notes:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crispy Pork Medallions

Me:  Hey John, dinner's ready
Mr. John:  Ok (looks at meal).  Wow, nice that we are having the other white meat for a change.  I like pork!

And like it, he did!  This was a quick and easy recipe and hit the spot for him - he worked outside all day and even mowed the lawn.  That has to be a record, mowing on March 25th in Minnesota!  I think next he is eyeing up the boat and wondering when he can go fishing....

Tonight's cast of characters - only 4 major ingredients


A mixture is made of panko crumbs, S&P and fresh minced parsley


The pork is spread with the Dijon mustard on both sides, dredged in the crumb mixture, and fried for 2 minutes until golden brown, flipped and finished off in the oven






Dinner was served along with Uncle Ben's rice and green beans squirted with some lemon juice and sea salt.  The pork was verrrry tender and the mustard provided a nice little zip to it.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light



Crispy Pork Medallions Serves: 3-4 Calories: 144 (2 pieces) Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : Adapted Cooking Light Nov 2011

Ingredients:
-2T Dijon mustard
-1 lb pork tenderloin trimmed and cut in 8 pieces
-1/2 cup panko
 -1T fresh minced parsley
-1/4 t salt
-1/4 t fresh pepper
-2 T olive oil

Preparation:
 1. Preheat oven to 450
2. Rub mustard over pork – both sides evenly. Combine panko, parsley and S&P. Dredge pork in mixture
3. Heat oil in a large skillet that is ovenproof. Add pork and sauté 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn pork and place skillet in oven for 8 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes

Notes:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Orange Chicken Kabobs with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce


It was really fun to fire up the grill a few days ago! and it was really fun to make this recipe.... One of the ingredients is orange marmalade... what a great flavor to go with chicken.  The dipping sauce had honey and a dijon style mustard... wonderful combination of flavors - a little kick to it also!

The marinade ingredients



The chicken is marinaded about an hour, drained and grilled


We also had asparagus that night and that was easy to prepare by grilling alongside the chicken


The dipping sauce ingredients


Once the chicken was done, I served it over a 90 second Uncle Ben's rice along with the sauce... deelish!



Recipe from BH&G Chicken Dinners



Pasta Toss with Tomato and Spinach Serves: 6 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
 Recipe : Kraft Winter 2007

 Ingredients:
-8 oz. penne pasta
-1/2 lb. sausage (hot or mild) casing removed
-16 oz. baby spinach
-1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-parmesan cheese for topping

Preparation:
1. Cook pasta and keep warm
2. Crumble sausage and cook in skillet over medium high heat until done; add tomatoes and heat through; add spinach and cooked until wilted
3. Combine pasta and mixture and toss with mozz cheese; serve and top with parm cheese

Notes:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pasta with Sausage, Spinach and Tomato


Happy Wednesday! The week is half over and tonight I'll be watching Survivor - do any of you??   But before that it was time for another quickie meal with only 5 ingredients and about 20 minutes.  Gotta love the easy, good ones when you need something in a hurry.  Mr. John liked this one as it had one of his favorite ingredients - hot Italian sausage.

The ingredients


After the sausage is browned and the tomatoes added, it is time to wilt the spinach


Add to the pasta with some mozzarella cheese and dinner is done!  And another colorful meal!
Recipe from Kraft Food and Family Winter 2007 edition



Pasta Toss with Tomato and Spinach Serves: 6 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : Kraft Winter 2007

 Ingredients:
 -8 oz. penne pasta
-1/2 lb. sausage (hot or mild) casing removed
-16 oz. baby spinach
-1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-parmesan cheese for topping

Preparation:
1. Cook pasta and keep warm
2. Crumble sausage and cook in skillet over medium high heat until done; add tomatoes and heat through; add spinach and cooked until wilted
3. Combine pasta and mixture and toss with mozz cheese; serve and top with parm cheese

Notes:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Minestrone Soup with Chicken

Kinda hot for a soup night but I had some veggies that I needed to use up and was inspired by a recipe I found in the BH&G Chicken Dinner magazine (is anyone counting?  I think this is about the 5th-6th recipe I made from this publication).  I love when the meal looks colorful and is full of healthy ingredients.... this will help you achieve your daily intake for the food pyramid!

The ingredients


The chopping



The formal attire


The eats... (I would also recommend sprinkling with some parmesan or romano cheese - I felt it needed a little extra kick and that did it for us)
Enjoy!



Minestrone Soup with Chicken Serves: 8 Calories: 183 Prep Time to Table: 40 minutes
Recipe : adapted BH&G chicken dinner

Ingredients:
-1 cup sliced carrots
-1/2 cup chopped celery
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-1 T olive oil
- 6-7 cups of chicken broth (depending on thickness desired)
-2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-8 oz. chopped boneless chicken breast
-1 cup frozen green beans
-1/4 t fresh pepper
-1 cup dried bowtie pasta
-1 ½ cups sliced zucchini and/or yellow squash (medium, quartered and sliced ½” thick)
-1 14.5 oz can tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

Preparation:
1. Cook carrots, celery and onion in hot oil for 5 minutes; then add chicken broth, beans, chicken, green beans, pepper and bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes
2. Add pasta and simmer additional 5 minutes then add zucchini and simmer about 8 minutes; add tomatoes (undrained) to heat through and serve.

Notes: