Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Foodie PenPal Reveal

Today is Foodie PenPal reveal day... I want to thank Melissa from Melissa's Cuisine for a nice package that definitely fits in for this time of year!  Also, she made some delicious cookies and of course those didn't last long!  but I was nice and shared the the spouse!

It is time to sign up again - here's the place if you are interested!

The Lean Green Bean

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

Chicken with Honey Beer Sauce
Cluck... yep here's another chicken recipe.  What can I say?  Chicken is definitely one of the easier dishes to prepare and a healthier option; also from pan to table it took about 20 minutes. I'm still loving my Uncle Ben's 90 second rice (I do use different varieties though) and the green beans that steam in the bag are a quick and healthy choice too.

The sauce is made from a small amount of beer - I didn't use a light beer and preferably a dark is best for the hearty flavor - and you could drink what is leftover (The Fisherman did that for wasting here!)  Hope you enjoy this one and I'll try to find a non-chicken recipe soon!

Recipe Source:  Cooking Light October 2012

Chicken with Honey Beer Sauce Serves: 4 Calories: 245 Prep Time to Table: 20 minutes
Recipe : Cooking Light

2 teaspoons Olive oil
 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
 1/2 cup beer
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
 1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (opt)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute or until translucent. Combine beer and next 3 ingredients (through honey) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beer mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Return chicken to pan; turn to coat with sauce. Sprinkle evenly with parsley (opt).


Monday, October 29, 2012

Diaper "Cake"

Today's "recipe" is a diaper cake.   A friend of mine asked me to make this for her daughter-in-law's shower and I was happy to give it a try.  I've seen many pictures but wasn't sure how to get started but found this site and it was very helpful - the only difference is I added a big bottle of baby powder as a base and put the diapers around that as I made the layers.  My friend provided the items she wanted as the "frosting."  I think it turned out pretty cute and the mom-to-be liked it a lot!

The shower was really fun and there were some cute decorations.  Boy or girl? - the new parents are waiting for the big day to find out.... the day after I found out I dreamt it was a girl... whatever it will be, I know there are very excited parents, grandparents and great-grandparents waiting for that day next February.  And I'll be ready to call my friend GRANDMA SUE!

This was a really cute idea - small fish bowls with blue marbles and bath toys!  Really darling.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Time for a fall dessert!  I've been admiring these mini cheesecakes that seem to be the rage on Pinterest and tonight seemed a good a night as any to give them a try.  Most of the recipes are similar with a ginger snap base but I found at Target a gingerbread cheesecake sandwich cookie that I substituted that worked quite nice!  They are a seasonal product so I think I'll go back and stock up on a few more....

I also needed a mini cheesecake pan and luckily I have a friend who was willing to let me borrow hers (thanks Cara and I'll be bringing you some treats!)  This pan makes 12 mini cakes with removable bottoms**.

I topped mine with a Pumpkin Spice Hersey Kiss.  I've seen others with whipped topping.  I would like either or both!  

I don't know where to give credit because this recipe was on several sites all claiming to be their own but this where I saw it first (click here for link)  The only different is I poured some nice, ooey, gooey caramel sauce on top... that really kicked it up a notch and The Fisherman loves caramel.

**I will be ordering one of these pans from Amazon for my very own...though it would make a nice Christmas gift but I don't think I can wait that long!

If you are visiting from This Gal Cooks today, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
So tonight I was preparing dinner and The Fisherman walked in... his nose picked up on one of his favorites - sausage and peppers (because I knew I had to have some meat with this meal!).  Then he walked over to see what else I was making and he took a look at my magazine and said "Oh, you are making a kids' meal."  I'm like, no, but then I read the BIG letters that said Fun Cooking, Kids' Meal - don't know how I missed that!  But regardless of how it was marketed, we both loved this dish - he had it as a side and I had it as a main course.

Recipe Source:  Food Network Magazine October 2012

I liked it because 1)  it was super easy and 2) the sauce had just the right amount of pumpkin and grated fresh nutmeg (I really suggest getting some of these - mine came from Penzey's Spices).  It's a dish away from the norm but one you'll probably make several times.  Enjoy!

Tortellini with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce Serves: 4 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 30 minutes
Recipe : Food Network Magazine Oct 2012

• Kosher salt
• 2 9-ounce packages cheese tortellini
 • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
 • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
 • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
• Freshly ground pepper
 • Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

 Preparation: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Divide among bowls and top with more cheese and parsley.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Chicken in Lemon Sauce

Since we are back from vacation, it is time to get serious about getting back in the kitchen.  I pulled out some cookbooks, food magazines and lurked around Pinterest to get some new recipes to try.  This recipe caught my eye due to my favorite flavor - lemons.  To me, lemons just have a fresh flavor and I love the little tartness they provide. This was also interesting because the lemons are roasted before adding to the sauce - that was a new way to prepare them for me and quite tasty!

I served this dish with a side of rice but the next time I think it would work well over angel hair pasta.  The sauce would be delicious with that and along with the baby bellas and artichokes, would make a complete meal.   

Recipe Source:  Adapted from For the Love of Cooking

PS - it you aren't a fan of artichokes, they could be left out but I would definitely keep the shrooms!

Chicken In Lemon Sauce Serves: 4 Calories: NA Prep Time to Table: 40 minutes
Recipe : adapted “For the Love of Cooking”

 • 4 -4 oz. chicken breasts pounded thin
• 1/4 cup flour
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
• 1 shallot diced • 2 cups chicken broth
 • 1 can of artichoke hearts (not marinated), drained
 • 2 lemons
• 2 tsp butter
• Cooking spray
• 1 tsp dried parsley

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Zest one half of a lemon and set aside for juicing later. Slice into thin rings the remaining lemons and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges start to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Heat a skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown then add the shallots and sautee for a one minute. Remove from skillet and set aside.
3. Dredge the chicken in flour. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil (and a coating of cooking spray) then add the chicken breasts and cook for 3 minutes before turning over. Remove from skillet. Add chicken broth, parsley, lemon slices, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, lemon juice (from reserved 1/2 lemon), lemon zest, and butter. Bring to a boil and simmer about 7 minutes until reduced some and slightly thickens; add chicken in and simmer one additional minute. This is great served over pasta.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Taste of NYC & Touring Last Day

Well, it was our last day in NYC and it was jammed packed full... we woke up at 5 and took a cab to the Today show - I think we could have slept in a big more- not a big crowd this day - must have been the rain plus summer is over.  The show started at 7 and about 45 minutes later Matt and Savannah came out for a bit.  Most of the crowd were physicians assistants and they had gotten the primo spot!

After their segment, Matt made a bee-line in but Savannah came around and talked to people - I was able to shake her hand and yes, she is tall!

Since my goal was to get on TV, I told John we would need to go back sometime!

On the way back to our hotel, we wandered by the Good Morning America show and spotted George Stephanopoulos

Later in the day we ate lunch at Famous Ray's - who knows if this is the real one - I think they are 100 Ray's pizzas places in the town!!

John liked his pizza, it was extra greasy!

After lunch we headed over to the Ed Sullivan Theater to pick up our Letterman tickets

What a great show - we saw Selma Hayek, Nick Offerman and KISS...   Our seats were in the 4th row right by the Paul Schaffer band.  They were awesome and what you don't see on TV is they play full songs between takes... really great to listen too.

We had Tivo'ed the show and found ourselves during a sweep of the crowd (under the star).

Next up was a stop to the Soup Man (called Soup Nazi for all you Seinfeld fans) .  We both had the lobster bisque - so "Yes, soup for us!"  It was delicious!

We did a little more walking around to work up an appetite and then had our last meal Guy Fieri's American Kitchen and Bar.  We had tried to get in the night before but he was having a private party

Good meal!

Hope you have enjoyed seeing our "Pop Culture" tour of NYC... next time we would visit some Museums and see Ellis Island... just so much to do and 3 full days wasn't enough time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beef Barley Soup

This past Sunday was our first day back from vacation and I was craving a comfort type meal.  Something not too fancy but simple and tasty.  We had been dining out for ten days - which was great - but needed to get back to some basics.  Plus the weather was cooler and a soup recipe just seemed to fit the bill.

I've made this soup before but changed up the recipe some and really like how this version turned out.  The simple part is after browning the meat, the remaining ingredients (minus the barley) gets added to the pot and simmers for 50 minutes.  The barley (quick style) goes in for the last 10 minutes.  Just need to stir it a couple times while it cooks - so also no fuss!

Recipe Source:  Semi-original

So, what do you crave after coming back from a vacation?  Do you wish you were still eating out?  Do you have a favorite home-style meal that you prepare?  Or do you feel like eating nothing and detoxing??  I was in between a homey meal and detoxing!

Beef Barley Soup Version2 Serves: 8 Calories: N.A. Prep Time to Table: 90 minutes

- 2 lbs. beef stew meat; 1” cubes
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 6 cups water
 -2 cups beef broth
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 shallot diced
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes (juice too)
- 3 Tbl tomato paste
- 1 cube beef bouillion
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp salt - ¼ tsp pepper
- 4 ounces red wine
 - 1 cup quick-cooking barley

1. In dutch oven or soup pot, brown meat in oil and cook until most liquid evaporates on medium-high heat (about 15 minutes); add shallot about 5 minutes before
 2. Add water, celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, seasonings and wine.
3. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
4. Stir in barley and simmer an additional 15 minutes


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Taste of NYC & Touring Part 2

On the 2nd day of our NYC trip, we took a subway from uptown to the 9/11 Memorial.  It was sad...that is all I can say about it...seeing everyone's name and the loss of innocent lives.

Our next stop was a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge... quite impressive

From there we walked over to Chinatown.  It was interested to see what the shops were selling... especially the fish market.

These are Lychee nuts

Literally around the corner from one of the streets was the entrance to Little Italy.  We felt at home!

We wandering around for bit and then stopped in a local pub for some pizza...

 We also wanted some dessert and found a cute bakery with lots of yummy treats!  We each got a flight of 3...

Would have liked to try some gelato but a bit full...

And then later we found this cart full of cannolis...don't they look delicious!

Fun to see the Italian shops

We took the subway back to our hotel and later went to the play.  Loved it! Very energetic actors and great music...

Afterwards we tried to eat at Guy Fieri's new restaurant but it was closed for a private event - but we did see his car parked out front so we know he was there!

One more day to go and I'll post about that later in the week!