Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm so glad I found this out...

So I have a new favorite pizza place.. The other night after the gym I went to Whole Foods to get a salad for dinner. I had never really paid attention to the other food stations besides the hot food bar and the salad bar, but I noticed they had pizza. I decided to get a slice and was very pleasantly surprised. The pizza is a thin crust pizza with big slices (kind of NY style) which I love and it was amazing. The best part is that you can get an entire pizza for less than $10. I have to admit this shocked me because everything else at Whole Foods is usually so expensive, so it was very exciting for me to discover the one reasonably priced thing in the store. Also, the pizza was cheaper than any other pizza place around (that has decent pizza) and was very high quality. I definitely recommend checking it out! Have a happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Missing fast food

Given today is Ash Wednesday, thus the beginning of Lent and I have decided to give up fast food for Lent, I thought I'd post some of my favorite lunches that are quick, easy and delicious. Now don't get me wrong, sometimes I just need Wendy's for lunch but for the next 40 days I'm not going to give into that craving and am going to have to get very creative with my lunch choices.. Here's one of my favorites:

Hearty Greek Style Salad:
1 bag mixed greens (the prewashed kind)
2-3 carrots chopped
1 red onion chopped
1 small can sliced black olives drained
1 bell pepper chopped
1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
Crumbled feta cheese
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In a large bowl add the lettuce, vegetables, chickpeas and cheese. In another bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, salt, oregano and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. (Or go ahead and pack your salad and put the dressing in another plastic container and add to the salad when you want to eat it)


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oven fried chicken and a laser pointer

So the bf spent quite possibly the best $5 of his life today when he invested in a laser pointer to harass the cat with. Little did we know that the dog would be more entertained by the little beam of red light. We've already spent way to much time watching the dog and the cat run around the living room chasing it.. The funniest thing I've ever seen in my life.

All of the harassment aside, I decided to make a proper dinner last night. Since my dinners usually consist of some sort of one pot wonder, I decided to make something for dinner last night that used more than 2 pots. I originally wanted to bake a chicken, but didn't feel like going to the supermarket so I decided to make oven fried chicken instead, which is served with mac and cheese and green beans. Here are the recipes:

Oven fried chicken:
1 lb package of chicken (whatever kind you want, I used boneless skinless chicken breast)
1 cup skim milk + 1 cup skim milk
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 cup flour
1 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons pepper
2 teaspoons + 2 teaspoons + 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon of the following:
Emeril's Essence
Granulated Garlic
1/4 cup cooking oil (whatever kind you've got will do)

Mix 1 tablespoon of pepper, essence, sage garlic plus 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons salt with 1 cup of the skim milk. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for a couple of hours.

Preheat oven to 400. In a shallow bowl, add the flour 1 tablespoon of pepper, essence, sage, garlic plus 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix. In another shallow bowl, add the bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon of the pepper, essence, sage and garlic, plus 1 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well. In another shallow bowl add 1 cup of the skim milk.

Place the bowls in the following order: Flour, Milk, Bread crumbs. Remove the chicken from the milk mixture. Place in the flour bowl. Coat well and shake off excess. Place in the milk bowl. Coat well. The place in the bread crumbs bowl. Coat well and Shake off excess. Place in a baking dish filled with the cooking oil. Bake for 30 to 45 min or until done turning once.

Green Beans:
1 large can green beans (I like the Italian cut)
2-3 potatoes sliced
1/2 onion chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2-3 slices of bacon chopped OR 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Add all ingredients to a medium pot or dutch oven. Cook over med. low heat for 45 min or until the rest of dinner is prepared.

Mac and Cheese: note this recipe was previously posted in Jan. but this version is smaller.
1/2 box of short cut pasta
2 cans evaporated milk
2 cups cheese
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 handful fresh thyme finely chopped
2 teaspoons Emeril's Essence
Bread Crumbs
Parmesan cheese

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, heat a large dutch oven over med. low heat and add the oilive oil. Add the garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour. Stir well and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water.

Add the milk, stirring constantly. Allow to thicken slightly and add the spices. Add the cheese stirring constantly until the cheese melts. Once the cheese has melted add the pasta. Top with the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with some oilve oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


I love pizza. It's one of my favorite foods both to eat out and make at home. I also love that I can get all kinds of pizza dough at the supermarket, which makes my life a lot easier. I also love the pre-made pizza crusts available at the supermarket as well. Here are some of my favorite homemade pizza creations:

White Pizza (always a classic)
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning or fresh basil
1 onion thinly sliced
1 to 1.5 cups shredded cheese (either Italian Blend or Mozzarella)
pre-made pizza crust or premade pizza dough

Bake the pizza crust according to package directions. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with the Italian seasoning and garlic. Add the cheese. Add the onions.

Bake at 350 until the cheese has melted.

Spicy Asian Style Grilled Chicken Pizza
1 package thin-sliced chicken breast
2 tablespoons steak seasoning
pre-made pizza dough or crust
2-3 tablespoons spicy chili sauce (enough to cover the pizza dough, this is like the tomato sauce)
1/2 bell pepper sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup green onions chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 to 1.5 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Cook pizza crust according to package directions. Season chicken with steak seasoning and grill on tabletop grill.

Once the pizza crust has finished baking (or has at least partially baked) add the chili sauce. Slice the grileld chicken. Add the cheese and top with the chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms, sprouts, green onions and parsley.

Bake until the cheese is melted!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As promised..

Here's one of my favorite one pot dishes. Its a great use up for leftover cheese, pasta, vegetables, etc. It's like a complete meal in one pot and is ready in less than 45 minutes. I call it pot o'crap

2 cups cheese (anything you've got on hand, i used leftover ricotta and it was awesome)
1lb chicken (cooked or uncooked, doesn't matter)
3 slices of bacon (if you've got some on hand)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 carrots chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 can evaporated milk plus some regular milk if necessary
leftover vegetables (fresh, frozen, cooked, whatever you've got) chopped
1/2lb to 1lb pasta (whatever you've got)
1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 handful of fresh herbs finely chopped (whatever you've got on hand)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Breadcrumbs (if you've got some)

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large dutch oven cook the bacon. Add some additional olive oil or butter to the pot and add the garlic, onions, and carrots until soft. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, reduce heat to med. low and add the milk. Add the spices and cheese and allow to thicken.

Add the pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being done add the vegetables and allow them to steam in the pasta water. Drain. Add the vegetables and pasta to the cheese mixture. Top the pasta mixture with the bread crumbs and additional cheese if you'd like. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly on top.


A bit of a confession

So I must admit, sometimes I seriously eat like a 5 year old/frat boy. I never met a buffet I didn't like and actually was extremely excited that my Valentine's Day dinner consisted of an extra large pizza from my favorite pizza place.

That said, I must also admit that I'm still obsessed with cup-o-noodles. With a fridge full of fantastic leftover risotto, last night for dinner I chose to eat a cup of instant lunch. Which isn't surprising considering that I'm still on a student's budget, I mean cup-o-noodles is $0.25 of amazing!

Anyway, I just wanted to confess my love of cup-o-noodles, look for a dinner recipe post later tonight!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A special dinner for an interesting day

Since it was so pretty outside today, the bf and I decided to take the dog Paddington to the dog park. Since he got me such a nice Valentine's Day present I decided to make him his favorite, mushroom risotto for dinner, meaning that we needed to stop at the supermarket on the way home from our favorite dog park.

Now, I usually try to focus my posts only on food, BUT today was so interesting that I absolutely have to post about it (followed by the risotto and steak recipe of course). So I was sitting at the dog park minding my own business, reading some Partnership taxation watching Paddy play when I hear people starting to shout. I thinking that some dogs have gotten into a fight or something so I call Paddy over to me and put her on her leash. I also see the bf start running to the crowd of people and dogs that had assembled. Of course, I wasn't having any of that, but I was curious so Paddy and I walk closer to the crowd and see that its not two dogs fighting but that its actually two middle age men fighting. These men did not want to be broken up and were beginning to shout at those who were trying to break up the fight. Since the incident did not appear to be breaking up anytime soon, I decided to call the police and was told that the incident had already been reported. Turns out, the aggressor and the other dude's dog had gotten into a fight and the aggressor threw the other dog. The other dude's daughter told the aggressor to not throw her dog and the aggressor pushed her (apparently she was 15). The other dude's son then hit the aggressor who kicked the other dude's wife in the chest. The other dude then attempted to subdue the aggressor. So, apparently the aggressor then tried to escape on foot (and was able to do so) and the police came and the incident cleared up.

So after such an exciting day at the dog park, the bf and I were starving and I made steak and mushroom risotto. I have to thank for help with the risotto recipe, but I tweaked it to make it cheaper and to make it more steak friendly.

Horseradish Crusted Steak
1 package steak (any kind you want, I used petite sirloin b/c it was on sale)
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the mayo, bread crumbs, horseradish, pepper, salt and cheese in a bowl. Season the steak with some additional salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet heat some olive oil over med. high heat on the stove top. Place the steaks in the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes per side. Top each steak with the horseradish mixture. Place in the oven and back for 10 - 12 minutes or longer depending on how well done you like your steak.

Remove from oven and allow to rest before serving.

Mushroom Risotto (thanks Food Network)
2 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup red wine
6-8 cups beef stock (warmed)
1 onion minced
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 lb mushrooms (any kind you like) sliced
2 bay leaves
handful of parsely chopped
hanful of thyme finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a large skillet or dutch oven saute the onions and garlic in some olive oil. Once softened add the mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have browned. Add all of the herbs and spices. Cook for a minute more. Add the rice and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the wine and allow to cook for another minute.

At this point begin adding the warmed stock one cup at a time. Allow the rice to absorb all of the liquid before adding more. Keep adding stock until the rice will no longer absorb any more liquid. Then add the butter and parmesan cheese.

Enjoy and I hope your day was less exciting than mine!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My favorite garlic bread

So I made this with the spaghetti dinner for the rugby team. If you love garlic bread this is the recipe for you!

2 sticks of butter softened
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 loaf of sliced bread

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine the butter, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and thyme. Mix together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Spread the mixture over the bread and bake until the butter is melted and the crust is golden brown.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

And I wonder why I can't lose weight...

So the bf has talked me into cooking dinner for a good portion of the rugby team he coaches. This seemed like a great idea at the beginning of the week, until I realized that he wanted to do it Thursday night and that I had an Answer/Counterclaim due for class at 5:30 that night. Did I mention this class goes until 7:00 and they guys are coming at 8:00? Not wanting to disappoint, I decided to make a classic -- Spaghetti Bolognese, but the quick and easy way. Never fear, I've got a crockpot and a break between classes! Since my sauce is cooked in the crock pot I must warn that this is not one that you want to substitute the high fat ingredients with lower fat ones because the sauce just won't taste right, so warning, this is not something you want to make if you're trying to watch your weight..

1 lb ground meat (I use a mixture of ground beef and sausage)
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots finely chopped
2 stalks celery finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 slices bacon (or pancetta, but I couldn't find any last night)
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 small cans tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 to 1 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 lb. spaghetti noodles

Chop up the bacon. In a large skillet (or the insert of your crock pot) cook the bacon until crispy. Add the ground meat and cook till brown. Drain pretty well but leave a bit of the bacon grease in the pan. Transfer to the crock pot (or just stick the insert in the crock pot). Add the carrots, onion, and celery. Add the tomato paste and sauce. Combine well. Add the wine. Combine. Add the spices. At this point the sauce should look like a really thick hot dog chili.

Add the heavy cream and the cheese. Stir the contents of the crock pot well. Place the lid on the crock pot and turn the heat onto low. Allow to cook over low heat for 6 to 8 hours, giving it a good stir whenever you have a chance.

Cook the noodles right before you are ready to serve and top with additional cheese.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Because my 10:00 a.m. class is being held at 8:00 a.m. today

Because it's early and I'm in class, I thought I'd post one of my all time favorite breakfast recipes. This is a recipe for French Toast (I haven't made it in forever mostly because the bf doesn't like it and this recipe makes a whole lot of French Toast)

4-6 slices of bread (any kind you like, but cinnamon raisin bread is awesome)
4-6 eggs (or however many you have)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg, cloves or whatever sweet spices you have on hand
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons butter
powdered sugar (for topping)
maple syrup, fresh fruit, jam, whipped cream, fruit syrup, (for topping, or any other topping you may want)

Melt the butter over medium low heat in a nonstick skillet. In a shallow baking dish or bowl whisk the eggs and milk. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and whatever other spices you like.

Dip the bread lightly on each side in the egg mixture (don't leave the bread in the mixture too long or it will soak up too much of the mixture). Place the bread in the skillet and cook unitl golden brown.

Keep warm in an oven at 250 if you'd like. Dust the toast with powdered sugar before serving with maple syrup or fruit and whipped cream.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Quick and Easy

Again in my attempt to avoid reading for Partnership Taxation, I've decided to post one of my most favorite recipes ever. My mom used to make this for me when I was younger and I never realized how easy it was until tonight. Exhausted after a full day of class and then a 1 hour and 20 minute spinning and yoga class, I decided to make dinner for my bf as promised. He wanted stir fry and I wanted to get in and out of the supermarket so I decided to attempt to make Green Pepper Steak. I knew that my mom used the recipe from her Quick and Thrifty Cooking cookbook so I adapted that to my more modern tastes. Here's the recipe:

1/2 to 1 lb of stir fry beef (most supermarkets have this in the prepackaged section, it's already sliced so all you have to do is put it in the pan)
2 green bell peppers sliced
1 onion chopped
1 package of mushrooms sliced
4 cloves of garlic finely minced
6 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons pepper
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine (or red wine)
Instant Rice (enough for 4 servings)

Heat a large wok (or a large skillet) over med. high heat. Toss the beef in 3 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Add oil to the wok and then add the beef. While the beef cooks combine the rest of the cornstarch, the wine, the soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, worchestershire sauce, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix very well and set aside.

Once the beef has browned add the vegetables to the skillet starting with the garlic. Once the onions are garlic have softened add the wine mixture. Reduce heat to medium and allow the sauce to thicken, stirring constantly.

Prepare the rice according to package directions. Serve the beef over the rice and enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

One of my favorites

Since I am trying to put off my partnership taxation homework as long as possible (seriously I am beginning to loathe the term "capital accounts" and section 704 of the IRS code) I have decided to post one of my all time favorite things to make - Fettuccine Alfredo, but the thrifty girl way..

1 lb chicken breast tenders
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon salt + 2 teaspoons salt + 1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper + 1 tablespoon pepper
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon Emeril's essence
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 to 1 cup milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 lb fettucdine noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 tablespoons flour

First you need to marinade the chicken. The marinade consists of the granulated garlic, Italian dressing, sage, steak seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 2 teaspoons of the pepper. Combine these ingredients in a gallon size food storage bag and add the chicken. Place in the fridge until ready to cook.

Preheat a tabletop grill or the outdoor grill. Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. In a large dutch oven or a large nonstick skillet saute the garlic in the butter and olive oil. When done add the flour to the mixture and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn heat down to medium low. Add the milk and evaporated milk. Add the essence, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and the remaining pepper. Allow to thicken while stirring constantly. Once the water comes to a boil add the remaining salt and the noodles. Cook about 10 minutes or until your desired level of doneness

Place the chicken on the grill and allow to cook as you finish the sauce. While the chicken cooks, add the cheese a little at a time to the sauce stirring constantly.

Once the noodles are done cooking, drain and add to the sauce mixture. Once the chicken has cooked slice and either mix in with the noodle sauce mixture or top individual servings with the sliced chicken.

Top with additional cheese and serve.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Because I love leftovers!

I know that a lot of my recent posts have involved black beans, mostly because I've been in kind of a Southwestern food kick. Well I found a great way to use up the bean dip in my last post. Its kind of like a Mexican pizza and I was very happy with how it came out, the recipe follows:

Leftover Black Bean Dip (see my post from 02/02)
1 can of white beans drained
1 can of corn
2 servings of brown rice
Flour tortillas (allow 1-2 per person)
Shredded cheese
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Avocado or Guacamole

Preheat oven to 350. Begin to heat the leftover black bean dip. Add the corn and beans. Allow to cook so that the white beans begin to break down. Taste and adjust seasonings adding some additional chili powder, cumin, and granulated garlic.

Once the beans have began to break down mash them lightly with a potato masher. Allow to cook some more while preparing the rice. Prepare the rice (enough for 2 servings) according to pacakage directions.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the tortillas. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until the tortillas are crispy, turning once. (Keep an eye on these because they bake really fast).

Once the rice has finished cooking and the beans are nice and hot, place one of the tortillas on a plate and begin assembling the pizzas. First place some rice on the tortilla. Top this with the bean mixture. Add some cheese. Add the salsa and avocado or guacamole.

If desired top with some sour cream, black olives and chopped onions.


Monday, February 2, 2009

I feel like I'm going to become the bean girl.

I know I've posted a lot about black beans lately, but in the spirit of the Superbowl I decided to post the bean dip recipe that I took to yesterday's Superbowl Party:

Black Bean Dip -- this is great its a black bean and cheese dip!

2 cans black beans drained
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilis
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Emeril's Essence
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cheese Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk (any kind will do)
1/2 to 1 cup of cheese (any kind will do)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil and saute the onions and garlic. Add the tomatoes and cook. Add the beans and reduce heat. Cover and let cook for a bit while you are preparing the cheese sauce.

In a small saucepan melt the butter. Add the flour and allow to cook for about a minute. Add the milk and mix well with a wisk. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Take a potato masher and mash up the bean mixture a bit. Stir and mash again. Add the cheese sauce. Turn the heat down to low and allow to cook for a minute or two.

At this point I like to transfer the bean and cheese mixture to a baking dish (because it looks nicer when you serve it). Top with some additional cheese and bake for 10-20 minutes (really you just want the cheese melted).

Allow to sit for a minute and serve with tortilla chips.

As a side note you can substitute kidney beans for the black beans, omit the cheese sauce and substitute the chili powder for curry powder and add 1 tablespoon of seasme oil for an Asian style bean dip thats really good with warm pita bread or pita chips!