I’ve been trying very hard lately to stay on a food budget and a good part of that is taking the time to plan my meals. Most of this is so that I don’t just waste tons of money on eating out and I make the best use of the food that I buy. This week is Italian themed. That is, however, a very loose theme.
I made a broccoli salad with dried cranberries, sun flower seeds, onion and bacon tossed in homemade mayo. The mayo did not turn out quite as expected. I think I added the oil into the blender a little too quickly so the emulsification did not quite take.
Then I made a summer pasta salad with bell pepper, tomato, onion, and roasted broccoli tossed in an Italian vinaigrette.
Lastly, I made a creamy tossed pasta with peas and asparagus and some more bacon. The sauce was an experiment that I am happy to say, turned out pretty damn well. So let’s get rolling with recipes!
I got the broccoli salad from here. I followed the recipe pretty exactly. The mayo, however, came from here. Take your time very carefully pouring the oil into the blender. I have learned from this, don’t rush it! What I got tasted just like mayonnaise but did not quite have the right consistency. It was a little watery and prone to separating.
The Summer Pasta Salad was a great success. I replaced the mushrooms with a second bell pepper and the Roma tomatoes with grape tomatoes cut in halves. Super tasty, even when I left off all the garnish.
My creamy pasta toss was loosely based on this recipe. I did not have any creme fraiche or heavy cream to make a good thick cream sauce so I thought a good deal about how to proceed. I thought well, something like mayo is creamy like what I am looking for, so I based the sauce on I made on that idea and the idea for Cesar dressing.
Creamy Pasta Sauce 2 egg yolks 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1-2 cups olive oil salt and pepper
Place the yolks, lemon juice and salt and pepper into the blender and process for about 30 second or so until the mixture starts to thicken. Then slowly add the olive oil into the blender in a thin stream. The whole mixture will thicken up into a very creamy consistency.
I boiled the pasta (medium shells) and strained them. Then I cut the asparagus into bite sized pieces, tossing all but the tips into boiling water. Next I tossed in a bag of fresh frozen peas. Just before this mixture was tender I tossed the tips into the mix. Finally I strained the veggies and tossed them with the cooked pasta. I poured the creamy sauce I made over this and stirred in some crisply cooked bacon pieces.
Next time, you’ll see a recipe for Parmesan herb snack mix and lemon pepper chicken tenders with roasted potatoes.
Creamy pasta toss, broccoli salad, and parmesean herb snack mix.
So I’ve been out of the food blog game for…. well months and months. A lot has happened in that time. We celebrated the new year, a couple birthdays and a few more holidays. This post has nothing to do with all of the special occasions but is a recipe for just a nice and tasty weeknight meal.
Pasta in a white wine garlic sauce served with Kielbasa and oven roasted Parmesan green beans. What a mouthful! It was a great meal that ended up lasting us a couple days.
2 packages of Kielbasa sausages (I wait until they go on sale and then keep them in the freezer until I am ready to use them.) 1 cup of a light white wine 2-3 cloves of garlic minced 1 box of thin spaghetti 1 lb package of green beans Olive oil salt and pepper 1-2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Trim all of your green beans into bite sized pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and your Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. You should see a little crisping around the edges and the beans are tender.
Slice your sausage into about 1/4 inch thick rounds and pan fry over medium heat until a little crispy on each side.
Meanwhile, boil your pasta according to package directions. When pasta is done, reserve one cup of the pasta water, and then strain the pasta.
Once you have cooked all of your sausage rounds, set them aside. Deglaze the pan you cooked the sausage in with your pasta water and the white wine. Add the minced garlic and stir until all the crispy bits come off the bottom of your pan. When your sauce begins to bubble turn the heat to low and add the strained pasta into the pan. Toss to coat. Add your sausage slices and your roasted green bean pieces and serve!
I am the lamest of the lame about updating something regularly, like this food blog. I have been continuing to cook up a storm and have a backlog of food photos as a result. I shall start with all of the awesome goodies that I made for gifts for the holidays.
I made hot chocolate spoons, with homemade marshmallows, three kinds of fudge, a ton of frosted orange sugar cookies, and lastly dark chocolate truffles.
These spoons were interesting to make. Mostly due to the fact that I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate, like I had wanted. I used unsweetened chocolate, adding sugar to what I had melted until it tasted like bittersweet. Then I took some of those plastic spoons that look like real silverware and covered them in the melted chocolate. Then I put them on a lined cookie sheet , added festive sprinkles and put them in the freezer to harden before individually packaging them with marshmallows!
I will continue to post more delicious holiday goodies throughout the week.
is a night of gluttony. I am going with a bunch of the other lab staff from work to Texas de Brazil. In their words, “Texas de Brazil is an authentic Brazilian-American Churrascaria (steakhouse) that combines the cuisine of Southern Brazil with the generous spirit of Texas.” My first trip to this wonderful restaurant was right after I started working with this group of people. Six months later I’m returning with them to gorge myself on gratuitous amounts of meat and the lavish salad and side bar. Many many pictures with descriptions will be taken to be posted. Be excited!
So the time for giving thanks has been upon us and for most Americans that means WAY too much food and overindulging in black Friday sales. I was right there with the food all the way, though I made a point to avoid shopping of any kind this week.
Monday found me making a nice hearty batch of chili!
This is the recipe that I used to make this chili. I did not have cumin so I just added more chili powder. It turned out delicious. My boyfriend and I devoured it within two days.
This was whipped up to take with me to “No Turkey Friday” at my cousin’s house. It was a great hit especially since I tweaked the recipe to make it a little more healthy. Instead of mayonnaise I used some Greek yogurt. I also added a splash of lemon juice to the mix and a little bit more celery. It was delicious.
Saturday found me in quite the lazy mood and craving potatoes after the pounds of venison consumed the day before at “No Turkey Friday”. I had seen some recipes for something called a hasselback potato, and potato stacks. So I did some quick slicing to produce this less of potatoes.
They got super tasty and were a hot mess of starch and flavor.
And many of you are probably going “wait… I thought that this was about thanksgiving!” and you are right! The only thing is that I didn’t cook thanksgiving dinner myself this year. My mom made dinner and of course, like an idiot, I forgot my camera. I’ll be posting the recipes for THAT meal before the new year though.
I am not a person who particularly cares for ground meat usually but I just love my mom’s meatballs. She taught me how to make them myself when I was younger and I thought that I would share that knowledge with the rest of you!
So you can see here we have a pound of ground beef, 2 slices of tasty bread, 2 eggs, some salt and pepper, garlic powder, basil, milk, and some processed bread crumbs.
First, toast the bread and put it into a food processor.
Chop them up into decently small bread crumbs.
To this you add about a quarter cup of the milk and let soak while you season your ground beef.
Mix everything together, then add the eggs, and the soaked breadcrumbs into the mix until it is all well incorporated.
Now, pinch off about a tablespoon of the mixture at a time, rolling it in the palm of your hand. From here I lightly rolled the ball in the manufactured bread crumbs.
Now, pan fry these little beasties in a little bit of olive oil.
After about 5 minutes flip them over and cook the other side.
Once they are nicely browned you can toss them into your favorite sauce and serve them with pasta. I choose some 4 cheese marinara and gnocchi.
So since money is a little tight this year I can’t afford big gifts for people for the holidays. What I can afford is to bake and send those off to friends. My current problem though is that I cannot figure out what to make and send out this year.
Can anyone share any baked goods gift ideas with me?
So I had tried to make my own potato chips to bring to a cook out at a friend’s house this weekend. They were to be served with a blue cheese sauce. They did not quite turn out well. At all. Those that I had done by hand in a pan turned out alright.
However, this turned out to be a very tedious process and they were prone to burning. I attempted to make them on a sheet pan in the oven which turned out disastrous.
I had cut the potatoes far too thin on my little mandolin and they consequently glued themselves to sheet pan as they were cooking. They were nearly impossible to get off of the pan and I had a lovely greasy pile of mess as a result.
After the chips had been glued to the pan I tried another method of putting the chips onto parchment paper on the cookie sheet in the oven. These turned out AWFUL.
Now I know to just suck it up and cook them on the stove when I want to make them myself.
Alright so I had planned on sharing a bit more about the last steps of making food for my Halloween Party. I let myself get a little scattered in the process so some things have tons of photos while others only have a couple.
First, let us talk about the garlic parmesan pull apart bread.This is a little bit longer process and something that doesn’t keep for very long if you don’t finish it that day, but that is the nature of fresh bread!
The picture above is the last stage of rising before you toss this puppy in the oven. I ended up getting a little distracted by the pie cups that will come next that it sat a little longer then it should have. Plus I tried to bake it in a toaster oven. The bread tasted great but didn’t quite get the look that I expected. I know what changes I need to make for next time.
So…. about those pie cups! The day of the party I went “oh shoot! I need to make dessert!” but I hadn’t really thought the idea through. I had some random items that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with but I think it turned out well.
First, roll out your puff pastry dough. I got 12 squares out of each sheet.
Then I made my apple pie filling. I had a bag of granny smith apples that I peeled and cut up into cubes. I tossed the apples with about a 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of sugar plus a teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a half a teaspoon or less of clove. I also added in a tablespoon of my homemade vanilla extract.
Finally, fill the little cupcake shells with the apple mixture and bake until golden.
This is the finished tray of apple pie cups. They were so good that they were all gone by the end of the night!
I know that my boyfriend asked for pumpkin pie ones so I made some of those too. I looked up recipe after recipe for pumpkin pie and all of them had something in common, requiring condensed milk, something I did not have. I took my can of pumpkin puree and make some adjustments that turned out delicious! Here is what I did: 1 can of pumpkin puree 1/2 tub of whipped cream cheese 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon all spice 1/4 teaspoon clove 1/4 cup sugar 1 egg Thoroughly blend all ingredients together in a mixer and put into the pie cups just like the apple ones. I topped these with puff pastry cut outs of pumpkins. Bake in the oven until golden like before.
Here we see some guests giving me funny looks from around the pumpkin and apple pie cups. That plate next to them on the right are the spicy pigs in blanket bites served with honey mustard made from deli mustard and local honey.
Another party goer showing his picture taking disapproval as he enjoys a beer behind the pull apart bread, served with 4 cheese marinara. The pigs in blanket bites are on the left and the spinach dip with olive oil crackers are on the right.
Please note that this is a repost from my personal blog trenidy-della.tumblr.com. Post was originally published November 6th, 2011.
So in my last food entry we saw a full menu of tasty food treats that I was planning and prepping for my Halloween party this weekend. Today I worked on the marshmallows.
They have turned out amazing. It took so much power not to just eat the marshmallow batter as I went but I have them setting out right now setting.
Soften the gelatin by adding 2 packets of powdered gelatin to 1/2 cup of cold water in a bowl.
Add 1/3 cup of light corn syrup, 1/3 cup of water, and 1 cup of sugar to a sauce pan with a candy thermometer. Dissolve all of the sugar and bring up to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the whites of 4 large eggs into your mixer.
Beat on low until eggs are frothy and ad a pinch of salt.
Bring the mixer up to high and beat the egg whites until they are nice and fluffy.
While beating slowly pour in the sugar mixture, careful to not pour it onto the beater. Once the sugar mixture has been added put the gelatin into the sauce pan using the residual heat to melt it.
Mix in the melted gelatin and 1/4 tablespoon of vanilla and beat until the mixture becomes quite stiff.
Sprinkle 1 cup of cornstarch and 1 cup of powdered sugar evenly across a pan. Dollop or spread out marshmallow mixture.
Let the marshmallows sit out uncovered for a minimum of 4 hours but preferably overnight. Here you can see I made 2 larger trays of vanilla marshmallows and one small tray of chocolate ones. So Tasty!
There is one last step that you don’t see here because I’m still waiting for my delicious little morsels to set. Once they’ve been left out for a while take them and toss them in the cornstarch/ powdered sugar mixture. That is gonna be tasty and awesome. From the menu I posted about last time these little morsels are supposed to top the grownup hot cocoa made from the chocolate syrup I made earlier this week. I can’t wait!
Please note that this is a repost from my personal blog trenidy-della.tumblr.com. This entry was originally posted on October 26th, 2011.
I have a ton of food pictures that I need to upload. I have started working on party prep for the awesome and wonderful Halloween party that is creeping up on me this weekend.
Pigs in Blanket Bites: I made a couple of changes to the recipe. I didn’t have any mustard seed to roll them in so I tossed some yellow mustard powder into the mix. I also used spicy keilbasa type sausage instead of andouille. I sliced them and popped them into the freezer to lessen my prep stress later in the week. That means that I just throw 2 trays of these puppies in the oven and bake them up fresh.
Spinach Dip and Olive Oil Crackers: I don’t have a dip recipe that I borrowed, I looked at a bunch of recipes and then made up my own. 1 package frozen spinach thawed and drained 1 package (the cardboard kind) of cream cheese 3/4 large container of Greek yogurt 1 package of fancy shredded Italian Cheese dash of red pepper flakes salt and pepper to taste Combine all ingredients except the shredded cheese, stirring throughly. The frozen spinach was a little stringy/ chunky for my taste in dip so at this point I stuck my hand blender in and gave it a good mixing. It sounded weird but looked great! Then I stirred in half of the cheese into the spinach mixture. Once combined dump this into a square baking dish. Then top with more cheese. Bake in the oven until bubbly and delicious and serve warm. For the Olive oil crackers I used this recipe with a few minor tweaks. I had to use a bit more water and olive oil because my dough wasn’t sticking together. I also rolled and cut out my crackers into fun Halloween shapes before baking.
Garlic Parmesan Pull Apart Bread: This is the only recipe that I haven’t been able to do prep for yet. I am forced to wait until Saturday morning to make this deliciously gooey looking recipe. Yay! :)
Grown-Up Hot Cocoa withHomemade Marshmallows: I made some of my own chocolate syrup to add to hot milk and some rum or other tasty alcohol to make some special hot chocolate to be topped with the homemade marshmallows. I plan on doing the dollop style when I make those this week.
Well, pictures will come as food is completed. I can’t wait. Yum!
This is a repost from trenidy-della.tumblr.com in an effort to move my food blog posts to a food specific blog and away from my personal blog. This was originally posted on October 24th, 2011.
From last time we looked at some delicious soup leftovers and I never talked about what actually went into MAKING the soup. As a result, I thought that I would take the time to expound upon the process of acquiring this:
First off, I have a habit of buying celery in an attempt to have a healthy snack in the house to eat with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log, anyone?) and then completely forgetting that I have it in the fridge. By the time I remember the celery hasn’t gone bad but it isn’t as crisp as I would like so I usually just throw it in the freezer to make stock out of later.
You wouldn’t really want to eat that would you? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But it is still good! Just pop the limp celery into a pot of salted water and boil away. I typically will boil a whole bunch of the stuff for nearly an hour to get a very flavorful broth.
The next part that went into the soup was a bunch of chopped veggies that I had made for something else. My roommate and I had made an Asian stir fry with an Asian blend of orzo pasta, my go-to blend of stir fry sauce, some tofu, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and while onion. All of the veggies I had prepped wouldn’t fit into the stir fry so those got tossed into the celery broth.
I thought about calling it a day on the soup there but I had been craving minestrone so I tossed in a box of mini pasta shells and a can of drained and rinsed cannelini beans. Add in some freshly cracked red pepper, a couple cloves of garlic, dried oregano and thyme and you have yourself a soup fit for a crowd! And it was entirely vegan until I topped the bowl with a dash of grated Parmesan cheese.
The only thing missing is a nice big piece of crusty french bread to dip into the soup.
Please note that the celery picture is not mine. Credit goes to Marga’s food blog. Click through picture for link. Thanks!
I mentioned my budget being a little stretched right now and therefor turning to my frozen stockpile of food, including a beautiful veggie soup I made. I wanted to talk a bit more about this particular soup and encourage everyone to try to buy local and support their area farmers market.
I bought all of the veggies, minus the cannelini beans and the celery from the Maitland Farmer’s Market at Lake Lilly. I have found that it is cheaper to buy from the farmer’s market, especially if you go often and build a rapport with the vendors.
So I took the soup out of the freezer, and put the ziplock bag into a soup pot and put it in the fridge to defrost slowly overnight. That didn’t quite work since none of the soup had melted at all by morning. >.<
So I removed the frozen soup from the bag and put the pot on the stove to speed up the process.
So you can see in this rather blurry photo that the soup is still solid. Woops! Once I got the soup melted down enough to put a lid on the process went quickly and soon there was a gently bubbling soup on the stove.
Mmmm look at that beautiful bounty! I dished this up into some tupperware to take to work for lunch, topping with some red pepper flakes, a dash of olive oil and a small sprinkling shredded of Parmesan cheese. Yum!
Let’s try this one again, no trying to queue stuff or the like this time.
I got quite the nice simple homemade dinner this week. I came home to almost all of my food prep to get dinner ready and one the table done for me. Yay! The only thing better for me would have been the cooked meal but this made me pretty happy.
So all my veggies were prepped so they could be steamed and then have a little butter, salt a pepper tossed on them.
After the veggies the boyfriend went to work cutting up potatoes to have oven roasted potatoes. What went on to theses was a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper.
(Can you tell that my boyfriend helped?)
Finally the defrosted chicken was addressed. The chicken breasted were seasoned with basil, parsley, lemon pepper and salt. I had a little trouble getting the chicken to cook all the way through without burning the outside so I had a solution! Make some sauce!
I took the chicken out for a moment to toss in some roughly chopped garlic with some butter. I deglazed the pan (removed the chrispy bits) with some vermouth. I put the chicken back in the pan and I let the whole mess simmer for a bit.
Then the whole wonderful thing was put together so I had this:
So, I’ve stretched myself a little thin this week waiting on various bills to happen before payday so I’m making some economical food decisions. You are probably wonder what that means. Basically, eat what I’ve already made!
I have a habit, and a good one, of cooking up a bunch of veggies from the farmers market and such right before they go bad, usually into soup, and then tossing the whole concoction into the freezer for when I’m feeling like some soup.
Right now I’ve got two awaiting the day to be eaten. The first is quite the tasty veggie treat. It has zucchini, yellow squash, onions, peppers, and carrots. It is in a homemade celery broth (boil some old celery until you get a nice flavorful broth, strain out the chunky nasty celery and discard it, keeping the awesome nectar of deliciousness), with some mini pasta shells, cannellini beans, and various herb spices. The other soup has yet to really catch my attention, the main reason being that it yearns for a nice chunk of corned beef to go with it. The second soup is a cabbage stew in a beef broth, but that is pretty much all there is to it.
My second food plan is to defrost the gyoza filling and wrappers I stashed in the freezer and assemble those up for food this week. They are a recipe that I made up as an adaptation of several other recipes that I saw in an attempt to make them more “Thai-style”. On the idea of more exotic foods I have an Amy’s Indian frozen dinner in the freezer as well. I might whip up some fresh garlic naan with ingredients already in the house and have that.
But I’ll tell you that the big veggie soup with pasta is coming out first for the week. Pictures to come. :)