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Monday, August 8, 2011

I'M BACK! And With a Growing Garden!

I have been very busy the last few months...and although I have been cooking I have not had the time or the energy to post any of the recipes on here. A lot has happened since my last post. I got my first job at Aurora HealthCare, St. Lukes Hospital in Milwaukee. I am working on a specialized Angioplasty floor. I really enjoy the job...although it is night shift, and that has taken a lot to get used to. Once summer is over and we don't take a mini-vacation EVERY weekend I am sure it will be a lot easier to get the right amount of sleep I need to work the night shift!

Between my shifts at the hospital, my mini-weekend getaways, and my day sleeping I have some how found the time to work on my first garden!! It might be a small one, but it is a start. I rent the bottom half of a duplex from my cousin and since the yard is not very large and also not mine, I had to figure out how to make move-able garden boxes. Evan was a big help during this project. He made me these amazing garden boxes.

Evan made these boxes back in May. I stained them and placed chicken wire around them so the many bunnies that we have would stay out! I was able to plant herbs in one box and veggies in another box. In the herb box I planted Cilantro, Basil, Parsley, and Rosemary. In the Veggie box I planted Roma tomatoes, Banana Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, and Belle peppers.

Roma Tomatoes

Banana Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers


Rosemary and Parsley

Someday I hope that my garden is big enough that I could make whole salads out of it. For right now these little boxes will have to do!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stuffed Baby Peppers

Evan and I went to this amazing grocery store, Woodmans! This place has the best deals and their produce lasts a long time, which I love!!! I found these mini peppers in the produce section and I just had to buy them. I had seen Giada make stuffed mini peppers a long time ago on one of her shows so I thought I would do that! Let me tell you this recipe was so easy and these peppers are incredible!!!!

Stuffed Mini Peppers
by Giada De Laurentiis

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 (2 to 3-inch long) sweet baby peppers
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Using a paring knife, cut 1/2-inch from the stem-end of the peppers. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the ricotta mixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm Still Alive!

I have not posted anything for some time now...but I have been cooking! I have a few recipes to fill you in on and I hope you enjoy all of them!

The first recipe I want to tell you about is an Asian Chicken Wrap. I made this for my mom a few weeks ago for lunch. It was difficult to pick something to make for her...she is kind of picky with her food choices. But I came across this recipe in Ellie Krieger's cook book. The best part about this wrap was that I had almost everything on hand...except for the Napa cabbage leaves.

Asian Chicken Wrap
by Ellie Krieger

Ingredients for the sauce:
3 tablespoons plain Greek-style nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Thai-style chili sauce (I used Sriracha)

Ingredients for the wrap:
6 Napa cabbage leaves (remove center ribs)
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup cooked chicken breast
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

- To make the sauce combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. The sauce will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- To make the wrap place 2 cabbage leaves on the tortilla, then layer with half the chicken and half the sliced peppers. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Top with an additional cabbage leaf. Fold over one side and roll up. Ready to serve!
- I also added watermelon on the side as an extra treat :)

This next recipe I made because of my love for Buddy Valastro. My cousin Kim sent me a recipe for Buddy's "Perfect Pot Roast." I have an amazing pot roast recipe but I thought I would try this one to change it up a bit. I did alter his recipe a tad. For those of you who don't boyfriend is a hunter. Which means my freezer is filled all year long with venison. I am not a big fan of the venison meat, although I do love the stuff he gets made into beef jerky. When I got this pot roast recipe I thought it was a good opportunity to use up some of the venison that is taking over my life. Like I said I don't like venison, so I did not taste the meat, I picked around it and ate everything else. But Evan said it was amazing and can't wait for me to make it again. "Woooohoooo" to finding some way to get rid of that meat in my freezer :)

Perfect Pot Roast
by Buddy Valastro (Kitchen Boss)

2-3 pounds boneless chuck roast (or venison)
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4 in cubes
4 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 large stalk of celery cut into 1 inch chunks
1 bunch tender carrots peeled and halved widthwise and then lengthwise
2 cups dry red Italian wine (I used Chianti)
1 cup unsalted chicken stock, beef stock, or water (I used beef stock for the extra flavor)
1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
A pinch of sugar
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 spring rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper
Neutral Oil
Egg noddles to serve with roast (I used mashed potatoes because that is what I had in the house)

- Ahead of time, salt the roast on all sides, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Bring meat to room temperature before proceeding.
- Preheat oven to 300. In a 6 quart lidded braising vessel, heat pot to medium-high. Swirl a couple of tablespoons of neutral oil in the pan and heat until shimmering. Sear the beef on all sides, turning with tongs until well-browned on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.
- Add the pancetta, onion, celery and garlic cloves with a pinch of salt and saute until vegetables soften. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, some grindings of pepper and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of the pot into the sauce. Simmer high for a couple of minutes until liquid reduces almost by half. Snuggle the meat back into the pot with the rosemary and parsley, the liquid should come at least halfway up the sides of the roast, add more if needed. Bring to a boil, put the lid on the pot and place in the oven to roast for one hour.
  1. After one hour, turn the meat over and replace the lid. Continue to roast another hour. At the two hour mark, turn the roast again and add the carrots, submerging in the pot liquid. Cover and roast an additional 30 to 45 minutes. The roast is done when it is fork tender.
  2. Remove the meat and carrots to a platter. Return pot to the burner and on high, stirring, reduce until pot liquid reduces to desired consistency. Check seasoning. Stir in fresh parsley.
  3. Serve roast sliced with pot gravy and carrots.

    The last recipe for my "catch up" post is my favorite of all. I can't wait to make it again. It is Ellie Krieger's Asian Noodle Bowl. I was so excited about this recipe because I love Asian food, but whenever I order Chinese food I always have the worst stomach pains after, so when I saw this recipe I was pumped, especially because it was with Soba Noodles instead of rice. Ellie Krieger has become one of my favorite chefs because of her healthy alternatives. She definitely proves that healthy food doesn't need to be flavor-less!

    Asian Noodle Bowl
    by Ellie Krieger

    8 ounces Soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), sliced. 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
    1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I used shrimp because I had it on hand)
    1 15-ounce can baby corn, drained (I had a hard time finding these but they were located in the Asian foods section of the store.
    1/2 pound broccoli florets (about 3 cups)
    1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
    1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    - Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles or pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
    - Heat the canola oil in a wok or very large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and ginger and cook stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Add the baby corn, broccoli, mushrooms, pepper slices, broth, and soy sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender and the peppers are crisp and tender, 5-6 minutes. Add the noodles and sesame oil and toss to combine. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup of scallions.

    Hope you try some of these new recipes...I promise I won't wait another month to make a post!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Pickle Making!

    Normally one would think that the middle of winter is not the time to make pickles....but I went to this new grocery store here in Milwaukee and they had such a good deal on pickles that I just couldn't help myself! Evan and I eat pickles like it is nobodies business. Evans Grandma Dorothy and my Grandma Issie used to make pickles all the time. My Grandma Issie passed away a long time ago and I haven't had one of her pickles in a long time, but Evans Grandma Dorothy passed away about 5 years ago and we are still eating her pickles!! She made so many it is unbelievable. Both recipes are delicious...but totally different.

    I started pickling last summer and because Evan and I love pickles so much we ran out a few weeks ago, so this was the perfect chance to restock :) - One thing that was better this time around was that I had all the right equipment. Let me tell you, having all the right tools makes it much easier.

    I can't give away the family pickle recipe but there are many books out there with recipes and if you love pickles as much as we do then I encourage you to make a batch!

    Here are some pictures from my "mini pickle adventure."

    These are the pickle spears waiting to be put in their jars.

    The jars are first filled with garlic and dill.

    My new canner (thanks Evan!)

    Jars cooling and sealing

    Finished product.

    Now we just have to wait at least a month to try them! This part is hard for me...ask anyone who knows me, I am the most impatient person EVER!! But when we do try them I will let you know how they taste :)

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Penne Alla Vodka

    This past weekend Evan and I were being pretty lazy people! Saturday night we stayed in and I decided to make Penne Alla Vodka, which I love but I haven't made in a long time. I found this recipe about four years ago when I lived with my roommate Maj. We would always go to Noodles & Co. and get the Penne Rosa. We loved it!! Then I came across this recipe and it seemed like it would be pretty similar. I made the recipe exactly how it said the first time, but slowly I started changing it around and it has definitely become one of my favorites! I hope you enjoy it as much as Evan and I do!

    Penne Alla Vodka
    by Lindsey


    1 (46 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
    1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup vodka (I have made it with and without the vodka and it is delicious either way!)
    Salt and Pepper
    Red pepper flakes (more if you like spice and less if you don't)
    1 pound penne (I use whole wheat rice pasta, but any kind will work)
    1/2 cup heavy cream (I know this makes is less healthy but it makes the sauce amazing!)
    Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
    1 cup spinach
    1 container mushrooms sliced thin
    Feta cheese (or your favorite kind of cheese)

    Bring a large pot of water to boil.

    In a large frying pan (with taller sides) heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Don't burn garlic, only cook till it turns a golden color. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return to heat and reduce by half. Add both cans of tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Simmer for a few minutes. Add spinach and mushrooms. Simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

    Salt boiling water and add the pasta and cook till al dente, 10-12 min. Drain well and add to sauce.

    Add cream and stir over medium heat until you feel that all the pasta is coated in sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add parsley and feta right before serving.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Pot Pie And A New Twist On Rice Crispy Treats!!!!

    Today started off pretty boring...Evan is sick (as usual) and it was snowing and slippery outside so I didn't really want to go anywhere. I started looking up recipes and decided I wanted to make a Chicken Pot Pie. I have never made one from scratch before so I was searching Food Network for some good ideas. I started looking at Ian Garten's recipes because I remembered seeing a show she did and her pot pie looked delicious! I was reading over her recipe and it seemed really fattening. I am sure it would have been amazing but since I have been trying to eat healthy it didn't seem like a good option. So I landed on Ellie Krieger, who I love! She makes such tasty but healthy recipes! I found a recipe for Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie. The best thing about the recipe is that most of the ingredients I already had, plus it didn't have any heavy cream and only 3 tablespoons butter. Here is the recipe but I don't have a picture....I totally forgot to take one! Sorry :(

    Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie
    by Ellie Krieger

    Ingredients For Filling:

    3/4 teaspoon salt
    cooking spray
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    4 teaspoons olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 cups low fat milk
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup peas, thawed if frozen
    1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

    Ingredients for Biscuit:

    1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    1/2 cup low fat buttermilk


    To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large shallow casserole dish, or 6 individual casserole dishes with cooking spray.

    Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken with its juices to a bowl. .

    Add 2 more teaspoons of oil to the same pan and heat it over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the green beans, garlic and remaining salt and pepper and cook for 2 minute more. Add the milk. Stir the flour into the broth until it is completely dissolved and add to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes more. Return the chicken with its juices back to the pan. Add the peas and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish or individual dishes.

    To make the crust: Put the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse about 12 times, or until pebble sized pieces are formed.

    Add the buttermilk then oil to the food processor and pulse until just moistened. Do not over mix. Drop the batter in 6 mounds on top of the chicken mixture (1 mound on each individual dish, if using) spreading the batter out slightly. Bake until filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
    • Nutritional analysis per serving
    • Calories 400
    • Total Fat 17 g
    • (Sat Fat 5.7 g, Mono Fat 7.7 g, Poly Fat 2.7 g)
    • Protein 31 g
    • Carb 31 g
    • Fiber 5 g
    • Cholesterol 82 mg
    • Sodium 600 mg
    I loved this recipe except that next time I think I would add more fresh herbs. It could have used a little more kick on the flavor.

    I invited my cousin Nicki and her boyfriend Andy down for dinner (since they live upstairs!). They really enjoyed the meal....I walked into the kitchen and Andy was practically licking the last bits out of the dish!

    Andy also brought dessert with him! He made Rice Crispy Treats...a classic! But he added some Almond extract to them....I highly recommend this. They were amazing!!!

    Hope you all had a good weekend. I am hoping this week brings good news so keep your fingers crossed everyone :)

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Catching Up!!

    Unfortunately I do not have a recipe today! It has been very busy these past couple of weeks and I really haven't cooked anything! But I do have some fun things to share. One of the more exciting things is that I got a call from a local hospital for an interview!! I was so excited when they called, not only because it was A JOB but also because it was for the Postpartum Unit!! If you know me then you know how much I love babies and this job is my dream job! I had the interview last week and I am just waiting to hear back. Fingers crossed!!

    For Christmas my Aunt Jodi bought our whole family (cousins, aunt, uncles, boyfriends, and grandpa) tickets to see "Tony and Tina's Wedding." So over the weekend we got to go! If you have never heard about this show it is an interactive wedding show about a big Italian family. We fit right in! :) - It was such a fun night of dancing, eating, and laughing! Here are some pictures.
    This was the wedding party
    This girl was an actor who was suppose to be "the slut" of the show...Poppy just had to dance with her!

    Jodi and Evan gettin' down!

    Poppy and I

    This was the "gay" actor and Pete sure liked him!

    The show was amazing! But let me tell you it wasn't as amazing as when the PACKERS WON THE SUPERBOWL!!!!! It was such a great win and I feel like they deserved it so much!
    This was the final score!! GO PACK GO!!!

    My Valentines!!
    Evan and I really don't get each other presents for Valentines Day, we usually plan on a night to go to my favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot. So since Evan and I planned to go to dinner this weekend I didn't expect to get anything yesterday. I decided on my way home I was going to stop at Culver's and get Evan a pint of cookies n' cream ice me if you know Evan you know this is the way to his heart! I thought I was being all secretive and to my surprise I came home to a beautiful bouquet of flowers! I was shocked and very excited! But then I noticed a box on the table from ProFlowers that hadn't been opened....and my mom got me flowers also!! I had two great Valentines and I love them both!!!