Sunday, December 5, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Thanksgiving

For this week's Iron Chef Blogger Challenge, Lauren chose Thanksgiving leftovers. However, I didn't have any Thanksgiving leftovers, and it would have been weird anyway because my family chose an untraditional Thanksgiving dinner of seafood, egg rolls and assorted vegetables. But! As it turned out, I found this turkey meatball recipe with cranberry sauce that I wanted to make because I needed to review these fusion brands appetizer spoons for work (Kitchenware News & Housewares Review), and it sounded like a good recipe. The thought behind it is good, but I thought the turkey meatballs were too dry and I didn't like the cranberry sauce. Oh well. The appetizer spoons were cute.

Herbed Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce (adapted from Pink Parsley)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (I didn't use any celery since I didn't have any)
1 lb ground turkey
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg (Pink Parsley suggest subbing 1/4 cup pumpkin puree for the egg)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, minced (I used dried)
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced (I used dried)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup orange juice
1 shallot minced (I didn't have any shallots)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until softened about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl combine the celery and onion, turkey, bread crumbs, egg, oregano, poultry seasoning, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently incorporate with your hands. Form the mixture into meatballs and drop onto your cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.

Prepare the cranberry sauce while the meatballs are in the oven. Combine orange juice, shallots, cranberries, and sugar in a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the mixture begins to thicken.

Serve the meatballs with the cranberry sauce.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Pudding

The secret ingredient a couple weeks for ICBC was pudding. I don't actually like pudding, so I didn't eat any of this pie, but the Tuesday night dinner crew finished off the whole thing so I feel safe recommending it. The preparation was super easy too, which is another big plus for it. I'm going to put it on the Tuesday night dinner dessert short list. I found the recipe on FoodGawker, and it comes from chaos in the kitchen. One of the reviews of the pie was that it was pretty sweet, so you could probably take the sugar down just a notch.

Chocolate Pudding Pie (from chaos in the kitchen)
1 pie shell, prepared and baked
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
2 Tbsp butter, chopped
1 tsp vanilla

Combine milk, egg yolks, sugar, salt, flour and cocoa in a cold saucepan. Stir thoroughly to combine.
Turn heat to medium, stir constantly until thick but do not boil.
Once thick, remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla. Let mixture cool slightly and pour into baked pie shell. Chill. I served it with a spoonful of Cool Whip. Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken Pesto Sandwiches

I bought a jar of pesto last weekend, thinking it'd be good for a couple meals. I used it in the beginning of the week tossed with some pasta, chicken and portobello mushrooms. Then I used it last night after zumba to make these delicious chicken pesto sandwiches. I was going to cook the chicken in my grill pan, but was feeling lazy and concerned about how long that would take, and it was already after 8 p.m. Instead I cut the chicken up into bite-size pieces and quickly browned it in a saute pan with some olive oil. I spread some jarred pesto onto one half of a kaiser roll, some chicken on the other half, a slice of havarti cheese over the chicken and cooked it under the broiler for a few minutes, to melt the cheese and toast the bread. The havarti melted beautifully over the chicken. I then added a little sliced red onion and marinated artichoke hearts, and had a delicious chicken pesto sandwich for dinner with a side of curly fries.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I didn't know what to make for Tuesday night dinner this week so Rory suggested a broccoli cheddar soup. I love soup, so I immediately went to FoodGawker (I know, I'm so predictable) and found a recipe from Annie's Eats. Perfect! I am really loving her blog. I doubled Annie's Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe for the Tuesday night crew, and I think it came out pretty terrific. Could possibly have been a tad bit thicker (but that's my fault, as I thought I needed more broth and then didn't account for the additional broth in the roux. But the flavor was excellent. I also forgot to buy carrots, so there are no carrots in my soup. It's fine without carrots. It's definitely a keeper. I also served baked chicken with a Dijon and lime sauce and kale chips.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

ICBC Pumpkin

This is the first time probably since this Iron Chef Blogger Challenge started that I've actually cooked an ingredient during the week it was selected. Blanca, our newest Iron Chef, chose pumpkin as the secret ingredient, perfect for the season! For my secret ingredient recipe, I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blog sites, Annie's Eats. Annie makes a lot of amazing looking baked goods, and also has a lot of really accessible recipes for the type of cooking I like to do, simple, homemade stuff. Here's a link to her recipe, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

I ended up making two dozen muffins, and still had batter left over. The muffins are pretty delicious, and I love the surprise of finding the cream cheese in the center. There's a little too much clove in it, so I would probably recommend taking the clove down to a 1/2 teaspoon or 3/4 teaspoon. But the cream cheese balances the spice in the muffin nicely. And overall, I would say the effort behind the recipe isn't too bad. For a little bit of bragging, I made these muffins in the morning before I went to work.

Here's a link to La Monica's Iron Chef Blogger Challenge, Pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemons

For Tuesday night dinner last week, I found a really simple but tasty looking recipe in the October issue of Real Simple. I am a huge fan of this magazine. It always has really handy tips, excellent personal interest stories, and delicious but simple recipes. For instance, this roasted tilapia I made for dinner. This was probably one of the easiest meals I've thrown together. It all goes in the oven, and you just need to give it time to bake. I served it with some sauteed green beans and steamed broccoli and squash on the side, but you could just as easily throw together a nice green salad to serve on the side.

Roasted Tilapia with Potatoes and Lemons (from Real Simple)
1 pound red potatoes, halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 6-oz skinless tilapia filets
1/2 teaspoon of paprika

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, lemon, thyme, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Roast, tossing once, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 20 minutes.
Toss the olives with the potato mixture; nestle the fish in it. Drizzle the fish with the remaining oil and season with paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Continue to roast until the potatoes are golden brown and crisp and the fish is opaque throughout, 12 to 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ICBC: Cooking Stock

When I saw that chicken/vegetable/beef stock was the secret ingredient some weeks ago, I got very excited, because I have so been looking to make soup. I chose to combine the secret ingredient with a Tuesday night dinner meal, and served some minestrone soup for dinner a couple weeks ago. Minestrone is probably one of my favorite soups. What I particularly like about this soup is that it has a nice variety of stuff in it, and it feels like a good healthy soup. Of course I've never made minestrone, so I went to my favorite site FoodGawker, and browsed through minestrone recipes until I hit upon one that I liked the looks of.

Here's the link to the minestrone soup recipe I based my dinner off of, from Disgustingly Good.

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, except I think I quadrupled it. It was a good soup, well-liked by all my dinner attendees, and it was really nice and fresh. I think to make it healthier and heartier, I would try a more veggie-filled minestrone next time, perhaps something with kale or spinach too. Either way, a delicious soup recipe for the coming winter (as though Tucson gets that cold).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Buttermilk

Ages ago, I started this entry, and then got too lazy. Now I'm finally going to finish it. Several weeks ago, the secret ingredient was buttermilk and I decided to make drop buttermilk biscuits for a Tuesday night dinner. I found this recipe via FoodGawker, and it's a Cooks Illustrated recipe adapted by Two Peas and Their Pod. The biscuits were easy to prepare and quite delicious, especially with a little honey on top.

Drop Buttermilk Biscuits (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup cold buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps.

Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Form small balls of dough and drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12-14 minutes.

Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ice Cream Pie

This ice cream pie recipe comes courtesy of Gimme Some Oven, and I think I found it via FoodGawker. Anyway, it is the easiest dessert I've ever made, probably, and was delicious. It's a fun dessert because it's really easy to customize however you want. All you need is a half gallon of ice cream, one 9-inch graham cracker or cookie crust, and your favorite toppings (cookie crumbles, nuts, candy pieces, etc). Let the ice cream thaw just slightly, then put about a 1" inch layer of ice cream on top of your crust, add a light layer of toppings, then another layer of ice cream, then another layer of toppings. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until ready to eat. I made this Tuesday morning and served it at Tuesday night dinner. This ice cream pie was made with a graham cracker crust, French silk ice cream, fudge-striped chocolate cookie crumbles, and pecan pieces. I think this might have to be a new go-to dessert.

Tuesday Night Dinner: Roasted Chicken & Then Some

For this week's Tuesday night dinner (pita pizzas was last week, but it took me forever to upload the photo), I had my sister to pick up a store-made roasted chicken and then Whitney and I made a bunch of sides to go with it. Homemade mashed potatoes with russet potatoes, organic 2% milk, a stick of butter and some buttermilk as well as garlic powder and kosher salt, buttermilk biscuits, baked zucchini fritters, sauteed green beans tossed in soy sauce and an unfried green tomato. And that little pile of red sauce on my plate was Sriracha. Yummy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Make Your Own Pita Pizzas

For Tuesday night dinner this week, we did a make-your-own pita pizza night. It was a lot of fun, not a bad dinner for a big crowd, even if I could only make four pita pizzas at a time. I liked the interactivity of it, the way everyone could make their pizza to their own preferences. Here are some suggestions for hosting your own pita pizza night.

pitas-whole wheat or white
pizza sauce
pesto sauce
chopped broccoli
sliced bell pepppers
sliced onions
caramelized onions
black olives
Italian sausage
sun-dried tomatoes

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ICBC Tomatoes

So one of the secret ingredients recently were tomatoes, and I wanted to do something that was at least a little original. I make plenty of marinara sauce, and I can make a pico de gallo, and I can make a bruschetta, but what's something I've never done? So I of course went straight to FoodGawker and discovered fried green tomatoes. Of course! So genius. I found some green tomatoes at the Sunday St. Philips Farmer's Market last weekend, and I chose an unfried green tomatoes recipe I found via FoodGawker. I actually really liked them. We dipped them in a little ranch, and it was a fun and new side. And my sister who doesn't really like tomatoes said she liked the green ones a lot more.

Unfried Green Tomatoes
2 green tomatoes, sliced
1 cup panko crumbs
1 cup shredded Italian cheese
sprinkle of cayenne
pinch of ground black pepper
dash of salt
1 egg

Slice the tomatoes. Beat the egg. Blend cheese and panko with spices. Dip a slice of tomato into the egg, then the panko and place onto a lightly sprayed cookie sheet. After you finish all the tomato slices, spray them with an olive oil cooking spray. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. They should be crispy and lightly browned. I dipped the unfried green tomatoes in ranch dressing.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

For Tuesday night dinner, I found a recipe on The Pioneer Woman for spicy roasted chicken legs. They were delicious, easy to prep, and cooked in the oven for 30 minutes. They came together pretty quickly, actually, and I always appreciate that on a Tuesday night. It also helped when they came out delicious. I would definitely make these again. The drumstick was always my favorite part of the chicken when I was a little kid, too. They're the most fun to eat.

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs (recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
16 chicken drumsticks
stick and a half of melted butter
juice from 1-2 lemons
spices (I used cumin, chili powder, cayenne, kosher salt, oregano)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter into a bowl. Add juice from lemons to the butter. Season the butter and lemon juice mixture with your choice of seasonings. Taste to test. Mine wasn't spicy enough but it's up to you how you want to do it. I added tons of chili powder, and hints of cayenne, cumin and oregano. Rinse the chicken legs. Set up baking sheets with baking racks on top. Take tongs and dip each chicken leg into butter, lemon juice and spice mixture. Coat the chicken leg and place it on a rack. Repeat with all legs. Brush the legs with the excess butter/juice/spice mixture, and then season each leg again with your spice mix. In my instance, I just sprinkled more chili powder on top. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, if you think it needs a little additional crispiness, throw it under the broiler for an additional couple minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday Night Dinner: Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs+Veggies

This Tuesday night, I chose a really simple recipe for roasted chicken legs from The Pioneer Woman, and then made a few different veggie side dishes (plus a failed attempt at cauliflower-potato mash that's not pictured).

Spicy Roasted Chicken Legs

Iceberg Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Crispy Bacon

Steamed Broccoli and Yellow Squash

Grilled Red Bell Pepper, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Onions

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Broccoli Fettucine Alfredo

I've only made alfredo a couple times, and with each effort, I think it gets increasingly better. This alfredo sauce was pretty good, and made for a satisfying Tuesday night dinner (and leftovers). I found the recipe through FoodGawker, and the recipe itself is on A Cozy Kitchen. I added the broccoli myself. I love broccoli in my fettucine alfredo.

Broccoli Fettucine Alfredo (recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 Tbsp cream cheese
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 cups cooked fettucine
broccoli crown, chopped

Cook fettucine according to directions. Prepare a pot of boiling water for the broccoli and cook a couple minutes until desired tenderness. Set pasta and broccoli aside. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute one minute. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. The butter and flour thicken together, and then you gradually whisk in the milk until fully blended. Stir constantly and cook 8 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly. I would recommend using a whisk here to stir. Add in cream cheese and cook for 2 more minutes. Add 1 cup of the Parmesan. Toss pasta, broccoli and alfredo sauce together and top with extra Parmesan cheese.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Blackberries

A couple weeks ago the secret ingredient was blackberries. I'm actually not overly fond of blackberries; of all the berries, it's probably my least favorite. However, a couple days after learning what the secret ingredient was, The Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for blackberry cheesecake. It seemed a little like fate to me. So last weekend when I decided to go on a cooking frenzy, I decided I wanted to make the blackberry cheesecake. However, I didn't make it through everything I wanted to make for my cooking frenzy and held off on the cheesecake until Monday night so I could serve it for dessert at Tuesday night dinner. The cheesecake ended up being absolutely delicious. It's definitely a win, and the blackberry sauce looked so pretty on top. I also finally used my springform pan that I got last year from Whitney, and it was amazing. Oh my goodness. It was pretty cool just popping the cheesecake out of the springform.

Blackberry Cheesecake (adapted recipe from The Pioneer Woman)
For Crust
one box of nilla wafers
one stick of butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla

For Filling
three 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup of sour cream

For Topping
2 cups of blackberries
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp of water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place wafers into a food processor and pulse into crumbs then add melted butter and vanilla and pulse until combined. Pour into a 10-inch springform pan and press crumbs into the bottom. If it comes up on the sides a little, that's okay.

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and mix again. Pour mixture over the crust, smooth the top and bake for 1 hour, 10 minutes. Turn off oven, open oven door and allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven with the door opened for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

For the topping, add all the ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour the topping over the cheesecake and allow it to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mini Cheesecakes

I didn't actually eat one of these mini cheesecakes, but the reviews of them came back positive. I made these for the neighbors and brought it over to them the night of their housewarming party. I like individual-size desserts for parties because there's no need to slice anything, and people can just hold it in their hands and eat it. I thought these were especially cute and adorable as well as relatively easy to make. I'd make them for a party again for sure.

Mini Cheater Cheesecakes (Recipe from Delish)
18 vanilla wafers
2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners and drop a vanilla wafer in the bottom. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Fill the liners 2/3 full with cream cheese mixture. Bake for 17 minutes. Top each with fruit of choice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Puff Pastry and ICBC Goat Cheese

When puff pastry came up as the secret ingredient, I found a recipe for a caramelized onion tart on Annie's Eats that looked delicious. In case I've never mentioned it, I absolutely love caramelized onions. Then I never got around to actually using puff pastry, and goat cheese came up. And I realized I could combine two secret ingredients into one recipe. I kind of winged this one, and I'm not sure that was the best idea. The flavors were good, but the texture in the middle of my pastry was all wrong. The edges puffed beautifully, but it was too squishy in the middle. I followed Annie's instructions to bake the tart for 25 minutes...and I just realized that I had two sheets overlapping just a little on one cookie sheet and that's probably why it needed longer. Ohhhh. Haha. But anyway, caramelized onions and goat cheese tart is definitely a winning combination. The onions are nice and sweet and the cheese is just a little salty. Loved it.

How to Caramelize Onions
Slice some yellow onions. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet. Turn the stove to medium heat to let the oil heat up a little, then add the sliced onions. Let them cook over medium heat without stirring them around too much. They'll turn tender and brown a little. They should be really tender and all a beautiful golden brown color. And they'll taste delicious.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Lemon

So a long time ago someone chose lemons as the secret ingredient for Iron Chef Blogger Challenge, and I even found a recipe I wanted to make with lemons as the starring ingredient, and then I never got to it for a long time. Friday night, I finally did. It was a long week at work, and I wanted to do something fun on Friday, but couldn't figure out what that was. I'm trying to minimize the drinking this month, so instead of going out, I decided to make a feast. I got too tired and only ended up making two dishes instead of four, but it was still pretty fun. This was one of those dishes.
The pasta was pretty delicious, but tasted very strongly of lemon. I couldn't decide if it was too lemony or not, but everyone else who ate it seemed to enjoy it. And I have to say, the leftovers the next day might have been even more delicious. What is especially nice about this pasta, though, is that it makes a great summer pasta. The sauce is very light, and the vegetables make it feel so bright and fresh. I strayed from the recipe for a few ingredients, using what I had on hand instead. Below is my adapted version. The original recipe is at Dreamy Dish.

Lemon Pasta (adapted recipe from Dreamy Dish)
two boxes of whole grain bow-tie pasta
zest and juice from three lemons
several cloves of garlic
a big bag of spinach
five or six Roma tomatoes
two small broccoli crowns
1 pint of heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk (mostly because I ran out of cream, but I also figure this kind of lightens the recipe)
couple tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh grated Parmesan

Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic, and let the garlic cook for a minute. Add cream, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. The sauce will thicken. If it curdles, stir the mixture and it'll become smooth again.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare your pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
After the sauce thickens, keep it on medium heat and add the pasta to the sauce. Let that cook for two minutes, then add spinach, tomatoes and broccoli. Toss it all together. I like my spinach slightly wilted, which is what I aimed for here. Pour it into a serving bowl and top with fresh grated Parmesan.
Serves about 10.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip M&M Blondies

For the dessert at the bridal shower, I decided to make something really super simple. I'm really just not a dessert kind of gal, and the simpler the dessert, the better in my opinion. So I made these delicious chocolate chip M&M blondies and served them with some mint chocolate chip ice cream. Not fancy by any means, and I probably could have selected something that would have matched the rest of the menu a little better, but in my opinion, the blondies were still delicious.

Chocolate Chip M&M Blondies (recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup mini M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
Whisk flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. Add in the egg and stir. Next, stir in the vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and M&Ms. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 23-25 minutes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

For Suzie's bridal shower, I made this Greek orzo pasta salad, a recipe I found through my beloved FoodGawker. The recipe can be found at My Baking Addiction. It was a really delicious, light pasta salad, a perfect lunch and summer salad.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad (adapted from My Baking Addiction)]
For the Pasta Salad
one box of orzo
cucumber, diced
four Roma tomatoes, diced
one diced red onion
one diced red bell pepper
one diced green bell pepper
one package of crumbled reduced fat feta

For the dressing (these measurements are all to start, I actually ended up adding a little more dressing because it looked a little dry)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1 heaping tsp of Dijon mustard
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper

Boil orzo according to package directions. Combine vegetables, feta and orzo. In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients for dressing and mix well. Pour over pasta salad mixture and chill for at least an hour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bridal Shower Menu

I hosted a bridal shower today for my friend Suzie who is getting married next month. As with most parties, it was delightful to me to have the opportunity to plan a menu. I decided to choose something simple, that would look nice but be easy to prepare. I chose to create an antipasti platter, roasted garlic hummus, Greek orzo pasta salad, and a fruit platter. There were M&M and chocolate chip blondies with ice cream for dessert. I was going to make the hummus myself but got too lazy. Oh well. I did make the pasta salad and the blondies.

The antipasti platter consisted of Genoa salami, hard salami, Wisconsin provolone, white cheddar, pepperoni, antipasti olives, roasted red peppers and marinated artichokes.

Look for coming entries with recipes for the pasta salad and the blondies.

Tuesday Night Dinner Enchiladas

My sister requested enchiladas for dinner this week, so I made a pan of black bean and cheese enchiladas and a pan of my chicken and sour cream enchiladas. The black bean and cheese just used regular shredded Mexican cheese, two cans of black bans, and almost a whole large can of enchilada sauce. The sour cream and chicken enchiladas follows my original recipe, but I've modified it a little by seasoning boiled and shredded chicken breasts with cumin, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper. I also added some sliced white mushrooms this time, which Scott said added a nice earthiness to the flavor. I served the enchiladas with a basic tossed salad and corn.

Spinach with Crispy Garlic Chips

I was looking for a side dish recently for dinner and stumbled across this recipe on The Pioneer Woman. My sister and I both like spinach well enough, and we love garlic so it seemed like a quick, simple option. Spinach isn't really my favorite lettuce, but it's so good for you.

one bag of spinach per two people
four or five cloves of sliced garlic
olive oil

Slice your garlic cloves thinly. Throw the sliced garlic into a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil, then turn the stove on. PW teaches that if you let the oil and the garlic heat up together, your garlic is less likely to burn. Stir lightly and let the garlic brown. After garlic browns, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a paper towel-lined plate. With your stove on medium-low, add the spinach and let it wilt in the oil and heat. Stir gently and season with salt and pepper. Remove to plate and top with garlic chips.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner: Baked Pasta

For the Tuesday night dinner before I went to Denver, I made a baked penne in a mushroom and Italian sausage marinara and topped with shredded cheese. There was also salad and garlic bread, as always. The marinara was amazing, and Scott put this dinner in his Top 10 favorite dinners. I took the time to make the marinara the night before, letting it simmer for an hour and a half and then sit in the fridge all day Tuesday. This is probably what made the sauce that much better, giving the flavors the time to truly meld together. I don't really remember what I did exactly and I never measure my marinara anymore. Crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, plenty of minced garlic, salt, pepper, a few pinches of white sugar, maybe a hint of crushed red pepper flakes. I do love a good red sauce.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Eggs

I chose eggs as my Iron Chef Blogger Challenge ingredient a few weeks ago with dreams of making fancy baked eggs in individual-sized dishes. Search baked eggs on FoodGawker and you'll know what I'm talking about. Then I started realizing that I'm a little lazy most days when I get home from work, and I saw this recipe for Egg Salad on Simply Recipes, and I'm pretty fond of egg salad, so that's what I made for ICBC Eggs instead. One day I'll get to those baked eggs.

Carrie's Egg Salad (adapted from Simply Recipes)
three hard-boiled eggs
curry powder, to taste
diced celery, to taste
light mayo, to taste

Hard boil the eggs, dice them, and combine with celery, mayo and curry powder to taste.

Tip: Once, ages ago, I found the trick to perfect hard-boiled eggs on another food blog. If I could find it for you, I would. But you take room temperature eggs, cover them with water in a pot, bring to boiling, turn off the heat, cover the pot and eggs, and let sit for exactly 12 minutes. Take them out and place in cold water to cool down until you can peel them. Perfect, hard-boiled eggs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Spinach

Once upon a time, I tried to make spinach and feta turnovers-basically, spanakopita. It worked alright that time, but I had a hell of a time trying not to tear my phyllo dough. I tried again for ICBC Spinach and ran into the same problem. My turnovers were also a little bland this time, probably due to my constant issue of underseasoning food. But if you're a fan of spanakopita and you want to make life harder on yourself, this is the way to do it.

Spinach and Feta Turnovers
(Recipe from Pinch My Salt)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 package frozen spinach, drained and squeezed dry
4 ounces crumbled feta
1 egg, slightly beaten
dash of fresh-grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
20 sheets phyllo dough
1/2 cup of butter, melted

In a small skillet, saute onion in butter over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, cook for 30 more seconds and remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, feta, egg, onion and garlic, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Stir until well combined.
Remove one sheet of phyllo from stack (cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth to keep from drying out) and lay it on a work surface. Brush entire sheet with a thin layer of melted butter. Place another sheet on top, brush with butter and repeat two more times (you will have four sheets stacked with a layer of butter on the top sheet). Cut this stack in half lenghwise with a knife.
You now have two long rectangles of phyllo in front of you. Place about 2 Tablespoonfuls of filling on the bottom right side of one of the rectangles. Fold the bottom left corner up and over the filling so that the bottom edge is now even with the right side. Continue folding up and over until you end up with a triangle. Brush triangle with melted butter and place on a baking sheet.
Repeat this procedure with the other phyllo rectangle.
Repeat steps again using the rest of the dough.
Bake in preheated oven, 375 degrees, for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Yields: 10 turnovers (in theory)

Becky: ICBC Spinach

Spinach-Stuffed Pork Roast

-1 (2-2 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
-1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
-1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

-Cut tenderloin horizontally lengthwise about 1/2-inch (1.2 cm) from top to within 3/4-inch (1.8 cm) of opposite end and open flat.
-Turn pork to cut other side, from inside edge to outer edge, and open flat. If one side is thicker that the other side, cover with plastic wrap and pound until both sides are 3/4-inch (1.8 cm) thick.
-Squeeze spinach between paper towels to completely remove excess moisture.
-Combine spinach, breadcrumbs and cheese in bowl and mix well.
-Spread mixture on inside surfaces of pork and press down. Roll pork and tie with kitchen twine.
-Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides.
-Place in oval slow cooker and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 4 to 6.

I picked this recipe out from this little book that I got from Borders called 365 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes. This was a new experience for me because I had never cooked pork tenderloin before. Usually I only stick to pork chops when it comes to pork, with the exception of cooking a pot roast one day. I had heard though that pork tenderloin is very healthy and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.
My only complaint with this recipe was that even with the kitchen twine, it was still difficult to keep the spinach stuffing in the tenderloin. Also, I replaced the canola oil with coconut oil instead. I had heard that canola oil is pretty much a marketing scam, so now I usually stick to olive oil and coconut oil. All in all, I'd have to say that the recipe was pretty good! As usual, my crockpot cooked the meat so that it was perfectly tender. The stuffing was pretty tasty too. It did have a very strong, robust flavor to it. I do think though that I'll only cook pork tenderloins on occasion though since it was rather expensive. I think it was worth it though! And it did last awhile too...I had leftovers for the next couple of days.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Becky: ICBC Anchovies

This recipe was prepared at the launch of Measure Up – the Government’s latest initiative in the fight against obesity – by Lucio Galleto and Logan Campbell of Lucio's Italian Restaurant.


500g Orecchiette pasta
1/2 head broccoli
120 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
5 anchovy fillets
2 red hot chili finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan (optional)


Prepare the broccoli by removing the flowerets, and discarding any larger woody part of the stems, slice the remaining stems thinly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, blanch the broccoli flowerets and stems for about 4 minutes, then drain with a slotted spoon and plunge into ice cold water, drain again and set aside.

Throw the orecchiette into the still boiling water and cook for one minute less than the stated cooking time on the packet.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan on a low heat. Add the garlic, chili and anchovies, sauté for 3 minutes being very careful not to burn the garlic, then add the broccoli, mixing delicately with a wooden spoon, season to taste. Drain the pasta and add to the pan, reserving a little of the cooking liquid.

Stir well to coat the pasta, adding a little of the pasta cooking water to make a creamy sauce.

Serve immediately – parmesan may be grated on top if preferred.

I found this recipe online at As usual, I did make a change to the recipe...I used elbow macaroni instead of the orechiette, figuring that it wouldn't make much of a difference. I already had some elbow macaroni left over from making mac and cheese for my daughter, and I thought it could come into use for this recipe.

I actually really enjoyed this recipe! I remember for a long time I was pretty turned off by the idea of anchovies. When my older sister was in high school she used to work at a Pizza Hut, and she always used to tell me how much she hated it when customers ordered anchovies on their pizzas because she thought they were gross and slimy. But of course this was way back when I was a picky eater. Now, as an adult, I'll try pretty much anything. I can see what she meant...they were a little slimy to handle being packed in olive oil, but to me they were just another type of fish. They added a very strong, distinctive taste to the pasta that I actually really enjoyed...kind of a salty, garlicky taste. What surprised me was that my 19-month-old daughter actually liked it! Of course she didn't eat any of the chili pepper pieces, but she loved the pasta and the broccoli...Not sure how she'll feel when she'd older though and I tell her that I fed her anchovies when she was a baby! Haha. Definitely a good recipe though!

Becky: ICBC Strawberries

Strawberry Tiramisu

-3/4 lb. (1 1/2 cups) Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
-3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, divided
-1/1/2 cups heavy cream
-1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup orange juice
24 sponge ladyfingers

In medium bowl, whisk Mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the orange liqueur until well blended. In large chilled bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form; gently fold whipped cream into Mascarpone misture until blended. In blender or food processor, blend together remaining liqueur, strawberries, sugar, and orange juice to a smooth puree. Pour strawberry mixture into shallow bowl.
Dip 12 ladyfingers in strawberry mixture to coat; arrange in a 9-inch square glass dish, side-by-side, in 2 rows touching. Spread 1/2 of the strawberry mixture evenly over rows. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixure on top. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers; arrange over cream layer. Spread with remaining strawberry mixture. Spread with remaining cream, smoothing top with spatula. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
To serve, cut into 9 squares. Place on dessert plates and dust each with cocoa powder; top with a sliced fanned strawberry.

Since this was my week to pick an ingredient, I decided to go a little all-out. This recipe was taken from the Best of the Best from Colorado Cookbook, by Gwen Mckee and Barbara Moseley. All in all, this recipe was a little pricey. For instance, the Mascarpone cheese, orange liqueur and the ladyfingers were all over $5, plus I had to go to a specialty Italian market to get the ladyfingers, but it was all well-worth it in the end because it was AMAZING, and it looked beautiful when it was all ensembled.
I did cut the recipe in half though, because I figured that if I didn't it would be way too much for me, my husband and daughter to eat and that too much of it would go to waste. If there was a party that we were going to, however, I would definitely make this to bring along. I also goofed up a little in making this. I realized too late, after I had already ensembled the whole thing, that I had forgotten to add the granulated sugar to the strawberry mixture. I was afraid that it wouldn't taste as good, but I really don't think it made that much of a difference because the whipped cream was already very sweet. Or if it did, it was still delicious. It tasted a lot like the strawberry shortcakes that my mom used to make when I was a kid. All in all, I definitely recommend this recipe to serve at a party if you want to go to a little bit of extra effort in getting all the ingredients. Putting it all together was very easy though. In my cookbook, it noted that this recipe should get rave reviews from guests, and I can definitely see (and taste) why!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes


For the cake:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

For the frosting:
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. whipping cream
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. Oreo cookie crumbs

For garnish:
24 Oreo cookie halves

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

To prepare the frosting, in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cookie crumbs with a spatula.

Scoop the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe frosting decoratively on top of the cupcakes. Garnish with Oreo cookie halves.


Really. There are no words.

Oh. Except I made my own buttermilk. And it is not for the faint of heart.

Recipe from here.

Carne Asada

Carne Asada

2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed (best to lightly toast the seeds first, then grind them)
1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Additionally (and missing from the original recipe) 2 Corona beers


1 Lay the flank steak in a large non-reactive bowl or baking dish. Combine marinade ingredients and pour the marinade over the steak. Pour in a beer (take a few sips for ourself). Make sure each piece is well coated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight at least.

2 Preheat your grill over medium-high flame (you can also use a cast iron grill pan on high heat for stove-top cooking). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Remove the steak from the marinade. If you are cooking indoors, you may want to brush off excess marinade as the bits may burn and smoke on the hot pan. Season both sides of the steak pieces with salt and pepper. Pour on the 2nd beer throughout the cooking process. Grill the pieces for a few minutes only, on each side, depending on how thin they are, until medium rare to well done, to your preference. You may need to work in batches. Remove the steak pieces to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.


Ok, so when I first looked at this recipe I was like "What the what?". EVERYONE that grew up even knowing what Carne Asada was knows that you have to cook it with Corona. Who wrote this recipe out? Someone from Boston? Come on.

Seriously though, it makes a huge difference when you add the beer. It makes the steak taste like it is supposed to; Arizona Summers, backyard BBQs and... well... mexican food. Hah.

I didn't brush of ANY of the cilantro or marinade when I put the steak on the grill and it made it taste, and smell, awesome. While cooking be sure to keep the hood of the grill down so that the meat stays moist. ALSO be sure to cut it THIN across the diagonal (that picture up there... the slices are too thick!). Otherwise, your just eating pieces of steak.

Recipe found here.

Pioneer Woman Red Velvet Cake

For a BBQ Brandon and I had... in May.... I made Pioneer Woman's Red Velvet Cake. I know that the usual me would transcribe the recipe for you all, but I'm not home (working from an office space YAY!) and thus... can't.

Just buy the cookbook, you won't regret it.


I've been living in Denver for a while now... and I haven't let the "Mile High" get me down. I've thought "I don't need high altitude directions! I'M A BAKER! Get out of my face with your extra flour and water!".

Consider me schooled. This cake sunk. HARD. I pulled it out of the oven at 10pm and it was completely concave. And the BBQ was the next day. And I MAY have freaked out for a minute.

Oh Sarah Michelle, how do you fix a problem like this? You pick yourself up by your bootstraps and let gravity do it's job. That's right. I just flipped the cakes over and let them set so that the big gap was on the bottom. Don't judge me. Nobody knew.

I also made the icing on the cakes, which was SUPER fun. Make icing. Do it.

A friend of mine said that the cake was a little salty-er than normal, but he said that he didn't mind it. Neither did I. I had a piece for breakfast EVERY MORNING the next week.

Bikini what?

Also. Doesn't this piece of cake look like a SHARK! YES, yes it does.

ICBC- Anchovies

Green Goddess Dressing

So, do you know what happens when you don't blog about what you cook right away?

You lose the recipe. You can't find it online. And you're only sure of what was in your dish by the color.


Doesn't matter anyway. Everyone thought it was runny guacamole anyway...

I think it was avocado, sour cream, anchovy paste, water, something something....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Black Beans

I'm several weeks behind in ICBC, and it's been a combination of laziness and cheapness. But a few weeks ago, I chose black beans as my ingredient. It's a pantry staple for me, and I thought it'd be interesting to see what people came up with. Sarah Michelle made Black Bean Brownies and Becky made a Turkey Chili with Black Beans. Michele also prepared a chili recipe.

So for black beans, I decided to make a black bean and corn salsa. I was hosting a smaller dinner on Friday night, and I thought a salsa would help tide us over until dinnertime. Measurements of spices are inaccurate since it's all been by taste. In the end, I think it was a pretty good salsa. I would definitely make it again.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
one can of black beans
about 3/4 of a package of frozen corn, thawed
three tomatoes
two small cloves of garlic
jalapeno, to taste
1/4 of a red onion
1/4 of a bunch of cilantro
juice from half of a lime

Combine ingredients and stir together. Add salt, cumin, jalapeno, cilantro and lime to taste.

Tuesday Night Dinner: Beef and Broccoli

I was really stumped this week as to what to make for dinner, so of course, I took my usual route of browsing food blogs for recipes and dinner ideas. When I search for Tuesday night dinner ideas, I tend to look for fast and easy recipes, party recipes, or budget recipes. I made my way to Steamy Kitchen, a beautiful site by a food blogger who actually just released a cookbook recently. She had the most delicious looking picture of beef and Chinese broccoli with noodles that I just couldn't get out of my head, so I knew I had to make that for dinner. I also thought it'd be a good choice because we rarely eat beef at Tuesday night dinners. It was the best decision. I've discovered a recipe that I could probably pretty easily slip into a regular rotation, and it was just so so delicious. At least, that's what I thought, and I think most everyone else agreed.

Broccoli Beef noodle stir fry (adapted from Steamy Kitchen)
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced (Jaden recommends beef sirloin)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons dry white wine, sake, or Shaoxing wine (I used white wine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch (I used corn starch)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound fresh or 10 oz dried noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 pound Chinese broccoli or common broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks or florets (I used Chinese broccoli that I did not bother cutting)
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and wine. Add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Stir in corn starch until smooth. Add sesame oil and beef and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare noodles. You can use any kind of noodles here, just prepare according to package directions, but don't quite cook them all the way so you can finish cooking them in the saute pan at the end.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and stir fry garlic until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry until tender, just a couple minutes. When you cook the beef, you should cook the slices in a single layer in your pan so it cooks evenly and creates caramelized bits. When the meat is finished, transfer it to a plate and add a little more oil to the pan. Add the broccoli and toss it so it's coated with oil. Pour in a 1/4 cup of the stock, turn the heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes and transfer to the same plate as the meat.

This is where I strayed from Jaden's recipe just a little. I tossed my noodles in the saute pan, added oyster, soy sauce, and chicken stock to taste, and tossed it around a little to flavor it and finish the cooking process. I chose to serve the noodles separate from the beef and broccoli so people could have an option of noodles or rice.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Perfect Picnic Sandwiches

My favorite sandwich at my favorite Tucson sandwich place is the Bart's Bag at Beyond Bread. It's Brie, turkey, red onion, lettuce, and tomato with honey mustard and mayo on a baguette. I get it almost every time I go to Beyond Bread and have been faithfully eating this same sandwich for years. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to see the outdoor movie in the park and I made us sandwiches and pasta salad and brought strawberries. This is my homemade version of an adapted Bart's Bag and it was amazing. Perfect picnic sandwich.

Perfect Picnic Sandwich
red onion
honey mustard

Slice the baguette in half and spread mayo on one side, honey mustard on the other side. Place turkey, then brie, then spinach, tomato and red onion. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner

A Tuesday night dinner collage

Salad of spinach, broccoli slaw mix, shredded carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

homemade garlic bread

Spaghetti noodles tossed with garlic, diced tomatoes, and zucchini.

Baked tilapia with lemon and dill

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Garlic

For Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Garlic, I settled on this Garlicky Baked Shrimp recipe I found on Gimme Some Oven. The recipe is originally from Real Simple. It was delicious. Outstandingly delicious. I couldn't sing the praises of this recipe enough. And it was so easy.

shrimp, peeled and deveined
white wine
panko bread crumbs
melted butter
minced garlic

Peel and devein the shrimp. Toss with minced garlic and a couple tablespoons of white wine. Melt butter in a small bowl and then mix in panko bread crumbs. Put shrimp in single layer on a baked dish and spread panko bread crumbs on top. Bake in a 425 degree oven until shrimp is cooked through, roughly 12-15 minutes. If desired, broil the last couple minutes to crisp the bread crumbs on top a little more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Eggplant

I was pretty excited to receive my e-mail from Sarah Michelle and find out that the secret ingredient is eggplant. It's a vegetable that receives a lot of love in this house, so I was also excited to see what else I could do with it. I stumbled across this Real Simple recipe for Eggplant Lasagna with Herbed Ricotta and Asiago, and I adapted it for my own time and budget purposes.

3 medium eggplants, sliced into thin discs
olive oil
3 eggs
3 cups of ricotta
dried basil and oregano
salt and pepper
two cans of crushed tomatoes
two cans of tomato sauce
shredded mozzarella

Prepare marinara sauce. Dump crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce into large pot, season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. (You could sub out the basil and oregano for an Italian seasonings spice mix too.) Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the eggplants.

Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. Dehydrate them on cookie sheets by sprinkling with salt, washing off the salt, and patting them dry with a clean cloth.

Prepare cheese filling by mixing ricotta with eggs and seasonings.

Place some marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking pan, then eggplant, then ricotta, and repeat. Top it off with shredded mozzarella. (This recipe requires two baking pans. I used a 13x9 and an 8x8.) Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

Becky: ICBC Black Beans

Swanson Turkey, Black Bean and Corn Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness™ or Certified Organic)
1 cup Pace® Thick & Chunky Salsa
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper and garlic powder. Cook until the turkey is well browned, stirring often.
Stir the broth, salsa, sugar, beans and corn in the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

This was a recipe that I came across online on Ironically though, even though this was a Swanson chicken broth recipe, I did not use Swanson chicken broth. Instead, I used some chicken bouillon granules that I had on hand and dissolved them in water to make my own broth, since I'm cheap and didn't want to spend extra money lol. I also used this hot habanero salsa I had in my fridge instead of the Pace kind. Also, since I've been trying to lose some excess weight, I used Stevia instead of the sugar, which is an artificial sweetener that is supposed to actually be good for you, unlike aspartame or any of the other unhealthy artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas.

This recipe turned out to be really good! Even my husband liked it, which really surprised me since he typically doesn't like turkey. The only thing was that I could tell that it had artificial sugar in it. Stevia is really sweet, and I could definitely taste the sweetness in the chili. Regular sugar you probably wouldn't notice as much, so unless you're watching your diet, I say use regular sugar instead. I also liked the hot habanero salsa because it gave the chili a nice kick :) Plus, this was really easy to make, and quick too!