Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday's Tastings - The First Installment!

I know I'm probably beginning to sound like a broken record but I am OVER you, Old Man Winter. Skedaddle. Get outta here. Be gone from my life. I'm tired of tiptoeing to my car each morning and fearing all my neighbors are about to watch me slip and fall, only to crank said car and let it run for a good 30 minutes to get it nice and toasty before I can even think of driving to work. I've done the shivering all over, use my pinkies to drive because the steering wheel is too cold deal and it is NOT for this Alabama girl, so if I lost an entire tank of gas this week letting my car run, so be it.

Anyway, as I told Mr. T last night over a bottle of Pinot Noir and the Bachelor (don't even get me started on a recap - I'll just leave it at Vienna gets a big fat Boo Hiss in my book and he is a moron if he really picks her) all this cold weather makes me want to do is cook carb-loaded food, drink coffee or wine, depending on the time of day, and curl up on the couch. And if I'm doing those three things, it would be nice if I also wanted to pay the ole YMCA a daily visit. But dare I venture out in my layers of long sleeves and sweats only to peel them off once I get to the gym for my 30-40 minutes of cardio, and then put the darn things back on and shiver back out to my now cold car? I think not. So it's either Jillian on my OnDemand or nothing at all these days. And I fear that all those lovely little pounds that were shed before the wedding will be displayed in all their full glory come swimsuit season if this frigid, Alaska-ish weather keeps up much longer.

That said, I decided I would share with you lucky people my new obsession, MyKitchenCafe. I love how she always includes photos of what it is supposed to look like, and step by step directions that are easy-breezy to follow, even for a novice like me. As the dutiful newlywed that I am, I hit it up at least once a week for yummy new recipes to try out on the Hubs. Some he loves, like the homemade Hawaiian pizza that has now become a Sunday night staple, and some he claims to love but I know better, because he doesn't go back for seconds, but either way, he doesn't spit any out. So that says something. (And yes Mr. T, if you're reading this, I know you said you would rather eat my cooking than go out to a restaurant. Which I really appreciated, even though I know you were probably lying. Love you, honey.)

So for the first installment of Tuesday's Tastings, allow me to share with you a few gems that are currently making my mouth water. Feast your eyes on these carb-tastic beauties!

A panini for lunch, perhaps? This one is Smoked Turkey, Apple and Brie. Delish!

Artisan, sourdough or french bread, cut into desired slices
Shaved or sliced smoked turkey
4 ounces Brie cheese, wax removed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices (I used a Gala apple)

Place a single layer of brie on one slice of the bread. Top with sliced turkey, then with the apples and finally with another layer of brie. Place the other slice of bread on top of the sandwich. Preheat a skillet or indoor grill pan to medium heat. Place sandwich in the pan and top with a heavy skillet or panini press (I have a cast iron panini press I use with my indoor grill pan). Grill 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through.

Creamy White Chicken Chili (for those oh-so-cold winter days when you need a variation from traditional ground chuck chili - I plan to try it tonight!)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies (if you like less kick, add just one can)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately. This is especially good served with tortilla chips. Makes about 6 servings.

Simple and Meaty Skillet Lasagna (all the taste with lots less hassle!)

3 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
Salt (I like sea salt)
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (these do not add spice - just flavor!)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef (I used 80% lean)
12 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 1 inch lengths
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (do not use fat-free)

Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a blender or food processor until they are coarsely ground and no large pieces remain (in a food processor, that is about 12 pulses).

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking apart the meat, until it is lightly browned and no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes.

Scatter the broken lasagna noodles over the meat and then pour in the ground tomatoes and tomato sauce over the pasta. Stir in the basil and oregano. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in half the mozzarella and half of the parmesan. Dot heaping tablespoons of the ricotta over the noodles, then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Cover and let stand off the heat until the cheese melts, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve.

And finally, because I'm a tried and true fan of dessert, and these might be the best things ever:

Red Velvet Balls and Oreo Truffles (click for the full recipes to both, I'm just including photos, though I guarantee the pictures are enough to send you running)

I've tried the Oreo Truffles twice, and forgive me for saying this because I know I should be humble, but they are perfection! I made a batch on Valentines Day (at Mr. T's request) and brought some to work yesterday - they were gone by lunch time!

Are you hungry yet? Thought so. And please, feel free to share your own special recipes in the comments section. Like I said, I'm always on the lookout for a yummy weeknight meal!

Bon Appetit!


  1. that panini looks amazing!!! and i actually have a panini press so i can make it, too-- mykitchencafe is one of my favs!!

  2. OMGoodness you are making my mouth WATER! Um, RED VELVET BALLS are you KIDDING me!?!? Yes please, thankyouverymuch!

  3. Ok... so the Red Velvet Balls sound AH-MAZZ-ING. AND, I'm so right there with you about The Bachelor+Vienna!!! I can't believe he let Gia go and picked her for the top two!! What is he thinking!?!?

  4. Yum-O! I've added her to my blog roll on Google Reader so I don't miss one yummy recipe!!! Elliott will thank you later for the yummies he's about to eat!


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