Sweet Cooking

Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

Those were the days….

In Baby food, Just Good Food, Miscellaneous on October 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I took a little blog trip back in time to see what I was cooking last fall. Wow. We ate well back then. Wow.

Apple Pie

Vegetable Soup

Pumpkin Bread

Halloween Bark

Now, it’s a struggle to get dinner on the table. I must admit we’re eating pretty simple these days. Think roasted chicken, steamed broccoli and rice. Pork tenderloin, quinoa and a salad. It’s not bad food, it’s just not that interesting. Not blog worthy. I’m going to have to get organized if I want to spice things up. I need to make weekly meal plans, shop once (okay, twice), and use the weekends to make something that I can freeze. I recently made a batch of My Dad’s Turkey Chili, and it’s been lunch all week. It’s so nice to be able to pull something out of the freezer. I really need to do more of that.

I’ve also been busy cooking for the baby. She is eating pureed fruits and vegetables now, and I’ve been making some of her food.

This is butternut squash. You halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, and roast it in a pan of shallow water until it's soft.

Then you puree it and freeze it in these little trays. It's kind of fun and really easy to make her food.

Apples. They are her favorite.

Enough baby food…I do believe that butternut squash is too often overlooked. It’s such a nice side dish. I can’t remember what I had with this, but I remember loving the squash.

Peel the squash and then cut it into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Then roast it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Stir occasionally. It will be tender (you can easily pierce it with a fork) when it's done.

My next post is going to be about the world’s largest veal chop and then I’ll be bringing you a super chocolate chip cookie and pumpkin swirl brownies!

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Asian Rice with Shrimp and Snow Peas

In Just Good Food, Miscellaneous on October 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The babe and I have been on a world tour. Four days after we came home from California, we went to Alabama. It was wonderful to see family and friends. And it was fantastic to see Auburn beat Florida! However, all the traveling has meant not much cooking.

But I did manage to bust this dish out for dinner recently.

You can find the recipe here. It’s simple and tasty. Not the most exciting dish, but if you like Asian flavors it’s worth a try. It makes great leftovers too. Have a great weekend everyone!

Healdsburg, California

In Travel, Wine on October 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

We had a wonderful time in California. Yes, the flights were long, and at times challenging. But we arrived safely and had a great time with our friends in Sonoma. We rented a house in Healdsburg and thoroughly enjoyed the town and nearby wineries.

The fam enjoying the beautiful gardens at Ferrari Carano.

The babe sporting her new Healdsburg tee.

We had some lovely wine at Bella. This winery is a perfect spot for a bottle of wine and a picnic.

We also visited Preston, Lambert Bridge and Copain while we were in town. Copain had my favorite wines, but Lambert Bridge was probably my favorite winery. They had really nice wines and a nice garden/picnic area. Plus they had two wine dogs – a yellow lab and a giant St. Bernard. I am a sucker for a winery with dogs.

Our food experiences were also really great. Nice dinners out were tough with all the kids (6 under 4 years old), but the ladies had a wonderful night at the Dry Creek Kitchen. We all ordered the tasting menu, and there was a sweet white corn soup that I just loved. Everything else was delicious too. Oh, and I just love it when a restaurant gives you a little gift at the end of the meal. Our parting gift was a little jar of pinot noir jam. So cute!

My favorite lunch was from the Dry Creek General Store. I had a BLTA. The “A” is for avocado.

I love a good general store.

I learned a few things about traveling with kids during this trip:

1. It’s worth it.

2. Be flexible.

3. 4 nights is plenty.

I’m off to Alabama tomorrow to visit family and to go to the Auburn game. The babe is racking up frequent flyer miles!

Finally a Cookie!

In Cookies on October 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I am trying not to eat too many cookies these days. I actually haven’t been baking much at all, but the babe is getting a tooth (or possibly even teeth) and I needed a little cookie pick me up. The pediatrician said that the pain associated with cutting a tooth is equivalent to an adult breaking a bone. First of all, that sounds horrible, but second of all, how could that possibly be known? It’s not like a 6 month old can tell you how much pain they are in. I broke down and gave her some Tylenol today. The homeopathic teething tablets just weren’t cutting it. Then she ate some bananas and I had a cookie. We all felt better.

Start with a bag of Guittard chocolate chips.

I purchased this bag because it said “extra dark chocolate” on it. They weren’t kidding, but I really like the intensity of this chocolate. I followed the recipe for “Double Dark Chocolate Cookies” on the back of the bag.

I followed the recipe exactly.

Delicious!

Fresh out of the oven, the cookies taste like a molten chocolate cake. You know those little cakes that are cookie-ish on the outside and ooze with warm chocolate on the inside? I LOVE those cakes. I would eat one right this second if someone would make it, bring it to me and then clean my dish afterwards.

In other news, the babe, Dan and I are going to Healdsburg, CA later this week. We are absolutely insane, and I don’t know why I ever agreed to this trip. The babe is going to cry for the whole flight and wake up at 4AM every morning. If I survive, I’ll post a new blog entry next week.

Panko Crusted Salmon

In Just Good Food on September 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm

The meatballs are done. Now we’re back to more crusted food. One of my friends recommended this recipe to me. It’s from Ina Garten, and she is basically flawless. All of her recipes seem to turn out great. This one is no exception.

Start by making the panko crust.

Coat the salmon with a little dijon and then rub the crust on. When I'm doing crusted food, I always really make sure the crust is adhering well. Really press it on there.

Cook and serve with a green salad or vegetables of your choice. I did a weird saute of sugar snap peas and mushrooms.

Next post will be a cookie!!!! It’s been so long, and I promise that this one is worth the wait. Have a great weekend everyone!

Meatballs Part III

In Just Good Food on September 26, 2011 at 8:58 am

That’s right. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I promise this is my last meatball related post. Read part I and II if you are just now getting on the meatball train.

Even Dan and I can’t eat all of our meatballs. And he eats like an animal. What do we do with the leftovers? Meatball subs, of course!

Start with a good loaf of Italian bread.

Warm your leftovers on the stove and then put meatballs and sauce in between two slices. Doesn't get any easier than that!

Dan likes to dip his sandwich in a little extra sauce before each bite.

As an alternate, you can do an open face sub. I ate mine this way (trying to limit my carbs).

Here are links to the recipes I use:

Meatballs – please note that I do not make giant meatballs as the recipe suggests. Although, I think that would be good too.

Sauce – This is my favorite sauce recipe to date. If you don’t have time to make sauce from scratch, I suggest using a jar of Rao’s Marinara. It’s delicious.

Enjoy!!

Meatballs Part II

In Just Good Food on September 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

As promised, I’m bringing you more meatballs! So….read part I and get caught up before moving on to this post.

To thaw your meatballs, just put them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It should be noted that you don’t need to freeze the meatballs. If you want to cook them all right away, by all means, please do. There are 2 methods to cooking meatballs:

1. Brown in pan/oven and then put them in sauce to finish cooking.

2. Skip the browning and just put them into the sauce.

I have done it both ways, and I do prefer my meatballs using method #1. However, it takes longer and requires one additional pan to be cleaned. Pre-babe I would do method #1. Post-babe I am more than content to use method #2. If I ever have another baby, we’ll just eat the meatballs raw.

This is what I call "hot tubbing". Basically, you let the meatballs "hot tub" in warm sauce until they are done. I would say about 45 minutes.

Make the pasta of your choice. I used a fresh pasta that I can't remember the name of now.

Once the meatballs are ready, toss the pasta in with the sauce and balls.

Delicious! Top with a little fresh parmesan and serve with a green salad and a loaf of Italian bread.

 

Meatballs Part I

In Just Good Food on September 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

Dan is so excited. I’m making meatballs. I think it’s his favorite dish ever. When I make meatballs, I go ahead and make a huge batch. It’s not that hard to double the recipe and they freeze really well.

Start with a combination of meats. I use 1 pound each of ground sirloin, pork and veal.

This is the recipe I use. Please note the red wine stain on the card. Always, always have a glass of red wine while making meatballs.

I used the mini prep to chop the onion, garlic and herbs. Then add that to the meat with the breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper.

Using your hands, mix everything together. It's a dirty job. Just don't think too much about it.

Then form the mixture into meatballs. This recipe, when doubled, makes about 50 meatballs. Mine were slightly smaller than golf balls.

I froze the meatballs on a cookie sheet and then transferred them into containers. I will be bringing you Meatballs Part II and Part III soon!

Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

In Fruit, Just Good Food, Miscellaneous on September 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’ve been doing a lot of “crusted” dishes lately. I really like this one! The original recipe was actually for a peanut-crusted chicken, but I had pistachios and used them instead.

I suggest using a food processor or mini-prep to finely chop the pistachios. There is also one slice of whole wheat bread in there. This literally takes less than 30 seconds.

Once that is done, simply dredge the chicken in the pistachio mixture.

Make the pineapple salsa. I didn't use a red onion in my salsa because I forgot to buy one. I hate it when that happens.

Cook the chicken and you're done! Tasty, easy and not a lot of clean-up. The perfect weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Peach Bread

In Bread, breakfast on September 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I made this bread a few weeks ago when peaches were perfectly in season.

It was really delicious. I did modify this recipe quite a bit. I am trying to lose a few LBs, so I am cutting calorie corners wherever I can. I’m not really sure switching from all purpose flour to whole wheat flour helps in the calorie department, but it does seem healthier, no? There was a ton of oil in the original recipe so I substituted some applesauce. Since applesauce is sweet, I also halved the amount of sugar in the bread. Here is my modified list of ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups diced fresh peaches
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

When you put all of that together, it looks like this.

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread. I think it turned out pretty well. It’s very cinnamony. Next time I think I would reduce the cinnamon to let the peach flavor shine a little more. I hope you have a great weekend!