"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Tasty Onion Chicken - A Use for Leftover French-Fried Onion!

I never know what to do with leftover french-fried onions from my green bean casserole -- until now! This is one of the tastiest chicken meals I've found, and it's very easy to make.

Tasty Onion Chicken

Servings: 2
Total Cost: $5 - 6
Reheat Factor: Unknown. We ate it all.
Freezer Factor: Unknown. We ate it all.
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients

(4 Not in Pantry)

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Leftover french-fried onions
2 chicken breasts

1. Mix the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard together.
2. Dips the chicken in the butter mixture and then coat it with the french-fried onions.
3. Grease your baking dish with the remaining butter mix.
4. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Source: Taste of Home

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food Finds: Pizza

This week's Food Finds theme is the Italian classic, Pizza! Think outside the box with these great recipes.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Blue Cheese from Vanilla Sugar
Like the author of this recipe, I hate wings, but I love Buffalo Chicken. This recipe looks delish!

Pizza with Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Mushrooms, and Ramps from Seasonal Ontario Food 
You'll get your fill of veggies with this recipe! Great for this time of year since asparagus and mushrooms are in season.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from Two Girls Cooking
Because you can't make a pizza without good dough!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Honest Scrap Award

My first blog award! Thanks Angie from Angie's Healthy Living.


As a recipient of this prestigious honor, I have to share 10 random things about myself and then pass the award along to 10 other bloggers! Yes, it's a chain letter type thing, but it's fun and I am happy to have received it.

10 Random Things About Me

1. I have a Chihuahua mix puppy named Lady.
2. My favorite TV show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
3. I am a firm believer in the power of garlic.
4. I lived in Brazil for almost a year to learn Portuguese, my mother's native tongue.
5. I am currently reading The Magician's Elephant, even though I am partway through The Road.
6. I recently lost my copy of The Road.
7. As a kid, I was terrified of that big flying dog from Neverending Story -- and hated the movie.
8. I prefer white wine to red.
9. I am a grammar junkie.
10. My favorite fruit is raspberries.

And the Honest Scrap Awards go to...

Auggie at Auggie's Doggie Bloggie
Karen at Bright Autumn Sun
Kevin at Closet Cooking
Melissa at the Frugal Gourmom
Lazaro at Lazaro Cooks!
Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen
Laura at Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom?
Mary at One Perfect Bite
Christine at Fresh and Local Best
Aubree from Living Free

I can't wait to see who responds!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Teriyaki Salmon

Since our fridge is overrun with processed sauces and salad dressings, we're trying to find recipes that help us to simplify. Of course, we're also saving money since we're not letting what we have go to waste. First on our list was some leftover teriyaki wing sauce, after seeing Closet Cooking's recipe for Salmon Teriyaki. It was delicious, and we will be making it again. Here is the recipe for our meal:

Teriyaki Salmon
Servings: 2
Total Cost: $5 - 6
Reheat Factor: 2/5 Personally, I'm not a fan of reheated fish.
Freezer Factor: 5/5 I would recommend freezing the raw fish in the sauce, and the cooking it.
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients

(2 Not in Pantry)
2 Salmon Fillets
Teriyaki Wing Sauce

1. Place salmon in a tupperware container. Coat with teriyaki wing sauce on all sides.
2. Marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
3. Preheat the oven to broil. 
4. Place the salmon on a baking tray or dish and pour some extra teriyaki wing sauce on top.
5. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick Tip: Save Money and Time by Freezing Leftovers

Making eight servings of chili doesn't really take that much longer than cooking four, and it can save you money and time in the long run. If you prepare in bulk, it pays to know a little bit about the best practices for freezing food. Here are a few tips:

-  Know which foods you shouldn't freeze. Eggs in their shells or food in cans are not safe for your freezer. (However, if you remove the food from the can, then it is safe to freeze.) And other foods, such as mayo, lettuce, and cream sauce, are technically safe to freeze, but they won't taste good after their defrosted.

- Know which food freeze well. Soups, casseroles, chili, pies, lasagna, meatballs, marinara sauce, and many other foods taste just as good after a few months in the freezer. You can also seek out specific make-ahead recipes. If you're not sure about a particular meal, cook up a little extra and give it a try.

- Don't let the food stand. Instead, cool it in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours, and then freeze it. Putting warm food in the freezer can raise the temperature of other foods, and also the center of the meal may not freeze fast enough to prevent spoilage.

- Store it in small amounts. If there are two of you eating, put two servings per container. This way, you can just defrost the quantity that you will be eating.

- Wrap it well. This will help to maintain freshness. Only use only moisture-resistant containers for storage, such as plastic bags and Tupperware that are made for use in the freezer.

- Don't leave empty space, unless you are freezing a liquid which may expand. Otherwise, fill the empty space with crinkled wax paper. For plastic bags, squeeze out all the excess air before putting it in the freezer.

- Label your foods. You'll be thankful you did when it comes time to telling the difference between the meatballs and the chili. If you include the dates, you can be sure to use your food before it loses its taste.

Learn about the FDA's recommendations here.

Check back next week for tips on the best way to thaw your frozen meals!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Food Finds: Pasta Dishes

I'm always on the look-out for a good pasta recipe. They're generally fast, easy, and filling meals. Substitute whole wheat pasta to make your meal healthier!

Pappardelle Pasta with Marinated Chicken from The Frugal Gourmom
These wide egg noodles are delicious, and this citrus and herb marinade sounds like a perfect combination!

Zucchini Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce from Golubka
There's no actual pasta in this recipe. Instead, the spaghetti is made from zucchini! If I had a spiral slicer, I would have already made this yummy meal.
Fettuccine Alfredo is one of my favorite meals, but the Alfredo sauce is not really that great for you. This recipes takes the fettuccine noodles in a totally different direction.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Marinated Buffalo Chicken


This recipe is super simple! My husband and I tried it on a whim the other night with some left over Buffalo sauce, and it came out quite yummy.

Marinated Buffalo Chicken

Servings: 2
Total Cost: $3 - 4
Reheat Factor:Unknown
Freezer Factor: It's so easy, why bother?
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients

(2 Not in Pantry)
2 Chicken Breasts
Buffalo Sauce

1. Cut the chicken breasts into strips. (This allows more of the sauce to stick to the chicken.)
2. Marinate in enough Buffalo Sauce to cover the chicken for a few hours or overnight.
3. Dump the entire mixture -- chicken and sauce -- into a baking dish.
4. Cook for 20 - 25 minutes at 400 degrees or until completely cooked.
5. Eat up!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Food Finds: Vegetarian Recipes

This week's theme is vegetarian recipes! If you try any of these recipes, share the results in the comments below.

Roasted Cauliflower from Within My Kitchen
Ceecee set out to make a very simple and healthy recipe for roasting cauliflowers into a "deliciously sexy" side dish. It sounds like she succeeded!

Fruit & Nut Pilaf with Wild Rice from Seasonal Ontario Food
I love wild rice, and I love dried fruit! I can't wait to try this recipe.

Italian Onion and Bean Soup with Parmesan Toast from Lisa's Kitchen
This recipe is straight from a great vegetarian blog! If you're not tempted by the title, check out the photos on her blog. Yummy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I recently found a great, easy to make dessert recipe on the blog Closet Cooking. I made a few small changes to the recipe and the cooking method to make it even easier for myself, and it came out absolutely delicious and very rich. I will definitely be making this again, and I may be trying his Maple Pots de Creme recipe some time soon. Thanks, Kevin!


Here is the recipe with my modifications, but you can see the original recipe here.

Chocolate Pots de Creme


Servings: 4
Total Cost: $3 - 4
Reheat Factor: N/A - Served Chilled
Freezer Factor: Unknown - We ate it all!
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients
(2 Not in Pantry)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 egg yolks

1. Heat the cream, milk, vanilla and sugar in a small sauce pan until simmering.
2. Reduce heat. Add chocolate chips, stir until well-melted.
3. Turn off the heat. Add the egg yolks.
4. Pour into 4 small glass bowls.
5. Place the bowls into a baking dish and pour hot water into the dish until it comes half way up the bowls.
6. Bake in a preheated 325F oven until it sets, about 30 minutes.
7. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to eat.


We topped ours with whipped cream -- delicious!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Trial and Error: Jalapeño Peppers... and My Pained, Burning Hands

Another important cooking lesson learned, one that will really stick with me: do not pick out the jalapeño pepper seeds with your bare hands. I've cut jalapeño peppers before, so I'm not sure why I never experienced the intense and frustrating burning sensation that occurs when the oil from the peppers gets into your skin. I imagine it's because I normally cut the seeds and interior of the pepper with a knife, while yesterday I just dug in with my fingers. Never again, my friends! Never again.

While I enjoyed the Cinco de Mayo fish tacos and sweet corn tomalitos we made, it certainly made the whole experience uncomfortable. I scoured the internet for remedies... and discovered there really are none. For every theory, there was five people saying it didn't work for them. To make matters worse, there were many people who reported going to the emergency room to get drugs. Luckily, my case wasn't that severe.

Here is a list of all the home remedies I tried... that failed:

- Vinegar
- Milk
- Sour cream
- Iced water
- Hot water
- Tomato paste
- Aloe Vera
- Rubbing alcohol
- Dish-washing soap
- Hand lotion
- First aid cream

I'm probably forgetting some. Each of them felt comfortable for a few minutes, but eventually the sensation came back. What did end up working? I downed a few tequila shots and waited it out.

In the future, I will be handling only the exterior of the jalapeño pepper and immediately washing my hands very, very well. If chopping up many peppers, I will be putting on gloves. Learn from my mistake!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pita Pizza


Last week, my husband and I purchased some delicious hummus and pita from the farmer's market, but when we were done, we had pita left over -- but no hummus. I decided to whip up a quick pizza of sorts with the leftovers. It was quite good! Here is the recipe.

Pita Pizza

Servings: 2
Total Cost: $4 - 6
Reheat Factor: 0/5
Freezer Factor: 0/5
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients
(3 Not in Pantry)

2 Tomatoes
2 Pitas
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese
Olive Oil
Vinegar
Salt
Pepper

1. Chop the tomatoes. Season with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.
2. Place the pita on a baking tray. Cover with the tomato mix.
3. Cover with cheese.
4. Bake it in the oven (or toaster oven) at 375 degree for approximately 10 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly.)
5. Enjoy!

Source: Me!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Asparagus and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie

It's springtime, and that means asparagus is in season, which means it's cheaper and yummier than usual. This pie is an easy, delicious way to include this nutrient-packaged green veggie in your meal plan.

When we were making this meal, we came across some portobello mushrooms for only $.99 at the grocery store, so we used those instead of the standard button mushrooms. I highly recommend it.

Asparagus and Mushroom Puff Pastry Pie

Servings: 6
Total Cost: $10 - 12
Reheat Factor: 5/5 - Delish!
Freezer Factor: 4/5
More about the Ratings.

Ingredients
(4 Not in Pantry)

2 bunches fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

6 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup prepared hollandaise sauce
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Using a steamer basket above boiling water, add asparagus and cover pan. Cook about 6 minutes.
3. Add olive oil to pan, cook mushrooms and garlic for about 5 minutes or until cooked.
4. Remove from heat. Add asparagus to the mix.
3. Prepare the hollandaise sauce according to package directions. Stir into the asparagus and mushrooms.
4. Lay one sheet of puff pastry out flat in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish, letting any extra dough go up the sides.
5. Spread the asparagus mixture evenly over the dough. Top with the other sheet of pastry, and pinch the edges together to seal.
6. Optional: If you want a prettier, glazed top to the pie, beat one egg and add 2 tbsp of water. Then brush a light coating over the top of the pie.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until pastry is golden brown. Cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Food Finds: Cinco de Mayo

What will you be eating this Wednesday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? My husband and I are excited to try a new fish taco recipe we found. Here is that recipe and a few other interesting meals that I found this week.

There are many fish taco recipes on the web, but I wanted to find one that was beer-battered and had an interesting sour cream sauce. Too many of them just included cabbage as a topping. This one even includes some cheese! 

Annie's Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips from Ann Page on AllRecipes.com
A sweet version of nachos! How can you go wrong with that?

Mexican Rice from Closet Cooking
A delicious side dish for any Mexican meal.