Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I've got love in my tummy

Surprise! Surprise! I have more recipes to share : )
*I had someone ask me this week how I have the time to cook most nights.
I make a menu for the week on Sunday or Monday each week of things that 1. we've eaten before and want again, 2. things I've seen in magazines/online 3. recipes friends have given me that I want to try.
Then I make a grocery list based on those foods and always go to the grocery store on Sunday/Monday. That way I always have the food I need to make the meals and I know what I'm making. I also take into consideration how busy each day is. If its a super busy day, I'll probably fix a crock pot meal. : )

First a few crock pot meals:
Cheesy Rotel Chicken (from my friend Lindsay)
1 can of rotel
1 can of cambells nacho cheese soup
I can of water
Frozen chicken breasts
Add the first three ingredients. to crockpot and mix together then add chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. The chicken should kind of fall apart.
Add avocado, sour cream, and chips on top.
*After making this yesterday, I might use 1/2 or 3/4 cans water instead of a full one. It was not quite thick enough.

BBQ Chicken (from my friend Traci)
* 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
* 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.
*with the bbq chicken I made steamed broccoli and these potato Wedges. (You can also use the leftover chicken in a sandwich).
Roasted Parmesan Potato Wedges
* 4 potatoes (2 pounds)
* 2 teaspoons canola oil
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* Cut each potato lengthwise in half. Cut each half into three wedges. In a large bowl, sprinkle potatoes with oil; toss to coat. Combine the remaining ingredients. Add to potatoes; toss to coat.
* Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in.
baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with any remaining coating. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Yield: 6 servings.

Cajun Skirt Steak with Creamed Corn
From Real Simple
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 ears)
* 1 cup half-and-half
* kosher salt and black pepper
* 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 2 pieces
* 2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning
* 4 cups mixed greens
* 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and simmer until the corn is tender and the half-and-half is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat broiler. Season the steak with the blackening seasoning and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet and broil for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
3. In a medium bowl, toss the greens and tomatoes with the oil and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the steak and corn.
Tip: Fresh corn is the best, but thawed frozen kernels also work in this recipe. To achieve a similar creamy consistency, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the softened onions and cook for 1 minute before adding the frozen corn and half-and-half.

Havarti Stuffed Chicken
From Real Simple
Chicken Breast
Havarti Cheese
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
1. Cut a 2-inch pocket in the thickest part of 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Dividing evenly, stuff with 4 ounces dill Havarti cheese (cut into pieces); season with 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper.
2. Cook the chicken in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Greek Salad
from Everyday with Rachel Ray
* 4 cloves garlic, 1 clove finely chopped
* Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Salt and pepper
* 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 3-1/2 pounds total)
* 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
* 2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
* 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
* 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
* 4 cups mesclun greens (idk what this is so I got a spring mix)
1. Preheat a grill for indirect medium heat. Using a food processor, puree the 3 whole cloves garlic, the lemon peel and 1 teaspoon each lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin of the chicken breasts and spread the lemon mixture underneath. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on the undersides of the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the chicken, skin side down, on an oiled grate over direct heat, cover and grill until golden and marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and place the chicken, skin side up, over indirect heat, cover and grill until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a work surface, drizzle with some lemon juice and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a salad bowl, whisk together the finely chopped garlic, balsamic vinegar and remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, cheese, onion and mesclun greens and toss; season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken.
*I had bought a 5lb bag of Russet potatoes so I used two of these with this meal and found this grilled potato recipe. YUM! The flavors of the meal real complimented one another.
Quick and Easy Grilled Potatoes
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt (I used Lawry’s season salt) and ground black pepper to taste
1. Poke each potato with the tines of a fork. Place the potatoes in a microwave oven, and cook on high power for about 5 minutes. Check about halfway through, and turn potatoes over for even cooking. Slice each potato in half the long way and cook potatoes another 2 minutes on high power.
2. Preheat a grill for medium heat.
3. Brush the potato tops with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Cook on prepared grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.

Now this meal I made all together although I'm not sure I will again. Each thing was great on its own, it was just a lot of meat.
Zesty Grilled Tilapia
* 6 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
* 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing
* 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
* 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
* 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
* 1 teaspoon hot sauce, to taste
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
Place the fish in a large nonmetal dish. Whisk together the 6 tablespoons oil, the orange zest, orange juice, ginger, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste; pour over the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare grill. Brush the fish with additional oil. Grill until fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes per side for each inch of thickness. *Instead of firing up the grill that night, we just cooked it in a skillet for a few minutes and then put it in the broiler to crisp it.
Herbed Crab Salad-Stuffed Avocados
From Everyday with Rachel Ray
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh summer herbs (such as basil, tarragon or chives)
* 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
* Pinch pepper
* 2 chopped cloves garlic
* Pinch salt
* 8 ounces lump crabmeat
* 1/3 cup chopped celery
* 4 pitted avocado halves
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh summer herbs (such as basil, tarragon or chives), 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and a pinch pepper. Using the flat side of a knife, smash 2 chopped cloves garlic with a pinch salt; whisk the paste into the mayonnaise mixture. Stir in 8 ounces lump crabmeat and 1/3 cup chopped celery. Divide the crab salad among 4 pitted avocado halves.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world

When I was little, I was OBSESSED with the Beach Boys. I made my parents play this one Beach Boys tape every time that we went on a road trip. So in honor of our family beach trip, I feel that a Beach boys title is only fitting : )
Last weekend we had our yearly Brown family vaca. On Friday everyone came in. We ate a quick dinner here and then the adults (thank you Natalie for babysitting!) went downtown to the Toyota center for the Michael Buble concert! We love him!

Then on Saturday we drove down to Galveston...well kind of outside of Galveston to this great resort called Pointe West. I would recommend staying there but would suggest bringing insect repellent! There were lots of mosquitoes. We spent time swimming in the pool that overlooked the ocean, playing in the waves, running away from seaweed, building sand castles, cooking, eating and spending wonderful quality time together!
Erin leading the way to the beach..it was her first time back since she was 3 or 4 months old.

and she LOVED it!

Ready for day 2
The Brown girls in our matching cover ups.

Jen, Cody and I made a sand castle.

The Sages enjoying the beach.

Painting Erin's nails for the first time. We showed her how to let them dry and she was still drying them the next morning.

The Brown family

Brad, Jen, Erin and baby Brown

Mom and Dad

The Sages : )

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Happens in Fredericksburg...

A few weekends ago, some of my favorite friends and I went to Fredericksburg for our yearly girls trip! What a fun tradition we started with Galveston last year! We cooked, played games, shopped, ate and caught up with one another. It was a perfect weekend! Can't wait to see where we'll go next year!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rain Rain Go away..or at least slow down a little

We are drenched in Houston, TX and the rain just keeps on coming. Needless to say, this rain is interfering with my running and laying out. Boo! On the positive side, our yard looks very green!
For those visual learners out there, I have lots of pictures to share : )
We celebrated July 4th all weekend this year! Our neighbors had a party on Saturday which included a lot of fireworks! Very fun! Our church service on Sunday morning had fireworks! Crazy! Then we went into town for my friend Dinah's party before heading to the Freedom Over Texas celebration that is Houston's big July 4th. There we got to see Pat Green and lots of fireworks!
Then Monday, my mom and Mamaw came down for a few days!! We cooked shopped, watched movies and ate lots of food! Love love love these women!
Toy Story 3 with our awesome 3-d glasses

Our 3 Gen. pic!

Since summer school is over, I've had a little more time to cook....
2 Breakfast Recipes:
Fruit-filled Puff Pancake
From Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet
1 T butter
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
3 T Sugar, divided
¼ t salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
1-1/2 cups blueberries
1 medium ripe banana, sliced
¼ t ground cinnamon
1. Place butter in a 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 4-5 minutes or until melted. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt. Add eggs and milk; whisk until smooth.
2. Pour into hot pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden brown. Meanwhile combine blueberries and banana.
3. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar. Spoon the fruit mixture onto pancake; sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Cut into wedges.

Strawberry Crepe Roll-ups
From Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet
1-1/4 cup milk
¾ cup egg substitute (or 3 eggs)
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup strawberry spreadable fruit
3 cups chopped fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
1. In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar and salt; add to milk mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Coat a 7- or 8-in. nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour about 2 tablespoons batter into the center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to even coat bottom. Cook until to appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to plate; keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, coating skillet with additional cooking spray as needed.
3. Spread each crepe with about 2 teaspoons spreadable fruit. Top with about 3 tablespoons strawberries. Roll up. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Slim Lemon Squares
From Fitness Magazine
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup granulated sugar plus 3 tablespoons
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1. Coat an 8-x-8-x-2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray; set pan aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour and 3 tablespoons sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Pat mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, combine egg and egg white. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add remaining sugar and flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, and baking powder. Beat on medium 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour mixture over baked layer in pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until edges are light brown and center is set. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
4. Sift powdered sugar over top. Cut into 16 bars. Store in refrigerator.

Oreo Truffles

1 package of regular Oreos (not double-stuffed or anything)
1 bar of cream cheese
Chocolate or white chocolate almond-bark coating
1. Grind all of the Oreos until there are no big chunks of cookie. you can use a food processor or anything similar-do like 3 or 4 at a time
2. Mix all of the Oreo with the bar of cream cheese
3. Refrigerate mix for about an hour, then roll the mixture into little balls
4. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl-I usually start with about 4-5 bars of the bark chocolate and then add more later if needed
5. Drop the balls in the melted chocolate one or two at a time, fishing them out with spoons
6, place on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet
7. When they're all dipped in chocolate, put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about an hour at least.

Pizza Pockets
From Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 can pizza sauce
12 slices pepperoni
1 package fully cooked sliced pastrami, chopped
1 package fully cooked sliced ham, chopped
¾ cup shredded mozzarella
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. In a large bow, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, butter, salt and 2 ¼ cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead for 6-8 minutes. Rll the dough into a 14-in. x 10 in. rectangle. Cut with a 3-in. round cook cutter. Reroll scraps to cut a total of 24 circles. Place 1 teaspoon pizza sauce and slice of pepperoni in center of 12 circles.
3. In a large bowl, combine pastrami, ham and cheese; place equal amounts of pepperoni. Top with ½ teaspoon of pizza sauce if desired. (Save remaining sauce for another use or for dipping.) Cover with remaining dough circles; pinch edges or press with a fork to seal.
4. Place on greased baking sheets. Brush with egg. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-2 minutes or until golden brown.
*I had a lot of trouble getting the insides to stay in, so I'm thinking that next time, I might make a bigger circle (Like 6-in.), fill the middle, then fold up the sides. It will look different, but I think it might hold more.

3 Bean Salad
1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can wax beans, drained
1 (15.25 ounce) can red kidney beans,
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans,
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro
(*To be completely honest, I just threw in a bunch of beans : ) Also, you might consider either upping the number of cans of beans or cutting back on the liquid)
1. In a large bowl, layer the beans, onion and green pepper. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, mix the vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard, tarragon and cilantro. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and pour over bean mixture. Stir until all ingredients are coated. This is best if it is left to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator, and stirred occasionally.