Monday, December 27, 2010

Last Sissy Cooking Day of 2010

This Christmas was awesome! We really enjoyed the day with our family and watching the kids open their gifts. We had and easy dinner at our parents' house - ham, cheesy potatoes and cheesy spinach. Also had super fabulous appetizers that I posted on my facebook page on Christmas day. And there were oodles of cookies and candy that just had to be eaten too! Mix in the wine and I wasn't sure I would ever eat again after that but a couple days past, a good work out in and I was ready to cook today.

So we wanted to make at least one thing that was lite so we made an old favorite, Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp.
* 2 pounds (17 to 21 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
* Good olive oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound angel hair pasta
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* Zest and juice of 2 lemons


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.Toss well, spread them in one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until they're pink and cooked through.

Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add the angel hair and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the angel hair with the melted butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and about 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add the shrimp and serve hot.

I also wanted to make something a little different so I chose Italian Beef Roulade Steak: Braciole.

1.5 pound beef flank steak
3 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 c. white wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 T. dried parsley
1/2 c. grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. breadcrumbs
Spread your filling all over the flank steak. Tightly roll the meat over the filling. Place the roll seam side down and get your kitchen twine ready. This is a necessary step to tie it with the twine. (I didn't have twine so I skipped it and it came out more like a fold over than a roulade!) Place the meat roll, seam side down into a baking dish. Scatter the onion on the bottom, and pour your spaghetti sauce over the roll, and into the dish. Stir the white wine into the sauce. Cover with a double layer of foil, crimping down the edges. Bake at 350 for 3 hours. The meat comes out soo tender and delicious! You could surely play with the stuffing to best fit your taste buds and ingredients on hand.

We had some smoked salmon that we made a pizza with based on a recipe from the box it came in. The smoked salmon was delicious on its own, the pizza recipe needed had sauteed red onions along with some dill, parsley and green onions baked on the crust then topped with the salmon, sour cream and more of the herbs. A good base but needed more love, I think we will stick to cold smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers :)

I had also gotten a gift from my very best co-worker friend, Jenny, that was a jar of Goulash Mix with the recipe to finish it. It was easy and always a favorite for John and the kids so we made that too. The jar contained the macaroni and seasonings. We added the ground beef and tomatoes - easy and perfect for a winter's night dinner!

Since I base my life on "everything in moderation" we also made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. People think cheesecake is so impressive and the truth is it is so easy to make, so why not, plus it can be frozen for another day if that moderation becomes to hard to control :)
2 1/4 pounds cream cheese -- softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
10 ounces semisweet chocolate -- melted
1 cup peanut butter -- smooth or crunchy


Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, beat until smooth. Add heavy cream, beat till well blended. Transfer 1/3 of batter to another bowl and set aside. Beat melted chocolate into remaining batter. Pour into crust.

With mixer on medium speed, beat peanut butter into remaining 1/3 batter until thoroughly mixed.

Carefully spoon peanut butter mixture on top of chocolate cheese mixture in pan.

Using the long handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the two flavors together. Bake about 1 hour, or until cheesecake is set around edges and puffed but still jiggles slightly in the center. Let cake cool 2 hours, then refrigerate until well chilled, 8 hours. or overnight. For a crust, use Oreo cookie crumbs.

*** Picture of Cheese Cake coming soon ~ it needs to chill ***

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day!?

Well today is our first "Snow Day" I have 7 kids here all under the age of 9. They have been so good today. So as usual the forecast said we would get hit with a blizzard and as usual I am very disappointed ~ I look forward to getting a boat load of snow :( Oh well maybe next time.

Today was a day of repeats we made Chicken Marsala, Beef Enchiladas, French Onion Soup and a Nutella & Cherry Strudel.

Chicken Marsala ~

Beef Enchiladas ~

Nutella & Cherry Strudel ~

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week ~ Can you believe it Christmas is less than 2 weeks away :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let it Snow ~ Let it Snow ~ Let it Snow

Waking up this morning we were so excited to see snow on the ground! I know most of you do not like the snow but I really enjoy all 4 seasons that Ohio has to offer us. We are so lucky to be able to see the seasons change. There are only 18 days till Christmas ~ The kids are so excite, and I am too.

Sweet & Sour Chicken with Brown Rice ~

* 2 cups instant brown rice
* 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
* 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
* 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
* 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
* 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 6 cups bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as snow peas, broccoli and bell peppers
* 1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained


1. Prepare rice according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside and just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with the rice.

Greek Shrimp and Pasta ~

8 oz uncooked pasta, penne variety
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
2 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced
1/2 pound(s) shrimp, large variety, peeled and deveined
4 medium plum tomatoes, diced
15 medium olive(s), oil-cured black variety, pitted and chopped
8 oz canned clam juice, or bottled
1/4 cup(s) reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp fresh oregano, fresh, chopped

* Cook penne according to package directions; drain.

* Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.

* Add the tomatoes and olives; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

* Add the clam juice; bring to a boil. Stir in the penne, cheese, and oregano. Reduce the heat and simmer, tossing well, until the flavors are blended and the cheese just begins to melt, about 1 minute. Yields 1 1/3 cups per serving.

Beef Barley Soup


* 1/2 cup chopped carrot
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
* 4 cups beef broth
* 4 cups water
* 2 cups chopped cooked roast beef
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
* 1 cup quick-cooking barley
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1/2 cup frozen peas


1. In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute carrot, celery and onion in butter until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the broth, water, beef, tomatoes, barley, salt, pepper, basil and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Mushroom Risotto ~

* 2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
* 2 cups arborio rice
* 1 tsp olive oil
* 3 tsp butter
* 2 shallots, minced
* 1 cup white wine
* 8 cups fat free chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
* salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 4 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat chicken stock in a small pot and keep on low heat.

In a medium size heavy sauce pan, saute garlic in 1 tsp olive oil. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and let the mushrooms cook about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Add butter to the pan on set flame to medium-low heat. Add shallots, sauté about 1 minute. Add rice mixing well until well coated and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine, salt and pepper and mix well until it is absorbed into the rice. Ladle 1 cup stock into rice and mix until all stock is absorbed, add another ladle, and continue adding and stirring until all broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Add mushrooms, parmesan cheese and parsley, mix well and serve.

Banana Cream Pie ~

Pre made Pie crust
2 Bananas
2 boxes of vanilla pudding

Make pudding according to box
Slice Bananas and lay in Pie crust
Pour cooled pudding over top of Bananas
Chill and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies ~

I just followed directions from Nestle :) So YUMMY!
We also made Buffalo Chex mix, we found the recipe here:

We were not sure about it as it cooled ~ but YUMMO once it cooled!

Kelly and I are looking forward to spending next Sunday with our mom, sister in law and niece and nephew ~ we are going to make Christmas Cookies ~ we will be sure to include pictures.