For this month’s Cooking Club we gathered at Nemmie’s adorable little house to make some Spanish Tapas. She provided us with appetizers to snack on including various cheeses: Drunken Goat, San Simon, and Manchego with Rosemary. As well as some Spanish chorizo and Serrano ham. And these really yummy olives, don’t know the name but they were delish! We drank white wine sangria while we made a total mess of her kitchen and after a couple hours of cooking and chatting we sat down to dine on our creations! Thanks so much for hosting Nemmie, we all had a great time and got to try our hands at some new recipes and cooking techniques!
Portabella Bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli (from Epicurious)
fitting the mushrooms, caramelized onions (yum!!!), arugula, roasted red pepper/basil mix, and special sauce on one little piece of bread is quite the challenge but so worth it!
assembled and ready to be devoured
Patatas Bravas (from Kirsten’s Home Cooking)
Leslie chopping the potatoes
takes awhile to pan fry them but they are worth the wait! Dipping sauce is a mixture of onions, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, and other good stuff.
Oven Roasted Shrimp with Toasted Garlic and Red Chili Oil (from foodnetwork.com, a Bobby Flay recipe)
Jules and Branlyn prepping the shrimp. Trish keeping them entertained.
spicy and garlicy and oh so good! Definitely a crowd pleaser
and I couldn’t really tell ya what Nemmie is doing in this photo
For dessert I brought mini Florida pies and French chocolate raspberry brownies. Not Spanish but delicious nonetheless!
I did not capture photos of everyone, sorry Drewie and Nikki! I will get up in your face with the camera next time.
Last month’s Cooking Club: Risotto
Up next month: No clue, we need to get to brainstorming!
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I made my first trip of the summer to the local farmers market this weekend and despite the disappointment of no dogs allowed (poor Toby had to wait outside the market) it was a great little trip. I didn’t find the produce that much cheaper than what I could get at the grocery store, but I love supporting local farms and the produce just tastes so much better! I came home with: beefsteak tomatoes, zucchinis and yellow squash, peaches, basil (this was actually my best deal at $1 a bunch), and green beans. I decided to make some fresh salsa with the tomatoes and just kind of threw some things together and I think it turned out fantastically! Next time I will try to buy all the ingredients for the salsa at the farmers market, I just kind of bought whatever looked good this time and planned some dishes around what I brought home.
3 beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1/2 sweet onion
2 jalapenos, seeded
2 handfuls of cilantro
2 garlic cloves
juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in your food processor and chop to your desired consistency. I had to do mine in 2 batches since I have a small food processor.
Serve with chips or your favorite Mexican dishes. Yum!
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For Father’s Day we gathered with Tyler’s parents and my parents to celebrate together. I had been looking for an occasion to use the egg tray my mom gave me for Christmas and this was the perfect opportunity! This was only my second time making deviled eggs, and although I love to eat them, I find making them to be a frustrating process. Cracking and peeling the shell of the eggs is the most difficult part, I always seem to screw it up somehow and lose a few eggs in the process. I don’t really have a recipe for these. I hardboiled them, then soaked them in ice water, peeled and halved them, and then mixed the yolks up with some mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, and a bit of pickle relish. Then I loaded that into a ziplock bag, cut off the corner, and squeezed it into the egg white. Sprinkled with paprika and voila, deviled eggs! The egg platter showcased them nicely!
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Although it hasn’t quite been a year yet, our very first blog entry was our Easter meal from 2007. We celebrated just the 2 of us in our little 1 bedroom apartment in D.C. This year we are back in Kansas, near family and in a slightly larger apartment much better suited for entertaining. My parents came over for lunch today, and we’ll be having dinner at Tyler’s parents home tonight. For lunch we wanted a meal that we could prepare quickly after church. We also wanted to try at least one new recipe, so we picked a bruschetta appetizer to tide us over until the rest of the meal was ready. It was all delicious and it was so nice to celebrate Easter with family!
chop salad w/chicken
mushroom rigatoni bake
asparagus with balsamic browned butter
texas sheet cake (recipe now updated w/WW points)
and pink lemonade!
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil (from delish)
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes (we used a mixture of roma and hot house, the ripest we could find)
2 small cloves of garlic, minced
5 large leaves basil, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
coarse salt & black pepper, to taste
1 baguette loaf
3 Tbsp olive oil, or more as desired
1 clove garlic
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove seeds and juice from tomatoes; dice. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Add basil & parsley. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down and bake 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub each piece of toast on the olive oil side using a clove of garlic, allowing the juices sink into the bread (Ok I confess I tried this but got impatient and gave up, we were in a hurry!) Serve immediately with prepared tomato & basil mixture.
Yields: approximately 2 dozen.
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I am not a big beer drinker (half a beer makes me flushed and sleepy), but I’ve found several recipes in which it is a great ingredient. I’ve used it in pot roast and stew, also cheddar fondue and now beer cheese dip. Yum! We usually use Blue Moon beer since that’s our favorite to drink. I had this dip at a get together recently and was craving it again so I made some for us to eat while we watch basketball games this weekend. It is delicious!
Beer Cheese Dip (from my friend Stacey over at Simply Tasty)
2 8oz packages of cream cheese (I used one light and one regular)
1 pack of dry ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup of beer
shredded cheese to taste
Serve with: pretzels, tortilla chips, carrots, celery, etc.
Combine soft cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and beer (I did this in my KA mixer). The consistency will be weird, but just keep stirring. When the consistency becomes thick and smooth add cheese (I mixed in the cheese by hand). Transfer to serving dish and top with cheese to taste.
A few notes on the recipe…
-Don’t use 2 packages of fat free cream cheese, the consistency of the dip just won’t turn out right. If you want to cut calories try a package of light and a package of full fat.
-Use whatever beer you have on hand.
-Keep stirring the mixture until the consistency gets smooth. It will look a little funky at first, but it will smooth out.
-I served this with wheat thins and fat free pretzels, the pretzels were fabulous with this dip!
And this is NOT a WW recipe, I did not bother to figure out the points so you’ll have to figure it out yourself, if you dare
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Big football games call for great dip. It’s nice to have something yummy to munch on so you don’t bite your nails off worrying about whether or not your favorite team will win. I served this dip with a French baguette that I picked up from the store, but tortilla chips would also go well with it. Apparantly there is a “spinach shortage” right now and my local store won’t get fresh spinach in until February 1st. So frozen it was, and I thought it was still great!
Hot Spinach Dip (original recipe from Delish)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup skim milk
8 ounces light cream cheese
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Tabasco
3/4 – 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Heat olive oil in large skillet. Saute onions and garlic, until softened and onions lightly browned. Add milk and heat. Stir in cream cheese until smooth. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and 1/2 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in paprika. Pour into a shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
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It’s time to introduce you to my new best friend. The All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, given to me by my secret santa. This cookbook is beautiful. Great photos, amazing recipes, and organized so well. I am in love. The nice thing about Cooking Light is you can find all of their recipes on their website as well. So it’s easy to email them to a friend if you find one you love! Last week I went through the entire cookbook and bookmarked recipe after recipe, earmarking a few special ones for Tyler’s 24th birthday dinner. His birthday was Sunday but due to family engagements I wasn’t able to make the dinner until tonight. Oh man it did not disappoint! First course: stuffed mushrooms!
Stuffed Mushrooms (from Cooking Light)
24 large button mushrooms (about 1 3/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
4 ounces 50%-less-fat pork sausage (such as Jimmy Dean 50% less fat)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°.
Clean mushrooms, and remove stems; finely chop stems.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onions and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add sausage, and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the reserved mushroom stems, red pepper, salt, and black pepper; sauté 2 minutes or until stems are tender. Remove from heat; stir in cream cheese and breadcrumbs. Stuff 1 tablespoon sausage mixture into each mushroom cap. Arrange mushroom caps in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until lightly golden and thoroughly heated.
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Posted in desserts, party favorites on December 22, 2007 |
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If you haven’t heard about or tried oreo truffles yet you may live in a cave. Have no fear, it’s safe to come out and try them, just be aware you may become addicted. And if you make them for your family, friends, coworkers, be prepared for some very positive feedback. These babies are a crowd pleaser.
Oreo Truffles (original recipe from Kraft Foods)
1 pkg Oreo cookies (I used regular for one batch and mint oreos for the other)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (light or fat free works great!)
16 oz. chocolate (I used Baker’s Chocolate, semi-sweet for one batch and white for the other)
Crush oreo cookies (I did this in my mini food processor)
Mix cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended (I did this with my KA mixer, but a wooden spoon or hand mixer is another option). Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls (mine were larger, I used my medium cookie scoop). Place on baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Put baking sheet in freezer for 10-15 minutes until truffles firm up.
Dip balls in melted chocolate; place back on paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs or sprinkles before chocolate hardens.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator. Can also be frozen.
Serve with a glass of milk!!!
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Posted in Mexican, party favorites on December 4, 2007 |
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We live across the street from a Half Price Books. It’s a dangerous place to live. I feel drawn to the store, pulled in by the cookbook section, where I can peruse hundreds of cookbooks at discounted prices. A few months ago I purchased a copy of Pillsbury Best of the Bakeoff cookbook. I brought it home, flipped through it, and then set it on my bookshelf where all of my cookbooks sit, untouched. See I really prefer to find recipes online where I can read reviews. I have been burned by too many recipes where I followed them to the letter and they turned out terribly (i.e. the lasagna with 5 tablespoons of italian seasoning, blech). Now that I’m figuring out this cooking thing I figure it’s time to turn to my cookbooks and trust that maybe, just maybe, they won’t let me down. Tonight’s dinner was quick, simple, and very good. I love Mexican food, anything Mexican-ish I will try and likely love (oh, except for mole, Tyler loves it but I do not). I think this recipe is a keeper, especially on game days! It’s a good football finger food!
Chicken and Black Bean Tostizzas (from Pillsbury)
1 can large refrigerated flaky biscuits
1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup green or red bell pepper strips
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Garnish: guacamole or sour cream
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate dough into 8 biscuits (my can had 10). On ungreased cookie sheets, press or roll each biscuit into 5 1/2 inch circle (mine were not that big, maybe 4 inches max). In medium bowl, combine salsa, chicken, black beans, cilantro and cumin; mix well. Spread evenly over biscuits to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top evenly with green onions, bell peper strips and cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and cheese is melted. To serve, garnish with sour cream and guacamole.
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Posted in desserts, party favorites on September 2, 2007 |
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I needed a dessert that I could whip up fast and I didn’t want to go through the whole “from scratch trash my kitchen with flour and sugar” mess so I went the easy route. All you need are some peanut butter cups and a box of brownie mix with its required ingredients. The end result: yummy peanut butter cup brownies.
Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (from allrecipes.com)
1 box brownie mix
any ingredients that the box of brownie mix calls for + an extra egg
1 bag mini peanut butter cups
Mix up brownie batter with an extra egg for fluffier brownies.
Pour brownie batter into muffin cups lined with paper or foil wrappers.
Stick one peanut butter cup (all wrapping removed of course) in the center of each brownie
Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until brownies are fluffy but not gooey inside.
Cool and then eat!
I used a box of pillsbury chocolate chunk brownie mix and it yielded a dozen brownies in a regular sized muffin tin. A mini muffin tin could also be used for bite sized brownies.
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