Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Ratatouille

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A variety of veggies are a bit hard to find here.  It's one of those things where you just have to wait and see what arrives each week.  (making my usual weekly planning much harder to do)  It's been really hard adjusting to not being able to just go to the store knowing they will have what I need.
That being said, I was really happy when sweet potatoes popped up.  I'd been wanting to try this dish and with my zucchini plants going bonkers this was just another fun way to cook them.
I was really pleased with how nice this turned out.  Very flavorful...a hint of sweetness and just tasty all the way around.
Served it over a bed of couscous and some Simple Roast Chicken.  Both kids enjoyed it too...another great veggie side.  :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mexican Rice

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The other night we had another fabulous group dinner.  The theme was Mexican based (main dish was chicken tacos)  Matt and I were given the task to make a rice...either Spanish or Mexican.  I've never given much thought to Mexican rice, so I googled some recipes for Spanish.  I wasn't really blown away by anything I, just for the heck of it...I googled Mexican rice.  Stumbled on this fantastic recipe.  This rice is simple, easy and super flavorful.  I loved it and so did the hubby (who's not a big fan of either type of rice)
At the dinner, I didn't give my kids any because I thought it might be too spicy...I gave them some the next day to see if maybe they would like it...and, ya, they did.  :)  Instead of adding the whole chopped jalapeno at the end, I put it on the side for people to spice it up as they wanted.  This way, my rice had just a kiss of heat.  
I couldn't get enough of it and had a good helping the second day.  This is going on my must make monthly list.  
Happy cooking!

*note...make sure to follow the directions'll make the perfect rice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Veggie Tray

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Need a last minute idea for your veggie platter?  Give this adorable tray a try!  :)  Super cute and easy!  
Happy Thanksgiving!  

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

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Ya Salam Cooking is my new go to blog for Middle Eastern cooking.  I've made three dishes of hers already and we've loved everyone.  Tonight's was flat out fantastic.  Beyond simple and incredibly flavorful!  
I've only cooked with lentils once before and the dish then didn't make much of an impression.  This one I can't wait to make again.
The recipe only makes enough for four.  Barely.  If you have four hungry adults, you'll be wishing you'd made more.  We had enough for the hubby, me and the girls, and we scrapped the pot clean.  Keep in mind, this will fill you mindful as you eat and take your time.  It sneaks up on you!  I'm totally full and very content.  :) 
Can't recommend this enough.
Happy cooking!  !سعيد الطب
absolutely fantastic!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


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So, I'm all the way over here in Saudi and Thanksgiving seems...well, not the same.  We are having "Thanksgiving" here.  But it's a multi-cultural event and although I know it will be a lot of fun, it still won't be the traditions I'm used to.
First off, no pumpkin pie.  :'(  Very sad about that.  No pumpkins here.  BUT, we are going to have some fantastic turkey!  I'm in charge of making a killer side.  
What I want to know is....what are you making this year?  
Share your Thanksgiving meal with'll make me feel part of the good ol' U S of A.  :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage...Arabian Style

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Going to attempt another Arabic dish tonight.  This is from the same website Ya Salam Cooking.  The Arabic name for this dish is Malfouf.  I grew up eating stuffed cabbage and though my grandmother's recipe (Grandma's Pigs in the Blanket) is different, there are still some similarities.  
The seasoning in this was amazing.  Loved the taste.  The original recipe called for less tomato sauce, but I like it a bit more saucy.  If you prefer less, just cut it back a bit.  :)
Great dish. 

Happy cooking!  !سعيد الطبخ

Roasted Chicken with Orange/Cardamom Butter

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Hanging out in my new Saudi house and watching a little Food Network.  SO happy we get this channel!  It's not the same as in the far as actual shows and times go, but we get a few of the faves.
That night, Arti was on.  She was cooking up some chicken that just looked fabulous.  Best part was that I knew I could find all those ingredients here!!  (and you have no idea how hard that can be!)
Quick and easy dish for dinner.  She paired it with some red potatoes, but, they don't have those here.  Seriously.  I just used some frozen veggies we had and sauteed some spinach.  I know, not fancy, but whatever...I've only been here a few days!  LOL
The chicken was really tasty and juicy.  My kids loved it.  I read over the reviews and I adjusted my cooking temps and times.  Turned out great...simple weeknight meal.  :)

Happy cooking!  !سعيد الطبخ

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lamb Kabsa

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I have arrived in Saudi!  And it's time to get cookin'!  But, there's bad news and good news.  Bad news: my choices for cooking have become extremely limited...I no longer have the variety I was used to in the States.  Good news:  I get to try cooking a whole new cuisine using ingredients I may have never seen in the States!

So, this dish is my first attempt at Saudi cooking.  I found this great blog...Ya Salam Cooking.  She's a local Saudi woman and she has some fantastic recipes.  This recipe got rave reviews, so let's get cooking!

This recipe calls for Black Limes.  Okay, I admit...I had NO idea what a black lime was.  I thought I'd find it in the produce section!  Some kind of lime variation right?  Wrong.  It's actually found in the spice isle.  It can also be called a dried lemon.  Here in Saudi, they smoke them (which turns them black in the process) and it gives your food that great smokey flavor.  You may have to look in a specialty store in the States in order to find these.  If you can't find them, sub a bit of Liquid Smoke.  (found in all supermarkets)  

*Okay so this didn't turn out exactly as planned...the rice didn't cook properly and there was too much broth..BUT, the flavors were amazing.  Both of my girls loved it...and of course, so did the hubby!  :)  I'll be making this again soon!

Happy cooking!  !سعيد الطبخ

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mom's Sweet Chili Recipe

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I grew up loving chili.  But not all chili, just my mom's sweet chili.  As far as I'm concerned there is nothing better.  My husband is known for his spicy chili's, but for me, I love the sweet taste with the vinegar bite that reminds me of mom.  This is the kind of chili you can serve anyone.  Kids love it because of the lack of heat and grownups love the distinct taste.  Mom's chili gets its vinegar bite from the chili sauce, if you're not a big fan of that taste, scale back the chili sauce and add some ketchup.  (I, however, love that bite!)  :)
We also have another tradition that goes along with this chili....we serve it over white rice.  Yep, rice.  It wasn't until I met my husband that I found out most people don't eat their chili that way!  For me, it's the ONLY way to eat chili!  :)  Topped with some shredded cheddar cheese and I'm a very happy girl.
Thanks mom!  

What's your favorite chili recipe??  
Share and Add it to the comments box!!
(links welcome!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Super Quick Pasta with Green Veggies

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Yesterday I was getting a rare treat...a sushi dinner with friends.  NO kids!  I have only been out without my girls twice in the last 5 months.  Not for a lack of trying, it's just been beyond busy.  So, last night I was heading out for dinner and enjoy the company of grownups.  Of course, what did we end up talking about most of the night?  That's right, our kids.  Ah well, it was still a great time.
Before I left, I wanted to make sure my girls had something yummy for dinner.  I raided my mom's pantry and freezer for ideas.  (we're camping out at grandma's until we ship out to Saudi next week)
I spied a bag of pasta and some frozen veggies.  Perfect.  If it has noodles, my kids will eat it.  Period. 
This is such a simple dish with light flavors and a nice punch of veggie goodness.  Spike it with some red pepper flakes for a more grown up taste.  :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kale and Beef Stir-Fry

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Okay, so if you're paying any attention to the latest food trends you'd know that kale is one of the new "it" foods.  What is kale?
Kale is a leafy green.  There are three different kinds.  Russian Red, Dinosaur Kale (aka tuscan kale), and the most popular Curly Green Kale (this is the easiest to find).  
Kale is a great brain booster and is rich in B6 vitamins and alpha-linolenic acids (building blocks for creating new brain cells).  It is also a great fatigue fighter because it can absorb iron from chicken, fish or beef and help supply more oxygen to your muscles.
When preparing kale, make sure to cut out the inner membrane (the stiff piece that goes up the middle of the leaf) and discard the stems.  
There are tons of recipes out know for kale.  In my Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup I add it at the end for some extra veggie punch.  This stir-fry recipe turned out great.  It's super easy to make and you can tweak the recipe to what you have on hand.  Through it over some steamed white rice and you're good to go!  

Mexican Beer Battered Fish Tacos

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I don't think I ever ate a fish taco until I moved to Cali.  Now, I can honestly say, I love them.  But, I'm in love with the nice, fried kind...not the healthy grilled kind.  Go figure.  But, that's okay, if you can't have a few sinful dishes every now and then...well, that's just not livin'!  
I found this recipe on Food Network.  It got rave reviews so I just had to give it a try.  I've never made the fish using a batter before...and, wow, these just turned out great!  Nice and crispy with wonderful flavor.  I really liked the white sauce with it, but the tomatillo sauce I bought was very mild, wish it would have had a bit more kick.  All in all, I would totally make these again...though, in Saudi, I may have to get more beer and all.  :(

Friday, October 7, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

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Yesterday my mother-in-law was just craving something chocolate.  We brainstormed some ideas and I stumbled on a recipe online about a chocolate sheet cake.  Now, if you've kept up with my blog, you know I don't bake all.  I had never heard of a sheet cake, but of course, my mother in law had.  Then she says, "I think I have a recipe for sheet cake" and she pulls out her big ol' Texas box of recipes.  And sure enough, she had one.  What was really funny was that it was almost identical to the one that I found online.
She told me that she's had this recipe for over 20 years and she just went to work.  They cake is super easy to make and is done in 20 minutes!  And, oh my, the's enough to make anyone addicted to chocolate.  It was moist and that little hint of cinnamon really did the trick.  You take this to a get together and I can promise you'll be bringing home an empty baking sheet.  Maybe I'll go sneak another piece....

are you wishing you could eat a picture??

Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs with Smokey Marinara

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I recently signed up for Pillsbury's daily newsletter.  I'm not a huge fan of their recipes mostly because they are not very healthy and they constantly use name brand items.  But, I did see this reicpe and thought it was a fun easy dish to make for me and my girls.
I wanted to add a bit more pizzazz, so I made my own smokey marinara (you can find the recipe here:  Smokey Marinara)  I really wanted to use bucatini noodles, but I couldn't find any at the store.  So, I settled for good ol' spaghetti.  I think next time I'll try a different cheese...the string cheese didn't melt very well.  But, all in all, it was a great dish.  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sausage, White Bean and Kale Stew

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I am in full blown soup mode.  All the wonderful stews and soups to cook over the fall season has me so excited.  Of course, it's still 90 plus degrees here in Texas, but that's never stopped me.  :)  
I had to buy kale to make my Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup and I knew I would have extra.  Months ago I made a great soup with kale and sausage, so I googled that one again.  
As I was making this soup I kept thinking...I should add something.  But, then I stopped myself.  Sometimes, simple is just perfect.  So, with the few ingredients, I threw this meal together in under 30 minutes.  Served with some toasted bread. 
There is a ton of room to play with different types of sausage.  Since my father-in-law doesn't care for pork, I used smoked turkey sausage.  But, any sausage will work and add new flavors to the dish.  If I could find the duck sausage mentioned in the recipe, I would love to try that!  Oh and, don't skip the lemon juice...really makes the dish light and bright.  Happy cooking!

Marsala-Glazed Winter Veggies

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I decided to cook up my Simple Roast Chicken for dinner and I wanted a nice side to go along with it.  I haven't gotten over how yummy the rutabaga's were in my Bloody Mary Pot Roast and I started surfing for a recipe.  I found this nice mix of lovely winter veggies with a light Marsala sauce.  
The grocery store didn't have any parsnips in stock so I used turnips instead.  Turned out great.  Also, to save time, I just purchased a bag of frozen pearl onions and added them at the same time as the Brussels sprouts in the pot.  All the veggies were tender and full of flavor.  I think next time I would add more rutabaga, and perhaps both turnips and parsnips.  Great fall side that I can't wait to make again.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bloody Mary Pot Roast with Fall Veggies

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I came upon this dish from an email.  I'd never heard of anything like it and I was intrigued.  Knowing I wouldn't be able to make this with the vodka while in Saudi, I wanted to make it before I left. 
Now, I have never cooked with a rutabaga before.  I had no idea what they even looked like.  I had to ask the grocer to show me where they were.  They are sphere shaped with a waxy film on the outside.  They felt slimy to me.  But, I was willing to give it a go.  When I got back to my grandma's I realized I had no idea what to do with it.  I had to google rutabaga and watch a video on prepping it!  LOL  
What you do is peel the thick skin from the outside.  Then you just cut it up into cubes.  I was curious as to how they would taste and let me tell you, I loved them!!  They absorbed all the delicious juices from the sauce and they were tender and so flavorful!  I can't wait to cook with them again.  I may end up using them often in place of potatoes, since the hubby isn't such a fan.
Great, fun fall dish that just slow cooks all day and makes your house smell heavenly!
slow-cooked and scrumptious!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Bucatini

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I had such a great time cooking dinners for my family in Ohio.  I cooked up a few of my all time faves...Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup and Smokey Chicken Tortilla Soup, but I also wanted to try out a few new ones.
Since I am currently obsessed with cooking, I brought some of my fave cooking magazines with me.  Looking through Cuisine at Home, I found a really yummy sounding pasta dish.  (ok, so for me almost all pasta dishes are yummy, but anyway...)  It's light, easy and full of flavor.  Great for a weeknight meal.  And if you're really short on time, just use some canned tomatoes (though the flavor won't be as pronounced.)  Many stores are starting to carry bucatini's a fat spaghetti noodle that is hollow on the inside.  Sort of like a really long macaroni.  If you can't find them, sub out regular spaghetti noodles.

I'm going to post the original recipe which states it serves 2 people.  I just doubled everything and had plenty for grandma, me and the girls.  Happy cooking!  :)

Poppy Seed Rolls

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Christmas is a huge holiday for my family.  It's always been, well, just extra special.  Since we lived in Vegas and my mom's family was in Ohio, trips there for Christmas were something we cherished.  All the family, the fun, and the FOOD!  My grandmother would bake up more cookies and treats than her house had room for!  She used to store them in tins in the coat closet!  :) 
And these weren't just your run of the mill treats, oh no, these were only at Christmas goodies!  She would make apricot horns, snowflakes, nut horns, poppy seed rolls, nut rolls, the peanut butter ones with the Hershey kiss in the middle, and half a dozen more.  How we didn't gain 50lbs over the holiday is beyond me.

So, while I was staying with my grandma I asked her if she'd make one of my all time faves.  Poppy seed rolls.  (I saw the cans of poppy seed in her fridge...why there?  No idea, I don't question.)  She looked at me like I was crazy, but then I insisted that I just HAD to learn to make them, especially since I was in charge this Christmas (it's all up to me this year in Saudi!)  So, she caved. :)  Lucky me. 

These are actually very easy to make, you may just have trouble finding the cans of poppy seed.  Our rolls turned out huge...much bigger than she usually makes them, but oh, they tasted divine.  In our personal opinion, the best way to eat these is warmed just a bit in the microwave and have a nice cold glass of milk.  (it was my breakfast for 5 days straight)  :)  Happy Cooking!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup

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Getting together with friends tonight and I wanted to make something special.  Well, for one, it's my baby's birthday.  She's officially 3 today.  We did celebrate in Vegas a few weeks back, but I couldn't let her actual birthday go by without a little flare.  And of course, when asked what she wanted for dinner....Noodles.  
I didn't just want to make a pot of spaghetti (well, I just didn't have the time to do it the way I wanted)  So, I fished around my bookmarked recipes and found one for a smokey minestrone that included tortellini's.  I've already made a killer tortellini soup, so I decided to merge the two recipes together to create this one.  
I absolutely love a soup that is full of veggies, mainly because my girls will eat just about anything in a bowl with broth.  It's a fairly simple dish to make and you can save time by buying pre-chopped veggies.  I like to use my mandolin to slice...makes it go quickly! 
Looking forward to a night with my friends, my mom, and my girls.  The only major thing missing is my hubby.  (who, at this moment, is tucked away in Saudi)  :(  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Figgin' Out

Pin It Now! I'm so lucky to have this huge fig tree in my backyard...and this season again I'm finding myself overloaded with the wonderful fruit.  Until I moved to this house, I don't think I'd ever eaten fresh figs.  Last summer, I didn't do much with them.  This year, I'd really like to try some recipes.
I'm looking for your help.  Do you have a fave fig recipe?  I've had some tell me to make preserves, but I'm concerned it might be a bit difficult (and time consuming, of which I'm very short of lately)
So, lemme have 'em!  I want to know what you would do if you had an abundance of fab figs.  :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tuesday: Smokey Chicken Tortilla Soup

Pin It Now! So, I should start off by apologizing for being so spastic with the posts.  The world is spinning so fast, I'm having trouble hanging on.  My hubby moved to Saudi and I'm trying to get everything done on my end.  NOT fun.  Since we rent our home, almost everything has to be packed up for storage.  (minus the small amount we get to ship to Saudi)  
But, I'm very lucky.  My mom arrives today.  I'm so happy to have someone help me!!  And, of course, mom will be brutal about what should stay and what should go.  Another bonus is that I get to cook for her!  :)  For her first night, I'm going to treat her to this delicious soup.  I started off making it pretty much the way I found it on AllRecipes, but I've turned it into something of my own.  
I love this soup.  Love the flavors.  Love that I'm making it for my mom.  :)

Smokey Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Tacos

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Yep, you read that right.  :)  If you've been following my blog, you know that I'm a big fan of spaghetti squash.  It's just a great veggie that my girls will totally devour and not know they aren't eating pasta.  (well maybe they do, but they eat it anyway!)
I stumbled on this recipe by accident.  Wasn't really looking for squash recipes.  But, the reviews were great, so I figured, why not?  I'm tweaking it a bit to give it some more...oomph.  This is a simple, easy, budget friendly, healthy dish. (okay aside from the high salt in the seasoning, but you could always make your own)  All around good.  :)

Thursday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken & Pineapple Honey Slaw

Pin It Now! I just can't seem to get enough of the sauce that comes with this dish.  Yes, it's high in sugar, but I really don't care.  It's just that good.  I made this for some of my family while I was in Ohio and they raved about it.  My mom hasn't had the chance to try it yet so I figured I would cook some up for her.  (it didn't hurt that the thighs were on sale for $.99/lb)  Nice.
The slaw that I make with this is also really wonderful and nowhere near as sweet as you would think.  Last time I made it, we spiked it with some siracha for a killer kick.  I wanted to buy fresh pineapple to go with it again, but it was just too expensive.
Sticky, sweet, can't stop eating goodness....

Baked Teriyaki Chicken
Hawaiian Pineapple Honey Slaw

Friday: Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

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I was lazily sitting on the couch playing with my iPad (greatest invention on Earth as far as I'm concerned) and  using my Cooking Light app.  I found this recipe and it sounded really tasty.  One, my girls like cauliflower...two, my girls love pasta....three, I just love trying something new.  Check, check, check.  Recipe on the menu this week.
I wanted to make it a bit more substantial, so I'm going to brown up some sweet chicken Italian sausage to go with it.  Takes away from the vegetarian aspect, but hey, I already had one veggie only dish this week.  :)  Not to mention, roasted cauliflower is just downright delish.
After weeks of not really having a menu to go by, I'm happy to be up and cooking again this week.  Even better that mom will be here to cook with me.  Happy cooking!

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's Your Fave....

Pin It Now! recipe to cook with Noodles?  I've got to start cooking up all the pantry stuff I've got stocked.  I'd love if you'd share your fave noodle recipe (any cuisine)!  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baked Mac & Cheese

Pin It Now! We recently celebrated my daughters 3rd birthday.  (it's not offical till the end of August, but we were with family)  When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner, she didn't hesitate "mac & cheese!"  Okay, see, here's the funny thing...I hardly ever make mac & cheese.  It's really once in a blue moon type of thing.  She is on a TOTAL "noodle" kick right now.  She'll eat anything if there are noodles in it.  She wanted noodles for breakfast three days in a row.  (not that she got them)  
But, of course I would indulge her for her birthday.  I decided to make a nice homemade baked mac & cheese.  Got the recipe from Alton Brown on Food Network.  I wanted something that wasn't insanely unhealthy and coated in heavy cream.  His recipe fit the bill.  Since my birthday girl and her big sis were going to be the only kids there, I also made a separate dish of mac & cheese with bacon and mushrooms added in.  Wicked good.  
I had a happy kid and happy family.  It was a wonderful little party.  Best of all, my little one got her noodles.  :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slovak Perogi's (Grandma's Recipe)

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While I was in Ohio, my aunt said we could make a small batch of perogi's.  YAY!!!!!!  This is another traditional Christmas Eve dish that we've made for years and years in our family.  We make a few different variations.  There are the potato ones, cheese, and sometimes we do sauerkraut filled perogi's.  (though, those aren't as popular as the other two)  
My aunt and I decided to make cheese perogi's because neither one of us wanted to take the time to bake the potatoes and mash them up.  (though, the potato ones are my fave)
The key to this dish is the dough.  For years my family made it a certain way, and had a hell of a time getting the dough to turn out properly.  Then, a family friend suggested the addition of the sour cream.  (picture angels singing)  The dough was perfect!  
The next important part of this dish is the browned butter.  Make sure you don't burn the butter...if it gets too dark, just dump and start over.  :)  
Happy cooking!  (and enjoy my families fave recipes!)

melt in your mouth deliciousness... 

Slovak Christmas Mushroom Soup

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I know you are wondering why I am posting a recipe that is dedicated to Christmas.  Well, while I was visiting my family in Ohio I asked (ok, I begged) my aunt and grandma to make some of my all time fave recipes.  We only make this soup on Christmas Eve, but I argued, I'll be in Saudi by Christmas and I just HAD to learn how to make this!!!  Of course, my fabulous family agreed.  :)  It also helped that my aunt had a few extra cans of sauerkraut juice stoked away. 

See, that's the problem with this soup.  You need ALOT of sauerkraut juice...not just the stuff you strain off from the cans of kraut.  I'm talking cans of just the juice.  I've NEVER seen it in my grocery stores here on the west coast.  So, that makes this soup even more special because the only time I've really got to eat it was at grandma's house in Ohio.  (one year we did get to make it in Vegas when our family in Ohio shipped some juice to us)  Therefore, if you have trouble finding the juice, I won't be surprised.  But, if you do, oh man, are you in for a treat!  :)
Yes, this is a sauerkraut and mushroom soup.  And yes, it is TART!  But, of course, that's why we all love it so much.  If you have sensitive stomach, take some Tums or something in advance.  ;)  This is such a simple soup to make (if you can find all the ingredients)  It is also supposed to bring you good luck for the upcoming new year.  (I figured, we could use some luck for our upcoming move to Saudi...therefore, extra bonus for making the soup)  :)

This is a true family recipe and I've been allowed to share this with all of you.  (and we've had many requests for it over the years!)  Happy cooking!  

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm on vacation!

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Okay my fellow cooks...I'm off on vacation.  We have already arrived in Vegas and hanging out with my step-dad.  Tomorrow we head to Ohio for a fantastic family reunion.
So, of course, I won't be posting a weekly menu this week...or the following week.  :(  But, we are going to be making some fun dishes at the reunion, so I'll be sure to post those recipes with photos.

Speaking of photos, very excited about the new lens I scored off craigslist.  Managed to get a 28-135mm for only $250.  (retails for $450!)  Not that I'll use that lens for my food photos (I use a 50mm) for that, is going to be my all purpose lens for my many upcoming travels.

Also this week, I'm hoping to hear from my friend in Italy who is graciously going to check out the apartment I want to rent there.  If all is good, I'll get that booked and be able to check one more thing off my mega list.  (so much to very very little time)  I still don't think it's sunk in all the way that I'm actually moving out of the country.  The hubby leaves for Saudi so soon!  Hopefully we'll be able to get the family visa after just a couple months..but who knows.

Okay, so, looks like I've caught you up on all the craziness that is my life.  If you need some ideas for recipes this week, feel free to email me or just type in a keyword and search my recipes.  :)  Don't forget, you can email me your fave recipes (with photo) and I'll happily post them on the blog!  Happy cooking!  :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fresh Summer Veggies - Sauteed

Pin It Now! The garden gods have blessed us this year.  Well, at least in the zucchini department.  My ONE zucchini plant is about 3 feet in diameter.  And the veggies just kept on comin'!  I already made zucchini bread and since I still have over half a dozen left, I had to do something else.  I surfed around and found a really nice base for a saute from Simply Recipes.  Then I added a bunch of other veggies along with the zucchini.  
Now, I'm going to list fresh veggies for just about everything, but to be honest I just used frozen veggies I had sitting around in the freezer.  Though, I am going to make this again with fresh (at least corn) because I think the taste will be amazing.
Quick, simple dish with tons of flavor.  For my girls, I served it over white sticky rice.  You could also toss in some chicken and take it from side dish to main dish!  Happy cooking!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oma's Egg Rolls

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My mother-in-law is in town and the first thing my husband had to say was..."will you make me egg rolls??"  20 plus years ago she took an oriental cooking class and made the rolls for the family.  She received rave reviews.  Shortly after, my husband decided that he wanted those egg rolls every year on his birthday and it became a tradition.  (however, his two other brothers were never so lucky...Matt's the baby of the family) 

As I'm typing this post...the meat for the rolls is cooking in the background.  My goodness, my house smells amazing!!!  The process is a bit time consuming (chopping up all the veggies and what not), but so worth it.  Another part to note is that the meat freezes well, so you can make the amount listed and if you find you have extra meat...pop it in the freezer till next time!  :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lazy Leftover Monday

Pin It Now! Okay, I swore I would never post that we were eating leftovers for dinner.  (and we hardly ever do) But, with my in-laws in town over the weekend and the mass cooking we did, I just couldn't reason spending money to make another dinner for tonight...not with a fridge chock full of delicious food.  
So, we're going to raid the fridge tonight and indulge on all the goodies we made over the weekend. 
However, I'm not going to leave you empty handed, just in case you need a last minute idea for dinner tonight.  This is still one of my fave quick and easy dishes to make.  I don't care for boxed beef and mac, and I was leery about this the first time I made it.  However, the flavors just meld so well together for a whole different taste to beef and mac.  Super easy to make and can be ready in no time!  

Tex-Mex Beef and Mac

Tuesday: Chicken and Egg Soup with Pastina

Pin It Now! I'm starting to feel the pressure of the move and upcoming craziness.  I want to make my hubby dishes that I know he won't make for himself while we are apart.  However, I also just want to make some nice, simple dishes too.  So, this is one of the later.  Simple, easy, delicious.  It's very similar to an Asian egg drop soup, but obviously with more sustenance.
Tuesday's are such busy days for me with 2 hours spent at gymnastics for the girls (boy, I'm sure going to miss taking them to gymnastics in Saudi) and then swim lessons right after.  Quick and easy is definitely what is on the menu for tonight.  Don't skip out on any of the ingredients, especially the dill...really gives a fab flavor!  Happy (quick) cooking!  :) 

Wednesday: Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Pin It Now! When I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner this week, my darling carnivore of course said "steak."  Luckily there were some nice top sirloins on sale at the grocery store.  One of his all time fave ways to eat steak is with a chimichurri sauce on top.  Chimichurri sauce is a salsa-like condiment which originated in Argentina and is used on beef. There are many different variations of this sauce, but he wanted to stick to the original (or as close as I could get)  He specified that it HAD to have cilantro in it.  I googled around and found this recipe and he gave the thumbs up.
For the steak, you just want to keep things simple and let the sauce take center stage.  You can use any kind of meat with this, so just go with what you have or what's on sale.  Happy cooking!  :)   

Grandma's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (aka Pigs In the Blanket)

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A few weeks ago, I made a stuffed cabbage recipe.  It was really good, but I kept grandma's is SO much better!  LOL  (of course the other recipe was way different than grandma's)  My hubby loves cabbage, so I figured why not give grandma's recipe a go!
My mom called her up on the phone to get the recipe to relay it to me.  (yes, I could have called too, but my mom wanted to chat with her anyway)  :)  Here's the thing, this is one of those good ol' family recipes that was never really written down.  It was just taught.  My grandmother is 87 years old and still lives in her own house.  She has so many wonderful recipes that we are trying to get written down so we can keep cooking them for years to come!
We did our best to come up with an ingredient list and good directions for you.  This is not a hard dish to make by any means, but it is time consuming.  It could seem daunting as you read through the directions, but keep in mind, we're adding extra info to help you make the dish easier.
Can't wait for my house to be filled with the smell of memories in my grandma's kitchen.  So lucky to still have her around to share her recipes with us!

Friday: Italian Beef Stew

Pin It Now! Okay, so while my in-laws were in town, my hubby fired up the smoker.  He was rummaging through the freezer to see if there was anything else he could toss on the grill.  We found that I still have an obscene amount of chuck roast left in there!  With the move getting closer and closer, I know I need to start using up what we've got on hand.
Surfing around some apps on my iPad, I found this recipe from Cooking Light.  I have most of the ingredients already, so it was a perfect choice to cook.  I left if for Friday so we would have leftovers for lunch over the weekend.  I know it's not exactly a summer weather dish, but I love it just the same!  :)
Simply wonderful.

Update on My Life

Pin It Now! Hello cooking friends!  Well, my life is about to get REALLY interesting!  A few days ago we officially announced our move to Saudi Arabia.  To my pleasant surprise, we've had an amazing amount of support from our friends.  This was not an easy decision, but my hubby and I truly get one life...make the most of it.  We spent an obscene amount of time researching, getting on expat forums, emailing people already living there...and now, we feel as though we have friends eagerly awaiting our arrival. 
My husband was offered a job and it was just too good to pass up.  We'll be there for 2 years and do a lot of traveling too!  
Around the beginning of September, I'll be moving to Florence, Italy for two months while I wait for my husband to get paperwork ready for us to join him in Saudi.  Then back to the states to get the family visa processed.  You can be sure I'll be posting some fun dishes from both countries!  
Safe to say, my blog will vary depending on where I'm living at the time.  I may not be able to keep up a weekly menu, but I promise to post recipes!  :)  
You can also follow along with our adventures at the new blog I started and get more info about Saudi and what life is like there.  :)

Looking forward to sharing our magic carpet ride with all of you!  Hang's going to be a wild ride!  :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Pin It Now! We were so excited to plant a garden this year.  My husband and his friend got the ground all ready with great soil and then we headed to the nursery to pick out veggies to grow.  Top on my list were tomatoes and I've gotten a few so far...think we planted them a little late.  We also planted cucumber, zucchini, artichoke and my hubby has half a dozen hot pepper plants.  LOL  We got a few cucumber and we have three little artichokes growing right now.  The zucchini; however, has taken over!!!!  I've already picked close to a dozen and there are at least half a dozen more with flowers still blossoming!  I never knew that little plant would get so big.  
So, with zucchini coming at me from all sides, I needed to do something with them!  I have never made zucchini bread (I've never made any bread for that matter).  But, I thought, why not give it a try.  (knowing my luck with baking I'll screw it up somehow)  Took me an hour to find my loaf pans.  LOL  
This is a Paula Dean recipe, so I have to believe its going to be good.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  :)

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

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I saw this post on Facebook from the blog A Spicy Perspective. I can't wait to make this!  The girls and I LOVE strawberries and they are pretty cheap right now.  Sad to say, with my love/hate relationship with baking...I don't own a bundt pan.  Hoping I can borrow one from a friend...and then of course give her a huge, lovely slice of cake.  Looking forward to making this...

Moist yumminess...wonderful light

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cucumber Slaw with Thai Dressing

Pin It Now! Yesterday I was trying to think of a nice side to go with Thai Peanut-Sauced Chicken Pitas.  I polled my friends on Facebook and got some great ideas.  Some said a cold salad, come said an Asian slaw.  I have some cucumbers from my garden so I thought, why not make a nice cucumber slaw?  I wanted to keep with the Thai theme so I googled a dressing that might go nice.  This all came together really well.  The dressing was light with a little vinegar zing and all the veggies were crisp and crunchy.  Best of all, got thumbs up from the whole family.  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Monday: Thai Peanut-Sauce Chicken Pitas

Pin It Now! Okay, I admit it...I'm on a peanut butter kick.  Three recipes in three weeks.  Ah well, you eat what you love, right?  This just sounded too good to pass up.  Simple, super quick, tasty.  Check Check Check.
New recipe for Cooking Light, so no reviews on this one either.  (I must be getting more adventurous if I'm cooking food no one else has commented on!)  I'm also going to make my own peanut sauce from this recipe: Thai Peanut Butter Noodles with Chicken
I've never bought the bottled stuff before and not sure how spicy it is.  By making my own, I can control (ah, hello inner control freak) my own spice.

*note, this recipe is for two pitas, so double or triple accordingly

I haven't decided what to make for a side with this....any suggestions?  

Tuesday: Vegetarian Rice Noodle Salad

Pin It Now! Much to my hubby's dismay, I wanted to make a vegetarian dish tonight.  (trying to branch out more and all that)  I saw this recipe in my new Cooking Light magazine.  My daughters LOVE noodles and I figure if they can eat the tofu in miso soup, we can make this work. 

I've never cooked with tempeh before, though I know I like it.  It's one of those things that any normal meat eater would balk at.  Although tempeh is made from soy, it has a unique taste and is mildly flavorful on it's own, unlike tofu.  If you aren't fond of tofu, tempeh is also very high in protein and calcium, as well as beneficial isoflavones, but tastes nothing like tofu.  Tempeh has a textured and nutty flavor.  I just tell my girls they are eating chicken and with all the noodles mixed in, I'm sure this'll be a hit.  

Since it's a brand new dish for Cooking Light, there aren't any reviews about the recipe yet.  Perhaps I'll be the first!  :)    

Wednesday: Giada's Pasta e Fagioli

Pin It Now! I'm slightly addicted to the Food Network.  Love watching the variety of shows...even if I catch a bunch of repeats.  I'm not a big fan of Giada's actual show, but I love her cooking.  
My in-laws arrive today.  Now for some people, they might groan and moan about that prospect.  Me?  I'm a lucky one.  I love my in-laws.  My father-in-law is a retired Colonel in the Air Force.  My husband had me terrified to meet him the first time...then, a few glasses of wine later...we hit it off big time.  I think he finds me amusing.  My mother-in-law is a Mary Kay rep...and to her dismay, I didn't join the ranks.  (not my thing)  But she's great at what she does (earned a free car!).  She's a lot of fun and the girls have a blast with her.  So, yeah, we're totally stoked they're here to visit.  :)
My father-in-law loves Italian food.  (I knew I loved that guy!)  Since I am making a nice big Tuscan spaghetti on Friday, I thought I would keep with the flavors but make a nice soup.  I've already made two different versions of pasta e fagioli, but never one that doesn't even feature tomatoes!  However, the reviewers raved about it.  And it's Giada, the woman knows true Italian food!  This will be a wonderful dinner to sit down and visit with each other. 

Okay, so this doesn't look totally appealing, but let me tell you, this is SO good...the flavors are amazing.  Great soup, doubled the recipe and there still weren't any leftovers.

Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken Tostada's

Pin It Now! With the in-laws in town, I want to do some impressive cooking.  I catered to my father-in-law last night with a lovely Italian soup.  Tonight, my mother-in-law gets the attention.  She loves Mexican food.  Me?  I'm not really the biggest fan of traditional Mexican food.  However, I like when I can find a happy medium.
We made these a couple of weeks ago, some weekend where we were just kickin' it at the house.  At the time I just wanted something super quick and easy.  We just loved the feta in this.  All the flavors blended really well together and it was a light tasting dish.  Make a side of quac and chips and you've got a great, healthy meal.     

Friday: Traditional Tuscan Pasta Bolognese

Pin It Now! Okay, I've made this dish twice now.  Both times no one could stop eating it.  Didn't matter if you were full, you went back for more.  Honest.  I'm just warning you now...this is a food coma dish.  And I can't wait to indulge again tonight!  
Catering to my father-in-law again (and loving that I can make pasta even if the hubby doesn't want it...his daddy carries the trump card!)  :) 

Now, I'll mention again, the directions for this look wicked long and hard.  They aren't, it's actually an extremely easy dish to make.  This dish is one of those put in the time and love and you are rewarded with an amazing dinner.  
Another note, don't skimp on anything.  Especially the salt.  I know it seems like a lot...but it's just perfect.  If anything, make this your "bad" dish of the week and eat low-sodium the rest.  ;)  And make sure you really brown the veggies and the meat.  Makes a huge difference.

Buona cucina!  (happy cooking!)

Traditional Tuscan Pasta Bolognese

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