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!  :)

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