Friday, September 30, 2011

French creole cod

I got this recipe off a blog I follow religiously that is written by Jessica and called Cajunlicious...she is a Southern girl who posts NOLA recipes that I hope to make for my friend Manda (who is from NOLA) when she visits! This cod dish was a guest post from a friend of hers whose site looks amazing as well....check it out HERE.

First off, you know about my love affair with Sam's and their large bags o' fish...I'm addicted.  We may worry about some things in life but we shall never worry about running out of cod or tilapia (my fave fishies besides salmon which I'm not able to cook because the boy hates the sight of it). Secondly, a recipe with this few ingredients? You had me at hello...

Next, any excuse to use my Tony C's creole seasoning and I'm you see, I didn't really have a choice when I saw this. It was printed immediately.

1 lb cod
2 t olive oil
2 t dijon mustard
1/2 t creole seasoning (stick to this, I used more and it was sallllty)
lemon juice and fresh parsley if desired

I use this stuff for all my recipes that call for dijon! I will never cheat on your Mr. Woeber...

Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees and Pam a baking dish before adding the cod to it. Mix the olive oil, mustard, and creole seasoning together, brush the spice mixture evely over the fish and place in the prepared dish.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  To serve: drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley.

I'm still on the lean protein plus veggie kick so no carbs for this meal...instead of setting these babies on a bed of rice, I've started putting my fishies on a bed of wilted spinach.  I just grabbed two huge handfulls of fresh baby spinach, a little butter (I took half of that butter out after the picture because it looked like too much), a minced garlic clove, and throw them in the microwave for 25 seconds.  Stir and serve, making a little bed for your fish.

I also went with my szecuan green beans which are always a fave, using the frozen green beans I saved from the garden...which turned out splendid I might add!  Justin finished his beans before even touching his fish! Man, they were good that night....

The flavor here was intense and the only complaint I had is that it was suuuuuper salty! BUT that was my own doing by adding waaaay too much Tony C's (the stuff makes me crazy) and for only using 2 fillets of cod when the recipe called for a full pound (which means I had twice the seasoning on each piece as I should have had).  So, all in all this would be made again, following the instructions of course...I guess I need to keep remembering that I don't always know everything...but sometimes I do :)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baked havarti chicken

As I've said before, chicken gets boring.  We all know that. Although I have a few great go-to's for plain old chicken breast (this one being my absolute fave), I'm always looking to expand my repertoire in the poultry genre.  Justin is sometimes a fan of this, and other times whines (yes, boys that big can whine) to me that we never eat the same thing twice.  Well, if it's not great, it's not getting made twice.  This was one that I couldnt quite put my finger on though...not sure if I liked it or loved it.

This has some intense flavors and could be very overwhelming to some people...for example, if you are not a fan of dill, you may as well skip to another post. We don't eat a lot of dill of a regular basis so it was sort of a divebomb on the tastebuds, but after halfway through I realized I sort of really enjoyed all the melding of strong ingredients.  But, you can decide for yourself I suppose...let me know what you think!

I have had this havarti cheese with dill for longer than I should have, trying to find a fun way to use it since it sort of scared me. I always have chicken breasts in the freezer and all the other ingredients seemed to be on hand so this was sort of a "well, I've got everything, better just give it a shot" type thing.

4 bonesless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can mushrooms (recipe called for fresh but I didn't have any on hand, it probably would have been better with fresh to omit some of the saltiness)
1 can whole green chili peppers (these are not spicy so don't get your pants/panties in a wad if you're not a heat seeker)
4 oz sliced havarti cheese with dill
italian dressing (fat free)
1 T butter
1 T white cooking wine
1 T worcestershershershershershire sauce (I never know how to say that, lol)
1 t garlic salt (I would use garlic powder next time to alleviate the saltiness as well)

Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing for at least 30 minutes but you could do overnight if you so desire...

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and throw the chicken in there in a baking dishfor about 25 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center and jices run clear.  Shortly before the chicken is done, melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until bubbling.  Pour in wine, worcestershire sauce (see, I do know how to spell it), and garlic salt, and bring to a boil. Stir in mushrooms and reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until mushrooms are tender (3-5 minutes).

Remove chicken from oven and lay green chili clices on top of each breast, then top each chili with slices of chese.  Return to the oven until cheese has melted. I realize this looks like a metric shit-ton of cheese but a lot of it melts off into the baking dish so don't judge me....

Remove chicken from the oven, top with mushrooms and pan juices, and serve.  This would've been phenom with some long grain rice to soak up all the juices but I'm trying to cut the late night carbs as much as possible so we're sticking with the protein plus veggie dynamic this week...I paired it with a side of the freezer sweet corn I made a while back.

Like the drip spots on the plate? I've never claimed to be a sweet food photog, I've got too much saliva falling out of my mouth to snap more than a couple pics before I begin to just imagine this on some beautiful china with perfect lighting and a gorgeous backdrop for me.  Thanks :)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Champagne punch

I was in charge of making the punch for Amanda's big bachelorette party this weekend, so I scoured the internet to find a yummy concoction that would be tasty, but not too strong for a pre-going out drink.  This turned out great and I liked the addition of fruit to it.  I tripled the recipe, since we were serving about 15 girls...and we only had a bit leftover.  I will give the amounts I used, as it was sort of tough to translate the amounts when the recipe called for ounces and the bottles of pop are in pints, the recipe called for quarts and the bottles of champagne were in milliliters, etc. 

3 (12 oz) frozen fruit punch, partially thawed
2 (16 oz) frozen bags of strawberries
2.5 cups orange juice
1 (2 L) bottle of diet ginger ale
4 bottles champagne (I went with brut so it wasnt the sweet variety since all the juices were so sweet)
6 cups water

I really wish I had a frozen ice ring, but we just kept adding ice to the punch bowl to melt (I used 6 cups of water instead of 9 cups since some of the ice would melt and I didnt want to dilute it too much, so if you have an ice ring, you may want to add 9 cups of water).  Add all ingredients and stir to combine, not much simpler than that!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cheesy hashbrowns and ham

I made this for a breakfast side dish to an egg casserole for the bachelorette party this weekend...but when I tasted it I realized it could be a side dish to a dinner or pot luck as well.  Most people had seconds and Brandy even asked for a container of the leftovers so I'm thinking it went over pretty it was in the "easiest recipes ever" category and you can't really beat that!

32 oz bag frozen hash browns
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used 98% fat free)
1 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
1/2 cup butter (I omitted this part)

I added:
1 lb cubed ham
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl so they are evenly coated with the soups....add to the lined crockpot and cook for 4-6 hours on low.  I won't say this is the healthiest recipe on the blog, but if you skip the butter and use the lowest calorie choices of the ingredients you can find, this isn't going to derail your day.  I only got a pre-cooked, pre-deciding to add tomato picture so this will have to do...still looked yummy at this point though! Next time I would also add onions, mushrooms, bell peppers....whatever I've got in the fridge! We had some picky eaters there this weekend so I'm excited to see how it will be when I beef it up with more veggies.  Kinda wishing I wouldnt have given all the leftovers away now...

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Crockpot beef stroganoff

I've never made stroganoff before.  I didn't think I even cared for it until Justin made it for me once when I was sick.  His mom has a bomb recipe that he calls her for each time he wants to make this has been one of his specialties that I haven't tried to make before. 

But since it's gotten chillier out lately, my dishwasher is broken until the repairman comes on Thursday, and I'm hitting boot camp in the evenings on the reg, I've been pulling the crockpot out as much as possible so I don't have to clean a bunch of dishes or worry about dinner when I get home ready to eat my arm off with a little post workout appetite.

1 lb cubed beef stew meat
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
8 oz cream cheese (fat free)
1 T cracked pepper

In the crockpot, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Cook on low for 5-7 hours, and stir in cream cheese and pepper a half hour before serving.  I served on top of a bed of no yolk egg noodles that I boiled right before serving.

Final verdict: Mama Stensland wins...duh!  We decided we like the ground beef in there instead of the stew meat.  I also didn't have any mushrooms when I made this so Justin was disappointed in that.  The sauce was very rich (although also very tasty) so this seemed like a fairly heavy meal even though I used thin egg noodles.  All in all, this was an alright dinner but nothing to write home about, would maybe make again since it was so easy but our go-to stroganoff will stay Candy's recipe...score one point for Mom!

I will have to get the full recipe and maybe (GASP) write it down this time to share with you all when we make it next...

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Spagetti sauce

I've had a hankering to make my own spagetti sauce for some time now. I didn't exactly know where to start so I bought these....Mrs. Wages spagetti sauce packets. 

This weekend I had about 21 tomatoes that were ripening in the house, and were ready to be used for some sauce experimentation. I don't want to do this on a large scale until I perfect the procedure. I have a recipe for bonafide pasta sauce from a legit Italian that I'm dying to use, but wanted to use up these sauce packets on the smaller batches first.  My mom's friend Laura's recipe will be posted after I get a large crop of tomatoes at once....I want to can hers as I'm positive it's going to drool worthy, and I don't have the freezer space to freeze that much of it.  Anyway, since I used this packet, this is more of a tutorial on the procedure of using your own tomatoes than it is a recipe.  But I will guarantee you, that after trying this, I have vowed to never buy my spagetti sauce again!

First thing first...pick your maters.  Mrs. Wages calls for 18 medium sized tomatoes per packet (about 6 lbs of fresh tomatoes, or 6 of the 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes if you don't have a garden) could probably use a few more or a few less.  Wash the maters...especiallly if you have a dog that likes to pee in your garden like I do.  Sorry for the picture of that in your head but I've seen him to it and will NEVER forget to wash the produce from then on!

Get a pot of water to a rolling boil and lower your tomatoes into it. Cook them for 3 minutes in the water, or until you start to see the skin crack....this means it will be very easy to remove the skin! I had to do 2 batches in this sized pot, I didn't want to get my huge stock pot out for some reason.

Throw the tomatoes immediately into ice cold water to prevent them from cooking any more after their 3 minutes in the boiling water bath are complete....

Peel back all the skins and cut all bad parts and cores out of the only want the healthy, juicy flesh for your sauce.

Add the cleaned up tomatoes to your food processor or blender, and puree them into a liquid.  I also added 2 jalapenos and a habanero (all with seeds removed), 3 cloves of garlic, and 1 cup of fresh basil to the blender to infuse more flavor into the liquid tomatoes.

After blending the mixture into a liquid, I added it to a saucepan with the Mrs. Wages packet, and a 1/4 cup of sugar (which I am thinking of omitting for my next try).  Bring to a boil.

While this is heating up, I was cooking 1 lb of italian sausage, some full and mini sized turkey pepperonis, some canadian bacon, and a diced onion to add to the sauce when it was done.

After the liquid boils, turn it to low, add your meat and onion (and mushrooms if you have any) and let the sauce simmer on low for as much time as you have, stirring occasionally. I let mine go for about an hour while I did dishes and cleaned up.  I added some italian seasoning at this point as well.

I cannot even tell you how much better this was than it's store bought counterparts.  Adding the peppers, garlic, and basil to the puree gave it some good flavor but not too much kick, it thickens up nicely while simmering, and all the different meats each add their own element to the sauce. 

This size batch made a little more than 3 of the Ball freezer jars (I believe they are pints) full of sauce, but we obviously had to save one back to eat immediately and froze the other two. These things are ahhhhh-mazing by the way...they screw on so the lids won't pop off in the freezer when the sauce expands, and if you have freezer space, it is a far easier alternative to canning. 

Anyway, all of this work on Saturday leads to this on Sunday that's a Sunday dinner!!

EDIT: I did another batch of this the following weekend, exactly the same except I didn't de-seed the jalapenos and habanero and YEEEEEEEHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE was that shizz warm!  I absolutely love the sauce with some smoke but if you aren't a heat seeker then make sure you take the seeds out of your peppers or you will get a lot more flavor than you bargained for....just an fyi!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Crockpot mu shu chicken

I tweaked this recipe a bit, but I absolutely LOVED this! Justin and I were discussing that I need to somehow tag the recipes we like so much that we want to make again, because we try so much new stuff, that we never remember ones we loved.  I'll work on a system for that....but in the meantime, this was a diamond in the rough as far as new recipes go. I'm glad he liked it so much because I felt bad that my kale recipes last week were not his faves (even though I loved them).  He's usually a big fan of the tortelini soup but with my last minute tortelini changeup came a wave of disappointment in his dinners last week.  So this week is all about boy food...I'm excited for the stroganoff I have in the crockpot for tonight, because that's one of his faves as well...hopefully it turns out as good as his mom's!

3 lbs bone in, skin on chicken thighs (could use chicken breast as well to cut calories, I had some thighs to get rid of so we went with the recipe)
1 t pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil (could go without this, I skipped it to lower the calorie count)
1/2 cup bottled hoisin sauce
2 cups prepackaged cole slaw mix (I used a half a bag of brocolli slaw that I had leftover in the fridge)

I also added:
2 cups fresh green beans
1 T crushed red pepper

Add all the ingredients in the first section except for the slaw, and cook on low for 5 hours.  Remove the chicken and debone before adding back to the crockpot.  Add the slaw, green beans, and crushed red pepper now, and I would probably add a can of mushrooms next time, I just didn't have any when I made this. 

Cook for another 1-2 hours on low and serve over a bed of Uncle Ben's teriyaki 90 second rice.  The crockpot full was annihilated by Justin, Curt, Jones, and myself on Saturday night...Sammy only got a small leftover plate.  Bonus points for crockpot dinners that are ready when everyone comes in the house from the shop hungry for some munchies after a few beers!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tortellini soup

Waste not, want not.  I had the perfect plan for the leftover kale from the night before's cod and kale linguine.  And I only needed 2 more ingredients!

"It's done already?"  If Justin's reaction doesn't tell you how quick this recipe is, I don't know what will prove it to you!  This is a 10 minutes from start to "face in the feedbag", 3 ingredients total, freezer friendly, yummy winter meal for those blah days where you don't feel like cooking. Or in my case, a perfect throw together after boot camp when you can't move your arms more than just to get food to your mouth, and that's only because it's a necessity.  Mama K found this a while ago and made it for me a couple times, she said Big Dan and Ben are not really fans so she thought it wasn't a "guy soup"....but Justin loves it, Curt loves it, and I'm told Michelle's hubby Mark really liked the leftovers she brought him last year when I made it for our Thursday night tv dinner once.

I usually use just plain cheese tortellini, and will be sticking with that from now on. I tried to venture out of the box with this one and use half chicken and prosciutto tortellini and half cheese...didn't fly so well with the man of the house.  He didn't hate it, he just thought it tasted "different"...and "different" usually means "why are you always changing things on me??".  Soooo, lesson learned. Stick with what works, especially when it works this well.

You can use whatever brand of pasta you wish, I go with whatever is on sale usually....

Boil a large can of chicken broth (I used 2 since I used 2 packs of tortelini).  Add the tortelini, I take it straight out of the freezer and throw it in frozen.  When they float, add the kale (I used a half of a bunch).  Another 2 minutes of boiling and you are ready to serve with some cracked pepper, and usually some crusty bread or baguette for dipping (I didn't have either this time).  Duh, duh, duh, duuuhhhhhhhhh......TORTELLINI SOUP!! 

Oh, and did I mention that the leftovers go in the freezer for an even easier meal later?  Seriously tastes just like you made it on the spot when it's thawed.  LOVE this stuff!

Check out my new pinterest and facebook share buttons below....I'm slowly learning this blogging stuff, inch by inch :)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cod and kale linguine

Superfoods are a special category of foods found in nature. By definition they are calorie sparse and nutrient dense meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients - nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves (like fiber). Kale is considered a superfood....and cod provides a variety of nutrients and is a great source of high-quality protein, omega-3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. It's actually said that eating one to two 3-ounce servings of fish per week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent.  Sign me up for some yummy healthy food after all the tailgating craptastic food I've been consuming lately! I've been looking for more seafood recipes and came across this one....I was immediately at the store buying the ingredients before I could even think twice.  Plus the leftover kale can be used in Mama K's tortelini soup (don'tcha just love it when the stars align)....which will be posted after this....mmmm, YAY for soups in the Fall!  :)

Mmmmm, look at the green leafy goodness!

Here's what you need:

whole wheat linguine
3 T olive oil
3 cod fillets (this recipe actually works for however many you want but I needed 3)
1/2 bunch of kale, cut up
crushed red pepper
2 T lemon juice

I also added:

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup leftover szecuan mushrooms from our steaks
1 T minced garlic

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a skillet and place your cod in the pan to cook.  Season these with salt and pepper before flipping. I had my water boiling and added my linguine to the pot before I started anything with the fish.  Cook cod until lightly browned and opaque, about 8 minutes, only flipping once. Take cod out of the pan and set aside.

Add 1 T olive oil to the pan and cook kale, mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and garlic until kale begins to wilt....about 3 minutes. Add 2 T water, cover, and cook until kale is tender, around 6 minutes. Add cod back to skillet to warm.  How flipping pretty is that??  Oh and it smelled phenom! 

Drain the linguine (toss with the remainder of the olive oil), and add the cod, veggies, and sauce to the noodles.  I used quite a bit of crushed red pepper, for some reason it works so well with olive oil in my mouth.  Cod is so naturally un-fishy of a fish that Justin actually asked me if it was chicken or fish when he tried this. I sprinkled a little reduced fat parmesan cheese on this and I was in heaven...

Very light tasting for a pasta, healthy, feel good, yumsical dinner.   I'm kicking myself for rushing out of the house this morning and forgetting leftovers for lunch.  Enjoy :)

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Monday, September 19, 2011


Welcome to Heaven...150 calories of bliss.  You're welcome.

Breakfast Everyone

Crockpot breakfast? Really? And I thought make-ahead breakfast casseroles were simple.  I am going to be honest and tell you that I didn't even have a bite of this at the tailgate.  I have no personal experience of this dish in my mouth...but the evidence I have to go on of it's taste is pretty legit.  The thing was empty.  EMPTY.  This was so heavy, it was like 10 lbs of breakfast casserole.  Gone.  So I'm assuming it was liked....if you try it and it's horrible, blame the drunk tailgaters who mowed this down and made me think it was amazing.

Since we began tailgating so early (I was def a Wendy Whiner when the alarm went off), I wanted to have a breakfast dish as well as the standard tailgate food...everyone needed a hearty breakfast to coat their stomachs for the big game day!  I found this recipe on and thought I would give it a go.

32 oz frozen hash browns
1 lb cooked ham cubed
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1.5 cups shredded cheese
12 eggs
1 cup skim milk
1  t salt
1 t black pepper

I also added:
1 lb cooked pork sausage
1 cup cherry tomatos from the garden, halved
1 can mushrooms, drained

Layer the potatoes, ham and sausage, veggies, and cheese so you have several layers in the crockpot.  Repeat until you are out of those ingredients (ending with a cheese layer).  Beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper....pour over the layers in the slow cooker.  Cover and turn on low for 5 -6 hours. 

As I said, I didnt get a chance to taste it, so I also didn't get a chance to photograph it after it was cooked.  I guess that just means I will have to make it again so I can try it....what a shame!  :)

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Basil goat cheese roll-ups

Day after tailgating. Felt like I turned 21 the night before.  I had 3 boys in the house.  I had one pizza.  This wasn't going to work out. Saw the can of crescent rolls.  Saw the goat cheese. Remembered the basil plant outside (what in God's name am I going to do when it freezes outside and I have no more fresh basil growing??).  Whew....the day is saved and I don't have to run/drag my butt to the store.

These were simple, filling, and yummy!  Times like these, it makes me glad I'm a food hoarder and have more crap in the house than I know what to do with.  I had planned on using these crescent rolls with cream cheese and jalapeno stuffing somehow...hadn't quite gotten my head wrapped around that idea yet so will have to try that at a later date.  I think I will be buying crescent rolls more often...

1 can crescent rolls
pizza sauce
goat cheese
fresh basil

Roll your crescents out, and smear them with pizza sauce.  Add sprinkles of goat cheese and basil before rolling up....

Wrap the little buggers up tight and add them to a greased baking dish. 

Bake at 425 degrees for 16-18 minutes.  Serve with marinara sauce or ranch...whatever your preference (I try to go with marinara as ranch is my arch nemesis...I could drink the stuff but don't want to consume all the calories it packs).

YUM! Nice and gooey inside, good flavor from the basil, and a perfect side for any Italian dish.  I will be experimenting with croissants a lot in the future...the only thing I was wanting was more cheese.  But that's a personal problem...there's never enough cheese in my life.

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