No Slivers Here

October 29, 2009

Long time no blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — bettylou79 @ 8:57 pm

I can only think of one valid excuse for not keeping up to date with this blog for the last 2 months.

My husband and I moved in the end of August and it was quite the whirlwind.  We looked for a new apartment practically the whole month and even had a great real estate friend helping us find places.  So at the last possible week she found us a place.  In the time span of  a week she emailed us the listing, we saw it on a Tuesday, signed the lease on a Thursday and got our friends together (bribed with promises of Pizza and beer) and moved on a Sunday.  On Monday of the next week we did the final walk through at our old place.  Wheew!  We rewarded ourselves with a Starbucks frap that we don’t usually get.

We are in love with our new place and the surrounding area as well as the great neighbors.   We still live in the same city but in a different area.  Our neighbors are great and wonderfully friendly, unlike our last place.  The best part about our new place is that the rent is cheaper than our old place but it is about 200 square feet larger!  I feel that the pride and joy of the new place is the huge kitchen!  The old place had a one butt kitchen but this one is huge!  We were finally able to use and take some wedding presents from 3 years ago out of there boxes!  We even have storage for our wine glasses!  I love it!  I’m in love with my kitchen!  I think I might need a Kitchen Aid mixer now.  My excuses for not having one used to be that they were too expensive and that I didn’t have the room.  Well, now they are just too expensive!  Good thing my big birthday and Christmas are coming soon!

The only other reason that I have for not updating is school starting up again.  Those kids keep me busy, well so does the gym!

Rest assured dear readers!  I have been cooking and baking.  I’ve even been taking pictures.  I have quite a few posts that are waiting in the queue so they will be appearing shortly.

Thanks for being so patient with me.

Have a great Halloween!

August 13, 2009

Another non food shameless plug!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 5:11 pm

Those of you who know me know that my husband is an artist and is desperately trying to break into the art world, be it video games or even just freelancing.  The latest word that I’ve heard is that he would like to go into business for himself.  Anyone know of a company looking for an artist??  He recently set up an Etsy site to display some of his fabulous talent.  Here is the link to his Etsy site.  Enjoy!

You might also remember his guest appearance on the blog when he wrote about coffee.  I mentioned his website: http://kingsheepblog.wordpress.com/ On said website he also has several of his comics posted.

Regular readers, I promise to update more often.  I have a lot in the que but cooking for myself (husband works nights) is getting a bit boring!  You will see more of me soon!

August 3, 2009

Blueberry Banana Bread

Filed under: Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 9:37 pm

What a perfect combination and what a perfect way to use some great fruit.  I always seem to have bananas in my house, in the fruit basket or in the refrigerator awaiting their fate or even in the freezer all nice and mashed and measured!  Unfortunately I was out of the frozen blueberries that my husband and I picked last summer so I had to resort to store bought, boo!
This bread turned out wonderful.   I loved the addition of the blueberry to the banana bread.  I sent half of this loaf with my husband to share with his coworkers.  They gobbled it up!  I plan on making this again when we go blueberry picking this month.  I think I will make 2 loaves this time.

I found this recipe while scrolling through my Google Reader.  Go on over to Delicious Melscious and check out her other delightful morsels!  Enjoy!

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Blueberry Banana Bread

source: Delicious Meliscious
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups ripe, mashed, bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup coconut

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

In a medium bowl and with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring well. Add bananas and coconuts, stirring just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

July 16, 2009

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

Filed under: Beef, Italian, Main Dish, Pasta — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 10:15 pm

I made this a while back when Seattle was on it’s first heat wave.  Of course while making these delicious little gems I was asking myself why I insisted on heating up the house with the oven.  They were well worth the work, the heat and the time.  If I remember correctly this pasta was another one of my ideas that happened in the grocery store after I discovered that manicotti was on sale!

Instead of consulting my trusty friend, “the internet”, I decided to make use of the many cookbooks that I have on the bookshelf and floor.  My husband bought me Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook for Christmas along with a fabulous Italy calendar.  Too bad a trip to Italy wasn’t part of the gift!  I have made manicotti twice and I must say I liked this recipe much better than the first time I tried it.  This was great as leftovers for lunch and dinner.  I was really craving some Garlic Knots to go with it though!

I suggest you try this for your next date night or anytime you want some great leftovers!

Enjoy!

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Beef and Cheese Manicotti

source: Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Directions

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.

Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Dot entire dish with the butter pieces. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

June 28, 2009

Greek Orzo salad

Filed under: Pasta, Side Dishes, Vegetables — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 10:35 pm

I will admit that I bought some of the ingredients for this salad on a total whim!  I was in the pasta aisle in the grocery store when what should appear to my wandering eye but pasta on sale, 3 for $5.  How can I say no?  It’s like a Buy One Get One Half Off sale on shoes.  You can’t pass it up.  So I tossed the pasta I was there for into the cart and I tossed in another box of a kind I knew we would need eventually and then I decided to toss in the orzo in hopes of making this salad eventually.

I was inspired by a former coworker who now teaches at a different school.  Whenever we had potluck type gatherings she would bring this salad.  I always asked for the recipe but got the ever classic, “Oh!  It’s so easy!  I just toss a little of this and a little of that in and viola!”  Argh!  I don’t do well with that type of response when I’ve never made the recipe.  So I searched all over the internet for a recipe that sounded like it would taste similar to the fabulous salad Sue always brought.  I added a few extra ingredients to the recipe to suit my own tastes.  I thought it turned out wonderful.  I suggest making this for a large gathering rather than just two people otherwise you will be eating this for a week, like me!!

Enjoy!

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Orzo, Feta, and Tomato Salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette

source: Epicurious.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped I added this
  • 24 ounces cherry tomatoes, stemmed, halved

Preparation

Cook orzo in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl.

Whisk lemon juice, 5 teaspoons marjoram, mustard, and lemon peel in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Set aside 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Add remaining vinaigrette, cheese, onions, and olives to orzo; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand 2 hours to allow flavors to develop. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate salad and remaining vinaigrette separately.)

Toss tomatoes with reserved vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix tomatoes into orzo. Sprinkle orzo with remaining 1 teaspoon marjoram and serve.

June 23, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes

Filed under: Chicken, Main Dish, Vegetables — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 8:06 pm

A few weeks ago when Seattle was just starting it’s 30 day streak of no rain, my husband and I decided to grill instead of heating up the whole apartment.  I knew we were both in the mood for chicken on the grill.  My next step was to consult one my dear friends, the Food Network website.  The most logical chef/tv show to consult was Bobby Flay of Boy Loves Grill.  Just the title of this recipe had me sold.

My favorite part of the meal was the vinaigrette.  It was so fresh and smooth.  I did choose to not roast my garlic but I don’t think it made a big difference.  I made one other change with the potatoes.  My husband and I went on a wild goose chase looking for fingerling potatoes and 3 different stores before finally settling for small red potatoes.  Why can you never find what you’re looking for at the grocery store when you need it?!  My husband said that the chicken tasted great even the next day when he had it for dinner at work.  I think that we might need to invest in a larger grill soon.  We have  small one on our patio but it definitely doesn’t hold a lot of food!

Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes

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source: Food Network: Boy Meets Grill

Ingredients

For the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette:

  • 8 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

For the grilled chicken and potatoes:

  • 12 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 4 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breasts
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Fresh oregano sprigs, for garnish

Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

For the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette:

Combine garlic, vinegar, oregano, parsley, honey and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until emulsified. Stir in the red chile flakes.

For the grilled chicken and potatoes:

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until a paring knife inserted comes out with some resistance. Do not cook the potatoes all the way through because they will continue cooking on the grill. Drain well and when cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise.

Heat the grill to medium.

Brush the chicken and potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. A few minutes before the chicken has finished cooking, place the potatoes on the grill, cut-side down and cook until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling about a minute longer. Remove the chicken and potatoes to a platter and immediately drizzle with the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano sprigs and parsley sprigs.

June 10, 2009

One Year Ago Today…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 9:22 pm

I started this blog one year ago today.  There were several reasons that I started it.  One was that I had been recently introduced to the world of food blogging by the lovely ladies on the Nest’s What’s Cooking board.   I loved looking at all the new and yummy recipes.  Another reason I started it was becuase I needed something to do over the summer.  I am currently a substitute teacher so as you can imagine there isn’t any work as a sub in the summer.  Thankfully I did teach summer school to fun group of 21 pre-Kindergarteners and pre-1st graders.  I had a blast with them and I’m excited to be teaching summer school again this summer.  Another reason that I started the blog was to have some where to chronicle all the recipes that I was trying and those that were my favorites. This blog inspired me to take risks, try new foods and set some food goals and resolutions.

I was trying to figure out a way to celebrate this milestone and first I decided to do a list of my top 10 favorite posts from the previous year.  That task was much more difficult than I had thought.  So I decided to do my top 3 favorite recipes from all most all the categories I have created for this blog.

Here goes!  I’ve included links to each recipe.  Enjoy!  I hope some of my favorites are also yours.

Appetizers:

Smokey Chipotle Hummus

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Spinach Dip

Beef

Beef Stir-Fry with Snap Peas

Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Chili

Cheddar Topped Shepard’s Pie

Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Soft Garlic Knots

Black and White Banana Loaf

Breakfast

Banana Cinnamon Waffles

Bacon and Egg Muffins

Buckwheat Crepes with Eggs, Ham and Cheese

Muffins

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Tropical Muffins

Cinnamon Crunch Muffins

Chicken

Chicken Stew with Dumplings

Peanut Crusted Chicken Breasts

Pineapple Stuffed Jerk Chicken

Chinese

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

Chicken, Cashew and Red Pepper Stir Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

Hello Dolly’s

Mini Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Desserts

Espresso Kahlua Brownies

Molten Lava Cakes

Banana Chiffon Cake

Fish

Lemon Garlic Tilapia

Salmon Steaks with Hoisin

Panko Crusted Fish Sticks

Holiday

Spritz

Irish Soda Bread

Cranberry Ginger Jelly

Italian

Mini Meat Loaves

Fettuccine Alfredo

Easy Meatless Manicotti

Mexican

Mexican Lasagna

Guacamole

Chipotle Sloppy Joes

Pasta

Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese

Crock Pot Lasagna

Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash, Pancetta and Sage

Pork

Asian Style Pork Chops

Crispy Breaded Pork Chops

Spicy Apricot Glazed Pork

Side Dishes

Roasted Asparagus

Crash Hot Potatoes

Rice Pilaf with Pecans

Soup

Parker’s Split Pea Soup

Lentil Soup with Beef

Southwestern Corn Chowder

Turkey

Italian Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash

Florentine Turkey Meatloaf

Tex-Mex Turkey Burgers

Vegetables

Potato Cauliflower Gratin

Eggplant Parmesan

Zucchini Potato Pancakes

I hope you enjoyed reading some of my favorite recipes.  Happy cooking!

June 8, 2009

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Filed under: Dessert, Holiday — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 10:10 pm

Or Happy Birthday to my husband and Happy Mother’s Day!  I realize this post is a bit late coming but there really isn’t any good excuse other than it got buried in all the other posts waiting.

I made this cake for my husband’s birthday but also for my Mom who was coming down to have dinner with my husband and I before she and Lance headed out for Mexico the next morning.   My husband loves anything that has peanut butter in it and when I showed him this cake I had to file it away for his birthday cake or another special event involving him.

This cake was delicious but oh so rich!  The chocolate cake was so nice and moist.  I think my favorite part of the whole cake was the yummy peanut butter frosting.  I had so much fun decorating this cake from frosting it to putting on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on it.  I’m so glad that it wasn’t just my husband and I eating this cake for dessert that night because it would have taken us weeks to finish it.

This cake does take some time to create but it is so worth it!  Enjoy!

This fabulous recipe popped up in my Google Reader and I have found that I’m always oogling over things on Annie’s blog.  Go check out the yummy treats on Annie’s Eats.

100_3821

Reese’s Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

source: Annies Eats blog


Ingredients:
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)

For decorating:
1 ½ – 2 batches peanut butter frosting
miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped

Directions:
For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.) Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

Source: inspiration from Smells Like Home, cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, frosting from Ina Garten

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May 26, 2009

Roasted Asparagus

Filed under: Side Dishes, Vegetables — Tags: — bettylou79 @ 11:20 pm

A few weekends ago for Mother’s Day weekend we did a combination Mother’s Day dinner and a birthday dinner for my husband.  My mom and her boyfriend came down to our place for dinner.  They were on their way to the airport for their flight the next morning to Mexico for a week.  Must be rough huh!?  So the meal had to be things that both my mom and my husband would enjoy as well as her boyfriend.

I went to the Farmer’s Market the Saturday before my mom came down.  I thought that Asparagus would go well with the Baked Pasta I was making for dinner.  My husband’s friends had just told us about how much they loved roasted asparagus and how they will never boil it again after having it this way.

Amidst all my cooking, it was the busiest day ever, I assigned my husband the task of finding a recipe for roasted asparagus.  He hit the jackpot with this one!  He even prepared this recipe because I was frosting his birthday cake (recipe coming soon).

I strongly suggest you try this recipe, even if you say you don’t like asparagus, you might surprise yourself!  Enjoy!

100_3815

Roasted Asparagus

source: Simply Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus spears (thick spears are best for roasting)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper
  • Lemon juice

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse clean the asparagus. Break the tough ends off of the asparagus and discard.

roasted-asparagus-1.jpg roasted-asparagus-2.jpg

2 Lay the asparagus spears out in a single layer in a baking dish or a foil-covered roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the spears, roll the asparagus back and forth until they are all covered with a thin layer of olive oil. (Alternatively you can put the asparagus and oil in a plastic bag, and rub the bag so that the oil gets evenly distributed.) Sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Rub over the asparagus so that they are evenly distributed.

3 Place pan in oven and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus spears are, until lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Drizzle with a little fresh lemon juice before serving.

Serves 4.

Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

Filed under: Chicken, Chinese, Main Dish — Tags: , — bettylou79 @ 10:00 pm

I think I go through phases of foods that I become obsessed with for while.  For some reason any time I see an Asian inspired recipe in a magazine I am compelled to make  it!  I love how easy stir-fry is to toss together.   My husband and I got married almost 3 years ago and we received a wok as a shower gift.  Sadly the poor thing is still in it’s box in the closet that we have dubbed my teaching closet and the wedding gifts that we have no room for yet closet!  So look for more stir-fry recipe when that walk gets a new home in the kitchen when we move into a larger house/apartment this summer!

I suggest you try this when you’re in the mood for a light but great meal! I love what the cashews add to this recipe.

Enjoy!

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Chicken, Cashew, and Red Pepper Stir-Fry

source:  Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4  teaspoons  cornstarch, divided
  • 2  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2  teaspoons  dry sherry
  • 1  teaspoon  rice wine vinegar
  • 3/4  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1  pound  chicken breast tenders, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1/2  cup  coarsely chopped unsalted cashews
  • 2  tablespoons  canola oil
  • 2  cups  julienne-cut red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1  teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions

Preparation

1. Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and next 4 ingredients (through hot pepper sauce) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Combine remaining 2 3/4 teaspoons cornstarch, remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cashews to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Remove from pan.

4. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add chicken mixture to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in a bowl. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger; cook 30 seconds. Add chicken and cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick. Sprinkle with cashews and green onions.

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