Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kielbasa and Peppers

Last night, I made this recipe which is an adaption of a Weight Watchers recipe from many, many, many years ago and a dish I used to make while I was in school.'s what you do...

Saute in extra virgin olive oil some sliced onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.  Add sliced light Polska Kielbasa to the pan. (I usually cut the slices in half...more meat per serving that way.) After that warms up, add sliced zucchini. Then, throw in some sliced green and red peppers -- or any color of pepper you would like. After they are cooked to your liking (we like them still crunchy), add a can of diced tomatoes. Heat. 

Serve with shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese. 

Variations: You can add penne pasta to this dish. That is how I usually make it...but it is still good without the pasta. You could also add fresh basil or parsley. I usually do this as well but my garden hasn't grown any yet...hopefully soon!

Also, feel free to add any additional veggies or toss the veggies you don't like. This is an easy recipe to make and change and experiment with.

Did I enjoy it? Very much so!

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would!

Will I make it again? Absolutely. 

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 28, 2011

New York Strip Steak

Because the first holiday of the winter during which we all overeat is over, it is time to eat a bit least until the next holiday, Christmas, comes during which we will again stuff ourselves silly. So, husband and I decided to cut out most rice, pastas, and breads for a bit.

Tonight we had New York Strip Steak with leftover Squash Casserole.

Instead of using steak seasoning or a marinade, I decided to go very simple with the steak. All I did was drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on the steak. Then, I sprinkled it with a good amount of coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. That's it. Easy, simple, quick. Husband grilled it outside to perfection. It was medium just starting to go towards more than medium. The steak was juicy, tender, and flavored just right. Sometimes, simple is best!

Did I enjoy it? Oh yes I did!

Would I recommend it? Oh yes I would!

Will I make it again? Absolutely. Probably next week. =)

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Squash Casserole

I made up this recipe a few weeks ago because I was hungry when I went grocery shopping and bought a few different kinds of squash. So, I thought, what can I make with these??? Then I came up with squash casserole.

Here are the ingredients:

1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 zucchini squash
1 yellow squash
1/2 small onion
1 Granny Smith apple
1 Braeburn apple
smoked gouda cheese
parmesan cheese, shredded
Irish block cheese
thyme (dried is fine)
fresh curly parsley (chopped)
salt and pepper

Basically, I cubed all of the above ingredients (except for the parmesan). The cheese does not have exact measurements, I just added however much I felt like at the time. The same with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Just added to taste.

Feel free to omit the onion...the husband thought there was too much the first time I made it. I didn't put any onion in the second time I made it because I knew my sister-in-law would be eating it and she doesn't like onions at all. (And she's pregnant, so I didn't want to upset her with onions!) The third time I made it, I used half of a large shallot. That didn't add a lot of onion flavor, but added a bit.

Then I put it into a large, deep casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I bake it at 350 until the squash is done...about 45 minutes.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. The smoked gouda really added to the squash.

Would I recommend it? Not to sound modest, but yes, I do recommend it. If any of my readers have had this recipe of mine, feel free to comment whether you liked or not.

Will I make it again? Yes, I will. I made it twice the week of Thanksgiving.

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Green Chili Beef Empanadas

I knew we were going to be having turkey at least twice this week, so, I decided to make Green Chili Beef Empanadas for dinner. We really enjoy this recipe. It is quite tasty.

You have to start with this, Beef Roast with Root Vegetables, in order to make truly yummy empanadas. I do not follow this recipe exactly. For the vegetables, I use baby carrots, potatoes, and onions. I leave the baby carrots whole, cut the onion in large wedges, and large chunk the potatoes. I omit the sweet potatoes, parsnips, and celery root. (While I do like these vegetables, I usually don't have these on hand...hence, the substitutions.)

I do not follow the exact measurements for filling the pie crust. I just fill them up until I can fit no more. Otherwise, there is just too much pie dough and not enough filling. And that is not a good thing. They end up too dry. So, fill them up!!! Extra cheese is always a plus.

When the empanadas are done, I serve them with fat free sour cream and salsa. YUM-O!

Did I enjoy it? Yes.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

Will I make it again? Yes...we make this regularly.

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roasted Flank Steak with Olive-Oil Herb Rub

Tonight, I wanted steak. So, I found this recipe - Roasted Flank Steak with Olive-Oil Herb Rub - in my Cooking through the Seasons cookbook by Cooking Light. (I love Cooking Light. Very seldom do I find a recipe by them that I do not like.)

Well, of course, I did not have fresh herbs on hand. (The aerogarden was just planted this week. Some fresh herbs are coming soon!) So I had to substitute dried spices for fresh. I'm certain the taste would be even better with the fresh herbs. But it was still fairly good. The steak was tender and juicy.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did but not as much as my husband. I think it will taste much better with fresh herbs as opposed to the dried.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would recommend it. But I'm not raving about it.

Will I make it again? Yes, I will because my husband really liked it and I will make it again for him. But I will definitely use the fresh herbs.

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quick Fall Minestrone

I love to make soup and I don't make it as often as I would like. My husband and I like to eat at least one mainly vegetable meal a week. So, as I was perusing my cookbooks, I found this Quick Fall Minestrone. (It was in my Cooking through the Seasons cookbook by Cooking Light.) It sounded good...I've "discovered" butternut squash this year - never had it before this year - and I really like it. And we love kale. Therefore, this was a good match for us to try.

Of course, even though I wrote out my shopping list while looking at the recipe, I forgot a few ingredients. I did not have the cannellini beans nor did I have enough vegetable broth. Actually, I used vegetable stock and I substituted 2 cups of the vegetable stock with chicken broth...that's what I had on hand. (I should have looked at the carton of vegetable stock to see how much was in it before I bought only one. Who knew it wouldn't be enough? Then again, I should have checked the recipe to see how much I needed before I went to the store. Oh well, you cook, you learn!) I did not substitute anything for the beans. I'm not a big fan of beans - except green - so, I didn't mind the omission.

This recipe was easy to make...the hardest part - well, not hard at all, maybe time consuming - was cutting the vegetables. But I enjoy wielding a knife and cutting food up. So, no big deal at all. And it smelled fantastic while it was cooking.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. It was sweet and had that warm, cozy feel to it.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would recommend it. It is a great fall, early winter meal that doesn't take much time at all to make.

Will I make it again? Yes, I will. However, it needs more salt and possibly more oregano. You could add more broth....but I like the veggies to stand out and not be drowning in the broth. However, an extra half a cup to a cup of broth would be okay. I may try that next time. Or I may add the extra broth to the leftovers when I heat them up the next day. But overall....YUM!

UPDATE! The leftovers definitely need extra broth!! But the leftovers were quite yummy once I added some broth to it. I used chicken broth as that was all I had on hand.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

My friend and I are having a Twilight movie marathon tomorrow in anticipation of next weekend's release of the new Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1. So, I decided to make dessert...something chocolate of course. We are both stay-at-home moms and this is going to be our "mental health day." The dads and kids will be at one house while we will be watching the movie in quiet and peace at the other. Anyway....

I decided brownies were a must and I have never made brownies from scratch. I started searching through my cookbooks and found this recipe, Peppermint Cheescake Brownies, that sounded promising. (Not only is it online, but I found it in my Cooking Light Cooking through the Seasons cookbook.)

This was an easy recipe to put together and, about 45 minutes later - start to finish, the result was yummy. I love peppermint and chocolate together. That's probably why my favorite drink from Starbucks is the peppermint mocha. The brownies are a bit dense - not heavy though - and gooey/chewy but good flavors. However, I did not have a 9 x 9 pan, so I used a 9 x 13 pan. Definitely use the 9 x 9 pan as called for. My brownies came out a bit thin.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. (I will let you know if my friend liked them as well.) She did! They were pretty good.

Would I recommend it? So far, yes. But I will make that final determination once I make them again in the right sized pan.

Will I make it again? Yes, I will but I will try them in the 9 x 9 pan as opposed to the 9 x 13 pan.

UPDATE!!! I made these again and used an 8 x 8 pan. They were much much much better!!!!

If you make it, let me know what you think!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Braised Chicken with Kale

Last night, I was pondering what I was going to make for dinner while I was painting our laundry room. I looked in the fridge to see what fresh vegetables we had and I found a beautiful bunch of kale. I thought to myself, "What can I make with this?" So, I went to the trusty internet, to and found a really tasty recipe. It was Braised Chicken with Kale. (This recipe was also found in my November 2011 issue of Cooking Light Magazine.)

I changed the recipe slightly...I didn't have chicken leg quarters or fire-roasted diced tomatoes. I substituted with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and plain diced tomatoes. I reduced the cooking time to 45 minutes. (I had to get some painting done before we could eat.)

Did we enjoy it? Yes! All I can say is YUM. It was so tasty.

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was easy to prepare and seemed pretty foolproof. 

Will I make it again? Yes, I will. However, I want to try it as the recipe directs...without my substitutions.