Sunday, October 31, 2010

Second Annual Halloween Dinner (well, lunch)

Happy Halloween!

Last year I started a tradition with my family (husband, mom, dad, nana, little brother) of having a Halloween dinner. On last year's menu we had "hash brown brains", bloody eggs, and other Halloween themed breakfast for dinner items. It was very fun. So, we decided to reconvene and repeat the festivities this year.

Since there were some difficulties with scheduling dinner this year, we opted for Halloween lunch. Basically we had dinner for lunch. I didn't really do too much Halloween themed food this time. Late last week I planned my menu: pork tenderloin, green beans, and marbled baked potatoes. Then, this week I was watching Barefoot Contessa do a "Halloween for adults" episode and she had almost the same menu (she had baked apples vs. potatoes)! I was very excited that I had planned on my own what she actually did.

I did a rub that I saw Ina Garten do on that episode for my pork tenderloin. In the food processor, you grind together 4-6 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp fennel seeds, 1/3 cup rosemary, and 2 tbs of lemon zest. Then, you add 2 tbs of evoo, 2 tbs of dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Rub the pork with the mixture and bake on 350 for about 30 minutes.

The green beans I made were the same ones from the previous post. I love their flavor.

The baked potatoes were pretty good. There were a little time consuming, but they were sort-of Halloween themed. Basically you bake 6 russet potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes for 20 minutes. (My measures are a little larger because I was cooking for 6 people). Then, take them out, poke with a fork, bake for 15 more minutes. Then, skin the sweet potatoes and mash them in a bowl. After that, cut the russet potatoes crosswise on top and scoop out the flesh. Put the russet flesh in a bowl and add 3-4 tbs of butter, 1 cup sour cream, a pinch of nutmeg, and about half a cup of cheddar cheese. Then, you gently fold in the sweet potatoes. After that, you stuff the potatoes back and bake them for 25 more minutes. I'll link the recipe here.

For dessert, my mom made pumpkin bread. It was oh so delicious.

After lunch, some folks went on a walk while my dad and I carved my pumpkin, and husband washed dishes. (He's a good one.) My dad and I always carve a pumpkin on Halloween. We've been carving since I can remember. We usually stick with a pretty classic design. Of course, we toasted the pumpkin seeds afterward!

Now, husband and I are watching "Under Wraps"- a Disney Channel Halloween movie from when we were kids. He is actually sleeping and I am watching, but it is on none the less. It will be the last Halloween movie for the year, which is sort of sad, but that just means Christmas movies are coming!

That's all for now...don't let roaming goblins and ghosts get you!

Props & Drops

This is a quick post on two dinners from this past week. Both were from the Food Network magazine, and I followed the recipes- I didn't make any changes. So, I am going to link them.

Props to Creole Chicken Wraps. These were easy and really good! It was a great, quick fall meal. I would recommend them.


Drops to Western Eggs. This dish looked really good in the magazine. Maybe I did something wrong, but we definitely decided that this dinner would not be repeated.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back In Business

My laptop has returned!

On Thursday night my husband grilled some chicken and I cooked some green beans. It was a quick dinner because he has a meeting on Thursday nights. Both the chicken and the green beans were really good. The chicken was good cut up on a salad the next day for lunch too. We ate all of the green beans at dinner, they were excellent if I do say so myself. I par boiled them for about five minutes. After that, I sauteed them in some evoo. I added garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a couple dashes of paprika. So easy, so good!

Last night we enjoyed salmon with a brown mustard glaze and black forest brusell sprouts. The brown mustard glaze for salmon is one of my favorites. Both items were from an old Rachael Ray magazine from my early days of cooking. For the glaze, you whisk together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lemon. I seared my salmon and then transferred it to a baking pan. Then, I poured the glaze on and baked it on 400 degrees for about 7 minutes.

To start the brussell sprouts, you need to boil a pot of water. Cut and trim the sprouts (about one pound). Boil for five minutes. While they are working, cook up five to six pieces of bacon. Once the bacon has cooked, remove it from the pan reserving the grease. Into the grease you add one onion, sliced. Cook the onion until soft. After it has finished, you remove the onions and reserve the pan. Drain the brussell sprouts. Into the pan that the onions and bacon cooked in, you add the brussell sprouts and cook for about five more minutes. Crumble the bacon and add it and the onions back to the pan (to re-warm them). Transfer all to a bowl.

Before dinner we went to see "Life As We Know It". It was super good, I recommend it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So here's the skinny on my laptop: it's still broken. It's still not here. Boo.

The 4-1-1 on husband's laptop: it seems to be doing fine after recovering from "a critical battery error" during which the laptop squaked and beeped and squealed at me several times. I exude bad luck when it comes to computers...oh well.

An update on what I've been cooking lately...well it is sort of hard to remember because it's been a while, but I will apply my critical thinking skills and remember some of the dishes. (which is not really critically thinking, but whatever) I do have to note that my husband just looked at me and asked me, "what are you doing?" I said, "I am blogging." Then, another series of comments went down which ultimately resulted in him saying "why are you blogging you haven't cooked anything interesting in a week?" Thanks.

Let's see..I cooked a tilapia dish with roasted new potatoes. It was so simple and really good. In fact, I'd eat it again and I don't even really like tilapia that much. You start off by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then, I coated a baking sheet with foil which you then add the potatoes (8 or so new small potatoes), a lemon, sliced, and fresh thyme. You coat all of that with extra virgin olive oil and roast for 20 minutes. While that is working, you salt and pepper the tilapia, and sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of paprika on it. After the potatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, nestle the tilapia in with the potatoes and cook for about 15 more minutes. It was so good! It's a recipe from Real Simple this month. I linked the recipe...I didn't follow it exactly.

I also cooked a spiced couscous and chicken dish from this month's Food Network Magazine(my new favorite food mag to which I'll be subscribing from now on). I'll link the recipe because honestly, I didn't follow it enough to write about how to change it, and I didn't like it. It was a one hit wonder in this household.

This past weekend husband I visited family in Florida. While I was there, I cooked diner with some of the family. We had fillet, my favorite risotto, grilled corn, and Cesar salad. There was good food and good company. It was nice to have dinner with everyone! While there we dined at Disney World, but that's really nothing to write home about. The trip was fun, the food was, well, theme park food. We also went out to dinner one night to Bonefish- only one of my favorite restaurants. That made my stomach smile.

I'm sure I have cooked other, perhaps, noteworthy dishes, but I can't recall them right now. And-this post is long enough. I apologize for the lack of pictures, but the links do have a picture if you're just dying to check it out (which I know you all are, don't deny it).

In closing, I would like to recommend to you pretzal lovers out there, Pepridge Farm Baked Naturals Pretzal Thins. I bought them tonight and they are delectable.

Until next time...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Laptop is sick

My laptop is sick and therefore had to be shipped off to be fixed. So, currently I am having to share a computer with my husband. So I don't really get the time to post/upload pictures. Plus, while I'm appreciate of him letting me use his computer, I just like mine better, call me a laptop snob if you will. So, I will resume posting as soon as my laptop returns and when that will be is yet to be determined; I am at the mercy of Dell. Until next time...

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Favorite Risotto

Right now I am sitting in my living room with the heater on. I can’t believe it went from 80’s to 60’s so quickly! But, alas, I am glad fall is here. October is my most favorite month of the year. I love the leaves changing, the weather cooling (although the permanent cool of winter I am not a fan of), pumpkins, a change in wardrobe, and the colors. Tonight I am going to paint my toe nails a new fall color and break out my fall/winter clothes. The night promises to be productive. I am cooking tilapia with roasted tomatoes and lemon. The recipe looks appetizing. I wanted to make onion rings (someone mentioned onion rings the other night and I have wanted them ever since), but the lack of some ingredients and my small opposition to frying things seems to be getting in my way. I am positive I could get over the frying aversion, but I really don’t want to drive to the grocery store, so I will have to forego the onion rings.

Tonight’s post is on two dinners from last week. It seems as if my time to post dwindles each week, therefore causing quite the delay in posting. The first dinner was grilled flank steak, sautéed squash, and tomato risotto. This is my ALL TIME favorite risotto recipe. I love, love, love this risotto and if you come to my house I will probably make this for you. The recipe is as follows:1 onion, diced, 3 cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 cup (or so) of risotto, ¾ c white wine, 16 oz chicken broth, 28oz can of diced or pureed tomatoes, 2tbs butter, and 1 cup of parmesan cheese. First you combine the chicken broth and the diced tomatoes into a large sauce pan and simmer on low. While that is working, sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant. Add the risotto to the onion and garlic, cook for one minute. Then, pour in the wine and cook until absorbed, salt and pepper to taste. After the wine has absorbed, add a ladle or two of the broth mixture into the risotto and cook until absorbed. Continue adding another ladle full until the broth is gone. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the 2tbs of butter and the parmesan. I love it.

The other dinner in tonight’s post is salmon with steamed carrots and sautéed zucchini. I coated the salmon in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and then grilled it. I sautéed the zucchini in evoo, and added salt, pepper, and garlic. For the carrots, I steamed them in the microwave with a dash of brown sugar. To top the salmon I made a shallot vinaigrette that is a recipe from Real Simple September (not pictured). The vinaigrette was a ¼ cup diced red onion (I substituted this for the shallot since I had it), 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp dill, 3 tablespoons of evoo, salt, and pepper. It was really good.