my foodgawker gallery

 

Wednesday
May112011

Macaroni and many cheeses

This is Week #19 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Ok, so I haven't had the best week in the world. Everything seems to have exploded at once. Why does that always seem to happen? By Saturday of this past week, I just wanted comfort, and preferably in the form of food. I was pleased to see that this comforting macaroni & cheese recipe was next on the list for my challenge! That could not have worked out more perfectly. I prepared it while my boys napped and then served it to them for dinner (they both loved it!) and, after they were in bed for the night, I went downstairs and scooped myself a huge bowl full of the comforting cheesiness. I sat in my little spot on the couch as I devoured its splendor and sipped wine and flipped through cookbooks. I suddenly forgot about the insanity in my world for a bit, and just enjoyed my comforting down-time.

Preheat your broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until a paste forms.

Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk until smooth.

Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickenend.

Off the heat, stir in:

2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses (Mimolette, aged Gouda, Vella dry Jack)

Salt and pepper

Stir until melted.

Stir the macaroni into the the cheese sauce and transfer to a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.

Sprinkle 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.

And broil 4 inches from the heat source for 4 minutes, or until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thanks for being there when I needed you, mac & cheese.

Click here for a printable recipe!

Sunday
May082011

Roasted brussels sprouts and a cookbook giveaway!

Hello friends! It is time for another cookbook giveaway! We are extremely grateful for our wonderful readers, so this is our way of thanking you for visiting our blog. Leave a comment on this post telling us what you did for Mother's Day or what the weather is like where you live or what your favorite cookbook is or anything you want, for that matter. We will randomly choose one lucky winner on May 16th, 2011, to receive a copy of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.

For additional entries, leave separate comments for any or all of the following:

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- Write about this giveaway on your blog, linking back to it.

 

Now onto a quick and easy veggie recipe from this very cookbook!

Have you ever read the children's book A Bad Case of Stripes? Poor Camilla Cream gets a bad case of stripes because she doesn't want to admit to anybody that she loves lima beans. And mmmmmm, does she love lima beans. When she finally decides to eat her beloved lima beans despite what others think of her, her stripe ailment disappears.

I can totally relate to Camilla! Well, I was never plagued with stripes, but when I was little I can remember asking my mom to pack me salads and vegetables for my school lunches. Sometimes I would be too embarrassed to eat them in front of the other kids. Other times I didn't care. Every single time, though, I was the anomaly. You like that? Eeeeewww! I did like it. I've always adored vegetables. And thankfully, now I'm an adult and I don't care what people think about the platefuls of broccoli I heat up at work for a snack.

Brussels sprouts rank right up there on my Favorite Veggies list. Not only are they delicious, but they are just the cutest little things. They look like adorable baby cabbages!

Roasting Brussels sprouts is super simple. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the ends of 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts and pull off any outer yellow leaves.

Mix them in a bowl with:

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Turn them out on a baking sheet.

Roast in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until they are crisp outside and tender inside. Shake the pan from time to time, to brown the Brussels sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve.

Mmmmm!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Wednesday
May042011

Colombian chicken soup

This is Week #18 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

When I saw corn on the cob in a soup, I got excited. I love using foods that typically do not go together, but that actually do go together. Like corn on the cob and soup!

My husband and I both loved this recipe. There are so many unique flavors in it and they taste amazing together.

In a small saucepan, cover 2/3 cup short-grain brown rice with 1 1/3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Season with salt and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine:

1 whole skinless chicken breast, on the bone (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 shucked ears of corn, cut into 6 rounds

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

8 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper

Bring to a boil and simmer over moderately high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Pull the meat off the bones and shred.

Strain the broth and return it to the saucepan. Return the corn to the broth and discard the remaining solids. Bring the broth to a boil and add:

1/2 pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Simmer over moderately high heat until nearly tender, about 8 minutes.

Add:

1/2 pound thick asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths

Simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Return the shredded chicken to the pot and season the soup with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with:

1 Hass avocado, diced

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free yogurt

1 tablespoon drained small capers (I used 2-3 tablespoons because these are hugely important to the flavor)

I have realized lately that I overuse the word "delicious," so instead I will declare: SCRUMPTIOUS!

Colombian Chicken Soup

Such a well-rounded, tummy-pleasing soup! (source: Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010)

Serves: 6

Total time: 1 hr

Colombian Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • Salt
  • 1 whole skinless chicken breast, on the bone (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 shucked ears of corn, each cut into 6 rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound thick asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon drained small capers
Instructions:
  1. In a small saucepan, cover the rice with the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, then season with salt and fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the chicken, scallions, garlic, corn, cumin and ½ cup of the cilantro with the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer the broth over moderately high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Pull the meat off the bones and shred. Strain the broth and return it to the saucepan. Return the corn to the broth and discard the remaining solids. Bring the broth to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer over moderately high heat until nearly tender, about 8 minutes. Add the asparagus and simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and season the soup with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls; garnish with the avocado, yogurt, capers, rice and remaining chopped cilantro and serve.

 

 

Sunday
May012011

Good casserole

I tend to gravitate toward making food that I know will photograph well. Colorful food is pretty, and pretty photos are fun to gaze at. But what about food that doesn't necessarily look beautiful, yet tastes great? Well, I say all types of food deserve a chance to shine! This recipe (which comes from The Big Book of Easy Suppers, by the way) was titled well because it is good! And really, tasting good is all that matters, right? Well, unless all you want to do is look at pretty photos of food.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook 12 ounces (4 cups) of egg noodles according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, combine:

1 pound ground beef (I used venison to make it leaner, considering all the cheese that is about to come)

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

Cook until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Stir in 1 can (15 ounces) of tomato sauce and simmer for several minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup sour cream (or plain nonfat yogurt for a healthier option)

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the cooked egg noodles (or, um, elbow macaroni, if you happened to grab the wrong thing at the store) in a lightly sprayed 3- to 4-quart casserole dish and toss with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the noodles in an even layer. 

Top that with the meat mixture from the skillet.

Top with 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese. 

Bake, covered, in the preheated oven until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

See? It's not beautiful. But it's totally yummy.

Good Casserole

The title says it all. This casserole is GOOD. (source: The Big Book of Easy Suppers by Maryana Vollstedt)

Serves: 6-8

Total time: 50 min

Good Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces (4 cups) egg noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place noodles while still warm in a lightly sprayed or oiled 3- to 4-quart casserole and toss with butter. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Spread mixture over the noodles.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine beef, onion and garlic and sauté, breaking up meat with a spoon, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add a little oil if needed. Stir in tomato sauce and simmer several minutes. Pour over the noodles and top with cheese; do not mix. Bake, covered, until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

 

 

Wednesday
Apr272011

Chopped salad with grapes and mint

This is Week #17 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

I made this chopped salad on Sunday and I have had it for lunch every day since. Well, except for yesterday when I met my husband for sushi only to return to work to find that roasted chicken, glazed carrots and mashed potatoes had been brought in by the company. My intention was to take just a teeny sampling of the food because, goodness, I had just eaten lunch. But my "sampling" turned into an entire heaping plate of food, which I had no problem stuffing into my face. Then someone said to me, "You have to try the carrot cake!" I do? Ok. So I tried the carrot cake. And then my belly hurt until dinner, which I wasn't at all hungry for.

So aside from that ridiculous double-lunching day, I have been enjoying this salad for my lunches all week. It's the absolute perfect lunch, packed with flavor and nutrients and it didn't leave me feeling either hungry or full. I'm pretty sure I emptied the salad bowl this morning, so tomorrow I'll be back to Ramen noodles. Wooo.

In a large bowl, combine:

1 heart of romaine, coarsely chopped

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup corn kernels

1 cup diced cooked chicken (I used meat from a Rotisserie chicken)

1/2 cup green grapes, halved

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Toss all ingredients together and serve!

By the way, I combined the ingredients for the dressing separately since I knew I would be eating the salad over the course of a few days.

I loved it! Totally delicious!

Click here for a printable recipe!