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Where have I been? Sheesh!

Wow… Yep, it has been that kind of a semester. I haven’t had too much time to cook or bake which accounts for most of my lack of posting. Also, school and work makes me super tired, so when and if i did get to make something, i surely couldn’t find the energy to post about it.

I still don’t really… but here is a quick list of things I have been making… hope you like them!

It all started with Martha Stewart’s Rhubarb Upside Down Cake . Let’s be honest, shall we? It was DELICIOUS. One of the best cakes I’ve ever made or eaten or anything EVER EVER EVER. I couldn’t get a good picture of the end result, but here it is in the pan before I took it out and flipped it upside-down. Yummmm….

Then, all I wanted to make was food- lots of yummy food. So I made pizza for dinner. It was based on a recipe from Rachel Ray (that I can’t find), but only loosely. Basically, I took pre-made pizza dough and spread a mix of olive oil, garlic, and parsley on it. Then I put grape tomatoes, spinach, and artichoke hearts on top. THEN I put lots of shreded mozzarella cheese on it. Then I put dabs of riccotta on half of it (because kyle hate riccotta). Then I cooked it at about 450 for mmm I don’t know… I guess 15 minutes. But I burned it, so I wouldn’t go by my time. Just watch. You’ll know…

Then, I made a pomegranate yogurt cake. It was okay… not the best. Though not horrible, I probably wouldn’t make it again. See for yourself if you’d like.

I spent the night at my parents’ house last weekend, so I decided to make my own version of hopi cakes. I used this recipe, but I mushed up the banana and mixed it into the batter. While they were cooking I dropped some blueberries and strawberries on top. Blueberries were good but strawberries were AMAZING. Definitely the best pancakes I’ve had homemade.

And then last night, I made an absolutely amazing asparagus gruyere tart a la Martha! It was so easy, it was so fast, it was so delicious. You MUST try it. Seriously.

That’s what I’ve been up to- how about you?

It’s been a while…

So I thought I would post a few quick things.

I made a feast with mom. It consisted of a roasted chicken, smashed potatoes and broccoli, and veggies. Oh, and rosemary buttermilk biscuits.

I also made Deanna’s famous turkey chili. It is simple. It is yummy. It is amazing.

 

I have more to post but oh boy this semester needs to end first!

 

 

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin Penne with Autumn Pesto

It has taken me a bit too long to post this recipe. Our internet was spotty and mostly nonexistent for much of the week and I just didn’t have it in my to find internet to write it to be honest! So here I am, finally writing it!

I have been really into Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals this week. The show, not the book(s)! It comes on food network about a billion times a day and I record all of them! They are short enough to watch during my break in classes and let’s not lie- Rachel just comes up with the best recipes! Like this one, this one, and even this one! I want to try ALL of them. (And I will, trust me!) I have a bookmark tab a mile long with “to make” recipes. If only I had enough time (and money for groceries) to do it all right now!

The recipe I made this week however was an offshoot of my obsession with 30 minute meals. I have been watching Rachel Ray’s daytime show again because I am so in love with 30 minute meals. I watched it every day with my mom until I moved out. It was our thing. We watched Rachel Ray, made salads and watched the Young and the Restless, and I went to class. I’m not quite into watching the Young and the Restless again, but I am back into Rachel! Anyway, she had a show a week or so back with a recipe for roasted pumpkin penne with autumn pesto. I missed everything else on the show, but I caught this recipe at the end and it looked amazing. It looked healthy, easy, fast, and yummy. So on Tuesday with VERY little time to make dinner, but a very large desire to do it, I tried her recipe. Let me tell you…. it was amazing. Kyle and I ate on our own (busy busy mismatching schedules!), but he called to tell me how obsessed he is with it. Generally when I make Kyle dinner, he eats it and moves on without a phone call. This warranted a phone call. It was just the perfect blend of everything yummy this time of year.

As far as following the recipe, I did it exactly as Rachel did, but I cut it in half as I am only feeding two and we generally don’t do well with leftovers. We still had leftovers and actually ate them with breaded, pan-fried chicken cutlets on Wednesday (an amazing mix that I definitely suggest!). I used the butternut squash rather than sugar pumpkin and didn’t top with pumpkin seeds, but otherwise it was exactly the same!

So her recipe can be found here, but I will copy it in the post for convenience! Definitely check out the website to see a video of Rachel making it (that’s what I love best about her recipes like this from the show!)…

ROasted Pumpkin Penne with Autumn Pesto

from Rachel RAy….

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley tops, packed
  • 1 cup baby spinach or farm bundled spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 inch ginger root, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed into past with salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne or semolina penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • Toasted lightly salted pumpkin seeds, available in bulk foods section of Markey, optional garnish

1) Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2) Place parsley, spinach, ginger, garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in food processor and turn processor on. Stream about 1/3 cup EVOO into processor to form a pesto sauce.

3) Drizzle the pumpkin cubes with 2 tablespoons EVOO and season with salt, pepper, paprika and nutmeg. Roast 15 minutes, turn the cubes over and roast 15 minutes more.

4) Meanwhile, bring water to boil for pasta, salt it and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy water just before draining. Drain pasta, return to hot pot, add reserved water and pesto, and toss to coat. Gently mix in the roasted pumpkin cubes and serve topped with lots of cheese and some pumpkin seeds.

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Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Squash

Sunday was just one of those days~ cold (really cold), rainy, sleepy, grumpy, yucky. It was a day made for soup. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience for soup on Sunday. My few experiences with soup taught me that it can be very simple or it can be very painstaking. It just takes TIME and some days I don’t want to give it time. My mom and I went to a holiday craft fair Sunday morning and she was telling me about the dinner she made the night before. It was a staple in our cold weather house growing up… It is easy, it is quick, it is nutritious, it is not very fattening, it is delicious. Roasted chicken with potatoes and veggies. Mom makes it with carrots, but I HATE carrots. She also makes it with green beans, adding rosemary to season it. I have had a steady flow of squash lately since it is so ridiculously good in season, so I decided to make it with the squash and oh boy was it good.

So here is the recipe. Perfect for a cold Sunday night or a rush rush weeknight. I have to warn you though, it is a comfort food. The type of comfort food that makes you super sleepy after dinner. So far, this is my favorite cooking dish and luckily Kyle agrees!

Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Squash

3-4 boneless chicken breasts (cut into little cubes)

a handful of baby red potatoes (or real potatoes) cut into small pieces

2 zucchini cut into rounds

2 yellow squash cut into rounds

(you really can use any kind of veggie you want, so feel free to substitute)

1/4 cup water

EVOO

S&P

1) Preheat oven to 425

2) Cut chicken into cubes, potatoes into wedges, and veggies into rounds (if you use carrots, the baby carrots can be put in whole, as can green beans)

3) Throw it all in a roasting pan or a 9X13 baking dish. Add water, some evoo, season with salt and pepper (rosemary also works well, or veggie seasoning, or most any spices). Stir it all around to get spices evenly distributed.

4) Cover and bake for 33 minutes. Stir it around a little more to make sure everything cooks evenly, then cook uncovered another 33 minutes or until meat is cooked and potatoes are a bit crispy.

Serve fresh out of the oven!

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Pumpkin Cookies

I made pumpkin cookies on Thursday. I was going to make my favorite peanut butter chip cookies, but it was pouring down rain, cold as can be, and the world was crying for pumpkin cookies. If my pumpkin bread signals the start of fall, pumpkin cookies signal the full-on arrival of the heart of fall. I remember coming home from school to these cookies on the table and words can’t describe the amount of nostalgia that comes with these babies!

I have only made them on my own a few times. I have trouble with the shortening. It isn’t a flavor problem because there is nothing problematic about the flavor in these guys. It is a texture and cleanup problem. Shortening makes such a mess and is such a pain to get off of spoons, scrapers, or basically anything it touches. I was reminded of this when i was trying desperately to get the shortening off my kitchen sink for about 20 minutes, but I have to admit that it was worth all the trouble.

Also worth noting is the cooking time. I am going to put the recipe down as my mom gave it to me, but I will mention here that I cooked them for about 9 extra minutes. I am not sure if it is the fact that my stove is a rotten child that turns off and beeps and generally isn’t the best, but they kept coming out smooshy. They are supposed to come out smooshy, but they are supposed to cool into fully cooked, soft, mushie cookies. In order to get that I had to cook them for the 14 minutes the recipe calls for and then put them back in for 9 minutes. Try it out, see how it goes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

here it is:

Mushy, Gooshy Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

1teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

(i add a bit of pumpkin pie seasoning because I like mine a bit spicy)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease two cookies sheets or line them with parchment paper (my favorite!)

2) cream together the shortening (i measure out 16 tablespoons because it is easier to get out of the container), sugar, egg, pumpkin, and vanilla.

3) In separate medium bowl combine salt, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin pie seasoning.

4) Add dry to wet ingredients and mix until the batter is about the consistency of whipped cream.

5) Drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.

6) Let cool completely before eating. Kyle didn’t wait. His belly suffered the consequences.

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Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

So here it goes: I cooked! Finally. A good, nice, not messed up cooking recipe! I should start by saying that I have a serious problem with cooking meat. I am always convinced that it is undercooked and as such, I will get horrifically ill and never truly recover. I think this has a lot to do with my distaste for cooking. I love making veggies, pasta, potatoes… I hate cooking meat. I finally bought a meat thermometer which has helped, but now I just obsess over whether I am using it properly and am still a little cautious about my food being undercooked. And now that I think about this, the fear of undercooked food goes into baking for me as well… I made pumpkin cookies yesterday (post to come later) and cooked them probably twice as long as was suggested because I was convinced they were mushy in the middle.

These are my cooking issues.

I did fight through them on Wednesday and made a really simple, really healthy, really yummy meal. Recipe is, of course, from Martha Stewart! It was so easy and so yummy. Rather than retype the recipe, I’m going to link to it and post my photos. I didn’t change much in the recipe. I added a little bit of garlic salt and garlic pepper because I just like the flavor of them, but other than that I followed precisely!

My tip is to not serve with pasta. I made some and it ended up getting wasted because the rest of the meal was so filling and yummy… OVerall, one of my favorites for a school night!

So here it is, Martha’s Sauteed Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms

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Toad in a Hole

I have been quiet lately! I found out that I gained 2.5 pounds (i know, it’s not a big deal, but still!) so I have been trying to not bake totally unhealthy food at all hours of the day! I do have a few things I want to post, but not very much time! For now, I wanted to post pictures of one of my best, most favorite breakfast foods ever~ TOAD IN A HOLE!

Deanna taught me this one (best mother-in-law-ish ever for doing so!). It is super simple and super tasty. I found a video recently by Padma going through how to make one. I do it essentially the same way, but I will lay it out just in case!

I start with a greased up pan and I butter both sides of a piece of toast. Using a small glass, I cut the center out of the toast. Put the toast in the pan and put the middle piece of bread in the pan also, though not inside the toast. Crack an egg in the hole of the toast. Cook until egg is white on the outside. Flip both pieces of bread over and cook the other side. In general, it is near impossible to make the egg and toast flip over in a beautiful, clean way. It is less than attractive, but who cares~ it is tasty!

The most important part is to make sure the egg is still runny so you can dip the toast in it. The whole thing should take less than 5 minutes and is a great pretty healthy breakfast.

Word to the wise~ be careful when using pumpernickel bread. I had to do this for Kyle last week because he had to have one and all we had was pumpernickel. It tastes very yummy but it is really easy to burn the bread and not realize it!

Enjoy!

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