Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mac & Cheese w/ Cauliflower

This recipe was on the cover of one of my favorite magazines and it made my mouth water! The original recipe called for a crushed & seasoned breadcrumb topping, but I got a little impatient and eliminated those steps. I just served it topped with grated Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper. It was still really tasty. To read the original recipe in its entirety, click here.

(makes 6 VERY generous servings)


12 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked (I used whole wheat)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used extra virgin.)
salt & pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups (or 6 ounces) shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used reduced-fat.)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim.)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Drain.

3. Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the oil.

4. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. About 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, sour cream, cheese, milk & mustard.

6. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish (at least 3 quarts) and bake until the top is brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

NOTE: I used my enameled dutch oven from start to finish on this recipe. It worked well for cooking the pasta and onions. It eliminated the need to use a baking dish since it could also go right into the oven. Less dishes = happy cook.

Source (with modifications): Real Simple, February 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those foods that ranks high on the list for both my husband and I. He likes it because it's beefy. I like it because it because it's pasta. Combine that with the fact that I have a passion for my slow cooker and this recipe became instantly appealing.

Traditional lasagna is easy enough to make and is usually a crowd pleaser. However, the assembly can take quite a bit of time and you're glued to the house while the dish is in the oven. This variation in the crock pot is super easy and took 10-15 minutes from start to powering on the slow cooker. You don't even have to pre-cook the noodles! I was a bit concerned that they'd be mushy after the 4 to 6 hour cooking time. They weren't al dente, but they certainly weren't overcooked.

As you can tell by the picture, it's difficult to scoop out in nice "slice" form. The taste more than makes up for the appearance. Huge thumbs up from both my husband and I! We both took leftovers to work for lunch the next day...and the next day. It's equally as good (if not better) reheated.

By the way, we skipped the final step in the recipe which is why there's no cheese shown on top. We were STARVING when we got home for the gym and couldn't wait the extra 10 minutes. In fact, I think my fork was making its approach as I snapped the picture.

Makes 6 servings.


1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
1 small onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
15 oz canned tomato sauce
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cup(s) part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
6 item(s) dry lasagna noodles, uncooked
1/2 cup(s) shredded Parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

3. While that simmers, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese in a medium-sized bowl. .

4. Spray the inside of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

5. Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

6. Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.

7. Combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes.

Source: Weight Watchers

French Onion Pork Chop Skillet

This meal was so quick and easy! My husband declared it "a keeper." He took some of the leftovers for lunch the following day and said it was just as tasty after being heated up in the microwave. Definite comfort food for a cold winter evening. I also think it would be good for the summer because there's no oven required. You really can't see the pork chops. They really are under the onions. I promise.

The original recipe came from Kraft Food and Family, a FREE quarterly magazine published by Kraft. All of the recipes use one or more of their products and are usually pretty easy to make. There are also tons of great Kraft coupons in every issue. If you don't already receive this I'd highly recommend signing up. You can have it delivered to your mailbox or e-mail inbox. You can also opt to view the archived issues via the website.

(Makes 6 servings.)


1 and 1/2 lbs. boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (I used 3 thicker chops. See the note on cooking time.)
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 package (6 ounces) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken (I used reduced sodium.)
1 and 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup shredded cheese


1. Spray a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high heat.

2. Add the pork chops and onions. Cook until a meat thermometer in the pork reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5 minutes per side. NOTE: With my thicker pork chops the cooking time was about 10 minutes per side to reach the desired temperature.

3. Remove pork chops from skillet.

4. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and stir.

5. Return pork chops to the skillet and pile the onion mixture on top of the chops.

6. Mix together the stuffing and water. Spoon the mixture around edge of skillet.

7. Top with cheese and cover skillet. Cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. NOTE: The original recipe called for Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella. I used 2% Mild Cheddar because that's what I had. I say use whatever you have/like/want and it will still be good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Potato, Greens & Goat Cheese Quesedilla

I have officially discovered my new comfort food! I don't ever recall using mustard greens in my cooking before, but I really liked the bold flavor they added to this dish. This recipe was quick and easy which made it great for a busy weekend. I could also see serving it for company. The original recipe came from Bon Appetit and was posted on one of my favorite food blogs, YumSugar.

I did a couple things to lighten it up. I cut the hot pepper cheese back to from 1 1/3 cups to just 1 cup and used 94% fat free whole wheat tortillas in place of flour tortillas. I used the olive oil very sparingly so there was about 1 teaspoon total per finished quesadilla.

Makes 4 Quesedillas


1 1/3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 cup (packed) coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/3 cups jarred salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
4 2/3 cups coarsely chopped stemmed mustard greens (from 1 bunch), divided
4 8-inch-diameter tortillas (I used 94% fat free whole wheat tortillas)
3 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Olive oil


1. Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 275°F.

2. Steam potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Place in large bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss to coat. Cool potatoes 15 minutes. Mix in Jack cheese.

4. Meanwhile, blend salsa and 2/3 cup (packed) greens in processor until greens are finely chopped.

5. Arrange tortillas on work surface. Divide remaining greens between bottom half of each. Top greens with potato mixture, then goat cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa mixture for each. Fold plain tortilla halves over filling, pressing to compact. Brush with oil.

6. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas, oiled side down, in skillet.

7. Brush tops with oil. Cook until quesadillas are brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm.

8. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.

9. Serve quesadillas with remaining salsa.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Southwestern Chicken in a Foil Packet

Do not adjust your monitor. Aliens are not invading your computer. That's just the best picture I could get of this dish. The glare from the aluminum foil doesn't make this dish the most appealing thing to look at, but I promise it's good!

1-3/4 cups warm water
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1/4 lb. each)
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Ranch Dressing
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 cups small broccoli florets
1 red pepper, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Tear 4 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

3. Add water to rice. Let stand for 5 minutes and then spoon evenly into the center of each piece of foil.

4. Top rice evenly with remaining ingredients.

5. Bring up opposing sides of foil. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place in large baking pan or on a cookie sheet.

Source: Kraft Foods

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Portobello & Beef Patty Melts

Many of you may be asking this question: Where's the beef? I've got your beef right here! LOL I've also got a brand new laptop which means I'll be posting regularly again.

In case you haven't noticed, all of the recipes I've posted up until now have been made using chicken. I have a confession. I'm not a fan of red meat. (insert gasps of horror here) However, my husband IS a big fan. In fact, after our first 2 weeks of marriage (also our first 2 weeks of living together full time) I asked him if he had any requests for dinners the following week. He gulped, looked a bit hesitant and said "I need more beef." Since then I've been doing my best to incorporate red meat into our menu at least a couple times a week. He seems to be pleased with what we've tried so far, including these Portobello & Beef Patty Melts made using a recipe I found here and modified.

16 ounces lean ground beef
2 cups finely chopped portobello mushroom caps (about 2), gills removed
1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


1. Position a rack in upper 1/3 of the oven. Preheat broiler and line a broiler pan with foil.

2. Gently mix the beef, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined.

3. Shape the mixture into 4 patties and place on the foil-lined pan.

4. Broil about 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through.

I served these on toasted whole wheat kaiser rolls found on the shelf near the deli in our grocery store. My husband followed the original recipe and topped his with swiss cheese. I used muenster.

You could taste mushroom, but it wasn't overpowering. Using the portobellos also made them really juicy! The whole meal was easy to prepare and took very little time. It fit perfectly into our busy work week schedule.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

Unfortunately, this blog has suffered a minor setback. My laptop stopped working about a week ago and the pictures of my most recent cooking ventures were saved there. Yes, I know. I've already received the lecture on backing things up from my mother so I don't need it from you, too. In the meantime, I'll try to post some foodie related stuff for your reading pleasure.

I stole this one from a friend's blog which she took from

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros Thanks to my "mom" in Mexico!
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue I'll eat anything with cheese in the name.
8. Carp Courtesy of my dad, the fisherman.
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari It was on accident in Spain, though. Yuck!
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich like every single day!
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes They're my favorite!
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche Thank you trip to Spain!
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O More than I'd care to admit, actually.
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects I've swallowed a few on bike rides. Not on purspose, though.
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel not a fan
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal It's been a loooong time.
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho not a fan
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake