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February 28, 2012

Martha Stewart Living Three-Cheese Gougeres

If you've followed this blog for any amount of time you know that I love cheese. When my husband and I traveled when we were younger I was the one interested in the various local cheeses and food, not the shopping and tourist attractions. My two kids have followed in my foot steps and are often caught in front of the fridge eating large amounts of goat cheese. Since I eat cheese so frequently I am always experimenting with new recipes and cooking methods. In the past year I have tried more than a few gougeres recipes, but none have turned out as well as I hoped. Recently, Martha Stewart Living magazine had a recipe for Three-Cheese Gougeres, which looked promising and full of one of my favorite foods, cheese.

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes approximately 55 minutes of prep and cooking time and makes 26 puffs. I actually had to buy new white wine since the bottle in my fridge had been in there so long that it had brown sediment when I poured it. I was able to find all the ingredients easily at my local grocery store and I didn't have to make any ingredient modifications. I weighed out my cheese on my food scale to insure proper amounts in the recipe. If you don't already utilize a food scale I highly recommend buying one, having exact amounts of an ingredient can really make or break a recipe. Watch the gougeres the last 10 minutes of cooking time. I actually rotated my pans and switched them halfway through the cooking time to prevent burning and ensure even browning. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I was impressed by how well these gougeres turned out. In many of the previous recipes that I have tried the puffs never actually puffed up and stayed flat. These gougeres turned out beautifully. I like that they use three different cheeses and would be perfect for a party or brunch. I served my gougeres as a side with red meat and the combination was perfect. They would also work well with a variety of other meats or soups. Overall, a better recipe for gougeres than the previous ones that I have tried and great for a party.

For the recipe go to Three-Cheese Gougeres.

February 26, 2012

Better Homes and Gardens Cumin-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes with Sage

Try as I might, I have never been a big fan of baked potatoes. While everyone else is eating a baked potato at steak houses, I am the lone one eating french fries. I have tried adding various toppings, and still the allure eludes me, I just can't enjoy baked potatoes. However, I absolutely love baked sweet potatoes. I love the sweet taste and how versatile they are in recipes. Luckily my two kids also prefer sweet potatoes and we eat them approximately once a week. Recently, the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine had a recipe for Cumin-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes with Sage, which looked very simple and a great side for a variety of main dishes.

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes approximately an hour and ten minutes to prepare and roast and makes four servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store and therefore made no ingredient modifications. I was out of waxed paper to roll the butter in to freeze, so I used parchment paper instead and it worked fine. My kids aren't fans of strange green foods, so for their servings I left off the fried sage leaves. Remember to try to buy sweet potatoes that are approximately the same size in order to ensure that all the potatoes are cooked at the same rate. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

The combination of sweet and spicy in this recipe is delicious. The butter with the mingling of maple syrup and crushed red pepper is very flavorful and would work well on a number of other breads and vegetables. The skins of the sweet potatoes turn out crisp and full of flavor from the cumin seeds and are a great source of fiber. I still have a large stick of the leftover butter in my freezer and intend to use it with various vegetables in the weeks to come. This is definitely a recipe I will be preparing as a dinner side again in the future.

For the recipe go to Cumin-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes with Sage.

February 25, 2012

Food Network Magazine Warm Beet-Orange Salad

I'm back! My internet is on and I am so much happier! So back to my normal posts. Since I was sick in January and diagnosed with very low potassium I have made a great effort to include more fruit in my family's diet. I have always been great about preparing vegetables, but fruit is another story. I am happy to report that the last time I had my potassium checked it was perfect and I don't have to go on any daily medication. I feel so much better and less tired now that I have been diligent about including more fruit. Plus I have discovered that fruit can be delicious in recipes. The January/February issue of the Food Network Magazine had a recipe for Warm Beet-Orange Salad, which promised a delicious combination of fruit and vegetables and very simple to prepare.

This recipe  has 7 ingredients. It takes approximately an hour to prepare and cook and makes 6 servings. I actually picked a week to make this dish that beets were very hard to find in my area. It seems that every couple of weeks different vegetables and herbs becomes impossible to find and then in a couple of weeks appear again, it can be very frustrating and doesn't seem to have much rhyme or reason. Luckily, after I went to three stores I was able to find great looking beets to prepare. Make sure to let the beets cool slightly before peeling to prevent burning your hands. Finally, take all the skin off the oranges before segmenting, the taste is better plus it absorbs the dressing more effectively. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I love how bright this salad turned out. This would make a great salad for Easter or a spring get together. My husband thought that this recipe would benefit from the addition of more flavor. I agree that the addition of fresh basil would elevate the flavor of the dish. Overall, very easy to put together and would make a colorful edition to any table.

For the recipe go to Warm Beet-Orange Salad.

February 21, 2012

Food Network Magazine Roasted Carrots

Sorry I have been so absent on-line. Currently, I am on day four of no internet at home. On a positive note the phone company is coming to install DSL on Friday! Having no Internet has been weird for me since I grew up in Seattle and had Internet before anyone I knew. I never knew how wired I was until I didn't have access! I am going to try to still do some short posts this week so I don't lose all my followers, so here goes!

In the last couple of weeks I have been experimenting with new vegetable side dishes. My youngest is obsessed with spicy foods, but has decided that he currently doesn't like vegetables. In order to combat this new trend I have been trying as many different ways to prepare fresh vegetables as I can. The January/February issue of The Food Network Magazine had a number of great side dish recipes including one for Roasted Carrots.

This recipe has 9 ingredients. It takes approximately 30 minutes to prep and cook and makes 4 servings. All the ingredients are basic and I either had in my pantry cupboard or were easy to find at my local grocery store. I did find that the carrots were too crunchy for my tastes when roasted for 20 minutes, I suggest leaving them in the oven for closer to 30 minutes. Instead of walnut oil, which I have never been able to find in my area, I substituted canola oil. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

My husband really liked these carrots. He normally isn't a large carrot fan, but he loved the combination of the raisin, walnuts and roasted carrots together. I am happy to report that both of my sons also ate this dish without complaints and even snacked on the leftovers the next day. Overall, a very easy recipe that takes little prep work and was well received by my whole family.

For the recipe go to Roasted Carrots.

February 16, 2012

Better Homes and Gardens Garlic-Olive Loaf

As I've said before we eat a lot of bread in our house. My two boys will eat over a half of a loaf in an evening. I love bread also, but I tire quickly of the same bread over and over again. Over the summer I got into a rut of making the same whole-wheat bread recipe at least once a week and by the time winter rolled around I couldn't stand to eat any more. I spend most of December and January looking through new bread recipes and trying out a number of new options. I found a recipe for Garlic-Olive Loaf in a special Holiday Recipes magazine from Better Homes and Gardens, which looked full of flavor from the cheese and olives and with 6 grams of protein per slice.

This recipe has 15 ingredients. It takes approximately 2 and a half hours plus chilling overnight and makes 12 servings. I ran out of time the night before to allow the bread to rise overnight, so instead I put it in the fridge in the morning and left it in about 6 hours. For the spinach I microwaved it on high to thaw and then pressed it with paper towels to remove all the moisture. I ran out of eggs before I made this recipe, so I left out the egg wash and brushed the top of the loaf with water instead. For the last 5 minutes of baking time I tented the top with foil to prevent burning. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I was impressed with how well this bread turned out. I served it as a side at dinner and everyone in my family agreed that it was better than the main dish. I love how it has spinach, cheese and olives. The combination of flavors is great in a bread and when toasted with butter for breakfast was delicious. A great way to get spinach into a meal and was friendly enough for my kids to eat.

For the recipe go to Garlic-Olive Loaf.

February 15, 2012

Food Network Magazine Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

I seem to have a theme lately on all my posts. In the last couple of months I have made numerous slow cooker recipe. They are great when my two boys are acting ornery and nothing seems to be getting done. Most of the dishes that I have made have been beef or pork, which are delicious and easy to make in the crockpot. However, I have been trying to branch out and try new vegetarian dishes. The recipes I have tried have been hit or miss, so when I saw a recipe for Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup in the December issue of the Food Network Magazine, I figured it was worth a try.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 25 minutes of prep and eight hours of cooking time in the crockpot and makes 4 servings. I did have a problem finding one of the recipe ingredients. For whatever reason all the major grocery stores in my area refuse to carry any type of lentil other than the basic brown variety. Luckily I discovered when looking for ingredients for this dish that the smaller Lebanese market near my house has bagged red lentils. I was very happy! I had no problems finding any of the other ingredients and made no substitutions. I did find that the finished soup was way too watery for my tastes. I suggest using either chicken broth (or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian). The broth would add greatly to the overall flavor of the dish. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

With only four grams of fat and twelve grams of protein, this dish is a great healthy option. I would definitely suggest adding the broth instead of water. As written the recipe lacks flavor due to the water, with the substitution the recipe would be great. A very easy, vegetarian slowcooker meal that takes less than a half an hour to prepare. Great for a weeknight meal!

For the recipe go to Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup.

February 14, 2012

Everyday Food Sauteed Zucchini, Peppers, and Tomatoes



I love really simple recipes. Sometimes the best dishes have few ingredients, letting the flavors shine through. I hate when vegetable dishes are smothered in too much cheese or have 20 ingredients virtually masking the actual taste of the vegetables. My favorite salads are basically vegetables, a little cheese and a light dressing, simple and delicious. This fall when Borders went out of business they had all their magazines on clearance and I picked up a copy of Everyday Food's summer special. I've used a number of the recipes and one that I have particularly liked is the recipe for Sauteed Zucchini, Peppers, and Tomatoes, which is simple, light and delicious.

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes approximately 15 minutes to prep and makes 4 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store and made no recipe substitutions. I used cherry tomatoes since they are always easier to find than grape tomatoes. Instead of serving the vegetables on their own I stirred them into couscous and served it as a side dish. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I really liked the way this recipe tasted when stirred into couscous. By itself it was a little too soggy for my tastes., but it was great with couscous. The exact recipe isn't on-line, but the recipe that is available is almost identical except it lacks fresh oregano. This recipe is a great way to add more fresh vegetables into your diet and very easy to prepare.

For the recipe go to Sauteed Zucchini, Peppers, and Tomatoes.

February 13, 2012

Woman's Day Pork Ragu

I have been making a large amount of crockpot recipes recently. Lately I seem to never have enough time to get everything done in a day and my crockpot is invaluable. I love being able to put ingredients together in the morning and by evening have a delicious meal. I always thought that when my oldest started school that I would have all this extra time to spend doing all the things that I never seemed to have time for with two at home. Unfortunately, I never realized that between homework, tennis, t-ball and everything else that I now seem to have less time rather than more. It's weeknights when I am running around trying to get thousands of things done that I find my crockpot to be a great time-saver. The November issue of Woman's Day Magazine had a recipe for Pork Ragu, which looked very easy with only twenty minutes of prep and filling with 51 grams of protein.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes a total of 8 hours and twenty minutes of prep and cooking, 20 minutes of which is active and makes 4 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store with the exception of pappardelle noodles. Since I was unable to find the noodles I substituted wide egg noodles. I found my prep, including cooking the pasta noodles took slightly longer than the 20 minutes suggested by the recipe. As always I cooked the recipe on low in my slowcooker. I chose to leave off the parsley on the top of the dish, my two boys are currently on an anti-parsley kick. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

With 51 grams of protein and only 14 grams of fat per serving this dish is very filling and lower in fat than many slower cooker recipes. I liked that it is served over noodles and my substitution of egg noodles worked perfectly. This recipe made a significant amount of meat, much greater than the four servings suggested. I used the leftovers for another meal, which I cooked the liquid from the meat as a substitute for water in rice. The leftovers actually turned out even better than the original dish.

For the recipe go to Pork Ragu.

Family Circle Chipotle Chicken Chili

We are big chili fans in our house. Growing up my mom never really made chili and I didn't really eat it frequently until I started scoring cookbooks and cooking any recipe I could get my hands on. In my teens I became a vegetarian for over eight years and invented a delicious vegetarian chili recipe. I stopped being a vegetarian, but I continued to make the vegetarian chili. When I moved to West Virginia and met my husband I was surprised by the level of competition that people possessed over their homemade chili recipes. Everyone has their own way of making both hot dog chili and regular chili. I never knew that there were so many ways to prepare chili until I went to my first chili fest. Now that I have lived in West Virginia over 9 years and had two kids (my husband still says I'm not a true West Virginian, I'm still working on it :); I have tried a large number of chili recipes. One of my favorite ways to make chili when I am short on time is to utilize my crockpot. The February issue of Family Circle Magazine had a recipe for Chipotle Chicken Chili which promised 17 grams of protein and lots of flavor from the chipotles.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 15 minutes of prep and 8 hours of cooking time and makes 8 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store and made no ingredient modifications. Make sure to cut off any excess chicken fat or the chili will become too fatty. I always cook my recipes on low in the crockpot, I prefer the flavor, so as usual I cooked this recipe on low for eight hours. I made my own chicken stock the night before, the flavor is significantly better and since I don't add salt to my stock it allows me to control the amount of sodium in my family's food. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

With only five grams of fat and 17 grams of protein, this chili is low in fat and high in nutrients The taste of the chipotles really shines through and gives the chili a great flavor. The beans and corn add a nice texture and give great color to the chili. This recipe makes a large amount of servings and would be great to take to a potluck or party. Overall, a very easy crockpot meal which is full of protein and great for a busy weeknight.


For the recipe go to Chipotle Chicken Chili. (registration required).

February 12, 2012

Bon Appetit Chickpea Stew

In the last couple of months I have been trying diligently to add more beans into my family's diet. When I first met my husband he ate lots of meat and very little fruits and vegetables. Over the last almost nine years I have slowly been adding more beans and vegetarian meals into his diet. Now he is the point that we have at least one vegetarian meal a week and he eats them happily. Beans have been harder than tofu and pasta dishes to convince my husband to eat. He grew up on pinto beans and will eat them happily, but other types of beans can be hit or miss. As I was flipping through a recent issue of Bon Appetit Magazine I can across a recipe for Chickpea Stew, which looked like a perfect blend of beans and chicken thighs and promised to be filling.

This recipe has 13 ingredients. It takes 45 minutes of total time, 25 minutes of which is active and makes four servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store and made no ingredient modifications. I did use more than two chicken thighs suggested by the recipe. I thighs that I purchased at the store were on the small side and in order to get the full flavor from the thighs I used three thighs, instead of two. Additionally, I used slightly more bread cubes than the recipe called for since my family loves country bread. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I found this stew to be very filling and made more than the four servings suggested by the recipe. I was very proud of my husband for trying this soup and he ended up really liking it. He liked the stew so much that he ate all the leftovers the next day for lunch. My two boys are huge chickpea fans and ate their whole servings quickly. The finished stew is a little on the spicy side for young or sensitive taste buds, so I added Greek yogurt to my son's servings. Overall, a great way to add more beans into your family's diet and easy to prepare.

For the recipe go to Chickpea Stew.

Parents Chipotle Sweet-Potato Pigskins

I'm not a huge fan of regular baked potatoes. When everyone else at a restaurant is ordering a baked potato I am eating a salad. Growing up my mom never really made potato dishes. It was my dad who would wake up early on Sunday mornings and prepare a huge breakfast with a large helping of fried potatoes. I still love those fried potatoes whenever I go home. While I might not love regular baked potatoes, I do love sweet potatoes. I could devour pretty much any dish or recipe utilizing sweet potatoes. The February issue of Parents Magazine had a recipe for Chipotle Sweet-Potato Pigskins which promised to be low in fat and have a smoky heat from the chipotles.

This recipe has six ingredients. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes of total time, 20 minutes of which is active, and makes 8 servings. There are very few ingredients in this recipe and I had no problems finding any of them at my local grocery store. Make sure to pick small to medium sweet potatoes in order for them to fully cook in the amount of time suggested. If your sweet potatoes are on the larger side it could take up to a half hour longer than the suggested time. Additionally, be careful when you are scooping out the sweet potatoes to not scrap all the way through the skin or they won't hold up to be re-stuffed. For the potatoes for my two kids I   left off the onions and Greek yogurt since they can be hit or miss on what they will eat. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written. 

The chipotles in this recipe create a delicious smokey flavor, with a little bit of heat. Sweet Potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which is great for this time of year when everyone seems to be fighting off some sort of cold or sickness. My husband loved that these sweet potatoes had a different type of taste than your run of the mill variety from steak houses. Overall, an easy recipe with great flavor.

For the recipe go to Chipotle Sweet-Potato Pigskins.

February 11, 2012

Martha Stewart Living Parsnip-Rosemary Muffins

I love baking and cooking with fresh herbs. The smell of freshly snipped herbs is wonderful and creates great flavor in recipes. I would love to have the space to have a garden outside or cats that didn't eat anything green in the house (trust me I have tried too many times to count). As it is I normally have to go to at least two grocery stores to find all the fresh herbs that I want every week. Luckily I love the taste enough that it's worth the hassle. My two boys are just beginning to appreciate the subtle flavors fresh herbs provide and I have been experimenting with a number of new recipes. Recently, Martha Stewart Living had a recipe for Parsnip-Rosemary Muffins, which looked unusual and utilized fresh rosemary.

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 1 hour and 25 minutes and makes 14 muffins. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store. I used whole milk Greek yogurt instead of the plain low-fat yogurt suggested by the recipe. I already had the Greek yogurt in my fridge (I eat it every morning) and I didn't want to spent money on additional yogurt that wasn't needed. I peeled my parsnips before grating them into the recipe. The recipe didn't recommend this step, but I prefer root vegetables grated. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I liked the unusual flavor of these muffins. They made a great dinner side for the meat dish that I prepared alongside and had a delicious flavor from the fresh chopped rosemary. My two sons ate numerous muffins without realizing that they weren't the usual sweet muffins that they normally eat. Overall, a nice combination of flavors that would go well with a variety of main dishes.

For the recipe go to Parsnip-Rosemary Muffins.

February 10, 2012

Eating Well Leek and Lemon Linguine

Anyone that reads my blog consistently is probably tired of hearing me profess my love for pasta. It is the one food that I have loved as far back as I can remember and that even if I'm having a bad day I feel better after eating. My two boys share my pasta love and are often caught eating pasta leftovers while standing in front of the fridge. I'm not a big fan of heavy pasta sauces. My favorite way to prepare pasta is with a light sauce of butter and cheese. Overly heavy jarred sauces leave me lethargic and bored. I'm still working on having the time to make homemade pasta consistently. I have even bought the attachment for my kitchenaid, but haven't actually made anything other than ravioli; someday it will happen. Lately I have been receiving a new food magazine, Eating Well, and I have been pleased with the large amount of pasta recipes included. One of the recipes that caught my eye was for Leek and Lemon Linguine, which looked simple and full of lemon flavor.

This recipe has 10 ingredients. It takes 30 minutes to prepare and cook and makes four servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store. Instead of using whole-wheat pasta I used regular spaghetti. Honestly, I know that whole-wheat pasta is better for me, but I just can't deal with the taste. I have tried every brand available and I find them all slightly gritty and with a flavor that isn't to my liking. Following the recipe suggestion I added a small amount of goat cheese to the finished pasta and tossed. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written

For less than two dollars a serving, this recipe is full of flavor from the lemon zest and cheese. I like how simple the flavors and preparation was and the ingredients basic and easy to find. I ended up doubling the recipe in order to feed my family of four and have enough for leftovers. The leftovers were even better the next day after all the flavors had sat in the fridge overnight. Overall, a simple pasta recipes that costs dollars to make.

For the recipe go to Leek and Lemon Linguine.

February 9, 2012

Everyday Food Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins

My family loves to snack and I am the biggest snacker in the house. Instead of eating three large meals a day I eat 6 smaller meals, which are a balance of protein and a small amount of carbs. After battling low potassium and pneumonia for months I have been making sure to not skip my snacks; I really don't want to end up in the emergency room again with my heart rate too high. I would love to say that I love fruit, but honestly apples and berries are the only ones that I actually like. My boys on the other hand will eat more fruit than anyone I've ever met. They have already eaten two full bags of apples in less than a week. I have been experimenting with healthy snacking options for everyone in my family that include fruit and vegetables. The September issue of Everyday Food magazine had a recipe for Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins that claimed to be low in fat and have 5 grams of protein, which seemed perfect for my family's snacking.

This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes approximately an hour of cooking and cooling time and makes 12 servings. I already had most of the ingredients including the ground flaxseed from previous recipes. I actually prepped this muffins the night before and refrigerated until I baked them in the morning. Make sure not to over mix the batter, just stir until combined or your muffins will be less fluffy. I found that I had more than enough batter for 12 muffins and made three additional muffins. I also found that I needed to turn the pan halfway through the baking time to encourage an even browning, however, that could be due to my disco era oven. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

My two boys loved this recipe. They ate more than half the muffins for snacks and dinner. I liked that the muffins only have 2 grams of fat, but 5 grams of protein, making them a great snacking option. Recently, I have been trying to bake more with flaxseeds, they are a great source of nutrition. This recipe was a great way to add more flaxseed into my family's diet. Overall, a very family friendly recipe that is healthy and full of flavor.

Here is the recipe link Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins.

February 7, 2012

Food and Wine Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans

Pasta recipes always grab my attention. I read through a ton of magazines every month looking for new recipes to try. I glance over any recipe with impossible to find ingredients or a flavor that I know that someone in my family refuses to eat. Then I look through the remaining and pull out all the recipes for my recipe file (which funny story is now in an old suitcase). I have a ton of pasta recipes in my pile of magazine recipes to try in the future. I can always be guaranteed that my children will at least try a pasta recipe, which is more than I can say for other recipes. I normally make pasta at least once a week, so I try to vary the vegetables and meats that I use. The February issue of Food and Wine Magazine had a recipe for Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans, which looked easy and a perfect way to use winter squash.

This recipe has 11 ingredients. It takes 50 minutes to prepare and cook, 30 minutes of which is active and makes 6 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store. I did find that my sage didn't work exactly as the recipe stated. When I added my sage to the butter, it only got partially crisp, which was fine since it was for flavor and none of us would have actually eaten the sage leaves. Be careful when roasting the butternut squash or it will burn. I stirred my squash twice during the cooking time to prevent sticking and burning. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

The flavor on this dish is mild. The only flavor comes from the sage and the butternut squash. It is a good basic, pasta dish, but it would benefit from either using hot Italian sausage or adding red pepper flakes. My two boys liked the mild flavor and ate their entire serving. My husband and I added red pepper flakes, which we both thought added a nice flavor to the dish.

For the recipe go to Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage and Pecans.

February 6, 2012

All You Mixed Green Salad with Oranges

I can eat a very large amount of goat cheese. If I sit down without measuring out a serving, I can easily eat the whole 4 oz package. My oldest son loves goat cheese as much as I do. One of his favorite after-school snacks is goat cheese and crackers, which he loves and often requests. Given my family's love of cheese I have been trying out various types of salad recipes which incorporate the ingredient. The December issue of All You Magazine had a recipe for Mixed Green Salad with Oranges, which looked like a delicious combination of cheese and citrus and a perfect dinner side.

This recipe has 8 ingredients in the dressing and 5 ingredients in the salad. It takes 15 minutes to prep and makes 8 servings. I frequently have a hard time finding Boston lettuce in my area, and this recipe was no exception. I had to go to several stores to find all the types of lettuce needed for the recipe. All the other ingredients were easy to find. I did end up using more than the 4 ounces of cheese suggested by the recipe since my family loves it so much. Finally, I prepped my dressing in the morning and let it set in the fridge all day, which made the flavor of the shallot really come out in the dressing. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

My husband really liked this salad and ate over half of it all by himself. I liked how the cheese and the dressing blended well together. The oranges give a nice citrus taste and best of all the salad only cost $1.80 per serving. Very easy to prepare and a perfect side to heavy main course.

For the recipe go to Mixed Green Salad with Oranges.

February 5, 2012

Martha Stewart Living Chickpea, Tomato, and Feta Salad

When my two boys were younger they absolutely loved tomatoes. I would catch them eating cherry tomatoes straight out of the fridge. As they have gotten a little over they have changed their love of tomatoes to a love of pickles and berries. I will hear them sneaking around stuffing fistfuls of blueberries in their mouths. My husband loves cooked tomatoes, but isn't a fan of raw tomatoes unless their heirlooms. I try to vary our diet as much as I can to include many types of fruits and vegetables, even the ones that not all of my family cares for. Recently, Martha Stewart Living Magazine had a recipe for Chickpea, Tomato, and Feta Salad, which looked like a nice blend of vegetables and protein and very easy to put together.

This recipe has 8 ingredients. It takes approximately 15 minutes to prepare and makes 4 servings. All the ingredients I either had or were easy to find at my local grocery store. I used cherry tomatoes since finding grape tomatoes can be hit or miss at my local stores, and I always prepare flat-leaf parsley since it chops finer. The cucumber I purchased was on the large side, so I cut it into eighths, instead of quarters like the recipe suggested. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

I love salads that take only minutes to prepare. This recipe is very easy to put together and the ingredients are basic. I found that this salad made more than the 4 servings suggested, we had more than enough for two meals for my family of four. The lemon juice makes a nice dressing and is light and doesn't overpower the other ingredients. I added more than the suggested 2 ounces of feta since my family loves this type of cheese. Overall, a nice blend of protein and vegetables that literally can be made in minutes.

For the recipe go to Chickpea, Tomato, and Feta Salad. (This recipe from the site doesn't have the cucumber, the magazine had 1/2 of a cucumber chopped)

February 3, 2012

Family Circle Moroccan Beef Stew

I love stew. There is something extremely comforting about sitting down with a warm bowl of homemade stew. Plus, there are normally delicious leftovers to heat up the next day to enjoy the dish all over again. My two sons are both in stages where they decide that they hate all the foods they used to love. Last week cheese was my youngest sons favorite food, this week he told me at lunch that he hates cheese. Luckily stew is one of their favorite foods and that hasn't changed even with their varied food choices. My favorite meat to use in stew is beef. I love how tender beef becomes after sitting on the stove for hours. The February issue of Family Circle Magazine had a recipe for Moroccan Beef Stew, which looked full of flavorful ingredients and perfect for my stew loving family.

This recipe has 14 ingredients. It takes 15 minutes of prep and approximately 2 hours of cook time and makes 6 servings. The biggest modification I made to the recipe was to make my own beef stock. Homemade beef stock is actually very easy and has a great impact of the flavor of homemade stock and stew. Roasting the beef bone before adding the vegetables and water brings out a great flavor to the stock. For the beef I made sure to buy a high quality cut of beef chuck, I have tried buying cheap cuts in the past and even after extensive cooking time they still were tough and full of tendons. I chose to serve the stew over pearl couscous. This was the first time that I had served this type of couscous to my family and my kids thought it was great and loved the shape. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

The combination of the fruit and beef blended well together and the stew came out very tender. I liked the inclusion of spinach in this recipe, it provides great nutrition and brings all the flavors together nicely. My two kids loved the pearl couscous and it will be something that I serve more of in the future. Overall, an easy and delicious tasting stew recipe.

For the recipe go to Moroccan Beef Stew.

February 1, 2012

Taste of Home Pineapple Curry Chicken

Both of my children are currently in picky eating stages. My youngest has decided that he will eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and his older brother is determined to eat all the cereal in the house. Previously they were great about eating their dinners, but lately I have thought out my menu plans with their tastes in mind. One of the foods that everyone, including my children can agree on, is chicken. They both love chicken and will eat larger servings of it than pretty much any other food currently. I like to try a variety of chicken recipes since I prepare the protein so frequently and I was pleased to find a recipe for Pineapple Curry Chicken in the February/March issue of Taste of Home Magazine.

This recipe has 19 ingredients. It takes 25 minutes of prep and six hours of cooking time and makes 6 servings. I made one major modification to this recipe. The price of bone-in chicken breast halves was higher than I cared to spent. It would have cost approximately 20 dollars for 6 breasts, so I chose to use bone-in thighs instead, which were less than half the price. I had to go to multiple stores in order to find light coconut milk, our area only had regular full-fat. Finally, I chose not to top the curry with basil and toasted coconut. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

Substituting the chicken thighs for the breasts worked well and the chicken was very moist. The taste of the curry was very mild and kid friendly. My husband felt that the flavor was a little too mellow, but would be perfect for someone that wanted to try curry dishes that didn't want a strong/spicy curry flavor. If you like more curry flavor in your dishes I would recommend adding a lot more curry powder than the 3 tsp. recommended by the recipe. Overall, I liked that the crockpot did all the work for me and the prep was easy. My kids ate their servings and liked the mild taste.

For the recipe go to Pineapple Curry Chicken.
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