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  1. Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Best Baked Beans

    The recipe I’m about to give you is dangerously delicious. If you like baked beans, you’ll LOVE these. I made them for the 4th of July and they were a hit, even with my most-of-the-time-vegetarian friend. Thanks to my mom’s sisters who introduced me to this baked beans recipe to begin with. I have no idea where they originally got it from, perhaps I should do some digging. Wait. I’m rambling. Enjoy the beans!


    Best Baked Beans
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Beans
    Ingredients
    • 2 large cans baked beans (~3 lb 5 oz total)
    • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • ½ pound bacon, chopped
    • 2 rings pineapple (or one small can pineapple chunks, broken apart with your fingers)
    Instructions
    1. Sauté the onion and green pepper over medium heat until starting to get soft. Add the bacon and sauté until bacon is cooked through. Drain grease.
    2. While the onion and pepper are doing their thing, mix together the beans, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and pineapple. When the sautéd stuff is done, add it to the bean mixture. Bake in a 300-degree oven or in a crockpot on high for 2-3 hours. (I got a late start when I made these, so I baked at 350 for about 1 hour and they came out fine.)

     


  2. Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Homemade Roasted Tomatoes on Make and Takes

    I’m super excited about my guest post on Make and Takes today. I made homemade roasted roma tomatoes for the first time and loved it! Not only were they easy and very tasty, but I really had fun photographing them!

    homemade roasted tomatoes web

    Big thanks to Faye and Ginger, who both commented on my menu post this week suggesting I roast the 12 romas I had lying around.

    I’m typing up the “recipe” below, but make sure to check out my full post on Make and Takes to get all the details and see all the photos!

    Homemade Roasted Tomatoes
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • 10-14 roma tomatoes (you could experiment with other tomatoes, but romas are less delicate and less seedy and work well)
    • Olive oil (probably about ¼ – ½ cup)
    • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt (kosher, preferably)
    • Pepper
    • Spices you like – Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Red Pepper Flakes, whatever!
    • Sugar
    Instructions
    1. Add minced garlic to the olive oil and let sit while you prepare the tomatoes. Slice tomatoes into wedges, 8 per tomato. Spread on cookie sheet and brush with garlic olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, spices, and sugar. Bake at 200ºF for 2-6 hours or so (5½ hours was my magic number).
    2. Store in the refrigerator drizzled in olive oil.

     


  3. Friday, June 11, 2010

    Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish

    grilled crostini web

    Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and 'wichcraft Tomato Relish
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Appetizer
    Ingredients
    • 1 baguette, sliced int ¼-inch-thick rounds
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 jar (8.8 oz) ”˜wichcraft Tomato Relish
    • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
    Instructions
    1. Lightly brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil. Preheat a Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium heat. Working in batches, place the baguette slices in the pan and cook until light golden brown and toasted on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. (If you don’t have a grill pan, you can bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until nice and crispy.)
    2. Transfer to a serving platter. Spread about 3 teaspoons of goat cheese on each crostini and top with ”˜wichcraft Tomato Relish. Sprinkle with basil and serve. Makes about 24 crostini.

     


  4. Grilled Radicchio with Orange & Balsamic

    I’m so bummed. I totally forgot to photograph this recipe! And it was beautiful! Oh well. You can kind of see it in that bowl next to the small bouquet of pink roses.

    food at party zoom web

    Grilled Radicchio with Orange & Balsamic
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 6 heads of radicchio, quartered through the core (I think I used only 3 heads)
    • 3 tablespoon olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • Grated zest and juice of 3 oranges
    Instructions
    1. Drizzle the radicchio with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    2. Preheat Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium-high heat. (I actually did use the grill pan for this recipe”¦but you could use a regular griddle, too.)
    3. Place the radicchio in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
    4. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the radicchio with salt and pepper. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic, orange zest and juice together and drizzle over radicchio.
    Notes
    Once the radicchio were grilled, I salt and peppered them as directed, but then I cut out the hard piece of core near at the bottom and then sliced the radicchio. I then put the radicchio into a bowl and drizzled with the oil dressing.

     


  5. Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    Homemade Croutons

    One of the first things I ever cooked that made me feel like I could cook (well, besides dishes containing canned veggies and creamed soups, that is!) was homemade croutons. When we were first married and I was still finding my culinary voice (i.e. cooking not-so-great food on a not-so-great budget in a really-quite-awful basement apartment kitchen), chicken caesar salad with homemade croutons was one of our go-to “gourmet” meals. Okay, not so gourmet, but it felt gourmet and gave my cooking confidence level a much needed boost!

    homemade croutons 2 web

    Last night I made homemade croutons for a simple caesar side salad. It’s been a while since I’ve made croutons and cooking them transported me back in time to that tiny basement kitchen. It also reminded me how delicious homemade croutons are, all crispy and flavorful on the outside, soft and yummy on the inside. There’s nothing better. And it’s a great way to use up stale, leftover bread. Without further ado, here is how I make croutons. Feel free to share your own crouton-cooking tips if you have them!

    homemade croutons 1 web

    Homemade Croutons
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Leftover french/italian/country/whatever bread or baguette (stale is fine!), cut into bitesized cube-ish pieces (no need to be precise, unless you like precise-looking croutons)
    • Olive oil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Dried or chopped herbs of your choice (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Heat up a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Pour in a couple tablespoons of olive oil and let it heat up (you can use butter or canola oil if you don’t have olive oil on hand). Evenly salt and pepper the pan and oil, then evenly spread your bread pieces in the pan and toss with a spatula (I just dump the bread in and quickly toss it all around to evenly distribute the oil and seasoning – you may need to drizzle a little more olive oil over the top of the croutons if it doesn’t seem like you have quite enough). Sprinkle with herbs of your choice (oregano, basil, rosemary, whatever”¦last night we didn’t use any herbs and they were still fabulous).
    2. After tossing them a bit, let the croutons sit over the heat for about a minute at a time, tossing in between. Cook until they start to get browned and crispy on the outside, but not burned.
    3. I usually make croutons on the stovetop, as opposed to the oven. It feels easier to me, although it’s probably about the same (minimal) effort. If you want to cook them in the oven, just toss the bread pieces in a large bowl with the oil and seasoning, spread into 1 layer on a cookie sheet and bake at around 400 degrees until they look done, flipping once or twice during cooking.

     


  6. Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Simple Side Dishes: Roasted Cauliflower

    Today I just have a healthy and easy recipe for you. It’s so easy, in fact, I hesitate to even call it a ‘recipe.’ This roasted cauliflower is to die for. Trust me. I’ve been popping these florettes like candy for the last two days. Yum!

    roasted cauliflower web

    Simple Side Dishes: Roasted Cauliflower
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • Cauliflower, broken up into small-medium sized pieces
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Handful of fresh, grated parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    1. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet or in a 9X13 baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over cauliflower, then salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower to lightly cover all pieces with oil and seasoning.
    2. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking. Check for doneness with a sharp knife, to the point where you can pierce the cauliflower fairly easily but not to the point of mushiness. Remove from oven and toss with grated parmesan cheese.
    3. Sit, eat and enjoy the simplicity and buttery goodness that is cauliflower!

    roasted cauliflower2 web


  7. Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Guest Blogger Maria Lichty: Homemade Yogurt

    maria-&-josh-webToday we have a very fun post from a very fun guest blogger, Maria Lichty of the food blog Two Peas and Their PodShe is going to tell us all about homemade yogurt, something I’ve yet to make and am now super excited about trying!

    Like our last guest, Maria has been commenting and posting menus on This Week for Dinner for years (and she’s another of my blogging friends I have actually met in person!). Maria is a sweetie and writes about her cooking adventures with her husband, Josh (hence TWO peas). They have a great food blog (hello oodles of amazing vegetarian recipes) and you can read more about Maria and Josh in a recent interview on The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen website. Without further ado, I present Maria!

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    First of all, I am thrilled to be a guest blogger for TWFD. I have been following Jane’s blog for quite some time now. I love her recipes, photos, stories, sense of humor, ok – I just love everything about Jane. She is the best, but you all know that.

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    Today I am going to share a recipe that will change your life for the better – homemade yogurt. I love yogurt. I enjoy it for breakfast, a healthy snack, or even dessert. I usually eat one a day. Greek yogurt is my favorite – I love Fage brand. Unfortunately, it is not cheap. A single, 6-oz. serving is usually $2.00 or more. Not so friendly on the pocketbook if you eat one every day. I tried to cut back on my yogurt intake because it was so expensive, but depression soon set in. Not really, but I missed it! 🙂 I decided it was time to start making my own yogurt at home.

    I really wasn’t sure how, so I did some research and consulted with my Twitter friends. I purchased a yogurt maker and set up my “yogurt lab.” I was amazed at how easy it was to make. Basically, you heat up some milk, cool it down, whisk in a 6-oz. yogurt with the milk, and then let it “sleep” in the yogurt machine for 12 hours. How simple is that?

    Instead of paying $2 every day for yogurt, I just purchase one Greek yogurt to use as my starter and then I have a week’s worth of yogurt. Making our own yogurt has saved us a lot of money. Yes, we had to buy the yogurt maker, but it has already paid for itself”¦and then some.

    I always start my yogurt at night so it is ready when I wake up in the morning. It really is that simple. And it tastes just as good, maybe even a little better, because homemade recipes always come with extra love!

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    Here is my basic recipe:

    Guest Blogger Maria Lichty: Homemade Yogurt
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    Ingredients
    • 42 ounces fresh milk, we use skim
    • 6 oz. plain yogurt, we use fat free Fage for our starter (use your favorite brand)
    Instructions
    1. Pour milk into a high-sided saucepan. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Heat the milk until it reaches-180 degrees. The milk will start to climb the side of the pan.
    2. Remove pan from heat and allow the milk to cool to lukewarm-110 degrees. To speed up the process you can place the pan in an ice bath. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I am just lazy and let it cool on its own. Both ways work.
    3. When the yogurt is cool, put the yogurt starter in a large bowl. Stir in some of the milk. Whisk well. Make sure the yogurt is dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth.
    4. Pour the mixture into the jars of the yogurt maker. Follow the yogurt maker’s instructions. We usually do ours so it rests overnight. It takes 10-12 hours. We usually let it rest for 12 hours because we like our yogurt thicker.
    5. When the yogurt is done resting, chill it in the fridge with the lids on the jars. The yogurt will stay good for 10 days.
    Notes
    I purchased my yogurt maker at Williams Sonoma. I really like the individual jars, but you can buy a yogurt maker that makes one large batch too. Find a machine that is right for you. Make sure you read the instructions before getting started.
    Make sure you choose a yogurt starter that has live active cultures.
    Use the freshest milk and yogurt you can find.
    I use fat free Greek yogurt because that is the yogurt I like. You can use a yogurt with fat. It just depends on your preference.
    I use fat free milk and yogurt and the finished product is thick enough for me.
    You can use your homemade yogurt as the starter, but only once.
    If you want really thick yogurt you can strain it with a cheese cloth or coffee filters.

     

    So what are you waiting for? If you are a yogurt fanatic like me, start making your own. It is so easy, a lot cheaper, and it’s good for you!

    For an extra special treat, try a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and homemade granola. Double Yum!

    Thanks again Jane for letting me do a guest post. Come visit Two Peas and Their Pod anytime – our kitchen is always open! 🙂

    • You can make flavored yogurt by adding honey, fruit, or jam, but we prefer plain. I usually add fresh fruit and sometimes a drizzle of agave nectar to my plain yogurt.

  8. Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Cranberry Orange Sauce

    I know I already shared this Cranberry Orange Sauce recipe within the last week, but I finally took a picture of the final product and it’s just too pretty not to share again! Besides, I don’t think cranberries are only relegated to Thanksgiving, right?

    cranberry orange sauce web

    I also know that I already posted a photo of this pie, but I just love the leaves on top. The picture has been BEGGING to make an appearance on the blog. I have acquiesced. I promise to stop putting fall-ish pictures up now that Thanksgiving is over and we are all roasting chestnuts on an open fire.

    pumpkin pie leaves web

    Cranberry Orange Sauce
     
    A recipe I found online somewhere, easy to make and very very yummy alternative to normal cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • ½ pound cranberries
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup orange juice
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 4 oranges separated, pith and membranes removed
    Instructions
    1. Bring ½ C water to simmer. Add cranberries, sugar, OJ and zest. Simmer & stir until sugar dissolved and berries begin to pop, ~15 mins. Remove from heat – add orange segments

     


  9. Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Real Simple Giveaway Winners…and a recipe!

    I’m sure you’re all dying to know who is getting this great book!

    real simple final web

    And the {random} winners are…

    Amy Worthington, who said, “I would love to have anything helpful to make simple, delicious meals!”

    and

    t sara, who said, “i love real simple!”

    Congratulations! You will each receive a copy of Real Simple Best Recipes. Enjoy! Big thanks once again to Real Simple!

    And here’s a quick recipe from the book. It’s actually part of one of the recipes in the book. I love it because it tastes good, is healthy and super easy!

    couscous salad web

    Couscous Salad
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • 1 10-oz box couscous (1½ cups)
    • 6 scallions, sliced
    • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered (I added a bit more)
    • 1 seedless cucumber, cut into half-moons (mine had seeds and everything was fine. phew.)
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup crumbled feta (optional, but a very delicious option)
    Instructions
    1. Place couscous in a large bowl and pour 1½ cups hot tap water over the top. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
    2. Toss couscous with all the ingredients. Enjoy!

     


  10. Friday, October 9, 2009

    Cooking with Evaporated Milk

    I have two yummy recipes to share with you today! One involves chocolate, the other cheese. Hey, I never said they were healthy recipes. Yummy, people, yummy. Carnation recently sent me a $50 gift card for groceries and some free Evaporated Milk to try in a few recipes. The “mission” was to use evaporated milk in one of my own recipes that calls for milk, and to try out a recipe of theirs. I accepted the mission and proceeded to choose the least healthiest recipes possible…and enjoyed every second of it. (Ironic since one of Carnation’s selling points is that there is more nutritional value per ounce in evaporated milk versus regular milk. So much for that!)

    fudge1 web

    First, I tried Carnation’s recipe for Fudge (recipe below). I’ve gotta say, it’s good. And it was EASY. I followed the recipe verbatim…but next time I make it, I’m going to use a higher quality chocolate. Regardless, it was a nice, simple recipe and tasted good.

    twice baked potato web

    For my own recipe, I used evaporated milk in Twice Baked Potatoes (recipe below). The mashed potato filling was mighty fine…Cate couldn’t keep her fingers out of the bowl. And I know that cheese has nothing to do with evaporated milk…but that part was pretty darn good too.

    So, there you have it! Mission complete. In case you are wondering what evaporated milk is, it is fresh milk that has been carefully cooked to remove half the water content, upping the protein and calcium content per serving, and creating a creamier texture. Click here if you want to read more about it.

    And now, the recipes!

    Carnation Famous Fudge
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • ⅔ cup (5-oz can) evaporated milk
    • 2 T butter
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups mini marshmallows (I had big ones, so I broke them up then measured and it came out)
    • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts (I nixed the nuts)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil.
    2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full roiling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
    3. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours until firm (I just left it on the counter and it got plenty firm). Lift from pan, remove foil and cut.

    Twice Baked Potatoes
     
    From Jane Maynard
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 4 baking potatoes
    • ¾ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • 4 tablespoons evaporated milk (or more if needed)
    • shredded cheddar cheese, optional
    • chopped green onion, optional
    Instructions
    1. Wash potatoes, poke holes with fork. Bake on rack, unwrapped at 425 degrees 40-60 minutes, or until soft all the way through. Cut lengthwise and scoop out potato (I have to hold the potato with an oven mit while I scoop). Mix potato with all the other ingredients, except the cheese, and mash with a potato masher or pastry blender. Spoon potato back into the potato skins, place in casserole dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 or so minutes, or until lightly browned. Top with shredded cheese and bake a few minutes more.