Monday, July 4, 2011

Life and "Sloppy Supper"

Life has been crazy at our home lately. 2011 has not been very kind to us so far, but we are hoping the rest of the year will go better.
Because of the craziness that is life I have let a lot of things slide, this being the first of many things that went by the wayside when things got stressful. Posting recipes just didn't seem appealing when there was hardly any food in the house due to cash inflow problems. But lately I have felt more like sharing some of the recipes I have come across lately, especially those that I have tweaked to make Vegetarian.

So here I am, posting, can you believe it?

Not going to promise I will post with any sort of frequency, but we will see how it goes.

The first recipe I want to share comes from a kids cookbook called "Eat It Up", though I have tweaked it to be vegetarian. My oldest loves to help make this Indian inspired dish, and we all love to eat it. I will warn you that it is a tad on the spicy side, so if you or your kiddos are not into spice I would suggest finding as mild of a tandoori paste as you can AND cutting the amount down to 1/3 a cup!

Sloppy Supper

1/2 cup Tandoori paste (can be found at most grocery stores near the Asian foods)
1 cup plain yogurt
1 14 oz can Diced tomatoes (or try the kind with Cilantro and lime!)
1 bag Chick'n tenders (We use the Quorn brand)
1 medium onion, diced

1. Combine tandoori paste, plain yogurt, and diced tomatoes to make the sauce.
2. Pour over Chick'n tenders in a small casserole dish (you can let this marinate in the fridge overnight for extra yummy Chick'n!)
3. Fry onions in a small amount of oil until soft, combine with Chick'n and sauce.
4. Bake for one hour at 350 Degrees. Serve with Naan bread and basmati rice.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quick and Easy Spaghetti Sauce Soup!

I think all mothers have those days when they just look at what is in the cupboards and have no idea what to make. Maybe it is laziness, maybe it's just a lack of creativity, either way the kids are hungry and you are no closer to making a meal.
Today's recipe is one for those days. Very little prep, easy ingredients, and wonderful taste in less than 20 minutes! It's one that I used to make a ton, but haven't made in a while. Tonight was one of those night's though, so soup it was!

Spaghetti Sauce Soup

3 tablespoons Olive oil

2 Carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Small onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 Large jar Marinara sauce

2 cans Vegetable broth

1 can Cannellini beans (or whatever beans you have on hand!), drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes

1/2 cup Pastina pasta (or any small pasta)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper

1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.

2.Add the jar of marinara sauce, vegetable broth, beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Yup, it's that easy! And it makes such a yummy soup that you will be amazed.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Naan Pizza, Two Ways!

A few weeks ago a company called Tandoor Chef was having a contest to come up with a Naan pizza. Naan is an Indian flat bread, similar to a pita (not the kind with the pocket, but the flat ones). They can be found at any Indian Grocer, whole foods, and on occasion I have even seen them at Walmart. They are great served with many Indian dishes, but this Naan pizza thing wasn't something I was sure about. I decided I would give it a try anyway.

I sent Dominic off to find a new Indian grocer, since the one we usually frequent had closed, and he came home bearing a package of 10 frozen naan and two blocks of yummy paneer. I was so excited to try making an Indian version of pizza! I had picked an Indian recipe I love and had kind of deconstructed it so that just the sauce was in the recipe, and had the other ingredients set to be toppings. It was an interesting idea, but I was still skeptical of what the results would be.
I chopped, grated, stirred, and assembled. I threw them in the oven for 15 minutes and what should come out but one of the most delicious personal pizzas in the entire world (if I do say so myself!). They were like eating a little piece of Indian heaven. Yumm! The whole family loved them, even baby Jack!

With that such a hit I was excited to try making a traditional pizza on the naan. We still had six naan in the freezer, so one night I asked Ryan what he wanted and he said PIZZA!! He was so excited I decided I would gather the ingredients and let him assemble the little pizzas himself. I let him choose a jarred sauce from the cupboard, and four veggies from the fridge. I chopped the veggies and placed them on a plate for him to assemble the pizzas!
He had a blast spreading the sauce on the pizzas and then placing some of each of the veggies on them, but his favorite was sprinkling the cheese on top of it all! It was so much fun! I wish I had had a camera to capture it!

So, now that you've heard how much fun we've had who is ready for some new recipes? Here goes nothing!

Chili Paneer Pizza (serves 4)

For the Sauce:
2-3 Tbs Tomato paste
2 tsp Chopped garlic
1 Tbs Diced Green chiles
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp ground ginger paste
2 tsps soy sauce
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth

For the pizza:
4 frozen Naan Bread
1 8 oz Block Paneer Cheese, grated
1 half a green bell pepper diced
1 half a red bell pepper diced

1. Pre-heat over to 350. For sauce combine all ingredients except vegetable broth in small bowl, stir. Add vegetable broth until desired consistency for your pizza sauce.
2 Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of sauce on each naan, divide bell peppers between the four pizzas, top with the paneer cheese.
3. Place naan on lined cookie sheet (only two will fit, so you need to cookie sheets, of to do it in two batches.). Bake in the over for 15 minutes, or until the paneer starts to turn a little golden.

Ryan's Special Pizza (serves 4)

1/2 cup of Ragu Sun-dried tomato and sweet basil pasta sauce (or your favorite pasta sauce!)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1 Small roma tomato, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
About a cup of Mozzarella Cheese
4 Naan Bread

1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of sauce over each naan bread. Divide veggie toppings evenly between pizzas, top with mozzarella cheese.
2. Place on lined cookie sheet (only two will fit on each sheet, so make sure you have two, or are prepared to do it in two batches). Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

Now wasn't that easy! I think Naan pizzas may become a go to quick meal in our house! One of the greatest part of this is that you can freeze these! Just wrap each pizza in plastic wrap and then place them in a large ziploc! When ready to eat them let them thaw on the counter while the oven pre-heats and bake as normal!

Wow! I had a lot to say today! Hope you enjoyed this! If you have some other fun ideas for pizzas please comment below!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Great Find:

Dom and I had discussed earlier this month getting the paper so that we could get the coupons and the Thanksgiving ads. We thought that we could easily recoup the cost of the paper with one good deal in the thanksgiving ads, and that the coupons would help save some money so we could have a better Christmas.
Well I signed up for the paper, and while talking to the man who signed me up I mentioned the coupons and he gave me a website to check out: He said that the website would help me save even more than just using the coupons, so I looked it up, and lo and behold I was hooked!

When you arrive at the site there is a drop-down menu where you choose you state, then you are directed to your state's page. From there you choose your local grocery store (we shop at smith's, so that's what I will show you) and it lists that weeks ad, the price before and after the discount, applicable coupons, and the price with the discount and coupon. An example is below (sorry it is blurry, it was the best I could do!):
Our Smith's happens to be having a really good sale right now, as shown by all the red stars in the left hand column, and because of the sale and some of the coupons there are a few items I can get totally free! How awesome is that!
If the coupon is online it gives the link to where to print it, and if it is a mailer coupon it tells you the date it was mailed out and in which mailer! So simple!
I went through the list and figured out I could get two tooth brushes (which are always needed), two packages of cough drops, three cans of cream of mushroom soup, some quick cooking pasta, and two 2 liters of 7-up for a total of *Drum Roll Please* .79!
Yup, you heard me right, all that stuff for less than a dollar! I could hardly believe it!
Anyway, this was so great that I had to share it with you guys. It happens to be a great sale week at my local store, so this may not be a great indicator, but I am willing to give it a shot!
If you live elsewhere could you put in you things and let me know if you've got great deals in your area too?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let's Give Me Something to Blog About

Some days I just get up and don't feel like doing anything. Lately I have been hit by a string of flu's, colds, and viruses and this has really turned me into an unproductive heap.

My house is an eternal mess due to my two little tornadoes, my blog is not updated because my head is mush, the dishes are piling up, and the laundry... I won't even go there! It feels like there is just too much to do, and no way to do it all, so I just don't do any of it some days. Yes, I know, avoidance is not going to make it better, but the lack of motivation is winning out.

My blog seems to be the hardest part of all of this. I really want to blog, but I feel like I have nothing to say, or that I am not saying the right things to get people to keep reading. It's hard. I want to be interesting and funny and heartwarming, but I'm not sure how to get there.

So here it is, the million dollar question: What do you want to see on this blog?

Help me get a feel for where I might go next, because I am just stuck in a "my camera is broken and my blog has no pictures, so I don't want to post" rut.

I'm also toying with the idea of adding some food related and kid-friendly crafts projects every now and then. I am a crafty person (though my mom is even more so, maybe it comes with age?) and I think it would be enjoyable to throw in some fun ideas for incorporating crafts with your cooking, and having kid-friendly crafts available for kids to do while you cook.

I don't know, just thinking that maybe if I added another dimension to my blog it might help me come up with more regular posts and make things more interesting around here! What do you think?

This is your chance to sound off and tell me what is working, what's not, what you want more of, anything you want to say! I need some motivation and inspiration. GO!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I love the Smell of Curries: Curried Red Lentils

I've decided that having a theme for the week helps me get going and actually post on my blog, even when life is a little crazy, so this week we are taking a trip to India and Asia.
There is little I love more than walking into a place that smells of curry. Don't get me wrong, I love other foods but by far Indian food would come out on top. There is something so warm and reassuring about the spices used in Indian curries that makes me crave it when it starts to get cold. The fragrant spices speak to me of warm exotic places.
I've been craving Indian food for weeks now, but our sweet little "Shop and Go" closed down sometime when I wasn't looking and has left me in a lurch to find all my favorite Indian food staples like Paneer, and Naan.
I searched for a quick Indian curry that used things easily found at the local grocery store, and with a little tweaking I have a super yummy, quick lentil curry that even my one year old devours! You should be able to find all the ingredients at the grocery store nearest you if you don't already have them in your cupboard.

Curried Red Lentils

2 cups red lentils
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
1 (14.25 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear (this is very important or the lentils will get "scummy" and believe me you don't want that!), put the lentils in a pot with enough water to cover and simmer covered until lentils tender (about 10 minutes) adding more water if necessary.
2. While the lentils are cooking: In a large skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in vegetable oil.
3. While the onions are cooking, combine the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, coriander, salt, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
4. When the onions are cooked, add the curry mixture to the onions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Stir in the diced tomatoes and peas and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.
6. When the lentils are tender drain them briefly (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don't want the curry to be too sloppy). Mix the curry base into the lentils, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

This makes a ton, about eight main dish servings, and goes together very quickly. It's a great way to wow a crowd, and an excellent as leftovers! Serve with Naan and rice for a great meal!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Is Almost Here: Gougere Ghosts

I am busy cleaning the house in preparation not only for a party, but a weekend house guest! It has been a busy day, and the little professional mess makers we employ are in full swing, which makes for one grumpy mommy. After realizing that keeping up with them by myself today was just not going to happen I sat down and looked at my "Recipes to Try" and got busy in the kitchen. Nothing like baking a brownie truffle pie to get you feeling happier!
Anyway, while I was looking through the recipes I found one of the recipes we are going to make for Saturdays 4th Annual D&D Halloween Party. I wasn't in the mood to post what I had planned on posting today, so I decided I would share this recipe with you instead! This recipe comes from Kitchen Daily and sounded so yummy, fun, and easy! Perfect for your next Halloween party!

Ghost Gougeres
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut up (1/2 cup butter = 1 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (4 oz)
  • black sesame seeds (for eyes)

  • 1.Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    2. In a heavy saucepan bring water, butter, and salt to a boil, stirring to help melt butter. Add flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a dough. Continue beating over medium-low heat until dough is smooth and pulls away from sides and bottom of pan, about 2 minutes.

    3. Remove pan from heat and let cool 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time with the wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beating after each addition until batter is smooth again. Beat in the grated cheese.

    4. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube. Pipe "ghosts" onto lined baking sheet so that they are about 1-inch wide at base and 3 inches long, tapering to a point at top (they will be about 1/2-inch thick).

    5. Press two black sesame seed eyes onto each ghost and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching positions halfway through, until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes.

    Read more:

    I can't wait for October to be over! This has been such a crazy busy month that I have hardly had time to sit down and do something I REALLY want to do.
    Anyway, I guess I am off to the kitchen to sweep and mop!