“I think the most significant work we ever do, in the whole world, in our whole life, is done within the four walls of our own home.” – Stephen R. Covey

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Great Find!


If you know me at all you know I am ADDICTED to buying cook books! I found a really yummy looking one the last time I was at Williams & Sonoma...and it was on the clearance table...and it was marked $7!! Score! I got up to the counter and the sales lady rang it up along with the other things I was purchasing... $2.99... $3 for a $30 cookbook! Needless to say I went and got 2 more for gifts!

Chad and I (read:mostly I) LOVE dessert but we are really trying to be health concious and it doesn't help to have sweets around all the time! A lot of these recipes are fruit based which adds the healthy sweetness but many of them are traditional cakes and custards too. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but they all look DELICIOUS!

Yummy on a cold day!

So I don't have any pictures for these (I think...) but these are a few things that I have made for dinner recently. All of them turned out really great and I have a few comments under each dish to give you some insight!

roast pork chop with cheddar and bacon polenta

5 c milk
1 c instant polenta
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground pepper, divided
1/4 c butter
1/4 c grated cheddar cheese
4 large pork chops
2 T vegetable oil

In a medium sauce pan bring milk to boil over medium high heat. Add polenta and bacon, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, cook stirring frequently until polenta is soft. Stir in butter and cheese, set aside and keep warm. Sprinkle pork chops with remaining salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add pork chops and cook 10 minutes, turning occassionally. Serve pork over polenta.

*delicious but overkill on the polenta. you dont need to make this much for the recipe, we had plenty left over. it is also only good the first time around and not so good warmed up.

Potato-Green Chili Soup

1 30 oz bag frozen hash-brown potatoes
3 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
minced green onions

in a 6 quart electric slow cooker combine potatoes, broth, soup, onion, chilis and pepper. cover and cook on low for 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese; cook 30 minutes, stirring occassionally, until combined. Garnish with green onions if desred.

*really good and if you dont add the bacon it can be a great Friday Lenten meal... I guess I am a cheater because it has the chicken soups in it and I still consider it a good Friday Lent meal for me! Also good if you add a slice of cheddar cheese on top before eating.

Broiled salmon fillets with tomatoes and herbs

2 very ripe beefsteak tomaotes, cored, seeded and cut into a 1/2 inch dice.
5 T olive oil
3 T soy sauce
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 C fresh basil leaves
2 tsp finely chopped mint
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
4 firm fish fillet
2 T olive oil
eight 1/2 inch thick onion slices

combine tomatoes, 5T olive oil, soy sauce, basil, mint and black peper. cover the salsa and let stand 30-40 minutes.

preheat the broiler. generously brush all sides of fish fillets with 2 T olive oil, season well with salt and black pepper. Brush the onion sliceswith olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Place the fish on a broiler pan and overlap 2 onion slices on each fillet. broil about 8 inches from the heat until the onion has wilted and carmelized, 12-15 minutes. Do not worry if the onions char here and there, but if they start to blacken, cover with foil. Check the fish for doneness, it should be opaque throughout. Remove the fish to plates and serve with tomato salsa.

*really good and good left over and rewarmed in foil packet in toaster oven!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Valentines Recap

Chad and I didn't do anything too big this year for the actual day OF Valentine's. We went skiing earlier this month and that was our offical Valentines Day EVENT! I did make dinner, Chad did the steaks, and we watched "Good Luck Chuck". The movie was good although a little inappropriate but funny. The dinner turned out great and although Chad had to help out more than I would have wanted it was a success.

Drinks: Pomegrante Champagne
Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms
Entree: Steaks ala Chad
Vegetable: Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Vegetable: Lemon Green Beans with Pine Nuts
Bread: Parmesan Pepper Bread
Dessert: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Recipes and Pictures below:

Pomegrante Champagne: rim glass in pom juice and coat with sugar. fill 2/3 full with champagne and add pom juice until desired color

Stuffed Mushrooms:
1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.
Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve.

Lemon Green Beans w/ Pine Nuts:
1/3 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, blanched in boiling salted water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Drain green beans well and pat dry.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring, for an additional minute. Add the green beans and toss to coat evenly. Cook just enough to warm through, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

(see recipe below for green beans)

Steaks: Chads secret recipe

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potaotes:
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to oven and bake until very tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle.
Cut open each potato and scoop out flesh into a large bowl; discard skins. Add cream, bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, and salt; mash with a potato masher until desired consistency is reached. Alternatively, place potato flesh, cream, bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on high until well combined. Serve immediately.
(for pic, see corner of steak picture)

Parmesan Pepper Bread: from my bread maker book

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing: Red Velvet boxed cake mix, Icing: 8 oz cream cheese
4 oz butter
3 3/4 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 tea. vanilla extract
1/8 tea. salt
Cream the butter, cheese and salt in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar until incorporated, then add the vanilla.
(photo coming...picture red cupcakes with white swirls)

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I know its been forever, I'm sorry! We have had a lot going on and somehow I haven't found time to post! We have big news though!

As of February 11th we got the word that we will be moving to Omaha, Nebraska in mid-March. Chad got a transfer/promotion at work which will relocate us to the corporate headquarters of ConAgra Foods.

I think that development is going to turn this blog into more of a way for us to keep up with our friends and family in Texas and tell/show them all the new and exciting things that we are doing in Omaha.

Hopefully later today I will update on some of the recent happenings including our ski trip to Santa Fe early in the month to my yummy Valentines dinner!