Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

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Location: Peoria, IL, United States

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trying New Things

I've been looking forward to making this recipe since I found it. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I found this French-seeming recipe when I was reading "My Life in Paris." Maybe it's because I've never cooked with leeks before. What ever the reason, I knew I had to try it.

It wasn't difficult to make, though be very careful when prepping the leeks. It's hard to julienne those suckers! Also, they are very sandy, so be sure to rinse them in a big bowl of cold water before you cook with them.

Surprisingly, J. really liked this. I wasn't sure if he would, it's a little out of his comfort zone. We both felt that the angel hair was a little too delicate and mushy. Is there such a thing as al dente with such a teeny pasta? Next time I try this I will go with something sturdier, like vermicelli or even fettuccine.

Drunken Angel Hair with Leeks and Cream
From Serious Eats

3 leeks, whites and light greens sliced into julienne
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup water
1 bottle of white wine, 3/4 cup reserved (I used Oliver Gewurztraminer)
1 pound angel hair pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp chervil, chopped (I used parsley, my store didn't have chervil)
Salt and fresh ground pepper

In a saute pan, melt the butter in 1/4 cup water on medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cover with a lid, turn heat down to low. Cook about 20 minutes, until soft. You might need to add more water if the pan gets dry.

Boil a large pot of water. Add a full bottle of wine, minus 3/4 cup, and a handful of salt. Add pasta to water and cook until al dente.

In pan with leaks, add 1/2 cup of wine, allow to reduce slightly. Add cream and heat through. Add the pasta and some pasta water, toss to combine. Add the final 1/4 cup of wine, chervil and Parmesan. Grind lots of black pepper on the top.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick Well-Rounded Meal

Can I just say that I LOVE Cooking Light? I first discovered it while standing in line in the grocery store. I was just spreading my foodie wings, while at the same time struggling with the 20+ post engagement pounds. The photos in the magazine are gorgeous, and the recipes are perfect for a growing culinary mind. They focus on fresh ingredients, some that are familiar, but they also encourage you to branch out. This month's issue had a new section with full meal plans laid out in a certain time limit--great for a weeknight when I don't necessarily feel like spending hours cooking. (Ironically, I made this on a Sunday.)

I didn't do much to these recipes, I did add a marinade to the pork, as I think chops tend to run on the dry side. I also added the same spice mix to the potatoes.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2009

New Day Meadery Semi-Dry Plum Mead
Worcestershire Sauce
Garlic Salt
Ground Coriander
Ground Cumin
Brown Sugar
Lemon Juice

2 Boneless Pork chops
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp brown sguar
1 1/2 tsp olive oil

Heat skillet over medium high heat. Rub spice mixture into pork. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add pork to pan, spice side down. Cook 2 minutes or until browned. Turn pork over, and cook 4 minutes or until done.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2009

Cut 2 large sweet potatoes into 1 inch cube. Combine potatoes with olive oil and more of the same spices used for the pork chops. Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 20 minutes until done, turning after 10 minutes.

Lemon Green Beans
Adapted from Cooking Light October 2009

Steam 8 oz green beans until crisp-tender. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp grated lemon rind, adn 1/4 tsp salt.

Note--There's this new law about disclaimers that I have to start following--Cooking Light is not paying me for this post, this is my own opinion. I just really like their magazine and I'm a loyal subscriber. You'll see their recipes a lot on my blog but I'm in no way affiliated with them.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

I got the picky kid to eat mustard!

Meet B.

He's basically at for bringing J. into my life. B. is my second cousin (or third, or something like that. Who knows really?) and J.'s best friend. Brother by a different Mother, if you will. And yes, I mean that in the cheesiest way possible. He was the best man at our wedding, and he continues to be the ultimate third wheel in our marriage (he even invited himself to our 1 year anniversary, but I nixed that pretty quickly). I would not have it any other way! We don't see him as much as we used to when we lived up north, but he comes down for a night or two about once a month. Tonight was one such night. I had a recipe up my sleeve that I wanted to try, and I had been planning on making it for J. and P. (see the Buffalo Chicken Mini Night.) I invited them over too and set to meal planning. I was a little bit nervous though, because B. is the second pickiest eater I have ever met (ironically, the 1st pickiest is my ex's best friend. Must be a side kick thing). J & P didn't come over, but B. was pretty thrilled with dinner. "What is the spice that is on this? It has a kick!" It took me a minute to realize he was talking about the Dijon glaze. He was so proud of himself when I told him he was eating mustard, and liking it!

Mustard Glazed Chicken

5 chicken breasts
Poultry seasoning (I used Pampered Chef Sun Dried Tomato Mix)

Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 clove garlic chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup red wine

3 tsp Dijon Mustard
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 clove garlic chopped

Mix marinade ingredients together in plastic bag. Place chicken in bag and put in fridge for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place chicken in 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning.
In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake chicken for about 20-25 minutes, basting 2-3 times during cooking time. Serve in baking dish with a large spoon so guests can help themselves to the extra glaze!

Cilantro Rice
Adapted from Aggie's Kitchen

1 cup minute rice
2 cups cold water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Large handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce
Splash white wine

Make rice according to package direction, with the addition of garlic. Fluff with a fork. Toss in cilantro, onions, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and white wine.

Cinnamon Apples
Recipe by Me!

5 Small to Medium apples (I used Honeycrisp because that's what I had, Golden Delicious would be better for this though)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 Tbsp butter

Peel and slice apples.
In large mixing bowl, mix sugar and spices. Toss with apples. Add Maple syrup, toss to coat.
In skillet, melt butter. Add apples. Cook until tender and sauce is thick and bubbly.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spicy Sausage Skillet

It has been a long, terrible week for me. Work has been super stressful, and by the time I got home, I have been ready to collapse. I was desperately out of groceries, but there was nooooooo patience leftover for shopping. None.

J. had drill today, so I finally had a day to myself. I got more done on the house today than I have since we moved in. I found the rest of my clothes (over 3/4ths of them!), washed them all ('s a work in progress), reorganized my dresser and closets to make room, unpacked more of my kitchen, did the dishes, AND went grocery shopping. After all that productivity, I needed a hot, comforting meal. This definitely did the trick!

Spicy Sausage Skillet
Adapted from Cooking This and That (Good work CTT!)

1 box Penne (I used rice penne but it was a bit too gummy for this dish)
1 roll hot sausage
1 can Cream of chicken soup
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan

Boil pot of water. Salt water, then add pasta. Cook until just al dente. Drain and keep warm.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into pan. Cook until browned.
Reduce heat to medium. Add soup, tomatoes, milk, wine, and seasonings. Cook for about 8 minutes. (At this point, you should be putting Brussels sprouts in your other skillet for the salad below.)

Stir in cooked pasta and mozzarella. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Top with Parmesan.

Nutty Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
Adapted Cooking Light October 2009

1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (for me this meant panicking over quickly burning garlic while I grabbed the nearest bread end and tore it apart as small as I possibly could because I thought I had a canister of breadcrumbs in my pantry. Apparently I was wrong.)
3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, halved (my store didn't have fresh this time of year, frozen were good, just thaw them out enough to cut)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted (I did this immediately after I toasted the garlic and crumbs, before I cooked the sprouts)
1/2 oz shaved Asiago cheese

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs, cook until lightly browned, stirring constantly. Transfer to small bowl. Toast walnuts.

Heat remaining 1/2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add sprouts, cook 8 minutes (again, add these just after you add the spices to your sausage skillet, the timing is perfect), stirring frequently. Remove from heat, toss with breadcrumb mixture, salt and pepper. Top with walnuts and cheese.

I drank: Alice White Cabernet Sauvignon
He drank: Oliver Camelot Mead

Side note...maybe eventually I will remember to take pictures of the food before we eat it.

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No cheese???

I'm sorry for my absence. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know I have had a horrible week. There has just been no energy leftover for cooking, and the state of my kitchen is a wreck. Today is full of chores, laundry, last week's dishes (yes I know, gross, but it's been THAT bad of a week), and grocery shopping. Because this has been the summary of my cooking excursions this week:

I'm hoping to have a post up tonight, if not tonight, definitely tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Friends, New recipes

J. told me the other day that he hadn't seen a close friend of his in awhile. His friend goes to school here in town, but we rarely see him. However, J. of course never called JC, so I took it upon myself to invite him over for dinner. I figured he could use a home cooked meal, and I could use a guinea pig for my recipes. He brought a friend, and we all had a great time! It was such a great night, and I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did. There is nothing better than getting compliments on a meal, and so I invited over two hungry college boys :). Good idea? I think so!

Buffalo Chicken Minis

1 Rotisserie Chicken, Shredded
1 cup Buffalo sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
16 mini buns

Shred up chicken in medium sauce pan with sauce, water, butter and Worcestershire. Cook on Medium high heat for 10-15 minutes, until sauce has boiled down a little bit. Serve on mini buns with blue cheese dressing.

Blue Cheese Dressing

2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 mayo
1/4 cup butter milk
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 oz blue cheese, crumbled
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Put the sour cream, mayo, buttermilk, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and blue cheese. Pulse until combined, but still chunky.

Southwestern Coleslaw

1 bag of colesaw mix
4 medium carrots, chopped fine
3 radishes, sliced thin
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp EVOO (Yeah, I used that label, but only for easiness sake)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine veggies in serving bowl. Add salt, pepper and sugar. Add olive oil and vinegar and toss to coat.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chocolate Emergency!

Ladies, I know you have had THOSE days. You know the kind I'm talking about. When you feel like crap and you've had it up to HERE and dinner is just going to have to be chocolate or you will kill somebody.

The problem with THOSE days is that you rarely feel like cooking. Or at least I don't. I usually have a migraine and want to collapse in bed after my chocolate gorging. I have a secret that I thought I'd share with you all. Go make this on your next one of THOSE days. Seriously, pudding is like 50 cents a box. Yeah, it's not healthy for you but thats ok. Really. Who cares. I never said this blog was for healthy cooking! :)

Haley's Secret Emergency Chocolate Mousse

Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
Heavy Whipping Cream

Pour a little of the mix in a bowl, and then with a fork, beat the cream into the mix. Then slowly add more mix, while continuing to whip the cream, until the mousse is thick and full.

You can make as much or as little as you like. I just put the rest of the package in a ziplock bag and keep it in my pantry for the next time I have a chocolate emergency. I always have heavy cream around. This is soooooooo much better than regular instant pudding. The mouth feel on this is fantastic. You could serve it at parties too, no one would know it wasn't something you spent HOURS making.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

I won't torture you any more...

If you've been following me on Twitter today, you are probably going crazy! I've been torturing you with this one all day, even posting a different recipe midday, while Tweeting about how good this bread was smelling! How mean am I?

Well, no fear, my friends, here is the long awaited recipe (if one afternoon can count as long awaited).

This bread is pretty good, although it needs a bit more salt, maybe a little vanilla. I had frozen my bananas, maybe that had something to do with the blandness? And I think I would like to use the whole jar of nutella, instead of just 1/2 cup. I figure if you're going to add nutella to banana bread, why not use the whole jar??? Unfortunately I only had half a jar left.

Also, I'm not sure how the whole jar would mess with the chemistry of baking. Anyone have thoughts on that? I'm no scientist.

Banana Nutella Bread
From Barbara Bakes (I didn't change this one at all, this one is allllllll Barbara. Fantastic job!)

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 small)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Nutella (I melted it a bit in the microwave to make it easier to work with)

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; whisk together until well mixed.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in separate bowl.
Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring just until moistened.
Spoon 1/2 batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Add 1/2 Nutella in dollops. Swirl a bit, then top again with remaining batter. Add rest of Nutella in dollops on top. Swirl again.
Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

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Lazy Saturday

Until graduation, I had worked every single Saturday for the past 2.5 years. It was great money, and great experience, but no one likes working their weekend away. Now that I'm working full time during the week, I finally get to have some time to myself on the weekend. Still, my Saturdays are usually packed full. I'm always running around--I often go home on the weekends, especially if J. has drill. And lately, if I don't go north, then my weekends have been swamped with moving.

Today I've just been lazy. We had several Scrubs reruns on our DVR, and even though it's almost 3, I'm still in my PJs! Gotta love it :)! Jordan was craving soup, so I decided to throw together his favorite. The last time I made this soup, he ate 3 bowls in one sitting! That time though, I was anxious to try out my new "boat motor." This time, I left the potatoes chunky, so the soup was MUCH heartier. Perfect for a cuddly fall day!

I got the base for this recipe from one of my favorite B-town moms. I added cheese and fresh herbs, and took out potato flakes, but the main recipe was all D. This is also another one of those recipes where I throw in whatever I have around. Use whatever spices or herbs sound good to you. I used dill today, but I would keep that to a minimum. It was good but a bit strong for this soup.

Cheesy Potato Soup
Adapted from D.S.'s Recipe

3 Idaho Potatoes, diced (I leave peels on, it's up to you really)
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1/4 cup flour
1 pint boiling water
1/8 cup chicken bouillon (You could use 1 pint chicken stock instead of water and bouillon)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste
Fresh herbs of your choice (I recommend parsley, basil, rosemary, and thyme)
1 1/2 cup cheese (Cheddar usually, but smoked gouda would be good, or anything sharp and meltable)

In large pot, cover potatoes in water. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Melt butter in stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, saute for 10 minutes.
Add flour to onions and butter and cook for four to five minutes, stirring until flour is absorbed.
In a small bowl, combine water and chicken bouillon. Stir until no lumps remain.
Add to onion mixture.
Add milk and cream, stirring until smooth and lightly thickened.
Add Tabasco, Worcestershire, spices, and herbs.
Reduce heat to med. low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep milk from scalding.
Drain potatoes, then put back in pot to let them steam out a little bit before adding to soup.
Turn the heat under the soup off, but leave pan on warm burner. Add cheese a handful at a time to the soup, stirring each handful all the way in before adding the next.
Mash the potatoes a little bit to break them down, then carefully add them to the soup.

Stay tuned and you might get a treat later this evening...

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Leftovers for Lunch!

I recently fell in love with French cooking. Or rather, the idea of French cooking. More specifically, Julia Child's French cooking. I read Julie & Julia, then My Life in France. I just fell in love with Julia's world, most of all, the food. I've been dying to move into our house and get my kitchen situated so I could learn to cook like her. I'm going to ask for her book for my birthday, and a Le Creuset French Oven for Christmas.

I don't think I'm going to try her aspics though. *shudder* Sorry Julia.

I came across this crockpot recipe and I was so excited! I knew it wasn't EXACTLY coq au vin, but I thought it would be pretty close, and something that I could let simmer all day while I was at work.

However, I was impatient and didn't take the skins off the chicken, so the broth was suuuuuper greasy, and full of slimy skin. Ooooops! Not exactly appetizing. The dish was kind of bland, it needed more veggies, maybe some carrots and carrots. Something to give it texture.

Because it wasn't exactly a hit, we had a ton of chicken leftover. I hated to throw it away, so I pulled the larger chunks of chicken out and put it in the fridge for the night. The next afternoon I made a rockin' chicken salad with the ingredients of my fridge.

Fruity Chicken Salad

2-3 Cups shredded chicken breast
1 cup halved red grapes
1 diced apple (I like Honeycrisp)
1/2 -1cup Mayo (I don't like much, just enough to hold everything together)
Sundried Tomato Spice Blend
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Salt
Handful Fresh Dill and Parsley, torn

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheesy Baked Tortellini and Garlic Cheese Bread

J. told me today when I was home for lunch that he was craving alfredo. I wasn't feeling that, instead I decided to make a tomato cream sauce. He never knows what is going to taste good anyway hehe! This was great Italian-style comfort food. Simple, but delicious! Great for a quiet night at home. The only thing that irritated me about this meal was that the two recipes called for two different oven temperatures. However, we only left the bread in for about 5 minutes, so I think it would be ok at 350.

Cheesy Baked Tortellini
Adapted From Lovestoeat Weblog

Olive Oil
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup cream
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb cheese tortellini
2 oz thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 8 by 8 by 2 inch baking dish (I used a 1 qt Corelle dish).
Whisk the sauce, cream, mascarpone cheese, and herbs in a large bowl.
Cook the tortellini in boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Add to the sauce and toss to coat.
Add the tortellini mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan.
Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses on top melt and just brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Garlic Cheese Bread
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

8 slices white bread (PW called for French Bread but I didn't have any)
1/4 stick butter
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Mayo
1 green onion, minced
Dash of salt
1 clove garlic, minced

Mix cheeses with mayo and onion. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Melt 1/4 of the butter in skillet and add 1/4 of the garlic.
Place 2 slices bread in the skillet, swirling to soak up the butter and garlic. Allow bread to toast in the skillet, removing garlic if it starts to get too brown. (I didn't do this, and it did taste a little burnt.)
Repeat with remaining butter, garlic and bread.
Spread cheese mixture on bread and bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes (again, I think you could use a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes), until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Served this with Yellow Tail Merlot (Jordan drank some kind of weird beer *shakes head*)

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The Journey Begins...

Here it starts...

I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but just never did for some reason. Over the past few years my love of food and cooking has grown tenfold and I have fallen in love with the world of food blogging. Pioneer Woman, SGCC, The Kitchn--and so so many more--they all have my love and affection. You'll see a lot of them here, as many of my recipes will come from them. I will always link to them, as I have no intention of stealing their glory. I usually adapt their recipes to fit my tastes (or whatever my pantry holds at that moment in time). I'll list the original recipe, as well as my changes. I haven't come so far in cooking to write my own recipes, although that my come.

I'll try to post pictures, although I am nowhere close to being a professional food photographer. Maybe through this process I'll get better? Eh, probably not but we'll see!

I hope you'll follow me along this journey. Give me suggestions, recipes, etc.