Anyone Hungry?

Ideas, suggestions and thoughts on my favorite topic.

Zucchini Casserole August 27, 2010

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Family,Life,Side Dishes,The Herald Columns,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 10:12 pm

Cooking has always been something that I enjoyed.  Even when I lived alone, I cooked full meals on a regular basis.  By the time I finished eating a 9×13 dish of food meant for a whole family, I didn’t want to eat that food again for about 6 months.  It was worth it to me, however to do that rather than make frozen meals for one all of the time.

When I married Ross, cooking became even more fun.  We cooked together, we ate together and we used up the leftovers together.  Everything about it was easier and much more fun.

Now that Madden is eating “real people food”, cooking is taking on a whole new meaning in our home.  Growing up, meal time was a very special time in our house.  Dinner was the one time of day – guaranteed – that we would all sit down together.  No television, no distractions, just the four of us sitting down and talking.  I loved that and always promised myself that I would carry on that tradition.  Recently, we’ve been able to get that tradition started, and it warms my heart right along with my belly.  We are able to cook meals that we are all able to eat, and we can sit down and eat it all together.  We enjoy our food and we enjoy each other.  It is fun to sit there in a moment and realize that you are living one of your lifelong dreams.  It may be a simple dream, but it brings a smile to my face, night after night.

Zucchini casserole has long been a favorite of mine.  A few years ago I introduced Ross and he loved it as well.  With zucchini being one of Madden’s favorite veggies and with the soft, creamy consistency of this casserole, it is sure to now please our whole family. 

Who knew that a few veggies and a can of soup would help my dreams come true.

Zucchini Casserole

1/2 c margarine

1 c seasoned bread crumbs

4 c chunked zucchini

2 carrots, diced (I have also used a huge handful of matchsticks because it was easier)

1/2 c sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup (use cream of celery/mushroom to make it vegetarian)

1/4 c milk

1/2 onion, chopped 

Melt margarine and stir bread crumbs into margarine, set aside.  Boil zucchini chunks for 5 minutes, drain.  Stir in carrots, onion, sour cream, chicken soup, and milk.  Mix well, then add 1/2 of the breadcrumb mixture.  Mix well.  Pour into greased 8×8 pan or a round baking pan and top with remaining breadcrumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

If desired, mix in/top with parmesan or shredded cheddar cheese.

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Tomato Gorgonzola Soup January 24, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Family,Soups,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 4:46 am

My sister and I had this for dinner last night and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.  This may be my new favorite soup.  It was such a very tasty combination of flavors, easy to make, and fairly inexpensive (Kara bought it and made it for me, but I was there when she did it, so I can attest to the easiness of it, and she said it was cheap!).

 

I love cheese, so anything with cheese automatically sounds good to me.  I like Gorgonzola (tastes a lot like Blue Cheese) but I can only take it in small amounts and if it is mixed in with something.  This was the perfect  amount of cheese, and the flavor blended so well with the creamy cream cheese.  It was more subtle than I thought it would be, which was perfect. 

 

I also really loved the sweetness of the chopped red peppers and the fresh taste of the basil (the recipe calls for dried basil, but Kara bought fresh and it was wonderful).  The chunks of tomatoes were perfect for the texture.  Some reviews of the recipe said that people used and immersion blender, and you could, but it was thick and creamy without doing it.  Personally, I liked the chunkiness of it.

 

Here is the link to the recipe.  It is calculated to serve 4, but Kara and I finished off the whole pot. I would definitely double it.  We had it with a nice crusty loaf of bread and it was a heavenly meal.

 

Thank you to my wonderful sister for a delicious meal and the best company a girl can get.

 

Birthday Party January 3, 2009

Filed under: Desserts,Entrees,Family,Life,Products — lindsayrose @ 6:20 pm

My sister’s birthday was last Monday, but we didn’t get to celebrate with her until last night.  She offered to make dinner as long as I brought her a chocolate birthday cake.  Kara loves chocolate, and she loves brownies.  So I started by just googling chocolate brownie cake.  Well, what I found Kara and I have decided to call Chocolate Butter Brownie instead.  Any recipe that calls for butter in terms of pounds rather than tablespoons is a bit scary… and automatically delicious.  It really just calls for 1/2 lb, which is 2 sticks, but when you say it in terms of pounds it just sounds like more.  Plus, there is an additional stick in the frosting.  And a pound of confectioners sugar.  And a brick of cream cheese.  Wow.  The recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cake is from Emeril and is definitely worth a try.  It isn’t too hard to make and tastes great.  The frosting recipe is a good one to keep on hand, it is a great chocolate buttercream frosting that could be used for anything, not just this cake recipe.

 

For our main course, Kara made fried black bean cakes which were awesome.  Just as great was the cilantro cream sauce she made to go along with them.  We also had Mexican pie (not sure what it’s really called, but that is what I call it) which is just layered tortillas, refried beans, salsa and cheese put in a pie plate and  baked in the oven. SO good.  We were stuffed!

 

Before dinner, Kara’s boyfriend Mark tested out a theory.  He wanted to prove that wine tasted differently after breathing.  He set up a pretty high tech tasting where we each got 4 mini glasses of wine, 2 had breathed and 2 hadn’t.  We had to match up the 2 that were the same, determine which ones had breathed and determine which ones we liked better.  I was surprised at what a difference there was.  I wasn’t surprised that I totally messed mine up.  I had to taste about 2 million times and eat 48 crackers in between to try to figure it all out.  I ended up having them not even matched up, I got so confused, but it was fun and I learned that for even an unsophisticated palate such as mine, there is a definite difference and it does taste much better after breathing.  It was fun!

 

After dinner, we played a new game that Ross’ sister Lara gave us for Christmas.  Smartass is the name of the game, and as advertised on the box, you can win even if you are a dumbass!  We actually played it twice, and had a ton of fun.  Nights with Kara and Mark are always some of our favorites. 

 

As a side note, I must add that one of my many wonderful Christmas gifts this year was a Slanket.  A Slanket is a blanket with sleeves.  Best. Invention. Ever.  I am sitting here typing on my laptop and my entirebody is warm, not just my lower half.  I am covered in blanket from neck to toe and all the way down to my wrists.  I can play the Wii and stay warm, and I can lay on the couch and read a book, reach for my coffee, the remote or the phone and not have to suffer through that terrible cold breeze that comes when you have to pull your arm out from under the blanket to do any of those things.  It’s great!  I still have my piles of regular blankets everywhere else in the house that are perfect for sleeping and laying around, but this one is a nice addition to use when you want to be warm, but need to be doing something at the same time!

 

 

Chili on a chilly day October 28, 2008

Filed under: Entrees,Family,Life — lindsayrose @ 12:01 am

Chili is one of my very favorite Fall meals.  It is so comforting and so delicious.  Chili is fun, because it is one of those meals that can be made a million different ways and each person has their own specialty.  My chili recipe (or actually, it is my Aunt Patty’s) is a sweeter version, with cinnamon and cloves in combination with the spicy chili powder and cumin. 

 

Since I’ve met Ross, we usually include beer in our chili, just like his father has always done.  Larry makes some prize winning chili that is hard to compete with, but we try to take some tips from him to capture some of the flavor. 

 

On my way home tonight, I was kind of dreading coming in the door and starting dinner right away so that it would have time to simmer.  Luckily, Ross had already come home, taken care of the dogs and prepared our meal.  That was by far the best part of my day.  As much as I love to cook, it sure is nice to have a day off here and there, yet still have a nice hot meal at home to sit down to.

 

I’m not sure exactly what he did, and he’s too busy playing his new early birthday gift…the Wii (thanks a lot, Ed and Emily for getting us addicted) for me to ask him, but I think this was the general idea.  The new ingredient was 3 bars of the Hershey’s miniature dark chocolate that we had in the fridge from when my parents were here (thanks, Dad!).  I don’t think we’ll make chili again without adding that one little ingredient.  It was great.

 

He started out by browning the ground beef with a half of an onion, minced.  Ross likes to season, so who knows what spices he put in there.  He added some tomato sauce and tomato paste.  He put a can of whole tomaotes, drained, in the blender along with some jalapenos to get them nice and chunky, but not quite pureed, and tossed them in the Dutch oven with the other ingredients.  A bunch of chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, about 3/4 a bottle of beer, and some dark chocolate topped it off.  We let it simmer for awhile while we played a round of Mario Kart before we enjoyed it with pepper jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  It was so good that I had to have seconds even though I was stuffed. 

 

I guess I better go work it off on the Wii.