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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Spicy Three Pepper Hummus July 14, 2009

Filed under: Appetizers,Life,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 2:58 am

For the past two years, my sister’s birthday gift to me has been a country concert mega-ticket.  For those of you who aren’t country music followers, this is an awesome gift.  It is a pass to every country concert at Walnut Creek all summer.  The concerts this summer include George Strait, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney.  In addition to being awesome concerts, it is great to have a guaranteed night with my sister every few weeks throughout the summer.  We have so much fun, and count down the days to each concert.  If that isn’t a great birthday gift, I don’t know what is.  I have an awesome sister 🙂

 

Of course, one of the highlights of the concerts is the tailgating.  This year, my tailgating is a bit different of course.  The first concert I just had water, but I felt kind of left out.  The second one, I brought bottled root beer, but then I just felt like people were looking at me like “what is that pregnant lady doing drinking beer”.  This past weekend we went to see Toby Keith, who was by far our favorite last year.  This year he didn’t disappoint, he actually surpassed our expectations.  To toast Toby, I had some fake mojitos made from a mix Ross bought me mixed with some club soda.  They are surprisingly delicious and refreshing!

 

Along with the drinks, tailgating obviously includes food.  Kara and I start planning our snack menu days in advance.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make this time, but I found this recipe for hummus and I thought it sounded great.  I love hummus, and thought it would be fun to experiment with.  I was proud of Sanford, because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t find tahini anywhere locally, but Lowe’s carried it!

 

This recipe is quick and easy to make and tastes great.  Like the reviews said, you definitely need more liquid.  Despite my hatred for bean juice, I did reserve some from when I drained the garbanzo beans and added that.  It wasn’t enough, so I added more olive oil and a little water.  To cut on the spice a little bit, I added a little extra lemon juice.  I added only 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper instead of 1 1/2 and it was perfect, it actually gets less spicy the longer you let the flavors work together.  I brought some garlic Parmesan pita chips to eat along with this and it was delicious!

 

Now that I have a big container of tahini, I am excited to experiment with a bunch of different flavors of hummus!

 

Feta Chicken July 2, 2009

Filed under: Entrees,Life,Side Dishes — lindsayrose @ 3:18 am

This is really called Broiled Feta Chicken, but I didn’t broil it.  So… it’s just Feta Chicken now.

I pulled out a group made cookbook (some of the best cookbooks ever) from a camp that I used to volunteer at.  The camp is called Camp Good Days and Special Times and is truly one of the most special things I’ve been a part of.  It is a camp for children whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life challenges.  I volunteered there for a week two summers in a row, the first summer during a camp for children with cancer and the second summer during a camp for kids with HIV/AIDS.  It was amazing to me to see the courage that these children had, and so special to see them have a week where they were just like the other kids around them – many bald, sick, etc – but no different from their friends at camp.  I remember actually feeling so guilty that I was healthy.

So, as for the recipe, it was delicious.  Here goes:

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced (I used 2)

1 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Combine yogurt, garlic and rosemary in a shallow dish.  Add chicken, turning to coat.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours ( I poked holes in the chicken first with a fork and marinated it during the day while I was at work).  Let come to room temperature for no longer than 30 minutes.  Remove from marinade, reserving extra.  Preheat broiler.  Line pan with foil.  Arrange chicken, smooth side down, on foil.  Broil 4-7 minutes.  Turn, spooning reserved marinade over chicken.  Crumble feta on top.  Broil just until cooked through and lightly browned, 4-6 minutes.

Ok, so I didn’t broil it. Just didn’t want to do it that way.  So, I just left it in the 8×8 dish that I marinated it in and baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes, spooning marinade over every now and then.  It was so tasty, very flavorful and extremely tender.  I also want to try this on the grill!

Along with this we had some roasted broccoli and Cheesy Polenta.  It was sooooo good.  Only things I changed were to use skim milk instead of whole, to use chicken broth instead of water as some of the reviews suggested, and omit the butter (only because I was out, but it really didn’t need any). 

I’m excited for leftovers tomorrow!

 

A Great Day with Summer Deliciousness April 17, 2009

Filed under: Entrees,Grillin',Life,Pasta,Salads,Side Dishes,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 1:44 am

Today was a great day.  “Spring Break” this year hasn’t felt like much of a Spring break since I’ve had some work to do everyday so far.  Today was the first day of the week that I didn’t have any work to do (well, I had to clean the bathrooms, but that’s just life).  I had a good morning at home getting things cleaned and organized.  I got 4 bags of clothes to Haven which I have been meaning to do for months.  They are so appreciative there, it makes you feel like you’ve really done something helpful!  After that small errand, I headed to Emily’s to meet up with her and her girls.  We had a great lunch at Fresh Choice.  Hailey and Leah were little ladies and entertained me with their napkin artwork and silly stories.  After lunch we headed to Dairy Queen.  Emily and I have been taunted for weeks by the ad for the Midnight Truffle Blizzard.  It was sooooooooooo good, but very, very rich!  After dessert, we all headed to get our hair cut which was so much fun and felt so good after 5 months without one!  On the way home, we stopped at Consign Design Boutique and I purchased my first 2 maternity outfits, for just $37!  I can’t wait to wear them!

After a busy but wonderful afternoon, I headed home to fix dinner.  Last week at the grocery store, I grabbed a pork loin roast just because it looked good.  I figured we’d throw it in the crock pot with something or other and call it a meal.  Well, when Ross suggested grilling it, there was no way I was turning him down!  I started my morning with searching for a good marinade recipe and starting the process.  The recipe I found was on cooks.com and is called Grilled Marinated Loin of Pork.  We loved it.  The honey and cinnamon add just the right amount of sweetness, and it came out perfectly tender.  Along with it we had a pasta salad that we first made and blogged about last summer, Spicy Vegetarian Peanut Noodle Salad.  It was even better that we remembered, and went perfectly with the pork. 

Today was a fun, beautiful day, and the sunshine, the carefree schedule and the awesome summer meal made me feel like summer is finally on its way.  I am so happy!

 

Catching Up January 30, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Crock Pot,Desserts,Entrees,Life,Products,Soups,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 4:03 am

I am supposed to be doing work right now, but I am really not interested so I figured it would be a good time to catch up on my blog. 

 

We’ve had some very random meals lately.  Many were not at all bad, but just not really worth mentioning.  Here are some of the highlights (some good and some not so good).

  • Chicken Pot Pie.   I originally wrote about this recipe in this post.  I love this recipe.  The thyme is very tasty and the wine adds a very nice flavor.  I made this one day last week when we were stuck home in the snow.  I decided to switch it up in a few ways.  First, I made it in the crock pot.  I made up the sauce on the stovetop and poured it over 2 large chicken breasts in the crock pot.  I added carrots, celery and onions and cooked it on low for about 6 hours.  Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed it from the crock pot and shredded it up with a fork. While I was shredding, I added a cup of frozen peas to the sauce in the crock pot and let them heat through.  I mixed the chicken back in with the sauce and put it in an 8×8 baking dish.  Now – here comes the special trick that made it extra tasty –  a few Sunday’s ago, Ross made homemade biscuits for breakfast.  He makes awesome biscuits and I always beg him to make them for me.  I think this was the second time, so hey, I can count on them once every couple of years or so.  Anyway, he froze extra dough.  I thawed it out and rolled it into an 8×8 square.  I placed it on top of the chicken mixture and baked it at 350 for about 25 minutes.  It was awesome.  I don’t know his recipe for biscuits, but any recipe would work.  It is much tastier than a pie crust, I  promise you that!
  • Tonight, we had another crock pot meal (I’ve been on a crock pot roll lately).  I was in a hurry this morning, so I just put some chicken in there and poured Lawry’s Caribbean Jerk marinade over it.  It was horrible.  I hardly ate any.  It was the saltiest stuff ever, so salty that I couldn’t even taste any of the flavor of the sauce.  I will definitely never buy that again, or probably any Lawry’s marinade.  It was that bad. 
  • In addition to the chicken (thank goodness we had something else with it) we had a Southwestern Corn Chowder.  I didn’t make it; this one came in a box.  Yes, a box.  It was a V8 soup.  Who knew V8 made soups?  I don’t think I could force myself to drink a V8 juice, but soup I could try.  It was great!  As advertised on the box (looks like an overgrown juice box) there is a full serving of veggies inside.  That along with a great flavor and hearty, thick texture, you can’t go wrong!  Apparently there are several other flavors.  I want to try the Butternut Squash and the Garden Broccoli!

  •   I have one other random note, and I add this only  because Amy Burns of Amy’s Confection Company isn’t making cakes so much as her other sweet treats anymore.  After finding out that Amy couldn’t make my wedding cake, I went on a long and difficult search for someone to do the job.  We ended up going with Once in a Blue Moon Bakery in Cary.  I am pretty sure that other than “congratulations”, the comment I heard most on my wedding was “where did you get that amazing cake?”  Not only did it look beautiful, but it was the best tasting cake I have ever had (again, only saying this because I’ve never tasted one of Amy’s!).  I mention this because I just ordered another cake from there for a gathering I have this weekend.  I ordered the same flavor as my wedding cake, chocolate with hazelnut mousse and cream cheese frosting.  I can’t wait to eat it.  They are also super cool because you can place your order online if you do it 72 hours in advance.  If you ever need a great cake for a special event, I highly recommend them!  They also have a really cute little cafe where they offer breakfast treats,  lunches and other sweet treats.  Check them out!

This isn’t the best picture of our cake, but it was the most convenient one for me to put here. 

OK, now I am off to go do my work!  Yay for tomorrow being Friday!!!

 

Herald Column 1-21-09 – Hot Cocoa January 21, 2009

Filed under: Beverages,Life,The Herald Columns — lindsayrose @ 3:54 pm

For those of you stuck at home today once again, here is the recipe from this week’s column.  It is perfect for a day like today!

 

This winter, North Carolina is experiencing some of the coldest days we’ve seen in years.  Having moved here from Upstate New York, not too far from Canada, I should be prepared for days such as these.  Unfortunately, I am not.  My blood has thinned and I spend many days searching for heat vents to sit near, layers to add on and blankets to cover myself with.  While warming myself from the outside protects me from the cold air around me, there is nothing quite like being warmed from the inside out.

One of the things I miss most about the winters in New York is the cozy feeling that comes along with warming up.  Sitting by a hot fire following an afternoon of ice skating or sledding with a steamy cup of hot cocoa is a comforting feeling like none other I know.  As soon as the weather dropped below freezing this past week, I became determined to invent a homemade hot cocoa recipe that would bring back the feeling of those cozy afternoons, and more importantly, succeed at the task of warming me from the inside out.

I began searching the Internet for hot cocoa recipes; I like to have a place to start.  I found several, but they seemed a little too ordinary for me.  I finally realized that I knew just what the secret ingredient had to be.  Whenever I order a steamed coffee beverage, I always order with soy milk.  This began in an effort to be healthy, but has continued based on the hint of sweetness and the incredible smooth, creaminess that comes along with soy milk.  By using this magic ingredient, not only are you adding vitamins and nutrients to your hot cocoa, but you are also able to cut back on the fat in whole milk and the sugar usually added to hot cocoa while still retaining the sweet, creamy goodness.  Most base recipes I found for cocoa use about ¾ cup of sugar, while this recipe really only needs 1/3 cup per 4 servings.

This week, when the weather is cold, go ahead and reach for your blanket.  Just be sure to leave one arm out so that you can reach for your mug of hot cocoa at the same time.  It’s sure to be key ingredient for a truly warming day.

 

Hot Cocoa

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup  sugar

1/3 cup boiling water

Pinch of salt

3 ½ cups vanilla soy milk (tested with Silk soy milk)

Half and half

 

Mix together cocoa and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Add boiling water, bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Be careful not to scorch the sugar.  Add the milk and heat through, coming close to a boil without actually boiling.  Serve with a splash of half and half if desired.  This will add additional flavor and help to cool the cocoa before drinking.

 

 

 

The Burns Family Catalina Roast January 11, 2009

Filed under: Crock Pot,Entrees,Life — lindsayrose @ 3:56 am

This past week, Amy posted the recipe for her Catalina Roast on her blog.  It sounded so delicious to me and I knew we had to try it.  After attending a basketball game this morning where Miss Hailey Page starred as the “most spirited” cheerleader, I decided that today would be a great day to cook this one up in the crock pot.  I already had carrots and potatoes and an onion, so all I needed was the meat and the Catalina dressing.

 
As I commented on Amy’s post, we’ve used Catalina dressing before as a marinade when we’ve grilled chicken or pork.  Sometimes we use it on its own and sometimes we mix it with Worcestershire sauce.  It’s really tasty!  I would have never thought to pour it over a roast, though.  As Amy directed, I sliced the onions, peeled and quartered the potatoes and cut the carrots into large chunks.  I covered the bottom of the crock pot with the veggies, put the meat on top, and poured a large bottle of Catalina on top. 

 

That’s it!!!!

 

It couldn’t have been any easier.  And… it was AWESOME!  We really, really loved this.  Ross is a good guy and always thanks me at the end of a meal – but for this one, he thanked me after the second bite!  I think he would have done it after the first bite, but he was in a hurry to get that second taste in his mouth!  I thought about seasoning it with some spices, but I wasn’t really sure how it was going to taste so I didn’t know what to season it with.  Other than a little salt and pepper on the meat, I didn’t use a thing, and I am glad.  It is perfect just the way it is!

 

While I was washing the dishes, I got to thinking about how I love the way that recipes connect people.  Because I can imagine myself in a kitchen 40 years from now telling my grandchildren about Amy Burns from Sanford, NC and about how I got the recipe for this roast from her blog 40 years earlier.

 

I will then probably have to explain to my grandchildren the ancient concept of a blog as a spacecraft flies by and a robot prepares our dessert.