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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Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake August 19, 2010

Filed under: Desserts,The Herald Columns — lindsayrose @ 2:38 am

The brain of a woman doesn’t always make all that much sense.  I am aware of that and happy to admit it.  It is good, however, to have confirmation that your brain isn’t the only one that works in a dysfunctional sort of a way.

Over the past few months Ross has started working out.  While I know that should make me happy and proud of him, it has frustrated me.  I have tried to figure out why I had this underlying feeling of bitterness when he talks about working out, but I haven’t been able to make sense of it in my head.  Similarly, when I go to put a dab of butter in the vegetables at dinner, he’ll ask to serve his before I add the butter.  While I know I should be proud of him for being healthy (and maybe go ahead and skip the butter myself), it just brings up those same feelings of frustration.  Then, like women do, I get frustrated at myself for being frustrated.  Which means I am just a big ol’ mess.

A few weeks ago while taking a day trip for work, I tuned into a morning radio show.  A man called in explaining that he had been working out and was in the best shape of his life.  Much to his dismay, instead of being excited for him, his wife was annoyed with him.  The female host of the show explained that while it doesn’t make sense, when the man in the relationship is taking better care of himself, it automatically makes us feel guilty for not doing so.  We then tend to express this in frustration and/or anger.  While it sure sounds ridiculous when you hear someone else talk about it, I felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only crazy one out there!  Maybe I’m normal after all!

Since I have no interest in starting a workout regime at this point, or to cut out desserts, I’ve got to try to convert Ross to my unhealthy lifestyle instead of the other way around.  It’s hard to get him to eat desserts, but I can usually tempt him with a cheesecake.  Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake is a delicious, refreshing treat.  And, since it has fruit in it, it’s healthy.  It’s easy to make and if you really work that mixer, you can get a good arm workout in while you’re preparing it!

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

1 ready crust chocolate pie crust (6 ounces)

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 350.  With a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy; gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth.  Add egg, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well.  Arrange raspberries on bottom of ready crust.  Pour cheese mixture over fruit.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool, top with chocolate glaze.  Chill.

Chocolate Glaze

In small saucepan over low heat, melt 2 (1 ounce each) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate with ¼ cup whipping cream.  Cook and stir until thickened and smooth.  Remove from heat.

 

Baby Burgers July 29, 2010

Filed under: Baby Food,The Herald Columns — lindsayrose @ 4:24 am

For quite some time, I’ve been warned about the phases that babies go through.  Now, I am finding out about them firsthand.  Madden likes to teach me things like that.  Since he was about four months old, I have been sure that he was going through the teething phase.  Well, here we are a little over eight months with not a single pearly white in sight.  My mother-in-law has told me that I can blame teething for any poor behavior until he is at least twenty-one.  Apparently I’ve gotten a head start on that.

Along with the four month teething (without actually getting any teeth) phase, Madden has begun to show his independent streak.  He has decided that he has no interest in baby food now that he is such a grown up little man.  He wants to do it all himself.  We’ve been on a hunt for foods that he can feed himself, but that are soft enough for his sweet little toothless mouth to handle.  That has gone pretty well, but with a freezer full of pureed fruits and veggies that I’ve made and a baby on a spoon feeding strike, I figured it was time to get creative.

Baby burgers are a creation that came from a need to satisfy my little independent man and use up the “baby” food that he has decided is in his past.  Adding the pureed veggies to a pound of ground meat along with some baby cereal to hold it all together ended up being the perfect solution.  Madden now has a freezer full of healthy grown up food and nothing has gone to waste.  Best yet, he seems to be a big fan of the concoctions.  Taking only minutes to throw together and leaving me with a freezer stocked for the next couple of weeks, these baby burgers should leave me with plenty of time to prepare for the next phase.

Baby Burgers

Beef

1 pound ground beef

8 ounces pureed vegetables (I used carrots and broccoli)

½ cup baby cereal

¼ teaspoon basil

¼ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

Use seasonings that you typically cook with so that your baby learns to like the foods that you regularly make.

Chicken

1 pound ground chicken

5 ounces (half of a box) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (squeeze water out)

¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (omit if your baby is not ready for/has not had cheese)

Mix all ingredients together and form into meatballs. Flatten top to make into a small patty.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place baby burgers on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Cool and freeze.  Once frozen, place baby burgers in Ziploc bags for easy retrieval.  Warm in microwave before serving.

 

Ross’ Pizza July 13, 2009

Filed under: Entrees,The Herald Columns,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 2:20 am

We’ve never been ones to repeat meals too often in our house.  We love experimenting with new recipes and keeping things interesting.  The past few weeks, however, have been an exception.  Ross decided one day to make a homemade pizza, just to entertain himself for awhile on a lazy Saturday.  Since then, we have a few pizzas a week.  They are excellent, and he’s tweaked the recipe each time until we believe that we’ve reached perfection.  We’ve even made calzones with the ingredients and they’ve turned out amazing as well. 

If you are going to repeat a recipe, pizza is a good choice.  A different set of toppings can make it taste like a completely different meal.  The recipe that we use for dough is based on Tyler Florence’s recipes, with a few adjustments that Ross has made along the way.  It makes 3 balls of dough (or 3 medium sized pizzas), so it allows for many variations of toppings.  We’ve tried broccoli, fresh sliced tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, pepperoni and portabella mushrooms.  All have been delicious, and we’re excited to keep testing.

The sauce is my favorite part, a basic tomato sauce with some herbs mixed in and just the right amount of sweetness.  Other sauces can be used such a pesto, broccoli pesto (see a great recipe for that on my blog), taco sauce, alfredo sauce, et cetera.  The opportunities are endless – and so are the requests for more!

Ross’ Famous Pizza

Crust:

  • 1 package active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • Teaspoon of maple syrup

In the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and teaspoon of maple syrup.   Add the flour, a little at a time.  Mix at the lowest speed until all the flour has mixed in. When the dough starts to come together, change the speed to medium.  
Feel the dough, if it’s crumbly, add more water; if it’s sticky, add more flour – 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball.  This should take about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times; kneading until it’s smooth and stretchy. Form the dough into a large ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spotuntil doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.

Roll or pat out a piece of dough into a 12 inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Brush the crust with a thin layer of olive oil, and top with your favorite sauce and toppings.

Basic Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • A pinch of sugar (more or less to your liking)

In a medium bowl, Mix together tomato sauce and tomato paste until smooth. Stir in seasonings.

Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of a cookie sheet (as in upside-down cookie sheet -we’ve found that this works even better than a pizza stone).  Bake at 500 (or as high as your oven goes) for about 7-8 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

 

Mom’s Mac and Cheese July 9, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,The Herald Columns,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 1:32 pm

This one was in the Herald yesterday, but with a mistake by me.  It’s 16 oz of cheese, not 8.  Sorry!

It’s no secret that food is one of my favorite things in life.  When I plan my meals, I have to make sure it is going to be something really tasty.  One of the biggest disappointments to me is eating a meal that just isn’t that good.  It feels like such a waste to me, a missed opportunity for something I love. 

The thing is, for me it isn’t just about the taste.  Sure, I want it to taste good – but it also has to feel good.  I’m a texture person.  It took me well into my teenage years to be able to stomach peas – not because of how they taste, but how they felt in my mouth.  The pop of the outside followed by the mush on the inside was just more than I could handle.  I’m not sure what made me finally get over it, but I’m fine with peas now. 

Often times when planning meals, I plan more around the texture I am craving than the taste of the food.  One of my favorite textures is smooth and creamy.  Whether it is a dessert made of cool whip and pudding or a pasta dish with a rich creamy sauce, these foods are just as satisfying to the soul as they are to the palate. 

Like most children, mac and cheese was one of my favorites growing up, and it still is.  The good ol’ box will work in a pinch, but Mom’s homemade mac and cheese is better than anything else.  My favorite part has always been the fresh sliced tomatoes layered on top with the crunchy breadcrumb mixture finishing it off.  A bite of warm, creamy pasta with the slight tang of tomato and just a tiny crunch is the perfect texture recipe for me.  And just to top it off, it tastes incredible as well.  This is one that you just can’t go wrong with.

Mom’s Mac and Cheese

1 box macaroni (elbows or shells are best), cooked al dente or a tiny bit less

1 tomato, sliced

16 ounce box Velveeta, chopped

¼ stick butter

¼ cup flour

2 to 2 ½ cups milk

1 tablespoon minced onion

Parsley to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup parmesan cheese

 

Over low heat, melt butter.  Whisk flour into it, and then add milk slowly.  Before boiling, add cheese, bring to a slow boil.  Add minced onion, salt, pepper and parsley.  Stir in macaroni.  Place in a 13×9 inch baking dish.  Top with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and sliced tomatoes.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.

 

Meat, Potatoes and Veggies – Summer Style June 8, 2009

Filed under: Entrees,Grillin',Salads,Side Dishes,The Herald Columns — lindsayrose @ 3:01 am

In the winter, when I think of meat and potatoes, the image of a roast with a hearty gravy, cooked along with some potatoes and carrots is the image that comes to mind. 

However, in the summer, meat, potatoes and veggies means something very different.  Our summer version of this meal tonight was something different, a concoction of foods that we came across mostly by accident, but that made a delicious meal.

Yesterday, I ran to Lowe’s to grab just a few things, and happened to see a Shady Brook Farms turkey tenderloin on sale for only $5.  It seemed like it would be a waste not to buy it, so I threw it in my basket.  It was a Rotisserie flavored tenderloin, and when Ross grilled it tonight, he added some Thomas’ sauce while it cooked.  It tasted absolutely wonderful. 

Yesterday, I met my sister at her house before we headed to the Brad Paisley/Dierks Bentley concert (which was amazing, by the way).  One of her patients lives on a farm and had given her a whole bunch of yellow squash.  I cut it up tonight and put it on a cookie sheet.  I sprayed it with canola oil cooking spray, sprinkled it with salt, pepper and basil, and baked it for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  I added some fresh sliced tomatoes that my in-laws brought over to us today, sprinkled it with freshly grated parmesan cheese, and baked it for about 5-7 minutes more.  It was so super tasty.   I could have eaten twice the amount that I made.

Instead of wintry baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, we had potato salad.  I’ve used this recipe in my column before, but in case you missed it, here it is.  It was the perfect potato-ey touch for this delicious summer meal!

Potato Salad

2 ½ pounds potatoes

3 eggs

¾ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

3-4 stalks green onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons sweet relish

1 teaspoon paprika

 

Peel potatoes partly, boil until tender when pierced with a fork.  Boil eggs until hard boiled.  Cool potatoes and eggs in fridge. 

Dice potatoes and eggs to desired size.  Add mayonnaise and sour cream, mix well.  Add green onion, salt, pepper, mustard and relish.  Mix well.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Chill before serving.

 

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.