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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Spoiled Rotten November 10, 2009

Filed under: Comfort Foods,Entrees,Side Dishes,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 2:56 am

Yup, that is what I have been lately.  Ross is the best ever and has not only been planning meals, but grocery shopping for them and cooking them as well… and even doing the dishes!  I wonder how long I can make this last after  the baby is born?

This past weekend, Ross made a super delicious home cooked, comfort food meal.  He made homemade mac and cheese and oven fried chicken.  They were both so very delicious.  The baked chicken had a delicious flavor and was so juicy and tender.  The baked mac and cheese was awesome – we have almost cleaned off the 9×13 dish of it that was made only 2 nights ago!  Ross said that after reading the reviews he doubled the amount of evaporated milk (adding 1 cup total) and added an extra egg as well.  It was perfect.  I loved it and can’t wait to make it again.  It is different than my Mom’s mac and cheese – just different enough that it is worth keeping both recipes in our repetoire!

Tonight, Ross made Curried Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole.  We both really, really loved it.  The mixture of the curry, tomatoes, raisins and cinnamon sound so random, but taste so well together.  Ross used chicken thighs instead of breasts and it was so delicious – and according to him, fairly easy to prepare.  I can’t wait to make this one again very soon. 

It’s been forever since I posted last, and with a baby joining our family on Wednesday at the latest, it will probably be awhile again.  These were all just too good not to share!

 

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!

 

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.

 

Tomato Pie June 14, 2009

Filed under: Side Dishes,Vegetarian — lindsayrose @ 9:57 pm

At least, that’s what I call it.  I can’t remember the real name, but I know it was from Southern Living magazine.  I think.  My mother-in-law made it a summer or two ago and I loved it.  I kind of forgot about it, but I’ve really been craving it lately.  We’re going to a cookout tonight, so it seemed like the perfect thing to bring along.  I tried to find it on the website but I couldn’t… maybe because I am way off on the name.  Anyway, I finally found it scribbled on a piece of paper.  Here’s the recipe.  It is so tasty, fresh, and healthy too. 

Tomato Pie

 1 frozen pie crust

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 medium plum tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

Saute the zucchini in the olive oil until tender.  Drain.  Poke holes in the bottom of the pie crust with a fork.  Place the cooked zucchini on the bottom, place the sliced tomatoes on top.  Mix together the rest of the ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls on top of the tomatoes.  Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.

 

One of the meals I am going to make this week is a variation of this that is more like a quiche, including eggs and ham along with the tomatoes and cheese.  I’ll post that after I make it!

 

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!