Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Welcome 2011 with Black Eye Peas

I like black eye peas. Since they are supposed to be good luck for a new year, this gives me a terrific excuse to make a dish of Hoppin' John! I found this recipe for Hoppin' John in a recent Parade magazine. It sounds wonderful to me.

I also want to make something green to accompany the black eye peas. While at the grocery today I looked at collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, but didn't want such heavy greens. So, I picked up some bok choy, otherwise known as Chinese cabbage. I really like bok choy too, I'm just hoping these two ingredients compliment each other. I will probably make the bok choy into a simple stir fry, maybe as bok choy with cashews.

I don't yet know what will be for dessert, but you can bet it'll be something "light." If you have a suggestion, please leave me a comment.

I'll be sure to let you know how everything turns out!

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Dinner Thoughts

Mmmm mmmm good! That's what Baked Potato Soup is!!! When I got up I put the potatoes in the oven to bake at 475° for an hour. Boy, those potatoes smelled yummy. Then, I left them to cool down for awhile (while my sister and I went shopping).

When Cindy and I were done shopping, we decided I would make the soup over at her house. So, we stopped by my house to pick up all the ingredients and transported them to her house. This soup really couldn't be any easier to make. And it truly was delicious! I'm adding this to the regular recipes list. This is a good "go to" kind of recipe - as long as you take the time to bake the potatoes in advance.

We also had leftover salad as well as leftover pie. Better get that pie eating in, because it's time to return to more healthy eating with the new year. Mom made her as ever yummy pecan pie. I made those two stuffed crust pies: blueberry and cherry. Both were good, but we like the blueberry better (especially when the two are alongside each other). The blueberry just is bit sweeter.

My brother-in-law, David, used the potato skins to make twice-baked potatoes, we had a bit of that along with the soup. Our family is obviously one that likes the potato!

It'll be 2011 before I cook another Sunday dinner, so here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you and yours.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Potato Soup!

In this week's St. Louis Post Dispatch Let's Eat section was an article on How to Make Perfect Baked Potatoes and Potato Soup. We love potatoes at our house, so I'll be making Baked Potato Soup for Sunday dinner this week.

We'll most likely have salad with that soup since I made a huge salad to take to my sister's for Christmas. For the salad I tore red leaf romaine and a curly green lettuce. I chopped celery and carrots (plus I also shredded some carrot too). I also sectioned a few ruby red grapefruits I purchased recently through the annual Rotary citrus sale; these grapefruits are fabulous! I also picked up a wedge of Wenslydale cheese with cranberries at Whole Foods the other day; I think some of this cheese crumbled into the salad might be good. While at Whole foods I also picked up some new (to me at least) crackers: lesley stowe raincost crisps. They had tasting stations in the cheese and wine area and boy were they tasty! I hope everyone likes them. I think we'll try these crackers alongside our salad this week instead of bread.

I also made two pies Friday night: a blueberry cheesecake pie to take to my Aunt Carolyn's and Uncle Bill's house for Christmas Eve, and a cherry cheesecake pie to take to my sister's. Both the pies are based on the Blue Ribbon Stuffed Crust Blueberry Pie I made a few weeks ago. It was so good I just had to make it again! However, we didn't make it to the Christmas Eve get-together because of the weather. So, I figure we'll have leftover pie for Sunday dinner.

While I haven't been writing much lately, I have still been cooking. Here are a couple of photos from some recent recipes...

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Feta Vinaigrette, only with cheese tortellini instead of orzo

Melting Moments Christmas cookies

This cookie recipe is one of my very favorite and also one of the easiest to make. My dear friend Paula Moore gave me this recipe many years ago. Every time I make these cookies I think of Paula and Mickie Beckman, the gracious friend who first invited me to a cookie exchange. Both of these wonderful women have added so much to my life. Here's the recipe:

Melting Moments
1/2 lb. butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour

Mix dry ingredients together. Add to the creamed butter. Mix well. Roll into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly (they don't spread). Bake at 300° for 30 minutes.

Frost with powdered sugar frosting tinted pink or green. Frosting:
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk (or more - add a little at a time until right consistency)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Makes 50 little cookies.

As you can see, I didn't color my frosting. I frosted the cookies then dipped them into the Christmas sprinkles. They sure were yummy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

After Dinner Thoughts

We loved the Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti! It was incredibly easy to make; I made the pesto in my small food processor. I couldn't find any farro pasta so I used campanelle instead. I used a little bit of the pasta water (approximately 1/4 cup) and maybe should have used more in the finished dish just to add a little bit more moisture to the dish.

The creamed spinach, on the other hand, was okay. Mom and Dad both liked it, but I really didn't - it was too sweet for my taste. I'll try creamed spinach again sometime however with a different recipe.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Friday evening I looked through a pile of recipes I have printed over the years and came across this recipe for Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti that I've been interested in trying for about a year. It sounds wonderful to me!

I'm also going to add a side dish of creamed spinach. The recipe I'm using is from my copy of Joy of Cooking. However, I'm using thawed frozen spinach, squeezed dry, instead of fresh spinach. Additionally, I'm either using plain soy milk or vegetable broth instead of cream or chicken broth. Oh - and I won't be using bacon. Otherwise, I think the recipe should turn out fine. When cooking with soy milk, I know it's important to take care, but it's also important to take care when cooking with cow's milk.

When I was going through my recipe pile, I also came across a Tuna with White Beans and Onions recipe that I had copied from a Weight Watchers book (which book, I'm unsure). The recipe sounded so good that I went ahead and made it on Friday. Mmmm...and it is good! It's a great lunch dish. Here's the recipe:

Tuna with White Beans and Onions

Canned tuna is available in three grades: solid, chunk, and flaked. Solid, sometimes called fancy, is considered the best.

Makes 4 servings

1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 (6 ounce) cans olive-oil-packed light tuna, drained
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, until the flavors are blended, at least 2 hours.

Per serving (about 1 1/2 cups): 301 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans. fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 552 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 20 g protein, 42 mg calcium
Points value: 7

When I made this, I used burgundy as that was all I had and I unintentionally forgot to put the garlic in. The dish still tasted yummy! Cannellini beans are also sometimes called white kidney beans. I decreased the amount of sage in the recipe. While I do like sage, I only had rubbed sage and I feared two teaspoons would be too much. So, I used only 1 teaspoon; I probably will use 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sage the next time I make this recipe.

Anyway, it's time to get busy. I'll let you know how dinner turns out.