Thursday, March 31, 2011

These F'ing burritos!!

I've been wanting to make these bean and cheese burritos for like three weeks now.  Yesterday, I made the filling and it is really good!  So I brought everything to work to assemble here, but all of a sudden B said that the burritos will be "chewy" since they will be warmed in the microwave! 

In any case, I've spent a fortune eating out this month. I hate that.  I told him we'll eat out for lunch today, but eat the burritos for dinner tonight and I'll make what I would have made for today's dinner for lunch tomorrow instead.  This is really annoying me! I'm trying to so hard to not eat out! 

April will be amazing!  I just know it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sausage Rice


I'm really not sure what to call this dish.  My initial plan was to just make a pot of seasoned rice and add crisp sausage to it.  As I started to make it yesterday, I realized it needed more.  I added about half a cup of leftover ground beef seasoned with garlic and onion powder.  It really made the dish!

1 C of rice
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of butter
2 stalks of celery -- chopped in small pieces
1 small onion -- diced
2 C water
1/2 C cooked ground beef or turkey
1/2 link of the "horseshoe" turkey sausage or 2 links -- chopped
1 clove of garlic -- crushed

Melt the butter into the olive oil.  Add chopped celery and onion and garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the sausage and continue to cook until the sausage is slightly crisp.  Add the ground beef.  Stir around and add the rice.  Stir again for a couple of minutes until the rice is well incorporated.  Add two cups of water and add about a teaspoon of salt (depends on your taste).  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cover the pot.  Let the rice cook for approximately 12 minutes.  Check to see if the rice is done.  Don't open the lid too often otherwise the rice will be gummy.  Once rice is done, turn off the heat, but leave the lid on for another ten minutes. After that time, take lid off and serve.

B wasn't even hungry for dinner last night and he ate a big bowl full.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menu Plan 03/28 - 04/01

I am determined to cook everyday this week and eat the food I make!  We ate out far too much last week.  It will be a good week.

Dinner:  Sausage and Rice (never made it from the previous week)

Dinner:  Salad

Dinner: Bean Burritos (This has been on my weekly menu for two weeks now.  It will be made this week!)

Dinner: Parmasean crusted chicken cutlets with zucchini

Dinner:  Burgers and potato salad

Dinner:  Spaghetti and Meatballs with homemade Parmasean rolls

Pasta Bolognese

I used never order bolognese at restaurants.  To me, it was just a meat sauce.  What's special about that??  Then a couple of months ago, B and I went out to dinner.  There wasn't anything on the menu that jumped out at me, so I went for the bolognese.  It was magnificent.  It was very rich and I thought I wouldn't finish the whole thing, but I did and was wanting more!!

Of course this recipe is not a copy of the version I had at the restaurant, but it is still very good.  I served it with angel hair pasta because I wanted more sauce and less noodles.  I'll have it for lunch in an hour or so and I cannot wait!

3/4 lb of pasta
1 pound of ground turkey or beef
1 28oz of crushed tomatoes
3 tsp of dried oregano
2 garlic cloves minced
3 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp  crushed red pepper
1/4 C of parmasean cheese -- grated
1/4 C of heavy cream
1/8 C of balsamic vinegar 
Salt and Pepper

Cook pasta according to packaged directions.

In a big skillet, cook meat until done.  Drain well.  Add garlic and oregano and basil.  Cook for one minute.  Add tomatoes and cook until it comes to a boil.  Add balsamic vinegar and cook again for a couple of minutes.  Add crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.  Stir in parmasean cheese.  And let the mixture simmer for about ten minutes, stir occasionally.  At the end of the cooking time, stir in the heavy cream and warm it through.  Check and adjust seasonings.  Toss cooked pasta in the sauce or serve sitting on top of the noodles.  I opted for the latter.  This is really so rich and so flavorful!  I could eat it as a soup!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Totally Off Topic

Although, I have used this blog to focus on food, I have one thing to say today:  Men are idiots!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On a Roll...Not In a Good Way

For the past couple of days, I've fallen off the cooking wagon.  First time, I gave into temptation.  The second time, I had some tummy issues that made me pretty miserable, therefore, chose not to cook.  I wasn't sick, and probably could have trucked through, but I chose not to.  Today, I'm cooking!  I've been waiting to make those burritos forever now and have all the stuff on hand, but I'm not sure how my stomach will take all the spicy stuff right now.  Instead, I'll make the chicken salad stuffed in pita.  Unfortunately, I forgot to thaw out the chicken breasts.  I'll just stick them in hot water when I get home.  If it hadn't been such a bad food week, I'd probably eat out again.  Nope, some food will come out of my kitchen today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Yesterday, I was going to make the spicy bean burritos.  I was supposed to make them last week, but never did.  So, B said that he was in the mood for chicken and wanted to go to Popeye's or something.  I told him that I had burritos planned.  He told me to go ahead with what I had planned.  Of course, I don't need much of a reason to go out to eat.  I ditched the burritos and mentally blamed B although I totally made the final decision and went out for Chinese instead.  I'll make the burritos tonight, but temptation got the best of me.  The Chinese food wasn't even that good!!

Homemade Hamburger Helper -- Taco Mac

I made this over the weekend and it was very easy and good!  It's a nice change from the Italian pasta.

2 C of uncooked pasta (I used fusilli)
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic -- minced
1 14.5 oz of diced tomatoes -- drained
1/4 C of cream cheese
1/2 C of sour cream
1 packet of taco mix

Boil pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and drain the rest.  Set aside.

In a skillet, brown meat until done.  Drain well. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add tomatoes.  Cook another two minutes or so.  Add taco seasons and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cream cheese and stir until melted.  Add sour cream.  If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid.  I added about 1/4 C.  Simmer until smooth.  Check for seasonings and adjust accordingly.  Toss sauce with cooked pasta.  I served this with grated sharp cheddar.  We didn't have any leftovers!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Menu Plan 03/21 - 03/26

I left my actual menu plan at home so I'm going to by memory.  Here goes:

Lunch:  Leftovers -- Homemade Hamburger Helper Taco Mac
Dinner:  Bean and Cheese Burritos  (didn't make them this week)

Dinner:  Chinese Chicken and Broccoli served with rice and potstickers

Dinner:  Chicken Salad in Pita Bread

Dinner:  Rice and Beans with Sausage

Dinner:  Tacos

Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Pasta Bolognese

I did it...kind of

This week is almost over and we ate out only once this week!  Yesterday, we ate our lunch out because I failed to leave the meatloaf in the oven long enough the night before.  Actually, I did it leave it in as long as I normally do, but for some reason there was a slight (very very slight) pinkish hue to it when we cut into it.  Of course, it was edible, but B freaked out and didn't eat it that night. 

Last night, I pulled it out again and stuck it in the oven for another thirty minutes until completely done.  It was tough and overcooked, but B gobbled it up.  We ate that for lunch today and tonight I'm making burgers.  That would mean with the exception that one time, we did not eat out this far!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Spanish" Chicken and Rice

There are two parts to this easy recipe:  the hot rice dish and the cool vegetable salsa that is mixed in once the rice has cooked.  The best part is this can all be cooked in one pot!


1 small to medium onion -- chopped
1 green bell pepper -- chopped
approximately 1/4 C of slice green olives
1 Tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of hot sauce

Chicken and Rice
1 1/2 C of rice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts -- cut in bite size pieces
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of butter
1 C of tomato sauce
2 C of water or stock
1 Tbsp of chili powder
Salt and Pepper

Chop up the vegetables for the salsa.  Mix together with the olives, lemon juice and hot sauce.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan with the butter.  Add the chicken pieces and brown.  Add the rice and stir together until coated with oil.  Cook for a couple of minutes -- stirring frequently.  Add the chili powder and cook for another 30 seconds or so.  Add the tomato sauce and cook again for another minute.  Add the water or stock.  Stir and add some salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover and drop it to a simmer.  Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  Once the rice is done, turn the heat off but leave the lid on for another five minutes.  After 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and stir in the salsa.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Potato Soup

This soup is delicious!  It's easy and you can really add whatever you'd like.  I like to make mine a littler thicker.  But you can make it whatever consistency you prefer.

5 Russet Potatoes
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 garlic -- minced
3 Tbsp  olive oil
1 Tbsp butter (optional)
3 Tbsp flour
About 3 C of chicken stock (veggie stock is fine too)
3 tsp dried basil
1/2 C milk (I used skim)
1/4 C sour cream (optional)
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper

Bake the potatoes until they are done.  I scrubbed and pricked mine, rolled them in paper towels and microwaved them for about 12 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, peel.

In a medium pot, heat and butter.  Add chopped garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes.  Sprinkle the flour in the onion and garlic mixture and cook until you don't see anymore white. About a minute.  Start whisking in the stock.  Start with a little stock and once that thickens, add a little more until you get the consistency you want.  I keep mine a little thick, since I'll be adding the milk.  You can always add more stock later. 

Dice 3 of the cooked potatoes and mash the other two.  Add mashed potatoes to the soup pot and stir.  Add dried basil, salt and pepper, and cayenne.  Stir in the sour cream and milk.  Add the diced potatoes.  Cook for approximately 5 minutes.  At this point, you can see if it is too thick or not.  If it is, add a little bit of stock.

Serve with sliced scallions, crisp bacon, or a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese.

Menu Plan 03/14 - 03/19

I'm planning to be cooking everyday starting this week.  Of course, if I have a bunch of leftovers, I'll skip cooking that day to finish off those first. Lunch will now be leftovers from the previous dinner. I'm basically playing it by ear and I'm a little excited to get back into the kitchen.  Am I weird??

Dinner:  Grilled Chicken Salad

Dinner:  Penne alla vodka

Dinner:  Meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Dinner:  Spicy Bean and Cheese Burritos

Dinner:  Burgers

Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:  Homemade Hamburger Helper Taco Mac

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Change of Plans

We have been horrible this week on the food front.  On Monday, we ordered pizza for dinner.  Tuesday night, we ate leftover pizza and Wednesday we stopped by Del Taco.  Mind you, I have lunches ready, just not dinner.  Starting next week, I'm changing that!  I will go from cooking 2-3 times a week to 3-4 times a week.  I'll make really easy simple dishes on weeknights and hopefully they can carry us through a couple of meals.

I'm usually fine not eating after 6:30, but B isn't although he is the one that suggested this experiment.  He's been hungry and I don't blame him. 

It's like in the 80's here in SoCal for the past couple of days.  I have potato soup on the meal plan and that will be served today!  I have all the ingredients for it.  Tomorrow, Friday, I will make a homemade pizza for dinner.  On Saturday lunch, we can finish off any leftovers we may have (I doubt we'll have any) or I can throw together grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. 

Come Monday, hopefully things will be a little more organized with the food situation.  The thing is, B and I do not actually live together.  We have our own separate apartments, but spend every night together.  We have an arrangement that Monday - Wednesday, we're at his place and Friday - Sunday, we're at mine.  We alternate Thursdays.  It may sound confusing, but it works out.  Anyway, I do the cooking in our relationship.  B can cook, but he's a guy and not organized.  Also, his apartment is a total bachelor pad.  For example, alll of his utensils are in the sink waiting to be washed....for the past three weeks.  I can't cook there, therefore, I cook at my apartment and transfer it to his.  Again, I know it's confusing.  It does get tiring, but it's working out for now.  I think he suggested that I only cook a couple of times a week is because he knows I get tired and wants to help out.  The thing is, we end up spending more money eating out and more money on gas as we then drive around LA to find a place that we both agree with.  Not very efficient. 

I should have the menu plan for next week up tomorrow. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Stroganoff

                                                                    Photo Courtesy of

This is a very easy version of the real thing.  It is very tasty, although it looks pretty horrible.  I always add some scallions or parsley on top to help with the aesthetics, but it still very good.

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I poached mine)
1 can of Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken
1 envelope of onion soup mix
1 cup of sour cream
crushed red pepper
3/4 pound of fusilli

Okay, I am totally aware that this is not a very healthy recipe.  I also know that is mostly processed foods, but if you are looking for something quick and tasty, this is it.  I've used the lower fat versions of the above ingredients with no taste difference.  Of course, you'd want to serve this with a healthy side dish to help with the nutrition intake. I did this with roasted broccoli.

Cook pasta according to the package directions.

In a large skillet, add the soup and onion soup mix.  Stir until warmed through.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk to it.  Stir in red pepper flakes.  Continue to cook until it is HOT, stirring occasionally, so it doesn't burn.  Once pasta has finished cooking, stir in sour cream and cooked chicken.  Warm through. Add cooked and drained pasta and mix well.  You're done.  Like I said, it looks really unappetizing, but I found myself  licking the pan once I transferred the pasta to another container.  Add something green on top.  It helps.

Cornbread Casserole

I tried this recipe last night.  It was quick and easy and very tasty!

1 pound of ground beef or turkey
1 onion -- chopped
1 small can of chopped chilies (or use a couple of fresh jalapenos)
one small box of cornbread mix (I used Jiffy brand)
1 can of cream style corn
1 egg
1/2 tsp of baking soda
a handful of shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Brown the meat until cooked.  Drain well.  Add chopped onions and chilies.  Cook for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, mix together the cornbread mix.  Mine called for one egg and 1/3 cup of milk. I omitted the milk altogether since I was adding the corn.  So, mix the cornbread mix with the egg, baking soda, and the creamed style corn.  Mix until combined.  I didn't have to add any additional liquid.  If you do, a splash of milk will help.  Pour half of the cornbread mixture into the bottom of a greased baking dish.  I used a small square one (I can't remember the dimensions!).  Pour all of the meat mixture on top.  Place a layer of shredded cheese on the meat mixture.  Top with the remaining cornbread batter.  Spread carefully, so the meat is completely covered in batter.  Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes.  It is done when a knife comes out clean.

I'm going to serve this with salsa on top.  B really loved it and kept taking bites as it cooled.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sheppard's Pie

I love this dish. It's easy and tasty and very rustic looking.  You can add really whatever you like.  B texted me last night after he had some.  "The sheppard's pie is DELICIOUS!!".  I was pleased.

1 pound ground beef or turkey (original sheppard's pie is made with ground lamb)
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic chopped fine
2 Tbsp flour
1-2 C water or stock
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 C frozen vegetables (whatever you'd like)
Salt and Pepper

Mashed Potatoes
4 Russett Potatoes
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 C milk
1/4 C cream cheese
Salt and Pepper

Brown the meat and drain once cooked.  Add diced onions and garlic.  Stir for a couple of minutes.  Sprinkle the flour on the meat and stir around until you can't see anymore "white".  Add about a cup of water and stir into the mixture.  It should thicken fairly quickly.  If you would like a thinner gravy add more water until you get the desired consistency.  Add Worcestershire Sauce and salt and pepper.  Stir in frozen vegetables.  Pour into a baking dish.

Make mashed potatoes.  Boil potatoes until fork tender.  Drain well. Add butter, milk, and cream cheese and mash until smooth.  Add salt and pepper. 

Pour potatoes over the meat mixture and spread so that the meat is completely covered.  Sprinkle with paprika if you'd like and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Lemon Loaf

I'm not a crazy fan of lemon.  Sure, it's alright, but I prefer not to squeeze it in my tea or over my seafood. This loaf has the taste of lemon without it being too lemony. For me, it's perfect.

1 1/2 C flour
2 eggs
3/4 C milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
the juice of one lemon and the zest of one lemon

In a large bowl, cream the sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Add an egg one at a time making sure the mixture is well blended before adding the other egg.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and milk.  Blend well.  Add dry ingredients and beat until well blended.  If it seems a little dry, add a splash of milk.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Menu Plan 03/07 -- 03/12

Lunch:  Sheppard's Pie -- leftovers

Lunch:  Cornbread casserole

Lunch:  Potato soup

Lunch:  Cornbread casserole

Lunch:  Potato Soup

Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Spanish chicken and rice

Tomorrow, I'll be baking a lemon loaf to help stretch breakfasts.  On Sunday, I'll make a batch of turkey sausage/turkey bacon breakfast sandwiches for a few days.  I'll post the recipe for the lemon loaf early next week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Banana Bread

I've made this recipe three times in two weeks.  It is really moist and not too sweet.  I love it!

2 C flour
3 ripe bananas

1 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 stick butter -- room temperature
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 C walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and continue to beat until completely mixed. Add mashed bananas and incorporate into the egg and butter mixture. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and allspice and cinnamon.  Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet until fully combined.  Don't over beat though.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.  Pour into a loaf pan and bake for an hour in a 350 degree oven. 

I always set the timer on for an hour, but my loaf usually bakes for an hour and twenty minutes.  You know it's done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

It would taste amazing with a basic sugar glaze or cream cheese frosting!