Sunday, September 29, 2013

#37 - Cornbread Casserole with Pinto Beans and Swiss Chard

This recipe may not sound like much but both Don and I were surprised at how these simple flavors married so perfectly in this ultimate comfort casserole dish.  We will be working this into the regular routine as a great source for using up swish chard and an excellent vegetarian option too.

1 medium yellow onion diced
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
1 bunch chard, stems and leaves separated, stems diced and leaves coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 15 oz cans organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
16 ounces plain Greek Yogurt
1 12 oz jar of prepared bruschetta
1 15 oz box cornbread mix, prepared according to instructions and set aside

Preheat the oven to 375.  Saute onions, garlic, chard stems and cumin in some olive oil.  Add chard leaves at the end until they start to sweat.  Stir together beans, yogurt, and onion mixture.  Spread in the bottom of a large baking dish.  For next layer spread bruschetta over bean mixture.  For final layer spread cornbread mixture on top.  Bake uncovered about 30 to 40 minutes until cornbread is fully cooked and golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#36 - Salmon Burgers Served with Edamame

Another quick and easy weeknight win.  Eating out avoided once again.

Monday, September 23, 2013

#35 - Asian Shrimp and Noodle Soup

Thanks to a well timed cloud break, Caitlyn and I got to go for a little walk when she got home from daycare tonight.  In about 30 minutes we managed to make it as far as two neighbor's houses and back.  Along the way we explored numerous puddles, storm drains, a deer crossing the road, several choice gravel rocks, and shouted at the top of Caitlyn's lungs "HI!" to every neighbor we encountered.  Then it was back to indoor playing while Mama got dinner ready, inspired once again by my Trader Joe's cookbook but very much adapted with my own twist since several of the original ingredients are no longer carried by the store.  This was a recipe that Don picked out and it turned out really great.  It was especially fun because it's not something I would have originally gravitated to but so glad I did.  We would happily make this again.

2 cups chicken broth (I used homemade)
1 package TJ's frozen Tom Yum Soup
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
Juice of 1 Lemon
6 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles
8 oz shitake mushrooms
1 cup frozen small to medium already cooked shrimp
1 cup bagged stir fry veggies (with cabbage)
Siracha (for serving)
Soy Sauce (for serving)

Bring first five ingredients to a boil in a large pot.  Add noodles and cook about 5 minutes.  Add Shitake Mushrooms and cook about two minutes.  Add shrimp and stir fry veggies and cook another 4 minutes.  Serve with Siracha and Soy Sauce on the side for additional flavoring options.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

#34 - TJ's Peppercorn Garlic Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Corn on the Cob

Despite a shaky weather forecast for the weekend, we got away with a dry Saturday with lots of sunbreaks.  We made the most of the day getting out for a walk around Lake Padden with the Kelty Backpack and the dogs.  Then we even got to enjoy a BBQ Dinner and eat out by the chimenea with a small fire.  I love that we have an outdoorsy girl who wants to be outside all the time and is entertained by rocks, dirt and sticks and not afraid to get dirty or wet.  She would have fit right in with Mommy and Aunt Kristy and Aunt Terri when we were kids practicing our Heman acrobatic moves in the backyard or hunting banana slugs at the archery range.  Dinner was one of my most favorite simple grill meals - Peppercorn Garlic Marinated Pork Tenderloin from Trader Joes served with Corn on the Cob.  If you have not tried this pork tenderloin at Trader Joes, I can't recommend it enough!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

#33 - Turkey Artichoke Wrap

Recipe #33 - a third of the way to my goal of documenting 100 home cooked meals!

I'm enjoying this one as we speak and I can definitely say I recommend this one!

Lavish Bread
Artichoke Pesto Spread
Sliced Deli Turkey
Sliced Swiss Cheese
Chopped Fresh Basil
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

#32 - Pancake Repeat

Enjoyed another dose of Don's famous Bacon, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast this morning.  What a way to start the weekend!

#31 - Eggplant Tostada

I loved this idea for a quick lunch alternative adapted from the Trader Joes Cookbook

Whole Wheat Tortillas
TJ's Eggplant Garlic Spread
Chopped Cherry Tomatoes
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Chopped Fresh Basil

Preheat oven to 400.  Spread tortillas with Eggplant Garlic Spread.  Add Toppings.  Bake about 8-10 minutes.

#30 - Chicken Curry in a Hurry

While the actual results of this meal left us a little wanting, it was a good experiment and did give us ideas for a future improved version.  I had intended to use a bottle of yellow curry in this dish, however, sadly they were out when I went to the store, so I decided to try the premarinated yellow curry chicken from the refrigerated section.  I definitely discovered I did not like it as much as the bottled kind.  What the meal needed was a touch more of sweetness.  Ingredients below are not the actual cooked version but suggested improved recipe to try next time.


1 package chicken tenders finely diced
1 Sweet Onion diced
3 Carrots thinly sliced or chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 package TJ's frozen brown rice, prepared according to instructions
1 bottle TJ's Yellow Curry Sauce
2 Tbsps Mango Ginger Chutney

Saute chicken, onions and carrots in a large sauce pan until cooked thorough.  Whisk together curry sauce and chutney.  Add to chicken mixture with peas and brown rice and continue to cook until heated through.

#29 - Mongolian Grill, Early Style

Inspired again from our Trader Joe's Cookbook, this is a super easy and definitely make again take on the Mongolian Grill style of cooking.

TJ's Marinated Korean Book Kogi Beef Ribs from the refrigerated section, sauteed and sliced into bite sized strips
12 oz spaghetti noodles, prepared according to package instructions
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 tsp jarred crushed garlic
1 cup shredded carrot
8 oz sliced mushrooms
8 oz broccoli florets

Use your imagination or whatever veggies you have on hand!

#28 - Pasta Alla Checca

We rocked the cooking/grocery plan this week thanks to a huge amount of inspiration from my Trader Joe's cookbook.  Not once did we eat out and I packed a lunch of delicious leftovers every day for Don.  And I was able to carve out time on my own lunchbreak to squeeze in a workout.  Successful week all the way around.

This was a super simple recipe from the cookbook using prepared bruschetta in place of pasta sauce.  So simple and easy.  We served this with a spinach salad with warmed goat cheese slices and balsamic vinaigrette.

Linguine, prepared according to package directions
Refrigerated Bruschetta Sauce
Fresh Mozzarella Balls
Chopped fresh Basil
Grated Parmesan Cheese Blend

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#27 - Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash, Yams, and Rainbow Swiss Chard

This recipe was adapted from the Bon Appetit Cookbook I checked out from the Library this week.  Don and I both really loved it and happy to find another good use for Chard.  I enjoyed my garnish of sour cream and chopped radishes.  Don had some really inspiring ideas about how to repurpose these leftovers.  The recipe is so versatile.  Tomorrow for breakfast we may try baking an egg in some.  It would also make great burrito filing.  For a little heat, try adding chorizo.  We will definitely be seeing this recipe in our kitchen again.


Olive Oil
2 small onions diced
1 bunch of chard, stems and leaves both coarsley chopped and separated
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 Sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups chicken broth
3 15-ounce cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
Sour Cream, for garnish
Chopped Radishes, for garnish

Heat some olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven.  Add onions, chard stems, and garlic.  Saute until translucent.  Add squash and yams.  Saute a few minutes until they start to sweat and soften a bit.  Add spices.  Stir to incorporate.  Add broth & beans.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer until squash and potatoes have softened to desired consistency (about 10 to 15 minutes).  Stir in chard.  Remove from heat.  Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with chopped radishes.

#26 - Baked Chicken and Bruschetta

Here is an easy peasy chicken recipe adapted from the Trader Joes Cookbook I checked out from the library.  In a medium sized baking dish place two boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the top.  Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.  Scatter with halved baby zucchini.  Top with Trader Joe's prepared Bruschetta from the refrigerated section.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until chicken is done.  So easy and turned out nice and tasty!

2 Chicken Breasts
1 Lemon
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 bag baby zucchini, halved
1 container refrigerated prepared bruschetta

#25 - Hummus Plate

Loved this as an easy no cook meal during hot weather.

Spicy Hummus
Pita Crackers
Sliced Lemon Cucumbers
Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
Kalamata Olives

#24 - Fajita Night

We got a lovely assortment of fresh bell peppers in our delivery box this week ranging from a pale white all the way to dark purple.  So of course I thought of Fajita night.  It also was a great way to get double duty out of the Nacho Ingredients we purchased for the Game Day appetizers.

Trader Joes Marinated Carne Asada
Assorted sliced peppers
Sliced onion
Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
Diced Avocado
Lime Wedges
Diced Cherry Tomatoes
Sour Cream

#23 - REPEAT - Bacon and Beer Braised Cabbage Served with Apple Chardonney Sausages

Already made and posted this recipe before but it still counts toward the 100 home cooked meals I'm goaling towards.  Almost a quarter of the way there!

#22 TJ's Korean Beef with Stir Fry Vegetables

The Camera has been misplaced so you don't get pictures this week but I promise we've been cooking!  We love the marinated Korean Beef Short Ribs from Trader Joes.  They're so flavorful and versatile.  They are perfect in stir fry meals or on their own.  Temps sky rocketed this week so on a beautiful summer like Thursday evening Don cooked up the meat on our gas Webber and used the side gas burner to stir fry the veggies in a pan.  We even managed to use up some leftover grilled onions and peppers from Fajita Night.  Bonus!  We also got to eat outside on the awesome new picnic table that Don built.

Trader Joes Marinated Korean Beef Short Ribs
Sliced Assorted Peppers
Sliced Onion
Chopped Broccoli
Chopped Celery
Fresh or Frozen Corn Kernels
Spicy Szechuan Sauce

We intended to serve over rice but the rice cooker broke down.  Was delicious without the rice but certainy would have stretched the meal a little further.

#21 Game Day Nacho Bake

I have received lots of inspiration by a Trader Joes Cookbook I checked out from the library last week.  Made this Nacho bake when we went over to Katie and Zach's new house last Sunday to watch Football.  It was so fun!

Tortilla Chips
1 15 oz Can Organic Vegetarian Chili
1 1/2 cups Fancy Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
2 cups quartered Cherry Tomatoes
2 diced Avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Chunky Garden Salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.
2.  Scatter tortilla chips in 9 x 13 baking dish and top with chili and cheese.  Bake in oven about 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
3.  Remove pan from oven and scatter additional toppings over nachos.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

#20 - Kale and Caremalized Onion Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

Not every recipe is a home run and I wouldn't put this one up there at the top, but at this stage in my life if it's edible and nutritious then at least it's a quick and easy option to reheat.  Also I'm happy that we saved money buy using up pantry ingredients that otherwise could have gone to waste and also avoiding another meal of eating out.

Still there are elements to this recipe that sparked some good ideas for the future and I learned something from this process.  First of all, one whole Jar of roasted red peppers was a bit much, and I'm realizing that I'm just not that much of a fan of commercially preserved roasted peppers.  It's worth it to do the extra step of roasting or sauteeing your own.  I'm envisioning now a leftover fajita omelet with leftover grilled onions and peppers and fajita steak with possibly some cojita cheese or feta instead of goat cheese.  I could also easily add whatever greens we have on hand at the time too (spinach, kale, chard, arugula all sound nice).  Another project for another day.

#19 - TJ's Salmon Burgers with Lemony Carrot Salad

Talk about a cheap and easy meal.  The fresh carrots from our CSA delivery are 10 times more flavor than your average grocery store variety.  All we did was dress these grated carrots up with a little bit of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and it was as sweet and fresh as any good fruit salad.  Trader Joes Salmon Burgers are also a staple in our house.  Quick and healthy and Caitlyn ate almost a whole patty to herself last night!  Very pleased with this for a quick weeknight meal and looking forward to the leftover carrot salod today.  Also, for a fun twist, try adding the carrot salad directly to your burger for a nice crunchy condiment.

Trader Joe's Frozen Salmon Burgers (prepared according to instruction)
Trader Joe's Hamburger Buns (lightly toasted)
Goat Cheese
Sliced Tomato
Red Butter Lettuce
Dijon Mustard

In medium bowl combine equal parts lemon juice and good quality olive oil (about 2 tablespoons each).  Add one clove of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste and whisk well to incorporate.  Shred 4 medium to large carrots.  Toss with dressing.  Chill until ready to serve.

#18 Quick & Easy Lamb Stew

I'm particularly proud of this recipe.  Quick, simple, and delicious.  Definitley going on the make again.

Burgandy Marinated Lamb Tips from Trader Joes (we used half the package and saved the other for later use)
1 Onion, diced
3 Gold Potatoes, chopped
3 Carrots, chopped
1 Quart of Beef Broth
14 oz can of Stewed Tomatoes
2 cups trimmed Green Beans cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces

Cut the lamb tips down into bite size pieces.  In a dutch oven, saute lamb, onion, carrots, and potatoes until meet is browhed and vegetables are softened.  Add broth, tomatoes, and green beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until green beans are desired consistency.  The marinated lamb tips imparted enough flavor that we did not need to add any other seasoning to the recipe.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Exercise Bike

Today:  30 Minutes / 5.77 Miles
Total:  60 minutes / 11.90 Miles
$37.82 per mile

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Exercise Bike

Finally used my exercise bike today for the first time.  I don't remember exactly how much we paid for it but I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of $450.  I rode 6.13 miles.  So far, that's about $73.41 a mile.

Monday, September 2, 2013

#16 & 17 - Pepperoni Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomato and Cucumber and Pan Fried Chicken with Nectarine Compote

 Pepperoni Pasta Salad with Cucumber and Cherry Tomatoes (The recipe was good but made way too much dressing.  Half the dressing would have been more than enough.)

Pan Fried Chicken with Nectarine Compote (I substituted Nectarines for Apricots in this recipe since that is what we had on hand.)

#15 Taco Night!

Caitlyn approves of Taco Night.  Here she is making the sign for "more."  She LOVES the black olives.

#14 Personal Pizzas - Pepperoni with Jalapenos and Sundried Tomatoes / Deli Turkey with Cherry Tomatoes

This was a quick and easy creation, and remarkably satisfying to the tastebuds.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough from Trader Joes
Olive Oil (brush pizza crusts lightly instead of using pizza sauce)
Shredded Mozzarella
Sundried Tomatoes
Deli Turkey
Cherry Tomatoes

#13 Oven Baked Pancake with Raspberry Sauce

I was getting a little tired of our regular weekend pancakes but wanted to do some breakfast baking.  I remembered we had some frozen raspberries in the freezer and immediately thought of this cooking light breakfast treat:  Baked Sunday Pancake with Raspberry Sauce.



Guess who has learned how to pick her nose.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#12 Fried Egg Atop Roasted Vegetable Medley of Zucchini, Carrot, and Golden Beat


Chopped Zucchini
Peeled and Chopped Carrot
Peeled and Chopped Golden Beat
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in glass baking dish for 20 to 30 minutes until desired doneness.  Prepare eggs in a skillet over medium high heat.  Serve eggs over roasted veggies.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

#11 - Thai Basil Chicken with Shallots & Green Peppers


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Red Chili Flakes (or to taste)
4 cloves minced garlic
2 large shallots finely diced
Kale Stems chopped (leaves separated and saved for another use)10 oz chicken breast tenders finely chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
Dash of White Pepper
1 Bunch of Thai Basil

Heat oil along in a skillet or wok.  Add garlic and chili flakes and saute 30 to 60 seconds until oil is fragrant.  Add Shallots and Kale Stems.  Saute a until carmelized.  Add chicken and bell pepper.  Meanwhile whisk together the fish sauce, soy sauce, and white pepper in a small bowl.  When the chicken is browned and cooked through add to the pan and stir to incorporate.  Add the basil and stir until wilted.  Remove from heat.  Serve over Rice.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Outdoor Time

#10 Turkey Burgers with Shredded Zucchini & Carrot served with Golden Beat Chips

Here's my inspiration for cooking, to help this girl go up strong and healthy.  I'm glad I have started food blogging again.  It's helpful to see that I am actually making progress with my goal.  I can't believe we're already on #10! I don't have time to post every day, and some days I don't remember to capture a picture.  But we're still cooking.  Today, you get to see what my food would look like if it were prepared and photographed professionally.  This is not what it looks like when I prepare it.  But you can bet it tastes as good as these look.

Turkey Burgers with Shredded Zucchini & Carrot
has been a rotating recipe in our household for years.  I think it was originally introduced to us by Camille V.  (Thank you!)  It's easy to make, healthy, and a totally subversive way to get your kids to eat some veggies without knowing it.  Caitlyn loves these patties.

Baked Golden Beat Chips were as delicious as they sound and all mine.  Don and Carrot do not do beats.  So easy to make.  I used the mandolin blade on my Cuisinart to slice them extra thin.  Tossed them in some good quality olive oil from Drizzle and sea salt and baked them in the oven.  With the amount of root veggies rotating through our household, I don't see another reason to ever by another bag of commercially prepared potato chips ever again.

#9 BBQ Baked Beans and Collard Greens served with Zucchini and Sundried Tomatoe Quesadillas

I will admit that Collard Greens are not my favorite greens.  But they are packed with nutrients and they have their rotation in our delivery basket so I was on the hunt to find recipes that would make them interesting to use them up.  I found this recipe for BBQ Baked Beans & Sausage on the Eating Well website.  It did not disappoint.  True Caitlyn ate around the green parts, but if she's eating beans and chicken sausage at least, I'm not going to complain.  Here she is giving her seal of approval.  This is at the start of the meal before she was covered from head to toe in BBQ Sauce.

The quesadillas were as easy as they look.  We just sauteed some zucchini and sundried tomatoes in a little bit of oil from the sundried tomatoe jar with salt and pepper to taste.  Layered on two tortillas with some shredded mozzarella and sprinkled with feta cheese was very enjoyable.  I could only eat half and really enjoyed the leftovers for lunch.