Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Brunch

We had company last night and because I planned on having them for breakfast, I had a brunch planned. They ended up leaving early and Matt and I were suddenly stuck with a whole lotta food! I fixed Shaker Cheese Squares from a B & B cookbook and we were not disappointed. Easy prep and you can do them the night before and just bake in the morning. We also had Juicy Strawberry Scones from the Good Things Catered blog. M had never had a scone, and they were a good first choice. The orange zest brightened the flavor and paired well with the strawberries. I also fixed a fruit salad and maple sausage and we will have leftovers for days. Now I am off to bake some good ol' chocolate chip cookies--because we need more food in the house.

Shaker Cheese Squares
from Inn Time for Breakfast...Again

8 eggs
1 lb. cottage cheese
1 lb. American cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 c. butter, cut into chunks
6 T. flour
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach (10 oz.-chopped and well drained)
1 T. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add cottage cheese, American cheese, butter, flour, spinach, and baking powder; mix until well blended.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

**If you want to make your life easier, use pre-cut cheese cubes and stir together the night before. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the oven and bake! I have made it the same day with good results, but it is nice to have all the work done ahead of time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Projects

Lots of things have been going on since my last post. Leah the adultress got booted from Top Chef, and we are nearing the end of another season. I am happy to see who is left, but I hope Carla is not the dark horse she thinks she is.
Matt and I went to GR this weekend to meet Cha and Bro, and I suggest if you are in the near vacinity of a Texas Roadhouse, steer (no pun intended) clear. Maybe we caught them on a bad night, but the food was salty, the waitress was full of silly remarks, and the staff (much to my dismay) did a line dance way too close to our booth.
When we got back we decided to go to Allen to check out the antique outlets and we were pleasantly surprised. Picked up a few goodies for the guest room and a trip back is in our future.
The last few days I have worked on updating the guest room by making a new headboard and pillow covers, sewing curtains for the dining room, and sewing valances for the kitchen window.

We also managed to have a tasty dinner last night. We put a rub on some pork tenderloin fillets and I whipped up a mango salsa for the top. Pair that with some pan fried, herbed potatoes, and we had a fresh meal to cap off the sunny day.

Well, I suppose I better get busy reading...I have a deadline to keep up with!!
**More on that in another post:)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crustless Quiche

Yes, Matt is on WW, and yes we did have a Crustless Goat Cheese Quiche for dinner. I loosely used a recipe for Quiche found at the blog Good Things Catered. I say loosely because we did not use the crust, the olive oil, or the thyme. Rather, we used parsley and chives because we had them on hand. We also substituted turkey sausage as it was on sale this week. It turns out that the quiche served 8, but wound up only being 5 points per serving. Not bad when you pair it with a baby green salad and fruit. This is definately a keeper recipe!

In other news, I finished the aforemention chair covers and started on the curtains for the sewing room and dining room. I am using burlap for them and I am really loving the rustic look. Now if I could just get my act together and knit, I would be in business!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Splurging Sunday

With Matt on WW, he usually chooses one splurge day per week where he can enjoy whatever dishes he feels like without the guilt. Today we decided Martha's Shepherd's Pie would fit the bill along with a Lemon Coconut Cake for dessert. We also had a mixed greens salad with goat cheese and Sauteed Cabbage as a side dish. I adapted the Shepherd's Pie recipe by adding some Merlot that we had on hand, and definately gave the dish more depth of flavor than the previous times we have made it. As for the Lemon Coconut Cake, I knew we would have a winner because my mom had fixed it for Sissy's birthday a few years ago and received rave reviews. It did not disappoint!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

After we had leftovers from the chicken last night, I decided to make some pitas. Matt is doing WW and we had some 1 point pitas-holy fiber- so I just reheated the chicken and made a quick chipotle mayo with Hellman's Light.
Then, I got to work on the soup for dinner. I chopped cabbage, celery, carrots, onions, red pepper, and green pepper. After these sauteed for about 10 minutes, I added basil, a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, and 6 cups of chicken broth. This simmered for about 45 minutes and in went the kidney beans, parmesan cheese, and noodles. I hoped for ditalini, but shells had to do in a pinch. This soup was full of more fiber and tasty to boot. The salad you see in the background is just some mixed greens, tomatoes, dried cherries, goat cheese, and pecans. It is dressed with Six Lugs cherry viniagrette. If you have never tried this treasure of the North, RUN, don't walk and get yourself a bottle!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ok, let's start with a high and mighty rant:
I am smitten with all things culinary and the Bravo! series Top Chef is no exception. My husband and I watch religiously and I have a secret crush on Tom Colicchio, but I digress. Last night Jamie and her knives were sent packin' *insert applause*, but not before she managed to irritate me one last time. All along, I have been annoyed with her smug antics and I should have know not to expect better from her, but I suppose the guest appearance of chef Eric Ripert had me so ecstatic I tried to ignore her ambivilance to such a culinary genius. As I was busy drinking in Ripert's yummy accent and the prisitine kitchen at Le Bernadin Jamie blindsided me by stating she was bored by the food and that it wasn't really her thing. Hmmm...who has the four star restaurant again? At any rate as my anger subsided upon hearing of her dismissal, something strange happened. I decided Carla isn't that bad after all. Did I blog that out loud.
Now that I have that out of my system I wanted to post some pictures of the finished Gumdrop Pillow. I was happy with the way it turned out and found the pattern easy to follow. Since I was in the mood to sew, I decided to whip up and cover for the sewing machine. I previously used the plastic cover that came with the machine, but I am happier with the following result:

I thought I would post one more picture before I get back to work making seat covers. Matt has been working 2nd shift this week and as a result we have not really been eating meals together. Today he announced that he was going to fix a bologna sandwich to have for dinner and I couldn't let that happen! We had some chicken breasts in the fridge and I decided I would try them in foil packets with a sauce of cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, honey, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. I simply mixed the sauce and spooned over the chicken that I had placed on the foil. I folded the packets leaving lots of room for the steam to go to work and popped them in the oven at 450 degrees for about 24 minutes. It worked like a charm! I also had some carrots, so I put them in alongside the chicken and they were done at the same time. Add a little packaged rice and barley mixture and the meal was complete.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Snackin'

I love snacks.
If I could eat snacks for all my meals I would be one happy camper.
Since I don't follow NFL football I am using the Super Bowl as a perfect excuse to eat lots of snacks and experiment with some recipes I have yet to try. First up is roasted grapes. I got the idea for this at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor. They serve roasted grapes as an accompaniment to the cheeseboard and I figured I could re-create them at home. I used small, seedless red grapes and tossed them with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roasted them at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Voila! I posted a picture below and although they aren't pretty, they are sweet and tangy and will pair well with the cheese I am using.

Next, I have a Boston Butt in the oven and will be using it to make Pulled Pork Sandwiches topped with Coleslaw.