Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sirloin Veggie Stir-Fry

A favorite in my house! And by house I mean James and I. I know what you're thinking...another stir fry recipe...how can it be any different? Oh but it is! This one uses beef and a variety of strong flavored veggies. At first I didn't think they would blend together well but when it's all stirred up the flavors are perfect!

Messes: As much as I love love love this meal, it is a little bit of a challenge to make. Everything cooks so quickly. If you notice in the recipe, each step is timed out at only a few minutes each. You gotta be really quick to get everything just right and not over cook them. The broccoli rabe cooks for 3 minutes, beef for 3, pasta for 3, onions for 2, etc. It all comes at you really quick so I would suggest having everything chopped up and ready to go before you turn on the heat. James and I have this deal where I cook and he cleans and although this is one of his favorites, the dishes are always a nightmare. I have so many bowls waiting in the sink for him -- poor guy. At least he's got a full tummy. haha

Successes: Eating this is your success. Every time I try a new recipe I get nervous about how it turned out. I don't always measure things out exactly or time them just as the recipe calls or I'll leave out an ingredient I don't like (such as hot peppers) so it makes me worried about how the end product will be. But, I have to say, the second I try a bite all my worries vanish. I guess you'll have to try this one to find out but take my word for it, all your hard work on this one will be worth it.

Sirloin Veggie Stir-Fry [Rachael Ray]

Pork Spaghettini

Total YUM! This dish reminded me of one of my favorite restaurants in Boca -- Stir Crazy. It's known for a make-your-own stir fry bar and it always goes down smooth. I changed this recipe up a bit but the variation still came out quite well if I do say so myself. Definitely recommend this one!

Messes: Hmm...can't really think of any for once. I couldn't find any regular roasted peanuts for some reason at my grocery store; any other type of nut you wanted but roasted peanuts. I bought some honey roasted ones in hopes that it would make the dish have a little sweeter kick to it but in the end I decided against the garnish. Might have been good for that extra little crunch but you can choose what you'd prefer.

Successes: I actually substituted chicken for the pork in this one as I'm a much bigger fan of the latter. I also had no idea what "spaghettini" was so I just grabbed some regular ol spaghetti, whole wheat actually. It seems more brands are jumping on the 'whole wheat wagon' so there's more of a variety now. I'm not sure how much better it actually is for you but I'd like to think it's a lot so I'll stick with the whole wheat these days. And it doesn't change the taste at all! This dish was fun to make and smelled and tasted delish. I will certainly be stirring some up again soon.

Pork Spaghettini
[Rachael Ray]

*UPDATE* Spaghetti vs. Spaghettini
Spaghettini is the thinner form of your typical spaghetti, aka angel hair

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie

A comfort food favorite. This recipe is great because you can add as many vegetables to it as you'd like and it will still turn out great. There are always lots of leftovers and it's a crowd pleaser. I mean, who doesn't like steak and potatoes?

Messes: I would have liked to brown the tops of my potatoes a little bit more but I didn't want to wait any longer to enjoy my meal. I also skipped on the bacon to try and make it a little bit healthier.

Successes: The first time I made it, it was delicious. The second time I made it, it was even better. I used some more veggies the second time around which helped make it more filling rather than just the plain ol' mushrooms, meat, and potatoes. I actually threw in some spinach and carrots which gave it a nice overall feel. I would certainly recommend it.

Steakhouse Shephard's Pie [Rachael Ray]

Spinoccolini Whole Wheat Pasta

I'm not sure about you but once again I it was the image that drew me in. My family gave me a Rachael Ray recipe book for Christmas this past year and although I don't doubt the deliciousness of the dishes, I was disappointed in the lack of images. In this one here just the color combination itself made me interested in creating this meal myself. This dish is a tasty blend of spinach, ricotta, and pasta and is one that I would recommend making for some company.

Messes: I would have to admit that this recipe is a little more challenging as it takes a while to blend the spinach into a pesto like topping, hence why I suggest making it for more than just yourself. But all the time put into it is well worth it. I was hesitant as to how much spinach to use but it turned out that it was the more the merrier. The pasta will seem a bit dry if you don't have a bunch of spinach mixture to top.

Successes: Very tasty and healthy -- assuming you don't add a ton of ricotta. And it heats up again well.

Spinoccolini Whole Wheat Pasta [Rachael Ray]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fusilli alla Caprese

One of my new found favorites! This pasta dish is oh so easy to make and very delicious. I've made it twice now and both times I've had to tell myself to slow down because I'm practically scarfing down everything on my plate. I found this recipe by watching an episode of 'Everyday Italian' on the Food Network. Giada was teaching her (younger) aunt some easy recipes to make and this was one of them. It looked so good on TV that I just had to make it. And this time, my eyes did not deceive me.

Messes: The second time I made this the dish came out even better. I basically gave the tomatoes more time to soften up before squishing them down with a fork. When I first made this dish I found myself fighting with the tomatoes for their juices - they just weren't quite soft enough yet. Another thing I learned after my first attempt was that I should use less pasta and more tomatoes. I felt it could have used more sauce the first time around. I also knew to cut up the mozz into smaller pieces and to use less of it overall. Once it melts down, I tell you, a little bit of mozzarella goes a long way.

Successes: Total success! I love this comfort dish and will continue to whip it together for many years to come, I'm sure. The flavors are great and it's so easy to make - you just can't go wrong here.

Fusilli alla Caprese [Everyday Italian]

Creamy Shells with Tomatoes and White Beans

Sounds (and looks) yum, right? You know, it is the image that makes or breaks a recipe for me. I was very intrigued by this recipe because of this picture here on the right. Shells? Tomatoes? Garlic? Creamy? What could be bad about that?! But after having made the dish, unfortch it is not one of my faves.

Messes: I've decided that anything that includes heavy cream is probably not going to be my favorite thing to make. I'm not sure what it is exactly but heavy cream just is a little too much for me. Don't get me wrong, this dish came out just fine but the overall taste was a bit too strong. Perhaps a little less garlic and a little more parm would help but it seemed the leftovers tasted better than the fresh meal - and, in my book at least, it should be the other way around.

Successes: Definitely a good combination of food but I would cut out the heavy cream and sub in some EVOO perhaps. Anything to lighten it up a bit.

Creamy Shells with Tomatoes and White Beans [Rachael Ray]

Three Bean and Beef Chili

An easy to make chili recipe that can feed a whole family -- mine did. I first made this for a family gathering. We had some other dishes to savor but this was the main one and it was heavily favored. I kept my pot mild by leaving out the chipotle but feel free to add as much of a kick as you'd like. When serving a large group it's always better to go mild then bold. I just made sure to keep a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those interested in some heat.

Messes: Only thing I would suggest is letting it simmer a bit longer. It was definitely cooked but the longer it simmers the more flavorful it becomes. We were all ready to eat it though so I didn't have much time to waste. Once it was cooked I had a line of hungry guests to feed!

Successes: Definitely a success. I made it a second time and had lots of leftovers for lunch that week.

Three Bean and Beef Chili [Food Network]

Friday, May 2, 2008


I've abandoned my blog. I've abandoned MY WORDS!*
*shout out to There Will Be Blood

It's been a while since I've logged on but I have decided to neglect this lovely little blog no more.

I propose an update, a face-lift if you will. I would like to create a focus for this blog and that focus will be food. From here on out I will be sharing various recipes I have tried along with my messes and successes of them. Hopefully it will inspire you to try some good ol' home cooking and get tips and hints as to what works and what could be changed.

Looking forward to hearing your comments! Hope you enjoy :)