Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another pasta dish

So I have a slight obsession with tomato, cream, spinach based pasta dishes, but roll with me here. I made this last night and while it isn't very different from some others that I have made, I still love it. Plus it helped clear out my fridge.

3 cloves of garlic
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes-drained
3-4 chicken breasts (I use the 4oz portion ones)
1/2 pkg of baby spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
Italian seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper Flake
Parmesan cheese
16oz penne pasta (GF of course!--Trader Joes is my favorite)

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add pasta. Cook to al dente.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat with about 2 Tablespoons of EVOO. Dice chicken and season with S&P and Italian seasoning. Cook chicken until done in skillet, add garlic and saute. Add in can of tomatoes 1/2 jar of pasta sauce and spinach. I had this stuff around the perimeter of my pan so it cooked slower. You really just want to heat it through and wilt the spinach. Towards the end, pour in the cream and season to taste. I love spicy so we always add some type of red pepper but feel free to leave it out. Remove from heat and add tons of Parmesan cheese to your liking.

**Note: If you have an onion handy, chopping it up and adding to the pan after the chicken would add a lot, I didn't have one and wasn't going back out last night.

By the way, if any of you have made it this far and are still reading, congrats! Also, let me know what you think of the new fonts! I was excited to find out Blogger had some new ones, so I used them......opinions?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking a Break

   So after working on photo edits tonight I decided to take a break and reupholster this cute chair I found on Craigslist for $20. Usually that sounds a little high for CL but this chair was really in great condition....minus the one spot in the super ugly upholstery. (Sorry, no before pics but it was a marble-y maroon vinyl....uh huh.)

So, I found this fabric at Swatches, the cutest fabric shop and since they were having a sale this weekend, it was only $8/yard! I will probably shoot myself for not buying more because......oh well you will know in a minute.

See how the back of the seat cushion is rounded....not the front? Um hmm. Somehow after I took the seat off the chair I forgot this detail and proceeded to attach my cute little birdies UPSIDE DOWN! Good grief! Blonde moment much? I was so excited when I got all the staples in only to turn around and put it on the chair and see my mistake.

So I took it all back off, cut a new piece (because I had already trimmed the back and that piece would no longer work) and put it back on the chair.

So, my little "break" turned out to take a little longer.....but I still like my little birdies!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pasta Carbonara

This is a recipe I promised you last week and one of the first I have tried to photograph step by step. My favorite blogger/photographer/chef Ree inspired me with her step by step instructions.  If you haven't heard of her, I dare ask...."WHERE IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN!" :) Okay, now that that is done, on with the recipe.

Oh and a sidenote, I just wanted to get these posted so forgive the slight yellow tint. I didn't want to take the time to edit them and since we are in the depth of winter.....sadly no natural light. :(

This was inspired by a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode and I wanted to try something without looking up on Allrecipes. Really with the ingredients I was failproof......bacon? cream? pasta? yes! yes! and yes! So here we go. (On a sidenote, I was making this for 2....in all honesty I could have eaten the whole pan but you may want to double depending on the size group you are cooking for....or your appetite!)
  First, cut up bacon and put in pan on medium heat. Actually, before this put on a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook bacon until crisp and remove to paper towel. Drain most of the grease out of the pan.

Dice up onion.(Oh and that is my new Fiestaware pitcher in the background....in case anyone cares!)
Once water comes to a boil add salt & pasta and stir once around the pot.

Add onion to pan and make sure not to burn.
Try to act like you are okay with your picture being taken by your husband as he walks in and asks what you are doing! :)

Okay, now add the garlic to the pan again being sure not to burn. Burnt garlic tastes icky.

Add white wine to the pan. (Yes I know the cap is on mine....yes I bought wine with a cap....I missed taking the shot the first time so I insisted on acting it out)
 Add bacon back to the pan.

Add cream to the pan.

Add Parmesan cheese to the pan....oops! After you add the pasta back. Apparently I missed that shot. Doing step by step photography would be much easier if you weren't also cooking the meal!

Plate and enjoy! 

Recipe for Pasta Carbonara for 2

1/2 onion
4 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp minced garlic
8 oz penne pasta (or whatever cut you want to use)
1/2 cup heavy cream
5oz container of parmesan cheese shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil for pasta. Cut bacon into pieces and brown in skillet. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain most of the grease. Drop pasta in water. Add diced onion to bacon grease left in skillet. Cook until tender. Add garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes....be sure not to scorch. Add white wine and stir. Add bacon back to pan. Add heavy cream. Add drained pasta to pan. Lastly, turn off the heat and add cheese. Taste and adjust S&P accordingly. 


Also, I have to make mention of two fabulous pieces of equipment. My new tripod that my sister gave me for Christmas came in very handy for taking these pictures and my new spider strainer (which up until today I didn't know the name for.) that Jeremy got me for Christmas. I kept seeing Giada and other Food Network stars using them and he researched and found out what they were. Shopping at Williams Sonoma is no joke!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Food Mood-Snowed In

So since moving from Knoxville to Cincinnati I have seen my fair share of snow. The weather is weird, its way colder here in the winter but hotter in the summer than K-town. Anyways, this week both towns have gotten dumped on with a significant amount of snow. The difference is that here in Cincy, life goes on....sometimes slower but people still go to work. Kids did get one day off. But! In Knoxville everyone is home! Not fair! Okay I am done with my rant....I guess I have to deal with it. So, in honor of the cold and snow, here are some comfort foods for this week.

#1 Butter Chicken
The name of this dish is very deceiving. Its Indian. There is a bit of butter. There are a bunch of other ingredients.  Nothing about it would make me call it Butter Chicken. Its yummy! I didn't use Cardamom b/c I didn't have any and it was $12.00 at Kroger (are you kidding me?)

#2 Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff
Make sure to use all the revisions of the first person that commented. Obviously I have to use GF Cream of Mushroom. Oh, and GF Noodles.

#3 Shrimp Fried Rice
I have made this before with chicken and decided to mix it up this week by using shrimp. Be sure to use GF soy sauce if needed. (LaChoy brand is GF)

#4 Burgers and Argentinean Potato Salad (Ensalada Rusa)
I had potato salad in Argentina like none I have ever had before. I think one of the main differences is that the mayo in Argentina is super yummy. It has a more lemon-y flavor and they use it for everything. It seems weird that there are veggies in this too but trust me, its good! I do use frozen veggies steamed instead of canned.

#5 Pasta Carbonara
This last one was inspired by an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that I watched the other night. I am going to create this on the go and hopefully will let you know how it goes next week. Maybe even with pictures!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Food Mood!

Okay so its been an entire month since I posted....anything. Its been even longer since I posted meal plans and to keep myself excited about doing that I decided to name these posts for 2011. Food Mood it is! So here's the first stab at a week of meals for 2011!

Day #1-Take out
This involved no cooking. I had dog training and am in the process of painting and redoing the home office so I felt like getting a pizza. Most of you think this is a normal thing but for gluten free folks, its a special occasion. I picked up a ham, artichoke heart and grilled chicken pizza from BJ's in Tri-County mall....because its yummy! After that I got my paint on and IKEA building skills.....pictures to come later in the week!

Day #2--Stuffed Peppers
This is actually tonight's meal because I just can't seem to get these things out at the beginning of the week.
Stuffed Peppers
Follow some of the suggestions from the people in the comments section. I also am not using tomato soup b/c I have this wonderful box soup from the organic section in Kroger that I am going to use up.
I have a friend at work who doesn't like the whole peppers so she cuts them up and bakes all of this in a casserole dish if your kids aren't big pepper fans!

Day #3-Tuscan Soup
I stole this soup recipe from my sister over the Christmas break which I am pretty sure she stole from someone so its all good!
8 cups chicken broth
1 onion-chopped
12 oz sausage-mild or hot if you prefer
3 large potatoes-chopped
10 oz pkg of fresh baby spinach-chopped (not sure I will go to the trouble..it cooks down pretty small)
1/2 cup mushrooms-chopped
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I can't read what it says so I am going with parmesean)

Brown sausage, add onion. Cook over medium heat. Add broth and potatoes. Boil until potatoes cooked...about 20 minutes. Add spinach & mushrooms. Continue until lightly cooked. Remove from heat. Stir in whipping cream and cheese. Season to taste.

Day #4-Chile Rellenos
This recipe came about because neighbors of our friends gave us a bag of jalapaneos and poblano peppers the other day and I hate to see them go bad. I haven't made these before but I am up for a challenge.
I will make them with rice and refried black beans.

Since the soup will make more than enough, we will probably have that for leftovers and this weekend is still up for debate. Jeremy is supposed to go hunting in Pike county but there is a chance of snow :(. (In our family, snow means work....which is great for extra money....not great for getting away for the weekend.)