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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Cilantro Lime Sea Bass

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I really need to learn to read the recipe beforehand.  In this case even the first couple of lines would have helped.  You know, the part that says marinate for an hour.

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It all ended okay, though.

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It felt a little bit like St. Patrick’s Day again with all of that cilantro.   Add the lime juice and some salt and pepper.  Then find something to do and try not to eat potato chips while you wait an hour for it to sit in the fridge.  Well, maybe that’s just me.

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This recipe is from Christine Avanti and Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads.  I still think that’s a great name for a book.  Anyway, CA says 375 for 15 minutes.  I think that must depend on how thick your filet is.  This one took at least 25, but it was worth the wait.

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Two thumbs up to CA on the couscous too.  Raisins, ginger, and turmeric, an excellent combination.

I almost forgot the best part:   under 400 calories.  And great with steamed broccoli.

Eat Well and Savor.

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Creamy Shrimp and Grits

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This recipe from Ellie Krieger and Comfort Food Fix, although creamy as promised, is missing one ingredient:  cheese.

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You know I love my colors, so bear with me.

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I actually took some liberties here.  EK calls for a red pepper, but I had some leftovers that I was very happy to use up.

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Every time I peel and devein my own shrimp I swear I’m never going to do it again.

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They seem very happy hanging out with their little crispy Canadian bacon friends, don’t they?

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Unfortunately they had to evacuate the pan to make room for more colors.

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Still beautiful after six minutes of sizzling.

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So I already disclosed the lack of cheese and you should know that the rest of the grits are just water and 1% milk with only one tablespoon of butter.  I had to make an exception to my 400-calorie rule because this dish comes in at 510.  Still totally worth it, in my opinion.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandma Elsie’s Mandel Bread

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My Gramma’s name is Imelda and she surely never made biscotti, or anything like it.

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The credit for this goes to Elizabeth Bard’s grandmother.

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All and all this was a fairly simple recipe.

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How can this be bad?

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It didn’t start out so pretty, though.

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And it didn’t get much better.

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But once it was sliced and ready for the second bake it started looking like it was supposed to.

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For the record, Lunch in Paris has become my go-to for biscotti.  I’m not one for improvising, but suddenly I want to make many versions of this.  Everything from the white chocolate enrobed rosemary beads I brought back from Paris to the carrot cake M&Ms I got from Wal-Mart.  Now that’s versatility.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

Classic Italian Lasagna

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What’s a girl supposed to do with 1.5 pounds of ricotta cheese?

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On another note, I’m always telling my husband that he just doesn’t deserve me.  Just look at that cheese.

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This recipe is from Giada’s Everyday Italian.  I made her Béchamel Sauce too.  Even though I have an aversion to thickening things, it turned out to be a pretty easy sauce.

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That’s the perfect thickness test, so they say.

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The perfect marriage.  Just like chocolate and peanut butter.

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Don’t worry.  It’s not thousand island dressing, just marinara and béchamel.

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This was the most amazing, yet average, lasagna I’ve ever made.  I say average because there’s really nothing out of the ordinary.  No sausage, just beef and that old ordinary box of frozen spinach.

But it starts out with the usual sauce on the bottom and then noodles.  Then ALL of the ricotta and top with spinach.  Then noodles again and ALL the ground beef with more sauce and then a little mozzarella. Lastly, more noodle and a lot more mozzarella with some parmesan.

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Every other lasagna I have ever made mixed the ricotta and spinach together and then split up the layers a couple of times.  Why the heck do you need all that extra work?

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Look at the crispy edge.  In the past the lasagnas I’ve made have been covered in foil and the uncovered for the last few minutes.  This one is uncovered for the whole 45 minutes at 375.

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Sorry.  This is a much better picture.

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I had to use the bird paper because the second this came out of the oven I just wanted to sing.

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I just could not stop taking pictures.

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Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

Ricotta

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I had no idea that ricotta cheese was so unphotogenic.  I’m not so sure why it looks yellowish in this picture.  Perhaps it’s the flash reflecting off the curd.

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I also had no idea how easy it is to make.  Still, I don’t know that I’ll be repeating this process anytime soon.  This recipe is from Jennifer Reese and Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.  She seems to be of the opinion that it’s worth making and that the hassle is minimal.  I agree with her on that, but I’m not sure the cost comparison is worth it.  I’m sure it’s because I used organic milk and it was a little pricey.

Here’s what you need:  one gallon of milk and 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar.  JR gives a few other options, but she says there’s not much of a difference in the results.  Though, I can’t quite imagine how the taste of 6 tablespoons of lemon juice or a quart of buttermilk would disappear.

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Just in case you can’t get enough of cheese this picture is for you.

So you put your two ingredients in a big pot and slowly bring it to the brink of a boil, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Then you ladle it into a cheesecloth-lined colander for 20 minutes and you’re well on your way to any number of Italian dishes.

Apparently the whey (the liquid that’s leftover) can be used for making bagels or bread.  I am sorry to say that my whey went down the drain.  Hmm, I just realized that this is probably what Little Miss Muffet was chowing down on.

Eat Well and Savor.

 

 

 

Crostini

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It just doesn’t get any easier than this.

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Which is good because I’m going to make this again in the summer when the tomatoes are fresh.  Actually, I wonder why I don’t make it all the time.

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Just mix the tomato, basil, capers, salt and pepper.   But if you’re like me and you’re out of capers then chop up some olives and voila.

Drizzle slices of bread with olive oil, spread some of the above mix on there, top with a slice of mozzarella, and add some more of the mix.

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Bake for eight minutes at 375 or maybe a little longer if your cheese is too stubborn to melt.

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We actually had these for dinner.  Literally.  Nothing else.

This recipe is from the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Bridal Edition.  It’s the one from 2001.  I was no where near being a bride at that point, but I sure did pick that up for myself.

Eat Well and Savor.

Salsa All’Amatriciana

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I apologize in advance for the fact that this looks like Chef-Boyardee, not that there’s anything wrong with that.   In fact, I was one of those kids that was never allowed to have ravioli or beefaroni, let alone a spaghetti-o.  You realize what that means, don’t you?  That’s right.  I LOVE them today.  I even buy the value pack at Costco so that I always have them on hand.  I hope that doesn’t deflate my culinary standing with y’all.

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I’ve been dying to use bucatini in a recipe.  And now that I have I can’t figure out why.  Bucatini is basically thick spaghetti with a hole in the middle.   Frankly, it’s kind of hard to maneuver.  Truth be told:  I am never graceful when I eat long pasta.  For reals.  I only will order penne in a restaurant.  It’s not pretty.   Jake took a vow; he has to tolerate it.

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You can almost see one peeking out from under that onion.

Enough about that.  The actual star of the show is the sauce.  According to Giada, this is Rome’s most famous pasta sauce.   It’s pretty much tomato sauce with pancetta in it.

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Isn’t it nice when your ingredients play well together?

This came out of GDL’s Everyday Italian.  Yes, it’s true.  I am still slowly working my way through it.  This is the same recipe that I found online, but the one in the book says 28 ounces of tomato puree.  I’ll leave that choice between you and Giada.

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What’s the best part about this sauce that I will be repeating in the future?  Romano cheese is actually mixed in so it gives it a nice thickness and creaminess.   Where has that been all my life?

Eat Well and Savor.