Monday, September 28, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

We ate like crap last week - our dinners consisted of leftovers, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs, leftovers, eating out, and more leftovers. So, no meal plan this week.

But! I accomplished something as of this evening. All of my three pie plates were in use because since last weekend I had made three pies.

which was absolutely excellent. We've been eating it very slowly, because it's so rich, which is great because it means it lasts longer, and we definitely want something this good to last as long as possible. I couldn't find peanut butter oreos that the original recipe calls for, so I used regular ones and it was still amazing.

Cassie's Mom's Peanut Butter Pie

20 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. whipping cream

Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they've reduced to small crumbs. Add in sugar and melted butter and pulse a few more times, until combined. Press into a 9-inch pie plate and cook at 375 for 10 minutes to set. Let cool completely.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the peanut butter mixture. Spoon into the crust and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until set.

That's all you have to do for this simple, delicious pie, which makes it even more awesome!

For the other two pies, you'll have to wait until tomorrow, but let me tell you, we've been eating like kings over here, what with peach raspberry pie and tomato pie in addition to peanut butter pie.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Monday Meal Planning 9.21.09

Our meals this week were a little heavy on the red meat, so yesterday afternoon we discussed eating better this week. Then we got pizza and cinnamon breadsticks for dinner, so you can tell how well we're doing with that. There's always today, right?

The weather has begun to get a little more chilly, and since fall starts this week, it's the perfect time to bring a few cooler-weather meals back into my repertoire. Next week I'll probably have a "summer's last chance"  menu, and reminisce about the summer being over, but right now I'm excited for fall and all it brings. Especially pumpkin flavored things. That's one of my very favorite parts of fall.

Monday: Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes

Like I stated the other day, I really, really liked this. Admittedly, it's a little on the salty side, but absolutely delicious.

Tuesday: Three Cheese Skillet Lasagna, salad, garlic bread

I'll post this recipe tomorrow. I made this on a weeknight, and it was fairly simple and quick, and even Gabbie loved it. It was quick even with making marinara from scratch to use in the recipe. I especially loved that it was meatless, because Gabbie pretty much refuses most meat (everything but pot roast and chicken fingers).

Wednesday: Left-over Pot Roast Enchiladas, Spanish rice

I love meals that can be reused to make something nearly completely different, and this is a great example of this. I'm taking the enchilada leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I avoided eating them all weekend so I could take them to work, but it was hard to hold off.

Thursday: Butternut Squash with Coconut and Curry, basmati rice, naan

I saw this when going through my archives last week and, remembering how delicious it was, couldn't wait to make it again. I totally love Indican food.

Friday: Pizza

I made a homemade pizza using a purchased crust, sauce leftover from the skillet lasagna, a bunch of vegetables that I had chopped and sitting in the fridge (mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, green peppers), and 1/2 a pound of leftover Italian sausage. I topped it with a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan. It was better than any of the delivery pizza we can get around here (since all of our favorite places seem to have closed lately or changed ownership and gone downhill). Plus, it was another cook once, use the leftovers for another meal meal. Those really are the best!

Saturday: Chili and corn bread muffins

Our recipe for chili is a family secret recipe, but I'm sure there's one out there you already use or love. Make that, and then save the leftovers for chili cheese fries during Sunday football.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pot Roast with Bonus Enchiladas

As I mentioned on my other site yesterday, I made a pot roast for dinner on Wednesday, and it was delicious. On Tuesday night before bed, I asked Aaron what he wanted for dinner the next night, giving him a choice between pot roast and stuffed zucchini. He was worried that both of those took way too much time, but then I schooled him in the way of the 3 Packet Pot Roast, and, even though he's not a big fan of pot roast, that's what he chose. Even though he wasn't particularly fond of the end product, more because he doesn't like the texture of roast than that he didn't like the flavor, Gabbie and I powered through about half of the 2 pound roast (minus the fat present in any roast, so we probably ate closer to 10 oz. of meat than 16 oz), and probably could have eaten much more.

3 Packet Pot Roast
adapted from Recipe Zaar

1 (2/3 oz.) packet dry Italian dressing mix
1 (1 oz.) packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 (1 1/4 oz.) packet dry mushroom gravy mix
2 to 3 pound chuck roast
1 c. water
2 large carrots, chopped into one-inch chunks
1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes (or two large baking potatoes, cut into one-inch chunks)

Arrange roast and vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot, roast in the middle vegetables around the side. Mix together the dry mixes and sprinkle over everything. Add 1 c. water around the sides. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

So, that's the roast. Then, I realized there were way too many leftovers in the fridge to cook something new for dinner, but I also knew Aaron wouldn't eat leftover pot roast for dinner, so I decided to use some of the leftover meat for enchiladas, and they turned out amazing (if I do say so myself).

Left-Over Pot Roast Enchiladas

Left-over pot roast, shredded
gravy from the pot roast
cheddar cheese
chipotle salsa
burrito sized flour tortillas
enchilada sauce

In a medium bowl, mix together the pot roast, a few tablespoons of gravy, a few tablespoons of salsa, and a handful of shredded cheddar. Place about 3 T of the meat mixutre in the middle of one tortilla, then roll filling tightly into the tortilla. Place in a greased casserole dish (I used a 9x13 pan). Repeat with remaining meat until all of the mixture has been used. Cover the tortillas with enchilada sauce and plenty of shredded cheddar. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Meal Planning, 9.14.09

Short and sweet as I’m super busy today catching up on all the stuff that built up during a week off.

MondayBBQ Beans and Sausages

Aaron and Gabbie really, really love this, and it’s super easy, so they get it as often as they want. I actually made it with BBQ seasoning this time (instead of Montreal Steak Seasoning), but Aaron said he prefers it the way I made it the first time. I also followed the cooking directions, but think they turned out better when I cooked them for 10 hours on low as opposed to 6 hours on high.

TuesdayStuffed Zucchini & Salad

Another easy meal. The zucchinis I’ve been getting lately are huge, so instead of boiling them on the stovetop, I put them in a 9x13 dish and fill it halfway with water, then cover it and cook it in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the zucchini is crisp-tender.

Wednesday – Pasta, Pesto, & Peas, and Bruschetta

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas:
Cook 3/4 lb. Fusilli & 3/4 lb. Bow Tie Pasta according to package directions. When cooked, toss with 1/4 c. olive oil and let cool.
Puree together 1-1/2 c. pesto, 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and dried, & 3 T. fresh lemon juice. Add 3/4 tsp. fresh lemon juice & 1-1/4 c. mayonnaise and blend until combined.
Mix pasta with this sauce and add 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed, & 1/2 c. pine nuts, toasted. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate, and serve.

ThursdayCayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa and rice pilaf
I’m stealing this joke from the last time I posted this recipe: Aaron said that he asked Cayenne nicely to stop rubbing the chicken, but he wouldn't. (He's a comedian!) I am super in the mood for avocado lately, and this always helps soothe that craving.

Friday – Queso Dip and Chips

We’ve been doing date night on Friday nights after Gabbie goes to bed, so she usually gets a grilled cheese (and avocado which we mash up and spread on one slice of bread so we can sneak in some extra veggies), and the we get the good stuff all to ourselves.

Here's my mom’s (and my favorite) queso recipe:
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 1b. Velveeta
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
Chili powder, garlic salt, and hot/taco sauce to taste.
Combine in a crock pot (you can cook onions and green pepper before adding, if you'd like) and cook over low until the cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday – Meatball Subs

I use this meatball recipe (it really is the best I’ve ever made), doubling the tomato puree. Then I brush sub rolls with olive oil and grill them in frying pan, turn them over, and place sliced smoked provolone on the top half and cook just until it melts. Then I halve 2 meatballs, and put them side by side on the opposite side of the bun, spoon over some sauce, add desired toppings (I like it as is or with some pepperocini rings, Aaron likes sliced green pepper, onion, and tomato). Delicious, and perfect for enjoying during a football game on a lovely late-summer evening. Like we did this week. It was heavenly.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

As I have noted a couple times this week, we have a lot of CSA veggies to use up lately. Earlier in the summer when we were getting nothing but kale and collard greens, we were a little worried about how much we were spending and what we were getting, but I have to say that this late summer bounty is totally making up for the sad bags of greens I was bringing home in the late spring.

As for what we’re getting now? Eggplant. Summer squashes. Tomatoes. Basil. Onions. Peppers. Lots and lots of all of these things. The list looks a lot like one of Aaron’s favorite dishes: Ratatouille. So that’s what I made, and it was delicious. I have tweaked a recipe I found last year that was already great, and it turned out spectacular. The heirloom tomatoes that we’ve been getting are amazing, and that definitely helped the flavor of this dish. Besides a little chopping it’s pretty easy. We serve this with a warmed loaf of French bread, and it’s like heaven in a bowl.

Oven-Roasted Ratatouille

Adapted from Kid’s Cuisine

1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 patty pan squash (or small zucchini or yellow squash), cut into ¼ inch slices

4 – 6 heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped (or 10-12 heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered)

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 sprigs basil

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste (I use a heavy hand with the salt, and it helps)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine all the ingredients in a 8x10 (or whatever sized dish comfortably fits the vegetables; they shouldn’t be in a single layer, but should fill to about ½ inch short of the top of the dish) baking dish that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Toss to combine, leaving the sprigs of basil whole. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the foil. Stir if needed, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, checking once or twice to see if it needs stirring.

Remove any basil stems and attached leaves. Some will come off during cooking/stirring, and that’s fine. Check for seasoning. Serve with hot bread for dipping in the pan juices.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

We have a lot of the following items in our kitchen: eggplant, tomato sauce, basil, and shredded mozzarella. The tomato sauce and mozzarella are because of the whole wheat pita pizzas I make for Gabbie for lunch on a regular basis. Both items were on sale last week, and since I use them regularly, I stocked up. The eggplant and basil are from the CSA, and when I say I have a lot, I mean it. I’ve been using basil for a couple of weeks now (I keep it fresh by keeping it in a vase with water that I change out every couple of days) and I still have enough left that I can make a big batch of pesto. I also have (well, now, had) 3 large eggplants. I used one in oven-roasted ratatouille (I’ll share that recipe later on this week), and one for this dish. I looked at a about 5 recipes for eggplant parmesan, but then basically made up my own recipe based on methods from those recipes and the ingredients and the amount of time I had to use. It turned out delicious, if I do say so myself. We served this with extra sauce and tortellini, and everyone but my sister had second helpings. Her excuse is that she doesn’t like eggplant, but it was so disguised in this dish I’m not sure that excuse is valid. I’ll be making this again soon (especially since I still have one more eggplant).

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant, peeled if it feels less than firm, sliced into slices of equal width (I promise you want them as similar as possible, or you’ll get some crunch slices, and some mushy slices)

1 egg, beaten

1 c. panko, seasoned with salt and pepper

Olive oil


2 c. mozzarella

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1. Have beaten egg in a bowl large enough to dip in the eggplant, and the seasoned panko in another similar bowl. Dip the eggplant in the egg to coat, and let excess drip off. Place in panko and press down to attach crumbs, flip and coat the other side. Place on a plate, and repeat until all eggplant is coated in panko.

2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet until it is very hot (a piece of panko dropped in should instantly sizzle). Place several slices of eggplant into the pan, but do not crowd them. You will have to cook the eggplant in several batches. When brown, flip to brown on other side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat this process until all eggplant have been cooked.

3. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of a casserole pan. Lay in a single layer of eggplant. Top with more sauce, some torn basil leaves, and a nice layer of mozzarella. Repeat layers until all eggplant have been added. (I had about 3 layers in an 8x8 pyrex pan.) Bake at 350 until it is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly (about 7 to 10 minutes).

4. Serve with pasta or bread and extra sauce. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Food and Kitchen Stuff

I’m taking a pass on this week’s meal planning post. I just don’t have it together enough to post it, plus we’re only cooking at home twice this week because it’s an extra crazy pre-Holiday week with out of town guests galore and fun plans with friends for Friday night.

We have made some excellent meals lately, though, and I’ll share some recipes this week, including Aaron’s favorite stuffed zucchini, eggplant parmesan, and a couple of new ways we’ve been eating fresh corn. As you can see, we’re still making the most out of our CSA veggies. There are only about 6 more weeks of the CSA, and boy howdy, I’m going to miss it when it’s done!

In other food (/kitchen) news, our new refrigerator and range get delivered next Tuesday, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! The current versions of those appliances that we have in our kitchen are 20+ years old, and I have been feeling the desperate need to get them out of there since we moved in to the house. Thankfully, Aaron has had some frustrations with them too lately and that spurred him on to the store to get new appliances. I only have one issue – what do I cook and bake first? What should be the inaugural dishes prepared with our new range? Any suggestions?


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