Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction



I was going to post this tomorrow but I just couldn't wait. Yes, I am the one that shakes and pokes all of the presents under the Christmas tree. Want to make me crazy? Tell me you have a surprise for me and then make me wait a few days to tell me what it is! NUTS!!

Anyway, this is the side dish we had with the Salmon with Avocado Salsa. Since I seemed to keep my weekend menu theme grilling, I had to do the side dish on the grill as well right? When I went to the store I noticed they had just gotten in some gorgeous zucchini and summer squash, as well as Japanese eggplant. They NEVER have Japanese eggplant. Color me happy!! 

Salmon with Avocado Salsa


I was cruising around Pintrest one day, oh well let's be serious I cruise Pintrest EVERYDAY, and found some recipes for salmon. Since we have some wonderfully fresh salmon around here right now I knew I wanted to find a new salmon recipe. It was Memorial Day weekend and we already had plans to make ribs with baked beans and potato salad (recipes will be posted for those soon) so I wanted to make something light and summery. When I found this recipe it all but leaped off the screen and smacked me in the face screaming "Make me, make me!!". It was from a blogger I had never read before. Her blog is called Laylita's Recipes and she has some seriously good stuff there! 

I am a huge avocado fan as well. I mean I have been known to slice up an avocado with a bit of salt and lime juice and make a lunch out of it! I have so many avocado recipes pinned, I could make an avocado dish every night for 2 weeks I think. So yes, I was a happy camper to find this. When I first told everyone what I was making I got some strange looks. Everyone here tends to be a bit of a "purist" when it comes to salmon. Grill it, or bake it with minimal seasoning so the flavor of the salmon is number one. I agreed with this idea to a certain extent but like I said, this recipe begged me to be made so I ignored that idea and set off to the store to pick up everything I needed. I bought my salmon and it looked so gorgeous and was so fresh I almost sliced off a bit and had a little salmon sashimi snack, but I fought off the urge and got down to the business of prepping everything.

I had wanted to grill the salmon on a cedar plank but couldn't find any so we opted for a bit of tin foil to keep it from sticking to the grill because I wanted to cook the filet whole instead of cutting it into individual portions. I prefer it whole and feel that it makes it easier to cook the fish without drying it out. Could just be my weird thing, which wouldn't be new, but it is how I like to do it.

The verdict? Let's see, there were a lot of OhhEmmmGeee's flying around. I was afraid fingers would get bitten as everyone went back for more before it was all gone. My son's friend Avin was here, as well as my "adopted son" Ryan who was visiting from San Diego. So of the 5 people eating it, EVERYONE loved it. A couple "this is the best salmon I have ever had"'s were heard as well. With Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction along side, I will guarantee you that this is a meal I will be making again soon! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tipsy Tuesday - Sweet Georgia Peaches



Happy Tipsy Tuesday everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with lots of good food and family fun. It was pretty quiet here. Ever since Miss Picky Pants moved to CA the rowdiness factor has reduced a bit in my house. She was my "partner in crime" a lot so I am kind of like Batman without Robin right now. She is doing really well, so my discomfort it easily put in the backseat to her future life. Besides the fact that my plan is that we wont be away from each other long. I may be moving back to California soon!! Anyway, enough about my life, let's get on to the fun, and the booze. I mean this IS Tipsy Tuesday right?

As I mentioned last week, my son, the super bartender, was out of town so I was left to my own devices to come up with a tasty drink for you all. This week I had several ideas, one included blood oranges, but there were no blood oranges to be found. He told me about a drink he makes quite a bit and it sounded awesome. I adore peaches. I almost grilled some on the BBQ this weekend but was told very quickly that I had waaaaay too much food already planned any more was unnecessary *insert huge foodie pout here* Needless to say, a peach drink sounded fantastic to me.

This drink is so simple, only a few ingredients, that way you can enjoy your drinks without stressing out over how much of what thing goes where.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Star Friday - Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese



This week for Food Star Friday I was able to combine a recipe for something I have wanted to make for quite some time, with one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Today's post is Tyler's Ultimate Chicken Nachos! I mean what could possibly go better together than a big plate of spicy nachos and a night time NASCAR race? On top of that we had my Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas to wash it all down!

Tyler Florence is one of my favorite Food Network stars. Yes, the fact that he is pretty dang cute doesn't hurt but I really do like his food. I have made several of his recipes for Food Star Friday. They never disappoint.

This weekend was a strange one. Lately I have been just flying by the seat of my pants when it comes down to what we are eating. Not knowing how many I am cooking for, or what time they will be here, and honestly being a bit burnt out from the week, has just caused me to slack off a bit. For some reason I decided to jump on the ball and get a menu plan going!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lemony Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon


Last night I did not have an idea what I was going to make for dinner. It was again another day that I had no idea how many people were going to be here and what I had planned only fed 4. With a possibility of there being 5 people eating I had to quickly switch gears and come up with something on the fly. I found a chicken recipe for the slow cooker that only took 4 hours to cook frozen (yes FROZEN) chicken thighs and I will post that next week. But now I am stumped. I have my main dish but what do I serve it with. I can't just throw the chicken on the platter and say TADAAA dinner is served.

So into my pantry I go, thanking the Lord I chose last weekend to clean it out and organize it. Do you  have any idea how messy 4 20 year olds can get a pantry? But I digress. Yes, pantry, side dish, on the fly. Oh I am back now.

Thursday's Treasures

I can't tell you how happy I am that Debi from Recipes for my Boys asked me to co-host Thursday's Treasures! I have known Debi through our Facebook pages for quite some time. She has helped me through a lot of the learning process when it comes to the food blogging/Facebook world. She always has a kind word and a smile. Thursday's Treasures is well named since I feel she is a treasure. OK enough gushing right? Seriously though, please check out her blog and her Facebook page, you will be very happy you did.

I am also excited to be co-hosting with Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate. Joan is a new foodie friend to me. She drew me in with her blog name, I mean who wouldn't fall in love with chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate right? But once I came out of my chocolate daze I got to know her and she is such a wonderful person (as well as blogger). This foodie family we have here is a fantastic one that I am so glad I am a part of!!

Now, on to the food! Here are a couple of my favorite posts from last weeks party.


The Hot Crab Melt from Southern with a Twist made my mouth water. I love anything crab! I think these would even be good with a poached egg on top. 


Momma's Baked Macaroni and Cheese from The Two Bite Club



So let's get this party started! Link up some of your favorite posts. With Memorial weekend coming up some BBQ recipes would be great if you have them. Make sure to provide a link back in your post or on your page. Check out a few of the other posts and leave them some kind words.

Don't forget to stop by Debi's and Joan's send them some foodie love from me, also check out their Facebook pages (Recipes for my Boys & Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate) and give them a like!!

We will all be visiting your links and sharing them on our Facebook pages, Tweeting, and pinning them on Pintrest.

LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bobbi on a Budget - Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham



I know I haven't posted a budget meal in a while but it has been a bit difficult for me to make meals for 4 when I never know how many I am going to have here. At any given time it could be 2 or 6 with no warning *sigh* the joys of kids right? This was a meal that I knew could be made and if it wasn't all eaten I could freeze the rest. Yes, I love soup!!

I actually chose to make this because I was thinking about my Dad. I miss his little comments "What experiment are we having tonight" "I love being a guinea pig" "Can we please have something besides chicken I am going to sprout feathers and cluck" My Dad was a crack up! One of the things I knew I could make any time and he would be happy about it was split pea soup. He LOVED it. I haven't made it since he passed away last year so this one was for my Daddy.




Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Tie the parsley stems and thyme together with kitchen string and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the split peas, leek, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the split peas are tender 6 hours. Add the cubed ham and cook on low an additional 2 hours.
Discard the herb bundle. Vigorously stir the soup to break up the peas and make the soup smoother. Thin with water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the thawed peas. Serve with bread, if desired.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tipsy Tuesday - Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas

Happy Tipsy Tuesday everyone! This is the second Tipsy Tuesday that I have done and I was surprised by how much everyone really loved the last one. There were so many pins and tweets, it was great! I hope that you all enjoy this post as much as you did the last one.

I know I have mentioned that my son is a bartender, and he comes up with some terrific drinks, which I will be posting soon. But he was out of town this weekend PLUS I was cruising around Pintrest and found a blog called Endless Simmer. The have a section they call Endless Poptails where they make "adult" popsicles. I love the idea but know that I would be the only one here eating the popsicles so that could be dangerous. A drink however? Ya, everyone here was down with that idea! So I decided to take their Watermelon Blackberry Margarita Poptail  idea and run with that. That is how Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas came to be!

So refreshing, I hope you give them a try!



Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 small seedless watermelon
1 small package fresh blackberries (I used 2 but I made several drinks)
Limeade
Tequila
Grand Marnier 
Cocktail Shaker (if you have one)
Jig
Small jars (or glasses)

Bring the sugar and water to boil in a small sauce pan. Boil until sugar is dissolved, allow to cool.

In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Add a little of the sugar syrup to sweeten, to taste. Put the pureed watermelon into empty ice cube trays and freeze at least 4 hours.

Place a few of the watermelon ice cubes into the cocktail shaker. If you don't have a cocktail shaker you can use two glasses together. Add a few of the blackberries (I used about 5), about 4 ounces of the limeaid and tequilla, and 2 ounces of the Grand Marnier. Shake to blend. Add a few regular ice cubes to the jars (or glasses) and pour the cocktail over the ice allowing a few of the watermelon ice cubes to fall into the glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry.

ENJOY!!

You can see this post plus many more on the Newlywed Blog's linky party.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Manic Monday Linky Party #1

Happy Manic Monday everyone. I have decided to start a new Linky Party on my blog. I was thinking about different ideas for a party when it hit me, most of us are scrambling (at least those of us that fail to plan ahead over the weekend *waving hand*) on Monday morning to figure out what to make for Monday dinner. I tend to plan up to Saturday or Sunday and then figure I will start a new menu plan on Sunday and head to the store. Well my friends, that doesn't always work out. In fact more often than not I am sitting in front of the computer and/or pouring over recipe books and magazines on Monday morning to give me some ideas for what to make for dinner. So this is for those of us that postpone and procrastinate our menu planning, as well as those that are right on the ball with organization and planning. I figure this way we can all work together and help each other out.

I am looking for easy to fix meals, but feel free to post anything you would like to post. If you have a great dessert or breakfast recipe, by all means post away. I mean I have been known to have dessert for dinner!!

Next week I will post the top viewed recipes. I will be posting this on Facebook, tweeting, and pinning about your posts, so hop on board and share your recipes!!!

Please make sure to take a few minutes to follow my blog, Like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Pintrest boards so you don't miss any of the great things shared!!


Here is one of my favorite recipes from last week.


Grilled Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomato Sammies







Friday, May 18, 2012

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Beurre Blanc



Hello my fine foodie friends! Today's Food Star Friday post is courtesy of Kelsey Nixon from Kelsey's Essentials. I know she isn't a "big" food star, but I have been watching a lot of the new shows lately trying to get a feel for the up and comers. This episode of her show was all about sauces and, as you know, a sauce can make or break a recipe. So I thought I would share the link for the episode as well as one of her recipes. The episode was entitled "Sauces" and the recipe, well as you can see I made some very yummy roasted asparagus with a Beurre Blanc sauce.

I am an asparagus fanatic! Hands down it is my favorite veggie with the artichoke coming in a close second. I have made asparagus just about every way possible I think, but am always open to new ways. A certain pizza I just found on Pintrest comes to mind so stay tuned for that one too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza



Grilled pizza? Yes you heard me right. I am sure it is not an foreign idea to many of you, but in my house it was. You should have seen Kevin's face when I said I wanted to grill a pizza. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous, especially with his reaction to the idea. But I do love a challenge so away I went!

This recipe is taken from a recipe posted by a friend of mine, Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls. She posted her grilled pizza recipe and I immediately pinned it and knew I wanted to give it a try, I just had to wait for the right time. I mean who wants to grill in the rain? So I was patient and when we finally had a few days of lovely weather I ran to the store and purchased all of the goodies needed for my grilling adventure. I was even planning on making homemade pizza dough! For those that know me, my last try at baking something with yeast was an epic fail! So I figured, what the heck, I am already nervous let's go for broke!! 

I will admit, this does take a bit of time to put the whole meal together, but with 5 tasters all giving me 2 thumbs up on the final product, I think it is well worth it!! My only regret? I didn't make two!! I only ended up with one little piece for myself. I will post the recipe to make two pizzas.





Grilled Thai Chicken Pizza

For the chicken
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup buttermilk
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredient in a shallow dish and add the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Overnight would be better if possible.

For the pizza crust 
1 1/8 cup warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour, and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour (you don’t need to use all if it is not needed) in to the dough, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a roll pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes. 


For the sauce
adapted from recipe by Sumptuous Spoonfulls
1 15-ounce can of light coconut milk
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons red curry paste
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, plus more for drizzling 

In a small sauce pan whisk the ingredients over medium heat simmering for 5 minutes making sure to stir often to avoid the sauce sticking to the pan.


Pizza toppings
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, chopped whites and greens
a good sized handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 bag finely shredded mozzarella cheese


Heat the grill to medium high heat. Grill the chicken breasts until done, let cool for a bit and then shred the breasts. Turn one side of the grill off so you can turn the pizza dough over onto indirect heat to heat the toppings. Oil the grates of the grill and place the pizza dough on the grill. Cover and grill checking occasionally until the dough begins to bubble and the bottom is brown and crusty.

Turn the crust over and place on the cool side of the grill. Brush the crust with the spicy peanut sauce (I used quite a bit), top with half of the chicken, and half of all of the veggies, reserving the cilantro until the pizza comes off the grill. Cover and grill until topping are warm and the cheese has melted. Check the crust occasionally but be patient this took a little while.

Remove pizza from grill and top with half of the chopped cilantro. Drizzle with more Sriracha sauce if desired.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tipsy Tuesday - Cantaloupe Martini's

I have really been wanting to post some great "adult" beverages. I am usually pretty boring in that area. I mean I am a beer and wine kinda girl with the occasional dirty martini thrown in there. But my son on the other hand (who is a bartender) is constantly coming home with new drinks he, or someone else he works with, has/have come up with. Some of them are quite tasty!! Most of them you wouldn't want to have more that one or two of, but they are great for special occasions.

Our special occasion last night was the weather here in Washington was 80 degrees for one, and for two the whole family (minus Miss Picky Pants who lives in CA now *pout*) was in one place at the same time. It was great to hang out on the patio around the grill and sip a few fantastic cocktails!!

If you want a cool, refreshing drink that tastes just like a fresh cantaloupe, give this one a try!!



Cantaloupe Martini's 

2-ounces Watermelon Liqueur
1-ounce Vodka
2-ounces orange juice
1/2-ounce lime juice

Place ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Breakfast Cups




After searching around Pintrest for some breakfast ideas I began seeing variations of these cups all over the place. The thing I like about them is that you could do so many variations of them. I chose to use bacon because, well that's what I had. But you could use ham, Canadian bacon, sausage, or even pancetta.

I have to admit, there is something really fun about putting a breakfast all together in a little cup. Just like my Denver Omelet in a Cup, and everyone seems to love them. These are very nice because they don't take any time at all to put together, but you can feed quite a few people. If you have the jumbo muffin pan I would even try doing a double egg one. But even with a regular muffin pan you can make something tasty that is quick, easy, and everyone will like.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

Hello my friends and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday. I really love doing these segments. One because well, I just love to cook, and two because the pressure is off of me. Seriously, I love coming up with great recipes for everyone to enjoy, but when I do Food Star Friday I get to try recipes by known food stars and critique them. I don't know, maybe it just makes me feel important. Silly I guess, but for awhile I had thought about doing a restaurant review blog. I just realized, even though reviewing would be fun, I love cooking waaaaaay more. I would be more interested in figuring out what was in each dish so I could recreate it at home.

Anyway, if this is your first time here, on Food Star Friday I cook a recipe from a well known food star and then give my (and my tasters) review of that recipe. This week I did a Paula Deen recipe. I know Paula has gotten a bad rap in the press lately about her diabetes and unhealthy cooking practices, but I have always been a Paula fan. So I wanted to try one of her recipes that was more on the healthy side so I could share my love for her as well as my love for healthy food. I feel this recipe does just that.

I have never blackened anything before. Well at least not on purpose (having flashbacks of some wicked smoke alarm fiascoes), so I was a bit nervous to see how I would do. I was sure that the fish would burn and/or stick to the skillet because it didn't call for any oil in the pan. But Paula knows her stuff! Thank goodness it was Food Star Friday and I know I have to stick strictly to the recipe or just might have ruined the whole thing. I realized afterward that the fish would have fried in the oil and not blackened.

My other fear was setting off my smoke alarm. I did open my kitchen window as a preemptive move, but the alarm stayed pleasantly quiet through out the cooking process (which made my dogs very happy).

I did have to pick up a few specialty items for this recipe. I didn't have sweet paprika, only regular and smoked. I did a bit of searching on the internet about the difference and realized that the flavor profile would be different if I used anything but sweet so on the list it went. I also did not have ground thyme or ground red pepper. It also calls for store bought mango salsa. I would have personally loved to use my Sweet and Spicy Peach Salsa, and if I  make this again I will do just that. But I was following the recipe word for word so I wanted to find a quality salsa. I found a brand called Susan's All Natural Gourmet Mango Salsa. It was fantastic!! I want to try to recreate it.

I can happily tell you that this was a hit with 3 of my tasters. One barely made a positive ID check on it before he inhaled it completely! So it was 4 thumbs up with this meal. YAY I love it when that happens!!



Blackened Tilapia Sandwich with Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 4 Kaiser buns, split, buttered and toasted
  • Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise, recipe follows
  • Store-bought mango salsa



In a shallow dish, combine first 6 ingredients.
Pour melted butter into another shallow dish. Dip fish fillets in melted butter and coat with seasoning mixture.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook prepared fish, in batches if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Spread Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise evenly over toasted buns. Place blackened fish on bottom half of bun, top with mango salsa, and cover with top half of bun.

Cilantro Lime Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and chill.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grilled Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomato Sammies



This is the final post for the yummy meal I made the other night. When I made the classic pesto it was specifically for this sammie. Now I am in love with homemade pesto and will never buy store bought again! Then I made the roasted tomato and pepper soup and realized I will never make canned cream of tomato soup again. With the fresh flavors and no cream, I  just love a healthy version of my classic comfort foods!

I had been trying to come up with a yummy new grilled cheese for the family. I was reading a pull out from my Everyday with Rachael Ray and they had 50...yes 50 different grilled cheese ideas in it!!! Many of which I knew my gang would never go for (I really wanted to do a brie with pear) so I decided to go with this one. Although it was a hard sell with Kevin (as I have said he doesn't like meals with no meat) but in the end, between the soup and the sammie, he actually said he didn't miss the meat!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup



I am a tomato soup lover, well OK I am a soup lover period but tomato soup is a comfort food that takes me all the way back to my childhood. Tomato soup and grilled cheese, how many people grew up with that? I passed that love on to my children. In our household you better not make a pot of tomato soup with out a grilled cheese to go along side for dunking. I did exactly that for this meal, but I will post the recipe for the mozzarella, pesto, and tomato paninis I made tomorrow.

Back to this soup. I was very excited to see fresh roma tomatoes on sale at my local grocery store. As soon as I saw them I knew what I wanted to do with them, SOUP!! This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Melissa d'arabian. I loved the idea of roasting the tomatoes before using them but I knew I wanted to add my own spin on this recipe. As I have said in the past, we all love a bit of spice here in my household and this recipe begged for some in my opinion. If you are not a lover of heat like we are you can use a pepper with less heat like a cubanelle. I actually think the next time I will try a poblano in place of the jalapeno but that would just be me tinkering again with a recipe that everyone thought was perfect to begin with.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Classic Pesto




Last night was a very labor intensive meal, it took about 3 hours from start to finish. Ok, I will be honest, a lot of that was inactive cooking, but it sounded good didn't it? I was just proud of myself that I actually planned a head and we weren't eating dinner at 9 PM!

One part of the meal called for pesto. I love pesto, but have been disappointed in the store bought pesto that I have tried. I have wanted to make homemade pesto for quite some time but since Kevin has expressed a dislike for the green stuff I haven't given it a shot. I finally decided I was going to make it anyway since I knew it freezes well. I figured I would just put some in my ice cube tray and that way when I wanted some pesto for a recipe I could just pop one and and be ready to go.

I have seen several different versions of pesto. I mean you can seriously make it with any herb you want depending on the flavor profile you want for your meal, but I wanted to make the classic pesto right down to the toasted pine nuts so that's what I did.

The thing that takes the longest in this recipe is toasting the pine nuts, seriously! I was nervous about burning them because I have seen and heard so many stories about burning nuts when trying to toast them, and that it can happen in a split second. Nobody likes burned nuts so I hovered over them like my life depended on them coming out perfectly. Well maybe not my life but the recipe for sure since I only bought enough for one batch. I guess subconsciously I have a lot of faith in myself.

I was shocked when I finished the pesto and Kevin came out to taste it. Just that he tasted it was a shock, but the big shock was that he liked it! He said that it was way better than any other pesto he had tried and I have to agree with him. I will never buy store bought pesto again when it is so easy to make, tastes so much better, and you can freeze the leftovers for later use. A total win win recipe in my book!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Food Star Friday - Chicken Noodle Soup

Hello and welcome to another edition of Food Star Friday here at Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen. I know, it is about time right? I can't remember when the last FSF was. I really hate it when life gets in the way of my cooking and blogging! I would much rather be here with you all instead of deal with all of these pesky issues I have had to deal with!!

Yesterday I was bouncing around the grocery store picking up all of the items I needed for this meal. I was just so excited to be doing another FSF I couldn't contain myself!!! Unfortunately the other shoppers and store employees did not share my enthusiasm. I was dancing in the produce isles and singing little tunes to myself. I was waiting for someone to say "straight jacket on isle 5" but hey, that is who I am. I admit I am a bit ummmm quirky. It is all part of my charm (at least it sounds good when I say that right?). Oops, I was supposed to talk about the recipe right? Ok I will get back to business.

This is a Tyler Florence recipe from the episode Ultimate Rainy Day Menu. Every single thing he made looked so scrumptious and with it raining here (of course it was raining I live in Washington!) I thought yesssss what a fabulous idea for Food Star Friday! I loved that it had the twist of cheese tortellini for the noodles and meatballs instead of chunks of chicken.

This recipe was fairly easy to put together. I usually follow the recipes on Food Star Friday word for word because it is about reporting my feelings on a Food Star's recipe. I have to admit that I subbed a cup of white wine for one of the cups of chicken stock. I just add white wine to all of my chicken soups so I couldn't help myself. Other than that I stuck strictly to the recipe.

Now, how did we feel about this soup? It was met with mixed reviews. Everyone loved the broth and thought the cheese tortellini was a nice twist. As for the meatballs....hmmmmmm. OK 1 vote was 100% loved them, another was about 80%. Kevin and I? Two thumbs down. We did not like them at all. As I was making them I was thinking in my head "this is not going to work" but I watched Tyler make them the very same way on the show so......I did it his way.

I will tell you why I feel they didn't work and how I will do them different the next time (Yes there will be a next time because the rest of it was terrific). The recipe called for you to add 6 links of chicken/apple sausage to a food processor with the other ingredients for the meatballs. I just kept thinking "this is going to make the meatballs mealy and grainy" and my dear friends, I was right. Awful texture and they just fell apart. The next time I will just get the Jenny-O turkey sausage that is ground in a package, and mix my meatballs the regular way, adding a little bit of bread crumbs to help bind them. I would also bake them at 350 F for about 40 to 45 minutes VS frying them. Just my preference to save on fat. Also, keep the wine in there. Everyone LOVED the broth.

So in conclusion, I love Tyler Florence and this recipe is a jumping of point for me. But I will do it my way next time.



Chicken Noodle Soup

For the soup:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for 
    • garnish
    • 4 black peppercorns
    • Kosher salt
    • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

    For the meatballs:

    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • Olive oil
    • 6 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    • 2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the soup:
    Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.

    For the meatballs:
    Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, remaining garlic, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.
    Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beef and Asparagus Curry

Hello my dear friends! I am preparing for a move soon (and I absolutely hate moving) so my cooking duties have been replaced somewhat by dinners out or, I am sad to admit, fast food. On the positive side of things, when I do get a chance to cook a meal I am sooooo excited!! Not that I wasn't excited when I was cooking everyday, but I miss it and appreciate it much more than I did.

Last night I made Beef and Asparagus Curry from a recipe I found in Everyday Food. I love asparagus and was so excited to find a recipe that featured it. I am not a big red meat lover but Kevin is, so I figured this would be a "best of both worlds" recipe. The recipe was a good one but I would have done a few things different. First of all I think this would be a fantastic recipe for chicken too. With that said I wil tell you the things I will do differently with beef.

The recipe calls for you to cook the beef in the broth at the very end of the cooking process. The next time I make this I will season the beef with salt and pepper and then sear it in the wok first (just briefly) to lock in the flavor. Then remove it from the wok/skillet and reserve it on a plate covered with foil to return to the finished meal just long enough to warm the beef back up, at the most 1 minute would be required. I also will add more curry paste than it asks for. In a chicken curry I make I add the entire jar of the red curry paste (approx 1/2 cup) this called for 1/4 cup and I think it needed a bit more zing. Another thing that I think would add another layer of flavor would be to toss the finished rice noodles with a small (and I mean very small) amount of sesame oil, or cook the noodles to al dente and toss them in the curry for a bit to finish the cook process and allow them to soak up more of the curry flavor.

Ok with that said, this is an enjoyable meal, it is just that I like to tinker with recipes to try and maximize the flavors. I would love for you to give this a try, either the original recipe or my variation, and let me know what you think.



Beef and Asparagus Curry

1 can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
1/4 cup red curry paste
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound sirloin steak, thinly sliced against the grain
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional garnish)
Lime wedges (optional)


In a large wok or skillet, heat 1/2 cup coconut milk over medium-high, stirring until shiny and thick, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste, stirring until fragrant, 1 minute. Add remaining coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add bell pepper and asparagus and cook for 5 minutes. Add steak and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked rice noodles with cilantro and lime wedges.