Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New exciting ways to waste time!

So who else out there has gotten sucked into the world of Pinterest? At first all of the fun ideas for food and crafts made me so excited, but then as the pins started piling up I just got very tired. When will I do all of these adorable crafts? Do need to stay up at night and work on "fun stuff"? Should I learn to sew? Ugh, now I feel bad because there are now new things that I can't seem to fit into my schedule and I kind of wish they were never brought to my attention. Out of sight, out of mind...always been my motto. Okay enough negativity... Seriously Pinterest is cool and I hope to try at least a couple of the cute ideas I keep pinning like crazy!

Another thing I noticed while spending countless night owl hours looking at these Pinned links is that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Everyone is blogging these days. And most people have some very interesting things to show to the internet world. I am kind of feeling a little silly with my piddly little "all about me and my cooking attempts" posts. It's seems like trying to make a You Tube video of me singing karaoke in my garage compete with Beyonce's latest music video on MTV. Im no Beyonce (btw B is a major guilty pleasure of mine! :) and I know it, but I will keep posting musings from my newly suburban life until my 3 followers get too sucked into kid's crafts on Pinterest to read these posts anymore! :)

Last week I made a very fun meal for the fam. AND bonus I was able to sneak in some Zucchini, a vegetable Amelia swears she will never eat. Skinny Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting from Skinnytaste.com. Gina is a Genius! These were so delicious and cute as can be! You have to try it!

The beautiful babies before they go into the oven.

Who doesn't love mashed potato frosting?


Skinny Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting

For the Meatloaf Cupcakes:
1.3 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1 cup grated zucchini, all moisture squeezed dry with paper towel
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg1 tsp kosher salt

For the Skinny Mashed Potato "Frosting":
1 lb (about 2 medium) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 tbsp fat free sour cream
2 tbsp fat free chicken broth
1 tbsp skim milk
1/2 tbsp light butter
kosher salt to taste
dash of fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh thyme

Put the potatoes and garlic in a large pot with salt and enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.Drain and return potatoes and garlic to pan. Add sour cream and remaining ingredients. Using a masher or blender, mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with foil liners.

In a large bowl, mix the turkey, zucchini, onion, breadcrumbs, ketchup, egg, and salt.Place meatloaf mixture into muffin tins filling them to the top, making sure they are flat at the top.

Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from tins and place onto a baking dish.

Pipe the "frosting" onto the meatloaf cupcakes and serve.

So the "cupcakes" were the star for the week but I also threw together another simple recipe from Real Simple. You know how much I love these recipes. Easy peasy meals with ingredients I usually have on hand. The October issue of Real Simple challenged me to think beyond the taco and burrito and use the tortilla in some new ways. 10 new ways to be exact. I chose the Bean and Cheese Taquitos. Super easy and yum. The kids ate it too!

Bean and Cheese Taquitos
1 cup black beans (rinsed)
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
8 warmed corn tortillas
olive oil
fresh salsa and sour cream

In a medium bowl, gently mash 1 cup black beans with grated cheddar. Dividing evenly, roll up the mixture in 8 corn tortillas. In batches, fry the rolls, seam-side down, in 1/2 inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. About 2 to 3 min per side. Serve with Fresh salsa and sour cream. You may notice from the picture that I used flour tortillas because that is what was in my pantry. They were still yummy but probably a little heavier and less crunchy than the corn tortillas would be. But really bloggy friends, it is a cheesy fried taquito. Whether you use corn or flour you know it is going to delicious! Muchas Gracias Real Simple!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dieting and Cheating.... they go hand in hand

I have a confession to make. I am the world's worst dieter. I start a diet every morning and somewhere between 9am and the Starbucks drive thru I have already blown it...big time. I am in my thirties now (that is so weird to say) and I have been this type of "on again, off again" dieter since college. I truly believe that old habits die hard. So I have decided that I need to do my best to at least whip up one healthy meal a day for my family and hopefully that will point me in the right direction. No matter how many Frappuccinos or cookies I eat during the day, I have a healthy dinner to cancel it all out in the end. That's how it works, right?!? Man, I hope so!

So last week I felt like I FINALLY got my cooking mojo back. It has really been missing since the move. I don't know if it is the peeling old lady wallpaper or the slightly tilting electric stove top that have been making my kitchen a less than desirable work space. I have burned several of my old stand-bys trying to get used to this place. (Did you hear me say ELECTRIC stove top? For shame! I'm a gas cooking girl all the way!) But I am back and feeling pretty good about it. I served up some pretty dang good cuizine two nights in a row last week and the crowd was very pleased.

First up was Spaghetti with ricotta and tomatoes from Real Simple Family. You guys know my love for this magazine. I especially love their "10 Things to do with..." feature every month. This month the featured ingredient was Spaghetti. Brilliant. I ALWAYS have spaghetti on hand. It is a staple in the Summy house. Anyway this recipe is great and will be back again and again. Sorry there are no pictures. I have gotten out of the habit of photographing our meals. I will do better from now on. I promise.

Spaghetti with ricotta and tomatoes
2 pints grape tomatoes
4 smashed garlic cloves
olive oil
12 oz spaghetti
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Toss grape tomatoes and smashed garlic with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 450º until the tomatoes burst, about 8 to 10 min. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss Spaghetti with ricotta cheese, chopped parsley, and reserved pasta water. Season with Salt and pepper. Top with the tomatoes. See how easy that was?

The next night I took some help from my friend Rachel Ray and her magazine Everyday with Rachel Ray. She has started including these Weeknight Meal Planners in each issue. I LOVE this idea because she helps you get the most from the fresh ingredients you buy at the store. I always hate to buy stuff like Parsely or cilantro if I am only using 1 tbsp but if you have several recipes that use that ingredient it totally makes it worth the cost! Okay so I know I say this alot, but this meal was so great that I really will be making it over and over. It was super easy and delicious and, get this, healthy too (well at least the chicken and onions part)! I believe that is called a trifecta. Oh wait, and it is beautiful too. Is that a Quadfecta?

Chicken with Balsamic Onions and Parmesan Potatoes (YUM)
2 lbs red potatoes cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (5oz each)
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 cups (about half a package) baby spinach loosely packed

Preheat oven to 400º. In a large pot, combine potatoes and salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil and cook until fork-tender, 6 to 8 min. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Toss with 2 tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp EVOO over med high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (and garlic powder if you have it) and cook, turning once, until golden brown (about 5 min). Transfer to a baking dish; roast until cooked through (about 10 min).

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Stir in the onions and vinegar and season with salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized (about 15 min). At the end, stir in 1/4 cup water and scrape up any browned bits.

Serve the chicken on a bed of spinach and top with onions. Serve potatoes on the side.