Thursday, May 28, 2009

Come on...Tell me your favorite foods to buy!

One of our local hospitals in town happens to be across the street from a Costco. One night while visiting the Costco, I told my husband that if I were ever hospitalized for any reason, I would want a "Costco View" room in that hospital and a pair of binoculars. I would pass the time by checking out all the things that people were buying. I love to see what people buy and I am such a sucker for trying new products. I am any food marketers dream, if they change the flavor, texture, or packaging I am more likely to buy that product. I get bored with the same old stuff that we usually get, and I would love your tips on things that you like to buy that might be new to me. Please leave a comment and let me know the things you buy at Costco or at the store that I need to try!

My Costco top 10 list
(in no particular order)
#1 Tortilla land uncooked tortillas (these are SOOO worth the extra effort of cooking yourself, but I have found that they get soggy in casseroles i.e. enchiladas, but they are great for all other recipes.)
#2 Marion berry Jam-- This jam is made with sugar and not corn syrup and it's so good I've been known to sneak a spoonful.
#3 Individually frozen tilapia fillets--I buy these and just zap them in the microwave with lemon for a great healthy lunch or dinner. Also great for oven fried fish sticks (see recipe on site)
#4 TastyWok Orange Chicken---My neighbor turned me on to this and now it is a regular go to dinner. The box contains two family sized servings ( it's not the individual rice bowls) You bake the chicken in the oven, top with orange sauce and serve over rice. It's as good as take out, I promise!
#5 Dried Mangoes. These are evil and I try not to buy them because I will eat the WHOLE bag at once, but they are delicious.
#6 Salsa Fresca. A salsa made with mostly roasted red peppers. It's good on chips, eggs, any Mexican dish, and mixed into rice.
#7 Edamame--the nutrition the kid friendliness cannot be beat
#8 Rice works chips...I can't remember what flavor they were, but everyone in the house gobbled them up
#9 Kirkland Vegetarian Lasagna
#10 Kirkland Ravioli

Grocery Store Favorites List coming soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Banana Oat Smoothie

This is one of my favorite breakfasts! It has protein, whole grains, active cultures, fruit and dairy. The texture is more like a drinkable yogurt, but the oats give it a great texture. It tastes great and is easy to whip up.

Serves 1

1 banana
1/2 plain yogurt
1/4 c quick oats
1/2 c milk
1 T honey

optional ingredients
blueberries, strawberries, 1/4 t cinnimon

Add ingredients in any combination that you like. Blend well and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paula Deene's Eclaire Cake

Ingredients & Directions:
1 1-pound box graham crackers
2 3 1/4 ounce boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Butter the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch pan. Line the whole pan with graham crackers. In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers. For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Yield: 20 to 24
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Allow 24 hours to cool in refrigerator
Ease of Preparation: Easy

Creamy Artichoke Soup

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white part only, washed well and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish


Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and stir. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the artichokes, stock, salt, and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a handheld immersion blender, or in a blender in batches*, puree the soup. Add the 2 tablespoons mascarpone and blend again to combine. In a small bowl, stir the remaining 1/3 cup mascarpone to soften.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Dollop the top of each of the soups with a spoonful of the softened mascarpone cheese and top the cheese with chives.

* When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Lemon Chicken on the BBQ

I tried this recipe for the first time and it was AMAZING. I loved the fresh flavor, and the chicken was juicy from the marinade.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Marinade Ingredients
2 large lemons, juice of
Zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaf
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

BBQ Ingredients
2 large lemons (cut in halves)

Place chicken and marinade in a ziplock bag (removing any airpockets) massage and refridgerate at least 3 hours up to overnight.
Pre-heat BBQ to Medium to Medium-High.
BBQ chicken for approximately 6 minutes per side(or until done)
Squeeze a lemon half over chicken with each turn.
Serve with salad.

Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425

4-5 red potatoes washed and diced into uniform bite size pieces
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary minced
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Wash and dice potatoes. Toss in olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Cook for 20 minutes, turn potatoes with spatula, then cook 15-20 minutes more.

Luscious Beet Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I planted beets in my garden recently, and I just couldn't wait for them to come up. I bought some at the store in the meantime and tried this recipe. It was SOOOO good! I like that you use the whole beet, and it's super healthy.
4 large beets
1/4 c pumpkin seeds, toasted (you could also use, almonds, walnuts or pecans)
2 scallions
1/4 c goat cheese (you could also use feta or blue cheese)

3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
3/4 t Dijon mustard
1/4 t ground pepper
1 T finely chopped fresh basil

Wash beets and remove tops. Place beets in large pot filled with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until beets are tender (about an hour). Set aside to cool.
*tip: you can also microwave or oven cook your beets. Whichever method you prefer.
Toast pumpkin seeds by placing seed in a dry skillet over medium heat. Move the skillet back and forth over the heat, and stir the seed with your other hand. This will toast the seeds evenly and prevent burning. When seeds begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma, they are done. Set aside.
To prepare beet greens, cut bstems off of leaves and discard. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the beet greens into bit size pieces, then submerge in water to wash. (I use my salad spinner). Shake off excess water and drop greens into boiling water. Cook for only about 30 seconds, just enough to make the stems tender. Place greens in a colander and run cold water over them to halt cooking. Toss salad ingredients with dressing ingredients, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Banana Cream Pie--Hill's Version

So I kind of have my own little version of banana cream pie going on, that is based on the recipe in the red and white check book. Since I am not a pie crust fan, I like to use graham cracker crust coated with melted chocolate! I tried to remember to take a picture of it all made and ready to eat, but I totally forgot! So here is what it looks like after everyone devours it and loves it and tells you how great a cook you are! Don't be intimidated by making your own pudding from scratch, it's not hard at all, and turns out great as long as you follow the directions. Good luck!

3/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/4 t salt
2 c milk (I use 1% and it works fine)
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 T butter
1 t vanilla
1 9 inch graham cracker pie shell
3 bananas peeled and sliced
1/3 c chocolate chips
2 t butter

First melt the chocolate chips and 2 t butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Spread with back of spoon chocolate all over the base and sides of the graham cracker pie shell. Let sit while you make the pudding.

In saucepan combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat till bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir small amount of hot mixture into yolks; immediately return to hot mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 2 T butter and vanilla. Slice 3 bananas in base of pie shell. Pour hot pudding over all. Pudding should cover banana completely. Cool and serve with whipped cream. (To prevent a skin from forming on the surface of filling, put waxed paper directly on top of hot filling, then remove when it's time to serve).
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