Weekly Menu 3/31 - 4/4

I.am.exhausted. I can't stop yawning either.

Apparently I'm too old to have plans two weekends in a row without proper recuperation time during the week. Yesterday, we hosted Easter. I gotta say, it was quite smart to have it the day before. Today I get to relax (haha, yeah right) before going back to work tomorrow. And starting the busiest month ever.

April 4th 5:45 PM - hair appointment
April 6th 9:15 AM - spray tan appointment
April 8th 8:00 AM - doctor's appointment
April 10th              - BIRTHDAY!
April 12th              - Mom's Birthday
April 14th 1:00 PM - wine tasting thing again
April 20                - another spray tan, assuming the first goes well
April 23rd             - GO TO FLORIDA!
April 24th             - HARRY POTTER WORLD!!
April 30th             - come home from Florida

I think I'm going to need a vacation after my vacation.

Anyway, back to present day. Easter went pretty well. We had:

Appetizers: deviled eggs, sweet cheese ball, veggies and dip, mac and cheese bites, prosciutto wrapped melon
Main & Sides: kielbasa and sauerkraut, ham, mashed potatoes, corn, asparagus
Desserts: fruit tarts, chocolate egg nest cupcakes, Biscoff Swirl Gelato

And Tom made his grandmother's Easter bread. She purposely sabotages the recipe, but he figured it out a few years ago and ended up making 8 loaves of it for this year. Everyone raved over it. I was just incredibly impressed that with the batch he made last weekend, he used my blogging props to take pictures of it.

So, you probably want to know what we're eating this week.

Sunday - leftovers 

Monday - Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes and Fries

Tuesday - White Chicken Chili 

Wednesday - Burritos

Thursday - Steak, Fries, Green Beans 

For breakfast I'm making banana chocolate chip muffins and for lunch I'm going to have some type of sandwich not yet determined.

As for completing my 28 Before 28 List, I need to make 5 more things. Wish me luck, the countdown is ON! 

Recipe Swap: Pita Bread


I have a hard time hearing the word "pita" and not thinking of "Peeta" ever since The Hunger Games. Plus, he gave her bread, so come on now.

I don't know why, but sometimes its damn near impossible to find pita bread in the stores here so I tend to only plan around recipes that use it if I happen to pick up a package ahead of time. But, I never need to do that again!

I had no idea making pita bread was this easy. It hardly even takes any time at all and 98% of the work is done by your stand mixer.

Pita Bread
Source: Doughseedough
Servings: 8
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    • 1 1/8 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
    • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 1 envelope dry active yeast
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1. Combine the water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy, then add in the oil.
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the dough hook.
3. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, or until just combined. Then increase to the next speed and mix for 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
5. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12" long rope. Cut into 8 equally sized pieces, then roll out into 6-7" round circles.
6. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven (and a pizza stone) to 500.
8. Place dough (2-3 of them) on the pizza stone and spritz lightly with water.
9. Bake for 3 minutes or until puffy, but not browned. Remove from the baking stone and let cool on a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

I had a very hard time deciding what to choose for this Recipe Swap. The potstickers kept catching my eye, as did the general tso's chicken. But, the pita bread won out when I realized if I didn't make it now, I'd just print out the recipe, stick it in my to-make binder and promptly forget about it for a few months, like I seem to do with most other recipes. 

Chocolate Chip Pancakes


I'm not a big breakfast eater. I have too many other things going on in the morning that the thought of sitting down to a larger meal is just unappetizing. So, if I ever have a craving for a breakfast food, I end up making it for dinner.

Which is sometimes desperately needed. There are only so many times you can rotate "chicken, beef, pork, seafood, meatless" through each week before you run out of things that you want to try. That's where breakfast for dinner (never brinner) fits in.

And it doesn't hurt that this is an Abs Diet recipe so its even healthy for you. Well, as healthy as chocolate chip pancakes can be, I guess.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
aka Flapjacks with Chocolate Chips
Source: The New Abs Diet Cookbook, p. 83
Servings: about 10 pancakes
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    • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 tbsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
    • 1 cup plain instant oatmeal 
    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat a griddle to medium heat.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the milk, oatmeal, sugar and vanilla.
3. Stir the eggs into the milk mixture and then add in the flour mixture, a little at a time until fully incorporated. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Use a measuring cup and portion out 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake.
5. Pour onto the griddle and flip over when the bubbles form in the middle. Cook until golden brown.

The oatmeal in these pancakes make them incredibly filling. I can usually eat 3-4 smaller pancakes. I was absolutely stuffed after 1 1/2 of them. We put a light syrup on them and I served them with fruit and turkey bacon.

Sweet Potato Turkey Hash


How are you supposed to take a decent looking picture of hash? It's HASH! That means its just a combined pile of different things all shoved together. How in the world can you make that pretty?

Alright, not that I've gotten that little vent out of the way, lets move onto the ugly picture but incredibly tasty dish, yes?

Sweet Potato and Turkey Hash
Source: Eating Well, Fall 2003
Servings: 6
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    • 1 package steam-in-the-bag sweet potatoes
    • 1 apple, peeled and diced
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    • 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1 lb. ground turkey 
    • 1 tsp. thyme
    • salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook sweet potatoes according to package directions. Let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile add canola oil to a skillet over medium heat and cook apples and onion for 5-7 minutes or until soft.
3. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides of the potatoes and place them into a bowl. Discard the skins. Add the apple and onion to the bowl and stir to combine. Then stir in the sour cream and lemon juice.
4. Add the turkey to the skillet and cook for 7-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer to the bowl and stir until combined. Add in the thyme, salt and pepper.
5. Spray the skillet with non-stick cooking spray and return the mixture to the skillet, pressing down to brown it. Flip over the mixture in sections to brown on both sides. Serve hot.

I think I'm missing something about being able to get this to brown nicely on both sides. I think I would have had much better luck sticking it in the oven and just getting it browned on the top. Either way, while the looks  of this dish are far from appealing, the taste is incredible. It's kind of like Thanksgiving in a bowl, but much tastier. And would you believe its just over 200 calories? Yeah, I couldn't believe it either! 

Spicy Soy Sauce Grilled Pork Tenderloin


As I've mentioned a hundred or so times before, I'm always on the look out for a good pork recipe. I've made ones similar to this before, but none of them called for the pork to be grilled so I knew I needed to try this out.

Spicy Soy Sauce Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Source: Eating Well, August/September 2008
Servings: 6
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1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed

1. Slice pork into 1" thick medallions and place in a zip-top bag.
2. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, Sriracha and sesame oil. Pour over the pork and let marinate for 2 hours.
3. Preheat a grill and remove the pork from the marinade. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill pork for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve hot.

I served this pork along with the sauteed green beans, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and wild rice mix. 

Green Gobbler Lasagna


Don't let the name of this recipe turn you off. My immediate reaction after reading the name was to squinch up my face in disgust, but I decided to forge on and read the ingredients before making the decision as to whether or not I would try this recipe.

I won't lie, the cooked sliced turkey breast in this recipe just didn't work for me (in my head) so I decided to omit it from the recipe. Since this calls for a pretty significant amount of spinach, I was also pretty concerned that Tom wasn't going to eat it at all. But since I'm determined to lose weight, I figure he can either eat what I make, or eat cereal.

Green Gobbler Lasagna
Source: The New Abs Diet Cookbook, p. 214
Servings: 6, PF 4
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    • 1 1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
    • 6 oven-ready lasagna noodles
    • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
    • 3 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, garlic, oregano, and pepper together.
3. Spread a thin layer of the crushed tomatoes on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then layer with three lasagna noodles.
4. Add a layer of the ricotta cheese on top, followed by the spinach. Then repeat starting with the crushed tomatoes. Top the lasagna with the sliced mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake for 45 minutes then let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I was completely and utterly shocked when Tom said "Hey honey, this is really good." I had to ask him if he was being serious or not since there you could easily see all of the spinach in the lasagna. But, he was serious, and I have to agree, for a meatless lasagna, its really filling. I will confess though, the browned mozzarella pieces on the top are my absolute favorite, I could eat that as a meal. 

Weekly Menu 3/24 - 3/28


Well, this post is extremely late compared to when I usually share the menu for the week. If you're wondering why, it's because I had a weekend of awesome.

See, back in 2008 I started posting on a message board with a group of ladies. We talk almost daily and over the course of the years, have developed real friendships. Back in 2011, there was a massive gathering in DC that I got to attend. Yesterday, we had another pretty big gathering, in Tyson's Corner, VA. But, this time, instead of just getting to spend a few hours with some lovely ladies, I got house guests from Connecticut! They arrived on Friday night and left early this afternoon. We've had quite the weekend.

Friday was nice and tame, which you'd expect when people from the internet meet in person for the first time. We didn't even drink and went to bed relatively early. Saturday, we got up pretty early and arrived in Tyson's Corner about an hour before we were scheduled to meet with everyone. So we wandered around the Galleria amused at all of the expensive things we couldn't afford to buy.

Lunch with everyone was amazing. Loud, funny, filling, full of alcohol. Just what you'd expect from us. Unfortunately, restaurants don't seem to believe us when we say that we really should be put in a private room and I'm pretty sure we scared away more than a few diners. Oops?

After lunch and general debauchery, we did a bit of shopping to walk off the booze before heading back to my place where we were meeting with another lovely lady who couldn't attend lunch. On the drive back we planned to visit some historical places in MD tomorrow before my CT friends needed to make the trek back north. The night started off innocent enough, we were classy ladies drinking wine and eating egg rolls. But then my husband appeared with shot glasses and we soon had way too much to drink. 90's music and very funny one-liners ensued. I'm pretty sure my neighbors hate us, but whatever. It was awesome.

Which we are all still feeling the side effects of today. Our grand plans to see any historical areas in MD were quickly overruled by the necessity to just lie there. And my plans of making various dessert today where easily changed to lying around after eating all the unhealthy things in hopes of feeling better.

So, the menu for this week is:

Sunday - Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Monday - Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese Sauce, Fried Potatoes and Green Beans 

Tuesday - Oven-Baked French Toast with Raspberry Sauce

Wednesday - General Tso's Chicken 

Thursday - Grilled Beef Fajitas

For breakfast I'm having a berry lime smoothie and for lunch, a veggie wrap. At some point this week I still need to make my recipe swap choice along with an item from my 28 Before 28 List. Lets hope its an easy week so this old lady not used to partying can actually accomplish anything. 

Lemon Strawberry Muffins


Why is it that when I'm dead set on a certain recipe the grocery store likes to mess with me and not carry and essential ingredient that I needed? This recipe calls for raspberries instead of strawberries and I know I could have used frozen ones, but in my head it just wouldn't be the same so I went for the strawberries.

Lemon Strawberry Muffins
Slightly Adapted from: Eating Well, July/August 2007
Servings: 12
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    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt 
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 lemon
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use liners.
2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
3. Zest the lemon into a small bowl, then add sugar. Mix together until slightly clumped. Add into the flour mixture. Then pour in the wet mixture, along with the juice of the lemon.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined, then gently fold in the strawberries.
5. Divide the batter into the muffin cups, filling 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are golden brown. Let cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling completely.

You can't even tell these are healthy little muffins. While I'm sure the tartness of the raspberries would have mingled nicely with the tartness of the lemon, the strawberries are a decent substitution. 

Improv Challenge: Kitchen Sink Fried Rice


Procrastination. I'm good at it. This post needs to go live in 11.5 hours and I'm sitting here looking at random stuff on the internet. Did you know Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin's new boyfriends yacht is bigger than Tigers? See, this is the ridiculous stuff I read instead of blogging. And why is that even a news article? Do rich people really care about yacht size?

Or that CC cream is going to be the new BB cream? Or that I just spent $32 at Sephora.com to receive a free CC cream sample because I didn't want to spend $42 on the full sized cream itself. Please tell me how that makes any sense?

But since you're not here for celebrity gossip or makeup tips, I might as well get onto the food, right? Carrots and peas were the ingredients for this challenge. I like carrots. Peas, not so much. They're kinda mushy. I can eat them in most dishes, but you'll never find me serving a side of peas for dinner. Ever.

I ended up with a lot of leftover things just hanging around in the fridge and freezer and two of those things just so happened to be peas and carrots. SCORE!  And thus this recipe was born. Or adapted from the internets. Whichever you prefer.

Kitchen Sink Fried Rice
Adapted from: All Recipes
Servings: 4-6
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    • 2 cups quick-cooking brown rice
    • 4 eggs
    • 4 slices bacon, chopped
    • 1 tsp. sesame oil 
    • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
    • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
    • 1/2 cup frozen corn
    • 1/4 cup frozen peas
    • 1/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
    • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce 
1. Cook rice according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl, then add to the skillet and scramble. Once cooked, transfer to a plate.
4. Add the bacon to the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to let drain.
5. Add the carrots and onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the sesame oil if needed, then add in the remaining vegetables. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until all vegetables are soft and cooked.
6. Add the rice to the skillet and return the eggs and bacon to the skillet as well. Pour in the soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir well. Cook 1-2 minutes more or until rice begins to stick to the pan. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

This was pretty good for a random assortment of items tossed into a fried rice dish. I'd definitely make this again. Tom would prefer me to leave the edamame beans out next time. Pretty sure that can be arranged.

Healthier Nachos


I love Mexican food. Probably because my mom never made it when I was a kid. The crazy woman doesn't like tacos and hardly likes cheese. Sometimes I wonder how we can be related.

For the longest time, my Mexican food cravings needed to be fulfilled by Taco Bell which is kind of sad. Recently we found a place nearby called Taco Love Grill that serves authentic Mexican tacos and some of the best nachos ever. They are INCREDIBLE!

However, they probably aren't the healthiest things out there, so I was thrilled when I found this recipe in the New Abs Diet Cookbook. I have no idea why I didn't think to do this before, since this is essentially how Tom eats tacos, except he crushes up the chips.

Healthier Nachos 
(aka A Thinner Mexican Dinner)
Adapted from: The New Abs Diet Cookbook
Servings: 4
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    • 1 lb. very lean ground beef
    • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp. chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
    • 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
    • reduced-fat tortilla chips
    • lime juice
    • sour cream, optional
1. Preheat the oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Divide the tortilla chips into 4 servings and place on the baking sheet. Divide the cheddar cheese on top. Set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the ground beef until browned. Stir in the black beans, garlic, chili powder, cayenne and water. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.
4. Place the tortilla chips in the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
5. Transfer to plates and top with the ground beef mixture. Then top with the lettuce and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice.

This doesn't taste healthy at all, which is a major bonus. Granted, if you really want these to be nachos, you'll need to add quite a bit more cheese, but unless you add a cup or more, you're still keeping this pretty healthy. 

Oven-Fried Chicken


Fried Chicken is another recipe on my 28 Before 28 List. I guess this is kind of a cop out since I decided to "oven-fry" the chicken, but I've been in a really good groove of making healthier recipes lately that I didn't want to throw it all out the window by actually frying this chicken.

I don't think any southern grandmothers are rolling over in their graves by me calling this fried chicken since the whole "oven-" is attached.

Oven-Fried Chicken
Source: Eat What You Love by Marlene Koch, p. 295
Servings: 4
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    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 1/4 cups cornflake cereal
    • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
    • 2 egg whites
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
    • 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
    • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place a wire rack on top of a large baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Put flour in a shallow dish.
3. Put cornflake cereal in a zip-top bag, removing the excess air. Roll over it with a rolling pin until crushed. Place cereal and bread crumbs in another shallow dish.
4. In the third shallow dish, combine the egg whites, garlic powder, onion powder, ground sage, ground thyme, and cayenne pepper.
5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of chicken into the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip it into the egg whites, followed by the cornflake mixture. Place each piece on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

I've had many similar recipes, and I gotta say, this one ranks up at the top. The cereal adds a nice crunch to the chicken that otherwise isn't there, and placing the chicken on the wire rack is really key to keeping it crispy and not ended up with soggy chicken. 

Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies


Side note, or really top note: If you've just crawled out from under your internet-less rock, you may have just found out that Google is getting rid of the Reader come July 1st. Or is it June 1st? Either way, I don't care when it is because I'm pretty unhappy about it.

First, I just recently got to 101 followers which gave me the warm fuzzies. Now I won't get to log into Blogger and see that anymore. Plus, what is going to happen to those 101 people? I want to keep them! And what about all the blogs I follow or the 2,000 or so recipe I have starred? Are they just going to disappear into an internet-black hole?

The answer is, apparently not. There are two sites out there who must have been anticipating this, at least a little bit. Feedly and Bloglovin have now made it possible for you to import all of your blogs (and starred posts) from Google Reader directly onto their sites.

Being indecisive, I imported my information into both. I like the layout of Bloglovin better, and I think its cool that if you actually click on the post there, it takes you to the actual blog. Which is good for people who track post count and that sort of thing. However, I can't find my starred items anywhere. Or how to see previous posts that I didn't star. No bueno!

As for Feedly, I feel like its very modern and sheek. While I'm comfortable with Bloglovin seeing me in my pajamas without make up, I feel like Feedly requires a certain amount of sophistication that doesn't come with Target pj's and messy hair. But Feedly brought over all my starred items.

Decisions, decisions. Anyway, the point in the past few paragraphs is that I would love to keep you as a reader and know you are out there, so I've installed a widget-thingy under Keep Connected (its over there -----> at the top) where you can follow me on Bloglovin. (Which I'm now reading as blo-glovin.)

And if you don't give a rats ass about blog readers, don't worry. I'm done talking about them (at least in this post). Cookies are below. :)

When I first looked through The New Abs Diet Cookbook, I was shocked at the amount of desserts that were included and the variety of them. Usually when you're looking through a cookbook with healthy recipes, there are very very few desserts or ones that leave you thinking "how exactly is that a dessert?"

I'm a sucker for cookies so it didn't take long for me to make these.

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies
aka Chips Oh Boy! Cookies
Source: The New Abs Diet Cookbook, p. 237
Servings: 36 cookies, PF 3
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    • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 
    • 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
    • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat until smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time until fully combined, then add applesauce and vanilla.
4. Slowly add in the flour mixture and once combined, add the chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Drop tablespoon sized pieces of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

You can't tell these are "healthy" cookies at all. You can't tell that there is whole wheat flour in these at all and the applesauce replacing the oil makes absolutely no different in the texture or taste of these cookies. 

Weekly Menu 3/17 - 3/21


How has the first week of Daylights Saving Time treated you? It hasn't been great for me. I keep staying up way too late and have a hard time waking up in the morning before 7. Which to most people who don't need to start work until 9 is reasonable, but I'm the weirdo that likes to be awake by 6, at least.

Do you have any plans for St. Patrick's Day? We're being old people and staying in. You know you're getting old when you have no interest in the drunken holiday bar scene anymore. If you're staying in, are you making anything fun? Tom asked for Shepherd's Pie so I'm making that.

I have a busy couple of weeks coming up so I'm trying to keep this weekend as low-key as possible. I need to catch up on blog posts, do my part time job and get baking/cooking in the kitchen. We'll see just how much more gets done this weekend.

Sunday - Shepherd's Pie

Monday - Vegetable Fried Rice

Tuesday - Memphis-Style BBQ Pork with Mac and Cheese Cups and Garlicky Green Beans 

Wednesday - Southwest Cheddar Turkey Burgers with Baked Onion Rings and Grilled Asparagus

Thursday - Crab Soup (from the freezer)

Assuming it turns out, I'll have a St. Patrick's Day cake to share with you shortly.  I still haven't figured out my breakfast for this week; I'm debating between smoothies or muffins. Lunches will be an Asian chicken salad.

Recipe Swap: Mounds Brownies


Mounds Bars never ranked on my preferred candy bar list so I was pretty intrigued when I received this recipe for the Dessert Recipe Swap.

Coconut layered between brownies. Sounded awfully decadent and not the least bit healthy. So I purposely planned to make these on the day when my mom and aunt were coming over so I could pawn off the majority of the brownies to both of them. And really, this wasn't even the slightest bit evil of me, since they do the same thing to me. My aunt stopped by to return my Christmas cookie tin back in January and came with armfuls of fudge and caramel popcorn that she just "didn't have any more room for!" Suuuuureee.

Mounds Brownies
Source: Sweet Beginnings via Baking and Boys
Servings: 16
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    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut 
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat the oven to 325 and line an 8x8 baking dish with enough foil that the edges hang over the sides of the pans a little. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Slowly whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Then whisk in the eggs to the cocoa powder mixture until combined. Next, add the sugar, vanilla, flour and salt.
4. Spread half of the mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish.
5. In another bowl, combine the coconut, salt and condensed milk together. Drop spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter. Top with the remaining batter and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerate to chill for a few hours. Cut into 16 pieces.

Share immediately with family and friends so you don't gobble them down yourself. The only change I made to this recipe was to reduce the amount of coconut since 2 cups seemed like a ton in comparison to the brownie amount.

test post for Bloglovin


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You may have heard that Google Reader is going away in just three short months. I'm quite unimpressed with this tidbit of knowledge and now I'm in search of a new reader.

I'm debating between Bloglovin (hence this post) and Feedly.

Decisions, decisions. 

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches


Bleu cheese crumbles were on sale at the grocery store one week and I couldn't help but add the container to the cart, even though I had no idea what I was going to use it for. Once I got home, I started flipping through Eat More of What You Love and knew these chicken sandwiches would be the perfect vehicle to cover with bleu cheese. 

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
Adapted from: Eat More of What You Love, p. 128
Servings: 6

1/2 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup carrot, minced
3 tbsp. light mayonnaise
3 tbsp. non-fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp. hot sauce
2 tbsp. bleu cheese crumbles
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 thin-cut chicken breasts
1 cup mixed greens 
6 whole wheat hoagie rolls

1. Combine celery, carrot, mayonnaise, yogurt, hot sauce, bleu cheese, onion powder and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. 
2. Spray a skillet or grill pan with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium. Cook chicken for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. 
3. Spread 2 tbsp. of the mayonnaise mixture onto the hoagie rolls. Top with mixed greens and the chicken breast. 

I adapted the recipe a bit because I didn't think Tom would like it at all, but I was surprised when he asked for more of the mayonnaise mixture on his sandwich. 

Green Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you need a dessert to make for St. Patrick's Day? I decided to copy tons of other people and go the simple route by making red velvet cupcakes but using green food coloring instead of red.

Would you believe that I've never made red velvet cupcakes before? I'm not sure why I didn't have those on my 28 Before 28 list, come to think of it.

I had the absolute hardest time finding sprinkles for St. Patrick's Day. I ended up buying some with Easter eggs in the and figuring I could just pick them out of the other green sprinkles. Then, of course, the day after I made the cupcakes I was walking through Wegman's with my mom and low and behold there are specific St. Patrick's Day sprinkles. ::sigh::

Green Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Chef in Training
Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Cupcake Ingredients:
    • 4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 oz. Neufatchel cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • green food coloring
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Combine butter, cream cheese and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in, one at a time.
3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
4. Add the yogurt and vanilla to the stand mixer, then reduce the speed to low and add in the dry ingredients until fully mixed.
5. Squeeze in the green food coloring until it reaches your desired color.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each one 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before adding frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 6 oz. Neufatchel cream cheese
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tbsp. plain non-fat yogurt
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • sprinkles
1. Combine cream cheese, butter, yogurt and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
2. Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

These were cute little cupcakes and a lot denser than I imagined them to be. I think if I ever make a green cupcake again, I'll just go with the typical vanilla cupcake and add green food coloring. I found I had to add a ton of food coloring to counteract the cocoa powder from this recipe. Either way, these are cute little cupcakes and cream cheese frosting will always be my favorite. 

Chocolate and Walnut Fudge


My sweet tooth can't deny delicious fudge. Peanut butter is my absolute favorite, but I'll eat pretty much any flavor fudge that you are willing to share with me. However, I've always been too scared to make it. Candy thermometers, just the right temperature, watching it constantly..not my thing.

Ironically, my mom who can burn water, makes really decent fudge. I can't figure out how this is possible. I used to leave the fudge making to my mom and aunt who can perfect it pretty much every time. But when I found this recipe on So How's it Taste? while searching for something to make for the SRC, I knew I needed to check it out ASAP.

Fudge that has minimal ingredients and doesn't require a candy thermometer? Sign this girl up!

Chocolate and Walnut Fudge
Source: So How's It Taste, from Eagle Brand Recipes
Servings: about 2 pounds
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    • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
    • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
    • pinch of salt 
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Place a piece of wax paper over an 8x8 dish leaving enough to hang over the sides.
2. Combine chocolate chips, condensed milk and salt together in a large heavy saucepan. Heat over low and stir frequently until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extra and walnuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
4. Lift the fudge out of the pan and slice into squares. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can place wax paper between layers of fudge in a deep container if desired.

I took one bite of this fudge and immediately portioned out 3/4 of it for Tom to take to work. I don't need something this tasty hanging around the house. Ever. I honestly couldn't believe that such a simple recipes produces such tasty fudge! I'm very interested in playing around with this to see if I can achieve similar results with peanut butter, white chocolate, cinnamon and butterscotch chips, as well as adding in different mix-ins to your standard chocolate variety. 

Shrimp & Grits


I wasn't sure how I felt about the idea of shrimp & grits mainly because of the grits. I'm sure I mentioned on here before I have issues with texture and certain things just bug me to no end. Gritty feelings is definitely on my texture no-no list and since grits are well, gritty, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this recipe.

But the picture in Cooking Light looks awfully appealing and time was quickly winding down for me to make these before I turned 28, so I decided to bite the bullet one night and go for it.

Shrimp and Grits
Source: Cooking Light,  March 2013
Servings: 6
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    • 3 cups water
    • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
    • 2 pieces bacon, chopped
    • 1 small white onion, chopped
    • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
    • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
    • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
    • 3/4 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 green onions, diced
1. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the grits, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Cover again and set aside, keeping warm.
3. In a large skillet, cooked the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.
4. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add the shrimp and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink.
6. Combine the half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet, along with the chicken broth and cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
7. Spread grits on plate and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with diced green onions.

Holy cow is this an incredible dish! The mushrooms and onion add a huge amount of depth to this meal and the cream sauce pairs wonderfully with the grits, something else I wasn't expecting. I am definitely going to make this again!

Weekly Menu 3/9 - 3/14

This past Wednesday, we prepared for a blizzard because the weather was reporting that we'd receive anywhere from 6 - 12 inches of snow. You know what happened? It rained a lot instead.

Today, it's almost 60 degrees and it will be again tomorrow. So maybe spring is finally here. I'm more than ready for it. Tomorrow I'm going to a local winery with a friend for a wine tasting and they also have different soups you can try and music. It should be a good time.

I'm cooking dinner tonight since I'm running out of time to make all of the things on my 28 Before 28 List.

Saturday - Oven-Fried Chicken, Parmesan Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Parmesan Asparagus 

Sunday - Southwest Stuffed Peppers

Monday - Pot Roast

Tuesday - Jambalaya

Wednesday - Meatball Subs

Thursday - Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

For lunches this week I'm going to have tuna salad and breakfast will be muffins. I haven't figured out what kind just yet. 

Recipes for St. Patrick's Day


Last year I decided that I would make a full-on Irish meal on Saint Patrick's Day complete with corned beef and various other treats.

I have no idea what I'm going to do for this year, maybe I'll just create the menu again, but in case you are looking for some Irish fare to make for your Saint Patrick's Day activities, here are the recipes.

Corned Beef and Cabbage


Corn O'Brien

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake Bites

or, if cheesecake bites aren't you're thing,
Drunken Cheesecake Brownies

Sauteed Green Beans, Mushrooms and Cherry Tomatoes


Side dishes are my downfall. I can look through cookbook after cookbook, website after website and pick out hundreds of them that I'd love to make but when it comes to actually choosing a side dish to pair with a protein I hem and haw forever trying to choose one that will work well with it.

It's really not that difficult and I know that, I just have such a hard time choosing. But, it just so happened that I printed out this side dish recipe in between one for pork and one for cupcakes. Since it'd be just weird to serve green beans with cupcakes, I decided it was a sign that I should serve it with the pork.

I had some leftover mushrooms in the fridge that were going to go bad soon, so I decided to toss those in as well.

Sauteed Green Beans, Mushrooms and Cherry Tomatoes
Source: Eating Well, December 2005
Servings: 4
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    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
    • 3/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans and mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes or until lightly seared in some spots.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4-6 minutes or until the green beans are soft. Garlic and cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

I really enjoyed this side dish. Its something that comes together rather quickly and can be served throughout the year. It also paired really well with the spicy pork dish I made, which I'll be sharing next week.

Pizza Pasta Pie


We had planned on visiting Tom's parents since the weekend before Christmas, but something managed to come up every weekend until the end of January when we were finally able to make the trip. Before we finally made it there, I was joking that we'd be celebrating Christmas for Easter if this kept happening!

Anyway, during our visit his mom showed me two new cookbooks that she purchased. They offered healthier alternatives to recipes, usually using Splenda instead of sugar and also provided you with a PointPlus number if you were using Weight Watchers. I flipped through the cookbooks and found so many recipes that I liked, that I immediately got on my phone and downloaded the Amazon app so I could order the cookbooks right then, instead of waiting until we got home.

Although I have an iPhone, I'm usually all "silly people addicted to their damn phones, using them for everything", but this was the one time that I was quite thrilled with the technological capabilities of my phone, considering the books were ordered on Saturday and scheduled to arrive to me on Tuesday.

The cookbooks are Eat What You Love and Eat More of What You Love both by Marlene Koch.

One of the first recipes I chose to make was this one, because I knew Tom wouldn't suspect its healthiness at all.

Pizza Pasta Pie
Source: Eat More of What You Love by Marlene Koch
Servings: 6
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    • 6 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
    • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. oregano
    • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
    • 3/4 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a deep 9" pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Drain and shake well to remove excess water.
3. Crack the egg over a large bowl and beat lightly. Add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the cooked noodles. Toss well to coat and then press the pasta on the sides and bottom of the prepared pie plate. Set aside.
4. Add the ground beef and mushrooms to a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until ground beef is browned. Drain any excess fat. Season meat with oregano and pour marinara sauce into the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and toss to coat.
5. Spread the ricotta cheese on top of the noodles in the prepared pie plate. Add the meat mixture on top of that and then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges.

You'd really have no idea this is a healthier recipe at all. Each wedges comes in at 290 calories which is just shocking for the amount of flavor this packs in. It's also incredibly filling and I could barely eat all of my slice! If you needed to sneak in some extra veggies, this would definitely be the meal to do so. Some green pepper or onion would go nicely with this and since the mozzarella melts on down to the ricotta, any unsuspecting veggie hates would never even know.

Corn and Red Pepper Bisque


I love bisque-style soups. Not liquid-y enough to be soup and not thick enough to be stew. They're that perfect middle ground that does a great job of warming you up and filling you up at the same time.

Corn and red peppers are two of my favorite vegetables. Yes, I realize that corn is really more of a starch than anything, but when you live with the resident vegetable hater, you tend to hear "but corn is a vegetable and I eat that!" so many times that you trick yourself into thinking that corn is, in fact, a vegetable.

Anyway, I love the combination of these two ingredients together so I was thrilled to check out this recipe.

Corn and Red Pepper Bisque
Source: Eating Well, Summer 2004
Servings: 4
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    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, chopped
    • 16 oz. package frozen corn kernels
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 4 cups reduced-sodium fat free chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
    • 1 tbsp. cornmeal
    • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
    • juice of one lime
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • hot sauce, to taste
1. Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, corn and bell pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more or until fragrant.
2. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor and add in the sour cream. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and then puree the remaining mixture. Add both pureed mixtures back to the saucepan.
4. Whisk in the cornmeal and bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly until it thickens. Add the green onion, parsley and hot sauce.
5. Ladle into bowls and add a squeeze of lime juice.

I can only imagine how much sweeter this bisque would be if it was made with fresh corn instead of the frozen version. Either way, the flavors are mix well together and its filling enough that even my meat-loving husband didn't complain that we were having "another one of those meatless meals..."

SRC: Easter Kit Kat Cake


 For the first time in a long time, Easter is going to be in March this year. Personally, I dislike it since I've been patiently waiting for almost 28 years now for Easter to fall on my birthday. My mom has had it happen twice. The closest I've gotten is Good Friday, which is nice, but not the same.

Anyway, the thought that Easter was nearing was in the back of my mind when I received my March Secret Recipe Club assignment of Leah's blog, So How's It Taste? I laughed when I read that Leah initially had to beg a college roommate to make her a grilled cheese because Tom likes to say that he made me my first "real" grilled cheese when I was 22 (23?) years old. My mom had always burnt them beyond being edible and once I was old enough to make them myself, I would just toast a slice of cheese on bread in the toaster oven, so its true that I didn't have a real grilled cheese, in the sense of slices of American cheese between two generously buttered pieces of bread cooked to a golden brown in a skillet until he made one for me.

I had an extremely hard time choosing a recipe from Leah's blog. I made a list of probably 20 recipes that I wanted to try. But, finally when I clicked on this cake, I immediately knew it was what I needed to make. First, its pretty and second, I rarely remember to make something for a holiday before the actual holiday, meaning its semi-pointless to share it with you. But not this time!

Easter Kit Kat Cake
Source: So How's It Taste?  inspired by Made in Melissa's Kitchen
Servings: 8-10
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    • cake of your choice, homemade or store bought
    • 2 cups icing of your choice, homemade or store bought 
    • 22 snack-size kitkat bars 
    • 8 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
    • 4-5 drops green food coloring
    • handful of Cadbury Mini Eggs
    • ribbon
1. Prepare cake of your choice in two 8" or 9" pans according to recipe directions. Let the cake cool and then slice off any pieces to make the cake flat.
2. Spread a glob of the icing on top of one cake and place the other cake on top. Spread a thin layer of icing on top of the cake and then, work in sections to ice the sides of the cake, pressing the kitkat bars to it as you go.
3. Put the shredded coconut in a ziplock bag and add the food coloring. Shake the bag and massage the coconut until the food coloring is evenly distributed and the coconut flakes have turned green. Sprinkle a thin layer on top of the cake, just enough to cover the icing.
4. Arrange the Cadbury Mini Eggs on top of the cake in your desired fashion. Tie a ribbon around the cake.
To serve, remove the ribbon and slice between the kitkat bars.

Isn't this cake just incredibly adorable? I don't even want to eat it! I just want to stare at it instead. If you choose to go the store bought route for the cake and icing, this really takes no time at all to prepare. The bulk of the work is opening the kitkats, not even adhering them to the cake.

Weekly Menu 3/3 - 3/7

March, already? I can't quite comprehend that I'm going to Florida at the end of April, which is incredibly soon and I haven't lost a single freaking pound yet. I seriously think there is something wrong with me considering I count calories and exercise and absolutely nothing is happening. All I know is it isn't my thyroid since it was checked semi-recently.

That aside, I had a great first week at the new job. It's easy and I really like it. Plus I get to hang out in a kitchen showroom every Friday. There are 5 kitchen models all with different cabinets, fixtures, appliances, etc. I love it.

For any other bloggers reading this, have you experienced a serious influx of spam comments? I have it set to approve comments before they post, but every single day I have at least 2 comments telling me to visit some site. So annoying! I get all excited every time I see that I have a comment and its a rather big letdown to just know its some internet troll being annoying. ::sigh::

Anyway, the plans for this week are:

Sunday - Shrimp and Grits with Spicy Green Beans 

Monday - Turkey Reuben (Rachel) Sandwiches with Fries and Salad

Tuesday - Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Turkey Bacon, Fruit

Wednesday - Sloppy Joes with Fries and Salad

Thursday - Grilled Filet with Caramelized Onions, Baked Sweet Potatoes and Spicy Vegetables 

I'm having oatmeal for breakfast this week and a salad that I absolutely love. I shared a similar version of it with you many, many moons ago, but I'll have to share the original version of it soon.

I've also been playing around with recipes trying to come up with lighter versions of them. This morning I successfully made a healthy version of cream cheese and strawberry stuffed french toast which I also need to share with you soon.

Blogger's Choice: Homemade Pasta


The pasta attachments for the Kitchenaid mixer have been on my "OMG I need those now!" list for quite some time. Like, since I got the mixer, which was back in 2010. But I finally got them this year for Christmas. And promptly stuffed them into the back of the cabinet.

I don't know why. I did the same thing with the ice cream maker attachment. Got it for Christmas and left it sit in the box for a year or so. Luckily, the pasta attachment didn't need to hide in the cabinet for that long because for this Recipe Swap, the category was Blogger's Choice. 

Sarah, the host of our swaps, assigned me Delicious Meliscious. I've had Melissa's blog before, where I made these incredible Asian Turkey Meatballs, which ironically I slightly adapted to turn into a different recipe this week. 

I was clicking through her recipes, drooling over cookies, and I ended up looking at a post for Homemade Pasta. I immediately knew it was time to pull the pasta attachments out of the back of the cabinet and make this immediately! 

I read the ingredients for making homemade pasta and became a bit wary. I've tried making various doughs before where you make a well in the flour and then just add in the eggs until a dough forms and I have never once been successful. Egg-goo covered hands? Been there. Super dry dough that falls apart? Done that. Dough that gets gooey and refuses to accept any more flour? Oh yeah, experienced that one. However, I was determined to use the attachments so I forged on. 

Homemade Pasta
Servings: 4-6

    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1 whole egg
    • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water

1. Sift flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well and add in the eggs. 
2. Using one hand, gently push small amounts of the flour into the eggs until a rough dough forms. Add in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is pliable, but tough. (I used 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. water)
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should still be dough, but smooth. 
4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll out as thinly as possible, preferably 1 cm thick. 
6. Put the dough through the pasta roller at the largest setting, folding it over a few times. Then increase the setting until the dough reaches your desired thickness. (I ran each piece of dough through settings 1-4 three times each and I could just barely see my fingers through it.)
7. Use a knife or a pasta attachment to cut the dough. 
8. Dough can either be dried, frozen or cooked immediately. Fresh pasta takes 5 minutes to cook, dry pasta 8 minutes.

Warning: if you decided to make today the first day to work out your arms in a while, you shouldn't make this recipe. I overdid it a bit at the gym and getting the dough to roll out to 1 cm thick was pretty close to torture. My arms feel like jello. 

However, homemade pasta is really easy to make when you have these cool attachments. I opted to cut my pasta with the fettuccine cutter and freeze half of it. I also have the patience of a 4 year old, so I cooked my pasta immediately. But, since I honestly wasn't expecting this to turn out, I had nothing to serve with the pasta, so I just tossed it with some butter, dried basil and oregano and some garlic powder. And it was incredible. I definitely prefer fresh pasta to the packaged stuff now. 

Now I just need some freezer space so I can spend an entire weekend making pasta...
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