Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baking with AJ!

AJ and I made some chocolate chip muffins today - she had a great time helping me mix and fill the muffin tins. I am not much of a baker so I got the boxed kind but they still came out delicious - more importantly we had FUN making them! I can hardly believe my little baby is going to be 2 soon - it seems like just the other day I was cradling her in my arms while she slept all hours of the day and night (she has always been a GREAT sleeper) and now she's helping me cook - crazy how quick time goes by!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spinach Parmigiano-Reggiano Orzo

1/2 lb cooked orzo pasta
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/4 shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup chicken or vege stock

In a mini food processor combine 2 cups of spinach and stock and process till smooth. Place oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and saute till tender then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spinach & stock mixture and orzo to the pan and cook till heated through. Add the remaining cup of spinach, give it a stir. Add the cheese and serve! We had ours with some grilled filet mignons and some sauteed brussel sprouts. Dinner was great and full of iron - hopefully it will help with my anemia!!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Thanks to my cousin Michele and some google searches I had my first attempt at Manicotti with homemade crepes and they turned out great!!! I thought they were going to be so much harder then they actually were and the recipe made plenty so we even have enough to freeze for left overs! We had ours with some garlic bread and a salad - our dinner tonight was delicious!

For the crepes-
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt

For the filling-
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs beat
1/2 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
Ground pepper to taste

Mix ricotta, cheeses, parsley, eggs and pepper in a bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl beat together milk, water eggs and salt. Gradually beat in the flour and mix till smooth. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Lightly oil a frying pan and then heat the pan for about a minute over medium high heat. Spoon approximately two or three tablespoons of batter into the middle of the hot pan. Quickly and carefully tilt the pan in a circular motion until the batter forms a round, thin layer in the pan. Cook until the shell surface appears dry and then carefully turn the manicotti shell over using a spatula, and cook for an additional 10 seconds. Remove from the pan and repeat till the all the batter is gone. Once shells have cooled, fill each with a few spoons of the filling and roll them up. Line the bottom of a pan with your favorite gravy (I used meat sauce) and then lay the manicotti in and top with more gravy. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chewy Coconut Cookies

I made 1/2 the batch as called for in the recipe and 1/2 I added chocolate chips to! Both were delicious!

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In another medium bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, then mix in the coconut. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly toasted. Cool & enjoy!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Dress!

AJ looking so so so pretty in her Easter dress from Mimi - aren't her shoes the cutest in the world (Payless - $9.99 - can you say bargain!!!!). Anyway, the family all had a really great Easter dinner at Jonny's on the Green - the food was great and so was the company! Happy Easter to all!

Easter Sunday Spinach Quiche!

4 Eggs
1/2 cup whipped creme cheese (heated in the micro for 30 secs)
3/4 cup light creme
3/4 cup reduced fat/low sodium swiss cheese
3/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/2 onion diced
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 TBS butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat butter in frying pan and cook onion till tender. Add the spinach and cook till there is no more water present. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the creme cheese and light creme, once mixed together whisk in the eggs. In the bottom of a pie shell place about half of the cheddar and swiss cheese, top with the spinach and onion mixture and then with the rest of the cheese. Dump egg mixture over the top and place quiche on a baking pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until done.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Dying!

Alex, AJ & I had a great time today dying our Easter eggs! AJ did a really great job for her first time and made sure to make a really big mess - it's no fun if it's not messy! She now has green hands - let's hope it washes off by tomorrow - I don't think they will match well with her pink & white dress!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Braised Short Ribs

1 1/2 pounds short ribs
2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 carrot chopped
3/4 beef broth
1 TBS cornstarch mixed with 1/4 beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid (I used my Le Creuset cast iron French Oven). Sprinkle ribs with sea salt & black pepper. Brown meat slowly on all sides, taking care to get a nice brown crust. Remove to a dinner plate or platter.

Add onions, carrots and celery to drippings remaining in pot and stir well to coat. Cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pour broth over onions and scrape the bottom of the pot with a plastic or wooden spoon as the broth simmers. After the broth has simmered for about 30 seconds, return the ribs to the pot, including any juices that may have accumulated on the plate.

Cover pot and put it in the oven for 3 hours or until meat is very tender. Keep an eye on the liquid level in the pot as the roast cooks. If it's drying up, add some broth. Skim fat from liquid in the pot and add corn starch mixture. Serve ribs with mashed potatoes drizzled with the gravy and a vegetable.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Penne with Sausage, Tomato & Cream!

4 sausages with the castings removed
1/2 small onion diced
2 garlic cloves grated
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 cup of light cream
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
1/2 lb whole cooked whole wheat pasta

Crumble and brown up the sausage in a pan. Add the onion and garlic when the sausage is almost done and cook till softened. Add marinara sauce, heavy cream and basil and cook till heated through. Toss with pasta and serve with grated cheese!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun Time Junction!

Since Taylor and Donnie have off from school this week, today Michele had something else planned - Fun Time Junction! It was great! There was SO much for toddles to do and all the kids again had a really great time! AJ really loved the twisty slide and playing ski ball - she and Chris kinda cheated by getting up on the lane and walking the balls down - it made it more fun for them though! Donnie and Taylor were in charge of getting AJ & Chris all through the tunnel/rope/slide obstacle course type thing and it was really fun to watch them all navigate through! We had lunch and then it was home for a much needed nap - AJ missed her nap yesterday after Chuck E Cheese so she was in desperate need of one today!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chuck E Cheese!

Today we went with Michele, Taylor, Donnie & Chris to Chuck E Cheese - the kids had a great time and I really enjoyed the pizza! It's so fun to see AJ with her cousins - she adores them and has such a great time doing things with them!