Friday, February 29, 2008

WC Recipe Exchange: Three Bean and Vegetable Chili

I participated in my first blogging event, the What's Cooking Recipe Exchange. This particular event was a healthy recipe exchange. Each participant submitted a recipe and was given a healthy recipe recommended by another member. I received a Cooking Light Recipe for Three Bean and Vegetable Chili. I wasn't sure how I was going to like all the vegetables in the chili, but it worked really well. Mine came out a cross between a soup and a chili. It really wasn't as thick as I was expecting. I didn't add the precise amount of veggies and had to leave out the onion as I didn't have one. That may account for it not being as thick. I loved the flavors and all the veggies with the spices. I would probably add meat next time as well. We will definitely be making this recipe again. Be forewarned though, the recipe makes enough to feed 16. Needless to say, I will be freezing a few batches. I served the chili with Gloria's Tortilla Chips. They sell them at Whole Foods. They are slightly seasoned and really delicious! Thanks to Shannon at for the great recipe. Sorry, I was a bit late in making it!

Three Bean and Vegetable Chili

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped zucchini
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (16-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 (16-ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups water and next 12 ingredients (through tomato paste); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until carrot is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and chipotle. Top with fresh cilantro, cheese, and sour cream.

16 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups chili, 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon cheese, and 1 tablespoon sour cream)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wild Mushroom, Goat Cheese and Smoked Salmon Pizza

I needed another meatless dish for Friday and decided pizza sounded really good. I was inspired by a Cooking Light recipe for Mushroom Pizza but ended up adapting it to my own tastes. I would love to make it again with prosciutto as recommended by Cooking Light. The recipe turned out really well. The pizza dough was really good, more of a crispy flat bread style dough versus a traditional pizza dough. This pizza is complimented perfectly by a glass of Pinot Noir!

Here is the original recipe with my changes noted:

Wild Mushroom Pizza
Recipe as Adapted from Cooking Light


1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Basic Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I substituted an Italian Cheese Blend)
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (I substituted Smoked Salmon)
I added several dollops of roasted garlic and basil goat cheese
I also added arugula

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I omitted)

Position one oven rack in the middle setting. Position another rack in the lowest setting, and place a rimless baking sheet on the bottom rack. Preheat oven to 500°.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; stir to combine.

Remove plastic wrap from Basic Pizza Dough; discard. Brush remaining 1 teaspoon oil evenly over dough. Remove preheated baking sheet from oven; close oven door. Slide dough onto preheated baking sheet, using a spatula as a guide. Bake on lowest oven rack at 500° for 8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Spread mushroom mixture in an even layer over crust, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Top with cheese(s). Slice prosciutto crosswise into thin strips (I crumbled and added the smoked salmon)3

; sprinkle over pizza. Bake on middle rack an additional 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese melts. Sprinkle with fresh parsley (arugula). Cut into 12 wedges.


6 servings (serving size: 2 wedges)

Basic Pizza Dough:

2 teaspoons honey
1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces), divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal

Dissolve the honey and yeast in 3/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a rimless baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim. Lightly spray surface of dough with cooking spray, and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough in refrigerator for up to 30 minutes. Bake according to recipe directions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Own Version of Semi-Homemade!

I hosted a luncheon today and needed a quick meal. I was inspired by an episode of Everyday Food where they made Asian Food. I didn't, however, have time to make everything from scratch. So, off to my favorite store, Whole Foods, to attempt my recreation. It ended up being a terrific meal and I would definitely use this menu again. Unfortunately, in my rush to get everything prepared I forgot to take pictures. Here was my final menu:

1. Pot Stickers-I found some wonderful organic pot stickers in the freezer section. I served them with soy sauce garnished with some green onions.

2. Lettuce Wraps-Purchased Butter Lettuce and served on a platter with jasmine rice. I used a frozen chicken stir fry mix for the filling.

3. Satay Noodle Salad (I did make this from scratch). I omitted the chicken since I was serving it with another chicken dish. Here is the recipe:

Chicken Satay Noodle Salad
Recipe Courtesy of Rachael Ray
  • Salt
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (eyeball it)-I omit
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (eyeball it)
  • 2 cups skinned and sliced rotisserie chicken-I omitted but when I make it as a main dish, I sautee my own chicken)
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach, thinly sliced-I omit
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots (a generous handful)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley (I use cilantro)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water and set aside.

While the pasta is working, in a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey and 1/4 cup warm water. Whisk in the tamari, lime juice, hot pepper sauce and garlic. Pour in the oil in a steady stream, whisking to combine. Add the reserved noodles and toss to coat.

Place the noodles in 4 shallow bowls and top with the chicken, spinach, carrots, scallions, peanuts and cilantro.

4. For dessert I made Rachael Ray's Coconut Macadamia Cookie Bars. This recipe was so easy and delicious. To make them more exciting I served them as a sundae bar with pineapple, macadamia nuts, blackberries, chocolate sauce and haagan daaz pineapple coconut ice cream.

Coconut Macadamia Bars
Recipe Courtesy of Rachael Ray

1 package dry sugar cookie mix, prepared to package directions (I used an organic sugar cookie mix)
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup shredded coconut (I used a very finely shredded coconut from Whole Foods)
1 cup white chocolate chips
9 by 12-inch baking dish
Softened butter, to prepare baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To cookie mix prepared to package directions, add nuts, coconut and white chocolate chips. Butter the baking dish and spread cookie dough evenly into a thin layer across the baking dish. Bake bars for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool slightly.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Guess What! Its Soup Again!

I realized that many of my last blog entries have been soup recipes. What can I say? I love soup and the weather has been cold and rainy for the last month or so. I finally tried a recipe last night that I have had on my list for awhile, Elly's Beef Barley Mushroom Soup. I love Elly's blog, Everything always looks so good. This recipe was definitely a hit at our house. My husband declared it restaurant quality. It was a nice cross between the flavor of french onion soup and a beef burgandy. Great winter meal. I can't wait to try more of Elly's recipes.

Beef Barley Mushroom Soup

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

1 lb. beef, cut into bite sized pieces (I typically use stew meat or top round, as lean as possible)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup water
1 cup red wine

2 tbsp butter
1 small-medium onion, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups beef broth
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

1/2 cup barley
8 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add meat and brown.

Pour in water and red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while you are cutting up the vegetables or longer (usually, I let it simmer about an hour).

Remove beef and cut into small bite sized chunks or shred if desired. Skim fat and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

In a large stockpot, melt butter. Add celery, carrots, onion, and saute until tender. Stir in garlic until fragrant.

Pour in beef broth and add thyme, basil, bay leaf, beef, and reserved cooking liquid. Simmer 20-30 minutes. Season to taste.

Add barley and mushrooms and simmer until done, about 40 minutes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Kayte at Here are the rules for those who are tagged:


1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. Share 5 facts about yourself.

3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Thank you for tagging me Kayte! Here are my five facts:

1. I have a massive cookbook collection. I can't seem to stop finding another cookbook that needs to come home with me. I really do use them though. I love to peruse through them on a rainy day or just have them to inspire me when I need a menu for entertaining. I hope to soon find a perfect storage solution for them because I have already outgrown two cabinets! I still have and remember the first cookbook I ever bought in college, the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook. My favorite cookbook in my collection is the Pasty Queen by Rebecca Rather.

2. I love the beach. I don't currently live near the ocean. I was born in Florida and I believe I was meant to live near the ocean and have become misplaced! If I were given the opportunity to leave near the beach I would jump on it. I secretly dream of moving to St. John in the U.S.V.I. I could open a small cafe that just serves lunch and spend the rest of my days enjoying the island.

3. I am a huge U2 fan. I have been to ever concert since 1993. The last time they came to town for the Elevation Tour we could not get tickets. The day of the concert we managed to find a ticket broker who had one last pair of tickets. They were quite expensive floor seats which would be standing room only first come first serve. We were happy enough to get tickets so we didn't care if we wouldn't have the best view. When we got to the stadium they scanned our tickets and it turns out we were in the inner circle directly in front of the stage. We were so stunned, considering an hour before the concert we didn't even have a ticket. I don't think the employee who scanned us thought we were excited enough about it, but honestly we were stunned speechless. The concert was such an amazing show and to be so close was really exciting. I'm afraid we have been spoiled now!

4. I cannot sew. I was traumatized by my attempts to learn to sew in a middle school home economics class and have never had the desire to try again. Everytime I touched the sewing machine it jammed and the teacher was unusually hard on my project considering it was a first try. I shamefully admit I pay to have buttons sewn back on.

5. I love daffodils. Although, I also love black magic roses which we used at our wedding. However, there is something about those little daffodils when they begin to pop out of the ground. It always makes me giddy and excited about spring. Someday, I will make the October cut off and plant some in my own yard.

I am tagging:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ina's Cheddar Corn Chowder

I've seen lots of rave reviews for this recipe and thought I would try it. When I originally planned this recipe, I was imagining 30 degree weather rather than the beautiful 80 degree weather we are currently having. Be forewarned this recipe makes enough to feed an army. I guess I should have realized that when I bought 3lbs of frozen corn! We have lots of leftovers in the freezer now. Overall, we liked the recipe but I think my favorite is still the Corn Chowder with Chilies and Monterey Jack from the Culinary Institute of America.

Cheddar Corn Chowder
Recipe as Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner

Since we are currently in the season of Lent I needed a meatless meal for dinner today. I decided breakfast for dinner would hit the spot. I made Paula Deen's Hashbrown Quiche and Ultimate Coffee Cake. Both were delicious. I omitted the ham from the quiche to make it meatless. The potato crust was an excellent change from a traditional quiche, and one that made my husband actually agree to eat quiche! The coffee cake was more of a pull apart bread than a traditional coffee cake but yummy none the less. When it came out of the oven it smelled like a fresh baked donut. The coffee cake needs to be made ahead so it is a perfect dish for a brunch. I think mine quadrupled in size while rising. It was very rich and worth every calorie! To top off the meal I made Ginger Grapefruit Spritzers from Martha Stewart's Every Day Food. I'm not normally a huge fan of grapefruit, but the addition of the ginger, honey and sugar cuts the bite of the grapefruit and makes a wonderfully refreshing drink. I figure its also a good booster during cold and flu season.

Paula Deen's Ultimate Coffee Cake Recipe as Adapted from Paula Deen's website on

16 to 18 unbaked frozen dinner rolls
1 (3-ounce) package regular butterscotch pudding mix, not instant
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

The night before place frozen rolls in well greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar over pudding mix. Sprinkle chopped pecans over brown sugar. Pour melted butter over all. To prevent the dough from forming a hard crust while its rising overnight, cover with a damp towel or tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Let rise overnight at room temperature, about 8 to 10 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn pan
over onto a serving platter to remove. Serve by pulling apart chunks with forks.

Hash Brown Quiche
Recipe as Adapted from Paula Deen's website on

3 cups, shredded frozen hash browns, thawed and drained
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup diced green onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Gently press the drained hash browns between paper towels to dry them as best as possible. In a 9-inch pie plate, toss the hash browns with the melted butter into the plate. Press them into the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. When the hash brown crust is ready pour the egg mixture over it and return to the oven.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes until the quiche is light golden brown on top and puffed.

Ginger Grapefruit Spritzers
Recipe as adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Serves 6

  • 1 (3-inch long) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 cups freshly squeezed ruby-red grapefruit juice (about 5 grapefruits)
  • Ice cubes, for serving
  • 1 can (12-ounce) club soda
  1. In a small saucepan, combine ginger, sugar, honey, and 1/4 cup water over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  2. Place grapefruit juice in a pitcher. Strain ginger syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into pitcher. To serve, divide juice mixture among six glasses filled with ice, and top off with a splash of club soda.