Friday, March 6, 2009

Look what I found yesterday!!!

I love cookbooks! I really love old cookbooks, used cookbooks the kind that you can look at and just see the catastrophe in the kitchen because it didn't turn out like the picture showed! I found this cookbook yesterday and I think it is just awesome.... while I don't really use cookbooks for recipes per say I do use them for inspiration. And every now and then I will find something that looks good enough to follow a recipe for!

What?? a ring of rice.. very retro but kind of cool

I think they were on a roll with the "ring of rice" now we have a "ring of meat"


Yesterday was one of those days where you get home late from picking up the kids, you have been running all day and the nice meal you were going to make sounds so good, because you are so hungry! But before you realize it the clock reads 7 pm and it looks like the day threw up on your kitchen table.
Last night was suppose to be pork scallopini with garlic pasta and saute broccoli. But when you have 3 kids telling you how hungry they are you think twice about making a meal that would take a while and make an even bigger mess. So I threw this together and it ended up tasting really good, the family raved all night!

Pork chops (I had 8 boneless ones)
1 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1-2 cups chicken stock
cooked rice **see note**

Cut the pork chops into cubes and toss in a bowl with all except the chicken stock and rice. Toss to coat.

heat up a little oil in a pan and cook the pork until golden (I had to do this in 2 batches but I had 8 pork chops too but don't over crowd the pan) This smells SO good when you are cooking it thanks to the cinnamon.
When you are done cooking the pork you will have a lot of yummy goodness in the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape the goodness off of the bottom of the pan. Let the chicken stock reduce by 1/2 and then add your cooked rice and toss it. This will just take your rice to a new level it is so yummy!!

If your family eats a lot of rice a rice cooker is a great investment it is so nice to throw it in the cooker and it be perfectly done while you are cooking the rest of your meal. The only thing is you should rinse your rice before you put it in the rice cooker it will rinse off any extra starch and your rice will not stick to the bottom of the cooker.

Crock pot chicken

This is a great crock pot meal, there is a little prep on the stove first but well worth it.

Chicken (I used thigh and leg quarters because they are less expensive)
a few carrots
few stalks celery
large onion (although I had run out this day so this is without onions)
a few cloves of garlic
chicken stock or broth
red wine
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Heat up a little canola oil or olive oil (not virgin we are cooking with it) over med high heat.
Salt and pepper your chicken. Put your chicken in the pan skin side down let the skin get browned and golden turn and let the other side brown. Place chicken in crock pot

Chop your veggies up and smash the heck out of your garlic.

Put the veggies (not garlic yet) in the pan and cook the veggies for a few minutes about 5 or so then add garlic and spices (don't forget to salt them) and let it cook about 3 or 4 minutes longer.

BATH TIME!!! :) Pour about 1/2 bottle of wine in the pan **see note at end of post** and let cook for 3-4 min then add about 2 cups chicken stock

Bring this up to a boil

and then put in the crock pot on top of the chicken let it cook about 4 hours or so on low and serve with a starchy side. Just a note here when cooking with Bay leaves make sure to take them out when you are ready to serve it. They don't break down like other herbs. Although the Italians say it is good luck if you get the bay leaf in your serving of the dish, just don't eat it.

When cooking with wine be careful the alcohol can catch fire so it is best to remove the pan from the heating element when you are pouring the wine into the pan. Also you can use the cheep walmart brand wine here it works just as well.

Every body likes a quicky! ;)

In a family like mine (half Italian/German and half Spanish) there are a few things you must know how to make well and garlic bread is one of them. Real garlic bread people, not hamburger buns with butter and garlic salt! :O) you know who you are!

I usually have a roasted garlic paste in my freezer, but I use it so much that I do run out from time to time as was the case today. But we were having pasta and I almost (because for some reason I have garlic salt in my pantry although I don't know if I have ever used it) made the above mentioned salty buns lol :) but i couldn't... so I heated a little olive oil and butter in a pan threw a few garlic cloves and parsley in the pan let the oil heat slowly (because as beautiful a thing as garlic can be, burnt garlic is as bad as burnt popcorn!) then I brushed the garlicky stuff on some day old chibatta bread (actually it was day old when I bought it 2 weeks ago and threw it in my freezer)and it came out well, not as good as roasted garlic would have but still it was better than anything you can buy in the freezer section and far better than the garlic salt mess.

Pizza Night!!!

I love pizza! I love it the way a teenage boy loves boobs! I think I could eat pizza every day and never get tired of it. But I do not like American pizza, I like a good pizza cooked outside in a wood burning stove with real cheese and fresh toppings... that is the kind of pizza I like, the kind you can find on every corner in Europe and costs pennies to make but for some reason in the states it is "Gourmet"! So it was time for a pizza night the other day and I didn't have time to make dough (I will post a homemade pizza post soon though we really need to have that again soon!) but I didn't want big brand greasy super saucy pizza either so we made our own using store bought flat bread. I know they sell the boboli brand pizza crust but I don't like them either (I know I am picky when it comes to good food) and the flat bread cost less as well and budget friendly is always good!

there isn't a recipe per say here but how many times do we grab fast food on the way home because we don't want to "cook" ?We don't know what we have in the pantry so make? This took no time at all just what ever you like on a pizza I even used a jar sauce (for all but mine I am supper picky about my sauce) and toss it in the oven at 425 for about 8 minutes

Here are some of the toppings we used this day.

Like I stated before I do not like jar sauce it is just too sweet for me. So I started mine with a drizzle of olive oil (not extra virgin I am cooking it!)

Here is my husbands, now that's a pizza!! I think the sauce made his look prettier but...

mine tasted better! LOL


I was invited to a party last weekend, of course I needed to bring a dish, so I had a great spinach feta and black olive pastry planned. They were going to be cute little bundles of crispy phyllo dough with a nice creamy filling. When I realized we were going to have to be a little more that "fashionably" late I thought bringing a dessert would be a better choice so I looked in my pantry to see what I had on hand and here is what I ended up with. Baklava!! If you have never had Baklave it is a nice crispy thin pastry with a sweet layer of sugars, nuts, and spices between. It is a pretty thing to bring to a get together because it looks far more "fancy" than it actually is. Not to mention it just shines next to the Jello mold that someone always brings but no one ever eats! LOL

OK There is just one rule you must know before making this... Phyllo dough is THIN a few pieces may tear and that is fine what isn't fine is to let it dry out! So lay your dough out on a piece of wax paper lay a piece of wax paper on top of it and on top of that lay a wet (not dripping!) towel. You need to do this step!!

The Cooking Diva's Baklava
Phyllo dough (1 pkg)
Stick butter about 2 sticks per roll melted... (there are 2 rolls in the pkg of phyllo)
Brown sugar about 3/4 cup per roll
Cinnamon 1 tablespoon per roll
Nutmeg 1 teaspoon per roll
Almonds about a cup or so per roll (I only had about 1/2 that on hand and it came out fine too)
vanilla 1/2 tablespoon per roll

first take everything EXCEPT the dough and the butter and throw it in the food processor and let her rip.

You see the funny looking pad in the pic below? These are great for any baking you may do but if you don't have one you will be ok. Just use some wax paper.
Preheat the oven to 375. Lay a sheet of phyllo out on the wax paper brush with butter and lay another sheet on top of that do this 3 times so you will have 4 sheet of just the butter and phyllo then you start layering the sugar mixture. Phyllo, butter, sugar mixture, phyllo, butter.... you get the idea you do this until you have used all of the dough. I usually top mine off with just a cinnamon sugar mix but you can use the one you already have made if you like I just think it looks prettier without the bits on nuts on top.

Bake it for about 15 or 20 min or so you want it to be crispy on the edges and a little browned

Then cut it into pieces and then take all of the "oh you are so good, you made this?!?" that come your way. And if you have any leftover it is nice with your morning coffee the next day.

Ok I had to put these pictures on here I first started making bundles but they were way more work then I had time to put in that day. Then I found out that Phyllo makes little shells that may have worked out better. I may try them next time. If you decide to use the shells I think you could brush with butter and fill them with the sugar mixture and they should bake up beautifully. Although maybe not as pretty as these! :)