Friday, January 28, 2011

foodie fridays

foodie fridays is part of my new years resolutions where i blog about recipes i've found via other food blogs throughout the past week but never had a chance to make. this week i've got a combination of meals to cure the winter blues and some superbowl delights. enjoy!

i'm envisioning garlic mashed potatoes to soak up that gorg creamy, rich sauce.

can't think of a better way to end a meal than with peanut butter and chocolate.

super easy, includes bacon and involves chips. that's enough for me.

the avocado ranch dressing on top is what sold me.

in no time you could have a fresh roll for your next ham and cheese sandwich.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

italian wedding soup

while everyone was sitting in 6 to 7 hours of traffic to commute home last night, i was making italian wedding soup in my pjs.  this is one of my favorite kinds of soups and i can't believe i've never made it before.  it's super easy and versatile - you can substitute any kind of greens for the spinach and any kind of pasta for the orzo. however, the best part was the meatballs - they were super moist from cooking in the chicken broth. we served it with homemade cheesy garlic bread for dipping...ahh perfection.

3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 italian style breadcrumbs
3 large eggs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cups chicken stock
10 oz fresh spinach

combine beef, bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, red pepper flakes, oregano and s&p in a bowl. form into mini meatballs - about 1 inch in size - should make about 20-30.

heat evoo in large skillet over medium high heat. add meatballs and cook about 3-5 minutes until browned, turning occasionally.

in a large stock/soup pot or dutch oven, heat evoo over medium high heat. add onions and garlic.  cook about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent, but not browned.  add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  add the spinach and meatballs, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

meanwhile, combine remaining 2 eggs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese in a small bowl.  slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot soup, stirring constantly. cover and simmer until egg bits are cooked about 2 minutes. season with salt and pepper if needed. serve immediately with cheesy garlic bread.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

don't miss me too much

i fly out tomorrow to park city, utah to visit one of my favorites and my bests, sparkman. she's living in the sundance capital for the month of january and i felt it was necessary to tag along for a long weekend. we have a weekend planned of skiing, good eats and of course celebrity sights. ahhh i'm going to be in hollywood heaven. we're also hoping to catch the living for 32 virginia tech movie that is premiering at the film festival.

here i come, jake gyllenhaal!

 ashley took this picture herself from her apartment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

chicken and andouille gumbo

i invited some of my gal friends over for a saturday night pot luck last week. i made us a batch this chicken and andouille gumbo (via making life delicious).  the secret to getting that gorgeous color of homemade gumbo is letting the roux cook for about 30 minutes (but never letting it burn) until it turns a dark caramel color. i was under a time crunch and didn't have a chance to do this all the way so mine isn't as rich in color as it should be. but that didn't stop this dish from being delicious - it was spicy, creamy/velvety, and really comforting. don't let the long list of ingredients scare you away. it really is a simple dish that comes together easily.

1/3 cup creole seasoning (found in spice section in grocery store)
5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
12 oz. andouille sausage, skin removed and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 cups cold chicken stock
3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
white rice
fresh french bread

preheat oven to 375 degrees. drizzle the chicken in evoo and evenly coat with about 2-3 tablespoons of the creole seasoning. bake for 20-25 minutes. remove from oven and cut into bite-sized pieces.

meanwhile mix the onion, celery, and bell pepper together. heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy large saucepan over medium heat. whisk in the flour and continue to cook, stirring or whisking often until it is a dark caramel color. this takes about 30 minutes. add the andouille sausage, 1 tablespoon of the creole seasoning, and 1 1/2 cups of the onion/celery/bell pepper mixture. cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften.

add the cold stock, the remaining 1/2 cup of the onion/celery/bell pepper mixture, the remaining 2 tablespoons of creole seasoning, garlic and bay leaves. bring to a boil and then down to a simmer. add the baked thighs and let it simmer for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally. about 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, add the worcestershire sauce.

serve over white rice and use the french bread for dipping. garnish with fresh italian parsley.

Friday, January 14, 2011

foodie fridays

everyday i read about 15-20 food blogs through my google reader and send myself recipes i like. i filter them into a "recipes" folder in gmail with the intention to make all of them one day. that folder has just kept accumulating and i haven’t been able to keep up with cooking them all.

so as part of my new years resolutions, i'm going to start foodie fridays where i blog about all these untouched gems. each week i will post 5 new recipes that look really delicious. plus you'll get to see some great websites from where i get my inspiration. welcome to foodie heaven...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

skinny girl filet-o-fish

somedays, a gal just wants something bad for you. i was having one of those days so i decided to improvise and make it healthier. i made low-fat coleslaw and low-fat tartar sauce by swapping out some of the mayo for fat free sour cream. (you could also use non-fat greek yogurt.) the fish really did taste like it was fried, but i only baked it. raelynn said it tasted almost exactly like the mcdonald's version. serves 4.

2 tilpaia fillets
2 tablespoons dijon mustard + 2 teaspoons
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (16oz) package broccoli slaw (in produce section)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup diced kosher dill pickles
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
cooking spray
red onion
100-calorie hamburger buns

preheat oven to 425 degrees. combine panko and garlic powder together in bowl. brush tilpaia filet with 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard each. season with s&p. dredge in panko mixture and place on baking sheet. spray with cooking spray on both sides of filet. this step will help you get that crunchy, fried texture without all the extra calories. bake for 10-12 minutes, until panko topping has turned golden brown.

in a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup light mayo, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream, dill pickles, lemon juice and s&p. this is your tartar sauce.

in a large mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup light mayo, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard and s&p. add broccoli slaw mix and toss until coated. this is your coleslaw. if it's too thick - add 1 or 2 tablespoons of skim milk to thin it out.

to serve, cut each filet into two pieces. place 1/2 filet on hamburger bun, top with tartar sauce, red onions and lettuce. serve coleslaw on the side.

Monday, January 10, 2011

english muffin pizzas

we're on a tight budget at barton street this month until we leave for the sundance film festival on january 20. i've been making dinner out of ingredients we already have at home, so you can expect lots of easy, cheap recipes coming from me. you can't go wrong with an english muffin masked as a pizza.  obviously you should add your favorite pizza toppings, but i went with the classics.  it seems silly to even post the directions for this, but here i go...

1 whole wheat english muffin
fresh mozzarella cheese
favorite marinara sauce
pepperoni slices

preheat oven to 400 degrees. toast english muffin until crunchy. top with marinara sauce, cheese and pepperoni slices.  broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and gooey. garnish with italian seasonings.

**if you're feeling really healthy - add some chopped spinach and mushrooms to your marinara sauce.**

Thursday, January 06, 2011

vanilla creme brulee

my dad's girlfriend bought me a creme brulee torch and dishes for christmas this year. i whipped it out this new year's eve to give it a try. i had never made this dessert before, but it was surprisingly simple.  it was creamy and decadent, but not too rich. i used the traditional recipe that came with the set, but will definitely be trying out different versions soon. if you're a beginner like me, stick with this recipe for the first time and you can't go wrong.

1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 cup sugar
brown sugar

preheat oven to 325 degrees.

combine heavy cream, milk and vanilla. heat to boil. remove from heat and steep 10 minutes.

with an electric mixer, combine eggs and sugar. add the milk mixture in a steady stream. strain mixture through a fine strainer. skim foam off top.

divide into 4 ramekins. set in baking dish and pour enough hot water around ramekins to come to 1/2 way up the sides. place in oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until just set. will tremble slightly. refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

cover top with lots of brown sugar. caramelize the tops with torch and eat immediately.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


last year sis and i cataloged our resolutions for 2010 on the blog. let's see how i did and then go over 2011's resolutions.

last year:
  1. take cooking classes - done and i volunteer at them now too.
  2. get over my fear of flying or find a doc that will give me xanax - haven't gotten over the fear, but have gotten the meds.
  3. convince dad to take us to ireland to find our fellow fagans - still working on this one. dad are you reading?
  4. plan a girls trip to vegas - we're doing sundance film festival instead. not a bad swap.
  5. talk to strangers more. you never know who you just might meet - does getting other people to do it for you count?
  6. get abs like britney circa 2002 - i never really counted on this one coming true, so it's not too much of a let down.
  7. keep a journal of 2010’s events and memories - well, i blog.
  8. take advantage of my backyard - try new dc restaurants, visit museums, tour the white house, attend more concerts - my bank account lets me know that i tried tons of new places, i visited the newseum, went to a couple of concerts, but didn't tour the white house just yet.
  9. cater at least 5 events - i made it to 3: catered part of cookout for a cause with suz, catered birthday lunch for rae's dad (50 people) and catered christmas party for kate kreager's mom (60 people)
  10. curb my spending habits on dresses. i’m eventually gonna run out of monies - didn't happen one bit. this summer was filled with urban outfitters dresses.
  11. run a 10k and try not to die - have one planned for march 2011 in richmond.
  12. live in the moment - laugh harder, smile longer, forgive faster, go confidently more- this year has been filled with some of the most trying moments (everyone told me 25 would be hard), but mostly some of the best. i have never laughed harder, smiled bigger, or loved more. i have an amazing bunch of family and friends and wouldn't be anywhere without them. still working on forgiving's a work in progress. :)

now for 2011's resolutions:
  1. get serious about catering and turn it from a hobby into a part-time job
  2. create a company name for my catering business and set up a new blog...i'm taking suggestions
  3. every weekend start blogging about recipes i found online that week but didn't get a chance to make
  4. have faith
  5. plan a trip to see my freshman college roomate in hawaii (love you nowa)
  6. finally redecorate my bedroom so it has a theme
  7. plant a garden in the spring, even if it's just an herb one
  8. take photography lessons and buy a food styling book
  9. do something new each week, even if it's something small
  10. live life - it's that simple
so there you have it. can't wait to look back this time next year and see how i've done.  what are your resolutions?

here's to wishing you the best in 2011.

    Monday, January 03, 2011

    pizza bites

    i made these little guys as an appetizer for new years eve after i found the recipe over at annie's eats.  they remind me a lot of this pizza-type roll-up/log my mom used to make for all the special occasions. you can add anything you like to the top, but i went with my favorites: parmesan cheese, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.

    40 mini pepperonis
    4 oz mozzarella, cubed
    pizza dough (i used the trader joes brand)
    pizza toppings - italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, garlic powder or onion powder

    preheat oven to 400 degrees.  lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate.  divide pizza dough in equally pieces - about 20.  take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and two slices of pepperoni.  pull the edges of the dough around the filling and pinch closed.  place seam-side down in the baking dish.  repeat again and again.

    lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with evoo. sprinkle with s&p/your favorite seasonings and bake for 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown. serve warm with marinara sauce or ranch dressing.