Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tasty Thursday

     Hi folks! I'm really excited today because our new dining room table and chairs are going to be delivered! I will post a picture sometime so you can see our new eating spot. I'm also really exciting because it is now officially fall, which is my favorite season of the year. I also love fall because it means I can start bringing out my soup, stew, and yummy warm casserole meals. 
     Anyway, last week was a good week meal-wise. We had a few new recipes that we are going to put into our normal meal rotation and the pizza dough turned out really great. I don't think I'll ever buy pre-made dough again! Here are the ratings for last weeks recipes:

Italian pie: A
This was a really good meal and pretty simple to assemble as well. I did have the problem of finding a premade bruschetta for the recipe since it is a Publix recipe. I don’t have a Publix and my Albertsons doesn’t carry anything similar. Instead, I made my own bruschetta using a large can of tomatoes, a packet of fresh basil, and two teaspoons of minced garlic. Then I just whirled it in my food processor for a few seconds. I also did my own combination of meats: ground beef, Italian sausage and pepperoni. Anyway, it turned out really good and we were able to eat it for two dinners and a few lunches.
Man Rating: A

Homemade pizza dough: A
The dough was super easy to make, especially using my KitchenAid mixer. And rolling it out was easy to do by hand because the dough wasn’t too sticky. The only problem we had was that we didn’t put on enough toppings because the dough seemed kind-of thin, but while it baked it rose enough to provide a substantial base for more toppings. So the next time we use the dough, we will pile on the toppings and it should be just about perfect!
Man Rating: A

Chicken piccata: A-
This meal was super easy and quick. I think it took me less than thirty minutes to make our entire dinner. The sauce is so yummy that Tim says he could drink it.
Man Rating: A-

Thursday: Veggie pizza. The pizza dough recipe I used last week made enough for two pizzas so we're using our second pizza dough to make a veggie pizza tonight. We will top the pizza with broccoli, squash, zucchini, onion, and pepperoni. Okay, so it's not a true "veggie pizza," but we have pepperoni and I don't want it to go to waste. 
Friday: Tilapia with lemon butter sauce and angel hair fresca. This is a Publix Apron's recipe that I have been making for years. It has been my go-to special occasion meal for anniversaries and Valentine's Day, etc. Tim really loves it and requested it the other day and since tilapia is on sale at Albertson's this week, I'm going to make it. We will have it with a side salad. It will be a nice meal for a Friday night "date night." Once Owen is in bed, we'll eat this at our new dining room table and then cuddle on the couch watching a Netflix movie. Sounds perfect!
Saturday: Chili Frito pie. This is a new recipe that Pioneer Woman posted on her website this week. I love chili and I'm interested in trying her recipe. Generally when I make chili, I use a seasoning mix from the grocery store so I think it will be cool just to be able to use seasonings from my pantry. We will serve it over some Fritos, which is a trick I first learned from my Aunt Twyla. And for that, I will always be grateful to her. Anyway, even though we will once again watch the Georgia game in the morning, I think it will be a great meal for a day of football watching.  
Sunday: Chicken tacos. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that her brother makes. I've never made chicken tacos before, but I really love Mexican food and I think it will be a nice Sunday night meal. 
Monday: Chicken pot pie with cheddar crust. I know I just made this the other week, but it really is that good. It does take a good deal of prep time, but it is worth it. And really, because I'm at home all day, I can prep different parts of the meal throughout the day and then putting it together and baking it in the evening is really simple. 
Tuesday: Leftovers. Tim is working really late tonight because he is on the board of a group at his job and apparently they feel the need to meet for three hours after work. So he probably won't be home until after eight. So I'm just going to reheat some of the chicken pot pie from the night before. 
Wednesday: Italian sausage rigatoni. I found this recipe on Food Network's website. It's not really a hard recipe, but I wanted something simple so I can use up the Italian sausage that we have in the freezer and I also have some leftover rigatoni from a few weeks ago in the pantry. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Making Faces

     Owen is now eating fruit and vegetable purees. I am having a really good time making his baby food and our favorite part is seeing the faces he makes when he eats something for the first time. I thought it would be amusing to show everyone Owen's "faces."
That Gala apple looks pretty tasty.
Hmm...not sure I can eat this without teeth, Mom.
Wow! This is sour!
What is this?
These are yummy!
So this is a pear...
First bite...
I'm not so sure about that one, Dad.
First time eating green peas.
Weird texture and delightful color. See?!?
I think I like them!

What is this strange yellow fruit?
Kind-of weird-tasting from the outside...
Can't wait to peel this open!
Eww... I take that back.
Re-peel that banana. I don't want it!
Please don't make me eat any more!

If I look at you with big, sad eyes will you stop feeding me bananas? (We did. And we have since fed him bananas mixed with sweet potatoes and he seems to like them better)
Anyway, our sweet boy is enjoying trying new foods (minus bananas) and we're enjoying seeing his funny first-taste faces.
This is the thing I use to freeze extra baby food that I make. These are pears and sweet potatoes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tasty Thursday

     I had pretty good success with my new recipes last week, particularly the chicken pot pie and the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. Here are the full reviews:

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Crust: A+
This was the best chicken pot pie that I have ever eaten. The crust was really great and not too hard to make either. The only problem I had with it was that my food processor bowl was too small for all the dough so I had to make half and then the other half. I left out the mushrooms and parsley from the pot pie and it was delicious. I highly recommend this recipe.
Man Rating: Tim gave this an A++. He says that I can now make this every other day. I am tempted. 

Country Fried Steak: A-
This meal was good, if you like this kind of food. My gravy turned out really well. It wasn’t my favorite meal of all time, but I’m pretty sure Tim was happy with it. And it definitely sticks to your ribs. And butt. And thighs. And...well you get the picture.
Man Rating: A

Perfect Pot Roast: B+
This was a good recipe, but just nothing that I haven’t already had before. I didn’t find it to be any better than any other pot roast I’ve ever had. 
Man Rating: A+

And here is what we're eating this week:

Thursday: Taco salads. I make my own taco salads using Mission Sun-dried Tomato Basil tortillas, which I bake over an upside down Pyrex bowl to make the shell. Then I fill it with ground taco meat that I cooked with chopped onions and black beans. And then I top it with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, etc. The shell is so good and not too unhealthy since I bake it. 
Friday: Peach BBQ chicken. I am finally going to use up the rest of the sauce from the Peach Whiskey Barbecue chicken that I made the other week. We will have it with some type of side vegetables depending on what appeals to me at the store. 
Saturday: Italian pie. This is a Publix Apron's recipe that my mom recommended. It looks really good and comfort-foody. And I love casseroles. Especially ones that we can eat for more than one night. I'm going to make some alterations to the recipe, like leaving out the pimentos and salami. And I'm going to use a blend of Italian sausage and ground beef instead of the ground beef/pork mixture. We'll have it with a nice side salad. 
Sunday: Homemade pizza. I will be attempting to make my own pizza dough using a recipe I found on Pioneer Woman Cooks. The reason I will be attempting this is because our grocery store does not sell pizza dough in the bakery and Tim and I both don't like the Boboli premade pizza crusts (plus they are expensive). The dough uses flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, and water and sounds pretty simple. I'm not sure what I will be topping it with, but I have some Italian sausage in the freezer so that will probably be part of it.
Monday: Leftover Italian pie. Because it will make plenty for us to eat for both a lunch or two and a couple dinners and I just love nights when I can reheat something and not dirty up my kitchen too much. I love cooking, but I hate cleaning the kitchen. Ironic, I know. I seriously would rather clean the bathroom over cleaning the kitchen. 
Tuesday: Chicken piccata. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe. I've made it before and it is delicious. Give me a sauce with lemon, white wine, and cream and I am there! And here's a secret. This isn't really chicken piccata because there are no capers in it. Don't ask me what capers are. I just know that I don't like them and I do like this. End of story. 
Wednesday: Island pork chops with sweet potato fries and sauteed spinach. This recipe is one from the P90X workout diet. And it does not taste like it should be part of any "diet." It is the most flavorful and delicious pork recipe that I make. It actually calls for a pork tenderloin, but because I have pork chops in the freezer, I will be using those instead. Here is the recipe, because you should make it. Even if you hate pork. Even if pork and you are mortal enemies. Actually, make it especially if you hate pork. Because you will love this recipe. And I'm all about being a peacemaker. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Tim!

     Yesterday was Tim's 26th birthday. We had a wonderful day as a family celebrating and relaxing together. The only thing that would have made it better would have been having our families here. Or pony rides. 
     Anyway... as the first birthday present of the day, Owen allowed Tim and I to sleep until 7 a.m. After a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" sung by me, Tim blew out his candle and we started the day with a chocolate chip cookie dough birthday cupcake each for breakfast.  
Why yes, that is chocolate chip cookie dough inside that cupcake.
      We then went to church after stopping by Starbucks for salted caramel mochas. Following church, we came home where Owen took a nap while I cleaned the kitchen and Tim checked up on the status of his fantasy football team. 
     After a take-out lunch from Red Robin (yum!), Tim opened his presents and cards. Owen helped by trying to eat all the cards and ripping at some wrapping paper. In addition to cards and money, Tim got a new pair of tennis shoes, practice golf balls, a chimney starter for his charcoal grill, and a one-year chronological Bible. 
The card from Nana and Papa was particularly tasty. Don't worry, we didn't let him eat the checks.
Here Dad, let me read that for you.
Mom and Dad... this is embarrassing.

New tennis shoes.
Nice kicks, Dad.

I'm standing in this box all by myself.
Is there another bow on my head?
Oh, for Pete's sake. Enough with the bows!
Present time was concluded with some Daddy kisses!
     The afternoon was spent watching a lot of football (Tim), some reading and cleaning (me) and napping (me and Owen). Then Tim went on a walk with Owen and I made dinner.
Owen's second gift to Daddy was a sweet nap.
Check out that precious chunky-cheeked face.
    For dinner, I made Tim's special request: country fried steak with gravy, mashed potatoes and lima beans. I think I would have made my great-mamaw proud. 
Not the most colorful meal, but definitely a man-friendly one.