Thursday, May 31, 2007

Homemade Pizza

Since we're leaving for vacation tomorrow, I tried to use up lots of things in the fridge that would go bad before we get back. Hence the pizza with mozzarella cheese that had already been opened. There wasn't quite enough cheese, though, so I decided to try a little leftover cheddar cheese on it as well. Some lunchmeat ham and canned pineapple also went on the pizza. We also had a salad, since the fresh vegetables won't last. You can see the mountain of tomatoes on Mike's salad. Howie the Guinea Pig was more than happy to take care of the rest of the vegetables for us.

The verdict

I felt a little bad because tonight's dinner is almost exactly like last night's dinner (meatball subs with salad that I forgot to take a picture of). But pizza is always good, and I put a little cheese on the salad to make it different from last night's. I give this meal 3 out of 5 stars for taste and health.

I also had a whole apple that I knew we weren't going to eat, so I decided to see what Howie would think if I just threw the whole thing in his cage. He wasn't quite sure what to think at first, but once he figured out how to bite into such a big object, he started chowing down. As you can see, Morgan the kitten was very interested in what was going on. So tonight you got a double feature - you got to see what the humans AND guinea pigs had for dinner!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Grilled Salmon

For Memorial Day, we had an all-American meal - although by my definition, pretty much anything grilled is "all-American." First, we had salmon that was marinated for about 20 minutes in lime juice and Italian dressing. We also had a small salad, white rice, fresh corn, and some watermelon to finish it off. Mike grilled the corn as well, and before throwing them on the grill he soaked them in water, husks and all, for about 15 minutes. Notice how he left some of the husk on the corn for presentation. Do not notice the clutter surrounding the placemat.
The verdict
I wish I knew how to do interesting things with rice. Mike doesn't like fried rice (the egg grosses him out), so that's out. All I know to do is cook it and serve it with a little butter and salt. The corn was excellent, I'm so glad it's in season again! The fish was seasoned well, but was fishy-tasting, even for salmon. I give this meal 3 out of 5 stars for taste and 4 stars for health.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pork Chops with Twice-Baked Potato Casserole and Chopped Spinach Salad

Yesterday I pulled some pork chops out of the freezer, and planned on making a special browned butter sauce to go with it, but my spices are STILL missing, so tonight they went on the grill after marinating in some olive oil and Asian Grilling Spice. Meanwhile, some potatoes had gone in the oven to bake for some twice-baked potatoes, and I decided to try my hand at a chopped spinach salad with shredded carrots, some lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. I meant to chop up an apple for the salad, but that didn't work. Speaking of not working, neither did the potatoes. I tried to scoop out the insides of the potatoes, and the skins completely fell apart. I thought the dish was ruined, but Mike suggested placing the skin pieces in the bottom of a casserole dish and spreading the potato mixture on top, then placing the whole thing in the oven. Also notice my new placemats and coasters, bought for cheap at Wal-Mart :)

The verdict

I'm not usually a huge fan of pork chops, which is why I originally planned on having the sauce to pair with it, but since they were marinated since yesterday, they were still tender and flavorful. The twice-baked potato casserole was a good save - just as tasty as the original. I can't say I was crazy about the salad, but it was a good try. I give this meal 3 and a half out of 5 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bourbon-Glazed Ham

I managed to clear off enough space on the dining room table for us to eat on it, so we had our first REAL dinner in our new house tonight! It was so nice to have a homemade meal. On my trip to Kentucky, my family visited the Jim Bean distillery, and my mom bought a cookbook featuring bourbon recipes. I decided to try this bourbon-glazed ham tonight, with mashed potatoes and a spinach salad. I used a chive-cream cheese dip I bought that I didn't really like for fresh veggies to make the potatoes, and the bourbon glaze features honey, orange juice, molasses, Dijon mustard, and of course, a healthy dose of Jim!

The verdict
Mike loves anything involving ham, and he said he liked the glaze. I served the remaining glaze on the table, and he enjoyed brushing that on. He said he could make an awesome sandwich, thanks to Jim! The mashed potatoes were good, although not as fluffy as I usually like them to be. I give this meal 4 out of 5 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

I also thought you might enjoy looking at some food pictures from my recent vacation to Kentucky. We went to a place called Lily's Paradise Cafe , the kind of irreverent place you can only find in a non-chain. This restaurant was also featured on Oprah, because she thinks they have the best macaroni and cheese in the world.Very interesting decor!

The legs on the wall were a little creepy...

I had the pecan-crusted chicken with a cream sauce on top. Quite tasty. I never did figure out what the thingy-do on top of the chicken was, though. Of course, I HAD to try the mac and cheese. It was good, but I say, Oprah, forget the mac and cheese, try the lima beans! They were the best I've ever had. I hardly ever make lima beans because they take longer than most vegetables, but I should make them more often, because it's one of the few veggies Mike and I can agree on.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Homemade Chicken Soup

We're getting down to the wire with the move, so I'm using up as much food in the freezer as possible. Tonight I used some chicken broth I had cooked down previously and frozen, a bone-in, skinless chicken breast, and some frozen veggies. The chicken went into the crock pot this morning to cook, and this afternoon I pulled the meat from the bone and put it back in the crock pot with the broth and some chopped carrots, celery, and green onions. I was going to cook some instant brown rice on the stovetop to add to the soup, but then I got really lazy and just threw the uncooked rice in the crockpot. The vegetables were broccoli and cauliflower, and they came with an herb-lemon sauce to add after cooking. We also finished off some herb-yeast rolls from the fresh market.

The verdict
I was afraid that the rice wouldn't turn out right because I didn't cook it properly, but it was fine. Today's weather was a little cooler than what we've been getting (mid-70's), so I'm glad I chose to make a soup today. We had a good meal and I used up lots of food from the freezer! I give this meal 4 out of 5 stars for taste and health.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Burgers with French Fries and Spring Mix Salad

Tonight's dinner was on of my old standbys, because with the move, I wasn't feeling very creative. We had some lean beef in the fridge, which Mike formed into patties and threw on the grill, while I made some homemade French Fries and a Spring Mix salad. I had to do something new, though, so I decided to throw some chopped granny smith apples on top of the salad.

The verdict
Burgers are comfort food for me, and we really enjoyed this meal. With some Caesar Italian Dressing, the apples were good on the salad, and I plan on doing it again. I think next time I'll leave off the celery, though, as I didn't think they paired well together. I give this meal 4 out of 5 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I wanted to share with you guys an awesome Lemon Curd Cupcakes recipe I just tried for our lifegroup meeting last night. The recipe came from the latest issue of Taste of Home magazine. Mike has introduced me to how great lemon-flavored desserts can be, so I decided to try this one. They were a little involved because they have a lemon curd filling, but I think that's what gave them the edge that pushed them from pretty good to AWESOME!

I had never tried making a filled cupcake before, and it was harder than I expected, but I think now that I've had a go at it, it'll go better next time. Everyone at lifegroup gave them a big thumbs up!
Meat Loaf Wellington

Tonight I decided to make Meat Loaf Wellington for dinner. I tried the recipe back in December when I found it in a Taste of Home magazine; it uses crescent roll dough for the outside and has lean ground beef and mozzarella cheese inside. This time I made half of the recipe, and used the other half of the crescent roll dough to roll up some crescent dogs for lunch tomorrow. On the side we had a steamed vegetable mix from the freezer and a fruit salad (granny smith apples, bananas, kiwi, and blueberries from the freezer).

The verdict
I was pleased with this recipe last time, and this time it didn't disappoint me. As far as Mike is concerned, anything with meat, cheese, and bread is perfect. The fruit for the salad came from the Fresh Market (except the freezer blueberries), and I'm always amazed at how good the fruit is from there. I also love how they sell spring mix salad and spinach in bulk, so I can buy a little of each and have a variety in our salads, but not have any go to waste. This meal was also great because I was able to use up things from the freezer for our move: blueberries, vegetables, and Cool Whip. Anyhoo, I give this meal 5 out of 5 stars for taste and 3 stars for health.