Friday, November 21, 2008


Matt wishes me a Happy Birthday!

Molly & Carl's Gibson wishes me a Happy Birthday

Lindsay & Keith's Kodi wishes me a Happy Birthday

Well my 27th birthday was yesterday. We went to Hunan Garden at 10 Mile and Telegraph in Southfield. It has kind of been our spot for many years. It is quiet, the staff is super nice, and the food is great. Matt had his Almond Boneless Chicken and I had the Szechuan Chicken... both amazing as always. I love going there because you get chips thingies and sauce, tea, entree, white or fried rice, eggroll, soup, and a little scoop of ice cream with your fortune cookie for about $10 each. Can't beat that!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dill Dip

I have been eating and making this ever since I can remember. It has always been a favorite in our family and something really easy to take to parties. It goes great with veggies and chips. But carrots are the perfect match. I like to make it with low fat/no fat ingredients, but of course it tastes better with the super fatty stuff.... but my way you get to eat a lot more!

Dill Dip
Serves: a party

1. In a medium bowl combine the following:
*1 cup (8 oz) fat free sour cream
*1 cup (8 oz) low fat mayo (NOT miracle whip)
*3 tablespoons dried dill weed (not seed)
*3 tablespoons dried parsley
*3 tablespoons dried minced onion (not chopped)
*3 teaspoons seasoning blend (look here)
*3 teaspoons Accent (look here)

2. Transfer to your seving dish and refrigerate a few hours or even better overnight.

3. Serve with veggies or whatever you want. Keep it cool. (see below)

Fancy Schmancy Tip: I am sure most of you understand this, but it is something to consider when bringing a dish to pass like this. Get a slightly bigger container than your serving bowl and fill it halfway with crush ice. Set the dip bowl on top. That way it can sit out for longer and still be safe to eat. Just something to consider.

Chicken Pot Pies

Mmmm... I have been planning on trying something like this for awhile, I just couldnt decide how I wanted to do it. I am far to lazy to try anything complicated on a work night and these were sooo easy and yummy. We will definitely do this again.

Chicken Pot Pies
Serves: 2
1. Preheat the oven to 350 deg (or whatever it says on the crescent roll package).

2. In a pan, heat some EVOO and cook up a half pound of chicken (I used tenderloins). Make sure to salt and pepper them well. Remove from the pan and using the same pan add about 3/4 of a 16 oz package of frozen stew veggies (carrots, onions, celery, potatoes) and cook them until nearly done (as in heated thru). Meanwhile, dice up the cooked chicken. If there are any large pieces of veggies, make sure to chop them into bite sized pieces.

3. Lightly spray three 4" mini pie pans with Pam or similar. Unroll a sheet of crescent roll dough. It now comes in a baking sheet with no seams!!! Take a pizza cutter and cut it into 6 squares. Take one square and lay it in the bottom of each pan and press down lightly and up the edges. It doesn't need to cover the whole pan.

4. Combine the chicken and veggies in a bowl. Add about a half can of cream of chicken soup, a couple splashes of milk, some minced garlic, parsley, and some montreal steak seasoning. Divide mixture into the 3 pans.

5. Cover each with a remaining square of dough and lightly press down to seal. Poke a couple holes in the top. Place the pans on a cookie sheet and into the oven.

6. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until they look golden brown and delish.
7. Eat carefully because they are hot! We had them with Stouffers Harvest Apples. YUM.

Personal Lasagnas

One of Matt's favorites, he named this recipe. We like them better than regular lasagna and we can make these without a week's worth of leftovers. Sorry, this is another one of those no-measuring recipes.

Personal Lasagnas
Serves: 4

1. Boil 9 lasagna noodles (in case one breaks) per the package directions. Drain and cool a little before handling. Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2. Meanwhile, in a pan brown 1/2 pound ground round or whatever with a fat handful each of onion, green pepper, and roasted red pepper (or fresh). Make sure you throw some minced garlic and montreal steak seasoning in there. Oh and drain the fat...eww.

3. In a bowl, mix the meat/veggies with the following: 3 big scoops of cottage cheese (drain it if it appears watery), a couple of fat handfuls of shredded mozzarella, a bunch of italian seasoning, and a handful of seasoned bread crumbs.

4. Lay out each lasagna noodle flat. Spoon about 2 scoops of the meat filling onto each noodle and spread out. Roll each noodle up (about 3 flops over) and place in a 9x13 baking pan (yes this is messy). Repeat until you have 8 little packets. (see pictures above).

5. Place a half slice of provolone directly on top of each noodle. Dump a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce over the whole thing, make sure you cover it all. Sprinkle on handfuls of shredded mozz and top with sprinkles of italian seasoning.

6. Cover the pan with foil and pop in the oven for about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until you are too hungry to wait anymore.

6.5 (optional) Take the 9th kinda cold noodle and insert it into the emptied sauce jar and wiggle around so you get a little sauce on it. Insert in your mouth. hehe yum.

7. Remove the lasagna and let sit for a couple minutes. Serve with garlic bread and salad.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Silicone Baking Mat

Yay for wedding presents! My fabulous friend Julie got us a silicone baking mat (silpat). If you haven't used one, you should. They are awesome for doughs, pastries, cookies etc. This is the one I have from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone

Another recipe stolen from Lindsay! Of course, she stole it from somewhere else haha. We liked the flavor of this but made some big changes and if we make it again, will make some more changes. I noted everything in red.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone
Serves: 2-4
* 1 lb ground chicken
* Chicken seasoning to taste (omitted)
* Ground pepper to taste
* 6 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (we used fat free, we would use 8 oz.)
* 3/4 cup hot wing sauce (we used Louisiana's, we would reduce to 1/2 cup)
* Frozen onion/celery mix to taste (omitted, replaced with handfuls of diced red peppers, green peppers, and red onion)
* 1 handful shredded mozzarella cheese or to taste
* 1 handful shredded cheddar cheese or to taste (we used colby jack)
* 1 refrigerated pizza dough (we used a Betty Crocker packet of DIY pizza dough)
* Ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put jelly roll pan or pizza stone in oven to warm.

2. Brown chicken and frozen onions/celery (peppers). The chicken was so lean I added a bit of olive oil while browning. Drain fat and add poultry seasoning, ground pepper and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese melts. Add wing sauce. Simmer until sauce is slightly reduced. Remove from heat.

3. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out pizza dough. (I used a silpat baking sheet)
4. Sprinkle cheese over dough, then spread slightly cooled chicken mixture over half (long ways) of the dough. Sprinkle on raw diced red onion. Roll the dough long ways and seal the dough at the seam. Helpful hint: rather than trying to pull the dough from the parchment as you roll it, lift the parchment long ways so that the entire piece of dough rolls at once without breaking. (I put a few slices in the dough and braided it. The dough recipe was BARELY big enough to contain everything.)

5. Cut slices on top of the dough with a knife so steam can escape. Spray lightly with olive oil, or brush dough with an egg wash.

6. Put calzone with parchment on the hot jelly roll pan and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until brown. (We left it on the silpat and slid it onto a cookie sheet)

7. Once out of the oven, let calzone rest for a few minutes and slice into generous diagonal pieces. Serve with dipping sauce.

Laughing Cow Chicken

This is a really easy recipe I borrowed from Lindsay. We liked it and will probably make it again. I found the cheese in the specialty gourmet cheese area. It comes in a circular container and in many flavors. Served it with applesauce and mashed redskin potatoes.

Laughing Cow Chicken
Serves: 2

* 2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally 3/4 of the way through (so you can stuff the inside)
* 2 wedges Laughing Cow light cheese (one per breast) (we used garlic herb flavor)
* Italian seasoning to taste
* 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (we used seasoned)
* Handful grated parmesan cheese
* Cooking spray

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Open each chicken breast up and spread one wedge of Laughing Cow inside the middle. Sprinkle italian seasoning inside to taste. Fold chicken back over to original shape.
3. Mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Spray each chicken breast with cooking spray and then dip in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place on baking sheet.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Beef Stew

Now I am not a huge beef eater, but I do like to throw some red meat into the mix every now and then because it makes Matt happy. This is an easy recipe that smells amazing when you come home from work.

Beef Stew
Serves: 4-5

*1-1 1/2 pounds of stew meat
*1/4 cup all purpose flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 teaspoons black pepper
*2 clove garlic, minced
*2 bay leaves
*2+ teaspoons paprika
*2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
*1 medium onion, chopped
*1-2 cans beef broth  (depending on how you like your stew)
*3 large redskin potatoes, chopped
*2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
*1-2 stalk celery, sliced

1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Pour over meat and stir to coat. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, worcestershire, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

3. If the stew is not thick enough for your liking about 30 minutes before serving, scoop out a ladleful of juice into a cup. Add about 1 tablespoon of corn starch and stir to dissolve. Mix into the stew. Wait about 5-10 minutes. If it is still too thin for you, repeat with the cornstarch until you are happy. Remove the bayleaves before serving. Enjoy!