Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray, oh, my!

I really should plan our weekly meals out more often. Sometimes I just stock the house with food we like and we end up winging it and making it work. But the issue is when I do that- I often to buy things we don’t use in time or doesn’t go with anything else in house. (Sometimes the supermarket greatness makes me impulse buyer. Yes, I’ve been that person to buy 10 cans of olives when they are on sale for a dollar.) So, trying to be smarter about our food budget- this weekend I started going through my cookbooks and magazine recipes. Here were the three I’ve made this week:

Sunday Night: (Betty Crocker)

Last time I was home, my mom let me take her 1993 Betty Crocker New Choices Cookbook.  I picked up this vegetarian gem, which just happens to be a low fat, low cholesterol, low calories, and high in fiber recipe.

Lentil Stew

Betty Crocker Sunday Stew


2 teaspoons of vegetable oil

1 cup of chopped onion (about 1 large)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (uh, I used 4 cloves)

2 cups coarsely chopped potatoes (about two medium)

1 cup dried lentils

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

3 cups of water

½ teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon of ground mace (Had to buy- ugh. Since when does a spice cost 10 dollars?… must find more recipes to justify this cost)

8 ounces small mushrooms, cut into halves

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, un-drained.


Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; break up tomatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.  (6 servings).


I loved the way this made my house smell. I thought the prep was easy and was glad that it was healthy for me. And it was good with out cheese (yes, for some reason, I like to think everything is better with cheese).  Flavor was great- I think next time, I would cut my potatoes differently (I made potato sticks.) The hubby, who grew up eating Arabic lentil meals was more of a critic. “No meat?… It’s best with meat” and “I thought the potatoes were slightly underdone”. My coworker loved the potatoes so meh. Obviously, I can tinker with it next time.

Tuesday Night: (Martha Stewart)

Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken and Cilantro

Just another reason I love Ginger... :)

I love ginger. The smell, the taste, the texture and the health benefits.  And I’ve been looking for ways to use it more. Plus, I have this Asian mart right by me, where the ginger is bigger than my head.  So when I saw this in my monthly Everyday Food- I wanted to try.  It was pretty easy to put together- but I realized- I have no freaking clue on how to de-meat a rotisserie chicken. And at 7 p.m. at night- I didn’t care- I zoned in until I think I had four cups. That poor carcass didn’t even have a chance.

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced (ribs and seeds removed for less heat if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded (from 1 whole chicken), room temperature
  • 1 package (8.8 ounces) cellophane (bean-thread) noodles, prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 3-inch sticks
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add jalapeno, ginger, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Refrigerate until cool, at least 15 minutes (or up to 1 week).
  2. Combine chicken, noodles, cucumber, and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.


Hubby ate this and loved it. He even said it was perfect even two days later. I liked it because it was so different. And I have friends that have lots of food restrictions, and I could make this meal for them. Thus, it’s a keeper.

Wednesday Night (Rachel Ray)

Drunken Tuscan Pasta

Pink Noodles? Yum. :)


  • 1 (750 ml) bottle tuscan red table wine (Rosso di Montalcino or Chianti) *Um. I just picked up a cheap bottle of red.
  • coarse salt
  • 1 lb bucatini pasta or spaghetti or perciatelli
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb deli-sliced pancetta * I just used the Morning Star Bacon.
  • 3 portabella mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped *Not a fan of rosemary- so I used fresh basil and chives.
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • red pepper flakes (a couple of pinches)
  • 4-5 cups chopped chard leaves or escarole or spinach or kale *I bought Kale for the first time.
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese * Eh, too expensive- so I had some other three cheese blend that worked just fine


1.    Pour the entire bottle of wine into a large pan; add water and fill the pot up as you would to cook pasta.
2.    Bring the wine and water to a boil over high heat.
3.    When the liquids boil, add salt and the pasta; cook to al dente. (you will use some of the cooking liquid later).
4.    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; then chop and add the pancetta.
5.    Brown the pieces until they are golden at the edges and transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate.
6.    Add the mushrooms to the olive oil in the same skillet; season with rosemary; cook 6-8 minutes until deeply golden.
7.    Push the mushrooms to the sides of the skillet; add in the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for a minute or so, then toss the mushrooms together with the garlic.
8.    Add the greens to the pan; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
9.    When the greens have wilted down, add a couple ladles of the starchy pasta cooking liquid to the pan; cook for a minute to reduce it a little.
10. Drain pasta well and add it to the skillet.
11. Add in the pancetta and a handful of cheese to the pan; toss the pasta for a minute or so to allow it to absorb the remaining liquid.
12. Adjust the seasonings and serve; pass the extra cheese at the table.


Can I just say… cooking with a bottle of wine awesome- why didn’t I think about that before? Though, I couldn’t really taste the wine but the hubby could. I liked it- but I think next time I make this I would use maybe spinach or escarole just to see the difference. Also, I thought I just use the fake-on because I thought pancetta would hurt the hubby’s tummy. Though he said it wouldn’t- so next time, I’ll actually buy it. Also this says four servings, but honestly, it felt like 6 to me.

Final word:

So, I still don’t know if I’m a Betty, a Martha or a Rachel Ray. But I still enjoyed this week’s culinary adventures.

Speaking of culinary adventures- I just finished reading Julie & Julia. I felt very trendy reading it… and like I should have read it before it was a movie deal. Ha. My sister and mom sent me the same article from the Detroit Free Press:

It was a cute book. Though, if you read it and liked it- read My Life in France also. Both are adventures that your taste buds will enjoy.

The only thing about J&J… is Julie was kinda too bitchy at points. Like I just felt though she was having a professional and personal identity crisis- I kept thinking- do you have be such a bitch to everyone? I honestly had a hard time liking her character until the end. Anyways- I’m glad that she’s successful though (side note- kinda shocked that she hasn’t had a baby yet- and she’s 36 now- but eh. It’s probably because it was talked so much about in the book).

Anyways – the point is she found her foodie niche and ran with it.

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about for months.

What will be my foodie niche?

Until then, I think I’ll add the Art of French Cooking to my Christmas List. J&J made me want cook with liver. Hopefully, there is a recipe with liver and olives. 🙂


Weekend Goodies

Made this on Friday night in celebration for the hubby’s good grades.
“Healthified” Angel Chicken Pasta found on my Betty Crocker iPhone Application.

My hubby's new love... :oP

My hubby's new love... :oP

Now, haven’t cooked with meat since April of last year. With that in mind- I never knew I could make my husband so happy by cooking with meat again. Ha, ha. He said, “I could eat this every week honey. Really.”

Yesterday my Aunt and I went to Ann Slathers for brunch.
She talked about these amazing rolls she had 20 plus years ago.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of Sticky Buns- but boy these were good!
When I was there I had the most interesting omelette. I almost didn’t order it because it sounded a little gross.

Mexican Omelette – $8.95 An Avocado Delight

When I asked the waitress what it was she said, “ Omelette with guacamole inside and salsa on top.”

Not your average brunch!

Not your average brunch!

Now, I’m a sucker for guacamole. So I went for it. Ahhhmazing! It was light! Not to crazy spicy and fun with the side of potatoes. I’ve never seen an omelette like that. I would have never paired guacamole with eggs. My aunt had something good but admitted my dish was even better.

Last night- stayed in and watched 10,000 B.C. and I made quick Greek Pizza with some Pillsbury crust (I think all the Pillsbury tubes were on sale this week-so I bought a few cans).

The Greek pizza just had diced spinach, diced tomatoes, and lots of feta cheese on it! Simple and delicious!

Greek Pizza Greatness!

Greek Pizza Greatness!

Tonight- Dinner at the Aunts! 😀 I think she is making some recipes out of the new Martha Stewart- Real Simple Magazine. Yay!

What Is Love?

I thought these links were great and worth passing on to everyone so close to Valentine’s Day.

I love the kid at the end that says, “My heart goes boom, boom because… it goes boom, boom.” Hehe.

This baking contest I thought was great too… I love the GI Joe’s in the first video and the strawberry topping in the second video.

I love you too Pillsbury!

I love you too Pillsbury!

I’ll give you a sneak peak at what I made for the hubby. This was dessert. Find out how to make it here

Happy Valentine’s Day Foodies… I hope to update this weekend.

New Recipes, All Keepers

My Aunt Michelle’s favorite time of the day to entertain people is brunch. She’s mastered it. Here was brunch at her house last year.


Brunch done right... 🙂

(Um… I know I need to flip it…) For me, I’m starting to understand why she thinks it better than dinner. The flexibility for the cook is huge!

Our friend Sue came over for brunch last week and I made Betty Crocker’s Green Chili, Egg and Potato Bake. I like things I can make ahead so I can visit with the guest and I’m not in front of the oven the entire time. (It’s different though if I am with family and it’s like- “Let’s cook together”.)



Betty Crocker makes brunch easy! 🙂



What You Need:


cups frozen southern-style diced hash brown potatoes (from 32-oz bag), thawed


cup Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers™ Niblets® frozen corn, thawed


cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (from 7-oz jar)


can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, undrained

1 1/2

cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (6 oz)




cup small-curd cottage cheese


teaspoon dried oregano leaves


teaspoon garlic powder


medium green onions, chopped (1/4 cup




Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 11×7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In baking dish, layer potatoes, corn, bell peppers, chiles and 1 cup of the shredded cheese.


In medium bowl, beat eggs, cottage cheese, oregano and garlic powder with wire whisk until well blended. Slowly pour over potato mixture. Sprinkle with onions and remaining 1/2 cup cheese.


Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake about 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): In step 3, cover baking dish with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake about 35 minutes longer.



I ended using two full cups of cheese vs. 1 ½  cups. Also, I just had a red pepper in the house- so I used that instead of canned roasted red pepper.

Hubby said it’s a keeper. And Sue’s review was MMmMMMm.  I would make it again, but maybe I’ll get a bit more creative… I wonder how it would taste with chopped zucchini?


I’ve been trying to encourage the hubby to cook more on the weekdays (when it’s possible for him).  The other night I came home to this!

Pesto Greatness!

Pesto Greatness!

Justin calls it Pesto-Pesto

What you need:

2 tbl sp. olive oil

 A package Smart Strips Chicken 6-10 oz.

½ of walnut pieces

1 crushed garlic clove

2 cups of torn baby spinach

1 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper

4 oz whole wheat pasta

2 tbl sp. shredded mozzarella (skim)

store bought Pesto- a couple spoonfuls (depending how pesto-ish you want it)

¼ cup red pepper

1 package of fresh mushrooms


Make your pasta according to directions.

Heat oil & cook walnuts 3-4 minutes (on med-low)

Add garlic, spinach, basil, salt, and pepper

Add pesto, fake chicken, red pepper, mushrooms, and pesto

Cook for 3-5 minutes (med-low)

Toss with pasta and top with cheese

Yum. I encouraged my hubby to make this more often. I never knew fake chicken could taste so good. I honestly, thought he was trying to trick me and he put real meat in. Ha, ha. Yum!


Last night we made this for our new friends- @shunn and @chavoen. These are both out of the cookbook- From Earth to the Table- John Ash’s wine country cuisine.

Looks colorful eh?

Looks colorful eh?

Black Been Gazpacho Salad

·      See photo of the below.


) for the quick photo

TY google books 🙂 for the quick photo

This I think was the big hit of the night. I think @chavoen is going out and getting the cookbook.  I think today with the leftovers I am going to add feta  and throw it in a pita wrap.


Rock Shrimp Cakes with Salsa Cruda

Oooo, la, la

Oooo, la, la

How to make Rock Shrimp!

How to make Rock Shrimp!

So, Jewel didn’t have Rock Shrimp. But I was still determined to make it. It was good but I bet it was made with Rock Shrimp for a reason. When they can be found, I will try them again. I didn’t have fresh parsley, so I used dried.  Salsa Cruda can be made up to an hour to 2 days ahead. 


1.     In large sauté pan over medium high heat  combine the shrimp and wine and cook for a minute. The shrimp will still be translucent and half done. Drain the shrimp, saving the cooking liquid, cool shrimp and chop coarsely.

2.     Combine the egg, ½ cup bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, green onion, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and dried shrimp if using.  Fold in rick shrimp and their cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper for taste. Form into eight cakes. Coat lightly with additional crumbs and refrigerate, uncovered for at least a few minutes or up to 2 hours ahead.

3.     In large sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the cakes until lightly brown on both sides. Remove the cakes and keep warm. Divide the greengs among 4 plates. Place shrimp cakes on the greens and talk with salsa cruda.


How to make Salsa Cruda

How to make Salsa Cruda

gah… I need to go prep for Super Bowl… I’m making two things… and we need to leave in a few hours.