Wednesday, August 31, 2011

creative play with our food-my husbands food

I made some rice with Teriyaki sauce in it, and we were supposed to put it together like Hawaiian haystacks. Well my husband had a different idea, then my daughter did too, and then my baby.
First my husband thought the cherry tomatoes looked like frog eyes, so he shaped his pile of rice into a frog head and put the tomatoes on, but then it started to take the shape of a bird's nest. The cherry tomatoes were then bird eggs. The chow mien noodles were an awesome addition to the nest, and even better we were eating spinach for our salad, so they added nicely to the effect of the nest being in a tree. All we needed was a mother bird. could the peices of meat play a part in this?
Now, for the morbid part. I thought it was morbid anyway.....
I was totally grossed out about having the chicken for dinner, I cannot stand to touch raw meat, I just. don't . deal well with it. I did it for my husband and kids though, so they wont say they were deprived.....I bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to carve, use some of the meat for dinner and save the rest for another night. I was having a hard time cutting out the chicken, and I was safely going for all the white meat in the easiest part to cut, the chest.
My husband decided to help me, and he ended up plucking all the bones, the legs, wings and tummy(bleh) of their substance and getting all the veinee, cartilagee parts too. I was nauseous. I don't know why I have become such a pansy about dead animals in my kitchen. Its sad. I was feeling really bad for this poor mutilated chicken, and chose not to have any for dinner, haha
So can tell what the chicken ended up being?
Yep, a mother bird.
I don't know how my husband got the pieces to look like a skinned mommy bird so well.It even has a wing and a beak it looks like. It was even more hilarious when my daughter decided she needed her food to be a birds nest as well, and then wouldn't eat it, because she was "emotionally" attached to it.  

I am glad we can have so much fun together at the dinner table, that is what it is all about right?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stuffed Tomatoes........mmmmm

I briefly saw an article about Stuffed Tomatoes recently, which of course made my mouth drool. I had never had a stuffed tomato before I whipped up our dinner tonight, but I have now found a new favorite dinner :)

 I wasn't quite sure how to cook it, so I googled a few recipes, then tweaked it to make it my own. Our taste buds were pleasantly pleased.

Its easiest to use the tomatoes with a good round shape and make sure they will have a good thick skin, so they won't fall a part as much when they cook. Then wash how ever many tomatoes you are going to need, and cut the top part off, making sure to get any green out from the stem. They would look about what the above picture looks like.

Then with a spoon, scoop out the insides into a bowl to put aside for the filling.

and like the above picture here too.

Then mix in your seasonings, I used about a tsp of the Nature's Seasons, I like it because it has salt in it and NO brain cell killing MSG :)  I put in some Italian seasoning too. mmm mmm

I noticed other recipes called for seasoned bread crumbs, so I just used croutons and they worked awesomely. The croutons I used worked great because they were smaller.I put about a cup of them in, you will probably want to use more though, depending on how many tomatoes you are stuffing. Mix them into the tomato mixture too.

This next part really made the flavor of these. My sweet beautiful mother in law planted me a Basil plant when she lived with me a few years ago. I am sorry to say I have personally never used it until now. Boy was I missing out!! Wow does it have flavor! I picked a few leaves, o.k. maybe 20 because they are small, and just put them in singularly into the mixture.  Such a good idea on my part I must say, hehe

Then I put filling in all of the tomatoes, stuffed them to the rims and a little above!

Then topped them each with a little mozzerella. Next time I am going to put about a Tbs of cottage cheese in each one.  Put each tomato in a cooking sheet, you can stuff them close together if you have a lot. More will actually help keep them from falling while cooking.

Set the heat to 400 degrees, and the timer to 30 minutes

I forgot to take a picture of them all once they were done, but this one was still in the pan (not for long).
We ate it with a chicken and spinach salad and some cottage cheese. It was delicious!! My only regret was that I didn't make more! This will definitely be repeated as a future dinner meal. I try personally to not eat a lot of cheese, but the cottage cheese was worth it this time, and my kids and husband got bigger chunks of chicken on their salad. Next time I want to add rice to the meal and put chunks of crispy bacon in the stuffing. Do any of you have any good ideas for stuffing tomatoes? I would love to learn about them!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Twice baked deliciousness-potatoes almondaise cheddar and broccoli

So first, I would like to tribute this deliciousness to Traci's Transformational Kitchen. These potatoes were inspired by her, and the official recipe for Almondaise is hers too :) You can get it from her awesome healthy cookbooks :)

I love a good baked potato...but even better, a baked potato, which is then gutted, and then stuffed again only to be shoved into the oven again! (that is about the extent of horrific cooking you will ever see come from this blog, [I don't cook meat that often].

Anyway, I always thought pictures of twice baked potatoes were drool worthy, yet I had never tried one, or tried to cook one for that matter. That is until I recieved Traci's Transformational cookbook, and discovered she has a HEALTHY recipe for twice baked potatoes!!!

Her recipe is different, and delicious, but this time I did it my way a little (meaning I didn't follow the recipe I just put it together out of what I thought would be yummy) :)

So here is how you would turn these:

Into these:

Don't underestimate the size of a red potato.(like I did)
6 people don't need 2 potatoes each. These potatos Will double in size once stuffed!:)

My bottomless pit when it comes to dinner time of a husband-if that made sense, said a small one would suit him just fine, so you don't need a big potato to fit a big appetite. You just need lots of yummy stuffing(not the bread kind) :) 

Use red potatoes, because they are yummy! Any potato will do, I just love red potatoes :)and smiley faces.

Clean and scrub your potatoes, after you start to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Then prick each potato with a fork a couple of times on each side of the potato. 
Then using a small puddle of olive oil in your hand, coat the potatoes in the olive oil. 
This will help make your skins crispy, and it will help the potato not fall apart when you split it open to gut and stuff. (there I go again being gross, I am glad this is just potatoes I am talking about here.)

Then put your potatoes directly on the rack in the oven, and cook them for 45 minutes, or until tender inside. Bigger potatoes might take longer, but I told you not to use bigger potatoes anyway.

While the potatoes are cooking, mix in a bowl, almondaise, or something creamy like unto it, probably mayonaise, about a cup or so for 9 potatoes, with a half a chopped onion, and some seasons. I used about a tblsp. of Thyme, and a small amount of "Natures Seasoning". "Natures Seasoning is a bunch of spices with some salt in it. Taste it to gauge how much you want in it.


Tenderize some broccoli, I boiled mine, two stalks

and add about 1/2 cup of cheese to the mixture. And when your broccoli is tenderized cut it into the mixture too. 


Once your potatoes are done, pull them out onto a cookie sheet. Watch out, they will be hot. Leave your oven on.

Now with a knife split open the potatoes like this

scoop out all the insides of the potatoes being careful not to rip the skins more, or burn your hands, and mix the potatoes into the cheesey broccoli spicey onionee, creamy mixture. You can mix it with an electric mixer to make sure it comes to a fluffy mixture.
Then stuff those potatoes back up with the completed mixture, there will be a lot so be generous with the stuffing :)
They will then look like the potatoes above. Sprinkle a little more cheese on each one, and put them back in the oven for 5 more min. Then you can put the oven on broil for a few minutes to make the cheese crispy, and then Ding! They should be done!    

Here is another picture of them done:


 You can freeze these, if you make extra, but the 3 left overs we had, didn't make it 1 day. Soooo Good!