Friday, August 31, 2012

First Day of School

Tatum's school classroom names are so confusing.  He was in Pre-K last year and his new classroom is called Private-Kindergarten, but he doesn't start Kindergarten at Elementary until next year so I thought the Pre-K sign was most appropriate.  You can download the signs at How Does She Do.

Italian Chicken and Dumplings


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken tenderloins, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup shredded carrots, store bought
  • 4 ribs celery from the heart, very thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A generous handful parsley leaves
  • A handful pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • A couple handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 2 (10 to 12-ounce) packages, fresh gnocchi

Place a large pot of water on to boil for gnocchi.
Heat a pot with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and lightly brown. Remove to a plate and add another tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter and heat. Add carrots, celery, and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper. Soften 5 minutes, sprinkle in flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 1/2 cups stock, slide the chicken back into the pot and simmer to allow sauce to thicken.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup stock in food processor with basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and cheese, salt and pepper. Turn processor on and pour in the remaining few tablespoons oil.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat with the zest of 1 lemon.
Salt cooking water and drop gnocchi in the water, cook until the gnocchi floats, drain and add to the lemon butter and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss the gnocchi 2 to 3 minutes in lemon butter until light golden at edges.
Turn heat off chicken and stir in pesto sauce. Serve the chicken in shallow bowls and top with lemon butter dumplings.

Source: Rachael Ray

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
16 oz container - verde salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup grilled corn, cut fresh from the cob
18 small corn tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups monterrey jack cheese

Mix salsa, cilantro and chicken broth in a large bowl and set aside.  Saute onions, garlic and pepper in skillet with olive oil until softened - about 5-7 minutes.  Add beans, corn and 1/2 cup salsa.  Remove from heat. Using fork, mash half the mixture then stir in 1 cup cheese and season with s&p to taste.  Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Spoon in a few tablespoons of the salsa then layer 6 tortillas.  Spread half the bean mixture on top then 1/2 cup cheese then 1/3 of the salsa.  Create 1 more layer of tortillas, beans, cheese and salsa.  End with 1 layer of tortillas, 1/3 salsa and 1 cup cheese. Store.

The night you are going to serve: Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 30 minutes covered then increase temp to 425 and bake until bubbly (~20 more minutes).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Herbed Grilled Shrimp

1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs (parsley, basil, thyme - whatever you have on hand)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Mix together all ingredients (except shrimp).  Coat shrimp.  Arrange on skewers and grill 2~3 minutes per side (depending on size).

Zucchini Pasta with Hot Pepper Pesto

  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound bow tie pasta
  • 2 handfuls grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 jalapeno chile peppers, seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, pasted
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons pistachios, toasted
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • about 1/3 cup EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 small or 1 medium zucchini, halved, seeded and sliced into half-moons 
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. While the pasta is working, using a food processor, finely chop the cheese, parsley, mint, chiles, garlic, pistachios, lime zest and lime juice; season with salt and pepper. With the machine on, stream in about 5 tbsp. EVOO to form a pesto.
  3. In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium- high heat. Add the butter and heat until foaming. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the pesto and reserved pasta cooking water to the pasta and toss, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in half of the zucchini. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and top with the remaining zucchini.

Source: Rachael Ray Magazine

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green Goddess Dressing

  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.)

Source: Ina Garten

Monday, August 20, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Ravioli Bake

1 lb uncooked italian sausage (castings removed)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
dash red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 Tbsp heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 - 9oz packages fresh cheese ravioli
1 cup shredded mozzerrella

Cook ravioli according to package directions, just shy of al dente.
Meanwhile, brown sausage over medium/low heat.  Drain off fat then add garlic, tomato paste and red pepper.  Cook 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes.  Cook until slightly thickened - about 10 minutes.  Stir in basil and cream.  Cook another few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in ravioli then pour into greased casserole dish.  Top with cheese. 
The night you want to serve.  Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 30 minutes covered with foil.  Uncover and increase heat to 400 to brown cheese.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pasta with Asparagus Pesto

1 lb fettucini or linguine
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1 lb asparagus, coarsely chopped
1 cup mix of fresh parsely, mint and basil
1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.  Mix all other ingredients (except oil) in food processor and pulse.  Stream in olive oil to form a smooth pesto.  Season with salt and pepper. Combine with pasta with sauce and thin out with pasta water as needed.

Source: Rachael Ray

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 tsp tabasco
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all in a bowl and let stand 15 minutes for corn to defrost.  Toss and serve. 
Serve chilled.

Adapted based on a recipe by Rachael Ray

Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema

1/2 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 pound white flaky fish (tilapia or something similar)
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
sliced avocado
shredded cabbage
corn tortillas

Mix together sour cream, lime and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Mix chipotle pepper, flour and salt and pepper.  Coat fish.  Saute fish in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat - about 3 minutes per side.  Flake fish and divide amongst tortillas.  Top with avocado, cabbage and crema.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Responsibility Chart

I saw the Melissa & Doug magnetic chore chart at a friend's house and thought it was a great idea.  I've been wanting to find something to motivate Tatum to pitch in around the house (actually really mostly to start sleeping alone)!  Of course, I wasn't patient enough to order one and wait for it to be delivered so I created my own.  You can download a generic version here.  Just print and place in an 8x10 frame.  Then use a whiteboard marker for the check marks.  The first 2 days have been successful.  Fingers crossed this will work long term!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Roasted Potatoes

2-3 lbs potatoes (any kind), chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Mix all together in a bowl.  Place on baking dish lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 425 for 45 minutes turning half way through.

Chicken Pomodoro

4 chicken breasts (sliced into 3 pieces each to form thin cutlets)
3/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp oil
1/2 c vodka
1 cup chicken broth
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup sliced scallions

Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge in flour.  Meat oil in dutch oven over medium heat then saute chicken - about 3 minutes on each side or until they have nice color and turn easily.  Transfer to a platter.  Deglaze pan with vodka (away from flame).  Reduce by 3/4.  Add broth and lemon juice.  Let simmer 1 minute then return chicken breasts to pan to continue to cook 2-3 minutes. Arrange chicken on platter.  Add tomatoes and cream to sauce.  Simmer 1 minutes then spoon over chicken and top with scallions.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Jerk Chicken Salad

This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but it's so worth it!  For those who live in Austin, you can buy the dressing to go at Jack Allen's Kitchen.


Jamaican Jerk Rub:
  • 3/4 cup chipotle pepper
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
Sesame Ginger Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup ginger, minced
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sambal chile paste
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Jerk Chicken Salad:
  • 6 ounces chicken breasts (jerk rubbed and grilled)
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 2 ounces sesame ginger dressing
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 25 fried corn tortilla chips
  1. Jamaican Jerk Rub: Use dry herbs only. Blend until smooth.
  2. Sesame Ginger Dressing: mix all ingredients in food processor. Remove and place in a bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup of black sesame seeds.
  3. Jerk Chicken Salad: Toss mix salad greens, roma tomatoes and sesame dressing in large mixing bowl. Place on two chilled plates. Cut grilled chicken breasts into strips and arrange atop of tossed salad greens. Sprinkle with feta cheese and crisp tortilla strips.
Source: Z Tejas

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Make Ahead Sunday: Fried Rice

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3/4 cup baby carrots, finey chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cooked white rice, chilled (*make sure it is completely cooled*)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced 
  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add eggs and cooks until set then stirring frequently.  Set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil and turn to high heat.  When smoking add garlic, peas, onions and carrots.  Stir fry until veggies begin to soften ~3 minutes. I also added a little chopped kale from the garden for some hidden nutrition.
  3. Add rice, soy and oyster sauces and stir until mixture is heated through - about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, scallions and sprouts.  Stir, remove from heat and serve.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Herb Goat Cheese

  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 oz goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated or pasted
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • A few leaves basil, chopped
  • A couple sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • skinless, boneless chicken breast, butterflied in half to form 8 pieces
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto di parma
  • A splash white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a bowl, season the goat cheese with salt and pepper. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Place some of the cheese mixture on each piece of chicken and roll then wrap with the prosciutto.
    2. Heat an ovenproof skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chicken bundles and brown over medium-high heat, browning each side (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to baking dish lined with parchment paper and then oven to cook through, 12 to 15 minutes.
    3. Deglaze the sauce pan used to cook chicken with the wine. Swirl in the butter.  Add drippings from oven pan to the sauce (some of the cheese will ooze out).   Spoon the sauce over the chicken to serve.
    4. Garnish with additional herbs.

    Adapted based on a recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

    Asparagus Tagliatelle


  • 6 tablespoons EVOO
  • 2 heads garlic, peeled (about 30 cloves)
  • 1 3/4 pounds asparagus, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound tagliatelle pasta
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper 
    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the garlic cloves on a piece of foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon EVOO. Enclose the garlic in the foil and roast until soft and just golden, about 25 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove with a strainer and refresh in cold water; drain. Add the pasta to the pot and cook until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Reserve the pot.
    3. Using a blender, puree the roasted garlic, the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar. With the machine on, slowly add 1/4 cup EVOO.
    4. In the reserved pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta, asparagus, roasted garlic vinaigrette and the reserved pasta cooking water; toss to combine and season with salt and pepper
    Source: Rachael Ray Magazine

    Tatum's First Baseball Game

    And it definitely won't be his last...  As expected, he was a BIG fan!

    Make Ahead Sunday: Turkey Meatballs with Sweet Peanut Sauce

    Our kids love meatballs so I'm always looking for ways to change them up.  I think this one will be a hit.  I plan to serve it with veggie fried rice. 

    • 1 1/3 pound ground turkey
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
    • 1/3 cup grated onion or shallot
    • 2 cloves garlic, grated
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • Chopped peanuts, for garnish
    Preheat oven to 375. Mix chicken, cilantro, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt and pepper; roll into 1-tablespoon balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients (except peanuts) and warm in microwave. Toss meatballs with half of sauce and sprinkle with peanuts. Serve on toothpicks with remaining sauce for dipping.

    Adapted based on a recipe found in Rachael Ray Magazine