Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lentil Soup

One of my favorite things to do is make lentil soup, although I don't know if soup is exactly the correct word here. See, I prefer it will more veggies and lentil and less water. Sometimes I'll make macaroni and add it to individual portions.

This recipe also freezes extremely well, which makes for many, many low-cost lunches and quick dinners. And, it's not only vegetarian, but also vegan!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Presto - 22" Professional Electric Griddle

I have a Presto electric griddle and I *love* it! It was one of the first kitchen accessories I purchased when I got my house, and I use it to make pancakes, french toast, grilled cheese, over easy eggs, arepas and a host of other food favorites.



The flat, extra large 12 x 21-inch cooking surface makes it easy to cook for a bunch of people at once, and because of the electric heat, it cooks everything evenly.  I can put three or four pancakes at a time on, and serve them immediately, instead of making one at a time in a pan and everyone having to wait to eat. This way, everyone can enjoy the food together.

This is definitely a must-have for every kitchen!

Purchase the Presto Professional Electric Griddle 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Football Cheese Server

How adorable is this?! A football shaped cutting board that doubles as a serving tray!

This is great for the football fan in your family, or to serve cheese and crackers on for game-day. It is definitely a great addition to any Super Bowl party, and makes a quick birthday or holiday gift for anyone who likes the sport and entertaining.

Designed by Picnic Time, the eco-friendly bamboo board has 104-square-inches of cutting surface.

Purchase the Football Cheese Server.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Lasagna Roll Ups

I really wanted  play around with pumpkin, and pasta. I had read a bunch of recipes, but wasn't too jazzed about any of them. Then I decided, why not use pumpkin in a dish I already love -- lasagna. But, I wanted to make it a little different, so I decided it a) should be roll ups and b) it should have some kind of white sauce with mushrooms.

These pumpkin lasagna roll ups --which was just an idea in my head --ended up coming really, really good! I've made them for events, in advance of a dinner and survived a workplace Thanksgiving pot luck.


 8 oz. package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
 8 oz. package shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 can of pure pumpkin
15 oz. fat-free ricotta
1/2 pint light cream
2 tablespoons butter
9 lasagna noodles - cooked as directed
nutmeg
4-5 tablespoons of butter to thicken the sauce

Preheat over to 375 degree.

Melt two tablespoons butter in a pan and add mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cover and lower the heat so that the water (and flavor) from the mushrooms seep out.


In the meantime, doing a ratio of two, 1/4 cups of pumpkin to 1/2 cup ricotta create your filling. Mix and add just a little salt, pepper and nutmeg till you have a taste you like. {Some people prefer more nutmeg than others, so it's really a personal preference.}






Using a slotted spoon take out mushrooms when they are firm and sporadically shop them - leave some large and some small. (I used my beloved mini-shopper to do this.) Place back into the pot, add the light cream and simmer.



Because I used light cream, the sauce was really thin, even after letting it simmer for 10 minutes. So, in a separate pan I melted two tablespoons butter and two tablespoons flour, until it created a paste-like consistency and added it to the mushrooms and light cream.


The mushroom and cream mixture got real thick, real fast, and because I didn't want it to burn, I only let it cook for another minute or so, and then took it off the heat. Add a little nutmeg for flavor in there, too.



Take the mushroom mixture and coat the bottom of a 9 x9 pan.


Now, my favorite part begins -- making the roll ups! Take a piece of lasagna and spread it on a flat surface and spread some of the pumpkin and ricotta mixture. Put as much or as little as you want.


Sprinkle with mozzarella.



And start at one end and roll! (this is my favorite part! Oh, wait, I think I already mentioned that)





Arrange the roll ups in the dish and using a spatula, {the mixture was that thick} coat the top with all the mushroom and cream mixture. Liberally top with mozzarella.




Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, check it and then bake for another 10 minutes.



As I feel with many dishes like this, it's even better the next day because all the flavors get a chance to mush together.



Pumpkin
Lasagna

This post was shared with the following websites: My Sweet and Savory, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms, Midnight Maniac,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breville Juice Fountain™ Plus JE98XL

I heart my juicer, and you should, too! Drinking a refreshing fresh glass of carrot and apple juice makes my morning. I got my juicer for Christmas from my parents two years ago and they laugh because I always tell them it was the best present they've ever given me. (I'm sure you can guess how well that goes over....)

Anyway, this Breville Juice Fountain has two speeds - a higher one for denser fruits and harder vegetables and another for soft fruit and leafy veggies. It's extra wide chute allows for minimal to no cutting of fruits and veggies, so you can just put it in the chute and that's it!

Make an 8 oz. glass of juice in seconds. I also like to use it when I'm having a brunch and want to impress my guests. Fresh juice makes for a great non-alcoholic beverage at any party -- especially a baby shower.

And, if you are serving alcoholic drinks and it calls for a particular type of fruit juice, why not make it fresh instead of buying it. The flavor will be more intense, and better yet, there won't be all the artificial junk in there.

Purchase the Breville Juice Fountain™ Plus JE98XL


Monday, November 22, 2010

Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base by Superior Touch

I was in the store looking for this amazing mushroom bouillon my friend Vikki had used, and stumbled upon this -- Better Than Bouillon. I had never seen it before, but the label, including the fact it was vegan caught my my eye.

Looking at the ingredient list further and comparing it to other containers on the shelf, I realized it had good stuff in it -- real vegetables and not a bunch of additives I couldn't pronounce.



So, I figured I would try it. After the first time I used it in place of bouillon cubes in my lentil soup recipe, I was hooked. It adds a rich, more complex flavor to whatever you are cooking.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Elbows and Broth aka I Don't Feel Good Soup

For as long as I can remember when I was sick my mom and grandmother would always make me College Inn chicken broth and elbow macaroni. When I became a vegetarian, this became an issue, because when I was feeling sick this combination was all I wanted, but it grossed me out. Now with all the vegetarian broths available, when I feel sick, I can still enjoy my favorite comfort food.

And, the best part - it takes less than 20 minutes to make.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Quick and Easy Portobello Fajitas

I love Mexican food, and these fajitas are fast to make, creating the perfect meal when I get home from work and am beat. If i have someone over for dinner who eats meat, I just make the chicken (sliced with a little olive oil, salt and pepper)  in a separate pan and add a little of the sauce on the chicken when it's done.

What to get: 
1 package of pre-sliced portobello mushrooms (or you can buy several mushrooms and slice them yourself) 
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 package whole wheat wraps

Optional: Cheese
Sometimes I like to put shredded cheese on top of the veggies before wrapping it up. This particular time I had some left over mozzarella, so I used that. But, usually some type of monterey jack works best.



Slice onions and peppers into long thin strips.



Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, and then add onions, peppers and mushrooms. Add a little salt and pepper, mix, cover and let cook until desired it reaches your almost desired tenderness. Prepare Lawrys' seasoning mix as directed and pour over vegetables, mix and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Put several spoonfuls of the mixture on a wrap (add cheese on top if you like) and fold it up! 

Portobello Mushrooms

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spinach and Mozzarella Pockets

Whoever created Pillsbury Crescent Rolls is a genius. Yes, they make good rolls, but you can make so many different recipes with them, including this super fast spinach and mozzarella pockets. I eat these for dinner or  take them to work and heat them in the microwave the next day. Either way you eat them, they taste excellent, and take less than a half hour to make!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trader Joe's Green Olive Tapenade: Entertaining Favorite

I've decided it is time to start trying new foods and products, to expand my foodie palette, so when I saw this store brand olive tapenade at a Trader Joe's I figured why not pick it up. The first place I brought it was a friend's house for dinner. And after the first bite, I quickly knew it would become one of my entertaining staple.

It has a strong olive smell, but the fresh taste is perfectly balanced with spices and other vegetables. I like to serve it on lightly salted pita chips, but you could also serve it on crackers.


 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Apple and Goat Cheese Melt at Olde Post Grill in Lake George, New York

Wow! That's what I thought when I saw this sandwich on the menu yesterday at the Olde Post Grill in Lake George, N.Y.

Description from their lunch menu: 'grilled granny smith apples, goat cheese, carmelized onions and a tarragon honey mustard on grilled Mastroianni Italian bread. ' Doesn't it just make your mouth water?!



I asked them if I could substitute mozzarella for the goat cheese and no onions, and it was so good! The bread was crisp, but not burnt, the cheese was perfectly melted and the apples - they were tender, but not mushy.



This was by far one of the best sandwiches I've had, and you bet I'm going to try to make it at home! Although, I'm sure it will take a few tries to get it correct.

The Olde Post Grill is located in the heart of the Lake George Outlets, and is a great spot to grab a bite while shopping or watch the game on a Sunday.

(Sorry for the camera phone photos!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Update

 Hi Everyone!

I usually don't go this long without posting, but it's been a little bit of a crazy week! I'm hosting a bunch of my sorority sisters from our alumnae chaper at my house for a girls weekend, and I'm participating in a 24 hour blogathon. Saying it should be interesting is really an understatement!

We will, however be making some fun dishes, including my first attempt at risotto, visiting some Adriondack area wineries and just chilling out. I'll be sharing our little adventure with everyone next week, including recipes and links to what we cooked and the wine we drank.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! We'd love to hear what you have planned. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Creme Brulee, Brownies and Some Really Good Wine

Over the weekend we attended a pre-holiday party hosted by our friend J.P., who is an amazing journalist, author and cook.

We shot some photos of him preparing the creme brulee, because it was like watching an artist paint.His attention to detail and knowledge of the dessert and wine is impressive.













Follow J.P.'s blog to see what's he's up to..

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blogathon Next Weekend! In Need of Guest Posts and Giveaways!

This is not exactly food, travel or wine related - although we bet there will be a lot of wine consumed during the weekend - but one of the many hats I wear in addition to The Adirondack Chick is pet lifestyle writing over at My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much.

Next weekend I'm participating a 24-hour blogathon on that site where I will be posting 24 posts in 24 hours to raise money for charity. Now, here is where it gets complicated and is related -- I'm also having a girls weekend at my house. When I volunteered to participate in the blogathon I didn't realize it was the same weekend as the girls weekend -- so I'm going to have a house full of people and be playing Adirondack tour guide at the same time of the blogathon. (Thank you Blogger for mobile capabilities...)

So, we are looking for guest writers to post on My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much and also for giveaways to host during the event. You can find all the information by clicking here. If you are interested in helping out, please e-mail me at michellemaskaly (at) yahoo dotcom.


It should prove to be an interesting weekend to say the least!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Marx Foods' Iron Foodie 2010

We saw the Marx Foods' Iron Foodie 2010 contest on The Foodie BlogRoll, and thought it would be fun to throw our non-chef's hat into the mix. Plus, I really liked several of the question they were requiring us to answer in this post to be considered for the challenge!

I'm not, and never will be a 'chef,' but I really like cooking, entertaining, writing about food, learning and trying new things and always up for a new adventure, which is why the Iron Foodie contest caught my eye -- it was something I had never done before and seemed fun. Never one to back away from a challenge, I figured, "why not?"

One of the questions we need to answer is notwithstanding any limitations whose kitchen would you want to spend a day in and why. They listed a bunch of famous chefs, but I wouldn't pick any of them. I would pick my great-grandmother, for who the name of this blog partially rests on.

Many of my childhood food memories were from her - especially her turkey dinner. She would make the best banana bread, always had a turkey (my favorite food at the time) in the oven when we would go see her, amazing mashed potatoes and a killer blueberry pie. When we hadn't been to visit her she would ship me chocolate chip cookies in a cereal box to let me know she missed me. There would always be a note that said something like, "Tell your parents to bring you to visit."

The thing I regret the most is that while I always helped her cook, I never really paid close attention to how she cooked. (I was 10 or 11 when she died.. so what do you want to from a little kid that age... ) I'd love to be able to spend a day with her learning all her "secret" recipes she never wrote down.

Although I loved turkey then, she might be a little disappointed to know it's no longer my favorite dish and if given the chance, I'd be more likely to steal pasta or veggies off a plate than the meat.


The last question we were asked to answer doesn't really fit with the rest of this post, but we had to pick a mainstream food we can't stand. For me, it would have to be sushi. Eating raw fish is completely GROSS!



Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:
MarxFoods.com -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

Crepe: Adirondack Worldless Wednesday


 Wholy Crepe in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Entertaining: Breadsticks in a Glass

We threw together a last-minute champagne and chocolate party last week, and to keep with the champagne theme we wanted to find a creative way to present these breadsticks. Our first choice was a champagne glass, but it was too top heavy. A wine glass, however was the perfect fit, and our guests even commented on the presentation.

For more photos from the party, visit our Facebook page!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Garlic Mushrooms and Barley

This is a take on a mushroom and barley dish a friend of mine made for me a few weeks ago. It works in place of rice as a side dish for any type of meat dish, especially steak, or if you are a vegetarian like me, it's a great main course. It also tasted excellent reheated for lunch the next day.

I use vegetable bouillon cubes, but you can replace it with mushroom (or chicken for non-veggies) broth.

3 cups water
3-4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 package sliced mushrooms (use as big or small of a package you want, but minimum is 8 oz. package)
1 1/2 cups barley
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (if you like garlic, add at least two more cloves)
salt
fresh ground pepper

In a large pot combine water, bouillon cubes and barley.

Wash the mushrooms and break into pieces. Then add them to the pot. Add salt and fresh ground pepper.


Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 - 30 minutes or until all the water the absorbed. I like my barley a little firmer, but you can add more water if you want it mushier.

Take off the heat and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.


Enjoy!



Barley

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