Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sausage Pesto Pasta

My friend made this dish when she came home to stay with us after my mom passed away. I will be forever thankful for her kindness and generosity those ten days she stayed with us. Whenever I make this meal I think of her.

What you need
Smoked Turkey Sausage, The Hillshire farms kind
1/2 to 1 lb of greens. I used collards.
Bow tie Pasta. 1 lb. I use whole grain.
Pesto. I have used the one from the dairy case, the dry mix, and now a jarred. The jarred keeps the longest.

Boil pasta according to package directions.

In a large stockpot.... dutch oven.... your big pot with a lid, melt a little butter or olive oil on medium. Add greens and cover for a ten minutes. After ten minutes slice the sausage into bit size pieces and add to the pot. Cook for another five minutes.

Drain pasta, then add to pot. Add pesto to your taste. Hubby likes a little more, I like a little less.

Serve hot.

My friend said she also uses chicken sometimes, or kale.

Opinion: We love this. Even the kid will two helpings! Kind of a savory yet lightly salty meal. I use lower fat options minus the pesto, but I am sure it would be good with its full fat counter parts.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Fajitas are one of our most favorite meals to whip up. I am going to plug Giant Eagle's salad bar with making this an even quicker and more simple meal. Peppers are still a little high priced here, so I picked up my red and green bell peppers already sliced off the bar for less than one pepper would have cost.

You will need...

Flour tortillas
Sliced green and red bell peppers (to your liking, some like more and some like less. The equivalent to one pepper is plenty for the three of us.)
Sliced Onion, one small red is what I use
Monetary jack cheese
Sour Cream
Guacamole and Salsa if you like it

Now, for your meat, I used to swear by flank steak. I could only get it from the butcher shop, the grocery never seems to have it. Today I picked up some skirt steak that was as thin as paper. IT WAS PERFECT!!!! What makes it even better is that it cooked in about four minutes. This dinner from start to finish took less than ten minutes.

I marinate my steak in...
1 tablespoon of olive oil
The juice of one lime
A splash of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of chili powder
a dash of cumin
salt and pepper

I marinated this meat for about two hours and it was perfect. The flank steak is best overnight. Add more lime juice for flank steak too!

I cooked the meat and tortillas on the grill, and the peppers on the stove.

Serve and Eat!

The opinion: We love these. What is not to love about guacamole?
Kiddo prefers what we call cheesy when we have this. Cheese melted in a tortilla shell.... a quesadilla to us grown ups.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The meal that broke the oven!

I had been craving Greek style food for days. I finally caved in and ran to the grocery store to the get things we needed to make this meal come to fruition.

What you need...

1 lb of ground lamb (you could probably substitute ground anything)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
fresh ground black pepper
dash of cinnamon

1 cup of plain yogurt
1 clove of garlic minced
1 cucumber, peel it, shred 1/4 cup of it for this sauce, slice the rest and set aside
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin

Pita breads
mild pepper rings
sliced tomato

Mix the first group of ingredients to make a loaf. The recipe I based this on (a Rachel Ray that I changed) calls to rub the loaf in olive oil. I really think it would be okay if you skipped this step. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 400. This bad boy was a little greasy. I had never made lamb at home... maybe it is always that way. I drained it well and used paper towels to wick away some of the excess grease.

While the loaf is baking mix the next group of ingredients to make the sauce. Chill covered.

After the loaf cools slice it thinly. Serve with pitas, and make your gyro any way you like it.

Now before I give my opinion I must let you know this lamb did in the element on my oven. I am not sure if was previously damaged or not. This loaf sizzled and splattered while it was baking. When I went to take it out, the lower oven element was burning like a fourth of July sparkler!

Opinion: Oh my word, this was so yummy for home cooked. Hubby and I both ate two. I had extra tomatoes and cucumbers for dipping in the yogurt sauce. The meat was flavored just right. Sometimes when you try to duplicate things at home it is just not the same. While this was not restaurant grade, it was a superior at home take on Greek. I also made hummus from scratch and we dipped pita chips in it.

By the way... the kiddo ate pita bread and tomatoes for dinner that night.... she would not touch the meat.

June Update

Thirty days has now came and gone. Although I have not been good about keeping this updated, I would say for the most part the first 30 days were a success minus a few pizza interludes here and there. I will continue to update. Our goal for July is to try at least two new meals a week. I do not know how families with multiple children do it each night. We have swim team, and it makes things difficult. Thank you for following!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

15th Night

Beer Can Chicken

This is one of Mike's favorite things to cook I think!

You will need....
1 whole chicken, we used a three pound roaster
McCormick Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning
1 can of beer
Olive Oil

Wash and dry the chicken. Lightly based with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning. We usually do a little extra pepper to our tastes. Now if you have thought ahead you could do this the night before and let it marinate in the Frigidaire over night. Pre heat the grill. Open can of beer and drink up to 1/2. Place chicken on top of beer can. Now this may take a little finesse, or even two people. Place chicken on the grill upright. Cook on medium heat for two to three hours. I asked Mike his timing method and he said "it's chicken, I cook it until it is done." Use your handy dandy meat thermometer to check after two hours.

The opinion: We all love this. Very yummy and moist. The skin seems to be extra good on this. The kiddo loves it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

14th Night

We spent the day doing laundry and sanding the kitchen cabinents.  Fun?!?

Tonight's dinner

Pineapple Turkey Burgers

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 tspn ground ginger
1/2 tspn allspice
a pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 can of cubed pineapple... we use the in its own juice kind. 

Spray grill so your meat does not stick.  Pre heat grill to medium.  

Mix ingredients like you are making meat loaf, with your hands.  Dig right in.  Form into burgers.  I made five burgers from 1 pound of meat.  Grill 5 to six minutes on each side.  Serve on buns.

I served grilled pineapple rings as a side because the kitchen was still a mess.  

Opinion:  These were SO good.  I think next time I may try fresh ginger and crushed pineapple instead.  I also think they would be really good in a pita shell.  Beware, some of the pineapple fell out while cooking.  The flavor and texture were nice.  A citrus salad would have made a nice side, but I could not risk paint chips in our food.  I prepared these outside. 

Kid Opinion:  It was ground meat.  She ate a bite, picked the pineapple cubes out, ate the bun, and then filled up on grilled pineapple rings. 

13th Night

Jeez, I have been busy.  Now that I am officially off, well almost, I will play catch up. 

We did not eat dinner Friday night.  See, I am not perfect.  We went to pick kiddo up from playing at a friends house at 5:30...  we hung out until 10:30.  We just crashed when we got home.  Every kid needs a Popsicle or two for dinner once in their life, right?