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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fresh herbs...


I LOVE using fresh herbs in my meals. Even better, though, is when the fresh herbs come from our garden.

Today's meal, Pumpkin Sausage Pasta, has fresh Sage. Mmmmmm, the fragrance is heavenly!

This year we are also growing rosemary (well, that's a year round bush), basil, thyme, oregano and some type of lemon scented oregano.

What herbs are you growing in your garden this year?

What are your favorite fresh herbs to cook with (even if you don't have a garden)?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Super Easy Chocolate Covered Pretzels...



We've been having strange oven issues lately (the ceiling or roof inside the oven is PEELING OFF and started flaking into the food!! UGH!!! Anyone else ever have this problem???) and I've been trying to find some recipes for sweets that don't require baking. Boy, do I miss baking cookies!!!

Elizabeth and I decided to simply melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and then drizzle the chocolate on top of pretzels. After we finished making them, we let them set up in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. YUM!! Instant hit for the family, quick, ovenless sweet treat, and a pile of fun watching Elizabeth try to get all the chocolate off her little hands!!!!




With these little three year old hands around, the pretzels didn't last long!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Watermelon...




Mmmmm.... why is it that the first watermelon of the year is ALWAYS the best watermelon of the year?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Wooohooo!!!!



I'm pretty sure that this photo will not stay on my blog much longer. Joshua doesn't know that I put it up. HA!

Ahem.

Anyway, my dear sweet son, Joshua, is a student at Liberty University and is on the Dean's List AGAIN!!! He always tells me "Mom, it's no big deal. Anyone can get on the Dean's List. Really."

*I* never got on the Dean's List. So there.

I am just super excited for him (AGAIN) and wanted to shout it out here for all y'all to read and know about!!!

Now... enjoy this post for a bit... He just may ask me to take it down later!!!

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing...



Oh y'all. This recipe was beyond mouth-watering in my opinion!! I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this last week on a Food Network special and it looked simple and delicioius- and it was!!

I have to tell y'all, though, that Mr. U didn't care for it. He thinks it's just because he's not a basil fan. Me? I ADORE fresh basil, so this was right up my alley!!! I served it with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini. Yum.

Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.
Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.

Friday, June 05, 2009

What we've been up to...



Yep, we've been painting!!! And BOY is it NOT fun!!! At least, the kitchen isn't fun. There are so many little nooks and crannies in a kitchen. Plus, we are painting over wallpaper (you can kind of see the wallpaper under the primer in this picture). I am SO happy to get rid of the wallpaper!!!

Oh, and the color we chose? Tobacco Road recommended by The Nester. LOVE IT!!

This is taking longer than I expected, since we're only working at night when Elizabeth is in bed. I SOOO look forward to the kitchen being back to normal and having pretty, new wall!!!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Crunchy Noodle Salad




My family adores all the flavors involved in Asian foods- soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, cilantro, garlic, ginger. Boy boy, my mouth is watering now just typing this out!!!! This recipe involves all those flavors and is really VERY delicious!!

The original recipe is from Ina Garten but, as usual, I had to change things up a bit. Feel free to play with it, too, to create something your family will love as well.


Crunchy Noodle Salad

Kosher salt
1/2 pound thin spaghetti
1 pound sugar snap peas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture. Add the chopped peanuts and cilantro. Delicious warm or cold.

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