Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mega Monster Man Burgers

Mr. Lawyer misses cooking and I miss him cooking for me! So my new weekend plan is to kick back, relax, and have him make something yummy! And that is exactly what he did (well, I whipped up some baked beans). We played with new toys to grind our own burger meat. I think he used sirloin. He also made me crop him out of this picture.
The burgers were AMAZING. They were so soft and just melted in your mouth. The boy insists that this is the only way we will do burgers from now on. If he wants to make them then I'm okay with that! Of course because he is a boy he didn't actually measure anything but I did get a list of ingredients. The burgers were huge and manly. And super messy. And completely delicious.
Mega Monster Man Burgers!
(from the Boy)
1.5 pounds freshly ground meat
Cabot Cheese
Red Pepper Flakes
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Worcestershire Sauce
1 egg
Panko Bread Crumbs
1. Mix it all together and form huge burgers!

March Roundup

Sometimes a poor yummy meal doesn't make the blog. Sometimes it's a delicious repeat recipe. Other times it might not be a real recipe, like our salad bar nights. And every so often our social life ruins my meal planning and we end up eating out. As a result you miss out on some cool pictures! Here are three fun but neglected photos from March.
For Ali's birthday we ended up at the Farmers' Cabinet. It has an awesome old school atmosphere and the bartenders chip an ice ball in front of you for your drink.
A delicious repeat: Kev's Grandmom's Chicken
 My rainbow salad toppings! We did a salad bar for dinner and the colors were gorgeous. In the middle is a yellow rainbow carrot, an interesting change from orange!

Crockpot Thai

Yet another pinterest find! Luckily this recipe came out decently because it started off as a small disaster! I'm getting ready to make it an hour before I leave for work and I thought I had teriyaki sauce. When I went to the cupboard I discovered it was hoisin sauce! Okay fine, I'll make my own. I have a Tyler Florence recipe that is good but it requires 2 oranges. Ah well, we have some orange juice I'll use. NOPE. Someone finished the OJ and didn't tell me. *sighs* Panic! Eh, let's see if these cutie clementines will work. And so my morning went. My afternoon was just as good. Without any time to run to the cheap big grocery store I went to the corner market for tortillas because there was a lot of sauce with this dish and I figured it needed something sturdy. Package of tortillas $5, head of lettuce $1.50. Needless to say I went with lettuce wraps (and rice).
The crockpot all ready to go!
Overall it was pretty good. Mr. Lawyer chowed down a ton! I thought there was a bitter after taste but he didn't think so. I had that happen one other time in Syracuse when I did a slow cooker chipotle lime turkey breast recipe. Weird. The peanut sauce was not overpowering but had a nice kick to it. I halved the meat but kept the sauce the same. The official rating was good but I'm not sold on it being a keeper so the recipe of the week goes to the Cashew Chicken!
Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce
(adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker)
One (2 pound) boneless pork loin, fat trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
1/2 cup prepared teriyaki sauce (I made my own)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
chopped green onions
roasted chop peanuts
lime slices
1. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Place all ingredients except for peanut butter and garnishes in the slow cooker.
2. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.
3. Before serving, remove pork and cut up. Mix peanut butter with sauce in slow cooker until peanut butter dissolves.
4. Toss pork back in slow cooker and coat with sauce. Serve over rice with garnishes!
Our garnishes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Double It!

After last night's dud I'm glad tonight's dinner had one major problem.....We didn't have enough!  I'll be keeping this lovely little pinterest find and doubling it next time. The lettuce wraps were a nice healthy twist and it was perfect when topped off with a little sriracha!
Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
8 leaves of greenleaf or iceburg lettuce
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix soy, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper, ginger and sesame oil. Set aside.
2. Heat peanut oil in pan over medium to medium high heat. Add diced chicken and brown (about 4-5 minutes). Remove chicken from oil. Add onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to pan; brown. When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken, and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.
3. Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or basil.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inside Out, Upside Down

And not yummy! I was very excited for this recipe. I found it on pinterest, it looked delicious and it would have worked perfectly for Meatless Monday. Sadly, it did not come out as I hoped. It was really lacking a burst of flavor. Mr. Lawyer doctored it up with some more sweet chili sauce which did help but at that point I didn't care. It did need more sauce so maybe double that part of the recipe? I am not ashamed to admit that I made a PB&J after dinner which still left me unsatisfied! I blame the bread that's been in our fridge for 2 weeks and old peanut butter. *Sighs* Not my kitchen night.
There was also a lot of prep work involved which might have been due to the fact that I lack the upper arm strength to use the mandoline efficiently. Mr. Lawyer normally takes over the mandoline....probably because he's afraid I'll slice off a finger.
Also, canned organic baby corn is gross. I picked all mine out.
Inside Out Chinese Spring Roll Salad
(found on pinterest, from better
2 oz Bean Thread, mung bean noodles (subbed rice noodles)
3 cups Shredded Napa Cabbage
1 cup Torn Watercress (omitted)
1 Carrot, cut into matchstick thin strips
1/2 cup Seedless Cucumber, cut into matchstick thin strips
1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, cut into matchstick thin strips
1 Green Onion, minced
1 cup Chopped Baby Corn
2 Tbsp Snipped Cilantro
2 Tbsp Snipped Mint
1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Minced Ginger Root
1 Large Clove Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp Lime Zest
Garnish- Black Sesame Seeds
1. Soak the bean threads in warm water to cover for 10 minutes or till pliable. Drain, then cook in boiling water till the noodles expand and appear glasslike, 1-2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Cut into 4-inch lengths. Place in a large bowl along with the rest of the salad ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing till well combined; toss with the salad to evenly coat. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bits and Pieces of the Weekend

So. I have this irrational fear that my dinner will be a disaster or I won't have enough food and everyone will starve! I tend to go overboard with the snacks and appetizers in order to compensate for the obvious failure that my meal will be. I feel like this time around I managed to restrain myself pretty well. I think it was the perfect amount of pre-dinner snacks.

Cheese and Bacon Wrapped Scallops. Always a good bet. Especially when all the boys don't get real bacon anymore.
Cabot, Cranberry Wensleydale, and Herbed Goat Cheese.
We ended the weekend with my biggest stir fry yet! I had to do it in three batches and then threw it all together for the sauce. There was beef, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and water chestnuts in a brown garlic sauce. Yum.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pasta Sauce Change Up!

This was a nice spring-like change from regular red pasta sauce. I used fresh parsley and basil, dried thyme and omitted the marjoram. The only thing I really changed was adding the extra butter and all the herbs to the hot pan at the end to help melt it and blend the flavors. Then I tossed it with the pasta. It was easy, quick and would work well in a pinch. Nice change but not an overly exciting photo! You can see a little bit of the herbs but there isn't much to show with a butter sauce!
Fettuccine with Garlic Herb Butter
(adapted from
6 ounces dry fettuccini pasta
1 teaspoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon butter. Add garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds or until garlic begins to turn golden.
3. In a small bowl, combine parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme, 1 tablespoon butter, salt and ground black pepper with cooked garlic; mix well. Toss with pasta and serve.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Peachy Pork

Good old Martha never lets me down when it counts. I had to find a new recipe for my dinner party because all of my go to recipes had already been sampled by the parental units! I know you're not suppose to try a new recipe when having a party but Mr. Lawyer vetoed all my other meal choices. Luckily this one came out pretty well! The dried peaches added a nice punch of flavor but the glaze was essential for pouring over the individual pieces. I had never stuffed meat before and thought the directions were a bit confusing so I just looked up a video on youtube. It was easier than I thought: just slice carefully and flatten a bit with a rolling pin.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the process but I had too many things going on. Mastering this simple skills really opens up a lot of yummy looking recipes! I will definitely be keeping this recipe but between buying a 2.4 pound pork loin and the dried peaches ($5!!) it will only be a special occasion meal.
Peach-Stuffed Pork Loin
(from Martha Stewart)
1 1/4 cups water
9 peaches, dried, or 6 ounces store-bought dried peaches
1 boneless pork loin (2 1/2 pounds), trimmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pinch of ground cloves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup peach jam
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Coarsely chop store-bought dried peaches if using. Add peaches to water; return to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand for 20 minutes. Remove peaches using a slotted spoon, and squeeze; reserve liquid.
2. Meanwhile, butterfly pork loin: Starting 3/4 inch from top of loin, make a horizontal cut into side, slicing through meat in short strokes and leaving about 1 inch intact at outer edge. Unfold meat (as if opening a book). Cut a vertical slit 3/4-inch deep at seam, and repeat to make a horizontal cut in the opposite direction. Pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet if needed.
3. Stir together a seasoning mixture of salt, pepper, and the cloves; sprinkle some over pork. Spread drained peaches over pork, leaving a 1-inch border on 1 short end. Roll up pork from short end to enclose filling. Tie together with kitchen twine to shape and hold in filling. Sprinkle with seasoning mixture; dust with flour. Place in a roasting pan, seam side down.
4. Bring reserved soaking liquid, the jam, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer for 1 minute.
5. Roast pork for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 138 degrees, about 25 minutes more. Brush with glaze, and roast for 5 minutes more. Transfer pork to a platter; reserve juices in roasting pan. Let rest for 10 minutes. Brush with glaze again.
6. Pour accumulated pan juices into pot with glaze. Set roasting pan across 2 burners, and add remaining 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan. Add liquid and bits to glaze. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer sauce for 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice.
Untie pork; cut into 1-inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spicy Hot Favorite!

More reasons to be in heaven! Our visitors from Upstate brought us this little yummy present. And by us, I mean me because there is no way in heck I'm sharing it.
Heaven. From one of our favorite places in 'Cuse. My ultimate after school snack happened today: Spicy Hot Tomato Oil, a nice loaf of bread, and some sharp Cabot cheese. I can die happy.

Lemony Mishap!

I am a firm believer in awesome music makes awesome things happen. Today for my after school chores and lesson planning I chose Mumford & Sons. This evening I've been rocking out to Florence + the Machine while baking a batch of my Chocolate Crackled Cookies, specially requested by an awesome student for her last day *sniff*. I might have been caught dancing around and lip-synching into a wooden spoon....but I think I recovered nicely. Besides, boys aren't really that observant. These cookies are going to be awesome. Evidently when I made these Lemon Ricotta Cookies for my dinner party I was not rocking out to any good music because I opened the oven to this:
Behold a baking conundrum! I read the recipe as both sheets go in at the same time so both sheets of dough were plopped down at the same time and spent the same amount of time outside the oven (my apartment was not overly hot either. I tried baking snickerdoodles once in 100 degree weather and it was melt city!). It mentioned nothing about keeping the dough chilled. The only thing I could think of was the melty batch was on the top rack so some of the heat was blocked? I'm a firm believer in one thing in the oven at a time or else you mess things up (also demonstrated by my soon to be updated stuffed pork recipe). However there was a third tray of cookies that went in by itself, also on the top rack, and was equally as melty. CONUNDRUM! Oh well, at least one batch was presentable for all the 'rents. Mr. Lawyer is certainly enjoying all the deformed ones by himself. 

I went with this recipe because I wanted to make lemon bars but then I remembered we had a container of ricotta cheese that needed to be used up so lemon ricotta cookies it was! They are a bit cakey but then I'm not overly familiar with this type of cookie. The lemon flavor was very pleasant. Other than the melty problem the recipe was quick and easy.
Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
(from Giada,
2 1/2 cups flout
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.
4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
5. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheese Heaven!!

Let's talk about how excited I am right now.
My Cabot order came today!
Why yes, we do use our vegetable crisper as a beer and cheese drawer. Because that's what responsible adults do. And it's epic.
I bought the 8 cheese variety back and a 50 count box of Seriously Sharp Minis.
*Happy Dance*
30% off and free shipping. When compared to these silly city prices it was basically buy one get one free and I can't resist a good deal. The actual cheese drawer is a bit stuffed, double stacked!
I may or may not have just eaten cheese for dinner.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vanilla Bean Heaven!

It was a coworker's birthday today which was the perfect excuse to try a new cupcake recipe! This was also the perfect recipe to use some of my yummy vanilla bean paste in. Oh my goodness, the actual cupcake was divine and unless I have to make a ton of cupcakes I will never make box cupcakes again. It was so soft, light and fluffy. Combined with the buttercream? Vanilla Heaven. I used some store bought chocolate to accommodate the chocolate lovers and while it was good, it overwhelmed the luscious vanilla flavor. If you melt the frosting in the microwave you can dip the cupcakes in and get that smooth glossy finish (I learned this in my Christmas Cupcake Book!).
I gave one to Banks (our doorman). He had it with his coffee and when I came home he said it was the highlight of his day and if I ever started my own bakery he wanted to be number one on my client list. Plus he always asks about how my kids were so he wins in my book.
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes 
with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting
Cupcake Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients: 
1.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
Directions for cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a separate bowl.
3. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla extract and beans until light and fluffy. Slowly add a little of the flour mixture, then add a little milk mixture. Keep alternating slowly until both are fully incorporated. Make sure it is mixed well.
4. Fill muffin tin, 2/3 way full. Bake for 20-24 minutes.
Directions for frosting:
1. Cream together butter and vanilla bean paste. Slowly add confectioners sugar.
2. Add vanilla and milk and mix until incorporated and fluffy!
Go Orange and Blue!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade Fish Sticks!

Tonight I had the palate of a five year, a slightly fancy five year old but not by much. I also haven't been real grocery shopping in forever and a half. I was going to declare a "fend for yourself" night but then I remembered we still had a big bag of frozen tilapia (and some ground turkey, that's it! I should really take advantage of this and clean the freezer). So homemade fish sticks and mac & cheese it was! (Long live Wegman's Spiral Mac & Cheese!!) I went with lemon pepper seasoning because we just had Old Bay Fish Tacos the other week. It was yummy. I saw one recipe that added some parm cheese into the breading, that might be even better! I whipped up some tartar sauce and cocktail sauce for dipping.
Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup panko
1 tablespoon Lemon-Pepper Seasoning or Old Bay Seasoning
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets, cut into wide strips
1. Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil; set aside.
2. Place egg in a wide shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, combine panko, Lemon-Pepper Seasoning or Old Bay, and oil. Dip tilapia into egg, shaking off excess, then into panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheets.
3. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes

Gin, Gin, Glorious Gin!

I bought a new gin, woo! As I explained in this post from last year I like (dark) beer, (sweet) wine, and (off-beat) gin. My #1 gin at the moment is Hendricks. The Prep Crew has been experimenting with making different cocktails and drinks so I decided to branch out of my gin bubble. The result? Citrusy and refreshing! Bulldog Gin is made with many thing but at the top of the list is dragon-fruit and poppy. I'm not sure what those two things are suppose to taste like but the overall flavor of this gin is citrus (and not overly gin-y). I deem Bulldog Gin a good purchase and nice change up (plus the bottle is really cool).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Canned Meat is Creepy

A little while back the Mother Unit gifted us with five cans of chopped clams (and a frozen chicken). I was a little grossed out by the clams because in all honesty, canned meat of any sorts is a little weird. But I found a recipe where they are delicious and not creepy canned meat! This recipe was quick and yummy. We also had everything in the cupboard already (Score!). Except the capers, which I omitted because I haven't found a caper dish I truly enjoy unless the capers are fried. It also wasn't spicy enough for us so at the end we added some hot chili oil to the mix for a little kick. It was perfect.
Bucatini with Red Clam Sauce and Hot Pepper
(from Martha Stewart Magazine)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Red Pepper Flakes
1 can (14 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, chopped plus 1/2 cup juice
2 cans (6.5 ounces each) chopped clams, drained, reserving one cup clam juice
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained (Omitted)
3/4 pound bucatini or other pasta (I used linguini)
1. While bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil, heat oil with garlic oregano, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook until fragrant and garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, and the reserved clam juice. Bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in clams and capers, and cook until heated through.
3. When water boils, add pasta to boiling water, and cook until almost al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain (save one cup water!), and transfer pasta to skillet. Gradually stir in 1 cup pasta water, about 1/2 cup at a time, and cook over low heat, tossing until pasta has absorbed some sauce and is well coated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I've been a kitchen slacker. We lived off that chicken for a week. Thursday I ordered a pizza because we had no food and were going out of town for the weekend. This weekend I was having so much alcohol fun I forgot to take pictures of almost all the food! We had turkey burgers, delicious french toast, crockpot chicken and dumplings, pancakes and mimosas! So in lieu of a recipe I will do my weekend in random pictures: half food, half random awesomness.
John's bacon perfection.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No More Chicken!

Mr. Lawyer ate the last piece of chicken lasagna for breakfast. Thank god. Last night we made chicken salad out of the last remaining bits. Don't get me wrong, getting a free chicken is awesome (thanks mom!) but I am so sick of chicken. I might have started clucking in my sleep.

My goal for this week was to not go to the grocery store for random ingredients. This meant we had to get creative with our chicken salad as we did not have any onion or celery. I started with the traditional base of mayo, salt and pepper. I was heavy handed with some onion powder to make up for the lack of real onions. Grapes and almond slices were thrown in for some sweetness and texture. It was all topped off with some avocado and a side of Grandma's pickles, delicious!
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds
(from the leftovers in my kitchen)
Almond Slices
Onion Powder
Avocado, for topping
1. Mix it all up! I eyeballed it and did everything to taste.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lasagna Architect

Mr. Lawyer is my Lasagna Architect because I have no patience for putting it together. I think I shall put that on his business cards. I planned and did all the prep work and then he swooped in to build it. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Another use for our 9.3 pounds of chicken (yes, there's still more in the fridge. I'm SO sick of chicken) that worked out well because Ms. Boo is here visiting and a big one dish meal is what we needed! Chicken lasagna! Not quite what I was hoping for but it worked. I added mushrooms to the spinach and made a straight up bechamel sauce from my mushroom lasagana. Overall the dish didn't have a ton of flavor, there were no spices or anything that jumped out. It was light and creamy. When I took my first bite I thought there would be seafood in it (it had that kind of creamy taste). You don't really taste the chicken.
White Cheese Chicken Lasagna
(adapted from
9 lasagna noodles
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, and simmer until bubbly. Mix in the broth and milk, and boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Season with the basil, oregano, and ground black pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.
3. Spread 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer with 1/3 of the noodles, the ricotta, and the chicken. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the chicken, and layer with 1/3 of the sauce mixture, spinach, and the remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over cheese, and spread remaining sauce evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


What else are you suppose to do after you've roasted a 9.3 pound chicken?
Grandpa Norm's recipe is here: Chicken and Dumplings!
Nothing like leftover Chicken and Dumplings for breakfast.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Perfection. Yet Again.

Nothing like manhandling a chicken into roast perfection. I've got this chicken thing down pat, didn't even need to look at the recipe this time! Although still freakish about disinfecting the kitchen after the manhandling occurs. The other thing I've got down is convincing someone that it's gentlemanly to pick all the meat of the bones for future meals because I abhor it. If you haven't tried this recipe (which I constantly advocate for) you must find a chicken and roast it immediately. Need convincing? From the mouth of Mr. Lawyer himself: "I love that this chicken doesn't need gravy." Truth. Super moist, super delicious. The recipe is here: Martha Stewart's Perfect Roast Chicken.
My mission of eating more fruits and veggies is going well. Our delicious chicken was accompanied by my easy Farmer Market Squash Saute minus all the cheese and some not as healthy cranberry sauce.

Chocolate Fix

Need a chocolate fix? These cookies are for you! Nice crackled outside, gooey inside, and rolled in powdered sugar for good measure. I was told that they were "brownie cookies" and "fudge cookies". The only issue I had was the chilling time: three hours?! Please. I cut it in half because it was late and Miss Sandy was here. Priorities. 
Chocolate Crackled Cookies
(adapted from
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick all-vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. Beat brown sugar, shortening and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat well.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Add to shortening mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill 3 hours.
3. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, then in powdered sugar to coat completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.