Shaina's Superb Sal-lad

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Okay, you have to be a Spongebob fan to get that title.

You need:
1-2 handfuls baby spinach (this depends on how much you want to eat)
1-2 handfuls of coleslaw mix that is NOT dressed (so, cabbage and carrots basically)
10-12 baby carrots
1 handful of broccoli
2 tablespoons dressing of your choice
1 handful of Shaina's secret croutons.

I take the baby spinach and the coleslaw mix and toss it in a small mixing bowl. Then I take the broccoli and pull it apart so that you don't get any BIG bites of it, but get a little bit in each bite. I slice up the baby carrots in very small bites as well. I toss all of this, and then toss 2 tablespoons of ranch dressing into it as well. I top it with my secret ingredient.

My husband LOVES Snyder's brand Hot Wing's flavored pretzels. I don't like them by themselves, but good HEAVENS they are good on a salad! They come in little bite sized pieces, but they aren't really uniform in size... so one bite you'll get a little flavor, and the next you'll get a huge bite. Plus, where they're pretzels, they're actually better for you than croutons! And, I think they have a much better flavor as well!

So there you have, Shaina's Superb Sal-lad. I promise, it's mouth watering! I call it my rabbit food lunch! haha!


Friday, June 11, 2010

I can't make rice. I fully acknowledge this. It turns out crunchy EVERY SINGLE TIME. I can, however, make risotto without screwing it up!

For this recipe, you need a special kind of rice called Arborio. It's a short grain rice (instead of the more traditional long grain). I had trouble finding it in our small town, but if you live around a Kroger or something, you may be more successful (I think most Super Wal-Marts carry it now as well).

This serves 2 people as a main course. Double amounts to serve four(as a main course), or use this to serve 4 as a side.

1/2 a large onion (I used vidalia), finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2/3 cup of arborio rice
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of water (empty the broth, fill the can back up with water, then add it to the broth)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese
cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Add your chicken stock/broth to a small sauce pan and keep warm.

I start off with the butter and olive oil in the pan, then I add in the onion and saute until soft (3-4 minutes). Then I add in the garlic, rosemary and rice, and saute until the rice is just starting to brown a LITTLE (this adds nuttiness). Then I begin ladling in the warm liquids. You ladle in a ladle or two, and then stir that until all of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat. A lot. It takes around 22 minutes.

While it's cooking, and I'm stirring, I usually brown some chicken in a separate skillet, and then shred it once its fully cooked.

Once you have incorporated all the liquid into the rice, pull out the large rosemary sprig, the big pieces of garlic, and add in the Parmesan cheese. If you like Parmesan, add a lot, if you're not crazy about it, add a little. DO NOT SALT until this point. Taste it, and then if it needs salt, add it. I highly, HIGHLY recommend a low sodium chicken broth.

Add in the chicken, stir to incorporate, and add pepper as necessary. Super easy, creamy, and totally yummy!

Fake Out!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I love it when I take leftovers and make something amazing out of it.

It doesn't happen very often, but I love the sense of empowerment I get when I throw some stuff in the pan and come out with something amazing. I hate just serving up boring old leftovers, yet I can never think of anything creative to make.

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE to cook. LOVE it. I also love to eat. Which is the reason I'm still currently 50 lbs overweight. I'm trying to resolve to make better eating choices though. And still have the tasty food I love.

Tonight, I wasn't that hungry for dinner, so I fixed Carl steak and a baked potato. I had four pieces of meat, and he ate two of them (each piece was probably around 3-4 ounces).

Fast-forward to about an hour and a half ago. I'm STARVING. I went in the kitchen and whipped up some everythingdip (recipe to follow soon), and then decided I didn't want just potato chips. I saw the left-over steak, and inspiration hit me.

I sliced it up thinly, and set it aside. Then I took some fresh, raw broccoli and threw it in the pan with some extra virgin olive oil, a lot of salt, garlic powder, dried onion, balsamic vinegar, and a little water. I cranked it up to medium high, put a lid on it, and let it steam for a bit. Then I tossed in the beef, beef juices, and tossed it around for a bit, then served.

ZOMG IT WAS DELICIOUS. It tasted JUST like Beef and Broccoli at my chinese restaurant, but without the sauce. The broccoli had soaked up all the yumminess from the onions and such, and it was just delish.

I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow!

"Burn Your Mouth" Mac and Cheese

So, I was watching Rachael Ray's daytime talk show thing the other day, and she made this recipe, which was a mac and cheese with broceili. She made it with a rue (rew? roo?), which I had attempted before with a big ole' epic fail... It was so thick and nasty. But, today, I decided to try my hand at making it again.

Lemme start off right here by telling all you new folk... I don't follow recipes. This is why I cannot bake. Okay, I can very rarely... but usually something turns out badly. But, I can cook! In fact, I seriously wish I could go back in time, not go to college, and just go to culinary school. *le sigh*

ANYWAY. I set out to make mac and cheese. I decided to use spinach. I used fresh spinach leaves, NOT baby spinach... but I don't think I liked it as well as if I had used baby... so I'm including baby spinach in the recipe.

I'm going to include my ingredients list. THEN I'm going to tell you how I made it, because, remember, I don't like recipes, so there will be no exact amounts. Sorry!

Elbow Macaroni
Boxed Chicken Stock (NO MSG!!)
Several different kinds of cheese, shredded (I used Yoder's brand, which, if you can find it where you live, BUY IT. It's delish!)

I started off by cooking the macaroni pretty al dente ("to the tooth" in Italian). I then drained the pasta and left it in the drainy thingy. In the same pot I cooked the pasta in, I melted 2ish tablespoons of butter. Then I whisked in 1ish tablespoon of flour, until it was well-incorporated, and slightly brown. I then stirred in 1ish cup of Chicken stock, then 1 and a halfish cups of milk. Then I added several handfuls of Italian, Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheeses. I then added back in the pasta, and several handfuls of spinach. Once the spinach wilted down, I added it to a casserole dish, and then topped with Cheddar cheese (sharp!). I broiled it on low until the cheese was nice, bubbly and brown.

I called it the "Burn Your Mouth" mac and cheese because it is SO FREAKING GOOD that you (or at least I did) will burn your mouth several times trying to shovel it in!

And hey, think of it this way. The more spinach you add, the better for you it gets!

Mmmm... Lasagne

I made Lasagna yesterday. And it was good.

The End.


Oh, wait, what? You want my personal recipe?

You mean the one I made up LAST time I made lasagna, that made my husband fall at my feet and worship me? That one?

Well... I guess....

Since you asked so nicely.

WARNING: Making this Lasagna one time will cause you to never want anyone elses lasagna ever again, unless its your Grandma's.

Shaina's Stupendous Spinach Lasagna
You will need:
Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles (or, the regular ones, you'll just have to follow the instructions on the box)
Hamburger (I prefer ground chuck)
Italian Sausage (2 links)
1 Box of Frozen Spinach
Cottage Cheese
Cream Cheese
Shredded Cheese of your choice, 1 package (I prefer mozzarella, or Colby Jack)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice (maybe even a big jar and a little jar, last nights was a little dry because of the oven ready noodles).
Various spices and stuff which I'll mention in the recipe.

Start off by browning the hamburger. Using a knife, run it down the sausages and cutting open the casings. Peel the meat out, and add it to the hamburger, continue to brown, making sure to crumble it all up. Add (these are optional), garlic, onions, italian seasonings, and a LITTLE bit of salt. Once the Hamburger/Sausage is browned, drain the excess fat/oil from the pan, then add the spaghetti sauce and let simmer.

While the hamburger is browning, defrost your box of spinach. Drain well. Add the spinach to a bowl, then add in 2-3 large tablespoons of cream cheese, 1-2 large tablespoons of cottage cheese (or ricotta if you prefer, I just don't like ricotta), and half the bag of shredded cheese. Mix well.

Start off with a layer of sauce, then cheese, then noodles. Repeat till you run out of cheese and sauce. End with the rest of the shredded cheese on top, with a little bit of italian seasoning sprinkled on top. I baked it in a 375ish oven (I don't really remember...) for 45 minutes. The noodles were tender, and the cheese was wonderfully brown!

Theoretically you should let it set for about 15 minutes to cool a little, but in reality we dug into it as SOON as it was out of the oven yesterday...


Hey, if you make it, and like it, send me a shout to let me know!

Every thing Dip

I'm really picky when it comes to processed foods. I try not to eat anything that includes monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, or nitrates.

It's not easy. At all. I have to make everything from scratch. And even then, high fructose especially is in EVERYTHING.

Why do I try to stay away from these things? Google some of them, especially the hydrogenated oils. I don't want to take 6 pages here, but basically NONE of them are good for your body.

MSG though, especially, upsets our whole family. Keevia SCREAMS the day after I eat it, Carl ends up with, ahem, stomach troubles, and I get headaches, tummy issues, and extreme bloating.

So, we stay away from it.

Which means Ranch dressing is out of the question. Except for Newman's Own recipe. EVERY.SINGLE. ranch dressing in the store has MSG in it. Ranch is huge in our house.

So I googled it. And The Pioneer Woman came through for me! I loooooove that recipe. It's DELICIOUS. I go heavy on the dill. VERY heavy.

Recently though, I found myself late at night, craving something to dip things in. I wasn't about to traipse outside(we'll touch on my greatest fears in another post...) to get fresh herbs, so I came up with my own mixture.

I took a heaping tablespoon of sour cream, a heaping tablespoon of PLAIN yogurt, and a then thinned it out with a little buttermilk. I added a lot of garlic powder, a LOT of dried dill weed, a good amount of salt, and a little bit of dried onion. Mixed it all together, and deemed it my "everything" sauce.

It tastes a little like ranch. It's oniony, tangy, and I like it.