Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spaghetti Squash!

Spaghetti Squash is one of those things I've always been curious about - never tried to make it on my own, even after tasting it once and liking it quite a bit.  Also, I eat noodles a lot (like a WHOLE LOT) and thought this might be a good way to lessen my carb intake but still get that warm pasta with sauce feeling. 
A kind young gentleman offered me a  trip to Fairway, in a car no less, so I picked one up - not having to lug the heavy veggie home left me with little excuse not to. 

I have a lot of cookbooks, and several veggie-centric ones - but oddly enough none of them had a recipe or directions on how to cook a spaghetti squash!  Luckily, the Internet came to the rescue - I found this post  with several different cooking options.  I went with the quartering and baking option - 45 minutes later (and some weird smell from my brand new oven) I was starved and ready to eat.  Could have used a few more minutes, perhaps but it was good!  (Also, I ignored the "rind side up" direction until about 30 min in so that might have warped the cooking time a bit.) 

Going at it with a fork to shred it up was fun too.  I topped it with some chopped tomatoes and vodka sauce and it made for a tasty dinner - with plenty left over for later. 

So, this will never replace my first true love - pasta - but it was a fun new thing to try!  I toasted the seeds and chowed down on those too - pumpkin seed style.  Yum!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spicy Soup!

More home cooking in my new kitchen!  This weekend I whipped up a fun and fast soup, thanks to a recipe in the latest Real Simple magazine. 

This was so quick to make!  Like, too quick even - I was still chopping veggies when the broth had boiled enough and it was time to pop them in the pot already!  (I'm not quite an organized cook.) It came out great, even with a few adjustments on my part.  Overall highly recommended!  A great vegetarian dish, that's quite filling, and can definitely carry on out of "soup season" into the spring with its light fresh tastes!  Check it out.

from Real Simple, April 2011

Serves 4*Hands-On Time: 30m*Total Time: 30m

1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (My supermarket was lacking in options, and I wasn't up for a trip to Chinatown, so I used the red rooster garlic/chili sauce.  Worked well!  Although I doubled the dose - I like it spicy!)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (I used light coconut milk - worked fine!  And saved a few calories, too.)
kosher salt
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced (Used regular white mushroom here - way cheaper than shiitake!  And still tasty.)
4 ounces green beans, halved
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
4 ounces snow peas (I couldn't find these in my store.  So I skipped them, and added a few more green beans.  Still good!)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Asian chili garlic sauce, for serving

1.Place the curry paste and ginger in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the broth, coconut milk, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
2.Add the mushrooms, green beans, and carrots to the saucepan and simmer until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tofu and snow peas and simmer until the snow peas are bright green, about 1 minute more.
3.Stir in the lime juice. Sprinkle with the basil and serve with the chili garlic sauce.

Made a great lunch for work today too!  And check out my cute new bowls from Ikea.  I'm like a real grown up with dishes and everything!  Woo hoo!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Silly Little Can

Here is a fun craft that will only take you a few short minutes!  Its pretty self explanatory but I will share. 

I needed some little containers to store various accouterments in my bathroom.  I wanted them to be cute since I'd look at them every day, but neutral so as not to look clutters.  Also, I am cheap and didn't want to buy them. 

Then, my epiphany - I could make some myself!  One empty can of Spaghettios later, and I was ready to roll.  I cut some burlap I had on hand a littler larger than the height of the can (after washing, of course), and made the fabric a little bit longer than I'd need to wrap around, for overlap.  I peeled off the label and glued the fabric to the can.  (I used plain Elmer's glue, since I couldn't quite lay my hands on my glue gun at that moment, but that would work too.)  I wrapped two rubber bands around it while it dried to keep it in place. 

Once it dried, I trimmed the burlap a little, then picked out a nice brown ribbon and cut two sections of it, each long enough to wrap around the can, plus about a half an inch.  I glued those to the top and bottom rims of the can and after a little drying it was done!  After I get a few more cans I might make more - stay tuned!

You don't have to use burlap of course - any scrap fabric would work.  You could use wrapping paper or ribbon or whatever you'd like!  Fun and free storage - yay! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Luke!

Happy 23rd Birthday to my wonderful cousin Luke.  Hope you have fun today! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome Home!

Hi Friends!  I know, its been a while.  My latest news is that I've moved to a new apartment!  I have a cute little place all my own to call home now.  I've been there a couple of weeks, but just made my first real dinner last night - lack of cooking utensils was thwarting my chef skills: ie, I had no knives, and no time to purchase them yet. 

But that has since been rectified thanks to some sweet hand-me-downs from Grandma and Grandpa!  Check out my mushroom stroganoff!  It was pretty good.  The recipe is from Cooking Light: Fresh Food Fast, but I came across it on this blog. (Thanks Teresa!)  Now all I need are some plates, and i'm good to go for a dinner party!

Mushroom Stroganoff

By Fresh Food Fast by Cooking Light

3 1/2 cups uncooked medium egg noodles (I used whole wheat just for kicks)
cooking spray
5 (4 oz) packages fresh gourmet-blend mushrooms (This is what the recipe calls for - I just used a 10 oz package and sliced them up myself - perfectly good!)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups reduced fat milk
3 tablespoons dry sherry (I omitted this - would give it more flavor.  Could use wine or stock too)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped chives (optional)


1. Cook noodles according to directions
2. While noodles cook, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat; generously coat pan with cooking spray. Add mushroom and onion; cook 10 minutes, or until browned, stirring frequently.
3. While mushroom mixture cooks, melt butter in a saucepan.  Incorporate flour with a whisk.  Once combined, gradually add milk with a whisk.  Cook, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Add salt and pepper, and sherry. (A little hot sauce here would be good, too). 
4. Stir sauce and cooked noodles into mushroom mixture. Stir in sour cream; sprinkle with chives, if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves 4: Serving is 1 3/4 cups
Per Serving: 393 cal, 12.6g fat, 15g prot, 55.2g carb, 3.5g fiber