Monday, March 30, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Two Cheese Sauce

Tonight's dinner was stolen from inspired by Tiffany at Eat at Home. She just threw this together on a whim from things she had on hand, and that makes me say WOW. I suck at that.

As I mentioned before, I love roasted red peppers, and this dish gave me a good opportunity to use them. I added some chopped artichoke hearts during the sauteing step because I love those too.

Reviews were as follows:

Mom-loved it

Dad-ate it without complaint

Picky-ass children-snarled at it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We Have a Winner

Little Fishy says "You're a lot luckier than're the winner" Finding Normal! (don't worry, this fish went back into the water) The winner was chosen using a random number generator inside my daughter's head. I'll send you an email letting you know you won my giveaway and then I'll send your loot your way. And if you all stop following me because the contest is over, I'll cry like a baby! people listen to music I've never heard of. I'm so out of touch!

Friday, March 27, 2009

(Not) Key Lime Pie

Looking for a horrendously fattening dessert with a difficult to find ingredient? Look no further y'all! Paula Deen's got just what you need right here. I know I've seen those bottles of key lime juice a million times in my life, until I went out looking for one. And I suppose theoretically I could have purchased actual key limes, but how many million of them would it take to make 3/4 cup of juice? More than I care to know about, I'm sure.
Not only does this contain heavy whipping cream and butter, it's also sporting a hefty amount of half and half and sweetened condensed milk. Heck, why don't we just throw the whole cow in there?? (Yeah, it's good, how could it NOT be??)
To solve my problem of lack of key lime juice I substituted a mixture of juice from one of those hokey little plastic limes, the juice of one real lime, and the juice of half a lemon.

You're supposed to put the whole thing in a springform pan, but I couldn't find mine, so I put it in two of those disposable pie pans. Less dishes for me! (yeah, that's the same lime slice as in the first pic) I love that you can see the little flecks of lime zest in there.

BTW...not being able to find my springform pan was just one of dozens of catastrophes in the kitchen yesterday. Including, but not limited to, being attacked by a large jar of grape jelly that decided to fling itself out of the fridge to splatter all over the floor along with shards of glass, a close call with hot grease and my shins, and the piping hot mashed potatoes that landed 2 mm from my dog's head. I think I'm going to rename my blog: Julie orders pizza from now on.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe belongs to my husband's favorite perky little temptress, Rachael Ray. Although much lacking in cleavage, she makes up for it by offering us this delectable soup, but then ruins it all by calling it Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe-Tastic Tortilla Soup. I just can't quite deal with that recipe title, so I shortened it a bit...hope that's okay. It seems to me there are two things that gives this soup its distinctly Southwest flavor.
These peppers are the first... but be careful. They are potent little buggers. First time I made this recipe I went a little crazy with them and it was almost too spicy for me. If you like things with a bit of a kick, but not enough to cause steam to come out of your ears, about 2 of the peppers would be all you'd want to put in.

Second thing is roasting some veggies before they go in the soup. I don't have an indoor grill thingy so I just used a big skillet. I love love love roasted red peppers. I had a hard time not eating them before throwing them in the pot.

The recipe says to put the tortilla chips in the entire pot of soup, but I thought that would lead to yucky leftovers so we just put the amount of chips we wanted in our bowls. Three out of four family members approved, even the picky girl child. Although she avoided the zucchinis for all she was worth. Boy child wouldn't even try it.

Don't forget: I still have a giveaway going on through Saturday, so if you haven't entered you still have time. You know you want to!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fabulous Giveaway Time

It's finally 100th post! You've been waiting, losing sleep, daydreaming about it, and it's finally here. Who woulda thunk I could blather on about nothing 100 times?? Well, my husband may have had a clue.
I'll keep in you suspense no's the loot.
I've been eyeing these little animal shaped gadgets at Target for quite some time and started collecting them for one of you a few weeks ago. We have the veg-hog veggie brush, the monkey vegetable peeler, and my favorite, the shark paring knife.
And as a bonus you'll get this tiny little kit from Avon with a pumice stone, little brush, and tiny baby mesh scrubby thing. I suppose you could scrub your earlobes with it.

And as another bonus I'm planning to throw in my favorite candy bar ever. (two of them actually) I was unable to buy one to take a picture, because it wouldn't last that long around me. The package says it's 3 servings in one bar....poppycock!

Okay...I guess this is where the how-to's go: 1. As much as I'd like to offer this to the entire universe, I'd better keep it available to the continental US only. I really don't want to find out how much it costs to mail a tiny loofah to Zimbabwe. 2. For one entry just leave me a comment telling me your favorite song. (yeah, I know that's got nothing to do with anything) 3. For a second entry, FOLLOW ME! And leave another comment letting me know if you did (or if you already do) 4. This contest will run until this Saturday (March 28) at midnight. I will announce the winner sometime Sunday afternoon. Or sooner if I'm not a complete slacker. 5. Make sure I have some way to reach you!

That's it...just a little something to say thanks for hanging out with me for 100 posts!

Oh yeah, and my favorite song is Brandy by Looking Glass. Yes, I AM old.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Tea Cake

I went and got myself a new cookbook a couple of days ago. I usually don't buy cookbooks anymore (at least not new ones) thinking I can get most any recipe that would be in them off the internet, but this one just grabbed my attention; and it was in the bargain bin.
The first recipe I've made out of it was this lemon blueberry tea cake.

Because I'm so tremendously graceful, I managed to break the darned thing right in half taking it out of the pan. Oh well, it still tastes the same.

Here's the recipe for ya:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon plus 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour, divided

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour; set aside. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each. Combine the baking powder, salt and remaining flour; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Fold in lemon peel and berries. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60 to 65 minutes. Cool 10 minutes then remove to wire rack.

Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves. Brush glaze on top and sides.

I thought it turned out pretty nice, not too sweet. I think it will be good for breakfast in the morning.

Well..this was my 99th post. Next up...some sort of a giveaway. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Chocolate Chip Sugar Cookie Drops: Cooking with Mara

Mara (aka the girl child) and her dad have always enjoyed spending time together in the kitchen. He's way more patient than I am, what can I say? Yesterday they whipped up a batch of these lovely little sugar cookies...most of which I have already eaten. Recipe at the bottom of this post.
Adding the chocolate chips.... Mixing it all up.....
She gets it from the other side of the family... Such concentration....
Dropping the cookies on the pan....



2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup sugar, divided

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and oil; mix well. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in chips. Form into balls and roll in remaining sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Irish Food

As promised I'm posting the Irish Beef Stew I made from the recipe I found from Cathy of the Noble Pig.
This stew was wonderful, and rich, and made the house smell like pure heaven. Or maybe Ireland, I dunno. It was my first time ever using parsnips. It was just as exhilarating as I always hoped it would be!
I paired it with this Irish soda bread I found from Kevin at Closet Cooking. It was the easiest bread ever. Its very hearty and paired great with the stew. It makes a small loaf so next time I think I would double the recipe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bailey's Irish Cream Cake

Hope everyone had a fun St. Patricks Day. I think my daughter's teacher did...when I went to get the girl from school, her teacher was wearing a GIANT green bow on her head. Musta started with the Irish drinking games a little early. (just kidding, she's a very nice lady)
I decided to try to do another St. Patrick's day themed meal today, just for the heck of it. For dessert I made this Irish cream cake I found made by Cathy at the Noble Pig.

It's easy, and yummy, and chock full o' Bailey's. The recipe called for a box of pudding mix, but I was out (well I had pistachio for some unknown reason), so I just threw in a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream to add some moistness. Seemed to work out fine.

The kids really seemed to like it. It is okay to feed children alcohol laden food isn't it?
I also made Cathy's Irish beef stew which I will probably post about in a couple of days, then I'll start stalking copying someone else.
Don't forget: just a few more posts until I reach 100 and I'll have some sort of lame-O giveaway! You don't want to miss it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Early St. Paddy's Day

The leprechauns of the sporadic cook household were feeling restless so we decided to have our St. Patrick's day feast a little early. I haven't worked with corned beef too much but I'm thinking it's fairly foolproof.
This was made in the crock pot. I added about a cup of beer, and a half a cup of water that I seasoned with some dry mustard and garlic powder. I also sprinkled part of the package of spices that come with the corned beef over the top. I would have cooked the potatoes in with it but didn't have any right then, so just boiled them up separately later in the day.
It cooked about 8 hours on low, then I turned it up to high, chopped the cabbage up and stuck in for about 1 1/2 hour.
It turned out really nice and tender, didn't even really need a knife to eat it with.
For dessert I copied Kevin at Closet Cooking by making this Chocolate Stout Cake with Bailey's cream cheese frosting. I used an oatmeal stout, whatever the heck that is. Sounds healthy though, right?
I thought this cake turned out super moist and velvety, with just a little something different going on. My daughter says she's "kookoo" for it.
Not sure what I'll do with all that left over Bailey's.

Gratuitous cute dog pic

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Beans and Cornbread

Remember a few days ago? When I was too tired to make the beans and cornbread? Well, I finally managed to build up enough stamina to go forth and conquer those beans. They put up quite a fight, but I was the eventual winner. Mmm...cornbread. Very much like what I ate every other day growing up. Not fluffy, kinda dense and grainy. And NO sugar. That was strictly forbidden. (I've grown to like sweetened cornbread, but don't let my mom know)

Then the yummy beans...they're just not very photogenic. They can't help it. I had some leftover shredded pork and threw that in there while they were cooking...turned out really good. I'm such a Pioneer Woman slut.

Man...if I had this meal with some fried potatoes, and the fried chocolate pies I made a few months ago, I would seriously think the clock had turned back thirty years. Which would be a little freaky but it's worth it for fried chocolate pies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Monkey Bread: aka Pleasure Spiked with Pain*

I'd really like to say something witty, or clever, or coherent here. But as I took this monkey bread out of the oven I let the weight of the pan land on my wrist and must have let it sit there 5 0r 10 minutes, and now the pain in my left wrist left me barely able to rip a hunk out of this bad boy and shove it in my face.
It also made me utter phrases that rhyme with "other trucker", and "muckity muck muck". (hope my crude language doesn't shock you too much)
Good thing my little monkies were at Grandma's. But I think they would have enjoyed this; and my son would probably have laughed at me. He enjoys seeing others in pain, what can I say?

This would probably be a good thing to have the kids help make since it's easy as pie. Just shake some biscuit pieces around in a bag with cinnamon and sugar, put them in a bundt pan with some walnuts, and pour the butter and brown sugar on top and bake. (the real recipe is linked above) And maybe they could remind you to be careful with hot surfaces.

*Name that song and you'll win a big bag of absolutely nothing!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

I had such big cooking plans for today. Big, enormous plans. I had 3 different Pioneer Woman recipes I was going to make. This cobbler, some pinto beans, and cornbread. But then after I made this cobbler, I was completely exhausted. Too tired to make beans, people! That's just sad.
But if I was only going to make one out of the three, I'm glad I started here. I know there's some debate whether or not this is truly cobbler. Doesn't really matter, just eat it.
With some whippy cream of course.

On a non food related note, I got a snazzy new haircut today. I'll never get it to poof up like that in the back again, which is why I plan to never wash my hair, ever again.