Monthly Archives: January 2012

College Reunion 1: We’re Addicted

In prepping the menu for the reunion weekend I knew I had to include a few things to avoid being assaulted by my dear friends.  The Toll House Pie was a bonus.  The real star of the menu was spaghetti.  When we started planning back in July the one thing I was constantly reminded of was that spaghetti better make an appearance and it better be early in the weekend when it did. I also got the eerie feeling that a large quantity was required, or there would be trouble in this household.

This is another Momma original as are most of the recipes that have become staples in my cooking. After failing to get a “before shot” this bowl is the only evidence as to the quality of the dish.  Mere remnants that are there mainly because my friends don’t lick bowls, or they hadn’t at this point.  Maybe they were waiting until after they finished their salad.

When I made spaghetti in college I would always make a salad with carrots, cranberries, and feta cheese with a French dressing, but this time I decided to go with a Mast Farm Inn recipe.  Momma made this salad often in the summers and I loved it because it had hardboiled eggs, bacon, and mushrooms on it–some of my favorites for a salad.  As spaghetti had to make the menu, I decided to switch up the salad–quite daring of me.  Yep, my risk tolerance wouldn’t be considered exceptional.

It was a hit and almost produced food comas.  There is a picture of Eliz that I would love to include here to illustrate the point, but don’t dare.  It’s safe to say that we’re addicted.

If there is anything certain in life and our friendships it is that the next time we are together spaghetti will make an appearance and that pedicures are a must.

Recipes:

Spaghetti

Ingredients

6-32 oz. cans of spaghetti sauce

2 medium onions, chopped

2-3 lbs. lean ground beef

2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

1 c. sugar

3 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 Tbsp. garlic powder or fresh minced garlic

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions

Brown meat with onions.  Drain and then put in large dutch oven. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a slow boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and let simmer for several hours.  The longer it simmers, the better it is.  Serve with whole wheat noodles and fresh Parmesan cheese.

**This made enough for 8 people to eat 3-4 for meals.

Salad (Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, NC)

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh spinach

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

12 oz. bacon (I rec. using Boar’s Head)

Poppy Seed Dressing

Directions

Remove the stems of the spinach and wash several times in cold water.  Drain and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. At serving, fill bowl on spinach and arrange toppings.

Poppy Seed Dressing (from the Mast Farm Inn, Valle Crucis, NC)

Ingredients

2 c. olive oil                                   1 Tbsp. dry mustard

1 c. cider vinegar                          1 Tbsp.garlic powder

1 c. sugar                                        1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. salt                                      1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

Directions

Mix all ingredients; using whisk whip until thoroughly blended.  Let rest 10 minutes and whip again. Stir before using.

The Bibliography: Spaghetti-SFD Test Kitchen via Momma’s Kitchen; Salad and Dressing-Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, NC

P.S. Our addiction extended to pedicures–my first since the week of my wedding.  Demonstrating my risk tolerance again I chose purple, one of my least favorite colors that is slowly making a comeback thanks to the color scientists with OPI.

College Reunion 1: A Toll House Weekend

When trying to figure out how I could make an upcoming college reunion weekend remind us of the “good ole days,” I didn’t have to think too much further than a Toll House pie.  These pies were luxuries in our dining hall and I witnessed fights break out and women sprint to the dessert line to make sure they got a piece.  They were pure gold whether warm or cold–a very nice contribution to the freshmen 15 as well as the 5 each subsequent year.

The girls and significant others trickled in one-by-one until we were reunited on Saturday at lunch, the first time in 2 years.  We each have our own little quirks that make our personalities unique and so FUN.  They are my dearest friends and one has been gracious (and brave) enough to start the next generation by adding little Liam to the family.  He’s already taking after Eliz’s great style with a pair of New Balance kicks.

The Toll House Pie had the exact reaction that I had hoped for and even prompted Andrew to do this…

and others to say “YEAH!” or “why did you do this to us?”  I did it to us because it gave me an excuse to ignore my calorie count for the day and say I love you to my friends. And an excuse to use the recipe from the actual dining hall–it makes 3 pies!

Eliz, MB, Beth, and Michelle–thanks for being “my people.”  Let’s make sure we don’t wait another two years to share another Toll House Pie.

Recipe:

Ingredients

1 deep dish pie shell

2 large eggs

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. butter, softened

1 c. (6 oz.) Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325° F. Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels. Spoon into pie shell. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

The Bibliography: Recipe Above Directly From Toll House Website; Recipe I Used from MC

Tagged ,

A Potato Cake Substitute

In an effort to use what I had in the fridge and trick myself into thinking that I was eating potatoes, I made these.  Cauliflower cakes sounds like a weird name, so I’m just going to call it my Potato Sub.  They turned out pretty well though the smell that cooked cauliflower makes can infiltrate the nostrils in a slightly unpleasing way.  However, I’ll take it if I can make myself think that I’m eating potatoes. Takes a bit of an imagination, but I will get there.

Recipe:

1 cauliflower, cut up and steamed until easily mashed

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 c. panko

1/4 c. parmesan or other cheese

scallions

Directions:

When the cauliflower has been steamed until it can be easily mashed (looks like mashed potatoes), combine it will eggs, sea salt, panko, parmesan or other cheese, and scallions.  Using a 1/4 c., scoop into a muffin tin or mini-muffin tin.  Bake on 350 for 12-15 minutes (possibly a little less if using a mini-muffin tin) or until golden brown on top.

To Try Next Time: Other types of cheese, possibly mix some broccoli or other veggies in to the mixture.

The Bibliography: Idea from this post of cauliflower pancakes on A Good Appetite

Baja Potatoes, Skinny Style

Plump potatoes needed a cousin, a slightly slimmer cousin.  And, I needed a way to use a lot of the vegetables (and some different cheeses) in the fridge to make a one-dish dinner during the busy week before the holiday.  Baja potatoes were born with Skinny Cows and veggies.

Recipe:

2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced

1 zuchinni, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 baking potatoes

4-5 wedges of Skinny Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle

1/2 c. fat free half and half

salt and pepper to taste

cheddar cheese and monterrey jack cheese for topping

Directions: Boil potatoes until they soften and the skin easily separates.  This time I left the skins on, but they can be easily removed too. Saute peppers, zucchini, onion in a bit of olive oil until they become tender. Add the black beans and saute 5 minutes more.  Place softened potatoes in a mixing bowl and add the vegetable mixture along with the Skinny Cow wedges, salt and pepper, and half and half.  Beat with a hand mixer until they become somewhat smooth, but they don’t need to look like mashed potatoes.  Place in a casserole dish or bowl and top with the cheese of choice.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until heated through and the cheese has melted.  If baking after being in the fridge for a while, increase the time allowed.

To Try Next Time(s): Red pepper flakes for some extra heat

The Bibliography: SFD Test Kitchen

I Am Resolute

Resolutions aren’t finished, or at least that is how it has been for me in past years and for most people in general according to the statistics.  They are goals/good intentions, but most resolutions never have the box checked or move to the done column on the iPhone.

I like the word HOPE better, so that is my word of choice in goal setting for 2012.

My determined hopes of 2012 are:

1. Buy local

We have options, lots of options in the area in which we live.  We are fortunate to have local, independent stores for almost every need.  BUY LOCAL! And when buying local, try to buy items made in the USA.

2. Cook seasonally

We  usually make one trip to the grocery store per week or every two weeks.  Our hope is to add the Farmer’s Market to our weekly agenda and create a menu based off of what it is in season.  This isn’t going to work every week, but we’re going to give it a try and hope it will become part of our routine.  It would provide a challenge in cooking and also fit with our  food philosophy (we’ve never discussed what that is exactly, but I feel like we would agree on it if we did).

3. Have new experiences

Visit new places. Look at places I’ve been differently. View my city and communities through the eye of a tourist for a day.

4. Get fit

Feel better about my health, have more energy, complete a race, just move in general.

5. Cook, bake, sauté, grill, and just in general create with food.

YUM in collaboration with hope #1, #2, #3, #4, and #6. (There may be some contradiction between the pic below and hope #4).

6. Enjoy our home and adding “our touch” to the inside.  In other words, changing these beautiful chairs circa 1975 into something that I don’t want to cover up with a brown paper bag.

Enjoy 2012 with my husband and family.  Be present.  Be thankful.

Update: Andrew would call this your being indecisive.  7. Plant a tea olive tree in the backyard.  8. Establish a Christmas tradition (for our family of 2) that is all our own–meaning that neither of our families currently/or ever have had the tradition.