Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dinner and a Movie for One, Please

So, tonight was night #4 of eating dinner by myself and since last night's semi-disaster with a box of mac+cheese; I decided I was making a fabulous dinner for 1! I had defrosted a pork chop and searched for something fun to do with it. On a fellow knottie's blog I found Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops and I was sold! We had bought center cut pork chops that were almost 1 1/2-2 inches thick so I cut it the long ways down the middle and had 2 much thinner pieces that didn't take long to cook at all. I cooked a box of Parmesan noodles and dinner was served while watching My Best Friend's Wedding starring the great Julia Roberts!

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used onion salt instead of just salt)
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving (I skipped this)

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Note: Since I was only cooked for 1 I pretty much halved the ingredients list and it worked out perfect.

Husband Rating: N/A He was not here to enjoy my fabulous dinner and unfortunately for him I didn't save him any. I will have to cook them for him another night!

Wife Rating: A+ I love them.

Recipe from:
Giada De Laurentiis
Photo from my kitchen :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are hands down my favorite cookies. A cookie my mom has been baking for years!

1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (or M&M's)

Beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Blend in water, eggs and vanilla. Add baking soda, flour and oatmeal. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.

Husband Rating: A+

Wife Rating: A++; What's not to LOVE? oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate=all my favorite things!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

With Jake being at rehearsal every night this week. We decided to use the slow cooker again. That way he could eat before he had to leave and it could stay warm for me to eat later when I got home.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1/8 cup margarine
1 package (.7 oz) dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup


Put chicken, margarine and dressing mix in slow cooker; mix together and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Add cream cheese and soup, mix together and cook on high for another 1/2 hour or until heated through and warm.

Recipe from; sorry I forgot to take a picture!

Husband Rating: A-; He really liked it however, thought it would be better cooked on the stove because the chicken was slightly on the dry side.

Wife Rating: A+; I loved it. I thought it had great flavor. I think the mistake with the chicken was that it was cubed too small but I didn't think it was too dry. I'd also like to try adding mushrooms or even cream of mushroom soup (Husband won't like it though!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Menu: Week of November 26-December 1

It is a crazy week for us. Jake won't be home to eat dinner with me until Friday :( but I'm happy that he is working!

Monday: leftover garlic pizza
Tuesday: chicken stroganoff in the crock pot
Wednesday: Leftover chicken stroganoff
Thursday: ???
Friday: breakfast burritos
Saturday: leftover turkey and stuffing

What a boring week! I'll try to be more creative next week :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Menu: November 18-25

Sunday: breaded pork chops with pasta side and green beans
Monday: BBQ pulled pork with snap peas
Tuesday: breakfast burritos
Wednesday: We leave for Grandma's (we will probably gain 10 lbs each eating at Grandma's!)
Thursday: Happy Turkey Day! :)
Friday-Sunday: in Syracuse with families and mothers who love to cook for their children!

Crockpot Pulled Pork

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce
  • 3 to 4 pounds pork shoulder roast, boneless, trimmed, tied
  • few dashes liquid smoke, if desired
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 8 hamburger buns heated

In a large non-metallic bowl, combine cider vinegar, chopped onion, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Add the pork roast, cover, and marinate in refrigerator for at 6 to 10 hours. Turn occasionally to keep roast coated with marinade.

Remove the pork from the marinade, scraping the onion back into the marinade. Lightly pat the roast dry with paper towels. Pour the marinade into a slow cooker and add the Liquid Smoke. Place a slow cooker meat rack or ring of foil in the slow cooker.

Combine the sugar, salt, paprika, and pepper in a cup. Rub the pork roast with the seasoning mixture and place on the rack in crockpot.

Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or until very tender. Transfer the pork to a cutting board; cover with foil to keep warm.

Skim the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Stir in the ketchup; pour into a bowl. Using 2 forks, pull the pork apart into shreds, or chop the pork into small pieces. Serve the pork on warm split buns with coleslaw, beans, or your choice of side dishes. Serve the sauce separately.
Makes 8 to 10 sandwiches.

Notes: We will probably try a pork roast next time. We couldn't find a boneless shoulder so it was like an 8-9 lb pork shoulder. After 5 hours we turned it up to high and cooked for another 2 1/2 hours. We also missed the marinating part of the directions so we ended up adding more BBQ sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper and some of the juice from the crock pot after it was shredded for more flavor. We didn't use the liquid smoke, paprika or ketchup (they weren't in the pantry!).

Husband's Plate: Rating: A He preferred his as a sandwich.

Wife's Plate: Rating: A It was a nice variety to our typical chicken recipes. I served mine over egg noodles (the less messy approach) and it was really good.

Monday, November 19, 2007



2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 small can green chilies, diced
16 oz shredded cheese
1 package floor tortillas


Mix together chicken, soup, sour cream and chilies. Cut tortillas into strips. Layer in a greased 9x13 casserole pan: tortilla strips then chicken/soup mixture then cheese, repeat.
Bake at 400 for approx 25 minutes until bubbly.
Serve with salsa.

Husband Rating: A+
Wife Rating: A+

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Green Bean Casserole

This is a good Thanksgiving Day side dish!

Campbell's Kitchen
Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Serves: 6


1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or 25% Less Sodium)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. soy sauce
Dash ground black pepper
4 cups cooked cut green beans
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions


MIX soup, milk, soy, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in 1 1/2-qt. casserole.

BAKE at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot.

STIR . Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 5 min.

TIP: Use 1 bag (16 to 20 oz.) frozen green beans, 2 pkg. (9 oz. each) frozen green beans, 2 cans (about 16 oz. each) green beans or about 1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans for this recipe.

For a change of pace, substitute 4 cups cooked broccoli flowerets for the green beans.

For a creative twist, stir in 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese with soup. Omit soy sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup additional Cheddar cheese when adding the remaining onions.

For a festive touch, stir in 1/4 cup chopped red pepper with soup.

For a heartier mushroom flavor, substitute Campbell's® Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup for Cream of Mushroom Soup. Omit soy sauce. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped red pepper with green beans.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This was a favorite of ours growing up. It is my grandma's recipe but it has been modified to my taste.

6 oz medium egg noodles
1 (6 1/2 oz) can tuna, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (10 1/2 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
4 oz sharp cheese (1 cup)

Cook noodles in boiling water until tender; drain. Combine noodles, tuna and mayo. Blend soup and milk; heat through. Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese melts. Add to noodle mixture. Turn into 2 quart casserole. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered at 425 for 20 minutes. Serves 4.

My grandmother's recipe includes:
1 cup celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 diced green pepper
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
cream of celery soup instead of cream of mushroom
1/2 toasted silvered almonds instead of breadcrumbs

Husband Rating: A- He likes tuna casserole but it isn't something he craves.
Wife Rating: A+ Childhood favorite :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chicken Curry

Friends of ours introduced us to this meal and we fell in love with it. Though her recipe it top secret. We found a similar one in a Better Homes and Garden cookbook that we feel comes very close to her recipe!

2 medium, boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons cooking oil

3-4 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup chick broth

1 cup half and half, light cream or milk

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups hot cooked rice

An assortment of any of the following: raisins, peanuts, walnuts, chopped tomato, chopped green pepper, tomatoes, toasted coconut, cut-up fruit (apples, cantaloupe, pineapple, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Cube chicken and brown in 10" skillet with cooking oil. Brown evenly. If necessary, add 1 tbsp additional cooking oil to skillet. Add curry powder, cinnamon and salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Stir the half and half, light cream or milk into the flour; stir into pan. Cook and stir until thicken and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.

To serve, ladle curry sauce over rice. Top with your favorite condiments.
Our personal favorites are the fruits, nuts and coconut. The berries we usually only do when they are in season. Experiment with your own ideas.

Husband Rating: A+
Wife Rating A+ I usually go with a little less rice so I can top with more fruits!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sweet and Salty

Ok, all I have to say it don't knock it till you try it. This is one of my husband's favorite snacks. I used to make fun of this snack and now it is one of my favorites. Really, I'm serious, I don't even like chocolate ice cream but this I will eat! I do want to try it with vanilla just for kicks. It is so bad for you but really hits the spot :)

Elsa's Cider Beef with Smashed Cheddar Potatoes

My new claim to fame is that I met Rachael Ray! She has just come out with a new cookbook and kicked off her book tour this past Friday night at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square. She did a Q&A session and then a book signing. It was a long
wait but totally worth it. She personalized our book by saying, "Jake and Beth, Keep your pots hot! Rachael Ray" Well that's exactly what we did. We chose a new recipe from her book to kick off our week and it was great!


2 tablespoons EVOO
3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds top sirloin, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
salt and black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound turnips, peeled and chopped

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups good-quality apple cider-go dark and cloudy
1 (15-ounce) can of beef stock
3 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped or snipped chives


Preheat the oven to 425.

Place a large stew pot or Dutch-oven with lid over medium-high heat. Add EVOO and butter. When the butter melts, season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Brown on all sides, 7-8 minutes total. Add onions, carrots and turnips and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and stir to combine and coat, 1 minute. Stir in apple cider and the beef stock, bring to boil, cover the pan, and transfer to the over. Braise the beef for 45 minutes.

Once the beef has been in the oven for about 15 minutes, place the potatoes in a large sauce pot with water to cover by at least 1 to 2 inches. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce the heat a bit, add some salt, and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them and return them to the pot. Add the milk, sour cream and cheese. Use a potato masher to smash them to your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper and add the chives. Cover and keep warm until the beef it done.

To serve, ladle the stew into sallow serving bowls. Make a well in the center and fill with the potatoes. (It should be noted, however, that there are members of our family-like my brother-who would fill a bowl with potatoes instead, leaving a small well in the center to hold a few bites of stew.)

My tips: We eliminated the turnips, something we've never tried and we weren't daring enough tonight. My husband doesn't like white cheddar so we used regular sharp cheddar. We also forgot to buy the chives at the grocery store. We both enjoy a good amount of spice and felt this was lacking some spice. Note: This is one of her 60-minute meals and it serves 4.

Husband Rating: A+ He says it needs to be well seasoned when cooking but over all he enjoyed.

Wife Rating: A+ I really liked the cider, it adds a sweetness to an otherwise regular beef stew. I didn't love the onions but they add good flavor. We also opted to fill the bowl with potatoes and then pour the stew over top like Rachael's brother. I won't lie the potatoes are why I chose the recipe and they were amazing!

Recipe from: just in time! All-new 30-minute meal, plus super-fast 15 minute meals and slow-it-down 60 minute meals by Rachael Ray
Picture take by me

Menu: November 11-17

Sunday: new recipe from our Rachael Ray cookbook
Monday: going into Manhattan to use a wedding gift certificate
Tuesday: chicken curry
Wednesday: husband has rehearsal so I'm probably on my own
Thursday: tuna noodle casserole
Friday: fresh tomato pizza

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Last weekend I debated between these cookies and the iced pumpkin cookies (see below) all based on friend recommendations. As much as I loved the pumpkin and will make them again in the future, these peanut butter cookies, hit the spot! A new favorite in our house and I'm thinking about making them over Thanksgiving weekend as a treat, my father-in-law will LOVE them!


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


In a large bowl, cream together 1/2 cup butter or margarine, 1/2 cup peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir. Add oatmeal and stir.
Drop by teaspoons onto greased baking sheet, and press each mound down with a fork to form 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown.

To Make Filling: Cream 3 tablespoons butter or margarine with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, and the cream. Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches.

Husband Rating: When asked to rate these cookies on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best, he said...52!!!! He loves peanut butter and loved these cookies

Wife Rating: I loved them as well and definitely plan to make them again in the future. I am glad that the recipe only makes a total of 12 cookies otherwise I would be gaining a lot of pre-holiday weight! (2 dozen cookies=12 sandwiches)

Recipe from, picture taken by me

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Iced Pumpkin Cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Taken from (and a few other friends!)

Husband Review: A-
He really enjoyed them, as did our friend who was over.

Our Favorite Pizza

This has become one of our favorite meals and we eat it on a weekly basis. I forgot to take a picture when the pizzas came out of the oven before we ate so this is a picture of the last lonely piece.

Fresh Tomato Pizza

pizza dough (we've tried a variety of doughs from fresh dough purchased at the store, Pillsbury's roll out dough, Boboli crust and homemade dough; wheat crust could also be used)
olive oil
garlic salt (fresh garlic can be used as well)
fresh ground pepper
Morton's Nature Seasons seasoning blend
shredded cheese (we usually use an Italian blend of cheeses)
tomatoes, sliced very thin
basil (can also use fresh)

Roll out pizza dough onto pan. Brush crust with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper and Morton's season salt. Layer on cheese and then tomatoes. Sprinkle with oregano and basil. Cook at 450.

Husband Review: A+
He was hesitant the first time and absolutely fell in love!