Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Freezer Cooking and Cub Scouts

Trying to decide what to cook some days is not easy. Today was one of those days. I decided to just pull some items out of the freezer and cook. I got shrimp, spedini meat, prosciutto, and asparagus. I also pulled out some spinach and mizithra cheese.

I often cook my asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, but tonight I decided to try something a little different. Not only did I wrap the shrimp with the prosciutto, I also marinated it in pesto sauce. Since I also had basil in the frig, I decided to make pesto. It is such a fresh springy taste; gets me in the mood for warmer weather.

I decided to dredge the spedini meat in flour, salt, pepper, and rosemary. I had some fresh on hand and just thought it might add a nice touch. After dredging I quickly sautéed them in olive oil over medium high heat. I used the leftovers of that to make sandwiches the next day.

For a side, I made pasta with mizithra cheese and spinach. I have made pastas like this before; they are easy to make, no mess and once you have the method down, the varieties are endless. I learned the original recipe from a Giada recipe I have often made.

Pasta with Mizithra Cheese and Spinach

1 lb pasta – I used linguine.
¼ cup butter – room temperature
1 ¼ cups grated mizithra cheese
1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is al dente, about 8 minutes. Strain, reserving 1 cup of liquid

Immediately toss the hot pasta in a large bowl with the butter to coat. While tossing the linguine, gradually sprinkle the cheese, pepper, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid evenly over the linguine to moisten. Add the spinach and toss to combine. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt.

Shrimp with Pesto and Prosciutto

1 lb large shrimp
¼ lb prosciutto
1 batch pesto – see recipe here

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clean shrimp, but leave tails on. Marinate shrimp in pesto sauce for 30 – 45 minutes. After shrimp has marinated, wrap each shrimp in a piece of prosciutto and place on a sheet tray. Cook in oven for 7 minutes. Remove and let shrimp cool for 2 minutes, serve.

This past weekend I took my boys on a nature hike for cub scouts with one of their friends and his mom. We had the Blue and Gold banquet the next afternoon. It was my job to make a pasta for 30 people. I made way too much and will be eating spaghetti for the next two to three weeks – hope not. Anyway, it was nice to see my oldest move up to the next level of scouts. These memories will last a lifetime – thank God the spaghetti won’t. Have a great evening, and I will be back soon with more stories and recipes!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Classic Cream of Chicken (Steak) Soup Entry

Twice a year, Border’s Books has a teacher appreciation weekend. Everything in the store is 25% off. I bought a couple of cookbooks, the kids picked out books, and we bought a couple of DVDs. It is an event that we look forward to. I love that my boys like to read and like to go shopping for books.

They had stacks and stacks of cookbooks, all on sale. It was a cook’s dream. I bought three cookbooks – all hardback and all under 10.00. One of the books was all about soups. I decided to make a cream of chicken soup, but I used leftover steak instead. It turned out well and we had some leftover for the next night.

I know that it has been a while since I have done a soup entry, but here it is! A yummy heartwarming soup that will be enjoyed by the entire family.

Classic Cream of Chicken (Steak) Soup Adopted from Soup Recipes 500

¼ cup butter
2 onions chopped
2 potatoes chopped
1 large carrot diced
1 celery stalk diced
3 cups chicken stock – I used a quart of beef stock
¼ cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
6 oz cooked chicken – I used 9 oz cooked leftover steak steak
1 ¼ cups light cream
Salt and pepper
Parsley to garnish

Melt butter in a large pan and cook the onions, potatoes, carrot, and celery gently for 5 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown.

Add the stock and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth and return to pan. Blend the flour with the milk and stir into the soup. Cook over a low heat, stirring until the soup boils and thickens.

Meanwhile, chop the steak finely. Add to the soup and heat through for 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of cream and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Serve in individual bowls, topped with a swirl of remaining cream and garnished with ground black pepper and parsley leaves. Serve.

This turned out very well. Hubby could taste the potatoes in the soup and was quite surprised as he couldn’t see any potatoes in the soup. What I liked is that the soup was creamy without being fattening. The cream added a creamy texture, but there wasn’t enough in the entire soup to make it a fattening dish. I did add some beef base to the soup to give it a meatier taste. Served with a salad, my new soup made for a great meal.

More food next time – don’t know what is on the menu! It will be a surprise!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Barbie Cake

I just wanted to share with you guys the great cake my friend made for her daughter's birthday. I have made cakes for my boys for their birthdays, but none of them turned out this nicely. She did such a good job, I told her I would post it on my blog for all to see.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pappy's, Crown Candy, and a Day Out

A couple of weeks ago, Man vs. Food came to St. Louis. The show went to a Memphis style BBQ joint called Pappy’s close to St. Louis University and to Crown Candy in the old North Side of St. Louis. Hubby’s brother in law and girlfriend – brother in law’s girlfriend – not hubby’s, asked us if we wanted to go to lunch at Pappy’s and to Crown Candy for dessert.

Off we went this past Saturday on our culinary adventure. Our first stop was of course, Pappy’s. Only open for 18 months, Pappy’s is a great place to eat. The ribs are great – dry rub, just like Memphis. They were perfectly cooked, juicy and tender. We all really liked them, especially the kids. I had the hot links and brisket. The brisket was very good, tender and perfectly cooked. While the hot links were very good, I don’t think I will get them again – there are too many other items that are just wonderful. My little one really liked the sweet potato fries, my older one liked the applesauce – go figure.

It is a serve yourself type of place. Stand in line, order your food, get your drink, sit down and wait for an employee to bring your order. It only takes a couple of minutes for orders to come up. It was quite speedy actually. I have to say that I have not had service as good as that in years. The employees were the nicest people we have encountered at a restaurant in quite a while. We will most definitely go again.

My brother in law and his girlfriend ordered The “Adam” Bomb which includes a full slab of ribs, a beef brisket and a pork sandwich, ¼ chicken and 4 sides; it also comes with Frito pie, which is Fritos topped with your choice of meat, baked beans, cheddar cheese, and onion. It was a huge meal, but they got to try everything. I think next time I might try the Frito pie. It was different, yet tasty, with their sweet pork and beans.

We then drove to Crown Candy – where we stood in line, again. Hubby got a milk shake, I ordered a sundae and the boys each got an ice cream cone. They make their own ice cream and it is soooo good. I don’t usually eat dessert, but this was the best ice cream I have ever had.

Crown Candy is an old place – very retro, but in an original way. The booths are small, made of wood and painted white. I would have taken a picture, but it was very busy and I thought I might try again when it was slower. There were people everywhere! The boys really enjoyed the ice cream – they got it all over themselves. I want to go back and try their sandwiches – they looked phenomenal. That place is going on the list for this summer – maybe with the boys one day.

We had a really nice time with Hubby’s brother and his girl friend. Next time we are going for a 28-29 pizza at Talayna’s. Talk to you soon. Be back soon with more food talk!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fridge Pasta and Presto Pasta Night

This is my entry for Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Ben over at What’s Cooking. Ruth at Once Upon a Feast is the brains behind Presto Pasta – a great blogging event, and one that I should enter more often.

Ok – tonight’s pasta dish is another “creation” of mine. I am really making an effort to not throw food away because I didn’t get a chance to use something for a certain recipe. You all know how it is; you buy something because you want to make that one recipe. But, life happens and you end up going out to dinner, eating something else, or just not eating at all – well, the last one would never happen in my house.

Looking in my fridge, I saw a half a steak, spinach and feta chicken sausage, spinach, asparagus, and feta cheese. I pulled all that out, and decided to make a “Fridge Pasta.”

It turned out really well. The crunchiness of the asparagus blended well with the other textures in the pasta. The sausage and steak gave the meal that finishing touh my husband always looks for - meat. He was worried at first when he saw all the veggies, but came around quickly to really like the dish. I also liked feta cheese with my pasta. It added another layer of flavor to the dish that stood out a little - not overpowering though.

Fridge Pasta

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 bunch Asparagus
4 cloves Garlic
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
4 links Spinach and feta chicken sausage
Leftover steak
1 ½ cups white wine
1 lb pasta your choice
4-5 oz Feta cheese

Sauté asparagus in olive oil for 4 minutes. While asparagus is cooking cook pasta according to directions. Add garlic and sauté until garlic is soft. Add butter and Italian seasoning along with sausage and steak. Warm through, add wine and reduce by one third. Add pasta and cheese to sauce. Stir to combine.

That’s it. My pasta is just a fridge creation. I make them all the time. Look in your fridge and find your own fridge pasta – it’s easy and fun!! I’ll be back again with more recipes. Talk to you soon!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's a Winner!!!!!!!

I love picking up my kids at the sitter. Not just for the obvious reasons, but also to smell the cooking. Some days when I walk into her house, the smells take my breath away. She is a scratch cook, and she is wonderful. Anyway, this has to be the third or fourth time I have smelled this chicken dish. I had to have the recipe. After spotting it on her counter, I swiped it and ran out of the house with her recipe in my hot little hand…..ok maybe it wasn’t quite like that. I did spot it on her counter, but I asked politely if I could borrow the recipe to make a copy of it. She said yes. After telling a couple of people at school about the fabulous and easy chicken dish, I received some requests for copies of the recipe.

It is an easy dish to make – a one dish wonder!!! My hubby was a bit worried when I was telling him about it. I had told him that it was a creamy sauce, and he thought it was going to be heavy. He was quite pleasantly surprised and really liked the meal. My sitter said that she serves it with mashed potatoes, because of the gravy, but since I just used my potatoes the other day, I used some pasta that I had. I know you are shocked that I had pasta in the pantry. If you want a great one dish meal that is easy to prepare and wonderful, try this dish – you will love it!!! The flavors blend together to make a smooth creamy gravy/sauce that compliments anything that is served with it. The smoky flavor of the bacon works well with the chicken and the beef. This will be served again and again in our house. I like finding simple recipes that don't require much work, but still allow me to feed my family home cooked food.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken and Sauce

6 chicken breasts
1 jar chipped beef
½ lb bacon
1 can cream of mushroom soup – undiluted
1 can cream of chicken soup – undiluted
8 oz sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer the chipped beef on the bottom of a casserole pan. Wrap one piece of bacon around each chicken breast and place on top of chipped beef. Mix soups and sour cream together and pour over chicken and beef. Cook uncovered for 2 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta, stuffing, or anything you might like.

Enjoy! I will be back with more recipes and stories later!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hamburger Helper Confession

I ended up my last post saying that I would hopefully cook more for my family this week. Well, I did cook, I just didn’t’ make up a recipe or cook from scratch. It happens.

After getting our side of beef, we realized that we had tons and tons of ground beef to cook. I asked for as little ground beef as possible this time, but we still got 43 pounds. With what we have left from last time, we have a lot. I do have a cookbook that is totally devoted to cooking with ground beef, but while at the store yesterday, I decided to buy some Hamburger Helper. I couldn’t resist. I haven’t had that in years. I thought the kids would really like it and I knew my husband would be happy that I was using some of our meat.

I bought two flavors – Double Cheeseburger and Mongolian Beef – who knew there were Asian Helpers? Anyway, I made them both along with garlic bread. The boys, surprisingly, turned their collective noses up at dinner. My youngest, who loves spaghetti from a can, thought the Hamburger Helper was gross. Hubby was glad to have a hot meal and actually liked the Asian Helper; he really liked that dinner was ready when he got home. He gets home in time to go bowling and doesn't have much time to eat. I must say that I find it quite amazing that I have one kid who loves pesto, but dislike Hamburger Helper.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner and No Cooking for the Week

My kids love breakfast for dinner, just love it. My friend, Dottie, makes a sausage, hash brown, egg burrito. She very graciously gave me her recipe and I changed it up a little and made it my own. Sometimes when I make it for my family, I make burritos, but sometimes we just eat without the tortilla cover. This last time I made the sausage and hash browns, I decided not to put the eggs in with the sausage and hash browns, but to put them on top for a change of pace. I had originally thought that I might make over easy eggs, but at the last minute, I decided to put a poached egg on top. I thought the green onions added a nice touch.

This was a tough cooking week for me. I had decided in my last post to not go to the grocery store this week – well I didn’t. I had all these great plans and dishes to cook with food that I already have on hand. I was also going to enter a Soup Off. Great plans – plans are made to be broken though. I ended up having an upset stomach pretty much most of the week. I started feeling better around Friday, didn’t sleep well Saturday, and took it easy today. Needless to say, not only did I not go to the grocery store, I hardly cooked anything. We just ended up scrounging in the fridge and pantry to eat for the week. I ate school lunches, Hubby ate out for lunch, and the boys ate lots of canned soup. Oh, well. I will try the whole not shopping thing again, but when I am feeling well.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the eggs, sausage and hash browns that I made last week. I don’t have exact measurements, just close approximations to what I use; it is all to your taste.

Eggs, Hash Browns, and Sausage One Dish Meal

1 ½ - 2 lbs Sausage – breakfast (I used Bob Evans)
Hash browns (I used 2 packages Simply Potatoes – aren’t they recalled now?)
2 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Paprika
Salt
Pepper
8 Eggs beaten (I usually scramble them in at the end, but I poached them this time. I liked them poached very much)

Cook sausage in large or electric skillet until cooked through. Remove from pan, leave some pan drippings. Cook hash browns, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper until just done in the sausage drippings. Add sausage to mixture, bring up to temperature. At this point you could add eggs and cook entire mixture until eggs are cooked through and then serve, or you could poach eggs, and serve eggs on top of sausage and hash brown mixture. Either way is very good, but I really enjoyed the poached eggs as they added a much eggier – is that a word – flavor to the dish.

Next time, I will add either green onions or chives to the mixture right at the end to add a punch of flavor to the entire meal.

Enjoy the recipe and I hope this week brings more cooking for me and my family.