Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Worst Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

YUCK! I never used whole wheat flour before i tried this recipe, and now i know why. This cookie TASTED like a diet cookie, which simply means, it tasted like crap. When my hubby tried them, one bite in, he asked me, what's wrong with this cookie? I laughed it off and told him wheat flour, i know, and i totally agree! He said no, not the taste, the texture, this looks like a cookie, but doesn't feel like one. Strike one, taste. Strike two, texture.

But they smelled good, so i left them on my counter for a week, it was easy to resist temptation. Maybe that was the whole point! ;)

Anyone have a GOOD cookie recipe that uses whole wheat flour?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Straight off the Box

I got this recipe straight off a box of Publix brand angel hair pasta. It's a simple and tasty recipe, and if you don't do fish, the lemon butter sauce would go great on chicken as well.

Tilapia With Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 4

4 teaspoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
large zip-top bag
5–6 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 cup white wine

Place 3 teaspoons flour and seasoned salt in zip-top bag; shake to mix and set aside. Chop parsley coarsely, leaves only, and measure (2 tablespoons). Slice lemon in half. Set both aside.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Check fish for bones by pressing on fillet with finger tips and remove. Add fish to zip-top bag; seal tightly and shake to coat.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in pan and swirl to coat. Add fish and cook 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter to center of pan. Turn fillets, using spatula, distributing butter under each fillet. Cook 3 more minutes until fish is golden and flakes easily. Place fish on serving plates.

Place remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon flour, wine and juice from lemon in sauté pan. Heat 1–2 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir parsley into butter sauce and serve over fish.

I served it with angel hair pasta (lol) tossed in a simple pesto, straight from the jar.

This is a perfect quick weeknight meal, little prep, lots of flavor! ;)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Like a Bowl of Sunshine

Lemony Chicken Rice Salad
Serves 4

2 small shallot(s), or 1 large shallot, minced
2/3 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 tsp table salt
3 medium scallion(s)
8 oz chicken breast, cooked, skinless, diced
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Coat a nonstick pot with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until softened, stirring, about 1 minute. Add rice, salt and appropriate amount of water to cook rice according to manufacturer’s directions. Cool.

Slice white parts of scallions into thin rounds. Cut green parts into 1/2-inch-long strips.

In a large bowl, toss together rice, scallions and remaining ingredients. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

I used leftover rice from the night before, and precooked chicken breasts and it was ready in just a few minutes. Literally, just throw everything in a bowl and mix!

This recipe is delicious and super simple to throw together, but a total pita to photograph.

See, i'm sure this does nothing for you, but don't judge on the photo alone, the taste is fresh, bright and sunshiny. I SWEAR! ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Slow Cookin'

Ever get to your front door after a long day out and go, mmmm, something smells good, then freak out cause it's coming from inside YOUR home? I do, every time i use the slow cooker. I don't use it often, but if i know i'm going to be busy and not even want to think about dinner later, i whip it out, throw in a bunch of stuff, set it and forget it.

My hubby and i have been watching a lot of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, we play a little game as we watch, the 'i'd eat that, i so wouldn't eat that' game. Most things that man eats are vile, but some are strange but really no big deal. More importantly, i feel empowered when i get to the meat section of my grocery store now. And on one daring trip, i picked up a pork shoulder.

Armed with a pork shoulder, i came home and told my hubby look what i got, pork shoulder, he was like great, what are you going to do with it? Me, no clue, but i'll figure something out. So off to search...

Ok, so pork shoulder isn't quite as daring as i thought, i came across a ton of pulled pork recipes. lol.

Barbeque Pork Two Ways

I made the above recipe as written, the recipe is for a basic barbeque sauce which i never made from scratch so that was pretty cool. The house smelled great as i walked through the door and dinner was equally as good. But i have to say, this pulled pork was MUCH better the following day as lunch! ;)

Monday, April 21, 2008


Hooray, I've been writing this cooking blog for one year!!!! :D

It's been fun, but as i click through my food blog folder, i see there's a ton of stuff i cooked and took a photo of, but it never made it here. I'll try to throw those into the mix in here somewhere.

And oooh yeah a ton of restaurant photos (but since i'm too embarassed to take photos with a camera in a restaurant, i take them with my iphone and well i suck as an iphone photog, but i'm learning damnit). lol.

So yes, i'm so looking forward to this next year, more cooking and eating, and sharing to come! ;)

Pizza (not really a) Casserole

When i think casserole, my gag reflex kicks in. I automatically think of a creamy soup, some frozen veg, some protein, and well let's face it, a hot mess coming out of the oven. I personally dislike casseroles...GREATLY!

When i initially read this 'casserole' recipe, i was about to skip it and move on, until i read the ingredient list. HOORAY- no creamy soup, and come on, there's PIZZA in the title, how bad could it be?

Weight Watcher's Deep-Dish Pizza Casserole

But honestly, i made so many changes to this recipe that it came in at 8.5 pts per generous portion, but who cares, it was freakin' GREAT! Here's how i did it.

Meli's Pizza Cass
Serves 6

1 lb of extra lean ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jar of sliced mushrooms, drained
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Spray of Pam
1 10 oz can refrigerated pizza dough
6 oz of part skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425.

In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook onion, garlic until softened, add meat stirring until it's browned.

Drain, if necessary, and return to skillet. Add mushrooms and tomato sauce, and cook until heated through and most of the sauce has been absorbed (you want your meat mixture more on the dry side then the saucy side).

While meat cooks, coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough, and press into bottom and halfway up sides of the baking dish. Pre-bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven, then add a layer of cheese, then a layer of the meat mixture, then top with a layer of cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 12 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese melts. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

This was so delicious and easily adaptable for anyone's tastes. I actually added some chopped up kalamata olives to my slice. This recipe was an instant hit all around, and will definitely find it's way back on my dinner table again!

Greek Pene Pasta

Last week i turned a corner, i cooked TWO great meals in a row. lol. And as shocking as it may sound, BOTH recipes were diet friendly!

Greek Penne Pasta

This was insanely easy to make and quite tasty! I added S/P and herbs. I don't know why most of the Weight Watcher recipes i come across never includes herbs and spices, but i always season to my heart's content as i cook.

No one ever has to know this was a diet friendly recipe, as it sure doesn't taste like it! ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Porridge: Miss Muffet Ate Porridge and So Can You!

Mealie Pap Porridge

On our last trip, i discovered something new at breakfast, mealie pap porridge. It was a kind of creamy grits/sweet corn/cheesy mixture, and i LOVED it! A little sweet, a little salty, i was all about it! I even went as far as emailing the restaurant asking them for the recipe or at the very least the list of ingredients! lol. I never heard back. :P

This morning i woke up STARVING, so i just winged it and came up with my version of mealie pap. It was a delicious, easy, not to mention filling, breakfast that was ready in a flash!

Meli's Mealie Pap
Serves 1

1 packet of instant grits
1/2C creamed corn
1/3C cheddar cheese (i used fat free)
S/P to taste

Prepare grits according to package, stir in creamed corn, and 1/4C of cheese, pop back in the micro for 30 seconds to warm through and get the cheese melty. Season with S/P to taste, sprinkle with remaining cheese, serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

3 Cheers for Cooking in Style!

Have you Etsy'd?! (now known as 'the crack that is etsy', since i've spent waaaaaaay too much time on that site since finding it a couple weeks ago) is a fabulous site where you can buy and sell just about everything HANDMADE!

Guess what my inaugural purchase was?! A vintage inspired apron! :)

From Boojiboo's tiny home in the lovely La Mirada, CA to my mailbox in the equally lovely Miami Beach, FL came my vintage inspired blue zoo animal apron which i proudly rock in my kitchen. :)

My fab apron (handmade with love) is SURE to make my cooking (also handmade with love, lol) THAT much better! And if it does nothing for my cooking, hey at least i look cute!

Hip Hip Hooray! :D

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hop to It!

Whoa, where has the time gone?! Easter has come and gone and we're already in April. Time flies and before i know it, i haven't blogged in almost a month!

Let's see, well, i dyed Easter eggs, um yeah, they turned out v. bad, lol, but i was impressed by the way my paper towel came out (in case you were wondering what the heck that is up there).

I HAVE been cooking (still hit and miss around here, lol), just have no time to sit and write about my adventures.

But i'm here now, so here we go...

I hosted Easter this year and i didn't even realize it was Easter Sunday until the Wed before, so i just ordered pretty much everything from Honey Baked Ham and decided to focus on making a REAL carrot cake.

Mmm...i LOVE carrot cake but have never tried to make a real one (not one out of the box). So i googled carrot cake and this was the very first link:

Carrot Cake III

Hooray a good recipe! Well i actually took all of the suggestions from gneebeanie, a featured reviewer on this recipe. And seriously, there's a lot of tweaks, so i'm just going to write it here with all the tweaks already. Cause that's how i made it, and it was fabulous!

Tweaked Out Carrot Cake III
Serves 18

4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups grated carrots
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour can pans.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, white & brown sugar and 3 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in carrots and drained pineapple. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Enjoy!

This cake was amazing! It fulfilled all my expectations of a really delicious, genuine, homemade carrot cake. And i can't believe i made the frosting too! That was so easy i couldn't believe it. I used only about 3 cups of confectioner's sugar, so i say start there and if it's not sweet enough for you, add some more.

The cake cooled just minutes before our guests arrived, and i asked my hubby to roll the outside of the cake in the chopped pecans so i could finish getting ready. About 3 minutes later, i walk into the kitchen to see him standing there throwing the pecans at the cake! LOL!!! So it didn't turn out looking exactly how i expected it to, but eh whatev, at least he had fun! :)