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Holy Cow...I Can Cook?

I started this food blog New Years 2010 to force myself to get in the kitchen and teach myself how to cook. Well it has been a year, and it turns out, cooking isn't so hard after all. I kept the promise I made to myself and cooked healthy yummy meals for my family all year. Once I just got in there, read the recipes, and experimented I found cooking is yet another form of artistic expression. Just like with my art, I let go of the fear of failure and found a new passion.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shrimp Pad Thai

8 oz uncooked flat rice noodles
(my local market was out so I had to use regular rice noodles)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
3 tbsp grape seed oil
1 cup green onions (cut in 2 inch pieces)
8 oz peeled and deveined shrimp
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
3 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. While water comes to a boil, combine sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, and Sriracha in a small bowl.
3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion pieces, shrimp and garlic; stir-fry 2 minutes or until shrimp is almost done. Add cooked and drained noodles; toss to combine. Stir in sauce; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to combine. Top each serving with peanuts and basil.

Serves 4

Friday, March 11, 2011

Beef and Broccoli

2 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 lb boneless sirloin steak (cut diagonally across grain into thin slices)
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
2 tbsp grape seed oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
2 tsp garlic (minced)
4 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 cup uncooked brown rice

1. Cook rice according to directions.
2. While rice finishes cooking, combine 1 tbsp sherry, 1 tbsp soy sauce, sugar, and beef in bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together 1 tbsp sherry, 1 tbsp soy sauce, broth, cornstarch, hoisin, and Sriracha with a whisk.
3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add beef mixture; saute 3 min or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pan. Add ginger and garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broccoli and water; cook 1 min. Add onions; cook 1 min, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture and beef mixture; cook 2 min or until beef is thoroughly heated and sauce is slightly thick. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I have worked and re-worked this recipe for quite a while. I feel now that it is perfect, possibly the best thing I know how to make. Oh and believe it or not, there isn't any meat in this dish, and it is still good!
This lasagna takes time, and care, but oh is it worth it in the end.
*Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was eaten to quickly!

12oz whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 butternut squash
3 cups tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 lbs fresh baby spinach
32 oz Ricotta Cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
3 eggs (beaten)
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb mozzarella cheese (grated)
Dash of oregano and fresh basil to taste

1. Peel and slice butternut squash. Toss squash in a large bowl with oil and salt. Spread squash in one layer on baking sheet. Roast in 400 degree oven until golden brown on both sides.
2. Cook lasagna. In the meantime, heat olive oil in skillet. Saute shallots and garlic 5 min. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add tomato sauce, stir and remove from heat. Add ricotta, 3/4 cup parmesan, eggs, salt, basil, and oregano.
3. Oil baking pan. Pour in small amount of sauce and put down a single layer of noodles. Spread layer of spinach mixture over noodles, a layer of mozzarella cheese, and a layer of squash, top with more mozzarella.
4. Continue to layer. Top the lasagna with a layer of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
5. Bake at 350 for 50 min.

*I like an extra browned top so I hit the lasagna with the broiler for a few minutes after it is finished baking.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lasagna Rolls

I love lasagna, but sometimes it is labor intensive. These lasagna rolls are a nice change from the layered pasta.


8 uncooked lasagna noodles
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
8oz sliced mushrooms
6oz fresh baby spinach
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper


1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (7 oz) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cook noodles according to package, omitting salt and oil. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, spinach, and 3 garlic cloves; saute 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in ricotta cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and next 3 ingredients.
3. To prepare sauce, blend together vinegar, salt, pepper, tomatoes bell peppers, and red pepper with blender or food processor. Process until smooth.
4. Place cooked noodles on a flat surface, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture over each noodle. Roll up noodles, jelly-roll style, starting with short side. Place rolls, seam side down in baking dish. Pour sauce over rolls, and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese, bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chicken Piccata

This has become a favorite dish in our house. My husband would be happy if I made this for dinner every week!

4 chicken cutlets
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp grape seed oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp garlic (minced)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp capers (drained)
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1.Season cutlets with salt and pepper then dip in flour. Heat non-stick skillet over med-high heat add oil. Saute chicken in pan 2-3 minutes, flip, saute other side 1-2 minutes with pan covered.
2. Transfer chicken cutlets to warm plate, pour off excess fat from pan. Deglaze pan with wine and add garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly gone about 2 minutes.
3.Add broth, lemon juice, and capers. Return chicken to pan and cook each side for one minute.
4. Transfer chicken to warm plate. Add butter to pan, once butter melts, pour sauce over chicken.

*I served this on wild rice, but it would also be great over pasta!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mississippi Mud Pie

This is my lighter version of my mother-in-law's recipe for Mississippi Mud Pie. It is one of my husband's favorite desserts so I made it this year for is birthday instead of a cake.

Graham Cracker Crust

*This crust is a bit lower in fat than many you may find ready made at the store. The egg white acts as a binder and you end up using less butter.

40 graham crackers (10 full cracker sheets)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter (melted)
1 egg white
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add sugar, butter and egg white; pulse about 6 times or just until moist. Press crumb mixture into a 9 inch pie dish coated in cooking spray. Bake for 8 minutes; cool completely on a wire rack.

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

* Reduced fat milk helps to cut the fat just a bit!

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups 2% milk
3 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
2 oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil over med. heat, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute, keep stirring!
2. Place egg yolks in a bowl. VERY gradually add hot milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly (if you add too fast you will scramble your eggs). Return milk mixture to pan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate and vanilla extract, stirring until chocolate melts. Spoon pudding into a small bowl. Place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes or until pudding is cool, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from ice, cover the surface of pudding with plastic wrap and chill.

Whipped Cream

* I prefer real whipped I don't skimp here I go for the heavy cream!

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Whip cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks. Set aside.

Cream Cheese Filling

*Low fat cream cheese another way to cut the fat a bit

8 ounces low fat cream cheese (softened)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Whip cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until just combined. Gently fold in half of your whipped cream into Cream cheese mixture.

Layer the Mississippi Mud Pie

1. Spread cream cheese filling over cooled graham cracker crust.
2. Spoon cooled chocolate pudding over cream cheese filling. Spread into a smooth layer.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
4. Top pie with remaining whipped cream, and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This recipe was sent to me by an artist friend of mine. He claims it helps with the creative process! ;)

Serve this traditional Spanish drink chilled in a glass pitcher with sliced fruit floating on top.

1 bottle dry red wine
2 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp Triple Sec
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups sparkling water, chilled
8 orange wedges
5 lemon slices
5 lime slices

1. Combine 1 cup wine, brandy, Triple Sec, and sugar, stirring well until sugar is dissolved. Stir in remaining wine, juices, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. Chill at least 2 hours.
2. Strain mixture into a pitcher, toss the solids. Just before you serve, stir in sparkling water and the rest of the ingredients.

*Serving size depends on how creative you want to be!