21 November 2008

Bridal Shower

Before I post recipes, I just had to post pictures because I'm so proud!!! I threw a scrapbooking shower for my cousin's wife and of course I HAD to do a nice spread. They're wedding colors were fern and wine, so I decided to only serve food that were red and green, how clever, right? It actually wasn't as hard as one would think. A random lady stopped me in the grocery store to discuss women getting into Texas A&M (which while it was totally interesting, it was not the right time) so I got put behind schedule and didn't get to complete everything I had planned. But I was VERY pleased with the end result. I think the biggest compliment was having 9 ladies eat all 28 of my mini cheesecakes!

10 November 2008

Chipotle Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup, but I don't like chicken in my tortilla soup. It's one of my weird quirks. I do however love veggie tortilla soup and my favorite restaurant puts zucchini in their tortilla soup. What do you know, my aunt and uncle had an abundance of zucchini about to go bad, so I decided to try and recreate my own. The results? Better than going out!

32oz. low-sodium chicken broth
32oz. vegetable broth
1 can chipotle diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can rotel tomatoes, undrained
1 can green chiles, undrained
12 oz super sweet frozen corn
2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Poultry seasoning
Chipotle chili powder
super secret chili powder
7 zucchini, halved and chunked

Garnish: Sour cream, avocado chunks, lime wedges, tortilla chips

Bring broths to a boil. Add remaining ingredients except for zucchini. Boil for 10 minutes, then drop to a simmer. About 15 minutes before serving time, add zucchini chunks. Cook until zucchini is soft. (If you are making this all at once you add the zucchini when you add everything else. However, I like to let my soups simmer for the afternoon and in that case, it has a tendency to break down. So add accordingly depending on how long you plan to cook it.)

The BEST way to eat this is to put some tortilla chips in the bottom of your soup bowl. Pour soup over it. Squeeze a lime wedge (or two) into the soup. Dollop with sour cream and avocado chunks (be generous). Mix in the sour cream to make it slighty creamy. Oh! So good!!!! I mean, of course, the soup is great plain, BUT this way, it's soooo good. In case you haven't gathered, this soup is awesome!

09 November 2008

Apples Galore!

Okay, I admit it. I am ADDICTED to food blogging. Not only do I participate, but I have upwards of 10 different blogs listed on my google reader feed. A few weeks it ago, it seemed that ALL of them had some sort of recipe containing apples, one even had an apple week!!! After sifting through them all, I decided on an apple cake. Apple Dapple Cake to be exact. How can you resist a name like that? And once you look at the pictures, HOW can you resist a cake like that?

I had a little trouble with the cake, but I think it was my own fault. I didn't have an electric mixer NOR a 1 cup measuring cup NOR a sifter. I think I might have lost count when adding the oil. When I first mixed it as I thought was right, it was very stiff. Like I said, I don't know if I mis-measured oil or maybe it had to do with not having an electric mixer. Anyways, I added a little more oil and a tad bit of milk. It turned out GREAT! The cake was a little dense, but sooooo moist. I also didn't boil the syrup for long enough because I was worried that I was going to burn it or myself because I was cooking in a much smaller pan that anticipated. So I'm not sure if the syrup was supposed to harden or what. Anyways, in spite of all of this, the cake was DELICIOUS!!! It's in my refrigerator right now and it's going to be hard to share it the rest of the week. I know I *should* if I don't want to gain 10 pounds this week, but it's so good I just might not!

Apple Dapple Cake
(Slightly modified from The Southern Plate)

3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1. t. soda
1 c. oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 1/2 cups raw apples, peeled and chopped fine
Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, soda. Add to first mixture. Fold in pecans and apples. Bake in tube pan at 350 for 1 hour (or until knife comes out clean).


1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup margarine(1 1/2 sticks) (*I used 1/2c because that's all I had)

Mix and cook 3 minutes after it begins to gently boil, stirring constantly. Pour over hot cake while cake is still in pan. Let cake cool completely before removing.

Deconstructed Lasagna (with Spaghetti Squash!!!)

The spaghetti squash. Seemingly, a nice, quiet little squash. But inside, a hard winter vegatable that isn't in my everyday food vocabulary.

But I did it. Yes, I finally overcome AND conquered my fear of spaghetti squash. I bought one a couple of weeks ago at Central Market and it has since sat on my countertop. Looking at me everyday, taunting me, begging me to be cooked. Since today was a Sunday, I figured I had lots of time to cook another dinner in case I failed. I had planned to do a "deconstructed" type of lasagna, meaning use pasta, ricotta cheese and pasta sauce but not layered in a pan, just mixed in a bowl. I baked my spaghetti squash and it worked!!! I used the squash instead of pasta for my idea and it was fabulous! It has proved to me that you should take risks in the kitchen and you will be rewarded!!!

Deconstructed Lasagna with Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash
Salt and Pepper

Fat Free Ricotta Cheese
Your favorite spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the spaghetti squash in half. Clean out the stringy pulp and seeds. (You can save the seeds to roast like a pumpkin.) Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Brush with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until fork tender.

Meanwhile, heat your spaghetti sauce or make your own. I prefer to make my own. I sauteed half a white onion, diced, in EVOO. Once the onion turned opaque and softened, I added two cloves of garlic and continued sauteing. Once the garlic had slighty browned, I added a large can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and onions. Season to taste with salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Simmer until the spaghetti squash is ready.

Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to pull apart and "make spaghetti." While hot, mix squash with ricotta cheese. The squash should be hot enough to melt the cheese. Add sauce, top with mozzarella cheese and serve. Mangia!
(The first picture is the layered, "fancy" picture, but really, it's best when you stir it all together. SOOOOOOOOOOO good!)