Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CWK: Week Night Dinner

CWK: Week Night dinner thanks to Sunday's prep {Sunday's Prep here} More photos taken by tyler!

Remember these! Its time to use them!

HAM and veggie Pasta!

You need:
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 yellow Pepper
Med Zucchini
Sliced Roma tomato
Green Onions
Cubed cooked Ham
Chick Parm sauce (See below)
1lb cooked pasta
Parm. Cheese (optional)

While your pasta is cooking. Cut up all your veggies and cook them in a pan till tender. I added 1-2 TBSP of chicken stock to keep some liquid in the pan. This helped to stem the veggies.

Once the veggies were done, I made a chick/Parm sauce:

1 Cup Chicken Stock (1/2 a can)
1 TBSP Flour
1 TBSP Butter
1/4 cup for Parm Cheese
Salt / Pepper to taste

Using the same pan i added a Tbsp of butter and Tbsp of flour to the pan on a low - medium heat. Stir it together to help cook the flour (this entire process takes about a minute). I then slowly poured the chicken stock in, whisking it constantly to keep it from clumping up. I kept stirring till it was bubbly. I added in the salt/pepper and Parmesan cheese. Once everything was mixed and the cheese had melted i removed it from the heat.

I mixed everything (Veggies, Ham, Pasta and sauce) together in one pan over a medium heat. I topped it with a little fresh parm. cheese. Enjoy!

When we had this on Tuesday night i only needed to cook the Pasta. Everything else was made on Sunday and in my fridge i just mixed it all together. I would like to make this in the summer but grill all the veggies! yummy.


You need:
1 cup of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 cup of corn
Juice of 1 Lime
1lb cooked shrimp
1/2 a bunch of cilantro chopped
salt /pepper
Onion or green onion
1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1/2 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Rice vinegar

soft taco shells
Taco topping of choice: Salsa, cheese, lettuce, sour cream.

This is so easy and so good! Mix all the ingredients ahead of time in a bowl! Let them sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before cooking. it will look like this:

At dinner time, heat the soft taco shells as directed. Poor filling into a pan and heat till warm.
fill taco shells with filling and top with desired toppings. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

CWK: Sunday cooking - Mexican stuffed shells

Cooking with Kristen (CWK) Episode 2~! PHOTOS BY TYLER!

Sundays are a great day to cook for the week! In about 1 hours time this morning i made Stuffed Mexican Shells for tonight, had Monday nights dinner 90% complete and Tuesdays started. All because of planning ahead~

For tonight I made Mexican Stuffed Shells. I found the idea in my cooking light cookbook but I of course changed it to fit me!!

You will need:
1lb Lean ground beef
24 jumbo Shells
1 1/2 Cups of Roasted Red pepper sauce
1/2 cup of corn
1/2 can of black beans
sliced black olives
sliced green onions
Fat Free shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour Cream (optional)

I made my Roasted red pepper sauce (find the directions here). Start by browning the ground beef and cooking the noodles. I drained the beef and returned it to the pan. Then added about 1 1/2 cups of the red pepper sauce, 1/2 of a bag of corn, and 1/2 can of black beans (drained and rinsed twice).

Cook the mixture for about 3-5 minutes. Then I scooped the mixture into the shells, its very hot, you may want to wait a minute or two!.

I lightly sprinkled green onions, black olives and the low fat cheese over the shells.
Once dinner time rolled around, I heated dinner in 350 oven. Based on taste pour the remaining sauce over the shells and added sour cream.

So I am bad at measuring food, these are my best estimates. I just cook, a little of this a little of that! As for the corn each summer we freeze corn (See here) so i used a 1/2 bag for this.

Time saving tips: I only used 1/2 the corn and beans, I saved them for the shrimp tacos i will be making later this week. Also, while I was cutting green onion I cut up a few more and saved them for the Ham Pasta and shrimp tacos!

Mondays are a difficult for everyone. So while the hamburg was cooking I sliced up the veggies for my Ham Pasta. I threw them in a pan to cook while I stuffed my shells. I also had some Chicken stock left from my roasted red pepper sauce so I made a Parmesan sauce for the pasta. Now all that is left for tomorrow night is for us to cook the pasta and assemble the meal...that will be episode 3!

Everything ready for the week!

Cooking with Kristen - Spinach Chicken with Parmesan

Welcome! In 2009 my new year's resolution was to get organized. I was pregnant with Emma and had no idea how we would fit another child in this house! I cleaned everything out (as a result we will have a huge garage sale this summer). I didn't want to get organized in our space but in our lives.

I do the main grocery shopping every 2 weeks, pay day. If I plan out the meals for those 2 weeks it is so helpful on so many levels. 1) getting everything i need at the store 2) avoid spending hours in front of the fridge trying to figure out what to make on any given Wednesday or weekday. 3) Time Management - If i was cutting an onion for tonight and need one tomorrow i could cut them both at the same time 4) Food savings - i was no longer over buying at the grocery store.

I found this pad (on the right) at Micheal's for a buck! Its so easy, it has a magnet so it always on the Fridge. You just figure out your meals for the week. As you can kind of see, its all filled out for this week. When i make my grocery list (left) I go day by day and see what I will need to make it all.

The thing with winter, there is really nothing to do. So I get inspired to cook! I am trying to cook healthier but it doesn't always turn out that way! This week I planned some yummy foods and I plan to share a lot of them you. This is the closest i will ever get to being Rachel Ray and having my own cooking show!!

The first dish on the pilot episode of Cooking with Kristen is:
Spinach Chicken with Parmesan.

You will need:
2 Boneless Chicken Breast
1/2 bag of baby Spinach
2 oz of fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic crushed or chopped
Crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Butter
Splash of cooking wine (optional)
1 Can of Chicken Stock
Salt Pepper
Green onions (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Rice, or Egg Noodles (optional)

To start, add about 1 Tbsp of EVOO into a non stick frying pan (that has a lid) over medium heat. Then add the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes (as many as you like - i add a pinch) and the chicken breasts.
After 3-5 minutes, flip the chicken and cook till the chicken is almost done (about 3-5 more minutes depending on thickness of the chicken).
Remove the pan from the heat. Place the chicken on a plate and loosely cover with foil.

Now its time to make the sauce! Add a Tbsp of butter and Tbsp of flour to the pan on a low - medium heat. Stir it together to help cook the flour (this entire process takes about a minute).

Add about 3/4 of the can of chicken stock (if you are adding Wine, do so now), mix everything together. You will start to see the chicken pieces stuck to the pan and any of the flour baked to the pan begin to release into your sauce. Turn up the heat to a Medium heat to bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, green onions and mushrooms! Your sauce should nice and thick and bubbly. (dont add too much salt because the parmesan cheese will add alot of saltiness to the dish)
Place your chicken back into the pan and poor a handful of Parmesan cheese over the top. Add the baby spinach into the pan, it will fill it right to the top!! Place the lid on the pan and let everything cook, the spinach will wilt down. Remove from heat and serve with Egg noodles, Rice or alone. Garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Growing up

I dont know when tyler grew up. I was looking at his photos from the last 12months and he has changed so much:

Feb 2009:

June 2009:
Dec 2009This makes mommy sad.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Experimenting with......

FOOD!! What did you expect? ha ha!

The last few weeks I have been obsessing about the roasted red pepper sauce that Brenda told me about. So when I watched Tyler Ultimate this morning I was inspired! This receipt is not super healthy (you know if you are on the biggest loser at work) but its a healthy alternative to some other things!!

Tyler made Baked Rosemary-Garlic legs with Farmers Market pasta. You can get his information here (link)

Lets start with the chicken. I really just followed tyler. However i didnt want to use drumsticks (dark meat). At the store i found Split chicken breast and used them (up the cooking time to about 50minutes). Basically you just bread some chicken and bake it. Tyler used these PANKO breadcrumb - they are a Japanese style breadcrumb. I love them! They coated the chicken so well, had a great taste and texture! See Carla i am stepping out of my food box. to the breadcrumbs you add crushed up garlic and rosemary. David doesnt like fresh rosemary, so i substitute it for Pampered Chef Rosemary mix - the rosemary is smaller and he doesn't notice!!

When you take the chicken out of the oven you squeeze some lemon juice on them and i must stay it was very noticable in a good way! Doesn't it look yummy? SO easy!

Now onto the pasta. I majorly deviated from tyler on this one but his receipt was the base for mine!

Lets start with the sauce for this dish:

In a heated frying pan i put a tablespoon of EVOO , adding a little crushed garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. I let them heat up and get happy then i added about 1 1/2 jars of roasted red peppers whole. I mixed them into the garlic and oil and let them cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. I poured everything into my food processor and blended to the consistency i wanted. I added alittle more EVOO to help breakdown everything.

I poured everything back into the pan and let it simmer. I added a bit of salt, pepper, fresh basil and 1 tbsp of sugar. After about 20 minutes it looked like this:

I really do not like a thick sauce so i thinned it with some chicken stock (about 1 cup). I did this midway Thur the simmering process - this is all up to personal taste. I more than enough sauce so I froze some for later!!

Now onto the rest of the pasta! I cooked a box of smart sense healthy pasta. while that was cooking I sauteed (i hate to say saute because it was not real fatty) the following:

Sliced Zucchini
1/2 each chopped red and orange pepper
Fresh mushrooms
Artichoke hearts
the remained roasted red peppers.

like i said i dont like saying sauteed because they were cooked in maybe 1 tbsp of EVOO, a little bit of the red pepper sauce and 1/4 cup of chicken broth. One all the veggies were tender I added the Pasta, veggies and sauce in one pan over a low heat. they were cooked for 1-2 minutes to blend the flavors. I topped off the dish with some fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and a little bit of Mozzarella on top

This is what the final product looked like (notice the steam!):

It was so yummy! OMG i loved it. So as you can see these are not exactly diet food but they are cooked relatively well. What helped me was during dinner i was trying to feed Emma her rice cereal and eat my dinner. Needless to say she had way more of my attention.

Now if my food is not for you, you could try MY tyler's Ratatouille. He wanted to cook also!

This is the final product
Tomato soup base with Marshmallows and mushrooms. It is seasoned with a hint of rosemary, salt, pepper, and sugar. I am not sure what else he got his hands on and put in it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

got a mess? girls weekend 2010.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflecting on 2009

Like any year we saw ups and downs during the year. I was watching the news yesterday, as they recapped the events of 2009, everything was negative. So here is my POSITIVE list:

1) We met our sister

2) we met our daughter

3) we aged well!
Kristen's 30th and Tyler's 4th Birthdays
4) we enjoyed the rewards of our blood sweat and tears

5) we celebrated with Family and remembered with family

6) we ate well

7) opened our homes to others;
Max the bunny

8) we were pampered and took time for ourselves

9) We tried new things
Adk animal land
1st day of preschool
David using a push mower

10) we found hidden beauty:
Chitt. falls
our garden

11) we laughed