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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cooking Show: Gluten-Free Pasta Party!

I've been toying with the idea of a pasta-themed cooking show for a while.  I knew that I didn't want to do a run-of-the-mill show with a basic spaghetti/meatballs/tomato sauce menu, but other than coming up with a couple of different sauces I still couldn't figure out what else I could do to make it more interesting.

Enter my friend Joanie.  She agreed to cook with me for the show, and I told her about my idea for a pasta show featuring a couple of different pasta sauces.  She replied, "and how about using pasta that isn't wheat pasta?"

Bingo!

We could prepare the sauces, and then critique the gluten-free pastas.

We paired a creamy tomato sauce with chick pea spaghetti, and soy fettucine with an alfredo sauce.

First up was the soybean pasta Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli.

Heavy cream is a hallmark of classic Alfredo; however, I use light cream in my Alfredo sauce instead. Making this swap only sacrifices calories, not flavor! 

Click here for the printable recipe.



As promised, Joanie and I offered our critique of the soy pasta.  We were happy to be in agreement!  But that's about all that we were happy about.

The positives: 1. The pasta remained firm in texture.
                        2. It only took about 2 minutes to cook the pasta 
                            
The negatives: 1. There was no flavor at all to the pasta.  It did not even retain the slightest
                            bit of salty flavor from the salted water that it was boiled in.
                         2. The pasta did not hold the sauce at all.  It slid right off and pooled on the plate.

I would not recommend soy pasta!

Next on the menu was chickpea Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce.

This is a very simple, quick, flavorful red sauce.  The addition of a bit of cream at the end gives it a nice, rich texture.

Click here for the printable recipe.

Once again, Joanie and I were in agreement as we critiqued the chickpea pasta.

The positives: 1. It was very flavorful!
                        2. It held the sauce very nicely.
                        3. Chickpea pasta has about 3 times as much protein as traditional pasta!

The negatives: 1. It doesn't turn entirely soft and mushy, but it does get starchy-soft on the
                             surface.  It still retains a bit of a bite...but if you prefer a true al dente pasta
                             you would probably be disappointed.


We did not prepare these drinks on-camera; however, if you watched the show and noticed Joanie and I sipping these delightful concoctions and you're wondering what they were, click here for the recipe!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Cooking Show: Fall Baking! Cranberry Cream Cheese Muffins, Apple Bread with Caramel Icing

We recently filmed an episode of the cooking show with a "Fall Baking" theme.

I knew that I wanted to share my apple bread recipe.  As I was picking out apples in the supermarket, a fellow shopper started asking me if I was going to use the apples for the cooking show.  I told her yes, I am going to make apple bread and she said something like, "why don't you make something like caramel apples, something for people like me who don't cook?"

I kept a straight face and said, GREAT IDEA, while inside my head I was thinking hmmmm...if only she knew what a hassle it can be to make caramel apples.  The last time I made caramel apples was the last time (about twenty years ago) because it was such a messy ordeal.

My friends, Kerry and Kelly, joined me in my kitchen and we made Apple Bread with Caramel Icing, Cranberry Cream Cheese muffins and the aforementioned Caramel Apples.



Just look at this bread!  Chunks of apples in the bread, completed with a perfect caramel icing on top.



Made with fresh cranberries, these muffins are so good. The cream cheese adds a nice texture; dense, but not too heavy.

And here are our caramel apples.  Aren't they just, uh, beautiful?

They tasted absolutely fine.  We melted our caramel, melted our chocolate, dipped in caramel, drizzled with chocolate, sprinkled with an assortment of toppings and then sliced the apples into wedges because it is the least-messy way to indulge.

Kelly and Kerry had never made caramel apples before and the mood while we filmed sort of went from enthusiastic to OMG, WHY are we doing this?

The reason why we were doing this was because someone in the supermarket had suggested to me that caramel apples would be a good recipe for people who don't like to cook.  I took that suggestion and ran with it, if only to prove that sometimes cooking is easier than not cooking.

Kelly and Kerry both agreed that both the apple bread and the cranberry muffins were much easier to make than the caramel apples!


My final thoughts are 1. that an array of fun toppings and an assortment of tantalizingly decorated apples may make for a beautiful picture on Pinterest, but the reality of preparing those apples is an effort in futility, and 2. if you are craving a caramel apple, save yourself the frustration of making it
and simply buy one that's already made!

If you still feel that you may want to give it a try for yourself, click here for the printable recipe--a recipe that I reluctantly wrote and still did my best to dissuade whomever reads it from ever attempting to make these little fruits of frustration.

Even though we didn't prepare this recipe on-camera, if you watched the show you may have noticed that Kelly, Kerry and I were sipping on pumpkin martinis!  Click here to be taken to my blogpost where you can find the recipe.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Cooking Show: Recipes to warm up the chill of Autumn! Apple Cobbler, Chicken Curry

Just like THAT (snap!), it seems like the daily temperature plunged from 90 to 70.  This timing was perfect for our recent cooking show, where we prepared recipes to keep you warm and comfort you as the temperatures dip! 

My friend, Gayle, joined me and we prepared a couple of Thai curry dishes as well as an apple cobbler.



Now that apple-picking season is here, it may be time for you to add another apple recipe into your rotation!  This apple cobbler is so much quicker to prepare than a pie!  Just pour the batter over your sliced apples and bake.




 Thai Chicken Curry

I shared this recipe with Gayle several months ago.  Here's the text she sent me after she prepared it:

omg. insanely delicious?  what's it called again? where did u get this?  i'm def adding this one to the book. 

We decided it would be fun to make this recipe on the cooking show, and we've been trying to coordinate our schedules since June!  I'm glad we are finally able to share this with you!



There's lots of soup on the menu in my house when the cooler weather arrives.  

Gayle and I decided to stick with the Thai theme and came up with this soup.  It is killer.   Every year during the fall/winter seasons, there is one soup that I become obsessed with and I probably make it every week.  Considering that I've already made three batches of this soup in the past month, I'm going to declare that this recipe is going to be my go-to for the winter!




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cooking Show: Tailgating, Part IV



My friend, Maureen, joined me for our most recent cooking show. We prepared a few dishes that are fun to dig into when you're watching the game at home, or easy to transport if you're heading out to the stadium!

It's been a few years since we last filmed a show featuring tailgating recipes.  It's only right that Maureen has been by my side for each of those shows! 

It was my pleasure to join her again recently as she packed up her minivan with provisions for pre- and post-game feasts for her family and assorted guests.









You would think that the many bowls of toppings in this picture means that there is a lot of prep involved.

We've kept the prep to a minimum.  Use a rotisserie chicken and pre-made pico de gallo to cut down on prep time!

(Click on the title for the printable recipe.)


Let your guests assemble their own tortillas with their choice of fillings.


Or create your own salad bowls with your custom choice of ingredients!


Another recipe with minimal prep!  Buy frozen roasted corn, mix in a few additional ingredients...that's it!


I wish I had thought to take a photo of these sliders in all their ooey-gooey goodness! They are soooo good...and disappear faster than you could possibly imagine...like you think that maybe everyone will have ONE but when you're cleaning up the empty pan you realize that next time you need to allow THREE per person.  They are THAT GOOD!!!




If you like carrot cake, and you like whoopie pies...give these a try!

Berries with Limoncello and mint...no written recipe needed!  Just fill a bowl with assorted berries, stir in some WOW with about 1/4 cup of limoncello, and sprinkle some chopped fresh mint on top.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Cooking Show: Summer Produce

Our recent cooking show focused on summer produce.


More specifically, recipes to make if you have an overabundance of summer produce!

My friend, Lisa, cooked with me. Lisa loves to cook as much as I do!  It didn't take long before our assortment of seasonal fruits and vegetables turned into a mouth-watering array of delicious dishes.

(Click on the titles to be taken to the printable recipes.)



If your garden is overflowing with eggplant, then this is the recipe for you!

My husband did not grow up in a house where eggplant was served and he has a very strong aversion to unfamiliar foods.  He does not even like the word "eggplant."  However, his absolute favorite dishes are chicken parmesan and veal parmesan.  I knew he would like this if only he would try it!  

The first few times I served him eggplant, he ate it without complaint and grudgingly said, "I guess I would eat anything if it had enough tomato sauce and cheese on it."  

I would be kidding myself if I said that this is now one of his favorite foods, but I do know that he really likes it!  


Okay, maybe you don't have watermelon growing in your garden. Watermelon is one of my favorite summer fruits, and it only seemed right that while it's in season and at its peak we should feature this drink!

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

There is no printable link for you to click on here because there really is no need for a printable recipe!

Here you go: heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic glaze, basil.

Got that? Four ingredients!  Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, drizzle it with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with finely shredded basil.  SO GOOD.  Excuse my shouting.  But it's SO GOOD.  Is there anything better than fresh-sweet-heirloom tomatoes in the summertime?  I think not.


If you are lucky and have an overabundance of zucchini and blueberries on hand you can make this today.

If not, go to your supermarket and get yourself a small zucchini and a half pint of blueberries so you can make it today.

I can not tell you how long this bread will stay fresh because in this house it is always devoured within 24 hours.  The last three times that I made this bread I shared it with three different people and all of them asked me for the recipe.  It's that good!  No matter how often I make it (even three times in one week), it disappears fast.  



Friday, July 20, 2018

Cooking Show: Vegan Recipes! Zucchini Noodles with Avocado/Pistachio Pesto, Pineapple-Lemon Mojitos, Strawberry & Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing and Paleo Berry-Almond Crumble!

I need to confess that our recently-filmed cooking show was a bit out of my comfort zone!

My friend, Dot, cooked with me.  Dot is a vegan. The theme of each cooking show typically features a menu that mirrors the type of cuisine that my guest would like.  I went into overdrive, trying to come up with a vegan menu...a menu that Dot would approve of, with recipes that would be enjoyed by vegans as well as non-vegans!  

My (non-vegan) family willingly taste-tested all of my attempts and experimenting as I tried to come up with decent recipes.

Some of those attempts were just awful, but my family never complained.  All of the failures only helped to illuminate the recipes that were worth keeping!


Soooo good!  Zoodles coated with creamy avocado pesto, accented with sun-dried tomatoes...what's not to love?



 Strawberry/Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

We featured this recipe on the cooking show a few years ago.  It's an oldie but goodie!

Click here to be taken to the printable recipe.


This recipe was inspired by a bottle of Pineapple-Lemon seltzer that I bought on a recent trip to the supermarket.

However, if you can not find pineapple-lemon seltzer, I promise you that you can substitute average, plain, basic seltzer and these mojitos will taste just fine!

How do I know this?  In the interest of quality control, I prepared two batches of mojitos for my family to taste-test (one batch with pineapple-lemon seltzer and one batch with plain seltzer), and the consensus was that both batches were fabulous!

          Berry-Almond Crumble

Please don't let my lack of photography skills scare you. 

This dessert is paleo as well as vegan, and it is FABULOUS.  After he took his first bite, my husband declared, "I could eat this whole thing by myself."

The sweetness of the warm berries combined with the crunchy almond topping is a winning combo!



Friday, June 29, 2018

Cooking Show: What to Make When It's Too Hot to Cook!

Our recent cooking show didn't require much cooking.  

My friend, Lisa, assisted me. We focused on preparing recipes that aren't going to heat up your kitchen while you prepare them.  Sandwiches, wraps, tacos, parfaits and drinks!


Would you like to make a drink that tastes like a Creamsicle®, but doesn't involve ice cream?  We've got you covered!

The secret ingredient is whipped cream vodka.

 Triple-Decker Club Sandwiches with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

These sandwiches should be made to suit your taste!  Use your absolute favorite ingredients and have fun stacking them together.  Click on the link to be taken to a list of suggested ingredients and assembly instructions.


Buying a store-cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket means that YOU won't have any cooking to do!  Just stir the ingredients together, wrap and enjoy.


This was the only recipe that we prepared which required a teensy bit of cooking.  Just about 5 minutes to sauté the shrimp.

As if the heat from the habañero peppers wasn't enough, we decided to heat up the kitchen to cook the shrimp.  

This recipe is crazy delicious.

 Totally worth cooking for a few minutes on a hot night and heating up your kitchen just a bit.


My daughters were both enthusiastic taste-testers when I was tweaking this recipe for the cooking show.  It's a fancier version of their favorite childhood summer snack! When they were younger and I was desperate for them to not eat junk food snacks, I would give them skewers of fruit to dip into yogurt with whipped cream mixed into it.  Now, twenty years later, it's their version of comfort food!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Cooking Show: Spice is Nice! Fajita Rice, Cinco de Mayo Salad with Chicken, Ginger Soy Shrimp Salad and Frozen Mango-Peach Cocktails

Our recent cooking show featured recipes to wake up your taste buds.

A bit of spice makes everything nice! 


My friend, Maribeth, cooked with me and we covered all the bases with salads, festive rice, and a fruity, frozen concoction to wash it all down.

We've featured this recipe on a previous show, but it bears repeating!! Toss frozen mango chunks, simple syrup, lime juice, peach schnapps and ice cubes into a blender and minutes later you'll be sipping this tropical cocktail.  


Easy clean-up because you only need one pan! Rice, veggies, seasonings, broth, rotisserie chicken--stir it up, let it simmer, sprinkle with cheese...

 ...add your favorite toppings and voilà!

A fabulous combination of spicy/melty/creamy/YUM.



A meal that's easy to throw together if you're pressed for time! 

This has recently been the go-to salad in my house.  I marinate the chicken for 15 minutes (a simple mix of olive oil and spices) and while it's marinating I prep the salad and whisk together the dressing.



If you're in the mood for an Asian-inspired salad, we've got you covered!

Another quick salad where you're going to marinate the protein (in this case, shrimp) while you prep your salad and dressing.  A few minutes under the broiler is all it takes to cook the shrimp!