Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cookbook Review: Supermarket Healthy

My latest cookbook to review is Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D'Arabian. If you watch the Food Network, you may remember her from the Next Food Network Star competition. I loved the feel of the book and the beautiful pictures right away.

There are plenty of healthy recipes in this book. You'll find things like Morning Glory Muffins, Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce, Creamy Cauliflower "Baked Potato" Soup, Poached Chicken Puttanesca, and more! There aren't pictures for every recipe, but many do have pictures. The food looks very yummy!

One of my favorite parts of the book is where Melissa gives you a blueprint to customize dishes how you like them. For instance, on page 36-37, there is a blueprint to customize your own frittata. I think this would be a great help from those cooks who want to start learning to come up with their own recipes. It's kind of a stepping stone to take to learn how ingredients work together. I think it was a great idea to add that to the cookbook.

Want to know more? Check out this page.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf

Do you buy ground beef or have your meat gound up fresh? I love to have ours ground up fresh. It's the only way I buy it. I usually use sirloin tip or london broil, and have used a couple of other cuts before too. I just watch for it to go on sale. Sirloin tip was on sale this time and I decided to make meatloaf again. I wanted something different for this one, so I thought why not stuff it with smoked gouda cheese! This was really good. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Meatloaf

2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of ketchup (I used just a tad less than ½ cup)
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 eggs
2 pounds of ground beef
1/3 pound of smoked gouda, cut into sticks (like cheese sticks only smaller)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter and then add the diced onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic, allowing it to cook for a minute or two. Set aside, sprinkle the tsp of thyme over the mixture and let cool.

Crack the two eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion mixture, and ketchup. Mix the meatloaf mixture with your hands until everything is mixed well.

Now you’re ready to form your meatloaf and place it in a pan. I chose to use a sheet pan and free form my loaf. I like this way the best. Take a little over half of the mixture and pat it out in the pan to make the bottom of your loaf. In the middle of the loaf, add the smoked gouda cheese sticks. Take the rest of the meat mixture and cover the cheese sticks forming a loaf, making sure to completely cover the cheese. Bake for an hour and a half.

I tasted this and decided not to put ketchup on it as it was really good. However, I am sure it would be tasty with ketchup as well. If you choose to do so, top the meatloaf with ketchup and allow it to bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Handy Tip #1: I advise you to check any meats you cook with a meat thermometer just to be extra safe. Fully cooked according to this website that I found online here is 160 degrees.

Handy Tip #2: Use parchment paper on your sheet pan for easy clean up.

Handy Tip #3: Feel free to add more salt to this recipe as I didn’t really add any extra salt. You could also use a bit more cheese if you’d like. I found mine at the Kroger deli. I just had them slice two large hunks of cheese. It ended up being 1/3 of a pound. I trimmed the rind off and cut them into cheese sticks. Worked great!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup

There is a take and bake place in town that has the most amazing lemon chicken artichoke soup. I decided to try to make a copy of it at home. This soup isn’t exactly like the one at the local shop here, but it’s close. This recipe is so good and highly addictive! I encourage you to try it as soon as you can!

Lemon Chicken Artichoke Soup

½ stick of butter
1 tbsp oilive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 yellow onions, diced
2 12oz jars of quartered artichoke hearts in water (drained, rinsed and diced)
2-3 lemons
2-3 cups of cooked chicken breasts, diced
1 tsp of dried oregano
8 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups of half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

In a 5-6 qt. stockpot over medium heat, melt butter and add the olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, add the garlic and then cook for a minute more. Add the artichoke hearts and salt and pepper if desired and cook for 3-5 minutes. Next, add your chicken stock. Allow this to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half & half and the juice of the first two lemons, bring to a simmer and taste everything here. I added the juice of another lemon for a total of three in my recipe. However, lemons can vary in how much juice they give, so try it after 2 and see if you would like more in the soup. Also adjust for salt and pepper at this point as well. Continue simmering for 30 minutes. Then add diced chicken and oregano. Allow to simmer for 15 more minutes. Then enjoy!

Some notes: I didn’t add any extra salt to this recipe at all and it was plenty salty for me. Also more pepper or oregano can always be added. It’s very important to taste as you go along to see what you’d like to add more of. Want more of a kick? Increase the black pepper. Don’t like oregano? Just leave it out. It will still be delicious. Want more chicken? Add 3 cups instead of 2. It's really a flexible recipe. This soup is amazing. I hope you will try it soon! By the way, I found the artichoke hearts at Aldi for a good price. Check them out if you have one close by.

Also, I used chicken breast I had cooked using a wonderful method I discovered on a blog and then froze it. You can find her method here. I used the Tuscan Garlic seasoning from Tones (found at Sam’s) as my seasoning for the chicken. This way of cooking chicken is amazing, not to mention how she has you refrigerate the chicken, then dice it. It makes for perfect little cubes of chicken!

Cookbook Review: One Pot

I recently received the One Pot cookbook From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. I was especially looking forward to this cookbook, because one pot means less dishes right? That's always a plus! This book had plenty of mouth-watering photos to enjoy and that is something I consider very important when I choose a cookbook. I love seeing what the finished product should look like.

You might think by the title, One Pot, it would always mean a stockpot or dutch oven type of pan. However, this book has recipe for all kinds of pots and even roasting pans! The chapters are:
  • Dutch Oven
  • Skillet & Saute Pan
  • Slow Cooker
  • Roasting Pan & Baking Dish
  • Pressure Cooker
  • Stockpot & Saucepan
  • Desserts

The recipes look delicious! Some that stood out to me were Carnitas Tacos, Arroz con Pollo, Sausage, Chicken, and White-Bean Gratin, Turkey Skillet Pie, Skillet Macaroni and Cheese (with multiple variations!), and more! There are definitely several tasty things to make in this book. The only issue I had with the book is that I found some of the ingredients to be things I wouldn't likely get my family to eat. Things such as fennel, clams and items like that. And since I don't have a pressure cooker, that leaves out that chapter for me. However, I am sure the recipes could be adapted to be made without one. I wish they would have included instructions for those without pressure cookers.

In the end, I think this is definitely a cookbook worth checking out. I love all of the pictures and the fact that each chapter includes some basics and tips about the cookware that you're using. That is always handy. If you'd like to find out more about this cookbook click here.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, these opinions are my own.