Saturday, April 30, 2011

Looking Back: April 2011

Chicken With Lemon Sauce

This was definitely a month to love. From celebrating the husband's birthday with a homemade chocolate pie to hosting a cousin for a long barbecue-filled weekend and spending quality time with Momma, Ant and Little Big Brother right after that, enjoying homebrew and biscuits cooked over a fire pit - and learning about polenta - we made the most of the last 30 days.

In fact, we spent so much time out and about this month, there were weeks that I really let the blog go. (I truly am sorry, all 14 of you followers!) So how about I catch you up with a recipe that I know the husband and I loved this month but that I failed to share with you when it graced our dinner table?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Whole Wheat Honey Shortbread

It's already tomorrow in Britain. I can't believe we're thisclose to the big day. Please don't laugh. I am extremely excited about the Royal Wedding. I. Cannot. Wait. To. See. The. Dress. So excited, in fact, that it was pretty much all I could think about tonight. Does that make me sound like a huge nerd? Probably. 

I had the husband open me a bottle of Prosecco ('cause that's the closest you're going to get me to Champagne) and made dinner: a quick and easy chicken curry, even though the husband told me he wasn't sure he liked curry. (For the record, he does like curry. But he gets it confused with something else, he told me, and always forgets if curry is the dish he likes or the other something mysterious I made him eat once that he hates. Oh, well. He likes curry.)

chicken curry
A lightened up version of Chicken Curry in a Hurry from

So after dinner the husband stepped out to get a haircut, and I turned on the Coldplay and preheated the oven. We're having high tea at work tomorrow in honor of the Royal Wedding, which means I had an excuse to bake up some goodies without having to eat them all myself. First up: Whole Wheat Honey Shortbread.

Waiting for the Sun

The dog man thought he'd eat his way out of his cage yesterday while the husband and I were at work. (Apparently, he thought he needed to be somewhere safer than the garage.)
I know y'all are stopping by to see what sort of crazy food I made the husband eat last night, but with all of the tornado warnings and thunderstorms we were fortunate enough to survive yesterday, dinner was nothing special. We grabbed a pre-made pizza dough from the freezer, topped it with leftover vodka sauce, a little hamburger and a little cheese, ate in about 10 minutes, reached for a couple bottles of beer and headed to the garage with the pups. Lucky for us, Chance's cage was only the part of our house that suffered any damage.

Hopefully you were as blessed as us, if you were anywhere near the crazy weather that hit the Southeastern U.S. yesterday. Our thoughts are with you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Light Vodka Sauce

healthy spaghetti and vodka sauce
Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Light Vodka Sauce 
I absolutely love penne a la vodka. If we go to a restaurant and I see it on the menu, I want it. I especially love it when it has fine bits of pancetta in it and a creamy tomato-y taste with just a hint of peppery spice. Mmmm. I love me some penne a la vodka. But I hate all of the calories I know come along with that creamy, saucy goodness. So I'm happy to share with you a recipe my momma shared with me - minus the pancetta. I'll save that for a more special occasion than a Tuesday night.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Light Vodka Sauce

1 tablespoon light butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (no-salt-added, preferred)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 dash mixed-up pepper
1 cup fat-free half-and-half (sometimes the momma uses cream or 2% low-fat milk)
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more)
1 lb whole wheat pasta

Melt butter with oil in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes.

At this point, start a pot of water for the pasta.

Add tomatoes and cook until a lot of the liquid has cooked off, stirring frequently about 15 minutes or so. (I think the momma lets hers cook for 25 minutes, but you know us, we can't wait that long.) 

Add cream, vodka and red pepper to the tomatoes and boil until thickened to sauce consistency, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Light Vodka Sauce
Pour sauce over 1 lb pasta and top with Parmesan, if desired. (We also serve ours with a bit more red pepper.)

Serves 6
* Nutritional facts per serving, as calculated by
372 calories, 4.4 g fat, 70 g carbs, 2.3 g fiber, 14 g protein

* Your choice of whole wheat pasta will alter the nutritional information. Our pasta had way more protein and fiber than thought it would, so our dinner was actually a bit healthier than noted above. Feel free to use your favorite pasta! The husband doesn't usually even like spaghetti, but these little nests were just too cute to pass up. Thanks for selling these fundraising goodies to Momma, Little Big Brother. 
And thanks, Momma, for giving 'em to us. They were a hit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meatless Monday: Baked Polenta and Tri-Color Beans

Baked Polenta Topped With Beans and Veggies
When they say you learn something new every day, does that limit us to one thing per day? If that's the case, I think I learned up all of today and tomorrow's lessons tonight. You see, tonight I realized polenta really is as easy to make as it sounds, and I learned how to cut open a pineapple

The husband sent me a text late this afternoon asking what was for dinner this Meatless Monday. (He's catching on nicely, don't you think?) I told him i wanted to make polenta that it might take awhile. He said that was fine, and I know we both started reminiscing about those delicious polenta dishes Momma made when she was visiting. I was more than excited to get home and get to work.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Banana Smoothie

Banana Smoothie From Health
The wife, packing her lunch before work: Ah, man!
The husband comes into the kitchen, worried the wife is actually having some sort of emergency: What happened?
The wife: I just dropped a cranberry in my tea!
The husband, laughing: Well, why are you making your trail mix over your tea? You knew that was going to happen, didn't you?

I have to admit, the husband had a point. I'm constantly doing things that result in him saying, "You knew that was going to happen." (And before it was the husband, the stepdaddy was the one who always had to point this out to me.) I'll spoon food from a serving dish to my plate only to slop it all over the dinner table. I've been known to wear a white shirt while eating spaghetti and gravy. And I've spent more than one January 1 on the couch with a glass of ginger ale - and I mean one glass - all day.

It's not always pretty, but there's probably no changing me at this point, which means the husband just has to shake his head and laugh. And I have to stubbornly accept the fact that he was right. So I was completely prepared for that to be the case yesterday morning when I was whipping up my breakfast.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Polenta Dishes

For Starters: Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Polenta on a bed of Balsamic Reduction
We had such a great weekend with Momma, Ant and Little Big Brother that taking food photos and blogging was not the first thing on my mind. (My apologies!) This appetizer Momma whipped up looks awfully good, though, doesn't it? It truly was so tasty we gladly turned the leftover polenta into a hearty - and healthy - vegetarian main course last night.

Polenta Topped With White Beans, Tomatoes and Basil
Have these delicious-looking photos made up for my lack of blogging yet? I hope. Let me make it up to you. 

Which dish do you think sounds better? I'll gladly share the recipe.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Healthy Buttermilk Banana Bran Muffins

Company's coming! Yes, we have coming coming again this weekend. Are we lucky or what? My momma, Ant and Little Big Brother should be here waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow and I am sooooo excited. Actually, I'm so excited for their impending visit that I bought a whole bunch of food and needed to make room in the fridge. (The visit from the beer fairy took up quite a bit of room in the fridge, as well.) So I needed to do some fridge cleaning. Fun times.

I found some old lunch meat the husband didn't finish last week, about 1/4 cup of white beans that smelled worse than I thought they should after only being in there a couple of days and buttermilk. At least there was one thing that could be salvaged - and turned into something I think the company might enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blackened Tilapia (Inspired by Cooking Light)

blackened tilapia
Blackened Tilapia and Southwestern Corn
I'm skeptical. It's true I'm a strong believer everything happens for a reason, but I also have a hard time believing things that just plain sound too good to be true. Tonight's dinner was exactly one of those instances. I had absolutely no faith our dinner would be ready in less than 15 minutes. Thank you for proving me wrong, Cooking Light! You helped me see I really need to let this skepticism go a little bit.

The husband and I planned to take the big brown dog and little brown dog to the park tonight, so we really needed a dinner that would come together quickly. After eating pounds of
pulled pork last weekend, I still don't have much interest in meat just yet. Lucky for me the husband was up for fish tonight. Just for him, I thought I'd try out a blackened fish recipe.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Creole Vegetables and Basmati Rice

Creole Vegetables on Basmati Rice
The husband: "What are you doing over there, blogging?"
The wife: "Probably not - I don't think I have anything to write about. You told me dinner was weird."
The husband: "You still have to blog about it!"

The husband likes to give me a hard time every now and then and pick on my little blog. A couple of weeks ago I couldn't decide what to pack myself for lunch and the husband suggested a turkey sandwich - and it was a Monday! He said, "Don't worry, I won't tell your little blogger friends." (Apparently he thinks y'all are small since you live in my computer. I hope you don't mind.) But all joking aside, the husband is supportive, which is exactly why he ate the underwhelming dinner I served him tonight and encouraged me to share the experience with you. What a silly guy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Oven-Baked "Fries"

pulled pork sandwiches and fries recipe
Pulled Pork Sandwich and Oven-Baked "Fries"
There are plenty of things that, excuse my language, really suck about living so far away from our family and friends. We didn't make it "home" for Christmas last year nor will I be able to attend any of my little (big) brother's baseball games this season - his senior year of high school. We've missed everything from large family dinners to impromptu lunch dates with our grandparents. I'm not gonna lie: Sometimes living 796 miles away from our hometown stinks.

The decision to spread our wings and fly south was our decision, though, and, to be honest, has blessed with a number of amazing opportunities. We found great jobs, a sweet home and Stella. The move has also allowed us to open our home to a number of weekend guests and create memories that'll last a lifetime. (Alright, the truth is we've got a journal our visitors write in so we can piece together the visits we can't quite remember.) No one ever called us up and asked if they could visit for the weekend when we lived in our first apartment (in sin, yes). All of our friends lived nearby. That would have just been awkward. But now that we've moved, we get visitors quite often. This weekend, enter our cowboy-hat-wearing groomsman, one of my many cousins, E.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

whole wheat buttermilk pancake recipe
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes - for Dinner!
Ten years ago my plan was to graduate from college, get a job teaching high school English, marry a really handsome man and live within a 20-mile radius of my hometown. Well, some of those plans came true. I did, in fact, marry a really handsome man. And I graduated from college - and grad school - in five years, to be exact. But instead of earning a teaching degree I went with journalism, and I now live about 800 miles away from my parents. 

It's funny how life can change. I never thought I'd marry a country boy I have known almost all of my life. But man am I glad I did. And I never thought he'd talk me into eating breakfast for dinner - but he did.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Stroganoff

Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff
I know, I know, I told the husband when we jumped on the Meatless Monday bandwagon it wasn't going to be pasta meal after pasta meal, and here we are two weeks in a row eating pasta for dinner Monday night. But I just couldn't help myself. I got a new cookbook for my birthday (thank you, Mama!) and this dish just looked too good to pass up. Plus, we're in the midst of a tornado warning here, and I just wanted a good ol' comforting meal. (Don't worry, I'm working off a battery, and Chance has taken cover beside my feet under the dining room table. We're good.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Venison Chili

venison chili recipe
Venison Chili
I've always been a lover of comfort foods. Casseroles, potpies, chicken 'n dumplings, stews, chowders, cheesy macaroni and cheese, you name it. I'm sure I love it. But, for the life of me, I cannot remember eating chili when I was growing up - and the same goes for the husband. So it's a little strange that he and I have recently morphed into these people who eat chili - all sorts of chili - all the time. 

We've tried white chili, black bean chili, turkey chili and vegetarian chili, to name a few. So using the leftover ground venison from the husband's birthday venison burger birthday dinner to make venison chili just seemed natural. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

homemade chocolate pudding pie
Homemade Chocolate Pudding Pie
As I've told you before, the husband isn't a big fan of cake. So I knew when his big day came around he wouldn't be asking me to bake him anything. Luckily, he does still enjoy a good ol' chocolate dessert. (If the man didn't eat chocolate or cake, we may have had to rethink this whole marriage thing.) 

I really wasn't sure what he'd want for his birthday dessert, so I gave him a couple of options:
 Key Lime Mousse or Ellie's Double Chocolate Pudding Pie. For the record, I don't think it was an easy decision. He's a huge fan of lime and has been eyeing a frozen lime dessert in my Heartland cookbook; I really thought he'd choose the mousse. But he went with the pudding pie. 


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