Hi and thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Tina, I am 42 years old and married to a wonderful man named Robert. I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area with my husband and our two pugs, Koko and Lucy and a special kitty, named Trixie.

I am of Italian decent and love to cook not just for my family but for everyone! I have a lot of weeknight dinner guest and try to keep it casual but delicious! My Mom passed away a few years ago and was my great teacher.

In 2012 I have changed the way I eat. A real lifestyle change to be healthier, eat a nutrient dense diet and remove all processed foods, refined flours and sugars from our diet. I do cook a lot healthier than my Mom did and do a lot more vegetarian meals, poultry and fish. I'm trying to find a way to keep the traditions of family, friends and good food in my house always.

I plan to post my weekly menus, update with new recipes, health information and articles and how to eat mostly organic in an economical way. I will also periodically post personal updates of my journey to regain health and hope.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pork & Bean Enchilladas

I love to use C.O.S.T. (Cook Once, Serve Twice) cooking is so easy and helps in cooking economical quick meals. I used the left over pork tenderloin from Saturday and made a whole new meal in a few minutes with some convenience foods.Pork & Bean Enchiladas
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cooked and chopped
1 14 oz. can of pinto beans
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
1 jar of Frontera Enchilada Sauce
8 corn tortillas

Mix pork, beans and 1/2 of the cheese in a bowl. Heat tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften them up a little. Fill tortilla shells with 1/8 of the meat/cheese mixture and roll them up. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and place tortillas on top. Cover with the remainder of the sauce and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Served with Rice A Roni Spanish rice and Sweet Corn Saute from a previous blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Company Breakfast

This is such a decadent breakfast we usually reserve it for the holidays. We had some overnight guest this weekend and I made this for Sunday morning. It was a huge hit all around. Definitely a very easy, but yet impressive breakfast. You make it the night before so it makes the morning easy and care-free so you can enjoy your guests.
French Toast Casserole
Loaf of French bread cut into 2" thick pieces
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. Orange Juice
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half

Melt butter and pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of brown sugar into butter and spread evenly. Place bread in a layer over bottom. Sprinkle remainder of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of bread. Whip together eggs, cream and OJ and pour mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. In a.m. bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.

Serving suggestion:Warm 1 cup of pure maple syrup with 1/4 cup grand marnier in a small saucepan. Serve with sausage and fresh fruit.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cooking Light is always right!

So, I saw this cover of Cooking Light's June 2008 issue and thought it looked so good. I decided to try and make this tonight. It was really easy to make and pretty tasty. I especially loved hte coleslaw. This is a great summer meal!

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard BBQ Sauce and Tangy Mustard Coleslaw

Sauce: 2 bacon slices, finely chopped 1 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard 5 tablespoons honey 3 tablespoons ketchup 2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin Pork: 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed.

1. Prepare grill.
2. To prepare sauce, cook bacon in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until almost crisp, stirring occasionally. Add chopped onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mustard and next 5 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin) to pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 4 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
3. To prepare pork, combine brown sugar and next 7 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small bowl, stirring well; rub mixture evenly over pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink), turning once. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce.
8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 235(25% from fat); FAT 6.5g (sat 2.1g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.7g); IRON 1.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 77mg; CALCIUM 26mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.6g; SODIUM 569mg; PROTEIN 26.2g; FIBER 1.3g

David Bonom ,
Cooking Light, JUNE 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Perfect Pasta Primavera

This is one of those dinners than just screams summer. Any variety of summer vegetables will do. I chose red peppers, vidalia onion, broccoli, zucchini and garlic this time..but the possibilities are endless. I love to roast tomatoes, eggplant and other veggies as well. I roasted the veggies in the oven, but this is really good using the grill on these hot summer days!

Pasta Primavera

1 lbs. of pasta, cooked to package directions.

1 red pepper, chopped

1 head of broccoli, chopped to florets

1 zucchini, chopped

1 vidalia onion, chopped

4-6 cloves of garlic

Olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Parmesan or Romano Cheese

1) Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with olive oil and set aside.

2) Arrange cut vegetables on a cookie sheet, coat with olive oil (about 2-3 Tbsp.) and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes.

3) Remove garlic and chop fine

4) Toss vegetables with pasta and season to taste.

Serve with Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Lets Talk Turkey!!

So to continue on our week of Cheap Eats and Healthy Treats tonight we had turkey burgers, with baked sweet potatoes and sauted mushroom and onions. I also served it with my childhood favorite, applesauce. Total cost of dinner = $6.93, plus we had a burger left over for lunch tomorrow!!

Tina's Tasty Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey (85/15)
1 slice of bread made into crumbs
4-6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small onion, grated 2 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste

Blend all together and form into 4 burgers. Grill until done and serve on toasted buns.
Serve with baked sweet potatoes and sauted portobello mushrooms and onions.

Ground Turkey - 1 lb. $2.49
Slice of bread - $.10
1 large onion - $.69
8 oz. portobello mushrooms - $1.50
2 oz. cheddar cheese - $.30
Sweet potatoes - $1.60
Applesauce - $.25
Total - $6.93

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beans, Beans They are good for the Heart and the Wallet!

Okay, so continue on my Cheap Eats Week, we had Black Beans and Rice tonight. I usually prefer to use dry beans as they are very inexpensive and have no salt added, they do take more time. Today was a beautiful day and I preferred to be at the pool instead of the kitchen. This dinner for two cost just about $5.00!

Black Beans and Rice
2 15 oz. cans of Black Beans, rinsed (I like Goya brand)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of chicken stock
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
pinch of cayenne

In a large sauce pan over medium heat saute onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add beans, chicken stock and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, simmer 30 minutes.

Brown Rice
Follow package directions. I use this rice steamer for perfect rice every time!
Beans - $1.60
Peppers - $3.25
Rice - $.50
Total dinner for two = $5.35

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cheap Eats and Healthy Too!

So, this is a dinner we eat on a regular basis. It isn't exciting, it isn't challenging but it is healthy, cheap, quick and easy. My organic chicken was on sale for $1.99 lbs. so this whole dinner cost under $7.00 to make.
Grilled Chicken, Harvest Blend and Broccoli
Grilled Chicken (marinated in Good Seasons Italian salad dressing) $2.58
Trader Joe's Harvest grain blend (1/2 bag) $1.00
Trader Joe's Low Sodium Chicken Stock (2 cups) $1.00
Broccoli, steamed $1.69

Total Dinner for two= $6.27

So for my friends who say it is cheaper to eat out...give me a break!! There is basically no recipe...just marinate the chicken for a few hours and grill it. Follow the package direction on the Harvest Grains blend..this stuff is awesome! Steam the broccoli and eat!

Cheap Eats and Healthy Treats Week!!

Robert's been on vacation and we ate like crap last week. Corned Beef Sandwiches, Burritos, White Castle (I know, I know). So, in hopes of getting our food back under control I plan to blog my menu and get back on our healthy eating kick. Also, to get our budget back in place, this week all of our meals are going to be on the cheap :-) Under $10 for every meal!!

Monday - Grilled BBQ Chicken, 5 grains medley and steamed broccoli
Tuesday - Black Beans and Rice with salad topped with salsa & avocado
Wednesday -Turkey Burgers with baked sweet potatoes, sauted mushrooms and onions
Thursday - Grilled Vegetable medley with brown rice
Friday - Turkey Kielbasa with German Potato Salad
Saturday - Out to dinner :-)
Sunday - Beer in the Butt Chicken

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Beer in the Butt Chicken

Last year I saw a chef on television make beer can chicken and have been wanting to try it. Robert and I were at Williams-Sonoma and saw this contraption and had to buy it.

You don't need this $30 Veritcal Chicken Roaster..you can simply make this dish using a beer can...but if you know me..you know I can't pass up a new cooking gadget.

We made our first beer can chicken and it was awesome! Better than I expected. Unfortunately, we were so excited to eat it..we never took photos! So, I will show you some of the ones from Williams-Sonoma until we make this again..which will be very soon.

Beer In the Butt Chicken
1 whole chicken approximately (4-5 lbs)
1 can of beer
1 cup of BBQ Sauce (we used Jack Daniels Spicy)
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Chili Powder
4 Tbsp. Olive oil
Pre-heat grill to medium high.

Prepare chicken by rinsing it thoroughly inside and out and let it rest to room temperature. Pat dry and then coat chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder and rub in generously.

Pour half of the beer into the BBQ Sauce the other half of the beer into the cup on the roaster.
Place chicken atop roasted and then onto in-direct heat on grill. Close lid and allow to cook for 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes, baste with beer/bbq sauce every 10 to 15 minutes until chicken reads 170 degrees in the thigh. (Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.)

Grilled Veggies
1 Red bell pepper
1 vidalia onion
3 potatoes
4 green onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Chop veggies into bite sized pieces, coat with olive oil and season with salt and/or pepper.
Place veggies on the outside of roasted after the first 30 minutes of cooking. Toss every 15 minutes or so until dish is complete.

This Week's Menu 6/15/08

So, I've decided to make a menu this week and I am going to try to stick with it. You will see that Robert and I are trying our best to eat healthier, lighter and utlizing more natural products. I heard a great grocery shopping tip this week. Only shop the outer aisle of the grocery store...avoid going up and down the inside aisle. So you hit produce, bakery, meat/fish, and dairy. If you only shop the outside aisles..you also miss out on rice, beans and oatmeal...but you get the idea.

Sunday - Beer Can Chicken and veggies on the grill, included herbed potato packets.

Monday - Black beans, rice and fresh pico de gallo

Tuesday - Grilled Mojo Chicken Salads

Wednesday - Pasta with roasted garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and broccoli

Thursday - Turkey Kielbasa with baked beans

Friday - Baja Fish Tacos with left over black beans.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Eat at Moes!

So, when I was in North Carolina my psudeo-cousin Christine Buff (Di Ceasar) took me to a place called Moes Southwest Grill. It is kinda like Baja Fresh and Chipotle and very good. We both said...we hope these come to Ohio someday...and someday is here. Moe's has opened across from the Parma-town mall on Day Dr. Robert & I took my nephews Jacob and Zach and we each had a burrito. We all enjoyed ourselves and the variety was good that even though each of us had a much different taste, we were all satisfied with our creations.

Moes is great for budget minded and quick dining. It is upscale fast food...but the food is fresh tasting and the staff very friendly. I would reccomend Moes if you want something fast and as an alternative to Chipotle or Baja Fresh for mexican express.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Simple Spring Supper

This dish literally takes less than 20 minutes, is very healthy and delicious. It is an easy main dish to cook on a weeknight...and would be great as a side dish for weekend or company dinner.
Orzo, Shrimp, Spinach & Roasted Tomatoes
1 lb. orzo
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1 qt. grape tomatoes, halved
1 bag of baby spinach (washed)
1-3 cloves of garlic, sliced fine
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. In a saute pan over medium high heat saute the shrimp (seasoned with salt and peppers) in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until pink all over (about 3 minutes). Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. In the same pan with remainder of oil saute the garlic, tomatoes and spinach for a few minutes..season with salt and pepper. Add in the cooked pasta and toss. Toss all together and add shrimp. Now it is ready to eat!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I totally suck at Blogging!

I still cook daily...and I still love to share my recipes..but for some reason I have a hard time keeping up with my blogging. I will try to add some new and exciting recipes soon. I miss blogging and especially the comments. Thanks to all who have emailed me asking me to come back to blogging soon.

Is this blog worthy? This is my biggest problem. Are you interested in seeing the same foods day in and day out? Is grilled chicken salad and garlic bread blog worthy? What about when I take short cuts and buy the rotisserie chicken at the store and Sanda Lee my dinner? Do you still want to see that?

Keep an eye out for some new entries. I am not going to promise anything...but I have been missing my window to the world so I hope to make some positive contributions to the culinary masses soon!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, so as much as I want to eat healthy and clean, I can't just throw food away, I guess it is my Catholic guilt and all those starving kids in China or Africa. So, this is another dinner from the clearing out the pantry resolution....and surprisingly it was actually very delicious! The girls on the What's Cooking board on the nest call all Campbell's cream soups.."Cream O Crap" and I am almost embarrassed to blog this recipe..but it was easy and rather tasty so I thought I would share the love.

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced fine
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs of celery diced
2 cans of Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups of skim milk
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. black pepper
1 bag of frozen mixed veggies
1 can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits

In a large skillet saute onion and chicken in a little olive oil until chicken is cook through (no pink showing). Add in celery and saute for about 2 -3 more minutes. Add in soup, milk and seasonings (DO NOT add additional salt...the soup has plenty in it). Bring to a simmer until the soup is incorporated, add in the mixed veggies and simmer on medium low for about 30 minutes. It should reduce and thicken nicely to the consistency of the inside of pot pie.

Cook biscuits according to package directions and serve hot.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Everything but the kitchen sink scones!

Like I said in my previous post, I am trying to clear our the pantry. We have a very small kitchen and limited cupboard space and I tend to buy a lot of variety of food. The problem is I like to eat a lot of variety and end up throwing a lot of food away. I have an excess of things left over from holiday baking and wanted to use them up. I didn't have a lot of one thing..so I made up this scone recipe. It was SOOOOOO good. These scones were moist, bright and delicious! The basic scone mix is a recipe that came with Cuisinart food processor...which also makes this recipe a quick mix.

Cranberry, Orange and Almond Scones
2 cups of flour, plus 1/4 cup more for bench
1/3 cup of sugar (I used turbinado)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 stick of cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup craisins or dried cranberries
zest of one orange
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

1 egg for brushing
Sanding sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, combine flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg and pulse a few times to sift and combine. Add butter and pulse into mixture resembles small beads. Add in cranberries, zest and almond, blend slightly. In a small bowl beat egg, vanilla and half and half pour mixture slowly into the flour mixture while processing. Process until dough is formed into a ball (may be sticky and be careful not to over-knead). On a counter coated with flour, pour out mixture and form into a large disk (about 9"-10" in diameter. Add flour as needed. Place atop parchment paper on a cookie sheet and brush with egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Cut into 8 wedges and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned all over.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lame Lemonade Cake

I love lemon cake. Every year for my birthday I ask for a lemon coconut cake and Aunt Judy always makes me a delicious one! I am trying to clear out the pantry and get rid of all processed food items and I came across a lemon box cake mix. I went on AllRecipes and looked for a recipe that would use this Lemon cake mix. I found Lemonade Cake III that look really easy and good. Honestly, I haven't used a box cake mix in awhile preferring from scratch cakes, but I don't know if we are now just cake snobs, but this cake was just not up to our standard. It was okay...but I wouldn't make it again. While it wasn't the best tasting cake..it looks pretty though.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Warm up with Pasta Fagioli

This weekend is suppose to be very cruel and cold. It is going to be a busy weekend with lots to do so I want to make a big pot of soup that we can warm up for meals and snacks. My Dad never liked beans and this is not something my Mom would make on a regular basis. I remember on Sept. 11 as we, like the rest of the nation, stared into the television in disbelief my Aunt Theresa brought a pot of pasta fagioli to my Mom's house and it was all ate the whole day. My version is adapted from many trials and errors of recipes. This pot was especially delicious...I don't know how that happens...but that is the problem of never cooking with recipes.

Pasta Fagioli

1 lb. Ditalini pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/2 lb. panchetta, diced fine

4 cloves garlic, diced or minced

3 ribs of celery diced

3 carrots julienned (I buy the bag and use 1/2)

3 14 oz. can of Cannelini beans

8 cups chicken stock

4 cups water

1 Tbsp. oregano

2 Tbsp. black pepper

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

In a very large stock pot saute onion and panchetta in olive oil until panchetta is cooked through. Add in the garlic, carrots and celery and dry seasonings. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, I like the Kitchen Basics chicken stock it is lower in sodium than most of the brands that claim low sodium. Add in the tomatoes and bring soup to a full boil. Once boiling turn down to a simmer and simmer for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Add in beans and simmer for another hour. In a separate large pot, boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Put pasta in a bowl and add about a cup of the soup to keep it from sticking. Serve soup with pasta and enjoy.

TIP: Many recipes tell you to cook the pasta in the soup, in my experiences the pasta absorbs all the soup and you get a more stew like consistency. Also, the pasta tends to turn mushy and overcooked if you add into the soup and re-heat it a few times. I like to keep the pasta and soup separate until serving. It works great!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grandma Fran's Salmon & Stir Fry

In our continuing effort to eat two fish per week, I decided to try to make salmon at home. I had mixed emotion to salmon, sometimes I've liked it and other times its been too fishy tasting but I had never made it myself. Since this fish it is pretty readily available I decided to give it a try. I wasn't sure how to cook salmon so I ask my BFF , Megan, call her Grandma Franchesca and get her ideas as she is a regular salmon eater. She had a ton of ideas but I was looking for something Asian...so this is the one I went with. This was really delicious and healthful. Both Robert and I decided we liked salmon...at least this way. I will be trying more of Grandma Fran's salmon recipes as the year goes on. Oh yeah, Suki and Koko both had some and they loved it too!Grandma Fran's Salmon
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
2 Salmon Mignon (about 6 oz. each)
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
Juice of half a lemon, reserve other half for serving.

In a saute pan over medium high heat, heat butter and sesame oil. Add garlic and salmon, season salmon with pepper and brush on teriyaki sauce and squeeze a lemon over fish. Sear on one side for about 4 minutes, turn over and season the other side. Cook until salmon is no longer translucent (about 6 minutes.)

Serve with white rice and stir fry veggies. I used onion, napa cabbage, red pepper, snap peas, water chestnuts and zucchini.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Broccoli & Pasta...what could be better?

One of the reasons I love Italian food is it celebrates the fresh, goodness of the food without a lot of fluff. This meal is a perfect example of simple Italian cooking. This is another one pot meal, it is another very inexpensive meal, less than $5.00 and it is quick and easy!
Broccoli & Pasta
8 oz. pasta of choice (I used spaghetti tonight)
2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets
4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
Crushed red pepper flakes (about 1/2 tsp.)
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
Peccorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese

1) Bring water to boil in a large pot, add salt and pasta.
2) Five minutes into the cooking, add the broccoli.
3) Drain when pasta is a la dente.
4) In the pasta pot add a few tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute until garlic is just browned. Toss pasta back in and coat well.
5) Sprinkle with cheese and EAT!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Comfort Food in a One Pot Meal

When I first lived on my own and started cooking for myself this was one of those meals I loved. I used convenience foods at the time and Rice-A-Roni and pre-cooked chicken were the starts of this dish. As my palate matured and our dietary requirements changed I re-worked the original into a really good meal that is quick to cook (30 minutes or less) and a breeze to clean up.
Almost Chicken and Rice-a-Roni
3 chicken breast halves (about 1 lbs.), diced
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 lb. vermicelli, broken into small pieces
1 cup of white rice
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
salt and pepper

In a dutch oven over medium high heat, heat olive oil and saute chicken and onion. Season meat with salt and pepper and cook until chicken is browned lightly and no pink shows. Remove chicken and set aside. Add rice and vermicelli and brown slightly. Add in chicken stock, the mixed veggies and the chicken to the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked through and all the stock has been incorporated. Adjust seasonings to taste, we like a lot of black pepper on this dish.

TIP: Original version was one box of chicken rice a roni, one package pre-cooked tyson roasted chicken and one bag of frozen mixed veggies. Follow directions on box of rice a roni, when you add the water and seasonings add the chicken and veggies. It is quick, cheap and easy. If it didn't have a gabillion grams of sodium I would still eat it like this. :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dinner in the crockpot - Olé!

I spent the entire day hanging with my favorite aunt, Aunt Judy. I wanted to have a hot, healthy, dinner when I did got home so I decided to break out the old crockpot. I made Mojo chicken and served it on soft tortillas with all the toppings and taco rice. It was nice to come home after 8 hours and have a great smelling dinner waiting...now I know what my husband must feel like every night! This dinner tasted a lot better than it looks in the picture, I swear!Mojo Crockpot Chicken
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 large onion sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne (to taste..we like it hot)
Juice of one lime
1 cup of water

Throw everything in to the crock pot and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Shred chicken with two forks and serve with tortillas, lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream.

Pico De Gallo
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced fine
1 jalepeno, diced
2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
lime juice

Mix and refridgerate for at least one hour for the flavors to meld together well.

Healthier Taco Rice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup of brown rice
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
3 cups of water

In a large sauce pan saute the olive oil, rice and onion until just translucent. Add in the rice and the seasonings bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is just tender.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Three P Pasta - Pasta, Peas and Prosciutto

I was inspired to make this dish by Giada De Laurentis' show Everyday Italian. She made the peas and prosciutto as a side dish and I've made it as a side many times and everyone loves it. When you combine the sweetness of the peas and the savoriness of the prosciutto you get a mouthful of WOW. What I really love to do is make it a meal by adding pasta. My recipe is somewhat different but for Giada's recipe click HERE. This meal is also very quick & economical. A full meal that serves two big appetites, plus leftover for lunch the next day cost approximately $7.00 to make and 15 minutes from start to finish is a winner in my book. Pasta, Peas and Prosciutto
1/2 lb. pasta of choice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/2 lb. prosciutto, sliced thin and cut into ribbons
1 lb. package frozen peas
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
Black pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large skillet with about 3 Tbsp. olive oil saute onion until slightly translucent, add prosciutto and cook until crispy add garlic and brown slightly. Add in peas and cook until just hot. Add the cooked, strained pasta into mixture and toss together and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes until all combined. Serve hot with cheese.

TIP: Occasionally I make pasta, peas and prosciutto with an asiago cream sauce or alfredo sauce..it is really, really good but not as healthy for you.

Soup and a Fish Sangwich in a Hurry

I was thinking of my Nana today when making this cauliflower soup. She used to make the best pasta with cauliflower and the smells of this reminded me of her house when she made that. She used to always call Sandwich...Sangwich and that always cracked us up as kids. Tonight's meal was simple, quick and perfect for a weeknight meal. The soup recipe was inspired by William-Sonoma's recipe. My changes to their recipe are in red, mostly I tried to add flavor and lower the fat & sodium by eliminating the salt, heavy cream and using skim milk and bread to thicken. For the original recipe, click HERE.
Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 vidalia onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 head cauliflower, about 2 1/2 lb., cut into florets
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups skim milk
2 tsp. Freshly ground pepper, more to taste
8 oz. white cheddar cheese,
2 slices of crusty bread diced
Salt, to taste

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove about 1 cup of the cauliflower to add back in later. Add the broth, milk and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Add in the bread cubes and simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes until the bread is thoroughly soaked. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a fine puree, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted and well combined with the soup. Add in the reserved cauliflower. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve immediately with toasted bread. Serves 6 to 8.

The soup had great flavor, but the texture was a little odd. I think using the heavy cream would have fixed this...but not worth the calories and fat for a weeknight meal.

I served this soup with grilled fish sandwiches. I took fresh wild caught perch, sprinkled it with a little old bay and sprayed with my MISTO olive oil sprayer and broiled it for about 7 minutes, 3.5 minutes on each side. Served on fresh sesame seed rolls with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and homemade tartar sauce.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tiramisù for you!

I had a volunteer meeting tonight and the dinner was spaghetti and meatballs so I offered to bring Tiramisu. Perfect ending for any meal, especially Italian. Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts to make because it requires no baking. The origin of this dessert has many variations and no one clear originator. It is said to be made by Italian women who freshend up left over dry cake soaked in coffee to give to their husbands as they headed off to war to keep them alert. Whatever the origin, the truth is it is luscious, creamy yumminess! My recipe, like the cake, has no clear origin it has just been adapted my own to my taste over the years.
Makes one 9 x 13 pan

2 packages lady fingers (approximately 48 cookies)
6 egg yolks (Use Fresh & Organic)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
21 oz. marscapone cheese (it comes in 7 oz. containers
2 cups strong cold coffee
1/2 cup Godiva chocolate liquor or coffee liquor
Cocoa powder
Instant espresso granules (optional)

1) In a cold bowl whip the egg yolks, sugar and heavy whipping cream until smooth, creamy, light yellow and fluffy, add in the marscapone cheese and whip until combined.
2) Combine coffee and liquor in a bowl.
3) Pipe in 1/3 of the cheese/cream into the bottom of the 9x 13 pan.
4) Dip lady finger into coffee/liquor mixture and place in bottom of pan and arrange until bottom is covered. Arrange cookies up the sides (as shown in picture for a fancy display).
5) Pipe in next 1/3 of the cheese/cream atop of the cookies.
6) Sprinkle with instant espresso and cocoa powder.
7) Repeat layering dipped cookies, cheese/cream and top with cocoa powder.
8) Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving, longer is better.

TIP: Don't be afraid to break cookies in half to make sure the bottom/sides are covered.

Disclaimer: The recipe contains raw eggs which should not be consumed by young children or pregnant women.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Grilling in January!

We've been having unseasonably warm weather here in Cleveland, a balmy 50 degrees here today. So we decided to take advantage and use our new grill again. Tonight I made grilled pork tenderloin, roasted red skinned potatoes and steamed Brussels sprouts. A very basic meal, but a good and easy one for a busy weekend. I didn't have any of my usual ingredients to marinate pork and we had just had teriyaki the other day so I decided to wing a marinade.Tina's Tenderloin
2 - 1 lb. pork tenderloins
1 bottle of beer (I used Great Lakes Brewery Edmond Fitzgerald)
1 Package of Onion Soup Dry Mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. black pepper
1) Mix all ingredients in a zip lock bag and marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

2) Grill on medium low for about 20-30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees in the center.

Served with Steam Fresh Brussels Sprouts (the best things ever) and Roasted Red Rosemary Skinned Potatoes.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Grilled Chicken Chopped Salads

Today we ate terribly. First we had chili dogs for lunch, then we had Arthur Treachers Hushpuppies for a pre-shopping snack and then we saw this sign that said "Hot Donuts Now" and we stopped for a post-shopping snack. So, I decided to make a pretty healthy and light dinner for a Saturday night.

Grilled Chicken Chopped Salads
2 stalks of Hearts of Romain
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 radishes, sliced thin
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 stalk of celery sliced
4 strips of turkey bacon
3 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
3 grilled chicken breast, marinated in FF Italian Dressing.

Served with low fat Sweet & Sour Dressing

Two fish per week in 2008!

The other day I saw a nutritionist on television say that we should be eating two fish servings per week for optimal heart health. So, considering Robert and I both have heart disease in our families I thought it was about time we started eating more fish. We both enjoy fish but it always seems out of my repertoire to cook it well. Sooo, we will be doing a lot of fish experiments this year.
Teriyaki Glazed Trout

1 lbs. of fresh wild trout
1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 cup Brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
Salt & Pepper to taste
1) Rinse fish well in cold water, and pat dry.
2) In a zip lock baggie add fish and other ingredients. Shake well.
3) Marinate for about 30-60 minutes.
4) Place on a broiler pan sprayed with olive oil skin side down.
5) Place under broiler for about 8-10 minutes.
Serve immediately. I served this with fresh steamed broccoli and lime cilantro rice.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Guess who is back?

Me! The end of 2007 was a bit hectic, computer problems, illness and busy with other obligations. I didn't stop cooking it was just not to many "blog worthy" food post and then I was so far behind it seems more appropriate to just start off 2008 with a fresh start. I have made a commitment to update my blog at least once a week but hopefully more often as time allows.

Thanks for all the emails, phone calls and comments asking me to come back.

Happy New Year to All!!