I Started Taking Pics...

Of food - I couldn't believe that I actually had time! For those of you who are wondering why they're blurry - I used my lensbaby, it's a little hard to focus with two hands while you're also trying to cook! These pics go along with my 7 layer dip.



Garlicky Bruschetta

I feel as if I've posted this before - but probably not.

Garlicky Bruschetta

6 Roma tomatoes, chopped, pretty finely
A big bunch of Basil, julienned
1 tsp garlic powder
Good amount of sea salt & pepper
3 - 4 tblsp olive oil

Combine all in a dish, refridgerate and serve on toasty italian or french bread.

I also like this on triscuits, fritos, whatever. It's kinda like an Italian salsa.



Chicken Tortilla Soup

(copycat recipe)

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
4 cups half-and-half
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup fresh salsa
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
6 boneless, chicken breast halves - cooked, skinned
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (1.27 ounce) packet dry fajita seasoning
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
16 ounces tortilla chips
8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the garlic and onion in the butter or margarine for 5 minutes.

Add flour and stir well, cooking for 1 minute more.

Add the broth and half-and-half. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Add the soup, salsa, corn, chicken, cumin, fajita seasoning and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Stir and continue to heat for 15 minutes.

Crumble tortilla chips into individual bowls, add 1/2 ounce shredded cheese to each bowl and ladle in soup. Top each bowl with more crumbled chips, remaining 1/2 ounce cheese and remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, and serve.

My DH has an obsession with McAlister's Deli Chicken Tortilla Soup. I found this just by googling, I hope it turns out - this is my plan for tomorrow! More details and a review to follow...




Check out this CNN article.

And yes, I did feel the aftershock at 11:15 this morning. And yes, I swear my building is shaking again.

Crap - it's like straightline winds without the rain! I do have to admit - it's pretty cool to be in an Earthquake in the middle of the country, although we're not exactly prepared for shit like this. I wouldn't be surprised if it happened again soon, thanks to global warming, tectonic plates and living near a fault line.



It's McTatty Confession Time

1. I'm still drunk from last night.
2. I'm generally never organized enough to tell you if I've paid my electric bill on time.
3. I love eggs. Actually, I crave protein and calcium in general.
4. Diet Mountain Dew is the one love of my life...
5. If I were not married, I would hunt down Anthony Bourdain.
6. Or Kimi Raikkonen. (He's a Finnish racecar driver)
7. My husband won two awards last night and I made him take pictures so that I can send them to our mothers.
8. Budweiser is really not so great for you.
9. If I had more money, I think I'd still be a cheapskate like my father.
10. Confessions are strangely fun. I think I'll do this more often...



The Farmer's Market

For those of you in the B-town area - here's some Farmer's Market info.

See you there on Saturday mornings!


Lunch Planning

I don’t exactly do too many meal plans. I guess you could say that I just go to the store, buy what’s on sale and pray to the cooking gods that I have another ingredient at home to make whatever sounds good.

But I digress. I don’t plan dinners, I have to plan lunches. I only have one hour for lunch so I can’t exactly make anything too complicated. Omelets: yes. Black bean soup: yes. Grilled cheese: yes. Anything else, eh, maybe.

So here’s my plan for tonight. Make enough lasagna to cover 3 lunches. Here’s my proposed recipe (click here for original source):

1 (8-ounce) package uncooked lasagna noodles (about 9 noodles)
1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup (6 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free pasta sauce, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Combine the cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese in a large bowl; stir to blend well. Stir in Parmesan and next 8 ingredients (through egg).

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce; top with half of cheese mixture and one third of remaining pasta sauce. Repeat layers once, ending with noodles. Spread remaining pasta sauce over noodles.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella; bake an additional 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I think I'm also going to brown ground turkey and add it to the pasta sauce - that should give it some substance. Yum! I can't wait...


Cuban Chicken Pizza

Before the Dave Matthews concert last night, we had to eat something. A fresh bunch of cilantro and parsley sits in my fridge, chilling in a tall pitcher of water. It needed to be used.

I came across THIS Cuban Chicken Pizza recipe and thought it looked good. I wanted smoky, a little spice and something to fill us up so we wouldn’t have to spend money to get food from the concert venue.

Here are my adaptations:
2 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Pam cooking spray
1 cup frozen corn, not defrosted
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tsp hot sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups diced grilled chicken breast
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup cheese, whatever you have on hand
3 tbsp olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

Marinate the chicken with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, hot sauce, 1 tsp of cilantro, salt and pepper for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Grill chicken, 4 – 6 minutes on a hot grill pan while toasting the tortillas. Dice.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Add corn to pan, and cook 1 minute or until lightly charred. Add chicken, black beans, and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

Place tortillas on baking sheet. Put a little cheese on the tortillas so the bean mixture sticks, then spoon 3/4 cup bean mixture onto each tortilla; top each with 3 tablespoons of cheese. Bake at 350° for 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Sprinkle each pizza with 1 teaspoon cilantro.

I would make this again, but char corn on the cob on the grill outside when it’s a little warmer. Yum, in anticipation of my upcoming trip to the Caribbean with my mom, I will definitely start making more food like this! Perfect on a hot day!

I promise, instead of ravenously wolfing down my food, I'll try and take pics before... it's so hard when my stomach is grumbling and there's a Corona waiting for me...



I got free Dave Matthews Tickets

And I shook the hand of Bill Clinton yesterday. I'm in this picture somewhere, or at least the back of my head is.

What a day...



It's Just Flour, Water and Yeast, Right???

Being poor comes in waves.

Like March. April should be better – but who knows if all of a sudden I’m going to need major dental work again!

Pizza dough is easy. Super easy! I also have a strange knack for throwing together recipes and picking the best of both and combing them. Like pizza dough. I do have to admit, the dried herbs you do NOT have to use, but I suggest you use some sort of salty cheese to add because the 1 tsp of salt just doesn’t seem like enough after it’s been baked. I’ve fiddled with this a TON before posting it.

It’s just flour, water and yeast, right???

¾ cup warm water, not HOT
1 packet yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp honey OR 1 tsp regular sugar if you don’t like honey
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Cornmeal
1 – 3 tbsp olive oil

Proof the yeast with the honey (or sugar) and salt for about 5 minutes until it’s all foamy and smells good. Add the olive oil.

While the yeast is proofing, measure out your flour and herbs and mix together. (Do not add the cornmeal yet, that’s actually for when you bake your pizza/calzone/etc..)

Slowly add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture – add it about ¼ cup to ½ cup at a time until the dough is all sticky and ready to knead. Stir with a wooden spoon – those are the easiest to clean.

Lightly flour a smooth surface. Knead dough very well for 8 – 10 minutes. And I mean you should be working up a sweat. The harder you knead the lighter and tastier the dough will be. You should be grunting.

After 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and silky, kinda sticky but not really. Coat the dough and a large bowl with olive oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm part of the kitchen.

After it’s risen, then you can roll it out to the size desired. I always put cornmeal on the baking tray. But you spray with Pam with Flour and that works just as well too.

Put your toppings on and bake until cheese is bubbly and sorta brown at 425 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes.