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Starred Recipes

3 Stars - A Family Favorite
2 Stars - Really Good, Will Make Again
1 Star - Good Recipe, Probably Won't Make Again

April 30, 2012

Bob's Red Mill Soup Mixes

Bob's Red Mill
Soup Mixes

I really like Bob's Red Mill packaged foods.
I find them in our health store and in Kroger locally.
They are all natural and taste great.

Tonight I made this Vegi Soup Mix for the first time.
It is full of lentils, split peas, barley, and tiny pasta.

And it couldn't be easier to make.

I brought 8 c of vegetable broth to a boil and added 2 c of the soup mix.
Then I let it simmer on low for an hour.

Served with heated crusty bread - it was a great starter for tonight's meal!


Roasted Shrimp Scampi

Good Housekeeping's
Roasted Shrimp Scampi

Brennan found this recipe in my folder of untried recipes and was so excited that we made it tonight.
I am not sure that the title gives the best description.

I'd probably call it something like "Vermicelli with Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus".

Regardless of the name, it was good!

I preheated the oven to 450* and tossed the asparagus in olive oil and Kosher salt.
I then roasted it for 5 minutes.

Basil and Mint from my pots

Then I tossed the shrimp with garlic, lemon peel, red pepper, and mint and added it to the asparagus baking sheet after those first 5 minutes.
I then roasted both for another 5 minutes.

Yes, I neglected to pull the tail shells off.  Well, my family didn't have an issue doing it themselves :)

While it was all roasting, I made the pasta.
The original recipe calls for whole-grain spaghetti but I didn't have enough on hand.
So I used the brown rice vermicelli that Brennan chose at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati last week.
It worked beautifully.

Before draining the vermicelli, I reserved 1/2 c of the pasta water, then tossed together the vermicelli, reserved water, shrimp, asparagus, juice of the lemon, the basil, 2 tsp of olive oil, the rest of the mint, and a little Kosher salt and red pepper flakes.

Everyone gave this dish a big thumbs up, which is always great!
I'll certainly make it again!

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.


April 29, 2012

Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Smitten Kitchen's
Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen last week and knew I had to try it.
I have been looking for a reason to try a green that I've never tried - Broccoli Rabe.
Also known as Rapini.
This recipe looked like a great introduction.

I have to tell you that our entire family really, really liked this recipe.
And it was simple, simple. 
And quick.
And had very few ingredients.


I put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
While it was doing its thing, I cleaned and trimmed the broccoli rabe.
This green is in the mustard family and is full of nutrients.  I just trimmed the hard stalks off and rough chopped the leaves and little broccoli-looking heads.

Once boiling I added my pasta.
David was at the store and chose Radiatore for this dish.  It is great for holding onto a sauce nicely.

Radiatore means "little radiators" in Italian.  OK.

I tossed the package of radiators into the boiling water for 8 minutes.
With 2 to go, I added the chopped broccoli rabe.

I let it cook for 2 minutes and then tossed it in the colander to drain.

In a small pan I heated olive oil and tossed in the chopped garlic.

We thought the dish had a little too much oil, so I've reduced the amount below in the recipe card.
The garlic flavor was great, though.
Once the garlic was golden (about 5 minutes), I transferred the pasta and broccoli rabe to a large bowl and tossed in the garlic oil.  Seasoned with Kosher salt, and served it.

Some topped theirs with grated Parmesan, and reported it was even better.

 I think I could easily have used quite a bit more broccoli rabe, but didn't want to overwhelm the family the first time out!

David liked this green better than broccoli and spinach.
Brennan said he couldn't even taste it.
Thomas doesn't care for sauteed spinach, but didn't have any issues with this dish.  He really liked it.

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.


Fruit for Dessert

Fruit for Dessert

We have had a lot of sweets around the house for the last month or so with Easter baskets, birthday party gift bags coming home, and a recent trip to Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati with Thomas and Brennan.  They chose several international sweets that we've been enjoying a little at a time.

But it's not often that we eat real dessert after a family meal.

What we've been doing instead each night is enjoying fresh fruit with flavored Balsamic vinegars.

I shared on our family blog that we have a new Olive Oil and Balsamic store in town. 

Our favorite fruits to dip in Balsamic are fresh strawberries and fresh pineapple.

With strawberries we like the Fig Balsamic.  I chose that one the first time I went to our local store.  I absolutely loved it.

With pineapple we like Thomas's choice - Cinnamon Pear.  Mmmm.

While fancy Balsamics are certainly not necessary to dress up fresh fruit, it sure makes it fun and more like dessert for our family!


Curried Cream of Celery Soup

Curried Cream of Celery Soup

I have a folder in the kitchen where I stick all the magazine recipes I've ripped out over the years.
I've cleaned it out and have mostly healthy family recipes now.

I was not all that inspired when it came to dinner a week ago, so I asked the boys to go through the folder and choose 3 recipes each that they would like to help me make.

Surprisingly, this is one that Thomas chose, and we made it recently.

I found it in the April/May 2012 Vegetarian Times.

You start by heating olive oil in a large pot and adding the celery, leek, and salt.

Cook it for 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

While that's cooking I chopped up the two apples, then added them to the vegetables along with curry powder and let it combine.

Then I added the remaining ingredients and allowed the dish to simmer for awhile.

Then I used my handheld blender to puree until smooth.

I added the lime juice, and seasoned with salt & pepper.

We topped the soup with roasted almonds and celery leaves

We liked the soup, but found it rather spicy, so I'm cutting the curry powder by half the next time I make it.  The modified version is below.

I think the soup was even better warmed up the second day!


April 17, 2012

Vigo Beans and Rice

Vigo Beans and Rice

We have discovered this packaged dinner that is really great and I wanted to share it.

I picked up the Vigo Red Beans and Rice when I was at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati a couple of months ago. 

Then my friend Vinita told me that our local Kroger also has it so I stopped by and found out they also carry the Black Beans and Rice.

I don't like a lot of packaged rice dishes (sorry, I don't really like Zatarans), but Vigo brand is really good.

You simply bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a skillet.  Then you add the package, stir, cover and simmer for 20 or so minutes.  And you're ready to serve.

My entire family really likes it and it makes such a healthy, quick dinner.
If you were so inclined you could add cooked kielbasa sausage or chicken very easily.
We just like it as is, with a side dish like broccoli.


April 11, 2012

Vegetarian Tacos

Vegetarian Tacos

Sometimes when I am not creative with what I want to cook for dinner in the coming nights, I'll ask the boys for a couple of suggestions.  Thomas invariably asks for a Taco Night.

Taco Night is awesome, healthy, and makes life easy for me because everyone can add what they want to their tacos.  Last night we had a vegetarian version and it was great.

I usually do ground beef or shredded chicken, but went with beans instead and it was really good.  I don't think anyone even noticed we didn't have meat.

I usually have corn tortillas, flour tortillas, and taco shells on hand, so I warmed a few of each up in the oven at 375* for just a couple of minutes.  The microwave works well too.

I used leftover Mayocoba beans for this dish, but 2 cans of rinsed, drained pinto beans would work well.  Or black beans, which I often serve with tacos.

I coarsely chopped and then roughly mashed the beans and heated them with olive oil in a skillet.
I then added cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Then we layered shredded lettuce, tomatoes (some of us!), red and green salsa, and other goodies in our taco shells and on our warm tortillas and rolled them up, ready to eat. 

The boys had 3 each.  They loved them.

I can easily make a vegan option by omitting the cheese and sour cream from mine.

Other topping options:
black beans
sliced black olives
green onions
salsa verde
hot sauce

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.

Buen Provecho!

April 9, 2012

Peeps Cake

Peeps Cake from Cake Central

I saw this Easter cake on Pinterest and decided to make it for Easter!
The cake comes from Kayleesgrammy on Cake Central.

I made a Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake and frosted it with Classic White frosting.
Decorated with Bunny Peeps, and topped with Easter M-n-M's.

I made the mistake of frosting and covering my cake the night before I decorated. 
Then the Bunnies wouldn't adhere. 
I recommend decorating with the Bunnies immediately after frosting. 
I ended up purchasing another tub of frosting to stick the Bunnies on.
It worked fine!

Waaaay too sweet for me, but the kids at our Easter dinner liked it!

I had never tried the Orange Supreme cake mix before - it was good. 
I think it would be good with crushed pineapple.

Double click to print as a 5x7 recipe card.

Happy Easter!