Cookbooks

I was at Barnes & Noble yesterday, and after browsing through the bargain books section, I made my way over the cookbooks. I love bookstores. There’s something about the smell of new books, and all these titles just staring you in the face. Speaking of staring me in the face – Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking did just that. I had to have it! French cooking, from what I’ve gathered (and tried in the past) is very elegant. The ingredients, as well as the presentation make the cuisine delectable. I’m very excited to have my very own French cookbook – the only downside – no photos. That’s alright. It leaves presentation up to the imagination.

I’ve also been procrastinating purchasing 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. As many of you may know, the book was made famous because of a special recipe for Engagement Chicken – which I’ve heard yields diamond rings. I haven’t tried it myself (I snagged my man sans cooking skills), but I had to get the cookbook and try out the other results-yielding recipes. I love the names “Get Skinny Dip,” “Baby It’s Cold Outside Crabmeat Soup,” “Bikini Season Baked Salmon,” and “Promotion Rib Eye” are just a few of the fun names. I can’t wait to try them all out!

 

 

 

Do you have a cookbook you love? Or  even a cookbook you’d like to try out? Share the titles and authors in the comments.

Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice

September is the beginning of fall-inspired foods. Most of us wait all year for this season, when Starbucks rolls out with its Pumpkin Spice Latte (now available at your local Starbucks).

Fall is here. This time of year, I’m obsessed with all things pumpkin – cookies, cakes, pies, coffee, creamer, etc. If it has pumpkin, I’m having it. Let’s not forget childhood trips to the pumpkin patch. The rule was, if you can carry it, you can have it. Although you might think I have outgrown such activities, think again. Now that I have a a few nephews, I have an excuse to get back out there, ride the hay rides and get my face painted. I’m only doing it for the kids, right?

Nostalgia in our minds, what better way to celebrate the beginning of the season than with homemade Choco-Pumpkin Pancakes!

 

Choco-Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

Bisquick mix  (as directed)
1/2-1 cup Canned Pumpkin
2 tablespoons Sugar
Extra Milk
1/3 – 2/3 cup(s) Chocolate Chips
 

Directions

Whisk batter, pumpkin, sugar, milk together. Add chocolate chips and mix well.
Pour into greased skillet
Optional: serve with whipped cream sprinkle pumpkin spice
 

 

I also discovered a great way to make homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Basically, make your espresso as you usually would. Before adding the milk, add 1 teaspoon organic canned pumpkin and a few sprinkles of pumpkin spice. Stir well. Add steamed/heated milk. Top with fat-free whipped cream and pumpkin spice.

Special Request: Fattet Betenjan

Apparently, I’m taking requests for recipes now. Today’s request comes from my very best friend who’s been searching for the recipe for Fattet Betenjan (literally translated to Eggplant Crumbles) since she tasted it at a party. It’s a fairly easy dish and can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Some people add ground beef to their Fatteh. My version is vegetarian.

 

 

Ingredients

Arabic Bread (aka Pita Bread)
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 cup Pine Nuts
1 can Chickpeas, drained
2 cups Plain Yogurt
4 large (or 6 small) Eggplants
Vegetable Oil
 

Directions

Cut the bread into small squares, and fry in vegetable oil until lightly browned.
Cut the eggplant into squares and lightly salt. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Fry the eggplant in the same oil used for the bread, add more oil if necessary.
Fry the pine nuts in the same oil.
In a bowl, mix plain yogurt with 2 cloves garlic, whisk until combined well.
In a deep serving dish, layer as follows: Eggplant, Bread, Chickpeas, Yogurt, Pine Nuts

Dinner for One: Spiced Chickpea and Zucchini Sauté


Tonight is girls night – and by girls night, I mean quality time with me, myself, and I. On a night like tonight, I’d probably be found at the mall or doing some online shopping. However, in an attempt to avoid shopping both at the mall and online, I thought why not cook myself an easy dish and give myself an at-home spa treatment? My at-home spa treatment is fairly simple: deep conditioning, manicure, and pedicure. Some spa, huh.

You either love her or hate her – Martha Stewart. Although, you have to admit she’s got the whole Suzy Homemaker thing down to a science, and a phenomenal business marketing plan. She has some great ideas, I’ll admit. This Spiced Chickpea and Zucchini Sauté  caught my eye. It would make an interesting side dish on any other day, but today, I’ve made it a meal.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
8 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Coarse Salt and Ground Pepper
 

Directions

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium.
Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add garlic, coriander, and cumin; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini, and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
Cover skillet; simmer mixture over medium-high heat, stirring, until zucchini is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve.

Note: I found that adding 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce adds just enough spicy flavor.

Servings = 4

A Fresh Take on Pizza

Greasy, thick crust pizzas are out. Artisan pizzas are in. I prefer thin crust pizzas with exotic toppings – anything from various cheeses to veggies not usually found on pizzas. Tonight, I was in the mood for something easy, filling and healthy. The following is my creation, a fuse between salad and pizza. The leafy greens really give it the “healthy” feel. That way, I don’t feel so bad about inhaling the carbs.

 

Shrimp Salad Pizza

I decided to take it upon myself to not only put the pizza together, but make the dough as well. I remember when I was younger my mom made dough at home. It looked easy enough. The dough didn’t take too long. Luckily we weren’t starving. We just had a late dinner.

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (recipe below)
Zucchini
Shredded Mozarella
Roma Tomatoes, sliced
Frozen Shrimp, cooked
Mixed Greens
Tomato Sauce (I use Prego)
 

Directions

Cut zucchini into ½ inch slices
Cut tomatoes into ½ inch thick slices
Place tomatoes and zucchini on a baking sheet
Coat with olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes on 425 degrees. (I suggest roasting the veggies while the dough rises)
Brush olive oil on the dough, add a thin layer of tomato sauce and cheese, then carefully place vegetables and shrimp on the pizza dough, cover with cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, on 350 until brown.
Add mixed greens before serving.
 

Dough Recipe

Ingredients

1 (.25 ounce) package Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water
2 cups Flour
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Sugar
 

Directions

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, olive oil, salt, and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed.
Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface.
Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape.
 
 

Walnut Crusted Tilapia with Creamy Mushroom Orzo

Monday night. You know how it is, it’s the night after the first day back to work and one day closer to Friday. Admit it, you were thinking that too.

Since I’m trying cut back on red meat, I’ve been looking for recipes that involve more chicken and fish. I just bought a bag of frozen tilapia filets which means fish is on the menu this week. Instead of making boring old baked fish, I decided to spice it up a bit.

I found this easy Walnut-Crusted Tilapia recipe on Parents Magazine online. I was then faced with another predicament, what exactly was I supposed to make with this faux exotic fish dish? That’s when I came across another easy recipe for Creamy Mushroom Orzo. A quick mental check for the ingredients at home, check and check. I’ll admit, I was a little worried about the outcome. The tilapia, however, was indeed easy and amazing. The orzo was just right.

 

Walnut-Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients

1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon Light Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
4 Tilapia Filets (about 6 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
 

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast 1/4 cup walnuts for 5 minutes.
 In a separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the mustard.
Finely chop remaining 1/2 cup walnuts.
Brush tilapia with mustard mixture, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon basil and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Press 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts onto one side of each fillet.
Place tilapia, walnut-side up, on baking sheet; bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
 

Creamy Mushroom Orzo

Ingredients

1 cup Orzo
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
8 ounce package of Sliced Button Mushrooms
3 ounce  Cream Cheese
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 clove Garlic
 Fresh Thyme Sprigs (I used dried Thyme)
 

Directions

Melt butter in pan on med-high heat
Crush & mince garlic.  Toss garlic and thyme sprigs in pan to sauté. Stir for about 60 seconds to open up the flavors
Add mushrooms, and lightly sauté
Add chicken broth and orzo. Simmer until al dente
Fold in the cream cheese, until it is melted into the orzo

 

 

 

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