Friday, April 29, 2011

Vanilla Dessert Wars

I've always wanted to try rice pudding and when I found out that the theme for April's Dessert Wars was vanilla, I knew it was time to make it. As a partcipant in the contest I received vanilla beans from Beanilla to use in my recipe and I had to use vanilla in 3 different components of the dessert. WOW, this was hard for me but I was up for the challenge. My dessert consisted of Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding, topped with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream and then a Vanilla Bean Orange Sugar Cookie. Turns out...I LOVE rice pudding and the vanilla flavor is delicious.
I'll be posting the recipes for each component in a separate post next week when I finally have internet access at home. I miss cable and internet but our new place has Fios so I'm excited to have it installed.

The winner of April's competition will receive the following prize package:

Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans

Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake

1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

Organic Valley $50 Gift Certificate

Organic Prairie $50 Gift Certificate

Theme Kitchen $50 Gift Certificate

BEKA Cookware Crepe Pan

Whisk and cupcake necklace from Moon & Star Designs

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Meatless Monday- Barilla Tortellini

I'm a little late with my Meatless Monday post, but I'm entering this recipe in the Barilla Italy trip contest and the deadline is today. So, here it is, my meatless Barilla Tortellini recipe.
You will need:
1 Bag of Cheese & Spinach Barilla Tortellini
1 Bag of Roasted Garlic Barilla Sauce
2 Zucchini chopped into bite-size pieces
1 Carton of Baby Bella Mushrooms chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Cups shredded Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tablespoon Extra Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cook tortellini according to package directions, while that is cooking begin on sauce.
In a heavy bottom, oven-proof pot, saute zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. You can deglaze the pan with a little red wine or water at this point if you like. Otherwise, add Barilla sauce and bring to a simmer. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to sauce. Remove from heat, add salt & pepper to taste, stir to combine all ingredients well. Then top with cheeses and put under broiler in the oven until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easy Chicken Salads

When you are moving, as I have been for the last couple weeks, you need quick and easy meals. Meals that don't take a lot of preparation or equipment since everything is in boxes. Moving was the prefect time for me to use the Tyson Grilled Chicken coupon I had received for free from being a Foodbuzz publisher. Lucky for me, Albertsons was having a buy one get one free so I got two yummy bags of grilled chicken. My only hestitation is that Tyson didn't have an organic option. So Tyson, if you're reading this, we want organic, free-range chicken options. After all, Happy Chickens, make Happy Consumers.

Macaroni Grilled Chicken Salad.
I stole a little (well actually A LOT) of help from Fresh & Easy for this salad. I love their readymade pasta salad section. You could certainly make your own pasta salad but I was in a hurry and starving when I put this together. It's macaroni salad with corn, black beans and red peppers to which I added the Tyson Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast. It was delicious. I have some leftover for lunch today which I can't wait to eat.

These are the 2 bags that I bought. The chicken tasted fresh and had nice flavor. It definitely saved a lot of time in preparing both salads.

Ok, next easy salad. Organic mixed greens topped with Tyson Grilled Chicken Strips. Not shown are the tons of croutons I added as well as balsamic dressing. YUM!

Look who I saw in my backyard. Cute little Easter bunny made his appearance last weekend. I hope to see him again soon.

Do you have any easy chicken or salad recipes to share with me? We are still unpacking, carpeting, painting and so so much more. I can't wait to start spending more time in my new kitchen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ultimate Beer Burger: Mothership Organic Wit

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a stipend to purchase one of the many types of beer that New Belgium Brewing Company makes. I'm a fan of Fat Tire, but wanted to try something new. I picked up Mothership Organic Wit from Fresh & Easy last weekend.
On a side note, does anyone else get stressed out when using self-checkout at Fresh & Easy? Something about the machine talking to me and telling me I'm not placing my items in the correct place or I need to wait for assitance makes me feel like I'm being scolded and with the added pressure of people waiting behind me....ugh!
Anyway, I've always wanted to try organic beer and this one did not disappoint.
Part of the stipend was to be used for creating a recipe that incorporates the beer or pairs well with it. For me, I can't have beer without a burger or pizza, so I opted to make my ultimate burger with beer battered fried onions. So So delicious.
Yum, Beer!

Onions ready to be sliced, battered and fried.
These were soooo good, I ate too many hot from the pan and sprinkled with a little salt. Next time I'm going to make a big batch in onion ring form and serve them as an appetizer.

Best Burger Ever! My toppings: Fried Onions (recipe below), sliced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, dill pickes, mustard and ketchup. I used Nature's Best Organic Beef which was juicy and delicious. Happy Cows make Happy Burgers.

My Beer Battered Fried Onion Recipe
2 yellow onions
1 egg
1/2 Cup Mothership Orangic Wit Beer
1 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Enough canola oil to cover 2 inches of a heavy bottomed pot.
Combine flour salt and pepper in a shallow dish. In another dish, whisk together egg and beer. Thinly slice the onions into strips, dip into beer mixture, dredge in flour mixture and then fry until golden.
Ok, here's the thing with frying, I HATE standing in front of a hot greasy pot for what seems like hours but in this case it's worth it. You'll want your oil to be at approx 375 deg or use a small piece of onion to test the oil. If it sizzles immediately and rises to the top, the oil is ready. Make sure to let the oil return to the proper temperature between batches, otherwise the onions won't brown properly. I like to put my onions on a wire rack with paper towels beneath to get rid of the extra grease. Sprinkle with a little salt before you serve. Enjoy with a cold glass of beer!

Another side note, I'm still in the process of moving and will be without internet for a week. So So Sad, but I'm going to try and keep up with your posts on my phone. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog Break

Hi Everyone,
I'm still here, reading your blogs, but I haven't had time to post anything new of my own. We are in the process of moving....ugh so stressful. As soon as we're settled in our new place, I'll post. Have a great day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Breakfast Biscuit Sandwich

Last night was a late night for my hubby and me. We went out with family to dinner at Ca De Sol in Toluca Lake. Delicious gnocchi and worth a trip if you're in the LA area. The outside seating is really charming. After dinner we went to see Sourcecode which was entertaining although I don't think it deserved the rave reviews I had read. Has anybody else seen it? What did you think? I didn't get to bed until around 1 in the morning so breakfast needed to be simple today. Which brings me to....Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches.
I recently received a cookbook for free to review called The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo. Page 28 has a craving inducing photo of ham and mustard on biscuits. Simple and so yummy.
I served the sandwiches with scrambled eggs and sliced strawberries. With a latte on the side, of course. I should also note that I substituted turkey "ham" for regular piggy ham. I've been trying to cut down on the pork products since we've been going through way too much bacon lately.
I was too lazy to make my own biscuits, so I used this kind from Pillsbury. They turned out light and fluffy. I'll definitely be buying them again and they don't have any of the junk in them like the other biscuits tins at the market.
You can find Russo's book on and many other book sellers. I hope you'll check it out. Next up, I'll be making Hot Brown Sandwich on page 136, so I'll let you know how it turns out.
You can check out Russo's blog here