Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week 1

So for this week, I'm making a couple of different dishes! For Curt, I'm making a baked pasta, a stuffed pork loin and some chicken to put on top of a salad. I also have to make some extra food for Monday. Curt and I go to New Life Church and every Monday night, we meet up with some friends from church to eat, relax and chat.... We all take turns bringing dinner for the group, so this week is our turn! I'm making some chicken pot pies and a cucumber salad and then dessert... so here goes! For the baked pasta... I didn't really follow a recipe. I just boiled the penne noodles, tossed it with sliced zucchini, pepperoni and my homemade pasta sauce... then tossed in mozzarella and baked it. Voila!

I was watching an episode of "barefoot contessa" which is where I got the idea of making a cucumber salad. She used dill in hers and I'm not a fan of it, so I made up my own tweaks to her recipe.
  • 5 cucumbers
  • 4 cups of fat free yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbs lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 red onion- very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

First, I peeled the cucumbers and sliced them in half lengthwise... then I scooped out all the seeds ( you could also just get the English cucumbers with less seeds). Then I sliced the cucumbers so they looked like little "C"s. I also thinly sliced the red onion and put them in a colander with the cucumbers and then sprinkled with the salt. Then I set the colander over a bowl and put them in the refrigerator. The salt will draw out a lot of the water that the onion and cucumbers retain. According to Ina, you do this because otherwise, when you combine all of the ingredients, the waters will start to be released from the cucumber and your cucumber salad will be way more watery than you want. So, you let the water drain for a couple of hours.

Next, you want to drain the yogurt too because, again, it has a lot of water. You line another colander with paper towels, then put the yogurt on top to drain. Let this drain for several hours too.

Once everything was drained, I put the cucumbers and onion in a serving bowl. In a separate bowl, I mixed the drained yogurt and sour cream. At this point, I think this is where Ina adds in lemon and dill, but since I didn't have fresh lemon, nor do I really like the taste of dill, I added lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder, and then (because I had some in the crisper), I added half a cup of fresh chopped parsley. I mixed it all together and adjusted the seasonings to taste.

Once I had the "dressing" seasoned to how I like it, I just folded the mixture in with the onions and cucumbers and mixed it all until thoroughly combined. Then I covered it and chilled it until dinner!

In case you want to see the real recipe.... http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/creamy-cucumber-salad-recipe/index.html

Chicken Pot Pie!

I love chicken pot pie! It's one of those comfort foods that is always yummy. I remember being broke in college and going to the super walmart and buying the frozen Banquet Pot Pies for $.45 each... they were great to stick in the oven and just eat on the go! When I started cooking, I decided to look for a yummy recipe... as in most of my cooking, I find a recipe that I like and then add my own twists, so here's my recipe for chicken pot pie!

  • 2 frozen deep dish pie crusts
  • 1 package (which contains 2) refrigerator pie crusts
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 small onion, minced

I cheat and used prepared pie crust (I know that I could make my own, but with all the cooking I do, it takes more time than I have). Peel and chop the potatoes and microwave for 4-5 minutes. Then let them cool completely (you can toss some ice cubes in them to cook them down- just make sure you drain the water out after). Since potatoes take longer to cook than everything else, you want to cook them a bit before you bake the pies.

In a large bowl, mix the cooled potatoes, chicken, chicken soup, onion, mushrooms, and frozen peas. You can add any veggies you like. I've added carrots, green beans, and celery before, but since I'm not a huge fan of them, I tend to leave them out. Once everything is combined, you ladle the mixture evenly into the 2 frozen deep dish pie crusts.

Now comes the fun part. You can just top the pot pies with the refrigerator pie crust and make sure to cut slits in the top so steam can escape. Since I like my food looking super pretty, I decided to try my hand at making a lattice top. It's hard to explain how to do it... I just basically used trial and error and they turned out great! Here's a link to watch how to make a lattice pie top though! ~> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv4809RKhzg

After the pies were finished (I doubled the recipe since I was cooking for more people), then I brushed the tops of the pie with the beaten egg to give the pies a nice golden brown crust. Bake the pies at 350 for 45 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the pies, so the crusts don't burn. If they start getting too brown, just cover them with aluminum foil and you're all done!

And here's the finished product!!!

So.... that's basically what I've cooked so far! I started making the pork loin, but I didn't finish it... I'm intending to make that for dinner for me and Curt tonight.... I'll update that tomorrow :)


  1. The cucumber salad looks good. South beach has a shrimp celery salad with very similar ingredients in it. It has curry powder in it and it gives it a Thai flare. If you and Curt like that kind of thing I totally recommend trying that recipe.

  2. Yum! I still need to make those chicken pot pies, cant wait!