Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The ones I missed....A 2014 Food in Review!

Happy New Year's Eve Jenny Mac Lipsmack Fans! 

I know I wasn't posting as much this year but I have been cooking quite a bit! I really need to create some system to get my recipes on my blog in an easier way! Any suggestions short of hiring an assistant, feel free to send me suggestions...So Good-Bye is some of what I have made chronicling my year in food in review.

Cauliflower Tots is what caught my eye on Pinterest but when I saw the site included her version of Zucchini Tots and that was the abundant item currently from the summer's is what I made.  These are pretty healthy with lower fat cheese and were VERY good!  I'd make again!

Bacon and Cheddar Zucchini Bread.  Ha-Ha....mine looked anemic.  Nothing like the picture on the website.  Perhaps I needed to cook it more but the cake tester came out clean.  I was afraid of drying it out.  It was okay.  I'd try again to see if it turned out better, but I was sad over the waste of good bacon in this.  I think half of it got thrown away.  You try it and see if yours looks like the one in their website. Let me know how you did!

I loveeeeeee demonstrating new foods for my students to try.  These were a little treat I found on Pinterest.  The students loved it so much I included it on my school website for the kids to have access to make at home if they wanted.  So if picky 7th graders gobbled these down and wanted more, you may have a hit at home with your kids!

Every so often I become OBSESSED with some type of recipe.  I have biscuits crumbs in my blood due to my grandmother making them all the time (Did I pass Me-mom?) However she would woefully say to us when we'd visit how sorry she was that these were not one of her better batches. WTH? They were always good! She was just overly perfectionistic! So the more I see recipes done on TV about biscuits and the flaky layers and the such...I wanted the same.  See the monster you created in me Me-mom?  Warning the recipe provided is good but it's really about the PROCESS of the dough folding.  Trust me, don't ignore this warning, it's more about the folding than the recipe.  I had to make this about 5 times to understand this.  Don't be stubborn like me.

I made this Pumpkin resembling Cheeseball for halloween.  I had printed it out last year but found it and made it this year.  I searched for the recipe and found it on Food Network.  It was really good with minced jalapeno and coated in ground up Dorito chips.  Next year, I'd make it with more minced jalapenos.  We like it zippy around here!

Sorry, I was too busy cooking on Thanksgiving....and we wanted to eat! But I included this picture because the real standout recipe that was new this year that I would DEFINITELY make again was the Chipotle Sweet Potatoes.  Sweet Heat.  We loved it.  I think I enhanced the recipe by adding just a touch of brown sugar 1/4-1/2 cup to bump the sweetness.  I buy those chipotle peppers in a can and separate the peppers out in their own baggie with some of the sauce and store them in the freezer! That is what this recipe called for ONE of those hot suckers in these here taters! Barely seen on the right...LOL

Christmas Holiday Party! We invited the neighbors to meet and greet.  We hadn't done it in a long time.  Those who came, we had a blast.  Might consider doing this again, maybe a tradition...Hey, it's gets the house cleaned too! LOL.  Found most of my ideas on Pinterest, modified them like the appetizer tree below.  When I figured out that only half of the neighbors were coming I chopped half of my styrofoam cone down (AC Moore, Michael's Craft stores, Jo-Ann's). Covered in plastic wrap. It was fun to assemble but really appropriate for a large crowd. We had much of this tree left over.

This was adorably cute but I'd use a different recipe.  Bottom half was mustard, onion with cheddar cheese and the top (head) was a pesto.  Coated in Parmesan cheese.  I just wasn't WOW'ed by the flavors.  Use the favorite cheese ball recipe of your own and use the picture as a base how to SCULP your snowman.  I will include the link so you can be your own judge if you like it or not.

I have made this Ranch Veggie Tree numerous times.  Kids even love it.  Very easy.  I tweak their version on by using dry ranch mix in whipped cream cheese and my decoration of the tree is more prominent. Their site includes a video if you need it.

Classic Sausage Ball recipe by Bisquick.  Next year I am making it with their Gluten Free mix since I have a GF neighbor and I would like to give her more options next time.  Also I think I will hunt for an optional dipping sauce as well.

I am NOT a seafood eater, however my husband is.  A good host has to please other people than herself, so sometimes she's gotta 'suck it up' and touch smell fish! K-man raved about this so this recipe will be repeated to keep him and my other guests in the future happy.  Thanks Pioneer Woman!

Easy Peasy! Phyllo Shells, brie and Cranberry Sauce.  Just melt brie for about 5 minutes in the oven and top with cranberry sauce.  Yum!

Just a peek of the SPREAD....

Party Sweets!  Top: Oreo Truffles, Middle: Salted Caramel Bon-Bons and Bottom: Pretzel Kisses and Pecan Rolo Pretzel Bites.

School Staff Food Gifts...Oreo Snowman
I tweaked this idea with adding sprinkles, and pull apart licorice garland.  Staff loved them!

Lastly, I just wanted an old standby for a sweet treat during the holidays.  Shortbread, simple, satisfies, makes many.

See you next year!

In Foodie Love,

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gluten Free Elbows with Mixed Mushrooms and Italian Sausage Soup

Nothing helps a cold feel like it's getting better than some soup.  Homemade soup.  This is my second recipe for Barilla this month with Allrecipes Allstars Ambassadors.  So many people may think of just classic Italian recipes when using pasta...something tomatoey or lasagna layered or even a casserole.  I think people forget to round out a soup with some pasta to make it more a complete meal especially when the soup may be mostly protein and veggies...throw in some pasta!

Keep reading to view the recipe but also how it made it mine....

Gluten-Free Elbows with Mixed Mushrooms and Italian Sausage Soup
from, sponsored and recipe by Barilla

1 (12 ounce) box Barilla® Gluten Free Elbows
3 quarts chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
4 (6 ounce) packages mixed mushrooms
1 pound Italian sausage, boiled for 10 minutes and cut into 1/3 inch slices
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1. In a large soup pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.
2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute garlic with olive oil and rosemary for one minute or until slightly yellow. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned. Add sausage and saute for 2 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and sausage into broth; stir in beans, tomatoes and Barilla® Gluten Free Elbows. Cook for half the recommended time on the box.
4. Let the soup rest for ten minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley and olive oil drizzled on top.

Cook's Notes:

1. I like using Gluten Free products, even though I have fallen off my Paleo wagon and have no gluten allergies, I find the GF products don't give me any stomach distress.
2.  Although it is nice to receive some coupons to assist in the cost of the recipe making, I didn't feel the need to get 4 different packages of mushrooms.  The slice baby bellas looked good so they won.
3.  We always have hot Italian sausage in the freezer so I baked 5 links off.  Always looking for Zip! Cutting into 1/3 inch?  Come on now...
4. I just used a handful of grape tomatoes that I had left,  you could use a 15 oz canned whole tomatoes if you wanted but I felt this soup had plenty already.
5. Skipped the parsley because I had fresh basil I needed to get rid of....
6.  Look at the amount of elbows in the picture.  I used only HALF a box.  If I has used the whole box, this wouldn't be a soup anymore but turn into a casserole.  Unless you are feeding an army, you will need to increase the amount of stock if you use the whole box.

This was a tasty soup AND very hearty.  After I made this I got wild whim to whip up some cornbread to eat with it.  Delish!



Monday, December 29, 2014

Three Cheese Tortellini with Chicken Broth

Oh, what a busy, busy December huh? Between the shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, going to or hosting parties, visiting families....Is that why I am down with a cold?  Pushed my myself too much I guess.  I've been so occupied that I didn't even have the time to post my own personal fun things I made this month outside of my Allstar Ambassadors Sponsored without further ado....
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Festivus! LOL. So, This month I choose two recipes from:
Personally, I felt the choices were a bit "out of the ordinary" for boxed pasta campaign.  There was duck, buffalo, pork ribs and carrot puree in a mac and cheese...I guess these poor companies can't make the home cooks happy.  Too boring or too weird for recipe choices, right?  I have to pick recipes that is going to be eaten and hopefully enjoyed!  No worries, I found some, we had a lot to choose from, I just thought some of the recipe ingredients were "out there"....I am sure some creative cooks were lovin' it.  For my first recipe I selected:

Three Cheese Tortellini with Chicken Broth
 Recipe on sponsored and by Barilla
  • 1 (12 ounce) package Barilla® Three Cheese Tortellini
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Bring broth to boil. Add tortellini and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve in individual bowls topped with Parmigiano cheese; garnish with parsley.

Easy Peasy!
Before I did this recipe I did read the reviews.  Many commented on how bland it was.  You cooked the tortellini in chicken broth. Threw in some parsley and parm.  How jazzy can it taste with four ingredients?  Here's what I did to bump it up...

Cook's Notes:
1. I used the spinach and ricotta filled tortellini instead of the 3 cheese.
2.  I used Chicken Stock instead of broth.
3.  I tasted the finished product....ugh, bland.
3.  I added 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp. onion powder.  Definitely better!
4. Add chopped BASIL instead of parsley.  BANG. Delicious!
5.  Shredded fresh parmesan cheese instead of the green canned parmesan......oooey gooey, melty cheese.
6. Served to K-man, he raved.  He is normally making his own lunch from a canned soup when I am not around but when he ate this that I left behind, he was really impressed and wanted to know what new canned soup I discovered.  Of course this wasn't canned...I made it, that is why it tasted so good.
7.  If you follow this recipe as Barilla listed, please tweak it as I did.....who wants to go through the effort of making a soup for it to be bland? Always taste as you cook!


Tune in tomorrow for Gluten-Free Elbows with Mixed Mushrooms and Sausage Soup!