Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Old Comfort Food

With the evenings being cooler now, it's a good time to start making some comfort food! I used to not like meatloaf, but then I realized I don't like my mom's meatloaf, or lots of other people's meatloaf either... but here is my recipe. It's very similar to meatballs, so maybe that's why I like it.


2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients well and shape into an oval. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour and a half. Viola!

Ok, so quite often I cut this recipe in half because a giant loaf of meat is just too much for C. and I. Also, if you make a smaller loaf, it only takes about 45-hour to bake.

ps -- after I made this, I realized that we had no potatoes in the house and only enough of the instant kind to make 2 VERY small servings. Oh, and yes, we did have a salad with this, so veggies were not completely missing!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

This is actually my friend Lugene's recipe, but I'm stealing it from her and posting it here! This is by far my favorite salad and it's great for a summer picnic, but easy enough to make on any given day.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

1/2 lb. baby spinach
1 pt. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 oz. slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. sesame seed
1 T. poppy seed
1 1/2 t. minced onion
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. paprika
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. oil

Basically, you dump the spinach, strawberries and almonds into a large bowl and toss it around. Then make the dressing and pour that on top... Easy-Peasy!

Here are my tips:
1. I buy the bagged spinach.
2. I never bother to toast the almonds -- maybe it would be better that way, but sometimes I'm lazy.
3. The dressing -- I've used Splenda, but the real sugar is better!
4. The dressing -- I've made this salad many times and I never remember to buy the sesame seeds, so I usually make it without, and it's still really good.
5. I like to make the dressing in a jar with a lid, so that you can just add everything and shake it.
6. This recipe makes a LARGE salad to take to a gathering. I like to make the dressing in the aforementioned jar and then just use a little bit of it on individual salads. C and I would never be able to eat the entire salad before it got all soggy from the dressing.
7. The dressing is good on other salads too!
8. This salad is also good with some cooked chicken sliced on top!

Thanks Lugene!

(I bought these cute bowls at Target on clearance last year!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spicy Peanut Chicken over Rice

Last year, around this time actually, I promised myself that I would start trying some new recipes -- I even ordered some new cooking magazines. The whim lasted for a few weeks, and then I became pregnant and my meals mainly consisted of saltines, with a side of saltines, and maybe some saltines for dessert. Oh, and a Luna bar thrown in for good measure! (Seriously, for a few months, that's all I could keep down!)

Anyway, those magazines are all stacked in my kitchen and lately I've been flipping through them and getting the urge to really start cooking again. Now is the perfect time. I'm used to having a baby in the house, I am back to work, and things are generally falling into a routine -- and I mean that in a good way!

So, here is my first cooking post in over a year. I made this a few days ago and it was a hit with both C. and I. I've added it to my recipe box and I will be making it again.

Me being me, I couldn't just leave the recipe as is -- I tweaked it!
1. The recipe makes TWELVE servings. That's way too many servings, so I cut it in half.
2. I don't own a Dutch Oven, so I used a large skillet with a lid. I affectionately refer to this skillet as my "Hamburger Helper Pan".
3. I didn't have peanut oil, so I used canola oil -- seemed to work just fine.
4. We don't really eat tomatoes, so I just used 1/2 a can of tomato paste and left out the tomatoes.
5. I didn't have any brown rice, so I just used the cheap instant white rice.
6. The grocery stores in my little town didn't have any "Greek-style" yogurt, so we went without. I can see that this would be a good addition to the recipe though, so next time I will go to the 'city' and get some. Or maybe some sour cream would work too.

Spicy Peanut Chicken over Rice
-- Cooking Light, August 2008, page 138.

1 T. peanut oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 T minced garlic
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 t curry powder
1 t salt
1 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t black pepper
1 6-oz can tomato paste
3 cups chopped plum tomato (about 6 tomatoes)
2 (14 oz) cans fat-free, reduced sodium, chicken broth
8 cups hot cooked brown rice
3/4 cup 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently.
Stir in peanut butter and next 5 ingredients (through tomato paste); cook 1 minute.
Add tomato and broth to pan; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
Serve chicken mixture over rice; top each serving with yogurt.
Yields 12 servings. (serving size is 3/4 cup chicken mixture, 2/3 cup rice, and 1 T yogurt.)
(Calories 340, Fat 7.6 grams, Fiber 4.6 grams)

The chicken came out really yummy with just enough spice. It's a good dinner if you are looking for something different. I already had most of the ingredients, so that always makes a recipe a keeper in my book. I hate recipes where I need to buy all this crap that I will only ever use for that specific recipe.


This is how I measure 1/2 of a 1/3 cup of peanut butter:

Monday, August 25, 2008

He can almost fit his entire fist in his mouth!

And now another picture...

Still at my workshop... still practicing how to upload an image...

New Photos / New Flickr Account

So, I'm still at this workshop, and we are now learning how to add images -- so here's my image:

I also wanted to mention that I have condensed my online family photos to a manageable amount and appropriate to pass onto family and friends -- here is the new address: Erickson Family Photos **please note that my original flickr account still exists and will still contain ALL of my photos.

Back to basics...

So, I've taken a year hiatus from this blog... I don't really have much of an excuse for this absence, but a bit has changed in my life. I'm now the proud mother of a beautiful baby boy, I have a new job -- life is good!

It seems that so many of my friends are starting blogs too, so I'm going to attempt to re-start this blog. Bare with me, it might be a bumpy ride...

Right now I am sitting in a library workshop that is teaching me how to create a blog for my library -- so here I am, writing this blog. However, I've been thinking about restarting for awhile now and I have a new recipe ready to post once I get home -- it's a good one too!