Thursday, July 31, 2008

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa

I have been craving some Mexican food lately and my latest trip to the farmer's market yielded some fresh corn and tomatoes. So I figured salsa was the easiest thing to do with the corn.

3 ears corn in the husk
1 can black beans, drained
1 fresh jalapeno chile, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, seeded, peeled and chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 1 large lime
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste


~Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut the kernels off the cob. Char the corn in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat with one tablespoon oil, until the corn is warmed through and the edges are slightly blackened. Remove from heat an allow to cool.

~Place the remaining ingredients, except the black beans, in a food processor and chop to the desired size. I processed the ingredients rather finely.

~Combine the corn, black beans and the tomato mixture. Cover and let stand for one hour or overnight for the flavors to marry.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Veggie Patties

I normally don't eat veggie patties, even though I do like the Boca Burgers, but since going meat free is better for the environment, I thought I would try out a veggie main dish. I saw this recipe on Guy's Big Bite on Food Network last weekend and thought it would be a good first step into vegetarianism.Ingredients:
2 ounces olive oil
3 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons diced bell peppers, I used red, orange and purple
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno
1 1/2 tablespoons diced garlic
3 tablespoon diced mushrooms, I used regular button mushrooms
4 ounces black beans, drained
4 ounces chickpeas, drained
4 ounces white beans, drained
6 ounces rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg

~In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1-ounce olive oil and all raw vegetables except beans. Saute until translucent. Remove and cool.

~Add veggies to beans and mix thoroughly. Add all dry ingredients along with the egg.

~Thoroughly mix all ingredients and form into 4 patties, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I took an 8 ounce container of sour cream, emptied and rinsed and lined it with plastic wrap. I spooned the patty mixture into the container and used the plastic wrap to press it together before putting the patties in the fridge. I also let me refrigerate for longer than 30 minutes, more like an hour.

~In saute pan add 1-ounce olive oil, and cook patties 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To make the sandwich:
I toasted two pieces of multi-gran bread and topped it with romaine, broccoli sprouts, cucumbers and wasbi mayo (1 tablespoon light mayo and 1 teaspoon wasbi paste).

I think I was expecting these to taste like Boca Burgers. They didn't. They lasted like beans and beans only. I thought they would be a little more flavorful considering all the spices I added but really the bean flavor was the only one to shine through. Overall, it wasn't bad, though and I will probably make them again but play around with the spices.

recipe modified from: Guy Fieri

Monday, July 28, 2008


One of The Good Husbands favorite is lasagna. I will admit that I love the flavors so much that the effort is well worth it. Besides, lasagna will usually provide for enough left-overs for the entire week.

16 ounces bulk Italian
pork sausage

16 ounces ground beef, I use ground chuck
1 large
onion, chopped
2 cloves
garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 5 ounce can tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried
Italian seasoning, crushed or

1 tablespoon each dried basil and dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon
black pepper
12 lasagna noodles, cook, drained and cooled
eggs, beaten
1 15-ounce container
ricotta cheese
1 cup grated
Parmesan cheese
16 ounces shredded Italian
cheese blend

~ For sauce, in a large saucepan cook sausage and beef until brown. Drain. Add the meat back to the pan and cook the onion and garlic.

~ Added crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning (or basil and oregano) and black pepper into meat mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

~While the sauce simmers, cook noodles until al dente, or about 10-12 minutes. Drain noodles, rinse with cold water and set aside.

~For filling, combine eggs, ricotta and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Set aside. (I also add a sprinkling of dried basil and oregano to the ricotta mixture)

~Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Layer 3 of the cooked noodles in the bottom of the dish. Spread with one fourth of the filling. Top with one fourth of the remaining meat sauce and one fourth of the Italian cheese. Repeat layers, ending with a topping of Italian cheese.

~ Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Garlic Bread

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 recipe roasted garlic
1/2 cup dried parsley
1 loaf French bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

~ Combine the roasted garlic, butter and parsley. Mix until combined.

~Cut the French bread in half, lengthwise. Drizzled the top with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and spread the garlic butter mixture on top.

~Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until warm and browned. Cut into slices and serve warm.

Roasted Garlic
~Peel away dry outer skin from one large garlic head, leaving the skins of the individual garlic cloves intact. Cut off the top portion of the head, leaving the bulb intact but exposing the individual cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, on a large square of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Allow the oil to seep into the head of garlic, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt. Wrap the garlic tightly with foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 60 minutes or until cloves feel very soft when pressed. Cool. Press to remove garlic paste from individual cloves.

recipe from The Good Wife

Poll Results

The poll results are in and the most hated household chore is: cleaning the floors! Following closely is doing the laundry and washing the dishes. Strangely, I don't mind doing the floors so much and I hate dishes and laundry.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Bacon and Roasted Potatoes (Meat and 'Taters)

I get a little tired of having beef steaks all the time and pork tenderloin is a nice break from the ordinary. We used to buy pork tenderloin medallions already seasoned from a local butcher, but we haven't been in a while and I saw some tenderloin on sale at the store and thought it would be great for dinner.Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Medallions

4 pork tenderloin medallions, about 1 inch thick
4 pieces of bacon, I used thick cut apple wood smoked bacon
1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning, I use Riley's All Purpose Seasoning

~Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

~Wrap the tenderloins with the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle one side of the medallions with salt, pepper and the all purpose seasoning.

~Heat a 10 inch skillet (I use cast iron) on medium high heat until hot and it starts to smoke lightly.

~Add one tablespoon of oil (I use canola) to the pan and add the medallions, seasoned side down. Once the medallions are in the pan, take the time to season the other side. Sear each side of the medallions for 1 to 2 minutes.

~Transfer the skillet to the oven and finish cooking for 20 minutes or until the juices run clear or a meat thermometer registers 140.

~Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Roasted Potatoes

4 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
Olive and canola oil
1 tablespoon all purpose seasoning, I use Riley's All Purpose Seasoning
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

~Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

~ Wash and scrub the potatoes, removing any eyes. Cube.

~In a medium mixing bowl, combine canola oil (a little over 1/4 cup) with a splash of olive oil. Add the seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

~Spread the potatoes out on to a cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes, turning once about halfway through cooking.

recipe by: The Good Wife

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

I had a craving for Spanakopita, or Spinach Pie, as my grandmother introduced me to when I was younger. I love the flaky layers of the phyllo dough and the salty, creaminess of the feta and ricotta cheese. I had always thought it was too hard to make but the hardest part is really layering all the phyllo.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil or melted butter


~Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.

~Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Thaw the spinach in the microwave, place it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it to drain the water off. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to saute about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

~In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil or butter. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil or butter, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil or butter, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil or butter. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling. The Good Wife Tip: When working with phyllo dough, place a damp towel over the phyllo sheets you are not using so they don't dry out. Be gentle when separating the sheets of phyllo and make sure to brush the oil or butter all the way to the edges of the sheets. Brush the top sheet with butter to achieve a golden brown crust.

~Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.


For this recipe, I added 2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed. While it did add a little heft to the spanakopita, I prefer the meatless version. I also brushed the phyllo with canola and olive oil and I think that butter makes this dish richer and more flavorful. I also doubled the number of phyllo sheets I used; 8 sheets on the bottom and 8 on the top, since I really like the flavor.
recipe modified from all recipes

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Good Wife Guide . . .to Cleaning

In my youthful days I was a bit messy. But every Good Wife needs to have a system in place to keep the house clean. Here is TGW's Fail-Proof Cleaning System:

Monday: Wash all the whites
Tuesday: Wash all the darks; take out the trash
Wednesday: Wash all the towels; vacuum
Thursday: Wash all the sheets
Friday: Clean the bathroom
Saturday: Dust the house; vacuum; mop the bathroom floors and kitchen floors; clean the kitchen counters, sink, oven and microwave; clean all mirrors; take out the trash
Sunday: REST and RELAX

To Do Everyday:
~Sweep and Swiffer Wet Jet the kitchen and bathroom floors before you go to bed
~Wipe out the bathroom sink and kitchen sink in the morning with a Clorox wipe (they are awesome)
~Make sure everything is put away were it belongs (I do this room to room before bed)
~After dinner, wipe down the kitchen counters, stove, microwave and table
~Do the dishes
~Make the bed
~Microwave the sponge you clean with in the microwave on high for one minute. This will kill the bacteria!~

To Do Every Two Weeks:
~Shake out area rugs and doormats outdoors before vacuuming
~Vacuum furniture (underneath the cushions too)

To Do Monthly:
~Clean the inside of the refrigerator
~Clean window surfaces
~Wash out kitchen trash container and surrounding area
~Clean the stove
~Clean baseboards, dust blinds and vacuum curtains
~Change or clean filters on heating and cooling systems

To Do Every Six Months: Flip mattresses

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eggs and 'Taters

Like any Good Midwestern Wife, I learned rather quickly how to make this staple of a Midwestern Husband's diet:

Fried eggs and 'taters.

Normally you would fry the eggs in butter and the 'taters in oil. But trying to be healthier, I "fried" the eggs in one tablespoon of canola oil in a good nonstick pan and baked the 'taters in the oven at 450 for 25 minutes before I broiled them for another 10 minutes.

This is one of the very first dishes I learned to make for The Good Husband (TGH) and to this day, every time it turns out differently and they are not as good as Grandma's. But still, most Sundays you will find eggs and 'taters a-cooking at our house.

recipe by: The Good Wife

I've been tagged!

This is the first time I have been tagged. Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Cooking Experiments tagged me. So, now, I have to share a little big about me. Here are the Tagging Rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was a junior in high school. The drama llama was the mascot for that year. But overall, I was just having fun at my no responsibility job and trying to get good grades in high school.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
1. Call our realtor
2. Wash the dark clothes
3. Make dinner
4. Balance the checkbook
5. Make our lunches for tomorrow

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Good cheese with thick white bread
2. Grapes
3. Baby Carrots
4. Hummus
5. Pringles

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Visit every state in the US
2. Visit Italy
3. Donate a lot of time and money to women's organizations
4. Donate money for our town improvement
5. Donate time and money to our local schools

Places I’ve lived:
1. Near St. Louis, Mo
2. Near Springfield, IL
That's that only places I have lived. I don't get out much, I see.

Jobs I’ve had:
1. Ice cream server at Dairy Queen
2. Grocery store check out girl
3. Cashier at Panera Bread
4. Bank teller
5. Business Manager

I will be tagging:
1. Annie at Well, that would be telling
2. Meghan at Joy Through Cooking
3. Mel at Little Ms. Foodie
4. Amanda at Click. The Good News
5. I need to start reading more blogs!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Trip to the Farmer's Market #1

A good thing about living in the middle of farm fields is that we have some great produce.

I got some sweet corn, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, green beans, salad greens, cucumbers, broccoli, a purple pepper and zucchini.

I bought some broccoli sprouts too. I had never had them before and I really like the flavor of them.

Now I have to figure out what to do with all these veggies.

Blueberry Muffins

With the left over blueberries from the fruit bouquet, the next morning I decided to make muffins.
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 recipe Streusel Topping (optional)


~Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

~In another bowl combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in the blueberries and the lemon peel.

~Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins

Streusel Topping: In a small bowl stir together 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

recipe modified from the better homes and gardens cookbook

I served them warm with some unsalted butter. I made both the plain and the "dutch" kind and by far, we liked the dutch version better.

Fruit Bouquet

Every year my family has a cookout on the 4th of July. It is a covered dish type of thing and each year, along with potato salad, I like to made something fun and different. Last year it was bruchetta. The year before that it was a muffuletta.

This year I was inspired by a fruit bouquet I saw from Edible Arrangements.

I thought that since all it really is, is cut fruit, I could make my own version. I don't think it turned out that bad.


1 whole pineapple, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 whole cantaloupe, peeled and cut into 24 thin wedges
1 whole honeydew, peeled and cut into 24 thin wedges plus 1/4 whole melon
1/2 lb grapes
1/2 pint of blueberries
1 pint of strawberries
1/2 half watermelon, hallowed, for garnish
Wooden skewers


Wash and cut the pineapple, cantaloupe and hoenydew. Wash and trim the green tops off the strawberries. Wash the blueberries and grapes. Place a wooden skewer into each piece of fruit, leaving about 2 inches of room at the bottom of the skewer.
When all the fruit is skewered, use the sharp end of a skewer and poke holes into the hallowed watermelon. Insert the fruit into the watermelon, in any pattern. I tried to leave enough room so that people could just grab the wooden skewer and not have to touch the fruit.

To make the pineapple "flowers":

Using a small round cookie cutter, cut several pineapple slices into small round shapes. Use a melon baller and make several balls out of the honeydew or cantaloupe. Skewer the pineapple first and then top it with the melon ball.

The Good Wife Guide

My mom sent this to me before I got married. I think it might be real (last time I checked, anyway). Needless to say a big feminist like me gets a tremendous laugh out of it. I joke that they are my rules to live by, when, I think, I go by some opposite and unwritten rules.